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

13 September 2011

Doorstop Interview

Parliament House

13 September 2011

SUBJECTS: Global financial markets; Parliamentary Budget Office; Clean Energy Future legislation; Craig Thomson; Visit to Australia by President Obama

TREASURER:

We've seen further volatility on global markets overnight arising once again from European sovereign debt challenges.There's no doubt there's a long and painful adjustment occurring in Europe and to a certain extent in the United States but Australians can be confident that here in Australia our economic fundamentals are strong. And we've seen that in the National Accounts figures released last week.You know a very strong investment pipeline, very solid consumption figures, rising incomes and a very strong budget position, and that strong budget position means we stand in stark contrast to other developed economies around the world.That's why it was absolutely stunning yesterday to see the Liberal Party announce for the first time that they would not be revealing their election costings during the next election campaign.

As you would be aware, we are debating the Parliamentary Budget Office in the House.The legislation was introduced into the House, it's been debated yesterday and yesterday for the first time Mr Hockey announced that the Liberal Party would refuse to reveal their election costings.And as you know during the last election campaign they refused to reveal their election costings, which had an $11 billion black hole in them and the consequence of that was that the Liberal Party was left without a shred of economic credibility.We agreed after the election to establish a Parliamentary Budget Office.

What a Parliamentary Budget Office means is that the Liberal Party would not have had to submit their costings to the Departments of Treasury and Finance but they could go to an independent Parliamentary Budget Office.We had a select committee of the parliament comprised of all parties develop all of the proposals for the Parliamentary Budget Office that we are legislating.That Parliamentary Budget Office was supported by the Liberal Party Members of that committee and yesterday the Liberal Party announced they were going to oppose the Parliamentary Budget Office and I ask the question, why?And the reason is very simple, they've got a $70 billion crater in their Budget bottom line before they make any further commitments going into the next election campaign.

So now they are going to hide from scrutiny again just like they did during the last election campaign.What this shows is that the Liberal Party will say anything and do anything to win votes but they will not and are not prepared to be open and transparent.

JOURNALIST:

The Opposition says that you're rushing through the carbon tax giving MPs one minute per MP to talk about it.

TREASURER:

We have been debating carbon pricing in this country for years and years and years.Mr Howard took a proposal for carbon pricing to the 2007 election.There has been report after report.This has been debated for years and years.It just shows once again that they will go to any length to try and stop constructive proposals which will strengthen our economy for the future.They'll say anything and they'll do anything.But the one thing that they're not entitled to say is that there hasn't been enough debate in this country about carbon pricing and I'm sure that the Australian people would agree with that assessment.

JOURNALIST:

It's pretty lengthy legislation though.

TREASURER:

It is lengthy legislation and it's been out there, our proposal has been out there for some time.We have debated it up hill and down dale.It is about time we got this done and I think that's what the Australian public want us to do.

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer, will the Government consider delaying or altering the carbon pricing scheme because of global market volatility?

TREASURER:

No. No because this is an important reform to strengthen our economy.Our economy is resilient and our economy is resilient because in the past we have put in place fundamental reforms to strengthen our economy.We did it in the 80s and we did it in the 90s and we're doing it once again to make sure that we face up to the challenges of the future. Those economies of the 21st century that will be strong will be those that price carbon because you can't have a first-rate economy in the 21st century unless it's powered by clean energy and most particularly renewable energy.

JOURNALIST:

(Inaudible)

TREASURER:

No, I think that this investigation should take its normal course and the Liberal Party should stop all of the mudslinging.

JOURNALIST:

Just on Obama, are you hoping that that will, his visit will give the Gillard Government a bit of a boost?

TREASURER:

Well, his visit will be welcomed I think by all Australians.He is a great leader.We have a strong relationship with the United States and I think Australians will be looking forward to the visit of the President and his family.Thanks.