Dec 9, 2015

Radio interview with David Penberthy & Will Goodings, FIVEaa

Subjects: Innovation agenda; South Australian economy; automotive industry; Tony Abbott’s white-anting; Joe Hockey; Ian McFarlane defection; Labor Party; GST

PRESENTER: Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese join us talking all things federal, state and in between. Christopher Pyne, good morning.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Will, good morning Dave, good morning Anthony.

PRESENTER: Anthony Albanese, good morning.

ALBANESE: Good morning lads.

PRESENTER: Gentlemen, we’ve been talking this week about the $1.1 billion innovation package that was unveiled by Malcolm Turnbull a couple of days ago.

Now, Christopher, you were the minister responsible for the package and the PM urged you to, and I quote him here, “unleash your inner revolutionary” in applying yourself to the task.

Do you think that the model you’ve come up with is going to help revolutionise the jobs landscape here in South Australia?

PYNE: There’s absolutely no doubt about that. This is a transformative reform. I’m very excited to be responsible for it particularly as the senior South Australian Cabinet minister.

This is happening because Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister wants to drive a jobs and growth agenda around the ideas boom, following the resources boom. It’s great for South Australia and it’s great for South Australia because it will support our incubators at places like the University of South Australia.

It’ll support a new research impact metric which means that universities like the University of Adelaide that have a heavy agricultural research priority will benefit because they have practical outcomes from their research and it’s going to make the industry and university collaboration much stronger and it will give us a real advantage.

All of our universities do great health research around biomedicals and so therefore the biomedical translation fund to turn those good ideas into jobs and growth will be of benefit to South Australia and for the automotive industry our innovation connections which brings a researcher from a university into a small or medium enterprise to help them turn a good idea into a new product or service will advantage the automotive industry which is emerging from the trough that it’s been in for the last year or two. It’s great news for South Australia.

PRESENTER: So Chris Pyne, by how much should the South Australian Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis revise up his predicted job growth in South Australia?

PYNE: Well, goodness. I wouldn’t want to attach myself to the star of Tom Koutsantonis or the South Australian State Government.

PRESENTER: Well, he’s predicting 0.25 job growth. What should it be in light of this package?

PYNE: Well, that’s an impossible question to answer obviously because we haven’t yet seen the benefits flowing through from the package.

There are short term benefits, like changes to the way we deal with taxation of small and medium enterprises and start-ups, and capital gains tax and income tax. They’ll have an impact short and medium term.

There are longer term impacts by investing in science, technology, engineering and maths at schools and universities and preschools. We’re going to bring new entrepreneurs here through visa arrangements.

It’s a comprehensive package. There are a lot of people who’ve said [inaudible], Ian Chubb, the Chief Scientist who David and I would remember from university days was never really regarded as a great supporter of the Liberal Party, he said that it exceeded, wildly exceeded his greatest expectations. That is a big positive.

PRESENTER: Hey Albo, this seems to be an uncharacteristic outbreak of love between Labor and the Coalition over this. Your side of politics is, despite a bit of quibbling about who came up with some of the ideas first, you are welcoming the general direction of it.

But you’re someone who has always represented working class people with a great deal of passion. My question in the South Australian context, for people who have grown up working in a sort of production line type environment, how do you shift them across from the old economy to the new economy?

ALBANESE: That’s a challenge, and it is good that there’s a level of bipartisanship on the need to transform our economy, the need for innovation, the need to create new jobs in new industries.

The world doesn’t just stand still, but I do notice that Christopher just said the problems that the automotive industry faced in the last year or two, that’s called the election of the Abbott Government, that basically told the automotive industry to rack off.

PYNE: Mitsubishi closed under under Labor, I mean let’s not be partisan –

ALBANESE: The government – I gave you a chance Christopher, so – the government told the automotive industry to rack off from South Australia. That’s what happened. So there is, and in terms of some of the changes, you know the CSIRO was cut by $110 million. It’s good that that money’s been put back, but it would have been better if it wasn’t cut in the first place.

The government needs to take off the table the abolition of ARENA, South Australia is of course ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to renewables. The abolition of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation that’s doing such fantastic work promoting private sector investment.

And they need to get serious about the National Broadband Network. I mean, it is now half the speed but double the cost. The NBN, if there’s something that consistently runs across all the new industries it’s access to high speed broadband services.

PRESENTER: Can I ask you just for a moment, Chris Pyne, he’s writing a column now for News Limited newspapers, the analysis of which appeared on the front page of the paper today, his comments continue to get massive traction in the community whenever he does speak publicly. Is there a danger that Toby Abbott is a bit like the Prime Minister in exile at the moment?

PYNE: No, not at all. I mean, Tony Abbott is a backbencher in the government, he wants the government to be re-elected, he’s a person with a fine policy mind, he wants to make a contribution and none of the things that I’ve heard him say or write are at odds with either his government’s policies or the current government’s policies and I welcome him to the debate. He’s a great advocate.

ALBANESE: I bet you don’t, Christopher, because he’s out there causing enormous grief. You’ve had in the last week of Parliament, Ian McFarlane defect from the Liberals to the Nats, you’ve had enormous disquiet and there’s no doubt that Malcolm Turnbull enjoyed a very strong honeymoon, but last week in Parliament you just had to walk round the building to see the little cabals of Abbott supporters gathering and talking to each other and plotting to cause some difficulties.

PYNE: You wish.

ALBANESE: I think Joe Hockey’s comments yesterday were pretty extraordinary when he said the only reason why he’d hang round in Parliament is to pay back people who removed him and that’s one of the reasons why he moved on to be the US Ambassador.

PYNE: You guys spent the week on old politics [inaudible] and the polls indicated –

ALBANESE: I didn’t make Joe Hockey make that statement yesterday, nor did I organise for Tony Abbott to do the Sky News interview yesterday or the Daily Telegraph column today.

PYNE: Poor old Bill Shorten went overseas for a week and his poll rate still went down. He wasn’t even in the news for a week and he went down.

PRESENTER: Hey, Chris Pyne can I ask you though, on this situation with Ian McFarlane who is the former industry minister who is defecting from the Liberal Party to the National Party, should he be rewarded for effectively betraying your party with a return to Cabinet?

PYNE: Well, that’s just really an internal thing in Queensland LNP because the LNP is both the Liberal Party and the National Party. Now, they’ll work that out in Queensland. The LNP State Executive will sort that out and there will be some kind of resolution arising out of it.

PRESENTER: But whether he returns to the ministry’s not an internal thing, that’s an external thing because that gives him hands  on the policy levers, influence over people’s lives.

PYNE: It depends on a whole range of things, all of which have got to be worked out internally within Queensland. I don’t think the public care one way or the other, whether Ian McFarlane’s in the National Party or the Liberal Party or quite frankly whether he’s a Cabinet minister or whether the Nationals got more than the Liberal Party. I don’t think people are talking about that over the breakfast table this morning.

PRESENTER: But a lot of Liberals would care if he was back in the Cabinet, wouldn’t they?

PYNE: I think what they were talking about is about my innovation package, and the enormous jobs and growth potential that this package represents. It’s one of the biggest packages in Canberra ever.

PRESENTER: Hey Albo, we’ve been calling him Mr 15%; we had to re-nickname him Mr 14% this week. Bill Shorten is a real chance of being beaten by the margin of error in Newspoll soon, isn’t he?

ALBANESE: What we’ll get down to is the debate about the policies and this week, indeed tomorrow, the Federal Government is taking a plan for a 15% GST to the states in terms of COAG, but they’re pretending they’re not doing that even though the modelling’s out there.

PYNE: Because we’re not.

ALBANESE: You can’t have it both ways. This is a government that said it wants a mature debate and a discussion about increasing the GST and every time it’s raised –

PYNE: It’s a state and territory tax.

ALBANESE: Well, are you ruling it out, Christopher?

PYNE: It’s a state and territory tax, my friend.

ALBANESE: Give Penbo and Will a scoop here, Christopher. Increase the ratings of the fine FIVEaa by ruling it out now.

PYNE: We’ve already increased their ratings by coming on their show.

ALBANESE: Yeah, but rule it out. It will give them a national profile, which they deserve.

PRESENTER: We’re going national!

ALBANESE: Come on Christopher; just say “there will be no increase”.

PYNE: Let me finish! You can [inaudible] Mike Baird and the people who put the GST on the agenda.

ALBANESE: You can do it.

PYNE: We’re happy to have that debate. But it’s not our tax; it’s their tax as you well know.

PRESENTER: Hey guys, we’re going to have to leave it there, and this is our last Two Tribes for the year.

ALBANESE: He hasn’t said the one line he has to say.

PYNE: I think the one line you have to say is you won’t challenge Bill Shorten –

ALBANESE: It’ll give you momentum.

PYNE: When are you going to take over from hapless Bill? He’s gone very quiet now.

PRESENTER: Merry Christmas guys. Are you getting each other a present for Christmas?

PYNE: Yeah.

ALBANESE: Aww. I wonder what it’ll be. We’ll see each other on Friday morning.

PYNE: I’m going to give him some space. Some space from me.

ALBANESE: That’d be a very good thing.

PRESENTER: We’ll resume again in the new year but to you Anthony Albanese, and you Christopher Pyne, thanks very much for joining us this year and we look forward to doing it all again in 2016. Merry Christmas.

PYNE: Thanks for having us.

ALBANESE: Thanks guys. Merry Christmas.

PRESENTER: Thank you very much.