Transcript - Doorstop Parliament House, Canberra

Release Date: 
2 December 2014
Transcript
E&OE

Topics: East West Link, Newspoll, Budget, Higher Education, Forrest Review

ALAN TUDGE:

Last year in August Daniel Andrews said 'sovereign risk is sovereign risk, a contract is a contract'. Well the most important contract that was signed by the former Coalition Government in Victoria was the East West Link contract and Daniel Andrews should honour that contract.

Chris Bowen also said 'Labor does not break contracts.' He said that because there are sovereign risk implications if you do break contracts from a former government.

If you breach contracts you stop investment. Now we need the East West Link, we need the East West Link for the jobs, for the investment, to ease congestion on Melbourne's roads and if Daniel Andrews tears up that contract, he'll be tearing up 7,000 jobs, he'll be tearing up $4.1 billion into Victoria and that's about $1,800 per household that he'll be tearing up for Victorians.

JOURNALIST:

Are you suggesting that he should break an election promise?

ALAN TUDGE:

We also made an election promise at the federal level to build the East West Link contract. Further, the population wants the East West Link built, all the polls suggested that. Daniel Andrews himself said pre-election that he would honour contracts and that's exactly what he should do.

JOURNALIST:

He also said he wouldn't go ahead with the East West Link so he has a clear mandate to do exactly what he said he was doing.

ALAN TUDGE:

A contract is a contract. That is exactly what Daniel Andrews said. He should honour the contracts because if you tear up contracts, you tear up investment.

We went to the 2013 federal election promising to build the East West Link. The seats that the Coalition picked up were all seats which were affected directly by that commitment. Every poll has shown that Victoria wants this road built and that's exactly what should occur.

JOURNALIST:

Newspoll this morning has shown your government and your leader isn't that popular [inaudible].

ALAN TUDGE:

This year was always going to be a tough year for the Coalition. We've had to repair the budget deficit, we've had to repair the mess that Labor left us.

We're getting on with the hard yards, we're focusing on the commitments that we said we would do to stop the boats, to stop the taxes, to get the budget under control and importantly, to build the infrastructure of the 21st century. In Melbourne, that means the East West Link.

JOURNALIST:

We went into last Christmas with the government saying 'it's been a tough few months, time for a reboot, we'll have a better year next year.' Now we're hearing exactly the same thing.

ALAN TUDGE:

We're not focused on the polls. We're focused on the things we said we would do for the Australian people.

The Australian people elected the Coalition government to get on top of the budget mess. We were left an absolute fiscal disaster by the Labor Party. We have to repair that job for the future of Australian people.

At the moment, we're stealing from the future. We have to get on top of this. We have to get on top of the budget.

JOURNALIST:

This $30 billion that still hasn't passed the Senate worth of budget measures, is that going to cleared by the end of the year, by the end of the week, by the middle of next year? Is thereĀ  a time limit?

ALAN TUDGE:

Measure by measure we're discussing with the Senate crossbenchers. We're determined to get our measures through. We have to get on top of the budget because at the moment there are deficits as far as the eye can see.

If we don't get on top of the budget now, it just means higher taxes in the future that we'll have to pay.

JOURNALIST:

We're hearing that the higher education legislation might go to a vote today. How confident is the government that it has the six crossbench votes required?

ALAN TUDGE:

Christopher Pyne has been having long discussions with each of the crossbenchers in relation to the Higher Education legislation. I'm not going to say anything more on that. I'll let Christopher Pyne give the commentary on that.

JOURNALIST:

When will the government officially respond to the Forrest Review?

ALAN TUDGE:

We've been considering the Forrest Review as you know, Laura. We received this two or three months ago now. There's some very big recommendations. Some of the recommendations apply at the federal level, others apply at the state level.

We have to make a difference in this space. Because at the moment, the employment gap is actually getting wider rather than narrower. We're taking these recommendations very, very seriously and we'll be having something to say about at least the first tranche in the weeks and months ahead.

JOURNALIST:

Is that before the end of the year?

ALAN TUDGE:

You'll find out when we announce it, Laura.

JOURNALIST:

No [inaudible] increase in Newspoll. Is it time for a reshuffle? I know you've been quite optimistic here at the doors this morning. But something has to happen, doesn't it?

ALAN TUDGE:

We have a terrific line-up in our team. You look at the likes of the Prime Minister, of Julie Bishop, Scott Morrison, Greg Hunt, Joe Hockey, Christopher Pyne and the other cabinet members.

We've got a very big job to do to fix up Labor's mess and that's exactly what we're doing.

JOURNALIST:

So no panicking?

ALAN TUDGE:

No one is panicking in the Coalition ranks. We've got a job to do. We're getting on with that job and we've got to fix up Labor's mess. That's our message.

[ENDS]