7 September 2017
Transcript - #2017177, 2017

Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

SUBJECTS: Same-sex marriage, the Turnbull Government’s comprehensive plan to put downward pressure on electricity prices for households and businesses, tax on bacon.

BEN FORDHAM:

Scott Morrison, good afternoon.

TREASURER:

Good afternoon Ben. I like my hot cross buns too, I think they should be around all year.

FORDHAM:

24/7?

TREASURER:

I love them. After Easter I’m disappointed they’re not still there.

FORDHAM:

(Laughs) Now I’m going to talk to you about bacon in a moment. Let me start off on what’s happened in the High Court today. I know that the Federal Government was pretty confident on this, it would have been a disaster if it fell over so we now get to have our say right.

TREASURER:

You do get to have your say and that’s the important thing. That’s what we promised people we would give them. We’d been frustrated by the Parliament trying to deny Australians their say on this issue. That’s what we’d said we’d give them. We did our homework on this. So we knew we were in a very strong position that we’d acted lawfully to do what we’ve done. So we can now just get on with it, and everybody can have their say, and in my case I believe it’s ok to say no and I will be. But my view is not more important than anyone else’s on this. So everyone else gets to say what they say and everybody should have that debate and discussion.

FORDHAM:

You’re in the no camp as far as when you fill out the postal plebiscite, you’re going to vote no. But what are you going to say in the Parliament?

TREASURER:

I’m not going to say anything in the Parliament because it’s a postal survey.

FORDHAM:

If the result comes back from the postal plebiscite “no”, then you won’t have to vote on it in Parliament, but if it comes back yes then you will have to vote on it in Parliament.

TREASURER:

Well if it comes back as a yes, then obviously the Government’s policy would facilitate a private members bill to come forward and that process will take off, but I have no doubt that an ultimate bill them would be passed. That’s what I believe will happen.

FORDHAM:

If the answer comes back “yes”, you’ll vote yes?

TREASURER:

I don’t think we should get ahead of ourselves here mate, there’s a postal survey. People can have their say. That’s what we’re going to do right now…

FORDHAM:

Because I read out something from Craig Kelly earlier and he said, “look I will vote the way my electorate votes”. He says he won’t vote with the national result, he’ll vote the way his electorate votes. So just to clarify because I’ve been discussing this this afternoon. We’ll get some kind of breakdown will we? Will we know seat by seat?

TREASURER:

They’ll be a breakdown seat by seat, and that’s I think helpful for everybody. If this is about everybody having their say, and everybody knowing what that say is, and then the Parliament will do its role in the process. At the moment we’ve got a survey, and let’s let everybody have their say.

FORDHAM:

I know I have a habit of getting ahead of myself Treasurer. But you’ve got to forgive me for that, so if you’re seat votes “yes”, does that mean you vote “yes”.

TREASURER:

I’m not getting into hypotheticals, because at the moment, there’s a postal plebiscite. A postal survey. Let’s have that, and then let’s deal with what comes next.

FORDHAM:

So you’ll probably vote “no” regardless.

TREASURER:

Ben, I don’t think it’s helpful to try and verbal me on it, all I’m saying is I’m really glad that the High Court has upheld what we said…

FORDHAM:

It kind of highlights the waste of time of the postal plebiscite doesn’t it?

TREASURER:

No it doesn’t actually mate, I’ll listen carefully to what happens over the course of the plebiscite, and they’ll be feedback that comes from that, and then it will go through Parliament, and I have no doubt that the ultimate outcome, if it’s passed, by the Australian people in that survey, then it will be pass the Parliament. I have no doubt about that.

FORDHAM:

Ok, what do you think of this idea in regards to power prices, which is the big issue that’s dominating Australia at the moment, of scrapping the GST on electricity bills, I know that David Leyonhjelm spoke about this. And now, I think we’ve got some modelling from the Parliamentary Budget office that shows that we’d all save a bit of cash, it would also mean that the states and territories would take a hit as far as GST revenue. I’m guessing this is never going to happen right?

TREASURER:

Well it’s a tax merry-go-round. What’s more important is we keep the Liddell power station open. That’s what I’m focused on, and that’s what the Government is focused on together with getting the better deal out of the retailers and making sure we use our domestic gas for domestic use, and that that doesn’t push prices up, and investing in everything from the new storage capabilities we’re doing down at Snowy 2.0, and making sure that there is investment coming in for all of the sources of our energy. That’s what we need to do. What would happen on this one Ben, and I said this morning. The States lose $2 billion, that’s the estimate, per year. $2 billion per year. $8 billion over the forward estimates. What they’ll do, is they’ll just go and jack up other taxes, so it will be a tax merry-go-round, so you’ll get it in one hand and they’ll take it away in the other. Or they’ll come to the Federal Government and they’ll say you’ve got to give us that $2 billion back, so you’ll have to put up taxes. So, look, at the end of the day, people won’t be better off and structurally it won’t actually change what’s going on with power prices.

FORDHAM:

I know you pride yourself on keeping your cool and not losing the plot too often, but you got a bit upset at the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, when they came out and suggested a tax on bacon. Have you got a conflict of interest on this?

TREASURER:

I have a massive conflict of interest on this. I don’t mind a bit of bacon. My response to that is, pigs might fly. You’re not takin’ my bacon. That’s not going to happen.

FORDHAM:

What did you just say?

TREASURER:

No takin’ my bacon. Hashtag. Put it on a tee-shirt. Whatever you like.

FORDHAM:

Hashtag? Who are you? You think you’re Jay Z?

TREASURER:

Just Scomo mate, that’s all.

FORDHAM:

Scomo 2.0.

TREASURER:

It’s a silly idea and I suspect they only raised it to raise a bit of publicity or something I suspect. That’s what that mob tends to get on with. GST is on bacon currently depending on how it’s done. But yeah, that won’t be happening. This political correctness of your pantry and your fridge, I mean, nah. Not doing it.

FORDHAM:

I’ll leave you to it, we’ll talk soon.

TREASURER:

Ok enjoy your Easter buns mate, you got some in the fridge?

FORDHAM:

No I don’t. Scott Morrison the Federal Treasurer who is very passionate about bacon.