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TONY BURKE: Thanks very much for coming out today.
It’s clear from today’s newspapers that the Government’s new plan is that they
think all they need to do is ‘reboot’ the conversation about the budget. The
problem that I think the Government doesn’t tend to understand is when you
reboot a computer, it turns of, it turns on, and it comes back as the eact same
computer. !hen you reboot this "udget, the Government’s view will be that they
can #ust have a diferent conversation, but have the conversation about the same
The $ustralian public know a "udget of broken promises when they see one. The
$ustralian public know a "udget that is designed to hurt the household budget
when they see it, and that’s eactly what’s being presented to the $ustralian
people now. This is a situation where we don’t need to see a "udget in reboot %
we need to see the current priorities abandoned and for the Government to start
There is no way that they can claim a reboot of the conversation will lead
anywhere diferent, when it still involves a ta every time you go to the doctor.
!hen it still breaks the promises on no cuts to education, no cuts to health.
!hen it still increases the ta burden on families, and still cuts family payments
and family bene&ts. !hen it still creates a situation where for some $ustralians
who haven’t been able to &nd work, they get left with absolutely nothing to live
It’s the priorities and the entire philosophy in concept of this "udget that has
always been wrong. They shouldn’t be trying to reboot it, they should be shutting
it down.
REPORTER: 'oes that mean you’re saying there will be no negotiation on it(
BURKE: There’s no way )abor can come to a so*called negotiating table and say
‘ok, let’s &nd a diferent way of dismantling +edicare.’ !e believe in +edicare,
we believe in universal healthcare and we will continue to defend it. There is no
way a )abor party is going to sit down and negotiate by how much the pension
should be cut. !e don’t believe that lower and middle income families are in a
situation where they should be bearing the brunt of the pain of this budget.
There’s a range of issues where )abor has already been willing to be constructive
in making sure tough decisions that needed to be made were supported. ,o for
eample, you can count to a total, if you look at our voting record in the
parliament, it goes to about -./ billion worth of decisions that we’ve actively
taken that would improve the bottom line against where the Government’s
wanted to take thing. ,ome changes for eample like shifting the means testing
on family payments from -/01,111 down to -/11,111 is a di2culty decision, but
it’s something we were willing to be constructive on. The income ta increase,
which is there on people on the highest incomes, we supported that. !e’ve been
willing to be constructive here.
!e’re willing to be and have been constructive about the "udget. !here not
willing to be destructive about the household budget, and they’re the measures
where the Government’s complaining that we won’t support them. !ell of course
we won’t. !e’re the party of +edicare, we’re not going to vote to destroy it.
!e‘re a party that believes in looking after people on lower and middle
incomes, of course we’re not going to vote in this "udget to destroy their
household budget.
REPORTER: 'oesn3t +r 4ockey’s at least his about*face on car use by
poorer people at least suggest he’s thinking about getting the statistics right
before he #umps in(
BURKE: !ell the challenge for #oe 4ockey is, he might have apologised for
the language, he hasn’t apologised for the policy. 4e might have apologised for
the language, he hasn’t apologised for the wrong priorities. 5ltimately, the
language is what the Government thinks is the only problem. That’s why they’re
talking reboot to come back to have a diferent conversation about the same
budget. $s long as it’s about the same "udget, as long as it’s about the same
wrong priorities, then we will end up with the same conversation because the
$ustralian people end up being hurt the same way.
REPORTER: !hat of these suggestions about the need for an emergency
"udget * do you take them seriously, are they necessary(
BURKE: 6oe 4ockey’s been trying to get the words ‘"udget’ and ‘emergency’
together for a long time. 4e went from talking about a "udget emergency, to
now talking about an emergency "udget.
The truth is 6oe 4ockey is one of the only Treasurers in the world who wants
every body to believe his nation is in crisis. 4e inherited an economy in good
shape, he inherited an economy with triple*$ credit ratings from all the ma#or
credit ratings agencies. 4e inherited a "udget where, always tough decisions
need to be made each "udget, but not at the epense of wrecking the
household budget.
I think one of the challenges that Tony $bbott has now is, if not 6oe 4ockey, then
who( 7ou go through the other members of his front bench front George "randis
to 8ric $bet9, this is hardly a team that’s been covering themselves in glory. 6oe
4ockey, sadly, &ts right in on this particular front bench.
REPORTER: The :uestion really then is, where, where to know( !here can the
Government go( 4ow can you govern $ustralia when you’re not agreeing on a
BURKE: The bulk of the "udget measures in the $ppropriations "ills,
that’s where the bulk of budgets are, that’s gone through the ;arliament. !hat’s
happening now is we’re having a focused debate because the Government is
determined to get through the measures that )abor and the ;arliament and the
$ustralian people have all said are unfair. That’s why this debate is continuing.
<or eample, measures that I referred to before, that we’ve already voted for, on
changing the means testing arrangements from -/01,111 down to -/11,111,
they’ve been approved by the parliament but the Government’s refusing
to accept them because they’re saying ‘well unless you vote for the whole lot, we
won’t take the "ill’. !ell we3re not going to vote for measures that are about
cutting household income in a serious way for lower and middle income families.
!e’re not going to vote for cuts in indeation for pensioners and for carers.
These are things that we don’t support that we won’t support.
This is at the same time that the Government has given away revenue measures
on high income superannuation, has given away revenue measures that are
about dealing with ofshoring of income for multinational companies to be able to
evade ta in ta havens. These sorts of measures, they’ve said they don’t need
that revenue, but the priority they do need is to hurt lower and middle income
families and lower and middle income $ustralians. !ell, they should know by
now our position won’t shift.
REPORTER: 6ust on another sub#ect. 'o you have any concerns abut
suggestions the <oreign +inister’s phone might have been hacked while she was
overseas, or mobile at least(
BURKE: I’ve seen the reports on this and from the reports that we’ve seen,
the intelligence agencies have taken it seriously and are dealing with it. ,o at
this point I haven’t seen any reason to believe that it’s not being handled
by $ustralian authorities in the right way. +ore information may emerge later,
but when only limited information’s been released I think it’s important #ust to be
careful with language at the moment. Thank you. ENDS