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

3 December 2008

Interview with Virginia Trioli

ABC2 Breakfast News

3 December 2008

SUBJECTS: Qantas/British Airways, National Accounts, Global Financial Crisis, RBA Rate Cut

TRIOLI:

Wayne Swan, good morning.

TREASURER:

Good morning, Virginia.

TRIOLI:

Now, before we get onto news financial and economic, your response to a potential merger between Qantas and BA?

TREASURER:

Well, those are matters that will be discussed between the two companies. The Minister [for Transport] made some comments about this yesterday and our bottom line is that Qantas remains in majority Australian ownership. The fact that there may be some changes beneath that in terms of the way in which foreign ownership is regulated is something that is discussed in the Green Paper presented by the Minister yesterday.

TRIOLI:

Now, moving onto other matters. The National Account figures are being released today. What do you expect them to show?

TREASURER:

Virginia, I don't speculate about the figures. They'll be out at 11.30 today. But we've made it very clear in terms of the world outlook that world growth is certainly slowing, probably slowing substantially, and that certainly will have an impact on the Australian economy, on growth, and on employment growth in this economy. But we'll see the full extent of that at 11.30 today.

TRIOLI:

Interesting analysis that we've been hearing on our program this morning, Wayne Swan, about the disconnect now between the American and the Australian markets. We don't necessarily follow them into their negative territory. Do you see, in your view, that it's possible for Australia to pull away now from the financial situation that America finds itself in?

TREASURER:

It's certainly the case, and I've been saying this throughout the year, that if you were to be in any country in these circumstances, the country you would want to be in is of course Australia. But we are certainly not immune from the fallout of what's occurring not only in the United States – it's now officially in recession. Europe is in recession. Japan is in recession. The UK is expected to head there. And of course we now see a substantial slowing of growth in the developing world as well. So, the world hasn't decoupled. We're all interconnected, and we're not immune from that. But we have some home grown strengths which serve us well in this environment.

TRIOLI:

So, you're still confident we can avoid a recession?

TREASURER:

I'm certainly confident that the Government is taking every action it possibly can to strengthen growth. That's why we put our economic security package out there which really begins to flow in full from next week – the additional payments to pensioners, the additional payments to families, to carers and so on. All of that has been done and now of course we have the Reserve Bank with a substantial easing of monetary policy, so we've got fiscal policy and monetary policy working strongly in tandem. Those two things combined can certainly strengthen our economy in the face of the global financial crisis and its fallout for this country.

TRIOLI:

Wayne Swan, thanks for joining us this morning.

TREASURER:

Good to be with you.