5 July 2018
Transcript - #2018137, 2018

Interview with Karl Stefanovic, Today

Subjects: All States and Territories better off from a fairer way to share the GST; Senator Hanson-Young, toy guns, Archbishop of Adelaide

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Treasurer, Scott Morrison joins me now. Treasurer, good morning.

TREASURER:

G'Day Karl.

STEFANOVIC:

And on the seventh day, peace broke out across the land.

TREASURER:

Well, managing the GST of the states and territories is always a tricky business but there was a problem, it needed to be fixed. In WA they were getting down to less than 30 cents in the dollar per person for GST. The system was broken and what I'm announcing today is a plan to fix that. Not overnight, it happens over time. So the smaller states, no one is left worse off. In fact, all states and territories are left better off under the plan.

STEFANOVIC:

So you can guarantee no state will be worse off?

TREASURER:

Absolutely, and we do that by making sure the pie that everybody is getting their slice from is bigger. So, in addition to the GST that is collected, the Commonwealth will be making an additional contribution to that pool which is carved up between the states and that means all of them end up being better off. So that means more money for schools, for hospitals, for essential services and that's up to the State and Territory governments to spend that well.

STEFANOVIC:

Ok, you initiated in the Productivity Commission review of the GST but you were going to ignore the findings because you've got a better plan. It's a big 'up yours' to that finding, isn't it?

TREASURER:

Well no, I mean eight out of the nine recommendations in that report we've actually adopted. There was one which said they wanted to go in a different direction on the formula. We thought that would be too…

STEFANOVIC:

The big one.

TREASURER:

…it's a big one, I agree. But it would have been too costly. It would have had too much impact on all the other smaller States and Territories and that wasn't going to fly. So we needed something that was more achievable, that could actually happen and that's what we've outlined today. It's a sustainable plan and particularly if you're in the West, you know you're finally going to get your fair share but if you're living in Tasmania then you're also going to get your fair share.

STEFANOVIC:

The point is what's the point of a Productivity Commission report if you just overrule it?

TREASURER:

Well, I haven't, 8 out of the 9 recommendations were supported.

STEFANOVIC:

The big one you haven't.

TREASURER:

Even in that recommendation they said that option was not unambiguously better than any other.

STEFANOVIC:

You can see the big point though. That you've rolled over on it.

TREASURER:

We didn't think that was the right way to go, Karl. I disagree with that.

STEFANOVIC:

And back to my point, what's the point of a Productivity Commission report if you overrule it?

TREASURER:

Because without that report we would not have had the data and the information to actually frame the proposal that I'm putting forward today. So I think it's a very good report. It actually said the system is broken and it needs to be fixed. And we need to deal with this as a national problem and it confirmed that it was a national problem. That's important when you are going to change of system like that. You have to establish as a Government why you're trying to fix this? What's the problem? Well, it was a national problem and 30 cents in the dollar or less for WA needed to be fixed.

STEFANOVIC:

Ok, you're doing it slowly, as you said, over eight years. You aren't in any great hurry.

TREASURER:

Well, you've got to do it slowly because that way you don't impact on all the other States and Territories markedly and it keeps the cost down. So that's the sensible way to do it. We put a floor in for all states and territories. No one gets less than 75 cents ultimately. And that means the bigger states keep subsidising the smaller states, that's the fair go principle it's based on but not unreasonably.

STEFANOVIC:

Ok, wouldn't it have been better to just top up states in need along the way? Wouldn't that have been more courageous?

TREASURER:

No, that would have been a Band-Aid that could have been over turned and flip-flopped by any future Government or any future Treasurer and that's not what the states need. They need the certainty of knowing what comes for their schools and their hospitals and that's what we're delivering.

STEFANOVIC:

You reckon you're going to get them on board?

TREASURER:

Well, we've had an encouraging response. The next step now is, we've got to look at all the information that underpins it and we've got a process to do that over the next six months so we're not rushing into anything. We think this is the way to fix a problem that has been kicked down the road for too long and we're acting on it where previous people haven't.

STEFANOVIC:

Ok, let's hope it works. This is a complicated situation.

TREASURER:

It is.

STEFANOVIC:

Let's hope it all works out for everyone. Just a couple of other issues, if we can. Sarah Hanson-Young has given David Leyonhjelm seven days to apologies otherwise she's taking legal action. Do you support her stand?

TREASURER:

Well she can take whatever action she thinks appropriate. But obviously, what David had to say was just not on. Everyone should treat all their work colleagues with respect.

STEFANOVIC:

Do you support her action though?

TREASURER:

Well, that's for her to take. I don't speak for Sarah Hanson-Young. I think she has every right to feel pretty ordinary and pretty upset about this. That's just not the way people should speak to each other.

STEFANOVIC:

It was disgusting wasn't it?

TREASURER:

It was.

STEFANOVIC:

Ok. The Archbishop of Adelaide says he should keep his job after being found guilty of concealing child sex abuse. Should he?

TREASURER:

No. It's outrageous. He should go.

STEFANOVIC:

Today?

TREASURER:

As soon as possible. Yesterday, preferably.

STEFANOVIC:

Agreed. Child care centers are moving to ban toy guns across the country. What do you think about that one?

TREASURER:

Well, I've got two little girls. They don't play with toy guns. I did when I was a kid and I had lots of fun you know, my brother and I running around the back garden, doing all that. Look, I think we get a little bit worked up about these things. Let kids be kids.

STEFANOVIC:

Well, you're carrying a big stick now, Scott Morrison.

TREASURER:

Well, I walk quietly and softly as you know Karl.

STEFANOVIC:

I'm not sure about that. Scott thanks for your time today. Appreciate it.

TREASURER:

Thanks Karl. Good to be with you.