Doorstop Interview, Minsterial Entrance, Parliament House

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Doorstop Interview, Minsterial Entrance, Parliament House



Minsterial Entrance

Parliament House, Canberra

Tuesday, 17 June, 2003
8.30 am


SUBJECTS: Tax Cuts, Labor Party, Property Market, Iraq


Well on the first of July, 9 million Australians will be receiving an income

tax cut. Every Australian income tax payer will have their income tax cut from

1 July, for some people on say, $35,000 it will be a $200 a year tax cut, for

others on $25,000 it will be $300 per year, and every single Australian will

have their income tax cut. In addition to that of course the Government did

lay down additional spending in this Budget in relation to health and education,

but the fact that the Government is now able to cut income taxes is a payoff

from strong economic management. And strong economic management will continue

to deliver good services to Australians with the lowest tax base which is consistent

with that. And that is the Government’s policy. Unlike all of the state Labor

Governments which are increasing taxes, the Federal Liberal-National Government

is cutting taxes as a payoff for strong economic management.


Treasurer, what do you think of the prospect of Mark Latham possibly becoming

your shadow?


Well the problem for the Labor Party of course is they have completely

failed on economic policy now for seven years and go back to the Hawke-Wran

review, the Hawke-Wran review said Labor’s failure at the last election was

economic policy. And who was in charge of it? Simon Crean. So, until Labor can

support the Government with its program in the Senate, until it gives away this

stupid opportunism that it goes on with, voting against all of the Government

Bills, until it can support the Liberal-National Coalition economic policy,

they are not going to make any inroads in relation to economic issues. They

need credibility.


They supported the tax cut though didn’t they?


Well it is very interesting what the Labor Party did. They whinged and complained

all the way through the Senate, taking their lead from Mr Crean, they whinged

and complained that this was a Government that was cutting taxes and then demanded

increased spending. Now let me make this point. Let me make it very clearly

for the Labor Party. You can’t increase your spending and cut your taxes. Every

time you hear the Labor Party whinge and complain for more spending here or

there, remember this, they’re whingeing and complaining for higher taxes. That

is what Labor stands for.


(inaudible) to give them economic credibility?


Mr Latham has no economic credibility. None at all.


Treasurer, a week or so ago the RBA Governor raised a (inaudible) balance between

the poor global outlook and also the concern about another rate cut, possibly

exacerbating the house market. Is that a real possibility if the next rate cut

is downward?


Look all I would say to people in relation to the property market is that property

has been a good investment over the years but you have got to bear in mind that

sometimes prices can overheat. Sometimes they can go higher than they will stand

during a correction period and people have to bear that in mind. There is no

investment which is a one-way bet all the time. There are corrections in markets,

you have seen it in relation to stock markets and it can happen in property

markets too, and people have to bear that in mind.


Do you have any concerns over the quality of intelligence used to justify the

war in Iraq?


Well I believe that Australia’s intelligence agencies are very professional.

I believe that they had access to international sources, and I believe that

they rendered proper analysis in relation to that. Now, other than that I don’t

scrutinise these things on a minute by minute basis but I do believe they are

professional agencies, yes.


Is it worth having an inquiry to remove any doubt?


I don’t know that the inquiry would show anything other than that the advice

that was coming from the agencies was consistent with what the Government was

relaying. You are only as good as your best advice and the best advice which

was coming from reputable agencies. Thanks.