Sky News, Lunchtime Agenda Interview with David Lipson

Release Date: 
29 May 2015
Transcript
E&OE

DAVID LIPSON:
Thank you both for your time.  I want to look first of all to this ABS data that shows mining and non-mining investment is expected to be slashed by 21 per cent in the year ahead.    One UBS economist, Alan Tudge, says that the outlook has switched from bleak to recessionary.   Do you stand by the budget forecast of
2.75 per cent growth for the year ahead, and then 3.25 per cent the year after?

ALAN TUDGE:
We do stand by those forecasts. Certainly the figures on capital investment have been disappointing, and they're predominantly due to two things; one being the change in mining going from an investment phase to an operational phase, and secondly due to some big decisions at the state governmental level- particularly in Queensland and Victoria where they've not proceeded with some very large scale
contracts. In here of course the East West Link project, a $12 billion contract was cancelled by the Labor
Government.

DAVID LIPSON:
Doug Cameron on that issue, the East West Link, that is $12 billion that will not go to the economy.  What's your response to claims that, that is having an impact on the economy?

DOUG CAMERON:
Well this is typical of the Coalition blame anyone but their own bad economic management.  This is a Government who when they came into power were arguing that there would be an adrenalin rush because there was a Liberal Government.  Well it hasn't happened and it's not just in mining where capital expenditure is down, it's down in manufacturing, it's down in services, and this is a Government who just don't have any idea on how to manage an economy.

DAVID LIPSON:
So do you believe that the outlook is recessionary?

I don't want to start forecasting a recession because I know what that does to people's lives and what that does to people's jobs.

What I am saying is this Government has gone from one aspect of saying that the economy was like Greece and creating great uncertainty, creating great confusion in the economy. Confidence is down. This is a Government who is now actually pushing Keynesian stimulus.  People don't know what they're about, they don't know what they're doing , they are incompetent, they are chaotic.

DAVID LIPSON:
There has been a switch Alan Tudge, in the last 12 months, from a form of austerity in the first budget from Joe Hockey, to where we saw stimulus in this year's budget with the small business package.  Did the Coalition get it wrong in the first budget?

ALAN TUDGE:
We've been through this before David, and yes we made some mistakes in the first budget and last year, and we've corrected those.  We've got a very good budget here and I want to just correct a couple of points that Senator Cameron made.  He said confidence is down.  That's not right. Confidence is in fact up
6.4 per cent just in the last couple of weeks alone since the budget.

There's also some other fantastic green shoots out there.  So the capex is one dimension, and yes that's a disappointing figure in terms of capital investment.  But you look at the housing approvals, they're up 24 per cent. Retail sales are up four and a half per cent. Export volumes are up seven per cent.  Jobs growth is three to four times higher than it was in the last year of the Labor Government.

So they are all very positive things.  We've now got overall growth this year at about two and half per cent.  So we're still very optimistic about our forecasts and of course with this small business package which provides such tremendous incentives for small businesses around the world to go and invest, to go and employ, to go and create further wealth, then we're very optimistic about the future state of the economy.

DAVID LIPSON:
I want to look to another issue that burst onto the scene this week, the issue of same sex marriage.  Even before Bill Shorten's bill, which will be co-sponsored by Tanya Plibersek on Monday, we're seeing Labor MP Graham Perrett, talk to Liberal Warren Entsch about a bi-partisan bill, possibly even tri-partisan with the Greens involved.

First to you Doug Cameron, is Bill Shorten's bill on Monday, is it necessary?

DOUG CAMERON:
Yes it absolutely is necessary. Without Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek putting that bill forward we wouldn't be talking about it now. We would have the conservative forces in the Coalition trying to walk away from any commitment to equal rights for all Australians.

DAVID LIPSON:
With Tanya Plibersek co-signing the bill, it seems that she's dropped her push for a binding yes vote in the Labor Party. Would you have liked to see that debate go on and would you have liked to see a yes vote binding?

I would've like to have seen a binding vote because I don't think it is a matter of life or death, but the main thing is for Labor, and the main thing is for me, and the main thing for couples who want to get married is that we get the result. The result is the bottom line, not the process.

DAVID LIPSON:
So are you disappointed then that Tanya Plibersek has signed onto this bill with Bill Shorten because it seems that has taken the wind out of that push?

DOUG CAMERON:
I'm not disappointed at all because it's put firmly in the centre of the political debate.

DAVID LIPSON:
But it has taken some steam out of the campaign for a binding vote.

DOUG CAMERON:
But that's not the issue. The issue here is to make sure that our fellow Australians are treated the same.  If you want to get married, whether you are gay or straight, you can get the same rights.  That's fundamentally what this is about.

DAVID LIPSON:
Alan Tudge, it comes down to whether Tony Abbott will allow a conscience vote.  Some suggest the numbers are already there if he does allow that.  When should this be discussed in the party room?

ALAN TUDGE:
This will be discussed when it comes before the Parliament.  Bill Shorten is proposing a bill on Monday and that will be considered by the committee that determines the order of events in the House of Representatives.

If Bill Shorten was serious about this topic, he wouldn't be putting it forward on Monday, but rather he would be seeking the Parliament to own it and therefore having at least one government member putting it forward and one opposition member seconding that.

In fact there was a proposal I believe that Warren Entsch and Graham Perrett were going to do exactly that at some stage in the future, but I understand that Bill Shorten himself has put a lot of pressure on Graham Perrett to withdraw his support for that.  Because for Bill Shorten this is all about him…

DAVID LIPSON:
Graham Perrett denied that to me earlier today…

ALAN TUDGE:
…it's all about him.  And that's the issue it's all about him and we're dealing with the budget right now, we want to get some of the budget measures through and then let's have some proper time to deal with this other important issue.

DAVID LIPSON:
You say that it will be discussed in the party room when it is put before Parliament.  Are you saying that the bill on Monday from Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek is enough to be discussed?  I mean can we expect a discussion as early as next week?

ALAN TUDGE:
My understanding is for Private Members Bills which is effectively what this is, is that there will be a procedure to determine when it will be placed onto the agenda.  Now we've got a big programme which we want to introduce into the Parliament and get through the Parliament, and primarily those small business measures to provide tax cuts for small business, to provide those immediate tax offsets for small business which is going to do so much to boost the economy and provide confidence- the topic we were talking about before- that's our priority in the weeks ahead, then we can properly deal with this other important issue.

DAVID LIPSON:
Doug Cameron, you suggest that this is a delaying tactic?

DOUG CAMERON:
Yeah I think it is a delaying tactic.  This is a Government that can't walk and chew gum at the same
time. Surely you can deal with all the issues of the budget and deal with an issue of fundamental human rights in this country.

DAVID LIPSON:
Why the urgency though? This did seem to be moving forward. There was seemingly something that would come up later in the year, after pre-selections for example.

DOUG CAMERON:
Because I think the catalyst was the Irish vote.  Now you've got Ireland, you've got Spain, two highly religious countries giving rights to their citizens.  I think it's ridiculous Australia doesn't have equal rights for all of its citizens.

DAVID LIPSON:
Alan Tudge just finally.

ALAN TUDGE:
But Doug you know that this was about the internal dynamics of the Labor Party as well because Tanya Plibersek was proposing quite a radical change at the national conference against the wishes of Bill Shorten and was probably going to succeed. So what Bill Shorten is doing is trying to pre-empt that and discuss this and get something through now to avoid that debate…

DOUG CAMERON:
Well if that's the spin you want to put on it but the reality is get on with it…

ALAN TUDGE:
We've got our agenda, it's a small business agenda and it's the childcare and the families agenda, that needs to be done first and then let's deal with this important issue subsequently.

DAVID LIPSON:
Alan Tudge, Senator Doug Cameron, we're out of time, thank you very much for joining us.

[ENDS]