Abbott admits being nervous over PM's job
Opposition Leader Tony Abbot admits to being nervous about becoming Prime Minister, and vows to retire if he loses the election.PT1M48S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2t93l 620 349 September 6, 2013
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An Abbott government would let the federal deficit blow out rather than break a spending promise, Tony Abbott says.
Asked what he would do if faced with a choice between honouring his spending commitments and keeping his pledge to return the budget to surplus, Mr Abbott told Fairfax Media in an interview: ''You'll notice we haven't said we're going to get to a surplus by a particular date.''
Tony Abbott would accept Labor's mandate to implement its planned emissions trading scheme if it won the election. Photo: AP
In fact, Mr Abbott said in launching the Liberal Party election campaign that: ''Within a decade, the budget surplus will be 1 per cent of GDP,'' which is about $15 billion in today's dollars.
Labor promises to return the budget to ''modest'' surplus in 2016-17. In the interview, the Opposition Leader acknowledged that tax revenues in the next term of government could fall short of Treasury forecasts, as they have done six times since the 2010 election.
''We've said that Labor will never deliver a surplus and if the projections turn out to be accurate, we'll deliver a surplus at least by the relevant date of 2016-17, but that's if these projections turn out to be correct,'' Mr Abbott said. ''Let's hope they do but given the record you wouldn't be surprised if they don't.''
Fairfax Media's election coverage
Mr Abbott said: ''[Treasury] think there are enormous downside risks to the projections and we just don't know where it's all going to end up.''
Putting priority on the Coalition's spending promises over its intention to return to surplus, he said: ''While I accept that things can come up, there's nothing that an incoming government should or would do that violates our mandate because the thing that has most alienated people over the last six years and particularly over the last three years is a government which appears to have no respect for the commitments that it has solemnly entered into the day before. We've just got to keep our commitments.''
The Coalition on Thursday produced the costings of its policy program. It claimed that it would deliver a net improvement to Labor's projected budget bottom line over four years of $6.09 billion.
This would be 11 per cent smaller than Labor's promised deficits over four years.
Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said this was ''a shocker'' and Labor continued to claim that the Coalition would make deep cuts to spending.
An independent budget analyst, Stephen Anthony of consultancy Macroeconomics, said: ''You can quibble about the costings on both sides of politics, but we are not
talking about a significant 'black hole' on either side.
''Both sides have done a reasonable job, and I'm sure both sides are close-ish on balance. But unfortunately it's not enough from either side. We are looking at a decade of unsustainable long-term commitments from both sides. It looks like we're heading for increased deficits for the rest of the decade.''
On another matter, Mr Abbott said that he would accept Labor's mandate to implement its planned emissions trading scheme if it won Saturday's election: ''I respect that if Labor wins the election they will have a right to get that legislation through the Parliament. I would expect reciprocity from them.''
Mr Abbott's comment, like the opinion polls, is an indication the Coalition is likely to win.