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Transcript of interview with Marius Benson: ABC News Radio: 26 October 2013: election polling; jobs and growth; deregulation



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Transcript

The Hon Andrew Robb AO MP Shadow Minister for Finance, Deregulation and Debt Reduction Chairman of the Coalition Policy Development Committee

Monday 26 August 2013

ABC News Radio with Marius Benson

Subjects: election polling, jobs and growth, deregulation

EO&E.....................................................................................................................................

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PRESENTER:

To look at the launch and the fortnight ahead Marius Benson is speaking here to the Shadow Finance Minister, Andrew Robb.

MARIUS BENSON:

Andrew Robb, can I first ask you about the Newspoll that is out today in The Australian, it shows that Labor is doing a little bit better but you are still comfortably ahead. Is that about your sense of where things stand?

ANDREW ROBB:

Well look Marius I ran the 93’ election campaign for my sins, and that was the unlosable election which we duly lost. So, I have found also in business that you have got to run scared until the very last minute. So my view is you look at the polls but you get on with the job, frankly.

BENSON:

Does it feel like 93’ at the moment?

ROBB:

Every campaign is different, but the fact of the matter is that the job is never done until it’s done. The deal is never over until people mark their voting slip. So I just think we need to maintain our discipline at a high level, and you can do no more.

BENSON:

But you would rather be your side than the other side?

ROBB:

Well you know it is always better to be in front, but as I say, you can’t assume that the position you have got two weeks out is where you will finish up. So I think all of us have to be absolutely vigilant and disciplined.

BENSON:

Tony Abbott yesterday in the launch set out a 10 year agenda. Are you planning to be in government for a while?

ROBB:

That’s the intention. If we get the privilege of government, we aim, and I think everyone would, whoever got in to government, would aim to go the distance. John Howard went 11 and a half years because he had an agenda. He increased real incomes by 22 per cent, got unemployment down to just over four per cent. These are the things you go in to politics for, to improve people’s quality of life and there is no reason if we do the job that we wouldn’t be rewarded.

BENSON:

You are going to reduce the size of government each year, that is one of the promises Tony Abbott set out yesterday. By how much?

ROBB:

Well we are not going to get in to numbers, but the fact of the matter is if we displace big government as we intend to with robust growth in the private sector, remove big government from the centre of things as this government has taken it to, and displace it with robust growth of the private sector and keep that focus year in year out, we will progressively have a growing economy and the size of government as a proportion of that economy will diminish.

BENSON:

On that logic why are you putting that paid parental leave scheme introduced by the government right in the middle of the economy in an area which you have said in previous interviews is already being done to some extent by private companies?

ROBB:

Well the thing is we are extending it to 2.4 million private companies, and as a consequence, the productivity gains are enormous.

BENSON:

On the promise of smaller government, can people view that sceptically because nobody ever delivers it? The size of government increased under Gough Whitlam from about 18 per cent to about 24 per cent of GDP. There is has stayed since through the Fraser years, the Labor years, the Howard years. Why would you be any different?

ROBB:

Well we will, as I said, most assiduously look to fire up the private sector, to get robust growth through the private sector. I think people have become aware over the last six years of the damage of the sort of fire-storm of regulation, of red tape and green tape that we have witnessed, and it is so choking business, there is no appetite for risk and investment.

If we single-mindedly look restore that appetite for risk and investment, if we do really tackle unnecessary red tape and green tape, these are the ways in which we can, even in a cultural sense, start to convey that we can’t persist with the levels of government in our lives that we have currently got, and they only way that we will get back to strong and sustainable growth is to slowly but surely diminish government, or remove government from the centre of things, and replace it with that great and robust growth of the 2.4 million small and large businesses that we have got in this country.

BENSON:

Andrew Robb, thank you very much.

ROBB:

My pleasure, thanks Marius.