11 August 2018
Transcript - #2018160, 2018

Doorstop interview, Adelaide

SUBJECTS: SA-NSW interconnector; National Energy Guarantee; GST distribution; Ben Roberts-Smith; Emma Husar.

TREASURER:

It's great to be here in South Australia with the Marshall Government and we've just been talking about the new interconnector with work commencing in these early phases with my home state New South Wales, so I'm pleased with the great connection that is being made there with those two governments.

But the interconnection that I think has really occurred since the election of the Marshall Government has been the interconnection back with the Commonwealth Government, and the great adult relationship that is now really getting ahead in dealing with so many issues.

I want to thank Premier Steven Marshall and Dan for the great support South Australia has given to the National Energy Guarantee this week, but not just this week, over the period of time since they have been elected and beyond that, in fact when they were in opposition. They've always understood that this plan, the National Energy Guarantee is lowering electricity prices. The Liberal Government in South Australia is for lower electricity prices. The Turnbull Government at a Commonwealth level is for lower electricity prices. If you are for lower electricity prices, you are for the National Energy Guarantee and I want to commend Minister Josh Frydenberg for the work he has done to continue to take this agenda forward. There are still some hurdles to clear, there is no doubt about that but the NEG bus is moving, it's going forward and it's going to bring lower electricity prices for Australians not just in South Australia where Labor's ideological energy experiment was a proven failure, something Bill Shorten wants to repeat nationally to drive up electricity prices. The National Energy Guarantee achieves lower electricity prices.

Now I also commend the South Australian Government, and particularly Rob Lucas, and I wish him well for the budget that is ahead, for the work he has done with the Commonwealth on landing our position when it comes to the GST and we look forward to that meeting in a few weeks time in late September or early October where that matter will be considered and I appreciate both his and Steven's strong input to those adult discussions that you have to have about difficult issues like this. The Commonwealth has ensured through the changes we have already made to the GST that $6.5 billion of additional GST revenue is going into the States and Territories for hospitals, for schools, for law and order over the next four years - $6.5 billion extra into the states because of the initiative we have taken to make the GST more comprehensive, fairer and more efficient. So whether it is on the GST, whether it is on the interconnector, whether it is on the National Energy Guarantee, this is all the product of a great working relationship with the Marshall Government here in South Australia and we look forward to pursuing that in the future.

QUESTION:

You talk about hurdles with the NEG, is the first hurdle the party room meeting on Tuesday?

TREASURER:

No I'm very confident about that because it is a common sense plan to reduce electricity prices. The Liberal Party and the National Party, we are for lower electricity prices, so if you are for that, you are for the National Energy Guarantee and I am sure that will get strong support. Of course there will be discussions, but it will have strong support because it is the right plan. This is a plan that has been worked up with the National Energy Security Board. This is a plan the minister has been working on painstakingly with the sector, with the states and territories, with the regulators, with the ACCC, with all of these organisations, AEMO; we've been working together to end the political argy-bargy on energy. We have got to stop arguing about energy and we’ve got to start agreeing on energy and that is what the National Energy Guarantee gives us the opportunity to do. The opportunity is now, this is a sliding doors moment for energy policy in this country. There is the opportunity to secure what is a consensus that has been built over the last year and more for the right way forward, and that opportunity is now and I believe our Government will seize it.

QUESTION:

Do you think the Coalition MPs against the NEG are just an outspoken minority?

TREASURER:

Our party room will have its discussion, as Steven’s will about their issues, that's how a good government's works. The National Energy Guarantee is the right plan for lower electricity prices, just like our plan for personal income taxes; lowering personal income taxes. The Labor Party wants to strip out $70 billion worth of personal income tax relief if they are elected at the next election. We've legislated it. We've legislated tax relief for small businesses here in South Australia; up to $50 million. Labor wants to put those taxes up; they want to put them up from 25 per cent to 27.5 per cent. Higher taxes, higher electricity prices is not the way to a stronger economy. That's why we are for the National Energy Guarantee and we are for lower taxes.

QUESTION:

But Barnaby Joyce and Tony Abbott are threatening to cross the floor on this, are you confident the policy is going to make it through?

TREASURER:

I am.

QUESTION:

Treasurer on the company tax cuts, when is the senate going to vote?

TREASURER:

We will be pursuing that over the next fortnight.

QUESTION:

Next fortnight, but not this week?

TREASURER:

Well, we will make these decisions when we get together over the next few days. There is an opportunity to put it straight back in, but we will be consulting closely with the Senate. We have our discussions with the Senate cross benchers and other members directly, and so we don't go into those discussions in the media. But we intend to deal with this fairly promptly.

QUESTION:

And on another issue, the allegations about VC recipient Ben Roberts-Smith allegedly intimidating his former partner, what's your response to that?

TREASURER:

Allegations of a serious nature such as these are appropriately dealt with in the process that is available for that, and that is what should happen. That's what should happen, and we should respect that process and we should respect all those involved in that process and trust that process to do its job.

(Questions to South Australian Premier)

TREASURER:

Just in closing, Bill Shorten needs to explain what he knew and when about this train wreck that has been occurring with Emma Husar in Western Sydney in the Labor Party. I mean what sort of show is Bill Shorten running?

In NSW, there are allegations "independently investigated" by the Labor Party; they should be properly investigated by the proper authorities not by an internal party review, that should be done by the Department of Finance with the serious issues of allegations about misuse of taxpayers funds and more broadly other issues of employee abuse allegations should be dealt with by the proper authorises that relate to those matters as well. The full report should be out there in its entirety and available to those authorities to pursue those investigations. But the real issue here, is who believes Bill Shorten that he knew nothing about this. I mean, come on Bill. You've gotta come clean on this. Why are you are hiding your knowledge this is just really frustrating to Australians because you are just not being up front. It just doesn't pass the smell test; that Bill Shorten as leader of the Labor Party was completely oblivious to the absolute factional open warfare going on inside the right wing of the Labor Party of NSW, in NSW. It beggars belief. It doesn't add up Bill, and you need to come clean about what you knew and when you knew it. This goes to his trust and his integrity. He's trying to put one over the Australian people yet again. This bloke tells lies and thinks he can keep moving and get away with it. Now, he needs to be held to account and we will certainly seek to do that to ensure he faces up to that. So whether it’s allegations of Labor staffers being abused in NSW and in Victoria we have Labor staffers being arrested; I mean what sort of show is Bill Shorten running in the Labor Party. He will have to face up to those serious questions both from media and others in the weeks ahead and he needs to come clean.