Shorten ‘will lead at election’



Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen says despite the polls being unfavourable to the Labor Leader, Bill Shorten will still lead his party to next year’s federal election.

Mr Bowen reassured that Labor’s leadership tussles were in the past and warned that the Liberals were now engaged in destabilising leadership speculation.

“We don’t have a perfect track record, we have learnt our lessons, we have been focusing on the main game and will continue to do so,” Mr Bowen told Sky News on Sunday.

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Meanwhile, Mr Bowen said he did not expect Scott Morrison’s mid-year budget review would “paint a pretty picture”.

The Treasurer is expected to hand down the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook in Perth on Tuesday.

Economists expected the 2015/16 deficit could be between $37 billion and $40 billion, blowing out from the $35.1 billion forecast by former Treasurer, Joe Hockey, in the May budget.

Mr Morrison will hand down the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook on Tuesday.

Mr Morrison will hand down the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook on Tuesday. Photo: Getty

They anticipated this deterioration would occur across the four-year budget estimates, meaning that by 2018/19 the deficit could be as much as $20 billion rather that $6.9 billion previously estimated.

It will be a “damning picture indeed,” Mr Bowen told Sky News on Sunday.

Economists expected this widening in the deficit would be the result of falling commodity prices, particularly iron ore, hurting company profits and tax revenue.

Mr Bowen said for Mr Morrison to continue to pretend that Australia didn’t have a revenue problem was neither a “sustainable or constructive approach to the budget”.

“For the Treasurer to claim that he can return the budget to balance without dealing with revenue is just plain wrong,” Mr Bowen said.

The deterioration will also reflect Australia’s slower growth potential, which Treasury has already flagged will be 2.75 per cent rather than the three per cent forecast previously.

“The proof will be in the pudding,” Mr Bowen said.

“We will be holding them to account for their previous commitments both in opposition and government (to a surplus), they can’t just get a ‘get out of jail free card’.”

Mr Morrison had said he would need to find spending cuts to afford the $1.1 billion funding for the innovation plan announced last week, as well as other initiatives since May, such as reversing Labor’s bank deposit tax, more road spending and the increased humanitarian refugee intake.

with AAP

Topics: Bill Shorten
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