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Costello firm on leadership, fudges on Budget.



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Media Release

BOB McMULLAN MP SHADOW TREASURER SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS

MEMBER FOR FRASER

27 April 2003

COSTELLO FIRM ON LEADERSHIP, FUDGES ON BUDGET

Treasurer Peter Costello is so preoccupied with the Liberal Party leadership he has lost the plot when it comes to managing the Budget.

On the ABC’s Insiders program today, Mr Costello was very clear he expects Prime Minister John Howard to stick to his pledge he would reveal his retirement plans in July.

But he was up to his old tricks with some deliberately confusing comments on the Budget.

When asked a question about the coming 2003-04 year’s Budget, he deliberately referred only to the likely outcome for last year’s 2002-03 Budget.

Mr Costello’s claim that it would be a major achievement to achieve a surplus of $2 billion would be a good result is laughable considering the massive surge in revenue he has enjoyed this financial year.

He is expecting Australians to forget that he forecast a $4.9 billion surplus for 2003-04.

It is against that benchmark he should be measured in next month’s Budget.

Mr Costello’s status as the highest taxing Treasurer, and his determination to maintain all the new taxes and levies he has introduced, means he should be able to deliver tax cuts in this Budget while still delivering an economically responsible surplus.

Further information: Robert Garran (02) 6277 4803, 0419 692 504

TELEPHONE: (02) 6277 4803 ã FACSIMILE: (02) 6277 8496