Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Transcript of interview with Leigh Sales: ABC 7.30: Friday, 17 May 2019: the need for real change, not more of the same cuts and chaos

Download PDFDownload PDF



SUBJECTS: The need for real change, not more of the same cuts and chaos.

LEIGH SALES: On the very first day of the election campaign, we invited the spokespeople for both major parties on to the program. It's now the very last day of course and so we have them back. For the Liberals, Senator Simon Birmingham, and for Labor, Brisbane MP Jim Chalmers. Welcome to both of you.


SENATOR SIMON BIRMINGHAM: Hello Leigh, hello Jim, good to be with you.

SALES: Let me start by asking each of you, what makes you most nervous tomorrow about your side's prospects? Jim Chalmers?

CHALMERS: I think inevitably the night before an election there is a degree of apprehension. You want to make sure that people get out to the polling booths and cast their vote. When they do tomorrow they have got an opportunity to end the cuts and chaos in Canberra under the Liberals and Nationals and to put in place a Labor Government which is for real change, not more of the same; for better hospitals and schools, not more cuts; unity and stability, not more of that division and dysfunction; and, importantly, I think, real action on climate change.

SALES: Jim Chalmers, shame on you! You ducked that question! Simon Birmingham, what are you most fearful about for your side tomorrow?

BIRMINGHAM: The great nervousness is whether or not Australians have

focused on the cost of change sufficiently. And in the end, the cost of change at this election is a real one for the millions of Australians who would face higher taxes under Bill Shorten - around one million Australian retirees, around 1.3 million Australians who currently negatively gear their homes and set an example that many others would face higher taxes on in the future. Of course, many millions of Australians - around 10 million working Australians - who will end up if you're currently earning around $40,000, you will pay less tax in the future under our income tax plans, relative to Labor's. For all of the big-spending promises of Bill Shorten, there is a very real cost for Australians. I hope that people as they go to vote tomorrow think about that price of change and that cost of change.

SALES: Senator! You’ve taken a leaf from Jim Chalmers' book! I am sure that isn't what is going to keep you up tonight! The Prime Minister was in Queensland today Simon Birmingham. Does that mean the Coalition thinks it has a better chance of winning Government there than it does in Victoria, for example?

BIRMINGHAM: Government will be determined right across the country. The message for people thinking about their votes tomorrow is that every vote in every seat really will count. There are seats that are at stake right around the country. We've seen, as this election campaign has gone on, Australians have questioned whether they can trust Bill Shorten and his policies and what the price of them will be. The race is narrowed. There are a number of Labor-held seats that we believe we are competitive in, that our local candidates are quite likely to win off the Labor Party, and that creates a circumstance. Australians need to know they have a choice, and they need to think carefully about that choice, and we ask them to back our positive plans to keep the economy strong, to keep growing jobs, 1.25 million over the next few years, to pay down Labor's debt, and to maintain the investment in our schools, our hospitals, our roads, to fully fund the NDIS - the things that you can keep doing with a strong economy.

SALES: Jim Chalmers, it was just a matter of months ago that the Coalition was in disarray, having overthrown its leader. How is it possible that Labor is in a position where this is even a competitive election? How is it possible that Labor isn't walking it in? Does that say something about your campaign?

CHALMERS: They're still in disarray, Leigh. You've had the Liberals and Nationals brawling this week. They've got this bizarre three-ring circus of Morrison and Palmer and Hanson. You have them at each other's throats. You have the government unravelling this week over Senate preferences in New South Wales. So the chaos hasn't ended. The division and dysfunction is still a defining feature of the Morrison Liberal Government. We always thought the election would be close. Elections are typically tight in this country and there's a

lot at stake. I think when people go to the polls tomorrow, and they consider how close it is, they need to understand that this is their big opportunity to end the cuts and chaos, to get proper investment in our schools and hospitals and child care, to get proper action on climate change. And I think overall, fundamentally, to have some stability, and unity and experience in their national government, rather than the chaotic mess that they've had this last six years.

SALES: Jim Chalmers, Simon Birmingham, you must both be very tired, so thank you for making time to speak with us on a Friday night. I wish you both the best tomorrow.

CHALMERS: It's a real pleasure.

BIRMINGHAM: Thank you very much Leigh, it's been a pleasure. Cheers Jim.