KIERAN GILBERT: Thanks very much for your time. Now, the Federal Police apparently looking at the 2022 bid and Australia’s involvement in it and the payments made. That’s all reasonable in response to, I guess, the broader scandal here?

SHADOW FINANCE MINISTER AND MANAGER OF OPPOSITION BUSINESS, TONY BURKE: It’s extraordinary what’s been exposed. You’ve always heard people make different allegations about the organisation, but the full scale of it that’s not on display to every football fan across the world is just appalling. It’s no surprise you’ve got investigations happening in different jurisdictions, no surprise at all.

GILBERT: Including the Parliamentary Senate committee specifically interested in one $500,000 payment to the Caribbean for a stadium and allegedly stolen by the FIFA executive Jack Warner?

BURKE: The quantum of the money is incredibly significant. You’ve got taxpayers money and different forms of money that have been raised that are involved here. But the other issue is the complete betrayal of trust of the fans around the world. This is the biggest sporting event on earth for any single code. Nothing else matches it. To have that total betrayal of trust is something that means we have a story that’s come up in the last few days that we will be talking about for the next few years.

GILBERT: Let’s talk about the economic growth figures. Mr Hockey says those that have been talking about recession and so on have been revealed as clowns given this strong quarterly result. You must be encouraged by it yourself?

BURKE: It’s better than what had been predicted and that’s good. Joe Hockey has started to develop this thing where he benchmarks everything against what people were thinking would happen the day before. So, on Budget night he said ‘oh the deficit is better than expected.’ It was still double what we had the previous year. From one Budget to the next he’d still doubled the deficit, but because it wasn’t quite as big as people had anticipated, therefor we took that as though it was a great achievement. Similarly with the GDP figure, yes it’s better than had been predicted, but we are still in the longest period of below trend growth for 50 years. So, welcome the figure, it’s better than what people thought it was going to be…

GILBERT: But do you accept that we’re one of the fastest growing developed economies?

BURKE: For that quarter the growth figure we’ve got there. Over the previous 12 months it’s slightly below projections but we may well still make what’s been forecast there. The challenge though is growth is sluggish, this figure, while better than had been expected, is largely driven by exports. So it’s largely driven by the sector of the economy the Treasurer is not in charge of. He even acknowledged in his media conference that what you’ve got is a lot of major projects that have switched from the construction phase to the production phase. Now, that’s on 10 year timelines for a lot of these companies as to their investment cycle and when they will get to production. It’s hardly something the Treasurer’s in charge of.

GILBERT: But also housing was part of it and I guess that would come from economic confidence, a broader confidence in the economy and the Government should get some credit for, fostering that, shouldn’t they?

BURKE: Well, on housing there are governments that are part of the housing supply improvement. There’s been some improvements with infill and there’s been some improvements with land release. State governments are in charge of those decisions, from both sides of politics, and there’s been some good decisions there that would be effected by that. It’s also the case though when you talk about confidence, once again, is confidence a little bit up at the moment? Yes. It is still lower than it was when Joe Hockey first became Treasurer…

GILBERT: The small business plan is obviously part of that…

BURKE: It’s the old thing, drag something down and the moment you’ve jumped a little bit, do we celebrate or do we say ‘well we welcome it, it’s in the right direction but we’re not going to forget the fact that it’s a long way down from the economy they were handed.’

GILBERT: I know speaking to small business people myself, daily, they are encouraged by this plan. I know Labor backed it, is backing it, but it was a stunt yesterday wasn’t it to bring it on, given it wasn’t going to go through the Parliament anyway? Through the Senate’s not sitting this week?

BURKE: The Government has been saying – this is a bizarre game the Government plays. They actually don’t want bipartisan support. They were given bipartisan support on Budget night, they were told we would support the small business measures, they then for weeks have claimed there was doubt as to whether or not they’d gone through and pushed down and gone against confidence in their own package. What happened yesterday, by us using the Parliament in that way, everybody for 24 hours, well not 24 hours yet, but since that moment, has been saying ‘yes we know both sides of politics support that.’ That was important for confidence. What we did in Parliament yesterday, let people know that Labor supports the small business package.

GILBERT: It wasn’t just a stunt? It looks like one.

BURKE: It’s a procedure of the Parliament. What the stunt was, was the Government claiming there wasn’t bipartisan support when there was. I mean what sort of crazy Government gets a situation where they talk down confidence in their own measure because when they’ve got a choice between a successful policy outcome and a political game, they always pick the political game.

GILBERT: Mr Burke we’re out of time. Thanks.

BURKE: See you again.

Tony Burke