Mar 23, 2018

Transcript of television interview – Today Show

Subjects: Corporate tax, Victorian Labor Party

KARL STEFANOVIC: The Prime Minister has promised wages will rise if his Government’s company tax cuts pass through the Senate. Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese join us now. Good morning guys.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Karl. Good morning Anthony.


STEFANOVIC: OK Chris, are you over the line yet?

PYNE: What’s that Karl? You are both talking over each other and I don’t know what the question is.

STEFANOVIC: All right. Aren’t you grumpy today?

PYNE: No I’m not. I just can’t hear what the question is.

STEFANOVIC: Well it’s not hard. Are you over the line yet in the Senate?

PYNE: Oh, are we over the line yet? I’m sorry. Well we are getting there I think. Next week we are hopeful of passing the company tax cuts through the Senate, which would be great news for the economy, make us much more competitive internationally and ensure that wages go up. I mean one of the areas of the economy where the Government recognises we need to do better is in growing wages. We have done very well on jobs. We are doing very well on growth. We are really making big strides – 427,000 new jobs in the last 12 months, but we would like to see wages growing and one of the ways to do that of course is to let companies invest back in their own businesses and one of the ways they do that is investing in their workforce through higher wages.

STEFANOVIC: Derryn Hinch is your stumbling block. He says he will back it if you leave the banks out of the cuts. It’s ridiculous that premise, isn’t it?

PYNE: Well look, we need to negotiate with the cross bench, but it would be an unusual tax system that taxed certain businesses more than other businesses simply based on the fact that they might not be so popular with the public but I will leave those negotiations to the Treasurer and the Finance Minister.

STEFANOVIC: You must have a thought process on that though? It’s ridiculous.

PYNE: Well it would certainly be a bit unorthodox. But let’s wait and see how things turn out. I am sure we will get there. Whether we have to do that or not I doubt it but I am sure we will get there because it is really important for our country that we have these tax cuts for companies if we want to grow jobs and wages.

STEFANOVIC: OK. Albo, the banks exempt. What do you think about that?

ALBANESE: Well, being ridiculous doesn’t rule things out for this government and it is ridiculous to argue that $65 billion of tax cuts for the big end of town will result in these people having the trickle-down effect – they will say: “Oh,  well we’ve got all this additional money that we can hang on to. What we will do is we will give it away’’. It ignores the reality of the real world. What we know is that at a time of increased profits at the moment we haven’t seen real wages increasing. There is no reason to believe that voluntarily employers will just give this money over. It’s not the way the system works and people know that.

STEFANOVIC: Albo, when you come into power, you will roll back the company tax rate back to where it is now?

ALBANESE: What we will do is we will deal with our policies at the appropriate time in the lead-up to the election.

STEFANOVIC: Oh, come on Albo.

ALBANESE: Well, we’ve got more policy out there than any Opposition has in living memory.

STEFANOVIC: But if you don’t like the company tax cut then you will wind it back when you come into power. It’s very simple.

ALBANESE: We will announce our policies at the appropriate time, maybe even here on the Today Show.

PYNE: He’s a slippery customer.

STEFANOVIC: So you will wind it back or not? I don’t understand.

ALBANESE: We will announce our policies at the appropriate time and the Leader and the Shadow Treasurer will do that.

STEFANOVIC: OK. Albo, is Daniel Andrews finished in Victoria?

ALBANESE: Daniel Andrews is ahead in Victoria. He is ahead as preferred Premier. He leads the party that is ahead on both primary and two-party preferred basis. He is a great Premier. He is doing a fantastic job.

STEFANOVIC: Are you standing by ALP national secretary Noah Carroll, because Bill Shorten is? He was the architect of all this dodgy scheme.

ALBANESE: Let’s get some reality in here – ALP staffers work for the election of ALP members that they work for. It seems to me, from a distance, that this is an enormous beat-up. The fact is that political staff, whether they be ALP, Liberal, National, Green or Independent work toward …

STEFANOVIC: Albo, I don’t think it does you any favours saying it’s a beat up.

ALBANESE: Well that is a fact Karl. The fact is that people work towards the re-election of their particular political party that they work for and where issues have been found in terms of inappropriate use, the money has been paid back by the Labor Party.

STEFANOVIC: So this is common is it?

ALBANESE: Well, it certainly is common for staff of Liberal Party MPs to work for the re-election of the Liberal Party. Yes it is.

STEFANOVIC: OK, one final one from you Chris.

PYNE: Well unfortunately for Anthony what happened in Victoria is not just staffers of Labor MPs working for the re-election of the Andrews Government. It was actually people being paid full-time to work as campaign organisers in other elections across Victoria and it has been found to be worse than a rort. The person who did the inquiry said it is very, very serious. It is very serious and Daniel Andrews and his Government have a lot of questions to answer and this issue is not going away.

STEFANOVIC: OK. Anthony Albanese …

ALBANESE: Your bloke dines out with mobsters mate.

PYNE: Don’t try and deflect.

ALBANESE: Your bloke dines out with mobsters. Lobster with a mobster, that’s your bloke who you are trying to get elected in Victoria and that is why he is collapsing.

PYNE: I think you have want to be very, very careful. The man you are talking about has not ever been charged with any offence so I would be pretty careful about saying things like that.

ALBANESE: Nor has Daniel Andrews, my friend.

PYNE: He hasn’t been found to have been rorting like the Victorian ALP has been found to have been rorting.

ALBANESE: He hangs around with all the wrong types. All the wrong types.

STEFANOVIC: That just got very interesting right at the end of our cross. Thank you for that Anthony and your flight is ready to board.

PYNE: The sooner the better. He’s in all sorts of trouble.

ALBANESE: Perth I am on my way.

STEFANOVIC: We’ve got to go.