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May 21, 2001
A Current Affair – Interview with Mike Munro
May 23, 2001
May 21, 2001
A Current Affair – Interview with Mike Munro
May 23, 2001


Transcript No. 2001/063





SBS – Interview with Dennis Grant

Tuesday, 22 May 2001




Treasurer, thanks for joining us. After you completed your speech tonight I

noticed the Prime Minister came over and pumped your hand profusely. Behind you,

a series of nervous nellies on the Government backbench. Have you tonight helped

win the next election for them?


I think tonight weve continued good economic management. Weve delivered

benefits to business, to older Australians, to people whove been paying

financial institutions duty, and Ive put it that we have been a prudent

Government with a strong strengthening in the economy and doing justice to some

of the people that deserved a bit of a better go.


So where will the surprises be in the lead-up to the election? Stand by for a

startling policy speech.



Well this is a Budget for the whole of the financial year. The next election

presumably will be fought on whats going to happen in the years thereafter.

But this is a Budget which lays down the gauntlet for the Labor Party and they

can come out and announce a policy now, because we suspect they dont have

one, you wont hear much from them in the next couple of days.


Treasurers are never going to be sort of popular on Budget Night, but tonight

the small business community are carrying on a bit as they dont seem to have

got enough, and they do seem to .inaudibleof this.


For small business theres a cut in company tax down to 30 per cent. Theres

also the entitlement to get the full tax back on vehicles, trucks, any motor

vehicle that they buy, thats another $600 million. And theres also the

abolition of financial institutions duty and other stamp duties, so that for

small business this is a big tax cutting Budget.


The older Australians, do you think this is going to satisfy them, because

theyre a genteel bunch. They havent been hyper-critical of you, but I know,

frankly, from personal experience, that they are concerned.


I think older Australians were looking for some tax relief, and this is a

very large tax relief for older Australians. Tonight for a single person we lift

the tax-free threshold to $20 000, for a couple to $32 000. We lift the

eligibility for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. We start paying the

pensioner concessional telephone to Commonwealth Seniors. Were going to

negotiate with the States to see if other pensioner concessions can be given.

And this is a very direct, real benefit for older Australians. And if you happen

to be on a pensioner bonus, a cheque for $300, if the Parliament passes it

tonight, which could be paid next month.


Treasurer, thanks very much for joining us tonight.


Thanks Dennis.