31 August 2017
Transcript - #2017165, 2017

Doorstop interview, Sydney

SUBJECTS: Same-sex marriage; Bloomberg address – the Economics of Opportunity; Bill Shorten’s new ‘Red’ Labor - the most left wing Labor party in generations; Turnbull Government’s Banking Executive Accountability Regime

QUESTION:

Treasurer, the former Prime Minister John Howard has said that he is worried about unresolved issues relating to religious freedoms and exemptions in the same-sex marriage debate. Will the government release more detail about how those freedoms will be protected?

TREASURER:

Well the Government is not putting forward a bill. There is a survey that is going on. People will respond to that survey and if the survey comes back positive well then the government said it will simply facilitate a Private Members Bill to be brought into the Parliament and for that to be debated and determined in the Parliament. The only bill I am aware of is the one that Dean Smith has circulated and there have been significant questions raised about that bill’s ability to protect religious freedom.

QUESTION:

Your colleague Matt Canavan has said that the most common complaint that he hears is from mums about what would he calls radical gender agendas within schools. What are your thoughts on that?

TREASURER:

My thoughts are I am the Treasurer and I am focused on the financial management of Australia. I know many of my colleagues will be engaging in this. I have made it clear my position on this matter has remained consistent. Last time I voted on this matter in the Parliament was to vote no. People sitting on the same side of me were Bill Shorten and Chris Bowen. They changed their view, I haven’t changed mine.

QUESTION:

But do you think the issue of [inaudible].

TREASURER:

Again I am not going to do a running commentary on the survey. I am focused on the economics of Australia and the financial management of Australia. I have a long-standing position on this. I am going to let Australians have their say. Where they have concerns about the issues that you raise they have a right to raise them and consider those things when they determine their response to the survey.

QUESTION:

The Banking Accountability Regime. It’s out for consultation at the moment. If these AUSTRAC allegations prove correct a lot of the executives that had responsibility for these machines and the risk frameworks at the time have now left the bank and their remuneration won’t be affected at all. Is there any chance that this will apply retrospectively given the consultation period?

TREASURER:

That has closed now that consultation period and we are now finalising the legislation. It has never been our intention for retrospective legislation. There are a number of assumptions in your question around if particularly individuals may or may not be affected. I don’t think they will hold out to scrutiny. The banks themselves still have the options available that they have had.

QUESTION:

Another question on the Banking Executive Accountability Regime, Treasurer. In those industry consultations there were comments that the new law might blur the lines of institutional accountability. They provided APRA with new powers but without appeal rights through the courts and other such concerns. Is the legislation going to response to those?

TREASURER:

Our response in the legislation people will see in due course. I am not surprised that there has been a bit of push back to a stronger accountability regime in the banking sector. We are sifting through those responses. There have been some predictable reactions. I think there has been some over-reaction and I think you will see in the legislation that comes forward that it stays very true to what I announced in the Budget.

QUESTION:

If APRA does have power to fine banks, how can [inaudible].

TREASURER:

Well again you are making several assumptions. When the legislation comes forward I think that will be the time to discuss those matters.

QUESTION:

When is that legislation coming forward?

TREASURER:

We intend to introduce it in October.

QUESTION:

Treasurer, more questions have been raised around Senator Derryn Hinch’s eligibility to sit in the Parliament due to his US social security number. Do you think [inaudible].

TREASURER:

Those matters are being determined by the courts. In Senator Hinch’s case Senator Hinch is pursuing those maters independently. I think that is appropriate. To be honest they are matters for the court, they are not something in the government’s control. The points I am making today are in the government’s control. Making sure we have a speed limit on taxes in this country. Something we are doing but the Labor party refuse to do. This is the most left wing Labor party we have seen in generations. The neo-socialists in the Labor party have joined forces with the cynical opportunists to create quite a deadly faction and they are running the Labor party and if they get their chance, if Bill Shorten gets to slither into the Lodge then this will be wreaked on Australia. We think there will be real damage. That is something I am focused on, preventing that from happening.

QUESTION:

Treasurer at this forum last year, and I will quote exactly your words, you talked about bank culture and you said ‘in my own engagement with the banks leadership, there is both a recognition and commitment to deal with this issue.’ But can you give us an update on your more recent discussions and whether you think that is true [inaudible].

TREASURER:

That remains true but I think they will be dealing with this issue and they will be greatly assisted by the Banking Executive Accountability Regime and all the other measures the government has put in place to ensure that job gets done.

Thanks very much for your time today.