Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Treasurer's budget gaffe confirms baby bonus flaws.



Download PDFDownload PDF

Media Release

BOB McMULLAN MP HON SIMON CREAN MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE SHADOW TREASURER SHADOW MINISTER FOR SMALL BUSINESS MEMBER FOR HOTHAM FEDERAL MEMBER FOR FRASER

31 March 2004

Treasurer’s budget gaffe

confirms baby bonus flaws

The Treasurer’s remarks this afternoon regarding Labor’s claimed savings on the

Baby Bonus are desperate and unsubstantiated.

Labor’s savings have been independently verified. Professor Peter McDonald, Professor of Demography and Program Head at the Australian National University, has independently verified Labor's costings. In fact he believes that our claimed savings from abolishing the Baby Bonus are ‘conservative’ (refer to attached letter).

The only explanation for Peter Costello’s statement is that the Baby Bonus is an even bigger flop than he has previously admitted - or that he has his own secret plan to abolish the Baby Bonus!

The Treasurer’s remarks demonstrate his lack of understanding of his own Budget publications, and confirm the flaws in his very own Baby Bonus policy.

The Treasurer has said that he bases his claim on "the material that we have in the forward estimates".

But the Treasurer cannot deny the forward estimates in his own Budget papers or his own Department’s portfolio budget statements. The cold hard reality of the published Budget papers do not support his claim that the Baby Bonus costs less than Labor has estimated.

Labor’s costings are conservative. They are lower than Mr Costello’s own published estimates from the 2002-3 Budget papers, and acknowledge that the program has been massively under-subscribed.

2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08

Original Estimates 2002-03 85 250 390 510

Revised Estimates 2003-04 60 170 390 510

Labor Baby Bonus Savings - - - 360 430 367

In addition, when questioned by journalists this afternoon about the future of the program, the Treasurer failed to rule out abolishing the Baby Bonus.

Labor stands by its independently verified costings. The Treasurer’s remarks have exposed his Baby Bonus gaffe and again, called into question his credibility.

Contacts: Pradeep Philip 0416 214 760 (Crean) or Silvana Catalano 0419 692 504 (McMullan)