SUBJECTS: Victorian election; National Conference
KIERAN GILBERT: Joining us now is the former Treasurer Wayne Swan. Mr Swan thanks for your time, we spoke to Bill Shorten and obviously he is quite relaxed at the moment understandably, and I guess a thing people this morning were talking about is how the opposition needs to guard against any over confidence right now.


WAYNE SWAN:  Yeah that is right, I don’t think there is any overconfidence. I’ve been around for a long time and politics can turn very quickly. And so federally you don’t see victories of this magnitude at any stage. You can say politics is volatile but at a federal level it’s always very contestable.


LAURA JAYES: Why did we see over the weekend such a victory as you say of this magnitude? What was it about the Labor party in Victoria or Daniel Andrews personally and do you have some of those things federally?


SWAN: Look there is no doubt that the Liberal Party is on the nose federally and this turn to the hard right as you have seen in Queensland for example in terms of LNP politics, we have seen it in NSW and  seen it in Victoria there is something wrong with the Liberal brand. And I think that surfaces in state elections but in Victoria and, full credit to Daniel Andrews and his team, they put together an inclusive program for economic growth investing in education, investment in infrastructure and so on which is very appealing to the electorate. And the really good thing that came out of Victoria was the rejection by the electorate of the politics of division. The use of race, the use of gender as a political wedge to divide the community and to win elections and that is encouraging especially when you consider how politics is going right now around the world you have got the rise of the authoritarian right, Donald Trump and the use of race and gender in these sort of divisive issues in politics. It is good to see hope won over fear.


GILBERT:  You have obviously handled many budget cycles. When you look at the next 6 months or 5 months even, it looks almost inevitable that the government will go to a budget early in April and then try to use that as a spring board to deliver a surplus and say first one in a decade and use that as a basis upon which they can run a campaign. When you say things can turn around are you worried that might be the case?


SWAN: Well there is a rise in revenue in the Federal Budget at the moment. They have got this huge surge of tax revenue which they are somehow pretending it has got something to do with them, when it really is the turn of the revenue cycle. We have seen revenue being down for almost a decade now. And revenues are turning up, but you see those increased tax revenues are not showing up in family budgets across the country where we are seeing people being affected by low wage growth. Many people are suffering personal recessions when it comes to their personal incomes and in the middle of all of this, the return of all the tax revenue, we have to look at what the federal Liberal policy on tax is. Which is to give tax cuts to high income earners and very little to low and middle income earners. This says so much about the Liberal Party’s trickle-down economic agenda which we see at the state level expressed as cuts to health and education, and people are just fed up with wage stagnation.   


JAYES: Well you identified a repudiation of the result at the weekend, of the politics of division does this mean you see a green light to pursue things like safe schools, to pursue identity politics because these are large features that the left is going to push at your party conference  in December.


SWAN: I think you will find at our party conference in December we will be focused in a laser-like way on the living conditions and standard of living for low and middle income earners in this country. And yes we will be talking about critical questions of opportunity not just in terms of economics but in terms of race and in terms of gender because our equality agenda is spread across social and economic policy. But we are a Labor Party and first and foremost our emphasis will be on living standards of ordinary people.


GILBERT: Mr Swan appreciate your time and we will talk to you around that conference as well but obviously a looming election can sharpen (inaudible)


SWAN: It will be a Merry Christmas at conference.