9 May 2018
Transcript - #2018077, 2018

Interview with Jonsey & Amanda, WFSM

Subjects: Budget 2018

AMANDA KELLER:

Well, it's one year out from the election, and the Treasurer Scott Morrison has handed down what looks to be a very safe Budget. It's been pretty well received, the focus being on huge tax breaks to benefit working families, and more jobs for older Australians. He is on the line now. Hello, Treasurer Scott Morrison.

TREASURER:

Hey Amanda. Hey, Jonesy.

BRENDAN JONES:

ScoMo, or can we call you 'Treas', or 'the Treas'?

KELLER:

What do you prefer?

TREASURER:

[laughs] ScoMo works for me, it works for me.

KELLER:

We do want to talk about all things Budget, but first of all, I read in the Herald this morning that you were a child actor.

TREASURER:

Aw, the secret's out. [laughs]

KELLER:

What were you doing?

TREASURER:

I did the Hungry Jacks commercials, I did an AMP one, I remember I did a Vicks one as well. Yeah.

KELLER:

So when you say that you're happy with the Budget, are you acting or is it real?

TREASURER:

Sorry?

KELLER:

When you say that you're happy with the Budget, are you acting or is it real?

TREASURER:

Oh, no, no. My acting skills are non-existent. What you got last night was the true blue result.

JONES:

In the Vicks commercial, were you the one getting the VapoRub on the chest, or were you doing the rubbing?

TREASURER:

No. [laughs] Neither, I was: 'Vicks will lick a tickling throat'.

KELLER:

[laughs] You've remembered the jingle!

TREASURER:

Well, they stick in your head, don't they?

KELLER:

[laughs] I was pleased last night to see that you're looking at older Australians. I read something recently that said that the first Australian to live to 120 is probably already alive as a 60 year old woman. We're going to live longer than we're preparing for financially. So your focus is, part of it is, to try and get jobs for older Australians.

TREASURER:

Well yeah, and to preserve all of the choices they have too, Amanda. I mean, when you talk about, when we talk about aging in this country it's often sort of talked about like it's some curse. But here's the newsflash, we're living longer and healthier. I think that's a good thing. I think people who are living longer and healthier think it's a good thing. But it does mean that we need to plan a lot more, not just as a Government for how we deliver services, but each of us need to. I mean, we've got these, mandatory — well not mandatory — these checks that we're going to have at age 45 and 65. Now, like, I mean, Jonesy's turned 50 I think, I'm turning 50 this weekend. And this is a sort of a time when you've got to really think, "How's my health?" And how are you planning? And you have to stop and think a bit. And so, we've got that, people get letters when they turn those ages, prompting them to go online and go through a bit of a check on where you're at with your finances, where you're at with your health, and to prepare and plan. But you're right for older workers. I mean, one of the things we've put in this Budget, is there's a bonus for employers, a subsidy, which means when they take someone on who's over 55, then they can get access to this employee subsidy which helps them put older Australians in work and keep them in work. But if you're running your own business too, if you're older, you can also earn more through that business and still qualify for the pension. So that's all trying to support their choices.

JONES:

Does that mean you'll send yourself the bowel screening test?

TREASURER:

[laughs] Well, pretty much. Pretty much. But it actually – well, the idea came from some friends of mine, you all sort of turn 50 at about the same age, and one of them did get that letter and it just prompted me into thinking, "It's not just that you've got to check." There's a lot of things you've got to check and you probably should do it a bit earlier than when you're 50 too. So it's about encouraging people to plan, but I mean, we also want older Australians: our parents, grandparents, to be able to age with dignity. And we've seen some terrible things happen in residential age care, and we've got to protect people as they get older. They get vulnerable, so we want them to have their choice, and we want them to have their dignity.

JONES:

Scott, I was just asking a question for a friend of mine who's famous, if you're a famous person, this friend of mine, Amanda. I mean…

KELLER:

Oh.

JONES:

She was just saying, they're going to be a loser in the Budget as high profile individuals will no longer be able to take advantage of lower tax rates by licencing their fame or image to another entity.

KELLER:

Well, I don't do that, but is this where people might have a, get a free car or something like that and they don't disclose it?

TREASURER:

No, what it is is that, you know, high profile celebrities and sports people and others, they basically try and pay less tax by structuring it in a company or a trust or something like that. And basically this is going to be treated as normal income, like everyone else earns and they should pay the same rate of tax on it that everyone else does. That's simply what it's doing. It's just about fairness and we do that right across the Budget. So for big, high profile names like Jonesy there, particularly around the Sutherland Shire, you know, he's bigger than Hercules.

KELLER:

He's big in the Shire, so he boasts. Can I ask…

JONES:

I do not boast that, you're the one that said, "Ask Scott about the famous person thing."

KELLER:

I did not.

JONES:

You're the one that wants to start 'Munc-world'.

KELLER:

But let me ask you this, Scott, you've been talking about your seven year tax plan. So some of these benefits come in now, and some later. So, I guess, is this a way of saying you'll only get these treats if you elect the Coalition again?

TREASURER:

No, they can be locked in by law right now, and that's what we're asking the Parliament to do. The Labor Party has to, only has to, vote once for these. And they can do it right now. And we're encouraging them to do so. So that tax relief can be locked in for the next seven years. But you're right, it starts with middle and lower income earners. It's $530 for about 4.4 million Australians. And I've got to say that include a lot of younger Australians, because they're going into the workforce in that tax bracket, and that means they'll be able to access that. But for a family, I mean, you've got two people on a middle income. That's over $1,000 extra every year. You get it in a lump sum when you put in your tax return. And that means, you know, that's more than a quarterly electricity bill — it's half your electricity bill for a family with two — it's a dozen times filling up your car.

KELLER:

When you – can I ask, when you wake up the morning after you've delivered the Budget, do you wonder what's going to be on the front page of the paper? The Daily Telegraph today has you dressed as Angus from AC/DC. Are you enjoying it?

TREASURER:

A boyhood dream. [laughs] Angus Young, and Marilyn Monroe, I'm not sure which is more disturbing.

KELLER:

[laughs]

TREASURER:

Maybe one day they'll dress me up as Paul Gallen, who knows?

JONES:

There you go, that could be it. They've got you as Homer Simpson as well. So you're straddling all of popular culture's icons, right there.

TREASURER:

[laughs] I reckon.

KELLER:

[laughs] That's off to the laminator.

JONES:

That's straight to the lam…

TREASURER:

Yeah, it's straight to the pool room.

JONES:

Well, 'Treas', I think I can call you that now.

TREASURER:

You can.

JONES:

I think we've gone past it. You've done a good job, mate. Take the rest of the day off.

TREASURER:

[laughs] Thanks very much Jonesy, and as always: up, up Cronulla.

JONES:

Indeed.

KELLER:

[laughs] Thanks Scott, write up Cronulla for your medical checks.

JONES:

Scott Morrison.

TREASURER:

Cheers.

KELLER:

Thank you.

JONES:

Thank you.