26 March 2018
Transcript - #2018033, 2018

Doorstop interview, Parliament House, Canberra

SUBJECTS: Enterprise Tax Plan

TREASURER:

Under Labor, Australians will pay more. They’ll pay more in higher taxes. Higher taxes on housing, higher taxes on investment, higher taxes on business, higher taxes on their savings, higher taxes on their retirement, higher taxes on being a family business, higher taxes on their earnings, they’ll pay higher electricity bills. Under Labor, Australians will pay more. What the Government has been doing is reducing the deficit, getting taxes down, getting expenditure under control, lifting business confidence, lifting consumer confidence, and ensuring that the better days ahead that I spoke about in last year’s Budget are already beginning to be realised as late as last year, and continuing into this year. I just returned from the G20 last week, where the global economy continues to be performing and strong, particularly in our part of the world. For Australia to continue to realise the opportunities that we have, we must stay the course. We must stay the course of ensuring that our economy remains competitive in a very competitive world, that means we continue to take our strong stand on opening up markets for our businesses, we continue to take a strong stand on keeping taxes low so business can compete and invest and employ people and lift their wages as their productivity continues to improve. This is the track we’re on. This is the track we need to remain on to continue to lift living standards for Australians. Under Labor, Australians will just pay more.

QUESTION:

Treasurer the clock is ticking, how confident are you to get these tax cuts passed by Wednesday?

TREASURER:

We’ll just see what the week brings. That’s the process we’ve been in. We’ve been in this situation before. We’re not counting anything, we’re just going through the process we always do, methodically, patiently, respectfully, and working with the cross bench, but let’s not forget why we’re in this position and having to do this. It’s because the Labor Party - which once believed that if you actually kept business taxes low that it increased investment, that it increased employment and lifted wages - have changed their mind. They used to believe this. They don’t believe it now. This is why you can’t trust Bill Shorten. He says one thing to one group of people and another thing to another group of people. He changes is messages to suit the crowd he is talking to at the time. That’s why retirees can’t trust him, that’s why wage earners can’t trust him, that’s why people earning, families, households, $150,000 a year between two working parents who have got an investment property, for their future, that’s why they can’t trust them. That’s why people who have been getting dividend credits from the tax office, because they bought shares, or their husband bought shares, and now they’ve been widowed as the information that was put out today demonstrates, more women will be hit by Labor’s retiree tax, particularly older women, than men. They never think this stuff through. I think that’s what we’ve seen with Labor’s retiree tax. Before I went to the G20 apparently they were going to provide compensation then they weren’t going to provide compensation, now they are going to provide compensation, this just demonstrates that they did not think this through. That’s another reason they can’t be trusted.

QUESTION:

Treasurer, did you meet with Derryn Hinch or Tim Storer over the weekend?

TREASURER:

No I got back from overseas on the weekend, Mathias Cormann has always been leading those negotiations, and we provide the support as needed.

QUESTION:

Are you meeting with them today?

TREASURER:

Again, we’ll conduct these negotiations in a private way and we’ll continue to do that and Senator Cormann is our lead negotiator.

QUESTION:

In terms of what you’re going to give up in all of this. Presumably there is a limit with the quid pro quo, particularly on spending that you’d promised to give in exchange.

TREASURER:

The Government remains absolutely committed to the trajectory we’ve been able to achieve now, on five separate Budget updates. We don’t put the AAA credit rating at risk, we are returning the Budget to balance, it’s projected to be there in 2021, we’ve held to that, we’ll continue to hold to that, and we’ll remain committed to the other policies that we took to the last election. Let’s not forget that we took this policy to the Australian people at the last election and we won a majority in the House of Representatives. So this wasn’t something that was brought up after the election, we said we needed to reduce taxes on our economy for business, to ensure that Australians could get a job and get an increase in their wages. We took that to the election and we were successful at that election and we’ve put that to the Parliament and we’re seeking their support.

QUESTION:

Treasurer are you concerned that even if you get this company tax cut through Parliament, that if Labor gets into Government next year they could very well undo all this and what kind of certainty is that for business?

TREASURER:

I think you highlight the very risk of Labor again, and that is if Labor is elected, Australians will pay more, businesses will pay more. I remember prior to the 2007 election, I remember it very, very clearly. If I’d gone and knocked on people’s doors and told them that they were going to basically wipe out our borders, that they were going to take the country from surplus into deficit and into debt that they hadn’t seen under the Coalition Government, that people’s roofs would set on fire. If I’d told anyone that prior to 2007 you would have called the police. But it all happened. It all happened when Labor were elected in 2007. And Bill Shorten is worse.

QUESTION:

Just on what you would give up though, presumably you’d lean towards perhaps some one-offs, that you don’t want to bake in more spending with the Budget in this negotiation?

TREASURER:

Let’s just see how the week goes. We are absolutely committed to our fiscal policy. In the last two years we’ve halved the deficit. In the last two years, just over the last two years we’ve seen unemployment fall. We’ve seen over 670,000 Australians get a job. We’ve seen business confidence and consumer confidence rise by over 10 per cent over that period, these are the results we’re getting on the economy. We need to get keep getting these results and to do that we need to stay the course which means you keep taxes low, you keep fostering investment in this country, because that’s what’s driving the jobs, that’s what’s driving the confidence, that’s what will drive the wages, that’s what will lift people’s living standards.

QUESTION:

Is Derryn Hinch the biggest sticking point at the moment?

TREASURER:

At the moment, we haven’t got the requisite nine. And we’ll continue to work hard on that over the course of the week.

QUESTION:

Do you have One Nation, there seems to be some confusion over whether they are going to support.

TREASURER:

We’re not making any claims about that. We continue to work to achieve the result as soon as possible. Thanks very much.