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Transcript of interview with Kieran Gilbert: Sky News AM Agenda: 24 May 2016: costings; Nova retirement

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SUBJECT/S: Costings; Nova retirement.

KIEREN GILBERT: Brendan O’Connor, first of all the costings debate. The Government’s saying that you’re $66 billion short over the forward estimates, what’s your initial response to that this morning?

BRENDAN O’CONNOR, SHADOW MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS: Well look they would say that wouldn’t they Kieran. The fact is that we will make sure that all our costings are fully known before the election. Let’s go through some of them though. Clearly Bill Shorten outlines a further $71 billion worth of savings during the course of the Budget Reply speech that he made, and I think what’s most telling with respect to the Government attack is they forget to remind Australians that they’re looking to give Malcolm’s best friends $50 billion. $50 billion tax cuts for big business and multinationals, there’s no point attacking Labor on spending when in fact they chose to hide that when delivering down the Budget. Your colleague, David Spears, I think disclosed or had ensured that was revealed but the Government wants to be tricky here with the figures. Big spend on tax cuts, it’s not being funded and it’s not being in any way costed and properly funded by any other measure and yet they want to attack Labor. Well, Labor will ensure, through the PEFO framework, that we have all of our costings determined before the election.

KIERAN GILBERT: That’s fine but, if you look at where you stand at the moment whether it’s $19 billion too much or not, this is still a massive goal. You’ve got to explain over the forward estimates, you keep talking about the 10 years, and so does the Treasury spokesperson, but 10 years is very different to the forward estimates. You’ve got to explain where the Budget’s going to be in 4 years?

O’CONNOR: We’re not the only ones that are ensuring we look at costs and revenue and expenditure over the course of the decade. In fact, the entire plan for tax cuts for big business is forecast over the decade. Yet the Government, Kieran, has not explained where they will find the money for those tax cuts. I think, in the end though, yes we will need to reveal all those details before the election, but it comes down to values. Malcolm could find $50 billion for his friends, but can’t find money to defend Medicare, can’t find money to provide a decent health care system in this country and I think that’s the concern of voters in this country, Kieran. But of course, the details have to be fully disclosed and they will be. But let’s be very clear here, the Government is being hypocritical, when it seeks to attack the Opposition because it has not in any way explained how it’s going to fund that $50 billion tax cut for big business.

GILBERT: Nova Peris, apparently Labor figures have been unable to get a hold of her this morning. She’s reportedly been discussing a job opportunity with the AFL, what do you know about this story is she going to be leaving Parliament?

O’CONNOR: Well Kieran, as Bill has said, Nova is a remarkable Australian. She has been a remarkable exemplar for indigenous people in the sporting arena and she’s been a very good Senator for the Northern Territory. Whatever she does, we know she will continue to contribute to this country. I’m not aware of the full details if she’s determined one way or the other, I guess we’ll have to see what happens today. I’ve got a high regard for her as I think most people do, and obviously we need a resolution of this matter. But whatever she chooses to do, she’ll add value to any pursuit.

GILBERT: But have any of the leadership team, you’re with the Opposition leader there in Perth, has anyone been able to get a hold of her to get a hold of her to find out what she’s thinking here?

O’CONNOR: Well look, I haven’t spoken to Bill this morning. I know he’s off talking to local media and explaining our plans for defending Medicare and some of the announcements that have been made locally here, insofar as infrastructure is concerned. But as I say, she is a remarkable Australian, yes of course people want to know exactly what she’s doing and I’m sure that will occur in due course.

GILBERT: Brendan O’Connor thank you for joining us from Perth.