6 December 2017
Transcript - #2017240, 2017

Interview with Tom Elliott, 3AW

SUBJECTS: Citizenship, National Accounts, GST

TOM ELLIOTT:

Mr Morrison, good afternoon.

TREASURER:

G’day, Tom.

ELLIOTT:

How big news now is this dual citizenship saga? I mean, is this as big as it will get or are there more dual citizens lurking in the Parliament?

TREASURER:

The disclosure process has been appropriate and everyone’s put their forms in and that’s what people are responding to now and what it has shown is that Bill Shorten is running around telling everybody – giving an absolute guarantee, by the way – that their processes were perfect…

ELLIOTT:

Yes, I heard that.

TREASURER:

Well, it’s clearly just a big bluff. He was just hoping everyone would move on but he got called on it and now he looks like a complete idiot and the problem is that he does this a lot. He goes and makes these big, bold statements and hopes that everybody moves on, but then when he gets called on them, he gets himself into a lot of strife and that’s why I think people think he’s shifty. But we’ve taken the action we’ve needed to with people on our side of the fence. Barnaby has just got back, he went to a by-election. John Alexander is in a by-election, he didn’t waste the High Court’s time, he resigned, he did the honourable thing and now we’ve got a by-election. Now Labor’s trying to kick up dust to hide the fact that Bill Shorten lied to people.

ELLIOTT:

So [inaudible] out of all the statements and the various MPs about their ancestry, have they all been examined? Is this the agreed list of those whose claims are a bit dubious?

TREASURER:

No, they’re not. That’s just Labor throwing up dust and there are clear facts about this issue and the Labor members who have been caught out, they have facts that they have admitted to that at the time of closing of nominations that they did not have confirmation that their citizenship had been renounced. So they’ve admitted that, that’s not in dispute and if the High Court had found that that’s the case then you’ve got a problem.

ELLIOTT:

So how many [inaudible] on your list?

TREASURER:

I don’t have any. I don’t even have the ones that are on their list from the Liberal Party…

ELLIOTT:

Someone must be putting together a list?

TREASURER:

I’m not the Attorney-General so that’s being done in other places. I’m not directly involved in that process. I submitted my form as the Member for Cook and that’s all according to [inaudible]. But in terms of what the Labor Party’s tried to do today, they’ve tried to sort of just smear the whole issue. They’ve been caught out. They’ve got members that clearly on their own admission of the facts means they should be referred to the High Court or they should just resign like John Alexander did.

ELLIOTT:

The problem as I see it is we can have up to eight or nine by-elections from this point onwards, including John Alexander’s. We can have three or four or five new senators parachuted into the Upper House and these are people that no one actually voted for at the last election. Should we just not have another cleansing federal election? Get the whole thing cleaned up?

TREASURER:

No, of course not. This matter, on our side, we’ve sorted it. We’ve gone to the trouble of having by-elections which is appropriate and particularly in John Alexander’s case, he didn’t trouble the High Court for this. He looked at his own facts, could see that those facts no longer accorded with the new High Court position and he stood up and he’s gone to a by-election. Now, the Labor party have been trying to avoid that and now they’ve been caught out on it, so I think there may or may not be further by-elections for Labor party members, but what I do know is they haven’t been upfront, they haven’t been telling the truth.

ELLIOTT:

Okay, another issue, [inaudible] a policy that’s gone on for a lot longer than same-sex marriage. I praised your new policy yesterday to ban foreign donations to Australian political parties. Firstly, how much money a year does the Liberal Party receive from foreign sources?

TREASURER:

I couldn’t tell you, Tom. I’m not involved in it…

ELLIOTT:

But is it a lot or is it not much or you just don’t know?

TREASURER:

I don’t know.

ELLIOTT:

Okay. Does Labor receive much from foreign sources?

TREASURER:

Sam Dastyari certainly was.

ELLIOTT:

Shouldn’t he be charged for treason or something?

TREASURER:

I’m not a lawyer, like some in Parliament, I’m not so I don’t pretend to give bush lawyer’s advice. On the issue of treason, I don’t think anyone’s made that suggestion but I think he should resign from the Parliament because he’s just basically disgraced himself and the Labor party and the fact that Bill Shorten still has him in the Labor party – I just made a point about this in the House of Representatives during Question Time that Chris Bowen, the Shadow Treasurer, has come out and basically offered up the Craig Thomson defence for Sam Dastyari, “Oh, there’s nothing to see here. It’s just a mistake.”

ELLIOTT:

We all know how that went.

TREASURER:

We all know and Chris Bowen has put his credibility on the line to defend Sam Dastyari.

ELLIOTT:

But unless he’s convicted of some criminal offense for which the punishment is more than a year in jail. He can’t be booted out of the Parliament, can he?

TREASURER:

No, that’s why he should resign because he’s a disgrace.

ELLIOTT:

Alright, now just on foreign donations, you’ve seen the evidence that there’s a lot of genuine financial support for Australian political parties from overseas or are you just trying to hit off the possibility of the past?

TREASURER:

From memory, the Greens had a massive foreign donation at one point. These things have occurred and we’re going to bring in legislation doing that now to get rid of them so I think that’s the appropriate course of action.

ELLIOTT:

Will it get support from the other side of the House?

TREASURER:

I would hope so.

ELLIOTT:

I can’t see a good reason not to have it.

TREASURER:

I’ve got no reason to think it won’t.

ELLIOTT:

It just seems to me that if you can’t vote in the election, you should not be able to somehow alternatively influence a political party.

TREASURER:

Sure, I think it’s a common sense change, Tom, which is overdue and so we’ll get it done.

ELLIOTT:

GDP numbers, now I know they look good on the surface. I think quarterly growth was up 0.6 per cent, yearly growth up 2.8 which is what you want to get the Budget back into balance in five years’ time – or four years’ time. But I read that here in Victoria, for example, if it wasn’t for population growth, our GDP in this state would have been completely flat. I don’t know what it’s like in other parts of the country, are we over-reliant upon high population growth to keep the economy ticking along?

TREASURER:

It’s different in different parts of the country, Tom, and – you’re right – in Victoria there has been very strong population growth in recent years. It’s about 2.4 per cent I think from memory and that’s well above the national average. You go to Western Australia and South Australia and in Western Australia they had negative net migration so they’ve been going backwards and South Australia has been flat. So, look, it’s a different story in different parts of the country depending on the forces there. But the thing that was driving the growth which went up from 1.9 per cent in the last quarter to 2.8 in the figures that we released today, that’s a big jump in growth. There was 100,000 jobs created in the September quarter, that’s more than 1000 jobs a day and on top of that, we’ve had this growth go from 1.9 to 2.8. So we said jobs and growth at the last election, people might have thought we said it a bit too much and thought it was a slogan. Well, it’s a reality. We have jobs and growth in that September quarter and that has been driven principally by the increase in investment. Investment two years ago was falling – business investment – by around 11 per cent annually. It is up now 7.5 per cent, so it’s investment that’s driving our growth and that’s why tax cuts are so important.

ELLIOTT:

Okay, and just on that, Gerry Harvey was being vocal yesterday saying that the Federal Government should ban global retailer Amazon from entering Australia. I think he’s got a [inaudible] chance of that but he made the point that Amazon at the moment doesn’t have to charge GST and I must say I’ve never understood why that is because I know that in America, when I’ve been there, I’ve shopped on Amazon, and they charge the various state sales taxes that the different states require. Why don’t we make Amazon pay GST?

TREASURER:

Let me clear this up because I haven’t seen Gerry’s comments but he may have the wrong end of the stick here. If there is a retailer in Australia that has sold you something through Amazon, you pay GST. It’s inclusive in their price…

ELLIOTT:

But if I buy it from Amazon as opposed to one of the retailers they host?

TREASURER:

Well, if it’s coming from overseas, I’ve introduced legislation that would apply the GST to all of those transactions. Now, the Labor party blocked it. They frustrated it. That won’t come in until 1 July of next year. I wanted it to come in on 1 July this year.

ELLIOTT:

But it has been passed? So it definitely will be…

TREASURER:

Yes, it was passed and then they tried to frustrate it. They made me do another inquiry and anyway, we put that in place. So that includes Ebay for overseas so it’s one of the things we’ve done to crack down on multinationals and tax avoidance. That’s been a big measure.

ELLIOTT:

Scott Morrison, thank you so much for your time.

TREASURER:

Thanks, Tom.