TUESDAY, 26 MAY 2014

SUBJECT/S: Joe Hockey Says ‘Sorry’ On PPL Language; The Government’s $6,000 Hit To Families; NATSEM Modelling; Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott At Odds On Superannuation.

TONY BURKE, MANAGER OF OPPOSITION BUSINESS AND SHADOW FINANCE MINISTER: Good morning. Last night on the Q&A program, Joe Hockey effectively apologised for using the ‘double dipping’ language. What needs to be remembered is the talk of double dipping being offensive in that way to new mums, the sort of the language the Government used, wasn’t something that was just used as an offhand remark. The term ‘double dipping’ that the Treasurer is now apologising for appears word-for-word in the Budget papers. It’s the name of the measure. They thought carefully about this attack on young mums. They thought carefully about launching an attach to say that paid parental leave when young mums are legally taking an entitlement is somehow a rort or equivalent to fraud. They thought it through and they embarked on this attack, and it’s not good enough for the Treasurer to just turn up to some TV program now and so ‘oh sorry about that.’ It’s in his own Budget, it’s his own measure, you can only presume it will turn up as a title in the legislation as well.

We’ve also had over the last 24 hours the discussion about the modelling that is shown on family payments that this year’s Budget is well and truly as bad as last year’s Budget for the household budget. Tony Abbott promised that he wouldn’t be dealing with the Federal Budget at the expense of the household budget, but failed to mention the $6,000 hit that households would be taking.

The final thing I want to remark on that’s in the news today: Joe Hockey has at least acknowledged that it is inevitable that something has to be done about high income superannuation concessions. Over the next four years they will cost more than the Pension itself. It’s essential that this be dealt with. It’s an exact contradiction with the Prime Minister. The Treasurer and the Prime Minister are completely at odds on this but the numbers speak for themselves. We can’t have a situation where you have an unsustainable part of the Budget continue to blow out; that’s why Labor has put forward it’s plans for high income superannuation and for multinational tax avoidance to improve the Budget bottom line by more than $20 billion into the decade.

REPORTER: Mr Burke will Labor be releasing the full NATSEM modelling?

BURKE: The NATSEM modelling will be up on the internet available today.

REPORTER: Why wasn’t it released yesterday or Sunday when the initial figures were released?

BURKE: I might add the Budget has been out for a couple of weeks and we haven’t seen any of its modelling either. In terms of the timing, what’s simply put here is we’re releasing our modelling, Joe Hockey should release his. Often in a Budget you get these cameos, you get descriptions of how family payments and other policies will hit individuals; what these policies will do to the family and household budget. Joe Hockey’s hit all of that and said ‘oh can you show me the modelling that says it’s bad for families?” Well, all of that will be out and it gives one very simple message: $6,000 hit for a typical family by this Government in this Budget.

REPORTER: Is Labor comfortable with second generation Australians potentially losing their citizenship if they’re caught engaging in terrorist acts?

BURKE: The Government’s been talking about this measure the whole year; we’re yet to see legislation. Anything on national security you make sure that you see the bill, you work through the issues and you deal with it calmly. I’m not sure how the Government keeps putting out more media releases than actually producing something. They produce something, we’ll look at is responsibly.

REPORTER: Apparently there was some discomfort in Cabinet yesterday about - and some of the wording of the discussion may have been changed as well?

BURKE: I don’t get invited anymore.

REPORTER: Mr Burke do you think the GST should apply to tampons and women’s sanitary items?

BURKE: There’s been a high level of concern in the community for this for a long time. If there’s a pathway for getting this resolved and having the exclusion put in place in a way that can get the agreement of the states, which is the agreement that’s required, then I think everyone would view that as a positive step forward.

REPORTER: Sorry, you may have already said this. Are you happy for the NATSEM modelling to be released in full and scrutinised?

BURKE: My understanding is that it will be up and public today and the Government’s Treasury modelling and the way that their Budget hits families, particularly middle income families, is something that they continue to hide. Thank you.

Tony Burke