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

22 February 2013

Doorstop interview

Sydney

SUBJECTS: Parliamentary Budget Office; Coalition election costings; Budget; China's economy

TREASURER:

Today I've announced a series of measures to put pressure on the Opposition not only to reveal their policies, but to have them costed before the election. Of course, if that doesn't happen, then they will be caught out after the election for doing what they did last time where they were found to have had an $11 billion hole in their election policies, but they went through the election campaign hiding them.

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer, are you conceding that you're unlikely to win the next election?

TREASURER:

Not at all. Not at all. The fact is that after the last election, which we won, and we came to Government, the Opposition were found to have an $11 billion hole in their policies. And that came about because of the scrutiny of the Independents and then the Departments of Finance and Treasury discovered the $11 billion hole that Mr Hockey and Mr Robb had hidden all the way through the election campaign. Now, I note this morning Mr Hockey said he's got nothing to hide. Well, he should put all of his policies out there now, costed by the independent PBO. He has no excuse at all.

JOURNALIST:

What policies do you think the Coalition won't be able to fund?

TREASURER:

Well, the Opposition have admitted already a $70 billion crater in their budget bottom line, and they've also been saying that they will slash and burn elsewhere as well. So these measures will ensure that they will be caught out after the election if they engage in the same dishonesty that they did last time.

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer, can you just clarify, are you junking your commitment to a surplus in '13-14 as well?

TREASURER:

What I'm doing is outlining a very clear medium-term fiscal strategy. I said at the end of last year it would have been deeply irresponsible to have cut at that time to make up for revenue lost that would have impacted upon jobs and growth. I'll reveal the future pathway back to surplus in the Budget forecasts which are produced in May.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Swan, I'd like to ask your feelings on the current trajectory on the Chinese economy, and what impact and influence it's going to have on Australia this year?

TREASURER:

Well, there was a lot of debate in Australia about China at the end of last year, much of it inaccurate. The Chinese economy has stabilised and is growing relatively well, and I expect that to continue. That's one of the better stories in the global economy. But there's still a lot of uncertainty around about the global economy. The Chinese story is one which is encouraging.

I've got to go. Thanks a lot.