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Transcript of interview with Fran Kelly: Radio National, Breakfast: 27 June 2011: Coalition tax cuts without a carbon tax

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THE HON ANDREW ROBB AO MP Shadow Minister for Finance, Deregulation and Debt Reduction Chairman of the Coalition Policy Development Committee Federal Member for Goldstein

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Monday, 27 June 2011


Topics: Coalition tax cuts without a carbon tax.

E&OE…………………………………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………….


Andrew Robb welcome back to Breakfast.


Thanks very much Fran.


Andrew, the Gillard government is promising to over compensate lower income earners three million families will be fully imbursed and given a 20 per cent buffer on top of that. Do you accept that’s a pretty good safety net for those less well off?


Well it sounds like just an assertion at the moment, I mean Bob Brown was on at about the same time on Sunday as the prime minister was announcing these things and Bob Brown is saying there is still two or three major hurdles before they even finalise a package.

We’ve heard no price, no tax level announced yet, there’s nothing really been announced except all of these so-called give-aways and yet no one knows what level the tax will be. I don’t think the government has even finalised it, so it’s just like the mining tax, they’re spending all the money before they even get it and I don’t think people can place much confidence in what’s going on.

The government has a got a welter of unresolved problems and I think all of these things are just stunts to try and divert attention.

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Talking about assertions, the Coalition’s now promising its own round of tax cuts which cost somewhere in the vicinity of $6 billion even without a carbon tax, how will you pay for that?


We will pay for that through a smaller government and more efficient use of the funds. We won’t be wasting tens-of-billions-of-dollars as we’ve seen under this government which continues today.


That’s a lot of efficiency though, $6 billion already, you are counting on efficiencies to pay for some of your other promises aren’t you?


Well firstly we haven’t put a number on it, but secondly we are determined to reduce the size of government.

Under this government, I think we’ve seen the biggest growth of government in our lives, not only in terms of the financial spending, which has been monstrous, but in terms of the welter of regulation that has been imposed on so much of business and families for that matter.

And there needs to be a fundamental change of direction of the country and it’s in that context that we will look to lower taxation and it will be paid for out of some prudent financial management.


Well, in order to give this a bit of credibility, a bit more backing, the prime minister has offered the opposition the services of Treasury to help you come up with costings, will you accept that?


It’s just a pathetic stunt. There was a proposal by, in the end, the government was dragged yelling and screaming to introduce a Parliamentary Budget Office which was designed to do all these sorts of things.

Now it’s been decided between both parties how it will occur, there’s a $26 million allocation in the budget to fund it, but simply no action on it.

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The government’s not serious about these things. It’s just another attempt to use the public service to politicise politics and to politicise this whole exercise that the government’s going through.

At the moment they are frantically casting around for diversions because of the mess with live cattle exports, with the carbon tax, which 75 per cent of Australians think is badly handled.

You’ve got a U.S congressman overnight saying that the carbon tax for Australia will amount to ‘unilateral economic disarmament’ for Australia.


Sure, but in the meantime we’ve got as you say a carbon tax we don’t know how much it’s going to cost and promises of compensation from the government, we have a tax cut promise from the Opposition we don’t know how big it is.

If the government releases its carbon tax and Treasury modelling will you release your tax cut and get it modelled, so Australians can actually know what both sides are actually talking about in real dollar terms?


Most certainly in good time, in very good time before the election, we undertake to reveal all of the policies that we will take to the next election, as well as the tax cuts, as well as how we will fund them, there will be significant detail.

What happens with the government over the next two years if they continue the sorts of economic mess we’ve witnessed for the last three-and-a-half years, then that will be material to how we end up funding these tax cuts.

You can’t just act now in the absence of knowing what this government continues to do.

I mean even the livestock, the live cattle exports you are talking there about billions-of-dollars potentially lost and that will again be material in terms of how we fund all of these things. All of these things add up at the end of the day and they’ve still got another two years to make a total mess of the place.


They do add up, I’m sorry to interrupt you we’ve only got a minute to the news just to let you know, but is it a bit like L-A-W law tax cuts though, you are promising a tax cut and yet you are not going to have the $11 billion revenue stream from the carbon tax or the $7.4 billion from the mining tax.

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Well again, the mining tax, all this sort of stuff there’s lots of assertions, the mining tax is unlikely to fund even the things the government said it would fund out of the mining tax and the carbon tax will dramatically, significantly reduce revenues because of the damage it is going to do to hundreds-of-thousands of small manufacturing companies that are trade exposed.

This government is creating a real revenue problem with this tax. If we don’t have that tax we will have a much healthier economy in the years ahead. So we need to put that story to the people and show how we will fund this with prudent economic management.


Andrew Robb thanks very much for joining us.

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