Joint Media Release with the Shadow Treasurer, Chris Bowen.

Today we witnessed a disastrous press conference from the Treasurer and Finance Minister, which started with a lot of hot air but was quickly brought crashing back to earth with simple questions from journalists.

This has followed weeks of the Liberal Party peddling outlandish and ridiculous numbers as somehow representing Labor’s final Budget position.

We couldn’t get the Treasurer and Finance Minister together for the release of the independent Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Outlook report (PEFO) which exposed the Liberal Party’s poor economic and Budget record and its lies about ‘jobs and growth’.

Today, there was nothing positive to talk about, it was just a revert to type – negativity, scare and lies.

Journalists were to quick bounce on a $19 billion error on foreign aid in Scott Morrison’s and Mathias Cormann’s claims. Labor released its final foreign aid policy commitment on the weekend.

By the end of the press conference, Scott Morrison was left falling back on the fact that the numbers were “up for discussion”.

The Treasurer was happy to drop claimed numbers for Labor’s commitments to the Daily Telegraph but then couldn’t defend them for one press conference.

It’s simply not acceptable to be throwing darts at random numbers and hoping something sticks.

It’s simply not good enough for Malcolm Turnbull to simply claim the $50 billion is “all budgeted for” when it remains unfunded and we are yet to see the ten year costings of the full package.

The Australian people are still none the wiser about how the Government’s recent ‘announcements’ have been treated:

  • There is nothing in PEFO on the Government’s new position on pathology.
  • Scott Morrison and Barnaby Joyce have clearly lied on the Backpacker Tax – the Treasurer has signed the statement at the front of PEFO saying that all Government decisions have been disclosed – and yet we see nothing here of a six-month delay or any sort of measure reversal.
  • Finally, in a huge embarrassment for Scott Morrison who has talked up bracket creep as the great moral challenge for the last six months, the Tax Commissioner makes it clear that the personal income tax cuts may not be delivered on 1 July 2016.

When it comes to Labor’s policy commitments, we will release the final Budget impact of all measures once other outstanding policies have been announced and final costings updated to reflect the parameters in PEFO are received.

At the last Federal Election, the then Liberal Opposition provided their final bottom line figures just two days prior to election day. 

Labor will not treat the Australian people with such contempt and we will release our final position well in advance of the election, for the Australian people to judge our reconciled Budget position and how we will pay for vital social investments in education and health. 

That’s why Labor has already released a number of difficult Budget improvement measures, including the $71 billion in Budget improvements announced by Bill Shorten in his Budget-in-Reply.