12 November 2015
Transcript - #2015046, 2015

Doorstop interview, Canberra

SUBJECTS: Unemployment rate falls to 5.9%; providing real opportunities for Australians who want to work, save and invest; National Platform for Economic Growth and Jobs; Labor Party’s pessimism; Julie Bishop

QUESTION:

What is your reaction to the jobs figures today?

TREASURER:

Obviously, we are very pleased that 58,600 more Australians went into work in October. The Government’s plan, our platform, is all about securing stronger growth and more jobs in our economy and to see those results is particularly pleasing for those who are benefitting from that employment. I particularly want to commend the businesses that have employed them, the young people that have got into jobs with a further fall in youth unemployment. I want to commend those young people for getting out there and taking those opportunities and getting themselves into work. Right across the board, we are seeing people get into these jobs. That's something that's fantastic because that is the best thing that we can achieve together as a country, is to give people the opportunity of employment because when you're in a job you have greater control over your own future, the choices you want to make, the support that you want to provide as a family. These are very good things for our country but they're most important for those who have been able to get themselves into work.

QUESTION:

Does the new government take any credit for it?

TREASURER:

These figures are released every month, as you know. The numbers will speak for themselves and people will make their own commentary and analysis of them. I'm just pleased more Australians are getting into work. Our policies, our platform for growth and jobs, is focused on these types of outcomes. We know Australians are out there working hard, they are saving and they are investing. Our plans and policies are about backing them to do just that. So, I congratulate them - the businesses that employed the 58,600 people who got jobs in October and the people who took on those jobs. They are the heroes of the economy.

QUESTION:

Do you think it's appropriate for Murray Hansen to have attended…

TREASURER:

Why don't we talk about this issue? If there are any other questions on employment, I am happy to take those or other economic issues. When people want to talk about politics, I will go to that later.

QUESTION:

A number of business groups have said Malcolm Turnbull has had an effect on business and on confidence in general. With the unemployment rate going down, do you think the change in leadership has some part to play in that?

TREASURER:

We'd be drawing no conclusions on those commentaries. Others will make commentaries about these things. The facts are that we have seen a significant increase in both consumer and business confidence over the last couple of months. We welcome that and we welcome the fact Australians are responding positively to their opportunities because this has been a missing ingredient, what Glenn Stevens refers to as the ‘animal spirits of the economy’, and to see Australians more confident. I mean the survey we had yesterday showed that there are more Australians confident about the economy, optimistic about the economy, than there are pessimists on the economy. The pessimists on the economy seem to only occupy the opposition benches in this building but the Government is sharing the confidence of the Australian people.

QUESTION:

Is it possible for the Government to achieve a million jobs in five years as was the promise?

TREASURER:

It's my job to ensure as many Australians get into a job as possible. That's why I come to work every day, to ensure that more Australians can get into work. We are backing Australians who are working and saving and investing.

QUESTION:

Do you think a GST hike could damage that confidence?

TREASURER:

The Coalition's record is that when we engage in changing the tax system, we make it a better system, that we lift the burdens off Australians, that we improve the economic performance of the economy and that the Australian people benefit from the changes that we make. When we engage in changing the tax system, we cut taxes, we make the economy stronger. That's why you do it. You do it to build growth in the economy and to support jobs in the economy. We wouldn't contemplate any proposals at the end of the day that don't meet those objectives.

QUESTION:

One of your colleagues Eric Abetz is questioning the idea of a GST increase. He says it doesn't make sense to increase taxes and then compensate households. The Government is saying that you want all discussions on the table, nothing has been opted in or out but you do have colleagues coming out and saying they are bad ideas.

TREASURER:

Well, what the Government has contemplated in terms of all the things that are on the table - it is a pretty big table and there are a lot of things on it - but go on the Coalition's record, of course, which Senator Abetz was part of the Government that actually did engage in tax system reform and delivered all the cuts in state and territory taxes and resulted in improvements in the economy that saw personal income taxes reduced. You engage in these issues to grow the economy and grow jobs. You do it so you can see the sorts of results we've seen for these latest employment figures. It's not my job to commentate on those figures, it's my job to continue to try and improve those figures.

QUESTION:

Can I ask about Murray Hansen? Was it appropriate for him to be at a meeting that was plotting to bring down Tony Abbott?

TREASURER:

The Deputy Leader has already responded to those questions and so I think she has canvassed all those issues and covered them comprehensively. I will leave you to her comments.

QUESTION:

Do you think it is appropriate for a Deputy leader to have a representative at a meeting like that? Is that loyal behaviour?

TREASURER:

As the Foreign Minister said, she was getting about her job. She is an outstanding Deputy leader, always has been, served many leaders very faithfully and very loyally. She has always been one who has had her ear very tightly attuned to other colleagues - all colleagues. That's the job of a Deputy Leader - to listen to the colleagues and to relay faithfully the views of the colleagues to the leadership. That's her job. Julie Bishop does a fantastic job, whether it's as Deputy Leader or Foreign Minister. She is an outstanding Minister in this Government and it's a privilege to serve with her.

Thank you.