Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance
JOURNALIST: Minister your comments about Bill Shorten and his girlie economic attitude. Do you regret making those comments at all?
MINISTER FOR FINANCE: No I don't. I used a bit of humour to make a very serious point. The serious point is that here we have Bill Shorten promising that he would deliver a Budget surplus more quickly than the Coalition, when he was part of the Government that created the mess that we are now dealing with; When he is leading the Labor party which is opposing most of our measures to repair the Budget mess that Labor left behind. Bill Shorten doesn't even have what it takes to get Labor to support their own savings which they initiated and banked in their Budget under the leadership of Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd. So people across Australia well understand what it is that I was saying. I used a bit of humour, playing on my accent and of course, there was absolutely no intention to reflect on girls. The intention was entirely to reflect on Bill Shorten and his lack of performance when it comes to doing what needs to be done to repair the Budget.
JOURNALIST: But you have used the word girls to designate lack of performance, to designate weakness.
MINISTER FOR FINANCE: Well I haven't actually. I have used a terminology that has been previously used by somebody else, referencing a very well known expression used by somebody else. It was a bit of humour to make a very serious point. And the serious point is that Bill Shorten is standing in the way of our Government fixing the mess that the Government that he was a part of left behind. Here we have Bill Shorten promising that he would bring the Budget back to surplus sooner. He can't even get Labor to support their own savings that they themselves initiated and banked in their last Budget. It is very important for people across Australia to understand what the Labor Party under Bill Shorten's leadership right now is doing when it comes to undermining future opportunities for our children and grandchildren, forcing them to accept lower living standards because Bill Shorten seems to think it is appropriate for us to keep borrowing from our children and grandchildren in order to fund our lifestyle today. He seems to be thinking it is appropriate for us to keep borrowing from our children and grandchildren, forcing them to accept lower living standards in order to make up the cost of Labor's debt and deficit disaster.
JOURNALIST: You say it is a phrase people know but there has been more focus on the phrase and the connotations rather than the message that you're trying to get across.
MINISTER FOR FINANCE: I don't agree. I think that people understand it is a bit of humour to make a serious point that needed making. And the serious point is that Bill Shorten is out there promising that he will bring the Budget back to surplus sooner than the Coalition would, when he was a senior member of the Government that left a debt and deficit disaster behind, a debt and disaster that will reduce opportunity for our children and grandchildren instead of strengthening opportunity. We are here working hard to repair the damage that Labor did to our public finances. Labor under Bill Shorten's leadership is not only opposing most of our savings in order to repair the Budget mess they left behind, Bill Shorten is not even able to convince Labor to support Labor's own savings. Savings that they themselves initiated and banked in their Budget. That was the very important point that I was seeking to make with a little bit of humour. Thank you.