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Transcript of interview with Andrew O'Keefe: Sunrise, Seven Network: 23 October 2012: MYEFO



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LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR FEDERAL MEMBER FOR WARRINGAH

23 October 2012

TRANSCRIPT OF THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR INTERVIEW WITH ANDREW O’KEEFE, SUNRISE, SEVEN NETWORK

Subjects: MYEFO.

E&OE……………………….…………………………………………………………………

ANDREW O’KEEFE:

Good morning to you, Mr Abbott. You say these cuts, or reductions I should say, are going to hurt families. Will you, therefore, vote against them?

TONY ABBOTT:

Andrew, they certainly will hurt families. There’s $3.9 billion worth of cuts to education in schools, in apprentices, in universities, in research. There’s $1.5 billion worth of cuts to health, to private health insurance and to hospitals. So, they are certainly going to hurt families. Now, we don't want to hurt families. We don't like any of these cuts. We think that if the Government was running a decent economic policy, these sorts of cuts wouldn't be necessary. But unfortunately, we've had a bad government now for four and a half years and our first priority will be to get the economy growing again and to get the budget back into strong surplus.

ANDREW O’KEEFE:

So, you won't vote against these measures then?

TONY ABBOTT:

We don't like them. We want to look at them in full and we'll make a decision on what our attitude to these will be when the relevant legislation comes before the Parliament.

ANDREW O’KEEFE:

Of course, the Coalition, Mr Abbott, has promised to deliver a bigger surplus whilst scrapping the mining tax and the carbon tax. Aren't you going to have to make similar or even deeper cuts to get back into a bigger surplus?

TONY ABBOTT:

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Well, Andrew, there was announced yesterday $1.2 billion in additional costs because this Government has totally lost control of our borders. I understand we've had three more boats just in the last 24 hours and that’s on top of $5 billion worth of border protection blowouts up until this time. Everywhere you look, there is more waste from this government. You have got $20 million of additional National Broadband Network advertising for a network with only 6,500 live fibre connections. You have got $30,000 for a portrait of Peter Slipper. I mean, really and truly, this is a government which spends money like a drunken sailor. Now it’s hurting your household budget to patch up its own budget.

ANDREW O’KEEFE:

Mr Abbott, you have described the reduction in the baby bonus as being akin to China's one child policy and say that it is an attack on families. Now, of course, when the bonus was implemented under Peter Costello, it wasn’t a welfare measure, it was intended to boost the birth rate and it has demonstrably failed to do so. In addition to that, people will still be being paid to have children - $5,000 for the first child, $3,000 for every child thereafter. So do you think it’s possibly is gilding the lily or exaggerating a little to say that it’s like China's one child policy and its an attack on families.

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, Andrew, that’s a colourful phrase. I don’t think it’s one that I’ve used myself. Certainly, it does appear to be discriminating against larger families. Now...

ANDREW O’KEEFE:

What, by paying them to have children?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well these are future workers. This is an investment in Australia’s future. Having kids is the greatest vote of confidence that you can place in the future of your country.

ANDREW O’KEEFE:

Isn't that why the Government is paying you $5,000 to have one child and $3,000 for every child thereafter?

TONY ABBOTT:

But why should a child payment be different depending upon your birth order? Let's face it, your medical expenses are the same, the clothing and food expenses are the same, the time off work etcetera, it’s the same. So, why should there be this difference?

ANDREW O’KEEFE:

But you have already bought the cot and the pram and the, you know, the first lot of clothes and all that. Everyone knows the first child is the golden child, Tony, don't they?!

TONY ABBOTT:

Well Andrew, in our family, every child is a golden child! But often, Andrew, one child is still in the cot when the second one comes along. One child is still in the pram when the second one comes along. So, you actually need to get an extra cot or a double-sized pram. I think if the Government was a bit more experienced in this area, they wouldn't come out with glib lines like that.

ANDREW O’KEEFE:

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Well, we should just give people cots, cut out the middle man. Mr Abbott, thank you for joining us this morning and putting your case. Look forward to seeing you soon.

TONY ABBOTT:

Thanks so much, Andrew.

[ends]