Doorstop - Parliament House (4)

05 December 2014


SUBJECT/S: Joe Hockey; Budget shambles

JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: “Joe’s on the nose” because his budget stinks. He ends the year a much diminished figure in a divided and dysfunctional government. That’s why we say that “Joe’s on the nose” because his budget stinks.

When it comes to weakness in the Australian economy, Joe Hockey’s Budget is not the solution, it’s part of the problem. We say that you can’t cut your way to prosperity the way that Joe Hockey intends. We call on him to release his mini-budget sooner rather than later – as soon as possible, so that he can start again with a blank page, so that he can understand that you don’t improve the weaknesses in the Australian economy by attacking low and middle income earners.

The fog of chaos and confusion and incompetence that envelopes the Abbott Government emanates from Joe Hockey’s office. His colleagues now, as we see in the papers, are openly speculating about his replacement over the Christmas period. He is “on the nose” because his budget stinks. He should start over again immediately, because when it comes to weakness in the Australian economy, he’s not the solution, his Budget is the problem.

JOURNALIST: The Government is saying that Labor is sabotaging the Budget. What would be your solution to try and fix it then if you don’t agree with what they’re trying to do?

CHALMERS: That’s an absurd suggestion. The Labor Party has agreed to well over $20 billion of savings in this budget round. We don’t agree with things that are inconsistent with our values. We don’t agree with jacking up the price of petrol and medicine. We don’t agree with a GP tax. We don’t agree with $100,000 university degrees.

So we have played a constructive role where we can, but where the unfairness in the Abbott budget is inconsistent with our values, we have opposed them. Our commitment to the Australian people in my community and right around the country is that we will continue to stand up for them against a budget which is harsh and unfair, and against cuts which make no sense in a weak Australian economy.

Thank you.