MONDAY, 26 MAY 2014
SUBJECT/S: Federal Budget, The Speaker
JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: There’ll be no refuge for Coalition MPs from the white-hot anger in their electorate over this Budget, which is built on lies and which makes it harder for good people who are just trying to make ends meet.
This Budget makes it harder for people when they fill up at the petrol pump, when they go to the doctor, when they try and buy their medicine and for that reason, Labor will fight the unfair measures in this budget every step of the way.
Joe Hockey calls this a Budget blueprint, but his colleagues are already calling it a Budget bellyflop.
The Liberal Party is already tearing itself apart over this Budget – over the unfair measures in this Budget. There’ll be no refuge for them from their electorates, from the white-hot anger over a Budget which is built on lies and which makes it harder for good people who are trying to make ends meet.
When it comes to the Speaker; the Speaker has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the bovver boys in the Liberal Party. The Speaker has become a symbol of all that is wrong with Tony Abbott’s Liberal Party – its divisiveness and its swaggering arrogance. And it says everything about the Liberal Party that on the same night that Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott were making it harder for people to make ends meet, that the Speaker was in her suite, clinking the champagne glasses with wealthy donors.
JOURNALIST: What should happen to Bronwyn Bishop?
CHALMERS: Tony Burke has said that if these stories are true then her position is untenable. I think it does go to the very core of her credibility as the Speaker. When Christopher Pyne and others were in Opposition they talked about an independent Speaker, they talked about a fair Speaker and like a lot of things that they talked about before the election, those commitments have turned to dust.
The Speaker has become a symbol of all that is wrong with Tony Abbott’s Liberal Party – the divisiveness, the way that she’s become a wholly owned subsidiary of the bovver boys on that side of the Parliament.
JOURNALIST: Labor spent weeks attacking the Coalition over the deficit tax, saying it’s a broken promise. Now you’re supporting it. That’s a bit opportunistic, isn’t it?
CHALMERS: Well, when it comes to the deficit levy, Senator Wong has said that we won’t stand in the way of that passing. The reason for that is we have bigger fights to fight. We will stand up and fight for pensioners. We will stand up for people that need to visit the doctor, that need to pay for medicine, for motorists filling up at the pump, for students.
So we have bigger fights to fight. We’ve said that we won’t stand in the way of the deficit levy. We were vehemently opposed to it when it cut in at $80,000 as was originally mooted. It now kicks in at $180,000. We won’t stand in the way of that, but we will fight the unfair measures around pensions, hospitals and schools, medicines and more.
JOURNALIST: How about the fuel tax? The Coalition says that it’s only going to add 40 cents every time you fill up, why is Labor rejecting that?
CHALMERS: Well, this just goes to the core of the response from Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott, since the community just went absolutely berserk about this Budget – for good reason. Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey have got this response which is – what are you on about?
What we’re on about is all the lies that were told before the election, the broken promises, the twisted priorities. If they had any idea whatsoever what it’s like out there in middle Australia, they’d know that families can’t afford this combination of more expensive petrol, more expensive GP visits, more expensive medicines and less money into their schools and hospitals.
JOURNALIST: Has Tony Burke got egg on his face, given the front page of the Sydney papers regarding this drug dealer?
CHALMERS: My understanding is that the claims made in that article are not true. That Tony was referring on a request made by someone who had visited him in his office. He will, no doubt, respond to that story in his own time, but my understanding is certainly that the way that representation is described in that article is not right.