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

23 May 2012

Doorstop Interview

Canberra

SUBJECTS: OECD report shows Australia outperforming every major developed economy, Craig Thomson, Schapelle Corby, Paul Howes speech, Tony Abbott and Workchoices, State of Origin

TREASURER:

I just wanted to welcome the OECD report this morning, it shows that the Australian economy will grow faster than every other major developed economy over the next year, and the year after that. Very low unemployment, strong investment pipeline, strong public finances, contained inflation and solid consumption. The Australian economy is the stand out developed economy in the world, and that's what the OECD report shows today.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Swan, is Craig Thomson innocent?

TREASURER:

These are matters to be dealt with by the courts. That's where they should be dealt with, that is our justice system, that is the separation of powers, that is the presumption of innocence. Mr Thomson is entitled to his day in court, and the Liberals should not be trying to turn the parliament into a kangaroo court, that's not the role of the parliament.

JOURNALIST:

Should there be a Code of Conduct and Ethics Commission?

TREASURER:

These are matters to be discussed by the Parliament. The government is open to this discussion. They have been considered in the Parliament for some time, and they will be considered in the weeks and months ahead.

JOURNALIST:

There is a draft oath though, why not introduce that now?

TREASURER:

These are matters that the Parliament will deal with. A code of conduct is a matter for the whole Parliament, not just a matter for the Government and we'll deal with it in a parliamentary way.

JOURNALIST:

Labor did allow the Craig Thomson matter to go to the privileges committee, why is that?

TREASURER:

We are quite happy and indeed it is proper that there is discussion about these matters, it's just that the Parliament is not a court. There is a separation of powers between the courts and the Parliament, that's the basis of the rule of law in our society, that's how it should be.

JOURNALIST:

Did the government do a deal with the Indonesians over Schapelle Corby?

TREASURER:

Can I just say that I welcome the decision of the Indonesian President. The Foreign Minister will be making some further commentary about this later and I'll leave the detail to him.

JOURNALIST:

Is there anything to the rumours though, or in fact not rumours, that it had to do with the release of Indonesian people smugglers?

TREASURER:

Well these are matters that will be dealt with by the Foreign Minister; I'll leave it to him.

JOURNALIST:

Should the government be re-regulating the economy and picking winners, like Paul Howes suggested?

TREASURER:

Well what the government is doing is making sure we grow the economy and to grow it strongly by making investments in the productive capacity in the economy. What we're also doing is making sure we spread the benefits of a strong economy to every corner of our economy, that's what our recent budget focused on and that's what we'll be doing in the years ahead.

I welcome a discussion in the community about how we grow our economy, I welcome the discussion about every Australian having a say and a stake in our economy, it's why I wrote my Monthly essay at the beginning of the year. We should have a healthy discussion in our community about growing our economy and spreading the benefits of prosperity right around our economy. In that vein I welcome the discussion, a wide discussion, which includes the contribution from Mr Howes yesterday.

JOURNALIST:

Report today that the Opposition leader, Tony Abbott has been emboldened by the HSU scandal, to take up wholesale IR reforms (inaudible), Liberal MPs are saying he's ready to go now.

TREASURER:

What we know is that Workchoices is in the DNA of the Liberal Party and Tony Abbott when he was a Minister in the Howard Government set out to slash the wages and working conditions of Australians on low and middle incomes. That's what Liberal governments do and I'm pleased to see that Mr Abbott has finally outed himself in the party room over the past couple of days.

JOURNALIST:

Craig Thomson (inaudible) given the pressure that he's under?

TREASURER:

I think what we ought to do is behave in the Parliament in the way which befits parliamentary process and what's been going on is that the Liberals have been trying to turn the Parliament into a kangaroo court and I think I said the other day that Mr Abbott is out there all the time, he's out there with aggression, his leadership is the political football equivalent of going the biff and of course when you do that, when you trash important aspects of our democracy and the rule of law, they get trashed and some people get hurt. The fact is we should have a separation of powers that should be observed in the Parliament. The Liberals should stop trying to use the Parliament as a kangaroo court.

Can I just say a couple of things about a very special day. What I wanted to do was wish Cameron Smith and all of the Queenslanders all the best for tonight. It's a very special day for people who follow Origin football and I'll be in there watching it with some of my New South Wales friends but adversaries tonight. Thanks.