28 November 2016
Transcript - #2016171, 2016

Interview with Ray Hadley, 2GB

SUBJECTS: Working holiday maker tax arrangements; Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook; Newspoll; ABCC; 457 visas.

RAY HADLEY:

The Treasurer Scott Morrison is in our Canberra Studio. He had been invited to attend an Indigenous domestic violence event but he has honoured his commitment to us and he is in the studio right now. Treasurer, good morning to you.

TREASURER:

G’day Ray and thanks for mentioning that. It is a very serious issue that Indigenous women are 34 times more likely to be hospitalised because of domestic violence than non-indigenous women. Any violence against women and children is abhorrent but obviously the problem is even more pronounced in those communities and right now colleagues from right across the political divide, it is a good way to start the week, are united in recognising that but more importantly we need to continue to do things about it.

HADLEY:

Well, luckily we have got people like Warren Mundine and Noel Pearson, indigenous leaders, recognising that there is a severe problem that needs to be addressed in a different way.

TREASURER:

Yes, absolutely.

HADLEY:

Ok, you have just held a news conference I was watching while I was coming on air. You have settled on a rate of 15 per cent for the backpacker tax, has that met agreement with your opposition.

TREASURER:

The Crossbench will pass this and so Nick Xenophon and the Hanson Team One Nation and Derryn Hinch have all given me their commitments on those things that they will make announcements. The Labor Party have just been playing childish politics with this Ray. They haven’t had any interest resolving this. They have just tried to create havoc for the Government but it is our job to get things done and we have done that today. This has been a difficult issue and we have worked through it. We have put one compromise forward and now we have come to this landing today and it is important that the growers and others can have that certainty before we break. They are committed to achieving that and I am pleased we have been able to do that today despite being pragmatic Ray. 80 per cent of something is better than 100% of nothing.

HADLEY:

So, in relationship to this what is the bottom line? What is it going to cost you. Where do you have to find some money?

TREASURER:

$120 million is the cost and this is why I am frustrated with the Labor Party that they bleat every day about revenue in the Parliament and then won’t vote on a revenue measure that helps us protect the Triple-A credit rating but it is $120 million so I expect the support of the Labor Party and the Senate in making sure we can make up the difference because that obviously puts more pressure on the credit rating and we will continue to pursue those measures. There will be measures in the MYEFO statement, as there always is, and the primary purpose of what we do at the end of the year – it is not a mini-budget or anything like that. What is it is when there are announcements on policies or things that happen after the Budget then you need to reconcile those in your end of year statements. So you go and find the other savings or other measures that pay for those and I did that last year when we had quite a lot of those measures last year. Particularly on taking the additional Syrian refugees and some other changes that were made on the bank deposits tax and we were able to cover those off last year and so this year we have been, I think, a bit more disciplined and not had as many of those so we will square that away in December.

HADLEY:

There is another poll out today. This time in Fairfax as opposed to Newspoll and again it has two-party preferred. And I know you will say we don’t take notice of these things Ray, the only poll we worry about is the next election, but it is the basis on which Malcolm Turnbull assumed control of the country because of the 30 consecutive polls before the previous prime minister. So, we are now looking down the gun-barrel, of not 30, but it is getting close to double figures.

TREASURER:

Well, we had a poll in July and the Australian people returned the Government and we are getting on with…

RAY HADLEY: By a short half-head.

TREASURER:

Ray, even if the Sharks had just won by two points they still would have won the Premiership mate and that is what matters when it comes to being able to form a government and now we are getting on with it. Whether it is what we have been able to achieve on Registered Organisations, and you will remember everyone said why did you go to a double dissolution on registered organisations and hopefully we will see where we get to on ABCC this week. At least half of that job is now being completed. It could not have been completed under the previous Senate. What we have been able to achieve is $20 billion already in Budget improvement measures passed just since the last election. So, our job at the moment is to get on with it. I know what the polls say and there will be lots of people who will commentate on those and you are right Ray, politicians look at polls, of course they do. So what is our response to it? Get stuff done. Get on with it and that is what we are doing.

HADLEY:

Ok, you just mentioned the ABCC. Now, Barnaby Joyce had some, I guess unhelpful things to say about South Australian water, but it appears that someone has been talking to Nick Xenophon over the weekend and making concessions on a range of fronts. Even though there is no written format for the water solution he wants in South Australia it appears that the Murry Darling issue has been raised by the Prime Minister with Mr Xenophon. I heard him this morning talking and he seemed to be much more conducive to the ABCC given what he has been told over the course of the weekend. How do you keep Barnaby Joyce and Nick Xenophon happy over South Australian water?

TREASURER:

Well, Barnaby Joyce along with the rest of the Government is absolutely committed to the plan and I think a bit of dust has been kicked up on this issue over the last few weeks but when you pair it all back everyone is committed to the plan. The Prime Minister has had a busy weekend in dealing with this issue and we have a Prime Minister who is very practically focused on the job and not being distracted by people kicking up dust wherever that might occur. You just have to get to the outcomes and the ABCC is an incredibly important outcome because it means that lawlessness will be brought to account in the building and construction industry and we are paying 30 per cent more on construction projects because of what we are seeing with the CFMEU. The Parliament for several weeks now, we’ve been outlining case after case of just bloody mindedness and just outright lawlessness and thugishness in the building and construction industry and Bill Shorten has described that as the side of the angels. It is just appalling. This is the same Labor Party that in government allowed to be renewed Alex Vella the head of the Rebels Motorcycle gang’s visa to be renewed. That is the Labor Party we are talking about.

HADLEY:

Don’t forget Annastacia Palaszczuk is basically beholden to the CFMEU who helped run her campaign. We had bikies leading charges against Peter Dutton, you were Immigration Minister and the front page of the Courier Mail today and pages two and three is full of stuff again about another CFMEU official who apparently thinks he can act outside what’s fair and decent. Let alone the law.

TREASURER:

Bob Hawke said he wouldn’t stand the lawlessness when it came to the BLF. He wouldn’t stand for it. But clearly Bill Shorten is happy to stand for this sort of thuggish and even criminal behaviour on these building sites by refusing to allow the rule of law to be established there is never been a time I don’t think since around the pre-Whitlam times and maybe during those times that the Labor Party had been more beholden to the trade union movement then today. He said he wanted to run the Labor Party like a trade union. Well he is. That is what Bill Shorten is doing. If he wants to stand with thugs and criminals, well, he should bare the association of that relationship.

HADLEY:

Now the ABCC, just dwelling on that, it does appear, and I said this to you last Monday, that there’s a better chance of it going through than it did formally. Now all of a sudden it fell over by Thursday and Friday but it looks to be resurrected. Will they sit longer to finalise this legislation or not?

TREASURER:

I couldn’t say at the moment Ray. The 45th Parliament is a bit like that and it’s, you’ve got to navigate your way through. The senate last week had a long night to get the Registered Organisations done. This week we’ll see how it progresses. It’s very important this passes both the jobs and wages growth in the construction industry. It’s very important it goes through, because for taxpayers paying 30 per cent more on building hospitals and roads and bridges and schools, I mean, we just can’t allow that to continue. I’m just constantly staggered when I look across at the Labor Party and they go no, no we’re not going to allow that come back in. It’s just recklessness.

HADLEY:

What do you make of Jaquie Lambie and her thoughts of the Coalition, it appears to me that she’s a bit angry about everything in life and she’s really angry with the Coalition. Do you think she’ll every vote with you on anything?

TREASURER:

I’ll live in hope.

HADLEY:

I’ll take that as a no. I’ll put words in your mouth and I’ll say no Ray she’ll never vote for anything we propose.

TREASURER:

I live in hope but my optimism is challenged. But you know, you work with others, and this parliament, in the last parliament, in the 44th parliament, it was almost impossible to get things through. And now, we’re demonstrating that we’re making this parliament work. Doesn’t mean it’s easy. You’ve got to have compromises.

HADLEY:

You’ve got Pauline Hanson to thanks for that.

TREASURER:

I think Paulin has been very constructive particularly on the Budget Bills. I mean, she’s supporting a lot of our social services changes which the Labor Party and other cross benchers are still opposing, and there are some of the measures that we have to pass to protect our credit rating. So we call frankly on the Labor Party to live up their economic responsibility and pass those measures. Look, I think this Parliament, it was worth going to the election and it was an eight week campaign and it was a very long campaign which we were successful at, all be it at some cost, and it’s put us in a better place to move these things through. I mean $20 billion of Budget improvement measures we’ve got through since the election. Now we were not making that progress before on legislation, we put things up, we’d put them in the Budget, but you’ve got to have more than a paper surplus. You’ve got to have one which the ratings agencies look at which actually get legislated.

HADLEY:

Simon Benson has a good story today about Bill Shorten and 457. It appears we don’t have anyone to flip burgers in Australia so we’ve got to bring them from elsewhere because we need expertise in customer service.

TREASURER:

Yes, the Tele has had quite a bit of fun. We’ll have lies with that. Well, Bill Shorten you always have lies with that. I think that’s pretty consistent with the sort of phonies his party approached politics. This guy was the gold medallist when it came to handing out 457s. Only 10 per cent of 457 visas actually went to mining jobs, and there are others in construction. What he’s put up on 457s is just gross hypocrisy. He’s arguing about 457s and today he wants backpackers, foreign workers, paying a lower rate of tax at 10.5 cents, than Australians would pay working alongside them. This bloke is just full of it.

HADLEY:

Well Mctiernan was here on a 457.

TREASURER:

He was.

HADLEY:

Wasn’t he an outstanding success and he went back to the UK and destroyed them.

TREASURER:

Apparently you couldn’t find anyone with media experience in this country that was sympathetic to the Labor Party and you had to bring in someone from the UK to do it. I find that hard to believe.

HADLEY:

With all due respect to my Scottish listeners. With those thick Scottish (inaudible). I think what happened they thought we’d bring in here, no one will know what he’s talking about, what he’s saying if he just arrives and that might be our best hope.

TREASURER:

Who knows mate. Julia Gillard, the ETU and all these other unions, they were all bringing people in on 457s, it’s just hypocrisy. Bill Shorten is running around. There is real pain out there Ray, and your listeners ring in about it all day and across your station all day, whether it’s up in Central Queensland, Northern Queensland, you’d have to correct me, I don’t think you go into Whyalla in South Australia.

HADLEY:

Well actually I’ve got news for you. You wouldn’t believe where we’re going next year. Where I used to go 20 years ago. 5SE Mount Gambier.

TREASURER:

There you go. Where ever it is. There are people who, the transition in Australia’s economy actually is going on global terms very well. But there are people in this country who that transition is making life very hard for. Now, we’re working on delivering things like coming to a solution on backpackers today. Which just deals with that. Bill Shorten just wants to cynically use people’s economic pain and I just don’t think that’s anyway to run a serious political party.

HADLEY:

By conclusion, just a note passed to me, your minister for Defence Senator Marise Payne will miss this week. She underwent surgery, it was a rather severe infection, I’m told. It was successful. She made the recovery in hospital; she would like to thank medical staff for their care and professionalism. She won’t be at work this week.

TREASURER:

Care and best wishes to Marise she’s doing a great job.

HADLEY:

She didn’t have the same problem as you did she?

TREASURER:

No, it was a bit different I understand. They’re her private matters but, we’ve all had some good care taken of us in hospital in recent weeks and I’m back full throttle so there you go.

HADLEY:

Alright then. We’ll talk next week.

TREASURER:

Thanks Ray.