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Transcript of interview with Sabra Lane: ABC AM: 3 October 2012

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Presenter: The Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey is livid this morning that the Treasurer has lied about what he, Mr Hockey, said on national television last night. Mr Hockey is speaking here to our chief political correspondent Sabra Lane.

Sabra Lane: Joe Hockey, you’re pretty cranky this morning. You’ve just heard the Treasurer say that you said on television that the banks were ok to ‘crib’ I think his words were, some of the Reserve Bank cut, yesterday. Did you say that?

Joe Hockey: Not at all and this Government has a major problem with the truth. And the fact of the matter is I have seen it repeatedly, the Coalition expects the banks to pass on the interest rate cut in full, particularly given that the Reserve Bank has identified that the banks are not underfunding pressure. Now, Mr Swan is outright telling lies. His fundamental problem is the Australian people do not trust him as the Treasurer and at a time of weak business and consumer confidence we need to be able to trust the truth coming out of our Treasurer and unfortunately we have a Treasurer who struggles with the truth.

Sabra Lane: Is there any excuse for the big banks not to pass on yesterday’s cut in full?

Joe Hockey: Well, unless the banks can prove that they have serious funding pressures, which the Reserve Bank says they do not have, in a statement yesterday. Then there’s no excuse for the big banks not to pass it on in full.

Sabra Lane: The Reserve Bank certainly said that the commodities boom is slowing but the peak will definitely pass, it believes next year, that more companies are putting investment on hold, given all of this and given that we’re coming into an election year that makes your job difficult too, does it mean that you’ll be offering frugal policies come polling day?

Joe Hockey: Absolutely. Our policies will be frugal but I tell you what, you don’t help a mining boom or sustain a mining boom by putting a tax on mining. So we’ll get rid of the mining tax. You do not help Australian manufacturers by putting a tax on energy and we’re getting rid of the carbon tax. Those two initiatives alone will be a massive confidence booster for investment in Australia, because the Labor Party believes that you can tax your way to prosperity where as a tax is always going to be a hand break on enterprise.

Sabra Lane: So far the Coalition has said that its defence policy won’t be complete for the next election. That it will, if it comes to office, it won’t establish or won’t pay parental leave until 18 months after coming to office. That it can’t do a properly costed policy on offering a broadband alternative. The National Disability Insurance Scheme, in principal you’ve said it’s a good aspirational idea, not sure how you would fund it. How many Coalition policies will be unfunded by the time we do go to the polls?

ABC AM Wednesday, 3 October 2012 Errors and Omissions Excepted

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Joe Hockey: Sabra we will prove to you before the election day that we will fully fund our fully costed policies. We will live within our means. We are not going to make policies we cannot deliver and we are going to be up front and honest with the Australian people about the state of our commitment. But the problem is…

Sabra Lane: But at the moment the Coalition is saying we won’t even have figures on these policies.

Joe Hockey: Well, I’ll tell you why, because we can’t trust the numbers that the Government is putting in the Budget papers. Last year they said there was going to be a $22 billion deficit and it turned out to be a $44 billion deficit. There is not one contractor in Australia that believes that the Government is going to roll out its National Broadband Network for $32 billion. The expectations are as high as $60, $70 or even $100 billion for the National Broadband Network. We believe this Government is using smoke and mirrors to avoid the truth about the real structural budget numbers.

Sabra Lane: You say smoke and mirrors but isn’t there a touch of smoke and mirrors about what you’re offering too? The Coalition will have a lot of policy ideas but you won’t actually have price tags attached to these policies.

Joe Hockey: Well we’re not going to make commitments over the next four years that we can’t afford. We’re not going to do that and we’re not going to be in the business of introducing new taxes the way this Government has.

Presenter: The Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey with our Chief Political Correspondent Sabra Lane.

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