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

19 October 2008

Doorstop Interview

Nundah, Brisbane

19 October 2008

SUBJECTS: Turnbull comments global financial crisis is over-hyped; international cooperation; tax cuts; unemployment; Economic Security Strategy

TREASURER:

I just wanted to make some comments about Malcolm Turnbull's statements on Insiders this morning. I want to quote from what he said on Insiders this morning. What he said this morning was that 'Kevin Rudd has hyped up this crisis, this financial crisis'.

Now Malcolm Turnbull must be the only political leader in the world who thinks the global financial crisis is hyped up. This is a massive gaffe from Malcolm Turnbull. A massive gaffe because it shows how out of touch he is with the impact of the global financial crisis on families and businesses.

He should go tell all of those people who've been hit with higher borrowing costs or have had their super affected by the global financial crisis that it's hyped up. I think what these comments today demonstrate is that Malcolm Turnbull is out of touch with the challenges facing the Australian economy that come directly from the global financial crisis.

This gaffe is on a par with other gaffes that Malcolm Turnbull has made. Some years ago he said that interest rate rises were over-dramatised. Well, Malcolm Turnbull is out of touch and it's pretty clear from what he's had to say that he's not supportive of the Economic Security Strategy. That's a shame because what we need in this country is support for the economic security package right across the board because we do face very severe international challenges in the times ahead.

JOURNALIST:

Why has the Government still not released the Treasury advice?

TREASURER:

The Government will be releasing all of the economic forecasts when we produce our mid-year economic review. That will be out within the next month. That is the responsible thing to do – that's what the Government is doing, we're bringing out that review early and we're bringing it out, as I said in the Parliament last week, because that's the responsible and measured thing to do.

You see, what Malcolm Turnbull has basically said this morning is that the IMF, all of the world leaders, finance ministers of the G7 and G20 have all got it wrong. Apparently the only person in the world who understands what's going on is Malcolm Turnbull. Well it's not about Malcolm Turnbull. This is a severe global financial crisis. The Government has acted decisively to get ahead of the game to meet the challenges to Australia flowing from the global financial crisis and you would have thought that the Opposition would have been able to support all of these initiatives.

JOURNALIST:

[Inaudible]…attending the summit?

TREASURER:

We certainly welcome this meeting. We will see further details about this through the day. Certainly we have been calling for international action. We have been active participants. I was present at the G20 Finance Ministers' meeting in Washington last week. We have been calling for global action and there has been co-coordinated global action in recent weeks. We think this is a very positive initiative.

JOURNALIST:

[Inaudible]….likely we will see a re-regulation of banks…?

TREASURER:

I think what is likely is that we do need a new international agenda through the Financial Stability Forum to make sure that these events never happen again and Australia has put forward an agenda to deal with all of the issues raised by this crisis to the international forums. Indeed the Prime Minister and I wrote to colleagues only on Friday through the G20 to put a series of initiatives on the agenda, one of which does relate to how banking is regulated internationally.

JOURNALIST:

Are you going to be bringing forward tax cuts…[inaudible] next year?

TREASURER:

What we said is we have put together an economic security package to give a boost to our national economy. That is what we did last week. That will work in tandem with an easing in monetary policy and our guarantees for deposits and our guarantees for bank wholesale borrowing. Those are substantial initiatives and they will have an impact to strengthen our economy.  We will judge these things as we go through the full impact of this global financial crisis.

JOURNALIST:

Lindsay Tanner gave the impression that…

TREASURER:

What Lindsay Tanner said is exactly what I've said, and he said exactly what the Prime Minister has said. We have got a very substantial package out there - a very big boost to the economy in the short term. And what we've said is we will look at other initiatives should they be required by the severity of the international global financial crisis. That's what we've said. That's what Lindsay Tanner said. We've all said the same thing.

JOURNALIST:

So it's on the table but you haven't decided?

TREASURER:

No what we've said is we've just put in place a very, very substantial boost to our economy, to strengthen it as soon as we can, given the gravity of the global financial crisis. As I said when I returned from overseas during the week, we are facing a dangerous phase in the global financial crisis. That was the view of all of the Finance Ministers that I met with internationally. It's a view that apparently Malcolm Turnbull doesn't have - probably the only political leader in the world who doesn't share the view that this is a very severe threat to global growth and of course Australian growth.

JOURNALIST:

How much extra…[inaudible]?

TREASURER:

What we've said is that we have got a boost that we are putting in place and money will flow from the 8th of December. And we've had a very substantial easing of monetary policy from the reserve bank in recent weeks and we've taken decisive action when it comes to strengthening our financial system. As we go through this we will react as appropriate.

JOURNALIST:

Will paid maternity leave be put on the back burner?

TREASURER:

I'm not speculating about the content of next year's Budget. What the Government has been doing is putting in place decisively and swiftly a substantial package to strengthen our economy in the short-term in the face of the threats that are posed by this global financial crisis.

JOURNALIST:

A new report out says that the global financial crisis is going to cost 200,000 Australian jobs… [inaudible]?

TREASURER:

There's no doubt that the global financial crisis will have an impact on employment growth in Australia. There is no doubt that we will see, over time, unemployment move up, but as for those figures, all of the Government's figures will be put out in our mid-year economic and fiscal review which will be available for everybody to see in the usual open and transparent way in the next month.

JOURNALIST:

How safe are Australian jobs?

TREASURER:

Well there is a very big challenge coming Australia's way from the global financial crisis – a challenge that Mr Turnbull doesn't seem to recognize. The Government recognizes it and that is why we have moved with such speed to boost and strengthen our economy immediately.