10 May 2017
Transcript - #2017081, 2017

Interview with Karl Stefanovic, Channel 9

Subjects: Budget 2017

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Joining me is the man himself, Treasurer Scott Morrison. It must feel really good to completely jam Bill Shorten?

TREASURER:

What it feels good to do is to ensure that Australians know that the Turnbull Government is going to support their essential services to put downward pressure on cost of living – to ensure that we're bringing the budget back into balance in 2021. We're growing the economy so there's more and better paid jobs. That's what Australians want me to be focused on and that's what I'm focused on and so is the Prime Minister.

STEFANOVIC:

You never would have allowed Labor to introduce a tax on the banks why are you pushing it forward? Banks should be paying fair share towards fixing the budget. You wouldn't allow it was Labor trying to do it. You're making assumptions. The reason you didn't allow to do…

TREASURER:

What we're doing here, the Senate rejected $13.5 billion dollars’ worth of saving measures. We've had to deal with that. Banks can pay their fair share. The other thing we're fixing is the National Disability Insurance Scheme was not fully funded. It meant that disabled Australians, over half a million of them, didn’t have the guarantee of that NDIS scheme being fully funded, so  two years from now, what we're going to do is ensure that the levy on the Medicare is increased by half a per cent so all Australians can help in guaranteeing that National Disability Insurance Scheme. So we won't strike the levy for two years because that's when the bills start coming in and between now and then, we shouldn't have any political squabbles over this. We should just focus on getting the NDIS right, explaining to Australians what they're paying for and then we strike the levy when the bills come in. That's what that money is for.

STEFANOVIC:

Let's stay on the Bligh tax, though sorry, the bank tax. You got them, didn’t you? But they’re going to get us.

TREASURER:

Well, if they seek to change their prices, then I think that their customers should be very unhappy with that and we'll be very unhappy with that. The ACCC, our regulator, will keeping a close eye on the banks to make sure they’re not lying to their customers.

STEFANOVIC:

You can't stop them though.

TREASURER:

Banks will find an excuse to jack up prices and I think that’s one of the reasons why Australians don't trust the banks as much as we’d like them too. And so it will be test, I think, of the banks’ own honesty with their own customers and whether they're prepared to accept the fact that with profits with $30 billion that they can't support getting the budget back in balance to tune of just
$1.5 billion.

STEFANOVIC:

Ok, you’ve done the same with the Medicare levy. Do you guarantee there will be no further rises in the Medicare levy?

TREASURER:

We have no need to do that because this fully funds the National...

STEFANOVIC:

Do you guarantee it?

TREASURER:

…Disability Insurance Scheme. This is the only thing we need to do to now fund that. No we tried to do that by taking savings through. That was rejected by the Senate. So when they say, no we won't pass the savings, I can't tell disabled Australians, their families, their carers, we all have a connection in one way or another, that we're going to let them down. So we have to fill this gap and frankly the politics should be over and we should agree on this, meet in the middle and get on with it because I think that's what Australians want us to do.

STEFANOVIC:

But can you guarantee me this morning that there will be no further increases to Medicare levy?

TREASURER:

The Turnbull Government won't be increasing the Medicare levy, other than to support the NDIS. That's what’s so important. It's not funded. $55 billion not funded. We need all of us, I mean Australians help out their mates. We always do that and that’s what this is doing. In two years’ time, when the bills start coming in for the costs of running this important scheme, then we will all share in the cost of providing it to help out our mates who are disabled Australians.

STEFANOVIC:

It may have just been your intonation there, but could the levy go higher?

TREASURER:

This is what we need to fully fund the NDIS, Karl, so we don't need to do anything more than we’ve done in this Budget.

STEFANOVIC:

So just to clarify, the Medicare levy will not go any higher?

TREASURER:

There’s no need to do that, Karl.

STEFANOVIC:

That's a no?

TREASURER:

Karl, I've answered the question. I think it's pretty clear. We're increasing...

STEFANOVIC:

You said there's no need to, but that doesn't rule it out.

TREASURER:

That does the job and we have no need to increase the Medicare levy, so we have no plans to do that whatsoever.

STEFANOVIC:

I'm sorry, is that ruling it out?

TREASURER:

Yes.

STEFANOVIC:

Ok, great, that's all I wanted. Was this the Newspoll Budget?

TREASURER:

This was a Budget for hard working Australians who are dealing with challenges every day. It means that we're getting what they need out of this Budget. We're guaranteeing their services like Medicare, like schools funding, like hospitals. We're balancing the Budget over the next couple of years and we're ensuring that the cost pressures they're feeling, whether it’s on their electricity bills or their housing costs, on both of these things, we're putting downward pressure. So if you’re saving to buy a home, well there is an important package for you. You can save 30 per cent faster because of what we've done in this Budget. And if you were homeless last night, we put $375 million into homeless support programs with the states and territories. So right across the spectrum we're putting roofs over people's heads.

STEFANOVIC:

Alright, we've only got a minute left. One final question – Laurie Oakes put it to you last night, if you had given up being nasty and you’re now warm and cuddly. How does it feel to be a Panda?

TREASURER:

Well, what it feels good to be doing, Karl, is understanding what Australians are going through and just focusing totally on them.

STEFANOVIC:

Come on.

TREASURER:

There’s plenty of politics in this town Karl and this Budget isn't about the politics, this is about helping ordinary Australians and this is the Budget that delivers for them.

STEFANOVIC:

Alright, are you going to smile this morning or what? It’s gone pretty well…

TREASURER:

Just for you, Karl.

STEFANOVIC:

Alright, Treasurer, good stuff. Thank you. Talk to you soon.