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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

Doorstop – Budget

Transcript No. 2001/057






Tuesday, 22 May 2001

8.30 am



Well Treasurer there has been a lot of leaks, are there any surprises left today?


Look, there has been a lot of speculation about what is going to be in tonight’s

Budget. We will all know in a few hours time, but what we would like to do is, we would

like to ensure that Australians share in the benefit of good economic management. Our

Government has been working hard on economic management, getting the Budget right,

bringing interest rates down, giving people better job opportunities. And tonight we can

have some more benefits for people from good, sound, economic management – strengthening

our economy, building our health system – a prudent Government, returning benefits to

Australian citizens where they need help.


Is this a move away from the tight fiscal policy we have seen over the last 5 years?


This is going to be a prudent Government. Over the last 5 years, as you know, we have

cleaned up Beazley’s mess. When I became Treasurer, of course, the Budget deficits

were about $13 billion, $10 billion, and we said that Australia should live within its

means, that we should have balanced Budgets, and that has been a cornerstone of our

economic management. It is one we intend to continue.


This seems to be a Budget, though, of social spending and spending up big before the

election, targeting those key Coalition areas of support?


Actually, the biggest measures in the Budget tonight are cutting taxes. There is $5

billion worth of tax cuts in there…


Which is great for big business and Coalition supporters.


Well, it’s not just great for big business. For example, financial institutions

duty is paid by every single Australian. Every time they put money into a bank account

they are taxed, and on 1 July we abolish that tax. You are no longer taxed for putting

money in your bank account. Millions of Australians profit from tax cuts like that, and

the biggest measures in this Budget are in fact tax cuts because now that we have reformed

the taxation system, we can continue to cut taxes.


Treasurer, the Reserve Bank Governor said that corporate balance sheets are very

healthy in this country, why do they need a tax cut?


Well, we want to make sure that Australian companies can grow and be strong in

Australia. The thing you have got to remember, is, other countries are in competition,

they are offering incentives to business, we want Australian companies, here in Australia,

creating jobs for Australians and building our country. And that is why we want to have a

good corporate taxation system.