Assistant Treasurer, Minister Assisting for Financial Services & Superannuation and Minister for Competition Policy & Consumer Affairs
5 March 2012 - 18 September 2013
Interview with David Lipson
Sky Lunchtime Agenda
8 May 2012
Let's try and get some of those answers now from the Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury, thanks for your time today. Tony Abbott says this will be a cooked books budget and there is some evidence to back him up. For example, the Energy Security Fund spending goes from $1bn this year to $1 million in the surplus year, then back to $1bn for the couple of years after that. Why is that?
Well look this allegation from Tony Abbott that the books will be cooked, he is the master chef when it comes to cooking the books. Have a look at what they sought to do at the last election with their $11bn black hole and most recently, I mean let's be honest about this, of all the initiatives that they have talked about in opposition, they haven't provided any decent costings for any of them. The last time they sought to do that was on their Nauru costings, and they used a catering company. So talk about cooking the books, if they want to talk about cooking the books I don't think he's got much *inaudible*.
But specifically on that Energy Security Fund, why does the spending jump around so much?
Look, we will be revealing full details of the budget this evening; the Treasurer will be doing that. In terms of this principle suggestion that there is some sort of trickery going on, I think the first point that the Australian people need to consider is that Tony Abbott, making those allegations, doesn't have any credibility when it comes to trickery. This will be a budget that will be in surplus. People can have a good look, line by line, to see what has occurred here but I suspect that there won't be many people throughout Australia looking at this budget when it's been handed down suggesting that we haven't taken some hard decisions to get the budget back in to surplus.
So it will hurt people out there in the community?
We have sought to make sure that the savings measures that are in place are targeted and that they're responsible. Look I think this is going to be a budget that shows you can live within your own means and at the same time provide a fair go for hard working Australians, that is what we've sort to do.
So you say there will be deep cuts, Wayne Swan says this as well, to hit this surplus, a tough budget the Treasurer has described it, but also handouts for low and middle income earners so can we assume from that the wealthy and business alike will be picking up the substantial slack?
We've always made the point very clearly that whilst the fundamentals of the Australian economy are very strong, if you have a look at it we have growth returning to trend, we have inflation contained, low unemployment, a record pipeline of investment. The strongest sign, the clearest sign of a strong economy is returning to surplus. We will do that but we also recognise that in the midst of this mining boom, there are many Australians that feel as though they're not getting the benefits or not sharing in those benefits. So we think it's important as a government that we continue to provide assistance to those that are facing some of the concerns around cost of living pressures. That is something that has been part of our efforts in government, whether it is the $47bn worth of personal income tax cuts, increasing the child care rebate, whether it be providing for pensioners. A single age pensioner now receiving $4,000 a year more under their pension than they were in 2009. These are the sorts of things and you've already seen some of the initiatives that have been mentioned, like the school kids bonus that is about delivering targeted and timely assistance to families out there doing the heavy lifting of supporting the young people of this country through school and education are receiving some assistance as they do that task.
But it's not just buying votes?
No, it's not. To some extent you will be damned if you do and damned if you don't on this question but we are very conscious that many Australians, many hard working Australians feel as though the benefits of the mining boom are not being spread evenly across the economy. We think it is important in addressing some of the cost of living concerns that people have, that we're able to continue to provide the sort of targeted assistance that really does make a difference on the household budget.
How frustrated are you as Assistant Treasurer that on budget day the major papers including the Financial Review are splashed with the scandals that have engulfed the government, particularly Craig Thomson?
I don't think my frustration is a matter of public interest but what is a matter of public interest are the matters that really matter to people. Newspapers will put whatever it is they choose to put on their front pages, but I know being a local member in a community where I talk to people all of the time, I know that the decisions we are taking in this budget will have a profoundly more significant impact, we hope a positive impact, on the lives of those people than any of the discussions or the speculation or the carry on that goes on in relation to some of these other matters.
David Bradbury, big day for you, thank you very much for your time.
Good to be with you.