Jul 21, 2017

Transcript of television interview – Today Show

Subjects; Inequality, housing affordability, asylum seekers

SYLVIA JEFFREYS: Good morning to you. Bill Shorten will today outline the Opposition’s plans to right the economy, declaring he is willing to go to the too hard basket to repair the budget. Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese join me now. Good morning to you both.


CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Sylvia.

JEFFREYS: Too hard basket can only mean one thing, Anthony Albanese, and that’s taxes. But the GST is being spoken about this morning, the Herald Sun is discussing it in particular. Is the GST going to be raised by Labor?

ALBANESE: No. What Bill Shorten will be talking about today is the issue of inequality and the fact that inequality is at a 75 year high. Whilst payee taxpayers are paying a disproportionate share of the tax take a whole lot of corporations and, indeed, individuals are able to evade paying their fair share of tax. We want to open up the discussion about fairness in the system. One of the things that we have already put on the table of course is Capital Gains Tax and negative gearing issues. People said that was too hard as well but we need to address it in terms of housing affordability.

JEFFREYS: Increasing the tax rate though for the highest bracket is still on the table for Labor?

ALBANESE: Wait and see; today you will see Bill Shorten’s speech outlined, clearly issues like housing affordability need to be addressed. Labor is prepared to do that. We have already shown that’s the case. We want to do be in a position whereby we are leading from Opposition, because someone has got to lead this country.

JEFFREYS: Christopher, a warning from the Prime Minister, in the meantime this morning, in the papers around rate rises. How soon do you think we can expect to see the first rise?

PYNE: Well Sylvia, what we found out this week is two things. We found out that Bill Shorten wants to increase the GST, increase taxes on housing, increase taxes on individuals, increase spending. Now this is no formula for economic reform in Australia. We’ve also found out that if Kevin Rudd had remained Prime Minister he would have reopened the people smugglers’ business model and brought everybody from Manus Island and Nauru to Australia to be processed and live in Australia.

So we have got major splits in the Labor Party. They believe in a tax and spend budget, which we can’t afford and that will push up interest rates in Australia. And they also believe in reopening the people smugglers’ model. Next week there is the National Conference, the Left from NSW, Anthony Albanese’s faction, want to pass motions to stop the turn backs policy and bring everybody from Manus Island and Nauru to Australia. So they have got real problems.

ALBANESE: I hate to break it to you Christopher, but the National Conference is in July 2018.

PYNE: Well, it might be a State Conference then but answer the question.

JEFFERYS: It’s well away from the point anyway, but if I could bring you back to the question, Christopher, around interest rates. The Prime Minister is asking for the banks to show compassion to customers when things get tough, and when rates start to rise and they can’t repay their mortgages. Do you really honestly expect the banks to listen to the Prime Minister after Scott Morrison picked a fight with them?

PYNE: Well the most important thing we can do is have the policies in place that help keep interest rates low. That is what this Government has done, and we’re not going to do that by increasing taxes, increasing spending and blowing out the budget deficit and debt, which is what Labor would do.

Bill Shorten believes that he can win an election by throwing money at every interest group in Australia. That’s old politics. What the Australian public want is good stable government that delivers low interest rates, growing employment, as we saw yesterday, more good economic figures in Australia. We’re seeing higher growth in employment, we’re seeing higher growth in the economy and that’s because we’re getting the economic fundamentals right.

ALBANESE: We do want stable government but we’re not getting it from this mob. They have a conference on the weekend where Tony Abbott is going to try and roll Malcolm Turnbull. They have people being paid to go along, they are getting their fees paid by Tony Abbott’s FEC. It’s a cage fight and it’s taking Australia down with it.

JEFFREYS: Something about glass houses there, Anthony. I think that we will move on to the Prime Minister’s announcement of a super ministry; Christopher, of course, this new Home Office, so-called Home Office, to fight terrorism. Peter Dutton will oversee this of course. Christopher, what are the current failures of the current system?

PYNE: What we have seen over the last ten years, is a shift in the way that terrorists are behaving. They are using, in many respects, our own technological breakthroughs on the internet, in communications, against us. That is why we need to keep moving with the times. This, of course, is a policy that Labor adopted sixteen years ago, when Kim Beazley was the Leader of the Labor Party, and it surprises me that Bill Shorten and his team haven’t been able to come to a support for this policy this week.

What we want to do is to make sure that our excellent agencies and security apparatus are even better. Bringing them together under the same umbrella in a Home Affairs Department, we believe will give us the heft that we need to keep protecting Australians from terrorism, from threats at home and abroad, and I think it is a very sensible move.

JEFFREYS: All right, we are running out of time. Just quickly Christopher, the Prime Minister told Karl earlier this week that he catches up with Tony Abbott, quote, irregularly. It makes me wonder, when did you last speak with Mr Abbott?

PYNE: Well, in fact, the last parliamentary sitting fortnight I spoke with Mr Abbott because I am friends with everybody on our side of politics Sylvia.

ALBANESE: He doesn’t speak highly of you mate.

PYNE: How often does Albo speak to Bill Shorten? How often does Albo speak to Bill? Albo gave a speech this week which is the opposite to Bill Shorten’s playbook. It was all about how negative politics was out, and Albo of course is well on his way to campaign against Bill Shorten.

JEFFREYS: Well you’re officially out of favour, Christopher, with our executive producer because you have just spoke well beyond our time limit.

ALBANESE: He does that; it’s the greed that defines the Liberal Party.

JEFFREYS: We’re talking about love this morning, can we just say the three little words to one another this morning, just to set the tone?

ALBANESE: No, that’s just not going to happen.


ALBANESE: That would be a YouTube sensation I know!

PYNE: I love Today. Is that what you meant?

ALBANESE: I love everyone here in the studio.

PYNE: I love Today.

JEFFREYS: All right guys I appreciate you loving Today.

ALBANESE: I love Australian Ninja. It’s fantastic.

PYNE: I wake up with Today and I give you my ten thousand dollars…

ALBANESE:  When are me and Pyne going to get to go on Australian Ninja? We would be sensational as a comedy segment.

JEFFREYS: All right that’s happening don’t worry about it. Love is everywhere this morning Karl, all around.

STEFANOVIC: That is something the world needs to see; Christopher Pyne doing Australian Ninja. Wow.

PYNE: You wouldn’t last five minutes with me Karl.