Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has played down the likelihood of big spending promises from the Government fuelling this year’s federal election campaign.
This is not going to be a fistful of dollars election campaign — from us, anyway,” Mr Turnbull told Melbourne radio station 3AW.
“I think the Australian people recognise that we’re in tight fiscal environment, tight financial environment, and any promises are going to have — any new programs will have to be — will have to demonstrate how they’re going to be paid and what offsets or what new sources of revenue will fund them.”
Mr Turnbull reaffirmed his position to hold an election in August, September or October, despite ongoing speculation the Prime Minister could go to the polls earlier in order to capitalise on strong public support.
He said the May budget would be “tight” and voters understood the need to manage the budget responsibly.
Clive Palmer in the firing line
Mr Turnbull also slammed Clive Palmer’s “shocking” management of Queensland Nickel hours ahead of a creditors’ meeting with sacked workers and companies owned money.
The Townsville refinery went into voluntary administration last week just days after it laid off more than 237 people.
It is believed the company owes about $70 million including about $14 million in employee entitlements.
Mr Turnbull said Mr Palmer had “let down the workers there”.
“His management of Queensland Nickel, from what we know to date, is shocking,” Mr Turnbull added.
“It’s been a very disappointing – very disappointing, for someone that’s sought to hold himself up as a champion, but the only thing I’m concerned about, frankly, with that mine, that smelter, I should say, is that the industry continues, the jobs continue, the workers are looked after.
“We’re doing everything we can to ensure that, but I think Mr Palmer’s – I would forecast that Mr Palmer’s time as the owner of that will be coming to an end.”
Mr Turnbull’s comments come as sacked workers and companies owed money by the troubled refinery prepare to come together to find out what position the company’s finances are in.
Administrators are to address creditors in Townsville for the first time in a meeting at 11:00am, to give them an initial picture of the company’s finances.
Mr Palmer previously said he was not responsible for paying them out as administrators were in control.
At a second meeting, creditors will get a chance to vote on whether to put the company into liquidation or keep trading and try to survive.