24 April 2015
Transcript - #2015086, 2015

Press conference following the opening of the ASX Customer Support Centre

JOURNALIST:

First of all, you must be pleased you get to ring your own bell?

TREASURER:

Well, the Australian Stock Exchange has helped to make many, many Australians much wealthier. Either through their superannuation, through employee share schemes or through direct share ownership and we want Australia to perform well. We want Australia to once again become the biggest share-owning nation in the world and with $1.9 trillion of funds under management here in Australia, we want to make sure we continue to have transparent and liquid markets, and the technology here at the ASX leads the world.

JOURNALIST:

On a different issue, are you concerned it looks like you've undermined the Prime Minister when it comes to cuts to schools and hospitals?

TREASURER:

Look, the Commonwealth Government's commitment to schools and hospitals is going to increase every year, every single year. We'll keep increasing our funding above inflation, but it is the States that run the schools, it is the States that run the hospitals. We can't give bonus payments to the States without them taking responsibility for their schools and their hospitals. Now, there is no bottomless pit of money in Australia. We need to be more efficient, we need to be able to do more with less. We’ll be working with the States to help make that happen. But when the Labor Party promised never ending bonus payments for schools and hospitals without ever identifying the ways to pay for them, they deceived the States and they deceived the Australian people.

JOURNALIST:

But your comments put the Prime Minister in a difficult position if he’s talking about having a leader’s summit, what’s the point of discussing anything?

TREASURER:

We're happy to work with the States to help them find a solution, but the fundamental point is, the Commonwealth Government hasn't got an endless stream of money. We are running deficits that are too large, at the same time as States like Victoria are running surpluses. So, quite frankly, the States are not going to pass the buck to the Commonwealth Government, because a number of the States are in better financial shape than the Commonwealth Government following a Labor predecessor.

JOURNALIST:

On another subject, I believe that you were due to be speaking at a Town Hall tonight, but you're no longer going to be speaking. [inaudible] I'm just wondering why that is?

TREASURER:

Well, I have my views in relation to the events that occurred 100 years ago in Turkey. They're well known. I'll certainly be at the event but I’ll leave it to Geoffrey Robertson to do the speaking.

JOURNALIST:

Have you been gagged?

TREASURER:

No.

JOURNALIST:

Joe, on superannuation. A lot of nervousness of course on superannuants at the moment with the Budget coming up and Labor's announcement of a potential tax. Can you give them a bit of a message of reassurance at the moment about how safe their super is?

TREASURER:

Your superannuation is safe under a Coalition Government. The Labor Party always defaults to new taxes, always defaults to new taxes, in order to pay for their never ending spending. The problem in Australia is that the Labor Party left a legacy of expenditure that was unsustainable into the future. If the Labor Party cares about the Budget, if the Labor Party cares about Australia's future, they will help us to reduce government expenditure instead of blocking us at every point, not only on our proposals but on the proposals they took to the last election. Okay? Thanks very much.

JOURNALIST:

Can I ask one more question on - sorry, this one's been sent through from Canberra. So why is it good value for money to use a quarter of the total pool of the Emissions Reduction Fund to buy 15 per cent of the emissions required to meet the Government's targets?

TREASURER:

We went to the last election with a well-known policy in relation to climate change. It involved an auction. We rejected the idea of a carbon tax. We are delivering on that. It means that Australia will meet its emissions target and you're not going to penalise households with a carbon tax along the way.