May 12, 2017

Transcript of television interview – Today Show

Subject: Coalition bank levy, NDIS

LISA WILKINSON: Bill Shorten last night promising higher taxers for high earners but also confirming that Labor will back the planned bank levy. It’s all sparked claims of class warfare this morning. To discuss this and more is Labor’s Anthony Albanese, and filling in for Christopher Pyne – Josh Frydenberg. Good morning to you, gentleman.


LISA WILKINSON: Albo, we’re going to go to you first.

ALBANESE: We’re ready, Lisa. We missed out on the graphic.


ALBANESE: We missed out on the graphic so we’re ready.

WILKINSON: Whatever that means.

ALBANESE: This is a live graphic.

FRYDENBERG: This is a low blow, too.

WILKINSON: Excellent. Alright, moving on. Bill Shorten has confirmed that Labor will be supporting the banking levy, Albo, and yet he has also warned that if the banks do pass on a single cent of that levy to customers then Malcolm Turnbull has to go. Well, the banks have already threatened that they are going to pass it on. So on that reckoning, Bill Shorten is going to have to go too.

ALBANESE: No. That is not right, Lisa. This is the government’s bank levy that they put on, on Tuesday night. We are saying to the banks, do not pass it on. We want to give the banks a Royal Commission. That is what we want. That is what we went to the election campaign on. That is what the Australian people want as well, to make sure that we have proper assessment.

I think it is actually in the banks and financial institutions’ interests. They should embrace it and say, yep, let’s see how we can get better and have better relations with our customers and the general public, because at the moment no one has much sympathy for them.

WILKINSON: Okay, but the thing is, if Labor is going to support this and pass it through Parliament, that means that you are just as responsible as the government will be, if they do pass it on. But on that note, Josh, the opposition has been pushing for a banking Royal Commission for a long time now. Isn’t it time we really a took a long hard look at them with a Royal Commission?

FRYDENBERG: We have put in place a number of processes to increase the accountability of banks, and indeed Scott Morrison not just putting in place this bank levy where we will have the ACCC as the cop on the beat to make sure it doesn’t get passed on to consumers in an unfair way, but he has also put in place an accountability mechanism, Lisa.

So for the top executives they can lose their bonuses and we will be watching very closely to make sure that they behave. You see, what we have seen over time in the banks is poor processes where the public have lost out. As well as that, the banks rely on an implicit guarantee in times of crisis on the government. So it is only fair that they have now got this levy to pay.

WILKINSON: Yeah, we do know they can be very sneaky. Let’s move on. Albo, the National Disability Insurance Scheme your party introduced, but were never fully able to fund it. There is currently a $3.8 billion hole there. Where are you going to find the extra cash?

ALBANESE: That is just not right, Lisa. The fact is that Labor is the party of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. We are very proud of the NDIS joining great Labor reforms like compulsory superannuation, like Medicare, like accessing education or educational opportunity for young people. We created the NDIS. We support the NDIS.

What we did last night was outline a fair package, rather than millionaires getting a $16,400 tax cut while ordinary workers earning $22,000 and above getting a tax increase. We said let’s be fair about this, let’s acknowledge that those people on those low incomes are already suffering from low wage increases.

We have real pressures on household budgets, and last night our response to the Budget by Bill Shorten was a Labor response.

FRYDENBERG: Well Lisa, can I just say 460,000 people will who will be relying on the NDIS will be scratching their heads this morning because what they will be saying is why didn’t the Labor Party fully fund the NDIS like the Coalition has committed to do?

Just a few years ago Labor supported an increase in the Medicare levy for all income earners, because they they knew it would fund the NDIS. Now they want to pick and choose that Medicare levy. We have fully funded the NDIS, like we have fully funded our schools commitment, like we have fully funded our infrastructure commitments and our health commitments, as well as planning a path back to surplus.

Labor didn’t do any of that. Not only are they going to hike the taxes as you say on households, but they are also going to hike the taxes on small business and that’s going to be a real problem for the economy.

WILKINSON: Alright, we are going to have to leave it there but gentlemen, I am finding it very uncomfortable you two standing next to each other like that. Can you give each other a hug or something? The body contact needs to be there as well. Aww, there you go.

ALBANESE: We’re tennis partners.

FRYDENBERG: That’s right.

ALBANESE: We do pretty well on the doubles court together.

FRYDENBERG: I must say as a doubles partner, Albo makes a very good politician.

ALBANESE: How mean! I said something nice.

WILKINSON: Look at that. It’s lovely to see.

ALBANESE: Believe it or not, I play forehand so I’m on the right.

FRYDENBERG: Good to see you.