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Transcript of doorstop interview: Sydney: April 02, 2013: The Government's raid on superannuation; Julia Gillard's mining tax; Medibank; National Broadband Network

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Joint Doorstop Interview, Sydney April 02, 2013

Subjects: The Government's raid on superannuation; Julia Gillard's mining tax; Medibank; National Broadband Network.



It’s great to be here at the Dee Why RSL with Bronwyn Bishop - my friend, my parliamentary neighbour and the Shadow Minister for Seniors. We’ve been talking with a group of older Australians about what is on their mind and plainly they are deeply

concerned about the threat by this Government to raid their superannuation savings. Now, this is a complete breach of faith with the Australian people. It is a betrayal of trust and we know it is coming because Simon Crean who was on the Expenditure Review

Committee has told us it is coming and he has warned the Government against it. He said hands off people’s superannuation savings. It is not Government money, it is the people’s money and it should be safe and the question that I think millions of

Australians are now posing is this - if Simon Crean and Martin Ferguson don’t trust this Government, why should anyone trust this Government? Why should anyone trust a government which is raiding your savings to fund its spending? That is what this

Government is proposing to do. It is proposing to raid your savings to fund its out of control spending. It is wrong. It is a betrayal. It is a breach of faith with the Australian people. It is totally against everything that the Hawke/Keating Government did, everything

that the Howard/Costello Government did. It’s just a complete attack on a superannuation system which has grown up over the years and which is not perfect but which is probably just about the best retirement system in the world. Why can’t this Government

leave anything that is working alone? That’s why the commitment that the Coalition has given is that there will be no unexpected adverse changes to people’s superannuation, should we win the election.

I’m going to ask Bronwyn to say a few words and then I’m happy to take some questions.


Thanks, Tony. Can I just say that this morning was a relatively small group compared to some of the groups I’m discussing these

issues with around Australia, but again the message has come through. They don’t trust the government, because we’ve got a Prime Minister who has misled them and told lies on other things previously and so when it comes to the question of

superannuation, they don’t trust the Government to preserve what they put in place. The really interesting thing that came out though this morning, came from one of our people who is an employer - a mature-aged worker himself, but an employer of quite a

number of people - and he said that this sense of disquiet and not trusting the Government with their super is just as strongly felt by young people as it is by the older people in his workforce, because it’s their money and they feel that the Government is about

to thieve it. So, that was quite a very strong point that was echoed around the table as well this morning. We will continue to be having senior’s forums. They are as big as 1,200 people sometimes, or as small as 20 or 30 people, but the message and the

concern that individual Australians have is one that they want to have an election, they want to have a say on what is going to happen to their future, because they just feel at the moment that they can’t trust the Government that they have got.


Ok, do we have any questions?


Mr Abbott, you said this morning that this raid on spending is just plain wrong. Can you tell me why you can’t then commit to

reverse any potential changes that are made to the super tax?


Well, the point we make is the point that Simon Crean and Martin Ferguson have been making: that Australia has a good system and it shouldn’t be tampered with by a bad government and the fact is that this money that is going into superannuation, it’s the

people’s money, it’s not the Government’s money, and that’s why I say to the Government: hands off people’s savings. Hands off

Tony Abbott Federal Member for Warringah | Leader of the Opposition

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people’s savings. It doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to the people and you should respect that.


So, will you commit to reverse any changes?


Well, what people will get from us are no unexpected, adverse changes. Now, this is a government which has destroyed the budgetary position that it inherited. We’ve got debt skyrocketing towards $300 billion. The Government has no plan to get debt

and deficit under control. It’s just getting worse by the day. They promised us time and time again that they would deliver a surplus. They’re never going to deliver a surplus, this mob, and we want to do the right thing by the Australian people but what I

keep saying is that it is impossible to undo all the damage that this government is doing straight away.


What changes could we expect under a Coalition?


No unexpected adverse changes.


But what are they?


Well, we aren’t going to do any more damage. We aren’t going to do any fiddles. Your money is safe with us. If you invest the money under the existing rules, those rules will continue. We aren’t going to change the rules of the game after the game has

begun. That’s the faith that we want to keep with the Australian people.


How can you claim to be a defender of superannuation savings when you’re planning to scrap the super tax refund for low income earners?


We’ve always said that benefits that are funded from the mining tax are unsustainable and because we don’t support the mining

tax, naturally we can’t provide the benefits. Now, I’ve got to say that this offset will be gone under Labor. Let no one for a second imagine that the offset is safe under Labor. It’s funded by the mining tax. The mining tax isn’t raising any revenue. If Labor wins

the election this offset will go, just as previously they have taken away the low income co-contributions that the Howard Government put in place.


So, by scrapping it doesn’t that mean that you are taking money away from low income earners?


What I said is there will be no unexpected adverse changes. Now, from the moment the mining tax was announced we said that

we weren’t going to implement that particular initiative.


With the privatisation talk about Medibank, would that be expected under your government in the first term?


Look, we committed before the last election to the privatisation of Medibank. We think that private health insurance is a competitive market and we don’t see any reason in principle why you still need to have a government-owned private health


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Just in terms of the NBN, will the Coalition’s policy be released next week as some reports suggest?


The Coalition’s policy will be released in good time before the next election but certainly that is one particular policy that I’d expect

to see sooner rather than later.

Any further questions? All exhausted, all done, all good?

Thank you so much.


© Tony Abbott MHR 2010 | Authorised by Tony Abbott MHR, Level 2, 17 Sydney Rd, Manly NSW 2095

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