14 May 2015
Transcript - #2015115, 2015

Doorstop interview, Canberra

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer, the paid parental leave seems to be a sticking point with Labor and some of the crossbenchers at the moment, how important is it to get through the Senate and are you confident you can?

TREASURER:

Well, everything is important. I’m surprised that the unions and the Labor Party negotiated wage agreements for workers based on government payments. I haven’t heard something like that. Have they negotiated other deals on the basis of family tax benefit or a range of other measures? So, this is quite surprising and frankly, I think the Labor Party has got a lot of explaining to do and the union movement, union leaders if this is the case, have a lot of explaining to do to their workers, that they were trying to use a government payment as some sort of bargaining tool. I mean, that’s quite extraordinary. You know, I might add again, public servants who get paid paid parental leave, a good paid parental leave scheme by taxpayers, are then able to go and get another paid parental leave scheme available from taxpayers, I think that’s a bit unfair. Importantly, the date for the start of this proposal allows for anyone who is currently pregnant and would be entitled to the existing scheme to be able to collect it.

JOURNALIST:

What about explaining your Budget strategy, describing these mothers as rorters, is that the right way to go?

TREASURER:

Look, can I just say to you, please don’t just accept the verballing of the Labor Party on this sort of stuff. I mean, please don’t get into commentary on commentary, we are doing what is right for Australia, giving everyone the chance to have a fair go. We are spending a lot more on childcare, but we need to have the savings to pay for it. You can’t spend more money, if you’re going to have savings - I might say, this is something that Mr Shorten has to answer, he wants to spend less, but he’s going to spend more. He wants to have smaller deficits, but everything he’s doing is going to make the deficits bigger. He wants to have less debt, but everything he’s doing is making the debt bigger. So, frankly, there’s no magic pudding here. We’ve got to be responsible and what we’ve got to do is focus on growing the economy, giving people the opportunity to get ahead.

JOURNALIST:

Was it silly to call mums double dippers?

TREASURER:

I am not interested, you guys can go and interview each other, which you do…

JOURNALIST:

But you’ve been using those terms double dippers for a long time…

JOURNALIST:

What about Arthur Sinodinos’ criticism?

TREASURER:

I don’t engage in commentary on commentary.

JOURNALIST:

Are you expecting a bounce in the polls following this Budget?

TREASURER:
I’m not going to engage in speculation, have you got any questions on the Budget?

JOURNALIST:

Just on wages growth, there’s – the ABS said that it was decreasing, that must be a blow to your projections.

TREASURER:

Well, wages are not decreasing, wages are not growing as fast as one might’ve expected. But, you know, at the same time prices have come down significantly as a result of the abolition of the Carbon Tax and importantly, you’ve got the lowest interest rates on record. Also, you’ve got quite low petrol prices, so that flows through to the family budget.

JOURNALIST:

Do you think this Budget has been received well by Australian voters?

TREASURER:

Well, I think the Australian community has responded well, but let’s wait and see. This is a further step in our economic plan.

JOURNALIST:

The backbench has also responded well, is this what you needed…

TREASURER:

I’ve said what I [inaudible] thanks very much guys.