Prime Minister Tony Abbott has called on the ABC to talk up the economy, and shirked questions on key economic indicators by citing the Government’s record on stopping the boats.
In an interview with the ABC’s 7.30 program, Mr Abbott was questioned on why the language key ministers use to describe the economy had shifted.
“When Labor left office, unemployment was at 5.8 per cent, it’s now 6.3 per cent,” presenter Leigh Sales said.
“Growth was 2.5 per cent, it’s now 2 per cent, the Australian dollar was 92 cents, its now around 70 cents, the budget deficit was $30 billion when you took office, and now it’s $48 billion.
“How do you explain to the Australian people that you were elected promising, in your words, to fix the budget emergency, yet in fact Australia’s economic position has worsened under your leadership?”
Mr Abbott responded: “I don’t accept that.
“The boats have stopped, the carbon tax has gone, the mining tax has gone, we’re now on a path to sustainable surplus, and we’ve got three free trade agreements finalised.
— abc730 (@abc730) September 9, 2015
“If only the Labor Party and the CFMEU weren’t trying to sabotage the free trade agreement with China.
“We have 335,000 more jobs, jobs growth now is at four times the rate as in Labor’s final year, and all of the recent indicators of economic activity say that business conditions are stronger now than at any time since 2008.
“I refuse to talk our country down, I refuse to talk our country down, and I hope the national broadcaster might join me in looking for the good and boosting our country which has so much potential.”
It led to a strong reaction from Sales.
“I wonder what you would have done if I’d helped Wayne Swan and Julia Gillard look for the good,” Sales said.
Mr Abbott said the Coalition was prepared to work with Labor on policies it believed were good, but was never going to support spending on policies such as the pink bats scheme and school halls program.