PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
THURSDAY, 8 OCTOBER 2020
SUBJECTS: Federal Budget; Support for women; Childcare; Tax cuts; Changes to partner visas.
JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW TREASURER: Tuesday night's budget was a massive missed opportunity to lay out a vision for the future. Tonight, Anthony Albanese will be providing the economic leadership that was so lacking in Tuesday night's budget. What the Australian people wanted to see in the budget was not just a trillion dollars in debt, not just unemployment too high for too long, they wanted to see what the future looks like. Anthony Albanese knows that we need to rebuild this economy in a way that makes it better, stronger and more inclusive after the crisis than it was before COVID-19. That's what tonight will be all about.
JOURNALIST: How are you going to support women?
CHALMERS: One of the most conspicuous absences from the budget on Tuesday nightwas the Government managed to rack up a trillion dollars in debt and still left Australian women behind. That was an obvious gap in the budget we'll be talking more about that this morning when we release our women's budget statement, we'll have more to say about that. But it beggar’s belief that the Government can rack up a trillion dollars in debt, spray all of that money around, and not do anything substantial for Australia women.
JOURNALIST: On childcare, the Government's already giving lower income families an 85 per cent rebate. Is that not enough?
CHALMERS: We'll have more to say between now and the next election on childcare. Childcare was a conspicuous absence from Tuesday night's budget. It's extraordinary that Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg don't understand the pressure on Australian families and particularly on Australian women having to make that choice between working and paying for childcare. We've said for some time that that is an issue that needs to be addressed in this country. What you will hear tonight from Anthony Albanese is a plan to make sure that nobody is left behind in this recession, and nobody is held back in the recovery. Australian women are key to that.
JOURNALIST: Have you had the chance to look at the tax bill in full now and are you going to be supporting it?
CHALMERS: We spent a lot of time going through the tax bill as you'd expect. Our inclination is to support it. We'd like to be in position to support the tax bill in its entirety, but there's a lot of money tied up in that tax bill. There's a lot of complexity. When it comes to things like the research and development tax incentive, which has been badly botched in the past and we don’t want to see it badly botched again in the future. So subject to all of that work, we expect to be able to support the Government's Omnibus Tax Bill. But I think Australians have a right to expect that when we're talking about stupendous amounts of money, that we will take the time available to us to make sure that the implementation will be right, that the design is right and the money is spent effectively.
JOURNALIST: Just on the budget changes to partnership visas, what do you make of that?
CHALMERS: Look, I'm happy to leave commentary on that to Kristina Keneally and other colleagues.
JOURNALIST: You don't think it's unfair that there's talk of migrant partners overseas who don't speak English not being able to come to Australia with that 500 hours of English. Do you think it's unfair?
CHALMERS: I do think it's unfair, I think it’s cruel and I think it's inappropriate. But beyond that, I'm happy to leave the commentary to others. Thanks very much.