Doorstop on IMF, GST, Mining Tax, Julia Gillard, Poker Machines

A transcript of my doorstop this morning is over the fold.

30 September 2010
TRANSCRIPT OF DR ANDREW LEIGH
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR FRASER
DOOR STOP INTERVIEW
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA

EO&E

Topics: IMF, GST, Mining Tax, Julia Gillard, Poker Machines

Andrew Leigh:

What we have seen this morning is the IMF came out with the results of its Article IV consultations. IMF Officials visited Australia in July and they have now written up their views on the Australian Economy.  And what they find is that the Australian economic is performing extraordinary well. That’s thanks in part to commodity prices and China but also because of the macro economic flexibility, reforms that past Labor Governments and critically to fiscal stimulus the Australian Labor Government put in place. 

The IMF also finds that Australia’s debt consolidation is proceeding rapidly, more rapidly than most advanced economies and the IMF strongly backs in the economic calls that Labor made in 2009.

I’ve talked to my friends who are economists in the US or the UK and you get a real sense as to what’s going on in those countries. Unemployment is going to take the best part of a decade to recover, debt loads which means that Governments don’t have any choices, they’re constrained by a tight fiscal straight jacket.

In Australia we have seen rapid fiscal stimulus but also a debt pay down which puts us in a good place to deal with Australia’s future economic challenges.

Journalist:

If you’re serious about reform why not expand the rent resource tax and look at increasing the GST, that is inevitable at some point, isn’t it?

Andrew Leigh:

Well the deal has been done over the mineral resource tax. That deal is going to deliver ten and half billion dollars in infrastructure. It’s going to ensure that we are able to cut the company tax rate, ensuring that small business are able to prosper and its going to ensure that we can also raise superannuation, providing retirement savings for many Australians. I think that’s a terrific deal and one which I’m going to be very proud to support when it comes to the floor of parliament.

Journalist:

The deal might have been done but the legislation hasn’t been passed.

Andrew Leigh:

That’s absolutely right but I think on this issue a deal is a deal. The Australia’s biggest miners have sat down and agreed to this deal and I think frankly it’s a terrific deal. It ensures that Australians regional communities …

Journalist:

(inaudible)

Andrew Leigh:

I would be very happy. I think the critical thing for people who are unemployed is having a job. The Labor Governments fiscal stimulus ensured that we had a lot more jobs than we would have had otherwise. Treasury think about 200,000 more jobs now then if we have backed in the Opposition’s plans in 2009.

Journalist:

What about raising the GST, is that inevitable at some point in the future as the population grows?

Andrew Leigh:

No … I mean an increase in the GST is firmly off the agenda. Certainly when I talk to people in Fraser they are not clamouring for an increase in the GST at the moment.

Journalist:

Well nobody ever wants an increase in tax but isn’t it a necessary reform as the mineral resources tax wasn’t really liked by everyone but you still argued it was  necessary.

Andrew Leigh:

No … I mean there are plenty of other important reforms. The big for me is cutting this company tax rate and raising superannuation contribution rates for ordinary Australians that’s going to ensure dignified retirement for thousands of Australians and I am honestly astonished as to why Tony Abbott is not willing to back in an increase in superannuation contributions from 9 to 12%. Does he really think Australians are really saving enough?

Journalist:

You came here this morning to talk about the IMF. The IMF has firmly put the GST on the agenda. Why is it not on yours?

Andrew Leigh:

The IMF is providing advice to the Australian Government, as many other people do. Its terrific to get advice from lots of different sources.

Journalist:

You’re taking what you like but you’re not willing to listen to their comments on the GST.

Andrew Leigh:

Well what I am saying is that the IMF has strongly backed in the Australian Government’s response to the fiscal stimulus. The IMF has given us advice, many other Australians and many other international agencies have given the government advice, but on this issue Labor has been clear.

Journalist:

Did Julia Gillard tell a fib yesterday when she said that not one cabinet threatened to resign and cause a by-election if they didn’t get to stay in cabinet?

Andrew Leigh:

Julia Gillard is a woman of her word.

Journalist:

What do you think about the idea of putting a fingerprint on a USB stick and using that to enable you to gamble on poker machines?

Andrew Leigh:

Well I think that Australians recognise that problem gambling is a real challenge and that sometimes problem gambling can tear apart families, it can cause personal heart ache and people recognise that we have to work out ways of dealing with problem gambling. One of those may well be pre-commitment devices. When the Productivity Commission Gambling Report came out, it said that pre-commitment devices were a cost effective and sensible way of dealing with problem gambling, so that’s a road I am comfortable going down. We have just set up a House of Representatives gambling committee so the last thing I want to do is prejudge where that committee is going to go.

Thanks very much.

(ends)

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.

Stay in touch

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter

Search



8/1 Torrens Street, Braddon ACT 2612 | 02 6247 4396 | Andrew.Leigh.MP@aph.gov.au