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Transcript of doorstop interview: Sydney: 17 August 2013: Funding announcement, policy costings



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Transcript

The Hon Joe Hockey MP Shadow Treasurer Coalition Campaign Spokesman

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Doorstop, Sydney

Subjects: Funding announcement, policy costings,

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

JOE HOCKEY:

I am here with our candidate for Reid, Craig Laundy, to announce $500,000 for new community facilities here in Concord. The fact of the matter is that you are able to do this when the community contributes money itself. In this case the local soccer club has raised $250,000. The Council is putting in money and therefore the Federal Government - under the Coalition - will be prepared to put in money.

Today is yet another example of Mr. Rudd chasing people around with a blank cheque - where there are no commitments made by others. Kevin Rudd, when it comes to motor vehicles, is taking a baseball bat to the motor vehicle industry. On the one hand with a $1.8 billion tax and then trying to claim credit for promising on the never-never half a billion dollars if he is elected on two separate occasions. When it comes to Kevin Rudd and money he is reckless with taxpayers’ money. There is no accountability, there are no costings and like the policy in the Northern Territory it is more policy on-the-run from Kevin Rudd. This is the way he is going to operate. He is going to make it up as he goes along and he is going to run the negative campaign that we are all assuming is going to come from the Labor Party. Kevin Rudd says one thing on the one hand - he wants to be Mr Positive, he wants to be accountable, he wants to have a proper process. But he wants to a different Kevin Rudd on the other hand where he says is going to make promises in the never-never. He runs his negative campaign and he makes it up as he goes along. From our perspective, we will continue to focus on proper accountability for the Australian people. We have said today that we have a proper verification process for all of our policies. Three eminent and respectable Australians will sign off on our policy costings prior to the election. That verification will become public knowledge. Mr Scanlan was the Auditor-General of Queensland - lauded by Peter Beattie. Peter Shergold, Chancellor of the University of Western Sydney - former Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and well respected by all sides of politics, and Geoff Carmody,

Doorstop - Sydney Saturday, 17 August 2013 Errors and Omissions Excepted

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former Treasury official and one of the founders of Access Economics and who has done work for the Labor Party as well as the Liberal Party in the past. Together with the exhaustive process we have gone through with the Parliamentary Budget Office and together with the fact that we have been working with these three verifiers now for more than eight months it just shows we have gone through a proper process. We are going to have properly affordable policies at the end of the day and that is what we are about. Questions?

JOURNALIST:

Are you still going to wait until that last week to release the costings to the public?

JOE HOCKEY:

What we have said is - you don’t release policy costings before you release the policies. Under the Labor Party’s proposal, you either use the Parliamentary Budget Office or you use the Treasury. We have been using the Parliamentary Budget Office. If we were to use the Treasury now, we would have to submit our policies to Mr Rudd’s office before we announce them. No-one would suggest that we should do that. What we are focused on is delivering fully costed policies and delivering the savings that are necessary. At the end of the day, before the election, we will show how the Budget will be better off.

JOURNALIST:

Penny Wong has criticised the appointment of these three men, saying that they’re hand-picked and therefore they’re not independent. What are your thoughts on that?

JOE HOCKEY:

Penny Wong has no credibility. Penny Wong has been the worst Finance Minister Australia has ever had. Now that is saying something. But Penny Wong is the worst Finance Minister Australia has ever had. She has seen a deterioration in the Budget of $106 billion, so frankly, I’m not going to take any lecture from Penny Wong on integrity and numbers.

JOURNALIST:

On the whole releasing the costings, can’t you see that given your party is arguing that economic management is what you do best, it’s important that the public see more than a week before just how it’s going to funded

JOE HOCKEY:

It is the Labor Party that on the two previous elections that has released its policy numbers and costings the day before the polls. At the last election we released them three days before the polls, which is better than anything Labor has ever done. So please…

JOURNALIST:

Is that really a good answer, to just compare yourself ? Don’t you have your own standards?

JOE HOCKEY:

We do and our standards are much better than our opponents but we are not going to release policy costings before we release the policy; that is just ridiculous. Frankly, let’s move on, let’s focus on the actual announcements. We have got fully costed policies that we are announcing, Kevin Rudd has

thought bubbles. Kevin Rudd is running down the main street of Adelaide today with a blank cheque chasing General Motors. I understand that General Motors overnight, without Kevin Rudd having to

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throw more blank cheques from taxpayers at General Motors, General Motors overnight out of the United States have recommitted to constructing motor vehicles here in Australia. Frankly, he has got it the wrong way about. We are focused on value for taxpayers’ money being precious and showing respect for taxpayers. Having properly costed policies when we announce them - no more thought bubbles. From our perspective, we are going to announce all the savings. We have already

announced $17 billion of savings. Labor says: ‘you haven’t got any savings’ and then they criticise us for getting rid of the Schoolkids Bonus. They say we ‘haven’t got any savings’ and then they say that ‘you’re not going to run to our timetable increasing superannuation from 9 to 12%’. Then they

say ‘you haven’t got savings’, then they criticise us for reducing the Public Service in Canberra by 12,000 over two years through natural attrition. They say ‘you haven’t got any savings’ and then they criticise us for reducing the refugee intake from 20,000 to 13,750, which saves over $1 billion. They say ‘you’re not getting rid of the waste’ and then criticise us for getting rid of the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation and on and on it goes. “What have the Romans ever done for us?” says Labor. We are the ones that are being transparent and open and honest and we have integrity about our process.

JOURNALIST:

Why don’t just announce all your policies and all the costings can come out at the same time?

JOE HOCKEY:

Because if we released all our policies on the one day, I am sure we would not get the proper scrutiny and we would not get the proper analysis from our good friends in the media. So we will do it in a timely way, between now and the 7 of September.

JOURNALIST:

But to be up-front and transparent, shouldn’t you give the public as much time as possible?

JOE HOCKEY:

Absolutely. Elections are like that, you release your policies in a timely way during the course of the election campaign. I can’t recall any political party that has actually released all of its policies on one day. No I cannot.

JOURNALIST:

Set a new standard.

JOE HOCKEY:

Set a new standard. No I think what we will do what is in the best interests of the Australian people.

JOURNALIST:

[inaudible]…a lack of confidence in Treasury’s figures. Why do you think three men can do a better job than an entire government department?

JOE HOCKEY:

It is not about Treasury. We have been using the Parliamentary Budget Office and under the Charter of Budget Honesty that Labor keeps talking about, which they amended, they said you can either use the Parliamentary Budget Office or you can use the Treasury, but you cannot use both. So we have been using the Parliamentary Budget Office before and after the election. That is the proper process,

th

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that is the process prescribed by the parliament. We have been following that process. Our numbers will be more robust - and are more robust - more trustworthy than any numbers produced by this government.

JOURNALIST:

Just quickly on the polls. Given the latest polls, would you accept that you’re all but certain to win government?

JOE HOCKEY:

I tell you, I have seen polls go up and down over the last three years. We are not going to respond to that sort of public polling, we are focused on having a real outcome. I provide this warning: Kevin Rudd is going to get nasty. The Labor Party are going to get nasty. They are going to be nasty

towards Tony Abbott, they are going to get nasty towards the Coalition. They are going to run the most negative campaign we have ever seen in Australian politics from now on. I say to the Australian people, brace yourselves, Labor’s going to get negative. Kevin Rudd is going to get negative, just as Anna Bligh and Kristina Keneally got really negative towards the end. I ask the Australian people to see through the nastiness of Labor, which I’m sure is going to come in the next three weeks.

JOURNALIST:

Do you accept you’re favourites at least?

JOE HOCKEY:

We are not in a betting race, we are in a race to hopefully take control of the Australian nation for the Australian people. It is not a betting race, it is not a game, this is a very, very important decision about the future of Australia. It is the most important election in Australia’s history. I think the Australian people know that and I think they are making their decision.

JOURNALIST:

Last election you used an accounting firm for your costings that was later fined for its handling of the process, is that why you have taken a different approach this time?

JOE HOCKEY:

No. We have taken an approach, that together with the Parliamentary Budget Office and the proper verification of three highly respected individuals. This is as good as you can provide for any opposition. The fact that we have been working with them for seven months, we are not just coming up with this now, we have been working with these three respected Australians for seven months. They have had extensive experience in the public sector, they understand how to make numbers

work. They are verifying our hard work and you will see their public verification, their reputations on the line, with ours, prior to polling day. Thanks very much.

[ENDS]

Media Contact: Tony Ritchie, 0407 002 704

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