Senator the Hon. Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance
Date: Monday, 23 December 2013
Labor Leader Bill Shorten should reflect on the sound advice he received from former Cabinet Minister Craig Emerson over the weekend that Labor must help repair the budget mess they left behind.
Calling on Labor to help repair the budget in an Opinion piece in The Australian on Saturday, while Craig Emerson gets some things wrong, he is right when he says:
"The opposition needs to play its part instead of blocking the passage of its own 2013-14 budget measures...
... It would be to the shared credit of the Coalition and Labor to work together on budget repair."
Labor left us with a massive $123 billion of cumulative deficits and gross debt heading for an unprecedented $667 billion.
After six years of Labor waste and mismanagement the budget is in urgent need of repair.
What Craig Emerson is wrong about is the need for the Coalition Government to go back on its election promises to repair the Budget. We outlined about $42 billion worth of sensible savings at the last election and we are implementing those savings. All but one is reflected in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook released last week.
Bill Shorten and Labor in Parliament have been blocking $20 billion of these sensible savings measures to start that repair job.
These savings were all endorsed by the Australian people at the last election.
Extraordinarily, Labor's blocked savings includes $5 billion of savings they themselves initiated and banked in their last budget, but failed to legislate in time before the last election.
There is an opportunity for Bill Shorten to heed Craig Emerson's advice early in the New Year, act in the national interest and pass all the savings measures currently blocked by Labor in Parliament.
While he is at it, he should also support our plans to build a stronger more prosperous economy by scrapping the carbon tax and the mining tax.
Stronger growth will not only lead to increased prosperity for the nation, it will also boost government revenue, which also helps repair the budget mess Labor left behind.
Karen Wu - 0428 350 139