Subjects: NDIS, tax, negative gearing.
KARL STEFANOVIC: Welcome back to the show. Plenty going on in politics this morning. Joining me now is Anthony Albanese and Christopher Pyne in Adelaide. Morning guys.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Karl, good morning Anthony.
STEFANOVIC: Let’s start with you, Christopher. Scott Morrison told Today yesterday that we can afford the NDIS now without a Medicare levy. This morning we learned the gap will be larger than $7 billion. Do you know how much that gap will be, Chris?
PYNE: Well the good news Karl, is that we are able to not have to raise the Medicare levy in order to pay for the NDIS because of our good economic management of the country and the Budget.
STEFANOVIC: But do you know how much the gap will be?
PYNE: Well, I think there’s speculation about the gap. The Treasurer has made it quite clear that there is no gap, that we actually have the revenue, that the revenues are growing. We’ve managed the economy well. We’ve managed the Budget well. So the good news is unlike Labor who want to increase or raise six new taxes, we have no plans for increasing taxes. In fact, quite the opposite. We’re trying to reduce the tax burden.
STEFANOVIC: Okay, I’ll get to that in a second but do you know why the costs are blowing out for the NDIS? I’ll tell you. More children than expected are entering the scheme. Fewer than expected are leaving it. The states have to come up with funding. They have to come to the party. Essentially there are no guarantees because you have such little control over costs.
PYNE: No, the truth is the NDIS is a very important reform to support people with disabilities and we are very confident that while of course it is only just beginning, and therefore there’s issues that always need to be worked out, we can fund it. Now, Labor didn’t fund it. We are funding it and we’re doing it without an increase in the Medicare levy which is good news.
STEFANOVIC: Anthony, you blocked the Medicare increase. Are you partly to blame here?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Christopher argued week after week, year after year, that it wasn’t funded and today with no difference, no policy change, it now is funded. The truth is we always funded the NDIS when we were in government. What show that is true, is the fact that now they say with no changes, it now is fully funded. They can’t have it both ways. This is a Government that is all over the shop.
STEFANOVIC: Christopher, you can’t guarantee the costs aren’t going to blow out. That is the problem and therefore funding can’t be guaranteed.
PYNE: The point is under Labor they did not have the allocation of revenue that is necessary.
STEFANOVIC: But how can you guarantee the funding if you don’t know what the costs are going to be?
PYNE: We manage the Budget and we’ve worked out the cost and we’ve got the revenue. Labor didn’t have the revenue and didn’t know the cost and they were making speculative claims about how much money they had…
ALBANESE: Complete nonsense. Go back to what you were saying last week…
STEFANOVIC: So Christopher just back on your earlier point. You won’t be introducing any new taxes?
PYNE: Well, I don’t know what is absolutely in the Budget of course because we won’t be deciding that until closer to the date.
STEFANOVIC: Oh, come on. You won’t be introducing any new taxes, will you?
PYNE: Well we don’t speculate about the Budget, Karl. You know that so it’s a very, very unfair question.
STEFANOVIC: It’s a pretty easy question, are you going to be increasing…
PYNE: We don’t speculate about the Budget but I can tell you what, we don’t increase taxes. Labor does.
PYNE: Labor has six new taxes…
ALBANESE: Taxes have increased as a proportion of the economy under you.
STEFANOVIC: Alright, alright.
PYNE: We are always reducing income tax, reducing company tax. That’s in our DNA. Labor loves tax. We don’t.
STEFANOVIC: That’s ‘in your DNA’?. What about oil and gas giants? They’ll be forced to pay more tax, won’t they? You’re changing the uplift concessions which determines tax deductions, so they will be paying more. That’s an increase, isn’t it?
PYNE: That’s possibly a good idea, Karl, when you look at it…
STEFANOVIC: But it is an increase, isn’t it?
PYNE: When you look at Qatar, Karl..
STEFANOVIC: You said you don’t increase taxes. You’re doing it!
PYNE: Are you becoming a shock jock, Karl? What’s going on here?
STEFANOVIC: No, I’m becoming a truth jock.
PYNE: You’ve been having your vitamins this morning.
STEFANOVIC: I’m becoming a truth jock and that is the truth, isn’t it? Oil and gas companies will be paying more.
PYNE: We had a review of the PRRT because this country has not been achieving anything like the revenues from gas that a country like Qatar has been…
STEFANOVIC: So you are increasing taxes?
PYNE: …and that suggests to us…
ALBANESE: Of course they are.
PYNE: …that it needs to be reviewed, and it’s not a new company tax cut, not a new income tax, it’s actually making sure we get the most out of our gas reserves.
ALBANESE: Under this mob, taxes are up as a proportion of the economy. Taxes are up, the deficit is up, debt is up to half a trillion dollars under them.
STEFANOVIC: Okay, you’re not of the woods either at this morning. You guys love to make it hard for your own heartland. What about this; you’ve got dramas with almost two thirds of all investors who negatively gear on less income than $80,000 a year. That’s teachers amongst those, with the highest numbers who gear properties. That is your heartland, why do you want to slash it?
ALBANESE: Guess what, Karl? Not one of them will be impacted. There’s no retrospectivity in our proposals. Our proposals will continue to allow negative gearing but for new properties, so you actually get support for the construction sector and for those jobs.
STEFANOVIC: What about all those teachers who have them now?
ALBANESE: They’re not impacted. No one’s existing arrangements are impacted by any of our proposals.
PYNE: It’s only the new people with income under $80,000 dollars who get hurt under your policy.
ALBANESE: They don’t get hurt. What they’ll do is, if they want to negatively gear – you’ve had a good crack this morning, Christopher…
PYNE: Well, I’ve been fighting with Karl, actually.
ALBANESE: If they – well, just stick that. You haven’t gone well there, so don’t pick another fight.
PYNE: You answer the question.
ALBANESE: When it comes to negative gearing, the fact is that people will be able to invest in new construction. That makes sense, Karl. Why would you have existing investors competing with first home buyers for existing property?
STEFANOVIC: Alright, I’ll let you get out and sell that message because it seems a bit hard for me to understand, but I’m no expert.
PYNE: We’ve known all along this would happen.
ALBANESE: No impact on existing properties. Zero. Really easy.
STEFANOVIC: We’ve got to go. KFC is celebrating 50 years.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.