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Transcript of doorstop interview: Parliament House, Canberra: 7 August 2007: interest rates; polls; Kevin '07'

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Wayne Swan MP Federal Labor Shadow Treasurer


SUBJECT: Interest rates, Polls, Kevin ‘07’

SWAN: Well a raft of private sector economists has blown the Government’s blame game on interest rates completely out of the water today. You can just see how desperate the Howard Government has become, out there blaming everybody else, pointing the finger of blame at everybody else and not accepting responsibility. This Government should face up to its responsibilities instead of playing the blame game.

Journalist: You must be pleased with the latest polls out?

SWAN: The polls will come and go. There’s certainly a very strong mood for change in the community but we take nothing for granted.

What we know is every day right through to the election we’ll be out there putting positive alternative plans for the future and most particularly, plans which will put downward pressure on inflation and downward pressure on interest rates.

Because as you can also see this morning, there are a lot of people out there with mortgages who are under housing stress and that’s not a good thing.

So what we need is a Government who’s really attending to the basics in the economy, not a Government like the Howard Government that’s out there going on a desperate spending spree as you can see in the Financial Review this morning.

Journalist: Peter Dutton says you’re fooling voters or at least the people answering the call from News Poll.

SWAN: That’s pretty funny isn’t it?

Journalist: He also reckons Kevin Rudd is quote ‘a load of crap’. Is that too personal?

SWAN: Well, exhibit A - desperation - Peter Dutton.

Journalist: He says you’re tricking voters, you’re fooling them with good one liners and you’ve got no policies……

SWAN: Look you wouldn’t get a better example of someone who is just completely out of touch than Peter Dutton. I suppose there is one person. That’s the Prime Minister but Peter Dutton’s pretty much behind him.

All of these ministers are in denial because really they’re on about short term politics and quick fixes. What this country demands is somebody who will govern for the long term, not the short term; someone who’s got a view about how we govern the country, not someone who’s got a view about playing a political game.

Look Peter Dutton’s a junior woodchuck. They’ve sent him out here this morning to play a political game. I don’t think anybody takes him seriously.

Journalist: Mr Dutton also says that Mr Rudd’s a media tart. This Kevin 07 and this thing that we’ve just seen here. Is that all part of that?

SWAN: Look, Peter Dutton is supposed to be the Assistant Treasurer. He should stop behaving like a school kid.

Journalist: Tell me, can we expect you to be wearing a Kevin 07 t-shirt?

SWAN: You know, when I’m out there walking early in the morning. If you want to get up at the crack of dawn you might catch me in my 07 t-shirt.

Journalist: But that sort of thing, that sort of picture opportunity doesn’t lend credit to the argument that it is a media driven ………

SWAN: I think what it shows is that we’re energetic, we’ve got fresh ideas and the Government’s rattled. I mean if you ever wanted to see an example of a rattled Government it’s when they send out Peter Dutton and Tony Abbott.

Journalist: Are you worried that the campaign is becoming increasingly personality and not politics?

SWAN: Well we’re all for a policy debate. That’s what we want to have. That’s what we’ve been having for 12 months. We started this campaign in January when we launched the paper on the relationship between productivity and education and we’ve been arguing serious policies all year.

Serious policies when it comes to Kevin Rudd’s ‘Education Revolution’, serious policies when it comes to climate change, serious policies when it comes to modern infrastructure, particularly high speed national broadband, serious policies when it comes to foreign policy, serious policies when it comes to getting rid of this Government’s extreme industrial relations legislation.

Journalist: If the website is going to be about the election campaign, it’s not called Labor 07, it’s called Kevin 07. Is there a cult of personality?

SWAN: What do you want us to do - change his name?

Journalist: …….(inaudible)

SWAN: I reckon Kevin’s a great name. It’s a bit like Wayne. It’s a daggy 1950’s name and I think it’s got a lot going for it.

ENDS Tue 07 Aug 07

Contact Matthew Coghlan: 0415 098050