7 August 2016
Transcript - #2016099, 2016

Interview with Peter Van Onselen & Paul Kelly, Sky News Australian Agenda

SUBJECTS: Banks, interest rates, budget; triple-A credit rating; $6 billion in savings measures identified by the Government and included in Labor’s pre-election costings; superannuation; Jobs for Families child care package; foreign investment; Government says no to Labor’s housing tax; housing affordability; enterprise tax plan

PETER VAN ONSELEN:

As mentioned off the top of the programme our guest is Scott Morrison and he joins us live in the studio, thanks for your company.

TREASURER:

Hi Peter.

VAN ONSELEN:

I mean what do you do about populism around the banks? Bill Shorten, he strikes me, is going to continue to win applause in sections of the community for calling for a Royal Commission. Even though a lot of experts and a lot of commentators such as Paul, make the point that a Royal Commission is probably overkill.

TREASURER:

Well you focus on the issues that underlie the concerns you might be seeing expressed and as you described as populist sort of sentiment, so for example, first of all when we came into Government after the election before last, the issues around the financial system, we have a Financial Systems Inquiry which dealt with the system issues within the financial industry. Now that was actually opposed by the Labor Party. They refused to support it going into that election so we got on with that and we have the Murray Inquiry. And we’ve got on with the job of implementing the recommendations of the Murray Inquiry which include you may recall, doing away with these ridiculous surcharges that were being placed on credit cards in the hospitality industry or other places, so some real serious financial systems reform. The second issue had to deal with the malfeasants in the financial sector. And this is around issues of advice and some of the really horrific things that we’d seen taking place. And so what we did, back in April, was put in place additional resources and powers for ASIC, so dealing with the actual practical problem of things being investigated, things being prosecuted. So this is a practical response to a genuine issue. Now we have the issue I think of accountability, and not just the perception of it but the reality of it. And what we proposed this week in response to the banks decisions this week was an accountability clearing house before the parliament. Now that’s the people’s house, the House of Representatives, and for the House of Representatives’ Economics Committee already does this job extremely well and has done so for a very long period of time. I once served on it myself, the Reserve Bank Governor comes four times a year; Wayne Byres comes; others come. So the ability to have these decisions explained and the real issues underneath them to be explored, in a sensible measured way I think is what’s helpful.

PAUL KELLY:

Treasurer, can I just clarify, giving the ongoing pressures for the Royal Commission, is the Government absolutely resolute and adamant on this question that there’s no justification for a Royal Commission?

TREASURER:

Well Paul there is no proposal for a Royal Commission into something specific. Bill Shorten has not got a terms of reference. He must have a very low level of confidence in Mark Dreyfus if he doesn’t think Mark Dreyfus QC can draft a terms of reference for a Royal Commission. He has no proposal, it’s like a whiteboard, they write something up one day, then they wipe it off and there’s something else. Apparently the Royal Commission is going to deal with banks changing interest rates decisions, it’s going to deal with executive salaries; it’s going to deal with issues around investigations and particular part practices. I don’t know what the Royal Commission is apparently into, but sadly neither does Bill Shorten. It is nothing more than a populist whinge from Bill Shorten.

KELLY:

I appreciate the point you’ve just made.

TREASURER:

He has no policy.

KELLY:

Can we therefore assume, given the question I asked, that the Government will not buckle on this issue and it will remain opposed to any Royal Commission into the banks?

TREASURER:

We oppose it because we believe the better way to deal with the problems is, is the way I’ve just outlined. Getting a Royal Commission in to spend the next two years, or I mean I don’t know how long he wants it to go for, because I don’t know what his terms of reference is, because it doesn’t exist. And at the end of that process for them to recommend that ASIC prosecute someone; well that can happen now. We have the banks in before the House of Representatives Committee after the Parliament returns. We can implement the Financial Systems Inquiry recommendations now and they can vote for them in the Parliament. So what we’re focused on is the practical things that need to be done to actually address the concerns that people have, not to tickle their ears in the way that Bill Shorten seems to think public policy should be run with the banking and financial system which everyone knows is a pillar of the strength of our economy. Now he is paying reckless political games with one of the core pillars of our economy, which underpins people’s jobs, the profits of businesses and their growth into the future. So, I think he’s acting will callus disregard and complete political opportunism.

KELLY:

Given the strength of the comments you just made, Bill Shorten is being reckless here, is there a risk that this populist campaign Labor is running and whipping up, this sentiment against the banks, that this could lead at the margins to some destabilisation of the financial system?

TREASURER:

I think there is the great risk that if the opposition continues to engage in this recklessness that the only product of that approach could be to undermine confidence in the banking and financial system. Now I recall when they first raised it, questions were being asked overseas. Kelly O’Dwyer was over at the IMF when they first raised this earlier in the year, and people were coming up to her and saying what’s wrong with the Australian banking system and financial system. Is there a problem in Australia? And what they were referring to was not individual items of dealing with customers and complaints which are legitimate issues which need to be addressed and ASIC can do that. They were wondering whether there was something wrong with the underlying integrity of our banking and financial system. Now that is a fire that you don’t want to start because…

KELLY:

But the fire has been started…

TREASURER:

…because the Government refuses to indulge Bill Shorten’s populism.

KELLY:

Let me just ask you about the cash rate. I mean the banks have been attacked this week because they didn’t pass on the full extent of the cut in the cash rate, you said that they should. Wouldn’t you concede that there is at least some sort of argument on the part of the banks given the overall situation they now face for them, not to pass on that full cut?

TREASURER:

Well if there is it’s for them to make it, not the Government. Because it’s not the Government’s decision. What we’re saying is, having a profitable banking system is of course important. I mean the fact that our banks, have a high of two or three times the return of capital than the banks in Europe for example have currently, I mean we don’t envy the European banking system. We actually have one of the strongest banking systems in the world.

KELLY:

So I mean essentially what you’re asking the banks to do is to trim their profitability, is that essentially what the Government’s asking?

TREASURER:

Well they’re the judgments they have to make.

KELLY:

But that’s what the Government is asking.

TREASURER:

And my argument to them is this, you can’t go out there and day, we couldn’t pass on the cash rate because of some Government Policy or regulation, you can. But it will trim profitability in cases, or prevent profitability being further improved. But that is a commercial decision that we’re simply saying the banks need to be transparent about.

VAN ONSELEN:

On that, I mean at the end of the day, unless there is a firm stick of Government, which is a level of intervention which I’m guessing the Liberal party wouldn’t be particularly interested in, profitability is what drives them. They’ve got shareholders, that’s their primary focus as organisations, how do you do anything other than basically throw words at them which won’t stick?

TREASURER:

To do it out in the open and ensure there is accountability in the process which is what the House of Representatives Economics Committee does. You will remember going back many years when the independence of the Reserve Bank was established that the appearance before the House of Representatives Economics Committee was part of that transition and that change. So, there was a process of public accountability and explanation. Now, we are simply taking that very effective model and applying it to this circumstance because the circumstance here is about permanent accountability. Let me make this point, Bill Shorten can have a Royal Commission to something that he doesn’t know what he wants to have it into and then it is finished and then what? What we put on the table, not just put on the table but have made part of the permanent calendar of this country is that for every year now going forward they will come before the House Of Representatives Committee at least annually and this will be part of the condition, this will condition the environment…

VAN ONSELEN:

But all it will mean is that they will just come up with some nice words to ensure that they can justify, and they probably have very good business reasons to justify, their decision not to pass on a full rate. It won’t actually change their practice, surely.

TREASURER:

Well, that might be your view Peter but I think this puts tension in the cord and tension in the cord around these issues around accountability is never a bad thing. This week Com Bank will announce their profits and they will have a public explanation around that, as is the case with every announcement that is made around these things. The banks are just not like any other private company out there or public company out there – and I have heard this argument – the banks sit at the centre of our economy. The banks operate under a social licence as well as an actual licence in the economy. The banks have the back-up in the event of a financial catastrophe of the financial claims scheme which would see the Government stepping in and ensuring depositors up to $250,000 for every single account which the Government would actually have to borrow to fulfil. So, Coles and Woolies don’t have that any more than the coffee shop up the road from my place and so they occupy a very, special and unique…

VAN ONSELEN:

But should you formalise that relation though – that implied bank guarantee. Should that be formalised because they do get a benefit?

TREASURER:

No, they don’t think so and neither do we. The system is triggered by the Government in the event of a particular set of circumstances but my point is they are not just any other company and they do hold a very significant role in the economy and the decisions they make as Paul said and they have said and I have said about balancing shareholder, depositor and borrower interests and understanding the things that are making those decisions tick for them and how they apply to the rest of the economy are worth explaining and they are worth explaining it in a forum that is proven able to do deal with those issues in a sober way.

KELLY:

But there is a really critical issue here. As Treasurer, how frustrated are you at the apparent inability of the banks to explain their actions, say, on the cash rate last week to the Australian people in a persuasive and convincing way?

TREASURER:

Well, it is frustrating and that is why we have given them this opportunity to go and do just that in this forum.

KELLY:

But why are the banks so unable to explain their own actions to the public?

TREASURER:

Well, you would have to have them, on here and ask them that question yourself, Paul, but they will have the opportunity now and I am optimistic that they, when given the right forum to be able to actually seriously have a discussion about the decisions they have to take, I mean do we want the banking system in Europe at the moment? Of course we don’t. What we want is a strong banking system, a viable banking system because it was both the strong regulation and practice of regulation in our banking and financial system put in substantially by the Howard and Costello Government that actually put the banks in the position when the storm hit for us to survive. Now, we have survived many storms in our banking and financial system has survived many storms and I don’t underestimate the impact of the management of the banks themselves contributing to that success.

KELLY:

Let me just ask you, what is, as far as you are concerned, what is the core problem with the banks? Is it an inability of presentation to explain what they are doing or is there a real problem with banking culture that the banks need to change? What is the essential problem the way you see it?

TREASURER:

Well, I think both of these issues are alive and the Prime Minister has made that point as well but so have the banks. The banks have said themselves that they have issues with culture and they announced a series of measures early this year as well and the House of Representatives committee…

KELLY:

Are you satisfied with them?

TREASURER:

With those measures?

KELLY:

Yeah.

TREASURER:

Well, I would want to see them implemented and I want to see this is an organic ongoing process and I think we have got a largely effectively a new team of bank CEOs across the board there and they have made all the very strong statements about dealing with the cultural issues inside their organisations and this process will enable a reckoner against the progress on that quite often. Now, I think that is a helpful thing. So, Paul, yes there are issues in there which the banks themselves acknowledge. Equally there is an imperative for us to inform the debate around these issues. People have concerns around this. We recognise that. So, there is an information deficit here as well which needs to be filled. A vacuum that needs to be filled and it won’t be filled with the populist nonsense that Bill Shorten goes on with. It will be filled with the sober, informed debate that we will provide through this process.

VAN ONSELEN:

It has been really interesting over the last x number of years watching rhetoric, particularly from oppositions about interest rates and when banks don’t pass them all on. Joe Hockey was very strident on this, that Labor in Government need to do something about this. Now, we then see Bill Shorten using similar rhetoric, Chris Bowen was more cautious than that. He had a media conference during the week where his aim seemed to be just to point out what he saw as the hypocrisy of Liberals in opposition versus Liberals in Government making the point that you can’t force things to change. Is Bill Shorten making the same mistake that Joe Hockey and others made when they were being a bit too strident in opposition about interest rates?

TREASURER:

Well, the only time, over the last nine months, I will talk from my own behaviour and practice. I made a very big point when we announced the ASIC changes that we were going to fund that through an additional levy on the banks and I insisted that the banks commit publically to not passing that on – which they did. So, the one time where I knew there was the opportunity to actually get that result then I asked for that result and I got it. Now, I haven’t engaged in the sort of rhetoric that you have talked about. What I have always sought to say, is right from, and because there was a rate increase on mortgages not long after I became Treasurer and the point I made then was, you need to explain this banks – not the Government – and they were making the case at the time that it was because they had to increase capitalisation and my point was what decision you have made commercially is yours and you need to explain it but you can’t go around blaming Government policy on why you have or have not chosen to adjust interest rate, that is a commercial decision and they need to explain it and that is why we have given them this opportunity.  

VAN ONSELEN:

You are watching Sunday Agenda. We are talking to the Treasurer Scott Morrison. We will continue the interview when we come back.

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VAN ONSELEN:

Can I ask you about I guess the budget bottom line. You will hand down your second budget in May and it will be important won’t it for the government to maintain its sort of economic standing that the deficit continues to come down. You wouldn’t want it to slightly pop up and that is where the risk is, the things that are out of your control like the global economy.

TREASURER:

That is true. As I have always said it is budget by budget you have to eke out every inch of growth in this economy. It is a very tough economy to work growth out of because of what is happening globally. Every budget, every statement is another step in the road to achieving that. We have a series of measures, some $40 billion actually in legislation going before the Parliament, both savings and revenue measures, and the agencies have made it pretty clear that it is not just about what is in the trajectory and set out in the budget it is are things getting passed. Now it was very interesting that S& P before the result of the election was known issued their statement saying we will be watching to see whether things are passed. They have not got an issue with the trajectory set out in the budget but they have seen not just now but over a long period of time – six or seven years –they have seen estimates slip year after year after year. Sometimes because of policy decisions particularly under the previous government but also because of parameter impacts on prices and so on but also because of things not being passed like in the last Parliament which has created this lag and pushing out of the return to balance.

VAN ONSELEN:

Just on that the so called zombie measures Labor likes to talk about…

TREASURER:

Well they are alive and will be before the Parliament and can be voted for. There are over $6 billion worth of savings that the Labor party put into their forward estimates and the Parliamentary Budget Office confirmed that this week. So there is $6.5 billon…

VAN ONSELEN:

Do you expect them to be passed by Labor?

TREASURER:

If they put them in their forward estimates well they said they support them. If they were to walk away from that $6.5 billion of things they promised the Australian people they would deliver and that they put in their forward numbers well to do anything less than that I think would be hypocrisy in the extreme. On top of that there are measure we still remain very adamant about. We want to increase the affordability of child care in this country. We want to do that because it supports families but also because it increases participation in the economy and we have for some years now put forward a measure which says we want to take savings on the Family Tax Benefit supplement, a payment that has outlived its purpose. It was put in there many years to do something it no longer does and has been built into the system. It was funded by an income stream that was happening because of the higher wages and higher rates of inflation and higher prices we were seeing in commodities. That no longer exists. We want to take the savings from that measure and invest it in better child care. Now that has been resisted by the last Parliament. We rebalanced the measures. It wasn’t the 2014/15 measure. We actually refashioned it in the previous budget and we are discussing that with the crossbenchers because Labor say they won’t support it. Well that is disappointing but they always think they can spend money now and tax something later. That is not how you run a budget. That is how you get the budget into the problem they put it in when we inherited it.

KELLY:

Just on this general point Treasurer, how important is it given the warnings from the ratings agencies about our triple-A credit rating, how important is it that this new Parliament face up to its responsibilities and be alert to the great fiscal difficulties the nation faces and adopt the more responsible attitude to the budget?

TREASURER:

Outside of national security there is nothing more important. This is the warning the agencies have given us. Now the rating remains more generally under risk because of the impact of global parameters hitting our budget. They made that point as well and that is very possible…

KELLY:

But they have also made the point about…

TREASURER:

…the legislation they have said if you can implement the savings and revenue measures, superannuation for example as well, but the savings measures I have mentioned then the ratings agencies obviously would look on that more favourably. Now that is not a guarantee of itself of decisions they may ultimately take but why would you make the job harder of retaining that rating? It will be difficult to maintain that rating under existing economic circumstances and we will work very hard to achieve that. But what makes that job easier is passing savings that restore the budget to balance. Now the government can’t do that in isolation. It obviously needs the support of those of the Labor party and if they refuse to step up to their responsibilities then obviously it will fall to the Greens, the other crossbenchers. Now of course there are Senators Day and Leyonhjelm who have been consistent supporters of the government’s efforts on budget repair. So I think that puts very a significant responsibility on the Xenophon team and the One Nation team.

KELLY:

Now you just mentioned superannuation. To what extent will the government look at changes and revisions to the superannuation package it took to the election, in particular the $500,000 lifetime provision?

TREASURER:

Well the technical amendments that are being made or the technical implementation issues they will be in the exposure draft legislation and will deal with some issues like minor life events or things like this or sometimes major life events indeed. We have already made some adjustments for things like …

KELLY:

But will there be any substantive changes?

TREASURER:

This is why the policy I think remains sound – let’s take the non-concessional cap, so the after-tax contribution. Those who have made contributions over their lifetime of $500,000, half a million dollars, they have an average balance of $2 million in their super. $2 million. And they have actually on average contributed $700,000. So to change that policy given the vast majority of Australians don’t get anywhere near this – in the top income decile in the 65 plus age group, so those who would have the highest level of lifetime contributions and the means to do it, their average contribution is just over $270,000. That’s a long way short of $500,000. So the only big winners from changing that measure would be people who already have $2 million in their account, have already put an average of $700,000 in and would be the only people who have the means to throw in another $500,000. So that is $1.2 million whereas those probably more Peter and my age and those coming up younger that, the most they will ever be able to put in is $500,000. Now there is a very real intergenerational equity question here. The current superannuation arrangements have had the most generous concessions that we have ever seen in this country. Those who have already benefitted from those concessions are being asked to take the same sort of change that the rest of the country will have to who will never benefit from those generous concessions. So I think there is a real intergenerational equity here and those who stand most to benefit from those changes have the biggest balances, the biggest incomes and have made the biggest tax-free contributions.

VAN ONSELEN:

Your colleague the Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer did a speech recently lampooning the selfishness of the baby boomers in all of this debate, people like Paul Kelly and others. Do you agree with her on that?

TREASURER:

She makes the point that I just made and it is about intergenerational equity. I think we have to be very careful here about who will be – I mean I am putting forward changes in the budget and have been now for some years. We have made changes on pensions. We have made changes on Family Tax Benefits. We have been making changes on not having the carbon tax compensation for new welfare beneficiaries. So we are making important and difficult changes elsewhere in the budget. If you have already got $2 million in your superannuation account and if you have already put $700,000 in, the greatest social challenge in the country is to not ensure you can still throw another half a million in on top of that.

KELLY:

Treasurer, before you go we have to ask you about foreign investment. You face a very important foreign investment decision soon relating to the privatisation of the NSW electricity network. There are two bidders. One is a Chinese state-owned company, the other is a Hong Kong company. So can I ask you first how far away is this decision?

TREASURER:

Well it is not too far away.

KELLY:

Can I ask you how important will be the security issues in particular cyber security issues in relation to this issue? There has already been a very intense debate about Chinese state-owned corporations and the extent to which there is a real security problem with such corporations acquiring important potentially strategically important Australian assets. So how vital will the security factor in your decision?

TREASURER:

It is the prime consideration. It is the most important consideration and always is Paul. Always has been, always will be. It is the number one issue. It is why I put David Irvine on the Foreign Investment Review Board. It is why I put David Peever on the Foreign Investment Review Board - to have the national security experience and input into these decisions and to assist me making these decisions. Now I note there has been much commentary around this issue and I can’t engage on that for obvious reasons, it is a very sensitive matter. But obviously on the other side within the government’s consideration, within the confines of the national security advice and the very technical information that is available to the government, people can be very assured that we are taking that to the nth degree in examining the national security issues around that transaction.

KELLY:

Now there has been a lot said about this issue. Pauline Hanson is campaigning aggressively on this. Alan Jones is campaigning aggressively on this. To what extent will the government take into consideration that general political climate when it comes to your decision?

TREASURER:

National security will be my prime consideration and I will be informing myself as I have been very extensively particularly since the election on the national security implications of this transaction.

VAN ONSELEN:

Can I ask you about negative gearing? I know this was a very black and white debate during the election campaign when Labor put forward its model and the government put forward as what it saw was all the problems and threats attached to it. Before that though, before it became such a black and white debate, yourself and others did talk about the excesses that occur within the current negative gearing structure. Does the government have any mind over the next three years not to look at Labor’s model – I know there are flaws in that – but to look at removing those very excesses that yourself and Alex Hawke as your Parliamentary Secretary at the time and others did talk about?

TREASURER:

We have no plans to make any changes in that area and the capital gains tax issue is also very significant in that. As the Prime Minister made the point, increasing taxes on investment is the last thing you want to do in this economy. The big challenge that the global economy has, the domestic economy has is the sluggish nature of business investment. If you look at the US, Europe, here, stronger performing economies, weaker performing economies, it is business investment and the lack of growth in business investment that is going to be the biggest threat to jobs going forward. That’s why our enterprise tax plan has always been so central to our arguments and things like asset-backed financing and the things we are doing for start-ups and  tax incentives for joint ventures and so on – it is all about driving business investment, if businesses don’t invest then the jobs that people have are not secure. That is why we take such a strong position when it comes to rejecting the idea that you can tax your way to higher levels of business investment. It is a nonsense.

VAN ONSELEN:

But having said that though when yourself and others only six months ago in some instances were saying that there are excesses in negative gearing the business climate, the threats to growth were the same then that they are now.

TREASURER:

Yes but there are costs and benefits associated with how you might employ particular measures in this area and when you look at it, as we did, the negative consequences of going down that path were far greater than the positive consequences.

VAN ONSELEN:

But isn’t it a similar sort of generational argument though, this, that you have got to put an end to the generational advantages that the baby boomers had vis-à-vis superannuation? Then the same thing goes with tax arrangements around multiple properties.

TREASURER:

You are making an assumption around the link to housing affordability that I don’t necessarily share and that is why on the housing affordability side what we have to look at more specifically is the variety of housing choices from people on very low incomes to those on middle incomes, families, the diversity of housing choices that are available. These are very much supply side issues that we need to address. Downsizing issues for those who are going into their retirement. There is no silver bullet on this issue. This is something that the Prime Minister and I are very focused on. It gets to the efficiency of cities, it gets to transport, it gets to all of these issues and one of the things that I will say, as I have always said about negative gearing, is that if you are a middle income earner. If you are on $70,000, you are on $60,000, then the one big shot you have got on wealth creation for you and your family over the next 30 years is investing in a rental property. And if you are renting…

VAN ONSELEN:

But I am talking about removing the excesses so they could still do that on one property or even two. Just take out the excesses.

TREASURER:

Well, on Labor’s policy, the people who will continue to be able to negatively gear are those with high levels of investment income. So, people on high incomes get to keep negatively gearing…

VAN ONSELEN:

But I am not talking about Labor’s policy. I am talking about an alternative way of removing those excesses.

TREASURER:

We are not planning any changes there Peter and for the reason I said. We don’t see the benefits potentially of that examination exceeding the negative consequences.

KELLY:

Can I just ask you about the centrepiece of the Government’s campaign which of course is the corporate tax cut. When you present this to the Parliament will you present it as an overall package involving all of the tax cuts over ten years?

TREASURER:

Of course.

KELLY:

You will – fine. And will you fight for that package? Do you think you still have a chance of legislating the package overall?

TREASURER:

Well, that will be determined by the result in the Senate but we took it to an election, it was central to our plan for jobs and growth to boost investment in the economy, to encourage investment all the way through and remember that starts with this very year and I should stress also the income tax cut for those on middle incomes, that also starts in this year. We will be putting that legislation…

KELLY:

Well, what is your response to a lot of the politicians a lot of the Senate crossbenchers who say, well, look, they will give consideration, they would support the tax cut for small business, they won’t support the tax cut further down the track for big business?

TREASURER:

Well, they are entitled to have that view, they’re Senators and finally we have a Senate that is now elected on the basis of people actually voting for them and that is why we respect absolutely every single Senator in this Parliament because they have got there because people have gone and voted for them. They will have their views and we have engaged heavily with the crossbench already and we will work that through. But I go back to the point I made about investment. We need to drive investment in this country, otherwise people’s jobs are not secure and we need to have policies that do that. Now, we believe the enterprise tax plan drives that investment and we will put that to the Parliament and we will argue for it. We took it to an election and we won the election.

VAN ONSELEN:

What is your sense though of how the crossbenchers are likely to react to the, if you put it all in as one, the corporate tax cuts, I suspect that they are unlikely to pass that but they might try to carve out part of it as Paul sort of suggests.

TREASURER:

Well, I am sure there will be endless articles people can write putting their views forward about how that is all going to play out but what is important is that we put the plan forward as we took it to the Australian people. There is no walking back from that. There is no walking back from any of the measures we put to the Australian people at this election. We will put them to the Parliament and seek to work with the Parliament to take our agenda through and we will work constructively with people on that. I think the first stage and this is where I think some of the crossbenchers have shown some real wisdom, that they are also refusing to be drawn in on every single decision at the moment. They are coming into the Parliament, often with new Senators and they will be spending their time getting across the information, getting across the measures and so we are certainly not seeking to rush them into any decision here and we are just working constructively with them to build the information base upon which you can build a genuine and real agreement on the way forward.

VAN ONSELEN:

Treasurer, just before we let you go are you disappointed by some of the lack of campaigning from business groups, the property council, during the course of this election campaign? It struck me that behind the scenes that there was some real concern about Labor in these sections of the business community but then there was a fairly lacklustre campaign in behind the government and it has turned out to be an incredibly tight result.

TREASURER:

Well, I am disappointed the Sharks lost to Canberra last night. That is what I am particularly disappointed about today.

KELLY:

But they just weren’t good enough.

TREASURER:

Well, I was down there, and look, it was not our night but to Shane Flanagan and all the boys I know you will be gearing up well for the finals and The Shire is right behind you – 100 per cent.

VAN ONSELEN:

Are you as disappointed in them as the business community’s lack of…

TREASURER:

I will let them explain how they make their cases in the public debate but, you know, that really is for them to make the case about the things that they think are important. The unions clearly do and engage politically to that end and how the business community, I think, over the next three years or five years, I mean, Paul, it goes back to the discussion we were having about banks. If there is a view and there clearly seems to be that there is a lot of hostility towards business well there is a case that business will need to make in its own interests.

VAN ONSELEN:

Treasurer, Scott Morrison we appreciate you joining us on agenda. Thanks for your company.

TREASURER:

Thanks a lot.