Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance
ANDREW ROCHFORD: The Treasurer's right hand man, Finance Minister, Mathias Cormann is here. Minister, no surprises, no excuses no new taxes, that was the slogan that you were elected on, doesn't sound like you stuck to your promises there.
MATHIAS CORMANN: We don't think that anyone across Australia will be surprised that in government we are doing what needs to be done to repair the Budget. We are certainly not making any excuses. We are taking full responsibility for the plan that we put forward last night. We think it is an honest Budget. It is a fair Budget. It is a Budget that starts to rebuild the economy, to build a stronger more prosperous economy and to repair the Budget.
GORGI COGHLAN: Well it does sound like some promises have been broken Minister. Can we just go back to Tony Abbott talking on radio during the election campaign, last year. Have a listen to this.
TONY ABBOTT (EXCERPT): If we do win the election and we immediately say, aw we got it all wrong, we now have got to do all these different things, we will instantly be just as bad as the current government has been and I just refuse to be like that.
GORGI COGHLAN: Minister are you embarrassed by that now?
MATHIAS CORMANN: Not at all. We are not being like the last government was and indeed at the end of the day, what we have put forward last night is a Budget that is in the national interest. We have reviewed all the information, we have assessed all the options we have made judgements that we think are right for our country, that help strengthen our country. Now in two and a half years time, there will be another election and people across Australia will have the chance to pass judgment on our performance and if, in their view, we have made the right decisions, we have made the fair decisions, we have made decisions to strengthen Australia, hopefully they will give us another go for another three years. If they think that there is a better alternative no doubt, they will make a different decision.
TODD SAMPSON: Minister, we all know that the Budget is a product that needs to be sold, and there has been plenty of selling today and I know a little bit about selling, do you assume that the market is not going to see through the spin?
MATHIAS CORMANN: We are being absolutely open and honest with the Australian people. We have inherited a Budget in a mess. We have inherited a spending growth trajectory which was unsustainable. It was going to take Federal Government spending from $409 billion this year to $690 billion within the decade. If we had kept that trajectory going we would have to have massively increase taxes, which would have weakened our economy, which would have caused significant job losses. What we are doing in this Budget is put us back on to a more sustainable spending growth trajectory so that our economy is going to be strong and resilient into the future.
ANDREW ROCHFORD: Minister you just started that by saying you are being open and honest now. No one is arguing that. The big problem is that we have sat there and potentially voted for you to get in to power and we are concerned now that you weren't open and honest when you were getting us to vote for you.
MATHIAS CORMANN: I believe we were. As I said before at the end of the day people in two and a half years will have the opportunity to pass judgment as to whether they agree with us or whether they agree with the implication of your question.
GORGI COGHLAN: Minister lets go to our viewers. We put a couple of questions out to our viewers today. Let's talk about youth unemployment first of all. It is chronic and in some areas it is up to 30 per cent, so Deborah on Facebook asks you: 'How can you make under 30s wait for six months for benefits when there is not enough jobs?'
MATHIAS CORMANN: We don't think that young people should go straight from school onto the dole. We think young people should either earn or learn or work for the dole. We think that in the circumstances it is quite appropriate to have a waiting period before a young person goes on to welfare. That is a very deliberate decision. Obviously it is not a decision we are making in isolation. We are making a whole series of decisions to strengthen economic growth, to create more jobs to make the economy more resilient and more prosperous so that everybody has got the opportunity to get ahead.
ANDREW ROCHFORD: Well there is a lot of people around the country that hope you're right and in two and a half years time I am sure they will be reassessing this Budget. Minister we appreciate your time tonight.
MATHIAS CORMANN: Always good to be here.