6 March 2017
Transcript - #2017032, 2017

Interview with Ray Hadley, 2GB

SUBJECTS: Budget 2017; housing affordability; no jab no pay; Racial Discrimination Act; Cronulla Sharks 50th Anniversary dinner.

RAY HADLEY:

You’ve said that this year’s Budget will be aimed at middle Australia, specifically addressing housing affordability while avoiding cuts to Medicare, schools and hospitals. I suppose we can fill in the blanks later on, can we?

TREASURER:

Well, everyone gets excited as we lead up to Budget and people will interpret things as they wish to. What I am simply saying is that economic growth will always be the centre of Budgets handed down by Coalition governments because without that you can’t support the services, you can’t bring the Budget back to balance in the way that you would hope to and the Budget has to be credible at the end of the day. So, a lot of middle Australians, hardworking Australians, middle income Australians, they rely on Medicare or the other services and the Budget needs to ensure that these things are guaranteed and we will certainly do that as we have done in our previous Budgets.

HADLEY:

Now, you say ‘credible Budget’, does that indicate that the Government has lost touch with ordinary mums and dads – is that what that suggests?

TREASURER:

No, not at all. It is quite the contrary. What I am saying is, when we handed down our mid-year statement at the end of last year, what we did is we took a very conservative view on things like what was going to happen with commodity prices, what was going to happen with wages so the numbers that were in that Budget, financial markets around the world could look at our Budget and go that is a pretty honest set of numbers. The things I have put in there they believe they can achieve. I think that is incredibly important for the credibility of the Government, its Budget and the confidence that Australians can have in it.

HADLEY:

What do you make of the Victorian Government exempting first home buyers from paying stamp duty for $600,000 and under and then making concession for $6,750. It seems to be a mixed reaction for those involved in the industry.

TREASURER:

Well, there are three things that they have done; you have to take them as a package. There’s the stamp duty issue, there is what they are doing with taxing what is called, latent stock – that is property that is not occupied – where people just go and buy it and hope to flip it and no one ever lives in it. So, you have got an apartment there that someone can’t rent, which puts a lot of pressure on the rental market. And the third thing they have done, which I think is really interesting, although they have done it through the Government, is this shared ownership idea where the Government owns a quarter of your house and you own the other 75 per cent which means you don’t need as big a deposit. Now, taken together I think, good on them for having a good crack at this. On the issue of stamp duty, I welcome it but at the end of the day if that just means that people just bid up more at the auction because they can borrow more because they don’t have to pay stamp duty, obviously that will just take prices in one direction. So, you can’t do that without addressing the supply issues at the end of the day which is what drives up prices. If you only work on the demand side, well, that doesn’t actually change anything. You have got to get more houses built.

HADLEY:

I was talking to Ross Greenwood about it this morning on Alan’s program and he said the ones who will benefit will be the developers and vendors because they will take into account that the young ones, the first home buyers, aren’t paying stamp duty so the price will be jacked up and they will absorb the stamp duty into their reserves.

TREASURER:

There is always the great risk of that and the same is true with first home owner grants that the Federal Government abolished some time ago. They put money in and they just bid the price up. So, it comes back to the central issue, unless you are getting more houses built – and I just don’t mean out on the fringes, I mean right across the board. We have an older population who are looking for a particular type of accommodation. There needs to be houses for them. There are people on low incomes who struggle with rent, we need affordable rentals for them. There is no silver bullet on this. It is a very, very hard issue and state, federal and local governments have all got to work together on this and that is certainly the approach I am taking.

HADLEY:

I will share this email with you because it comes from a listener in Wagga Wagga: “I think Pauline is out of her mind. I totally agree with the policy of compulsory immunisation except where reaction has occurred. My eldest daughter reacted at her first immunisation. The Doctor advised it was the whooping cough she reacted to. We continued her immunisation leaving this one until the infanrix vaccine, which is the one they use now, was released. I had to pay for the catch up injections. My next daughter did not react at all. Keep on plugging for universal vaccination. The anti-vax lobby are a bunch of idiots.” And what happens every time I mention it Treasurer, I get four or five emails from lunatics living in tree houses somewhere that say, ‘you haven’t read all the information available’. I am very disappointed in Pauline Hanson who has changed her method of dealing with people in many instances. This support, instead of saying, look I got the autism debate wrong. The information I had when I first talked about it all those years ago is completely and utterly floored and of course you should vaccinate, but you should talk to your GP about the sort of thing Lisa from Wagga Wagga spoke about. To simply talk, as she did with Barrie Cassidy yesterday, indicating that you better research it yourself. Who is better to research it? The medical practitioner or Mum and Dad with Google?

TREASURER:

As you know I was the Minister who introduced ‘no jab no pay’. We did that on the very best of advice, parents should immunise their children. My kids are immunised, you should put seat belts on your children in the car. If there is an infant they should be a in a child seat, I mean these are just common-sense things which I think are very established and I thought those comments were very ill-informed and very disappointing.

HADLEY:

I’m very disappointed with your colleague Julian Leeser for his role in what the Parliamentary Inquiry returned about 18C. This Racial Discrimination Act, and we’ve had a resolution for the poor young blokes in Queensland as recently as Friday where the person who brought the complaints against them has been ordered to pay $200,000 in costs, but surely it’s disappointing the conservative Government can’t come to the conclusion that we need to re-word 18C or abolish it altogether. Surely?

TREASURER:

On 18C there are a couple of issues and I don’t focus long on this Ray, because in my view that’s not going to help one person get into a job or a business, and earn one extra dollar of profit, or a wage earner to earn more. So that’s my focus.

HADLEY:

Well hang on, it will save university students or their parents coughing up five grand so the matter will go away.

TREASURER:

There are two issues here, there’s what’s in 18C, and then there’s how the Human Right Commission actually deals with these issues. What happened with those students in Queensland was a farce and a joke. Those matters should never have been elevated to level they were at, even on the legislation as it sits now. So there’s what the Human Rights Commission does and the Committee has made I think some good recommendations about basically pouring cold water before they get too excited about these things. The broader issue of change to 18C, well, the Government will need to deal with that, but, to be honest, while I know it’s very important to many people, what really matters most I think to most Australians is they can earn more from what they do every day.

HADLEY:

Well in many respects it’s a noses in the trough attempt by many people, that increase from 18 in 2015/16 to 71, and it will be 771 before you know it unless you change it. Are you going to Western Australia to help your LNP colleagues?

TREASURER:

No, I’m locked down for the Budget, mate, I’m not getting about, I’m not getting to pretty much anywhere else at the moment. I’m very busy in those meetings and the Budget as you’d expect me to be.

HADLEY:

Alright then, and more leaks you can give us on the way through?

TREASURER:

Well, hopefully we’ll be able to keep talking most Mondays Ray as we lead up, but…

HADLEY:

Just something, [inaudible] just something, I pick up The Australian and it’s there and I know it’s a widely read, expertly edited newspaper by Paul Whittaker but just something would help… just keep something for me.

TREASURER:

Well mate, [inaudible] yesterday which was barley different from what I’ve been saying about the Budget, and what it needs to focus on and that is what it needs to focus on. At the end of the day, what I think is frustrating Australians the most is they’re working hard, the economy globally, I mean the Australian economy is doing very well compared to the rest of the world, those growth figures we had last week as we discussed them on Thursday, were excellent, but, you’ve got to keep that going and until people can be confident that they’re going to earn more, and you’re not going to earn more unless you’re working for a company that’s making a profit, and that is open, and these are just obvious things. So, that’s where we’ve got to continue to focus our minds as a Government and that’s exactly what we’re doing.

HADLEY:

Ok we’ll talk next week, thanks for your time.

TREASURER:

Just before we go can I just say well done to Lyall Gorman and all the team down at Sharks for that 50th anniversary.

HADLEY:

Oh yes, Erin hosted on Friday night.

TREASURER:

It was a great night, fantastic night, and well done to Lyall and all the team, it was a really great night for people who have been involved in the club over a really long period of time.

HADLEY:

Well done, that’s the 50th anniversary of his club the Cronulla Sharks, and the team of the 50 years was named, Erin Molan from Channel Nine, was the MC for the night and we heard about that on the weekend and it was really a good night.