18 June 2018
Transcript - #2018114, 2018

Interview with Kieran Gilbert, Sky News

Tax relief for working Australians; Enterprise Tax Plan; Treasury costings of Labor's retiree tax revenue; Newspoll

KIERAN GILBERT:

I'm joined by the Treasurer Scott Morrison now to discuss our top stories of the day, really are dominating focus at the moment, the income tax cuts you want them through this week?

TREASURER:

Of course. We want all Australians who are working hard, paying tax, to have tax relief. They all work hard, so they all deserve tax relief, they don't deserve to have their taxes go up which is what you'll see from Labor this week, they'll be pulling all sorts of stunts and tricks to stand in the way of working Australians getting tax relief.

GILBERT:

But even if you don't have the numbers in the Senate you'll put it to a vote because you'll want to make this obviously the centrepiece of the by-elections…

TREASURER:

We're putting the whole plan to the Parliament…

GILBERT:

There will be a vote, regardless if you have the numbers…

TREASURER:

Of course there will be. They'll be a vote and we'll find out this week who is for lower taxes, who is for higher taxes. We already know the answer of course. Labor has more than $200 billion of higher taxes they'll put on the economy over the next decade and they seem to think that won't have any impact on jobs or growth.

GILBERT:

It's D-day for them, they've got to work out whether they do back them or not, you would expect that given you're holding the rest of the tax cuts to ransom, really, that's what the Government is doing.

TREASURER:

No I reject that. What we've got is…

GILBERT:

Labor will probably relent.

TREASURER:

Labor can couch it anyway they like. All I know if they're not for lower taxes, you have to force them into supporting lower taxes, because they're for higher taxes. I mean their Retirees Tax for example, which is also a topic today, that is a cruel tax, and the reason they're bringing it in is because they don't know how to control their spending. So they've got to come up with all of these taxes, more than $200 billion worth and we've seen with the Retirees Tax, they already muffed it when they announced it. They had to cobble together changes within just a couple of weeks, and now we know from the Treasury costings that are being done, that there's a $10 billion black hole and more, $1 billion over the forward estimates because they didn't think through how people would actually readjust and arrange their affairs, to avoid paying it. It's still a $5 billion tax slug.

GILBERT:

Who did the external review, it says Treasury modelling based on an external review.

TREASURER:

Treasury always work with external advisors, those involved in the superannuation scheme and those involved in looking after people's tax affairs, that's what they do with all costings. That's how they get them right. Now, these Treasury costings…

GILBERT:

Can you release it though? Can you release the modelling and the external review, the whole thing?

TREASURER:

We will release the costings, and the work that Treasury has done which sets out the assumptions behind us. That's what we've been doing today.

GILBERT:

And the external review the whole box and dice because…

TREASURER:

The external review goes into it…

GILBERT:

I guess whoever does it, there are vested interests in all of this aren't there, so whoever does the external review. It's important to know.

TREASURER:

It will be the same costings release for all things that Treasury does. The same stuff. The point is, those are the numbers Labor would have to put in their Budget. Now Labor's Budget is a house of cards and the reason is they keep relying on money that never turns up. But they spend it. That's how they always get into trouble. Remember the mining tax, "here's all this money" Swanny said, "it's all going to come pouring in". A peanut came in, but he's already spent an elephant's lunch on the thing. This is why they get into so much trouble.

GILBERT:

But in terms of the PBO. The PBO did this costing didn't it? So, Labor's costing, they didn't pluck it out of the air, they had the Parliamentary Budget Office do it. That's the independent office, who else are they meant to get to do it?

TREASURER:

They never released it. They never released the PBO costings. Did they?

GILBERT:

Well David Leyonhjelm obtained, requested by Senate Estimates and Labor would say that that's it.

TREASURER:

Did Labor produce the costings?

GILBERT:

No they didn't. But it did come out.

TREASURER:

No they didn't so I'm not going to take lectures about that, from a Labor Party who hasn't released their own costings on their own documents. What it showed was that you've got to brief people about what you're doing with your policies and clearly they didn't take into account what would happen because of the changes to superannuation for people with higher balances who actually do pay tax now, because of the changes…

GILBERT:

They're going to shift it, obviously they'll shift it…

TREASURER:

They didn't take into account the fact that people who have more means will be able to readjust…

GILBERT:

The Parliamentary Budget Office Modelling that was obtained by Leyonhjelm actually shows that they did look at behaviour changes.

TREASURER:

The Treasury costings at the end of the day, are the final whistle about what goes in the Budget.

GILBERT:

But an opposition can't go to the Treasury and say can you cost our numbers?

TREASURER:

What this highlights Kieran, is just how sensitive and vulnerable these things are. But Labor goes and banks all the spending against it. That's the problem. They look out over 10 years and they say this will happen, that will happen, when it comes to their spending and their taxes and at the end of the day these things can be very unreliable. That's why you can't trust them when it comes to money because they spend even the money that doesn't turn up. That's how they got us into deficit last time that's how the debt goes up, we've seen this movie before, and Chris Bowen stuffed this thing when he first announced it, not thinking through the consequence and he stuffed it when it comes to how much it will cost. It's as incompetent as it is cruel.

GILBERT:

You and I discussed this a few weeks ago, and the broader issue about the 10 year trajectory for the income tax cut plan and you don't want to release all the year by year costings because…

TREASURER:

Treasury don't.

GILBERT:

Yet you want us to believe this 10 year costing.

TREASURER:

Our ten year costing is done over the full ten year period ok? The individual slices on that are not reliable and that's what Treasury said, and that's why you've got to look at it over the full 10 year period. But what this shows is that Treasury's costings on these things are always conservative. They're certainly far more conservative than what the Labor Party has done. Now what the Labor Party has said to the PBO on their policy, I've got no idea. You know why I don't know? Because they never released it. So if Labor wants people to trust them, on more than $200 billion of taxes, which they think will have no impact on the economy, won't stop people from investing, won't stop people from getting jobs which it obviously will. And then they want to say, well we'll get all this money and then we'll spend it all. That is a house of cards that will fall down under Labor.

GILBERT:

You look at the opinion polls today and Newpoll has Malcolm Turnbull now 40 per cent satisfied that his performance has been an improvement, a trajectory on the way up, the Government still though trailing on the two-party preferred basis.

TREASURER:

I'm not fussed about this. We're less than a year out from an election now, and the thing about elections is, opinions turn into decisions. It's like I said on the weekend, it's like the bacon and egg principal. The chicken is interested, the chicken is involved but the pig is absolutely committed and understands the consequences of going down that path. Elections are the same thing. People have lots of opinions before an election, but when they come to vote, they have to think about the consequences of what more than $200 billion of higher taxes would be on our economy, what the impact would be of a Labor Government that we know we can't trust to control our borders, and can't trust to take the lead on national security. Australians will not be safer, our economy will not be stronger under a Labor Government.

GILBERT:

Why doesn't the Prime Minister's personal rating translate just yet?

TREASURER:

I think I've just explained why. What we're seeing is people seeing an even great leadership and great confidence…

GILBERT:

You think it will down the track…

TREASURER:

… one out and one back. Over the next year as the distractions continue to peel away what people will focus on is the consequences of a Labor Government and the positive consequences of a continuing Coalition Government. We've got a plan for a stronger economy and safer Australia and Labor has plans for neither.

GILBERT:

Treasurer thanks for your time, the thought of bacon and eggs has made me hungry.

TREASURER:

[Laughs] well go and grab some.

GILBERT:

Thanks so much, appreciate it.