Transcript of Interview: Morning Doors, Parliament House



13 May 2014

Jamie Briggs: Well, in tonight's Budget there will be nearly $1 billion allocated to fixing the North-South Corridor in Adelaide, nearly double the amount of money we committed in the election campaign to get both projects done—both the Torrens-to-Torrens project and the Darlington project. This forms part of our growth package, it will be the centre point of the Budget this evening. Infrastructure for the 21st century is a key commitment of the Abbott Government. There will be over $10 billion in additional spending on infrastructure projects across Australia to build the economy, the capacity for future growth, to create jobs and to build a stronger Australia.

Tonight will be a responsible, a fair and a building Budget. It will be about our future, it will be about our country's future. We'll all share a burden, but we'll all benefit from a plan, which will make us stronger.

Question: Is there new money for infrastructure in this Budget? Labor argues that you're taking away from other infrastructure projects and putting it towards the ones that you prefer?

Jamie Briggs: Well, I think I just made the point that there will be over $10 billion extra in the Budget, in fact compared to Labor's commitments in the election campaign, which were some $30 billion, our commitments this evening will reach well into the $40 billion mark. So far more infrastructure investment by us to ensure that we've got the infrastructure of the 21st century. Commitments to the WestConnex project in Sydney, WestConnex stage two, not just stage one. East West in Melbourne—stage two, not just stage one. Both projects in Adelaide, the Perth freight link, introducing private sector involvement in Perth for the first time, all new projects in the Budget tonight, all part of building the capacity for a stronger economy.

Question: These are all long-term measures; are there any short-term sweeteners in the Budget we should know about?

Jamie Briggs: These are all short-term measures. These are projects which will get underway very soon. They're all part of a Growth Package that will be the centre of the Budget this evening.

Question: The Treasurer says that the overall tax boom will be lower, but how will you sell that to the public when they see their fuel prices rising and pay money to go and see a GP?

Jamie Briggs: Well, I would say, let's see the Budget, let's see the whole narrative this evening, but I'm convinced that people will see a budget that's responsible, a budget that is fair and a budget that is about building.

Question: Do you think the public will see it like that, do you think that they'll buy that argument?

Jamie Briggs: I think they will. They elected us to fix the Budget crisis we were left by Labor. We're doing that this evening. We're putting in place measures to ensure that Australia is stronger, we've got a stronger economy, a Budget that lives within our means in a responsible and fair way and we're building a stronger Australia.

Question: Are you encouraged that the Greens are supporting the increase in the fuel taxes?

Jamie Briggs: Well, let's see what the Budget papers say this evening and then we'll no doubt have the legislation before the Parliament.

Question: Let's be—hypothetically, if there was to be an increase in the fuel tax, the Greens say they will support it. Is that encouraging?

Jamie Briggs: Well, you guys can get into hypotheticals; I'm getting into the business of a responsible, fair and balanced Budget.

Question: The Greens have said—they suggest that they will support it.

Jamie Briggs: Well, let's see what happens after this evening and we'll talk about the legislation tomorrow when we know the full measures in the Budget.

Question: When it comes to pre-budget leaks, there have been some consumer indexes that show that consumer confidence is down because of the Budget speculation and markets as well. Some business markets concerned about how it's been sold. Do you think you need to I know it's been done by both sides in politics forever, but do you concede that it has scared the horses?

Jamie Briggs: Well, if journalists in Canberra are doing their job too well, Laura, then if we can put an end to that then that's a good idea.

Question: Are you embarrassed that your government claimed enforcing a pay freeze on politicians as a way of sharing the burden when in fact that was going to happen anyway?

Jamie Briggs: Not at all. I think what we've done is put in place measures across the Budget to ensure everyone shares the burden and politicians are not exempt. Politicians also live in the normal reality of whatever changes we make this evening. We'll face the increase in tax if indeed that's part of the Budget, we'll pay for fuel prices, if indeed that's part of the Budget. Everyone will share a burden for the mess that Labor left. So we proudly say tonight the Budget's about fixing the crisis we found, it's a responsible budget, it's a fair budget and it's a building budget.

Question: Scrapping the gold pass for travel for ex-pollies is that a political stunt?

Jamie Briggs: Well look, I think it is something which the community has found to be unacceptable and in that sense we've listened to what the community have said.

Question: Did David Johnston not get that message after he organised a VIP from Perth for $140,000?

Jamie Briggs: Look, I think there are far more pressing issues today in relation to the future of our country and what you'll see again tonight is a responsible budget, a fair budget and a budget that builds a stronger Australia.

Thanks guys.