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Transcript of interview with Marius Benson: ABC News Radio: 26 August 2013: Liberal Party campaign launch; Newspoll

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Campaign Transcript


E & O E - PROOF ONLY _____________________________________________________________

Subjects: Liberal Party campaign launch; Newspoll _____________________________________________________________

MARIUS BENSON: Bill Shorten, Tony Abbott was seen as unelectable by a lot of people in Labor years ago now when he got the job as Opposition Leader. Now, if you look at Newspoll, he is unstoppable. Is that how you see him?

BILL SHORTEN: Not at all. The election will be close. The election is all about issues. What we saw last night is the Opposition declare that they intend to keep reducing the size of government every year. What makes this particularly concerning is that they promised not to touch certain areas of the government budget, they want to get rid of the mining tax, they want to get rid of the means test on the private health insurance rebate. So in order to pay for their expensive promises and their unaffordable, unsustainable paid parental leave scheme they’re going to have to make deep cuts. That is the only conclusion one can draw from last night - that if they’re persisting with handing back money to mining multinationals, an expensive, unsustainable, unaffordable paid parental leave scheme that it’s going to be schools and hospitals and jobs which get cut.

BENSON: Cuts has been the message that the Prime Minister and every other Labor campaigner has been hammering since the campaign began. And you’ve been going backwards in three weeks so far, will cuts be the main message for the next two weeks?

SHORTEN: What we need to see is the detail of what the Opposition are proposing. I think in the last few days we’ve seen this crazy idea that we should be buying second hand boats in Indonesia to somehow that’s going to make a difference. We’ve seen their scheme which will see some people able to claim $75,000 for parental leave, that’s unfair and unsustainable. And now last night

you see the Opposition as its centrepiece saying on one hand, they want to shrink a government and on the other hand they want to keep all these expensive, crazy ideas. That means jobs get it in the neck. Jobs, jobs, jobs - they go under Liberal governments. It happens at the state level and it is what will happen under the Federal Opposition if they’re elected.

BENSON: You said the election is close. On the Newspoll it’s 53 - 47, the Coalition ahead two party preferred. That’s not terribly close. What is the evidence for believing its close at the moment?

SHORTEN: I think there are a lot of Australians who are still disengaged and haven’t made up their mind. I also think that as Australians start to understand that Tony Abbott is on one hand promising not touch certain aspects of the budget and on the other hand shrink the budget overtime and the only way that can happen is through cutting jobs and cutting confidence, cutting healthcare spending, cutting education spending. These are facts. It’s as simple as a maths formula. If the Abbott Opposition are saying the outcome is smaller government and the ingredients are in some areas getting rid of revenue such as the mining tax and in other areas increasing expenditure, such as for paid parental leave. Then the missing link here is cuts. Cuts to services, cuts to health, cuts to education. But most importantly cuts to jobs. No nation shrank itself to greatness.

BENSON: You started the campaign behind; Kevin Rudd said he was the underdog. You are further behind now, are you disappointed in the campaign Rudd has run?

SHORTEN: No, this is an election. It is decided on September the 7th. There is no doubt that the Opposition have been relentlessly negative about the Government. We just have to break through the wall of noise and negativity of the Opposition and we have to make them be accountable to the Australian electorate. What are their actual policies? What are they going to cut? What happens to schools and hospitals? When we talk about the Opposition policies, the message is - that you, the Australian citizen, lose if the Opposition get elected, because the only way they can pay for their unaffordable promises whilst shrinking government overall is for you the Australian voter to lose in key areas such as jobs, healthcare and schools.

BENSON: Bill Shorten, thanks very much.

SHORTEN: Thank you.


Communications Unit: T 03 8625 5111

Authorised by G. Wright, Australian Labor Party, 5/9 Sydney Avenue, Barton, ACT, 2600