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Transcript of doorstop interview: Sydney: 24 June 2016: the UK EU referendum; not the time for Malcolm Turnbull's $50 billion tax cut for big business; costings; briefing from Australian officials on Brexit

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FRIDAY, 24 JUNE 2016

SUBJECT/S: The UK EU referendum; Not the time for Malcolm Turnbull’s $50 billion tax cut for big business; Costings; Briefing from Australian officials on Brexit.

CHRIS BOWEN, SHADOW TREASURER: Well, thanks for coming. A few issues to deal with

today. Firstly, of course votes still coming in in the United Kingdom. It may be some time until the

final result is known although there are some early trends. It is very clear however that the United

Kingdom leaving Europe will have economic impacts around the world, now is not the time for

these impacts to be politicized or dramatized in a scare campaign by Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison.

The Australian people need their Prime Minister, their Treasurer and the alternative Prime Minister

and Treasurer outlining clearly the impacts of Britain potentially leaving the European Union

without scaring the Australian people about those impacts. What we need is a clear, calm, and

methodical approach through this situation. Now let’s be very clear, of course Australia is a lot less intensely connected to the United Kingdom economically then it was a few decades ago.

Most of the impact would be in general uncertainty and turbulence caused in Europe and it’s flow

through in a broader world economy. The direct impacts on Australia would be limited. However,

there would be global volatility and uncertainty. And of course the Labor party has an experienced

track record in the most uncertain global times of the last 80 years which occurred in 2008 and

2009. But I think it’s important that the Australian people know that whether Britain leaves or not the alternative government of Australia stay ready for whatever economic circumstances arise.

Now, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison can play all the games they like. They’ve developed

very little policy in this election. They’ve engaged in scare campaign after scare campaign. What

we will do is continue to carefully and methodically explain our position on the economic issues

before the nation and our interpretation of the impacts of global events such as potentially the United Kingdom leaving Europe.

Also, it is of course as we send repeatedly, important to have good quality structural repair to the

federal budget so that our budget gets back to balance to enable future governments to respond

to global circumstances. Hence the Labor party making difficult decisions like negative gearing

reform, capital gains tax reform, which will build very strongly over the next few years and see a very significant, medium term repair to the federal budget.

On the other hand, the biggest impact on the federal budget in this election campaign and in a

negative way, the biggest structural hit to the federal budget, the biggest impact to budget deficits is the Liberal Party’s $50 billion corporate tax cut.

We’ve even see the Liberal Party and others trying to claim somehow that Paul Keating would

support such a tax cut. Well Paul Keating has dealt with that pretty comprehensively in his normal

thorough way today. And Malcolm Turnbull looked ridiculous in trying to say somehow Paul

Keating didn’t mean to say what he really said today. Paul Keating knows what he said and Paul Keating meant what he said.

Malcolm Turnbull really needs to think of a better response to Paul Keating than that. But even

worse than that, Malcolm Turnbull attempted today to say that the corporate tax cuts were paid for

by changes to superannuation. That is just a joke. Is he really now asserting to the Australian

people that the superannuation changes make $50 billion over the next decade? We all know that

that is not the case. If Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison were fair dinkum, they would release

their full ten year costings of their policies, all of their policies. Their ten year Budget bottom line,

that’s what we will be doing. We will be releasing a four year and a ten year Budget bottom line. Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison will not, because their figures don’t add up.

The Labor Party wants to win this election but we want to win the election with a mandate for

change and a view to the next ten years, not to the next ten days. Malcolm Turnbull has one view,

to the next ten days. Bill Shorten and the Labor Party have a view to the next ten years, governing

this nation in the best interests of our medium-term plans and the best interests of the Australian

people, going forward, and knowing that the Labor Party is the party with the plans for the medium-term in this election.

Happy to take some questions.

JOURNALIST: On the subject of costings, when will Labor be releasing its final costings?

BOWEN: Soon.

JOURNALIST: Will it be before the Coalition?

BOWEN: Well I don’t know when the Coalition is going to be releasing their costings, you make a

very good point, they have not. They’ve traditionally done it on the Thursday before the election, we will be doing significantly better than that.

JOURNALIST: Moving on to Brexit, you were recently briefed on that…

BOWEN: Correct.

JOURNALIST: …by the RBA and Treasury officials. What did they say about this?

BOWEN: Under the caretaker provisions I was briefed by the Governor of the Reserve Bank, the

Secretary of the Treasury, and the Chairman of APRA. I will not go into the details of that briefing.

What I will say is my comments to you this morning are that the biggest concern for Australia

would be an indirect one, the general global market volatility in the decision for the UK to leave

Europe, should that eventuate, would not have significant direct links on Australia. But the general

global economic volatility would be the thing that most concerns people. Comments made by me are made in a considered way, following the appropriate briefings.

JOURNALIST: In the local context, would that fear of instability and volatility, work against Labor

at the election?

BOWEN: Well clearly Malcolm Turnbull is trying to whip that up isn’t he? But I think people will

see through that sort of rhetoric from Malcolm Turnbull. The Australian people know that the UK is

no longer Australia’s largest trading partner and while they remain a good and valued friend, the economic links between our two nations are not as strong as they were a few decades ago.

JOURNALIST: Are Australian officials worried that if the UK leaves of a contagion effect around


BOWEN: Again, Australian officials can talk for themselves, but very clearly…that’s a very

important question that you ask, so let’s just unpack this a little. There’s the immediate impacts of

the uncertainty and volatility. Now it’s important to note that even if the UK voted today to leave

the EU that is a vote to leave but it’s not leaving. It’s going to take a lot of work and negotiations

on how to proceed and exactly when they leave. It’s a decision that will take at least two years to

implement. So this is not something that has some sort of immediate, shock impact. Then there

are the medium-term impacts in relation to what does it mean for other European countries? Does

it mean that other European countries feel obligated or emboldened to hold referenda to leave?

Do the anti-EU movements in those countries decide to leave Europe as well? These are genuine

issues and concerns. The anti-EU sentiment is stronger in some European countries than others.

We’ll need to see how that all plays out, but that will be a factor in terms of ongoing volatility, if indeed the leave case has won the referendum.

Okay, thanks very much.