Transcript of interview with Amelia Adams, Channel Nine Morning News
WED 09 MAY 2012
Subject(s): Budget 2012-13; Schoolkids Bonus; Newstart Allowance; Fair Work Australia
HOST: Prime Minister good morning, thank you for joining us.
PM: Good morning.
HOST: Okay, let’s start with the $5 billion in cash handouts. Is this just a big bribe to win back voters?
PM: This is support for families, because around the nation so many people are thinking to themselves ‘I understand the economy is strong but gee I’m not feeling the benefits of all of that strength in my own life. Where’s the mining boom when it comes to what’s happening to me and my family?’
We do understand families are finding it difficult to make ends meet; electricity bills, costs of housing, getting the kids to school, and that’s why we’ve moved to a Schoolkids Bonus to help people with the costs of getting the kids to primary and secondary school, and why we’re also increasing family payments.
HOST: It sounds good for families, but some charity groups – St Vinnies, the Salvos – they say there’s not enough in this budget for the most disadvantaged such as single families and those on the Newstart Allowance. What would you say to them?
PM: Well we’ve moved to add an allowance for people on Newstart, so they'll see and extra $210 per year as a bonus each year.
For people with kids, families, including single parents, they will see before 30 June money coming into their bank accounts, around $410 if you’ve got a primary school aged student, around $820 if your child is in high school, and that’s to help families with all of the costs of getting the kids to school. And then we will also be increasing family payments, so if you’ve got two kids you’ll see $600 extra.
HOST: Prime Minister, there are some broken promises in this budget. You've backed down on your company tax cuts, how can you blame Tony Abbott when you didn’t even try to get it through the Parliament? Surely if you really believed in it you would have at least tried.
PM: Well I knew it wasn’t going to get through so why go through the process when you absolutely know what the outcome’s going to be. Mr Abbott always says no, and he had said no to a company tax cut.
He and his Coalition colleagues simply weren’t going to vote for it, and of course they weren’t going to change their mind. They were determined to say no. The Greens had indicated that they were opposed to this measure in part, so they weren’t going to support it either. So, I could let that negativity win the day and stop us sharing the proceeds of the resources boom around the country, or I could act. I’ve determined to act, and we will share the benefits of the boom to families through extra family payments.
I’m also very determined to still deliver a company tax cut, and I have a process working with Australian businesses to help me do that through a tax working group we set up out of a big meeting on tax and tax reform we had in Canberra last year.
HOST: Prime Minister, with respect, you and your Government have lost credibility with voters after your backflip on the carbon tax. Add to that the recent scandals plaguing your Government. Is this budget enough to save you as leader and your Government?
PM: This budget is about what’s right for our economy and how we can help families, pure and simple. We are bringing the budget back to surplus because that’s the right thing for our economy now.
We are bringing the economy back to trend growth, the economy’s going to be growing, and bringing the budget to surplus means we've got a buffer in case things get worse in the future.
We can protect jobs and it also means we’re giving the Reserve Bank the maximum room to move on interest rates and people saw a very welcome interest rate reduction just last week. And I also, as we bring the budget to surplus, want to look after people who are doing the right thing, working hard, often finding it tough to make ends meet, and that’s why there’s new benefits for families in this budget.
HOST: Okay, just finally Prime Minister, the Independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, they’ve indicated that they may vote with the Opposition to suspend Craig Thomson from the House of Representatives, a move that could really bring down your Government. How concerned are you about this and indeed, how concerned were you by that extremely damning Fair Work Australia report?
PM: Well first I’m very confident that the Government will go to the election at the ordinary time, in the second half of next year, and we’ll get on with the job of delivering this budget, its surplus, its benefits for families, spreading the benefits of the boom and some important new things in the budget too, like launching the first sites for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, changing the aged care system so people get to stay in their own homes for longer, and also a public dental waiting list blitz because too many people have waited too long to get their teeth fixed.
So that’s what’s on my forward agenda. On the question of trade unions and the Fair Work Australia report, I want to say this very clearly. Overwhelmingly, trade unions in our country are professional, hardworking organisations doing the right thing by their members. But to the extent that a dollar of members’ money is ever misused that’s completely the wrong thing to happen, members’ money should be used for proper purposes.
HOST: Alright Prime Minister Gillard you’ve got a big day ahead, we’ll leave it there, thank you so much for your time this morning.
PM: Thanks Amelia.