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Transcript of doorstop interview: Sydney: 19 October 2012: Government's Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook; UN Security Council



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TRANSCRIPT

THE HON JOE HOCKEY MP

SHADOW TREASURER

DOORSTOP SYDNEY 19 OCTOBER 2012

E&OE…………………………………………………………………………………

JOE HOCKEY:

I have come today to talk about the proposed release of the Government’s Mid Year Economic and Fiscal outlook in the next few days. Quite frankly I have taken speculation about early release of the Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook with a grain of salt. I have a great deal of disbelief that the Government would be releasing a mid-year economic statement less than four months into the financial year. It would be extraordinary. The only two previous occasions it has been released in October has been when there has been a November or December election and that was at the end of a 3-year electoral term. If the Government does release the economic and fiscal outlook next week, or any time earlier than something close to the middle of the year, then it is going to be an absolute joke. The document probably won't be worth the paper it is written on and it certainly won't be worth

the paper it is written on if it doesn't include an explanation of how the Government is going to fund its $120 billion of new promises. The document will be worth nothing if it has not contained updated figures on the mining tax revenue, which everyone knows is going to be

well short of the billions the government expected. The document is not going to be real if it just continues down the path of fudging and shifting revenue and expenditure between years. This Government is only going to stimulate confidence across the Australian economy if it comes clean on the real state of the budget. The fact that they are now speculating out of Canberra - and the Government is feeding this - that they are going to release the mid year economic statement in October, barely four months into the financial year, just proves that they are trying to cover up. They are trying to obfuscate, they are trying to avoid genuine scrutiny of the true state of the Australian budget.

JOURNALIST:

You are criticising the Government for bringing forward the forecast but haven’t you previously criticised them for trying to hide it?

JOE HOCKEY:

No.

JOURNALIST:

No-one in the Opposition has?

JOE HOCKEY:

Trying to hide what?

JOURNALIST:

That the Government’s been trying to hide this information, hide the forecasts?

JOE HOCKEY:

The Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook usually under us occurred in December. One or two times it was in November. On the two occasions that it was October there was an election soon after. If this Government releases the economic document in October - without any scheduled election before the end of the year - it would be absolutely bizarre. Let me tell you, they are covering up something. Either they are bringing it forward to try and avoid the latest information, which might give a true sense of the state of the budget, or they are just playing some sort of game. Everything is about a Machiavellian game with the Government and sadly it undermines business confidence, it undermines consumer confidence. Quite clearly the mining tax has a gaping hole in it and this Government doesn’t want to be fair dinkum about it.

JOURNALIST:

You’ve been demanding to know how the Government is going to cost its spending promises…?

JOE HOCKEY:

Yes.

JOURNALIST:

So won’t this be good? You will get a sense of what they are going to do?

JOE HOCKEY:

Great. If it tells the truth, fantastic. We welcome it.

JOURNALIST:

What do you think of the money spent on getting the Security Council seat? Is that money well spent?

JOE HOCKEY:

I, like everyone else, welcome Australia getting a seat for the fifth time on the United Nations Security Council. Maybe now the United Nations will help us stop the boats.

JOURNALIST:

So it is a worthy investment then?

JOE HOCKEY:

Well, we’ll see. If the United Nations helps us to stop the boats then it is a worthy investment. If Julia Gillard turns it into the equivalent of winning the football World Cup then it is a bit overblown, given that we have been on it on four previous occasions.

JOURNALIST:

Do you think stopping the boats is the only useful thing for having a seat on the Security Council can do?

JOE HOCKEY:

It is the most obvious thing now and it is the one at the forefront of the minds of everyday Australians. Ok? Thank you.

[ENDS]