Budget, Telstra – Doorstop Interview, Crown Casino, Melbourne

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Tax Cuts – Interview with Neil Mitchell, 3AW
May 12, 2005
Budget – Interview with Steve Austin, ABC 4QR
May 16, 2005
Tax Cuts – Interview with Neil Mitchell, 3AW
May 12, 2005
Budget – Interview with Steve Austin, ABC 4QR
May 16, 2005

Budget, Telstra – Doorstop Interview, Crown Casino, Melbourne

Doorstop Interview

Following the Higgins 200 Club Post-Budget Breakfast

Crown Casino

Friday, 13 May 2005
9.00 am

SUBJECTS: Budget, Telstra


You spoke about the welfare reform as being necessary because of the potential

labour shortage in twenty years with the ageing population, is that a strategy

to make the pensioners feel needed and wanted rather than the changes being

a form of punishment?


Well the changes that we are introducing are designed to encourage people to

participate in the workforce. If you participate in the workforce you get a

higher income, you are part of the economic mainstream, and you are contributing

to the overall economic development and that is a good thing for people, it

is a good thing for society. The more people we have in work, the lower our

taxes can be for the whole of the workforce because we spread the burden further.

So this is all about opportunity, participation, new services and building a

stronger economy.


Mr Costello, do you think it is absurd the ALP has protested against income

tax cuts?


The Government has announced the plan to cut tax on 1 July 2005. Labor is going

to vote against tax cuts, that is because Labor stands for higher taxes. But

it will not work you see, because after 30th of June, the composition

of the Senate will change, so the tax cuts will go through eventually. The only

thing Labor can do is delay them, so they are taking this big stand for higher

taxes in a futile effort to try and delay tax cuts which ought to be taking

place on 1 July.


Is there a chance you could recall the Parliament early to get those cuts?


I am not ruling things in, or ruling things out, because we have not had a

vote yet. What I do is I call on the Labor Party to vote our tax cuts through.

There is no reason why Labor should stop Australians from getting their tax

cuts on 1 July 2005. Mr Beazley has miscalculated badly, very, very badly here,

and Australians will not forget that Labor stood for higher taxes.


But aren’t you concerned that Australians will see their tax policy as

being more well targeted towards middle income brackets, doubling that $6 a

week tax cut?


The Labor Party does not have a tax policy. The Labor Party stands for one

thing, higher taxes.


If Telstra is sold, should the proceeds go to regional telecommunications as

the logical first option, if needed.


Well, the important thing is to get through legislation which would enable

us to resolve the status of Telstra. It has been caught in this half-way house,

half-private, half-public now for years. We have to pass legislation to resolve

that, that is the first thing that we will do, rather than speculate on where

the proceeds will go.


Mr Costello, how is your relationship with Mr Howard at the moment?


Very good.


And will you be here this time next year?


You don’t worry about me. Don’t worry about me I will always be

working for the Australian public. We now have to work to get this Budget through.

The fact that we brought down the Budget is just the opening step. The important

thing is to get it through, and as we now know the Labor Party will try and

defeat it, and from now until the 30th of June, I will be working

every single hour to try and get this Budget through. And it has to be got through

by the 30th June, that is the deadline, and I call on the Labor Party

to pass it. Thank you.