Interview with Kieran Gilbert – Sky News AM Agenda – Wednesday 14 May 2014






SUBJECT/S: The Abbott Government’s Budget of Broken Promises

KIERAN GILBERT: Now for more reaction here in Canberra we’ve got Labor Frontbencher, the Shadow Communications Minister Jason Clare. Jason Clare good morning to you.


GILBERT: In your portfolio I guess the fact that the Australia Network has been axed as expected that didn’t really come as much of a surprise in terms of the ABC did it?

CLARE: It’s another broken promise. This budget was full of broken promises. I’d call it a House of Cards: it’s built on lies. It’s not just the Australia Network or the ABC or SBS that’s been cut. Tony Abbott promised no cuts to the education, he’s cut education by $30 billion. He promised no cuts to health, he’s cut health by $50 billion. He promised no changes to the pension, well he’s effectively cut the pension and he promised no cuts the ABC or SBS and he’s cut the ABC and SBS. This is an issue of trust Kieran, he’s broken all these promises.

GILBERT: He hasn’t cut the pension has he because the suggested change of indexing to inflation as opposed to average weekly wages that’s not going to come in until 2017 so there’s an election between now and then.

CLARE: He’s booked it. It’s in the budget, it’s in the forward estimates.

GILBERT: From 2017, after the election.

CLARE: It’s in the budget, it determines what the numbers say. As Seniors Australia told you this morning, it’s a cut in real terms. If we had done this four years ago then a pensioner today would have one and a half thousand dollars less a year. Pensioners don’t get a lot of money, about $20,000 a year, by doing this it means about one and a half thousand dollars less a year for Australian pensioners. That is a cruel and unfair cut.

GILBERT: On the issue of the GP co-payment, I spoke to the Treasurer, he pointed out that there are various safety nets including the fact that it only applies for the first ten visits and that beyond that it’s free. Is that a modest contribution that should be made to make the whole thing sustainable?

CLARE: Kieran it means sick people are going to get sicker. It’s not what I’m saying it’s what doctors are saying, they are saying to me, to others, that people will put off going to the doctor and where this will hit hardest is in Western Sydney. The top ten electorates right across the country for bulk billing are right across

Western Sydney.

In my electorate 98 percent of people when they go to the doctor are bulk billed that means almost all of those people are going to have to cough up when they go to the doctor. So it’s going to hit hard and it will hit hardest in Western Sydney, the place where Tony Abbott said he was the champion. They’re the ones that are going to cop this the hardest.

GILBERT: Western Sydney is going to benefit from a big chunk of the infrastructure spent. Surely you’d welcome that?

CLARE: This is a bit of a three card trick. He’s cutting money from public transport to put it into roads, jacking up a petrol tax and people that have to travel the furthest are going to have to pay the most. A lot of people in Western Sydney have to use their cars so they’re going to cop this increased petrol tax.

It’s a bit like a tradie tax because tradesman out there that have to use their ute or their car to get to work are going to have to pay the petrol tax and then they are going to have to work now until they’re a cripple. Tony Abbott has targeted the people that have supported him in the last election, I think they’ll be very upset with these broken promises.

GILBERT: Well you working until someone is a cripple. The argument is that people with the support of the $10,000 bonus for employers to help people move into various other jobs that that’s the way we’ve got to think about the workforce now according to the Treasurer and the Government that’s part of the thinking that we’ve got to plan for an ageing population.

CLARE: Do you really think that’s going to work? Cultural change is hard and as Chris Bowen said this morning no one else in the OECD is doing this. They’re trying to do this faster than the Commission of Audit said. Effectively what you are doing is telling people work until you drop and for people who do hard jobs on the tools, tradesman out there, I think this is just unfair and bad policy.

GILBERT: Is there anything in the budget that like?

CLARE: I think the Border Force that they are putting in place is a good idea. I wish I had thought of that. In fact I did think of it. I announced it in July last year. It was the first stage of reform to Customs.

GILBERT: So you were going to implement, it if Labor was still in office, a Border Force bringing Customs into the Immigration Department?

CLARE: I announced the Border Force in July and I said the next stage of that is one badge on the border. Bringing together all of the agencies who provide border protection at the airport and ports into one agency. I said that was stage two. Scott Morrison is doing that now and I congratulate him for it. There are a lot of things the government are doing that are ripping up the things we did as a government. I’m glad that the government has seen the wisdom of this policy and is implementing it.

GILBERT: Jason Clare I appreciate your time.

CLARE: Thank you.