The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Wayne Swan

Wayne Swan

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013

11 September 2008

Doorstop Interview

Melbourne

11 September 2008

SUBJECTS: Jobs Figures; Peter Costello; Liberal Party Leadership; Budget

TREASURER:

So there's just a couple of things I'd like to talk about today. First of all there are jobs figures out today. They're very solid figures. 14,000 plus jobs created. That's very encouraging. I think it's a reminder that the underlying fundamentals of the economy are strong. But as everybody understands, we are not immune from the fallout from global events – the slowing in the global economy which is impacting on the Australian economy. So these figures are quite solid in those circumstances.

The other thing I'd like to just say a few things about today is there's a bit of talk around about history. A bit of talk around today about a certain book. And there's a very important headline on the front page of the Financial Review today which tells us something about the rewriting of history. Because what this headline and story in the Financial Review is about is how Peter Costello's last two Budgets engaged in reckless spending, putting upward pressure on inflation and upward pressure on interest rates. So I certainly hope there's a chapter in Mr Costello's book about those events, because if there isn't it won't be worth $55.

JOURNALIST:

Peter Costello claims the Liberal Party would have won the election had he been in charge.

TREASURER:

I think Peter Costello's into rewriting history. But his short term opportunistic politics has left long term consequences for this country, and those long term consequences are higher inflation and higher interest rates. But I don't think we'll find that in Peter Costello's book.

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible) unemployment over the next couple of months?

TREASURER:

Well we all know that the economy is slowing. There's no doubt about that. That's why the figures today are encouraging. Given the global circumstances that we're in – international uncertainty the likes of which we haven't seen for 25 years – the economy is slowing. And of course the other reason the economy is slowing is on the back of ten interest rate rises under Peter Costello, in part caused by reckless spending which is well documented in the Financial Review today.

JOURNALIST:

Who would the Government rather face as an Opposition Leader: Brendan Nelson or Malcolm Turnbull?

TREASURER:

Well look, let's just think about all of those three individuals. They all support WorkChoices. They were all part and parcel of sitting around a Cabinet table and engaging in reckless spending, pushing up inflation and interest rates. So same teapot, different cosy.

JOURNALIST:

The ABS figures from yesterday are (inaudible) a smaller sample. Do you trust these ABS numbers?

TREASURER:

Look I rely on the accuracy of the ABS like everyone else does, and the statistician vouches for these figures. So I think people can make up their own mind. It's the statistician that makes this judgement, not politicians. Thanks very much.

JOURNALIST:

The tax cuts on top of the Budgets from Costello, aren't they also inflationary?

TREASURER:

Absolutely not, because what we did in our Budget is something that Peter Costello didn't do for very many years. We cut back on wasteful spending. In our Budget we pruned the wasteful spending of Peter Costello and all of his colleagues, and we are living with some of the consequences of that. And we had to do that if we were to make room for the tax cuts that were so badly needed by many people on low and modest incomes, who'd been left out by Peter Costello over a long period of time. Thank you.