Abbott Emphasises Government’s Budget Strategy As Polls Head South

Amid a hostile reaction to proposals from the Audit Commission and opinion polls showing the government trailing the ALP, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has sought to focus attention on the government’s overall budget strategy.

In his weekly video message, Abbott concentrated on the Budget deficit and said “we must again live within our means, as we did in the Howard years”.

Abbott said all Australians needed to “chip in” so that the “legacy of debt” from the ALP can be controlled. He said: “Beyond a certain point, you don’t control debt; debt controls you.”

Abbott sought to move beyond short-term self-interest: “The Budget shouldn’t be about how much will be in our pockets today or tomorrow, it should be about our country and its future – and our ability to sustain for the long term important services and the social security net that is so important.”

The Prime Minister’s comments came as a Galaxy poll in News Corporation newspapers showed the ALP leading the government by 52-48% on a two-party-preferred basis, a fall of 2% for the government. The coalition’s primary vote slipped 4% from 43% in March to 39% last week. The poll shows the ALP’s primary vote unchanged on 37%.

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Text of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s weekly video message.

A message from the Prime Minister – Our Economic Action Strategy

In recent weeks, as I’ve met people across Australia and read their letters and emails, I’ve been asked why do we need to make big changes in this Budget? [Read more…]


The Case For Change: Joe Hockey’s Pre-Budget Speech To The Spectator Australia

The Treasurer, Joe Hockey, says the government will release the Commission of Audit report on May 1, in advance of the May 13 Budget which he says will begin a repair job on the nation’s finances.

Hockey made the announcement during a speech at an event organised by The Spectator Australia. He also spoke with the British journalist and chairman of Spectator Magazines, Andrew Neil.

Hockey-Neil

Hockey said all Australians had to contribute to the “heavy lifting” needed to get the Budget “back on track”. He said the fiscal consolidation programme to be announced in the Budget “will establish a clear path back to a surplus of 1 per cent of GDP by 2024″.

The Treasurer released a table of the largest government programmes and their associated costs. He said the Age Pension already takes up 10% of all Commonwealth spending, with aged care now the 8th largest category. With concessional recipients responsible for 80% of spending on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, Hockey seemed to be hinting at changes in this area in the Budget.

He said Australia had a “serious spending problem” and that “our biggest costs are also our fastest growing”.

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Text of Treasurer Joe Hockey’s Address to a function organised by The Spectator Australia.

The Case For Change

Hockey

Introduction

I am delighted to be here today as a guest of the Spectator Magazine.

As many of you would know, the Spectator Magazine in the UK has a long and distinguished record of commenting on politics and current affairs.

The magazine was first published way back in the nineteenth century, in 1828. I am told the 186-year history makes it the oldest English language magazine in the world. [Read more…]


Interest Rates Remain On Hold As Reserve Bank Sees “Period Of Stability”

The Reserve Bank of Australia has left interest rates unchanged for the eighth consecutive month.

At its board meeting today, the RBA left the cash rate at 2.5%. The rate was last changed in August last year.

The Reserve’s Governor, Glenn Stevens, said rates were unlikely to change in the near future: “In the Board’s judgement, monetary policy is appropriately configured to foster sustainable growth in demand and inflation outcomes consistent with the target. On present indications, the most prudent course is likely to be a period of stability in interest rates.”

Statement from the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Glenn Stevens.

Statement by Glenn Stevens, Governor: Monetary Policy Decision

At its meeting today, the Board decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 2.5 per cent.

Growth in the global economy was a bit below trend in 2013, but there are reasonable prospects of a pick-up this year. The United States economy, while affected by adverse weather, continues its expansion and the euro area has begun a recovery from recession, albeit a fragile one. Japan has recorded a significant pick-up in growth. China’s growth remains generally in line with policymakers’ objectives, though it may have slowed a little in early 2014. Commodity prices have declined from their peaks but in historical terms remain high. [Read more…]


G20 Finance Ministers Commit To 2% GDP Growth Target

The G20 Finance Ministers have committed to a collective growth rate of 2% above the current trajectory over the next five years.

Hockey

Speaking after the meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in Sydney, Treasurer Joe Hockey said: “Realistically, these policies could mean an extra US$2 trillion in global economic activity and tens of millions of additional jobs.”

Each country in the group has agreed to deliver a comprehensive growth strategy as part of the Brisbane Leaders Summit in November.

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Media release from the Treasurer, Joe Hockey.

CONCLUSION OF G20 FINANCE MINISTERS AND CENTRAL BANK GOVERNORS MEETING IN SYDNEY

Today marks the conclusion of the first G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Sydney, which is the first on Australia’s soil as part of our host year.

In an unprecedented statement, the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors committed to implement policies to grow our collective GDP by more than 2 per cent above the current trajectory over the next five years. [Read more…]


Joe Hockey Speech To Lowy Institute: “The Age Of Personal And Corporate Responsibility Has Begun”

Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey has delivered a speech in which he says the age of personal and corporate responsibility has begun.

Hockey

Addressing the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Hockey said: “Individuals must do more for themselves, they must become more self-reliant. And the business sector must shoulder more of the burden. It must restore corporate accountability, and rely less on government assistance. It must stand on its own feet, and it must pay its fair share of tax.”

Hockey spoke at length of Australia’s role this year as president of the G20. He said: “The G20 is definitely the right body to take the wheel… Because G20 members account for 85 per cent of the world economy, 80 per cent of trade and about two thirds of foreign direct investment.”

Hockey said Australia “must play to its strengths”. He said Australia would work to promote stronger economic growth and better employment outcomes, and help to make the global economy more resilient and able to deal with future shocks. [Read more…]