Subjects: Tax cuts; foreign aid; China.
KARL STEFANOVIC: Welcome back to the show. Well, the big sell is on after the Government yesterday unveiled its bold plan to redistribute the country’s GST takings. It says all states and territories will be better off under the plan but not everyone agrees. Anthony Albanese and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton join us now. Good morning guys.
PETER DUTTON: Good morning Karl.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you.
STEFANOVIC: How are you? Now Peter, you are absolutely, categorically, definitively – and any other L/Y words I can end with, certain, that no state will be worse off, right?
DUTTON: No state is worse off no doubt, Karl. Everyone gets a bit of extra cash and it’s a fair carve up of the GST. Don’t forget that WA went down to 29 cents in the dollar and you had – Northern Territory I think, over four dollars given back to them for every dollar they collected in GST. So this brings a floor and it makes it better for the eastern states as well.
STEFANOVIC: Could you kindly repeat after me. There will be no state worse off under a government I lead …
DUTTON: In our time.
STEFANOVIC: Can you repeat it for me?
DUTTON: Is that it?
STEFANOVIC: Because it’s always good come election time, those ones. Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales, are a little bit shaky on this deal though, as you would know. And boy oh boy is it not a high cost to pay for keeping WA happy?
DUTTON: I liked the footage of Paul Keating last night. He said, you know, never stand between a bucket of money and a Premier on the march. It was true then, true now. But it’s the case, in my State of Queensland, we get half a billion dollars extra. Which means more money for health and for education, for roads …
At least Albo, I mean surely Albo – you would give us a tick of approval I mean a Shorten-Albanese Government would support it wouldn’t they?
STEFANOVIC: Peter, I don’t know if you’re new to this but I’m the one who is asking questions this morning.
DUTTON: Sorry Karl.
STEFANOVIC: That was a very good question though.
ALBANESE: He’s always trying to take over. He’s trying to take over from Malcolm TurnbullI, he’s trying to take over the show.
STEFANOVIC: I like the look of him, I like the question too. You’ll support this won’t you?
ALBANESE: What we’ll do is look at the full detail. But we do welcome the fact, that the Government has adopted Labor’s position, that we’d already announced and campaigned on, of a floor for WA of 70 cents in the dollar. We’d already done that with our Fair Share for WA. One of the things we are concerned about though, Karl, is that – where is the $7 billion extra coming from?
STEFANOVIC: Back to you Pete, where will it come from?
DUTTON: It comes from getting 700,000 people off welfare and into work. So instead of taxpayers paying for their dole payments and whatnot they’re now paying tax and contributing themselves, so we’re cutting back on waste. And at the same time, the economy is growing. So the economy is doing well and there’s more tax revenue coming in, so it helps us to pay off Albo’s debt as well mate …
ALBANESE: You can’t keep spending the same dollars. You can’t have income tax cuts, big business tax – including for the big banks, $17 billion, an additional $7 billion here.
Our concern is that what the government will do if they get back in. They will say whoops, we’ve got to do something about the debt.
STEFANOVIC: But you won’t wind this back?
ALBANESE: And have a massive cut like we did in 2014 to education and health.
STEFANOVIC: But you won’t wind it back if you come into power?
ALBANESE: We’re looking at the detail, Karl. What we’re saying is the Government needs to say where the $7 billion is coming from.
STEFANOVIC: Okay Pete, let’s move on quickly. Today a big deal is being done with the Pacific Island nations on security. Is it about security or wedging China or both, do you think?
DUTTON: Well, it’s a continuation of an existing agreement. And it’s important for us that the good relations continue with our near neighbours. We want to make sure that from a security perspective, economic perspective, aid and development perspective, we’ve got a continuing good relationship and that’s what it’s about.
STEFANOVIC: The problem is Pete, you know full and well that they are having their beaches paved in gold, some of these island nations. The aid money from China is huge. How do you combat that? It’s big influence.
DUTTON: Well obviously China is reaching out across the world, including into our region, and we have a very good relationship with China. They’re a good partner, economic partner with us. We have good relationships – in relation to my portfolio for example and we want all of that to continue. But in our neighbourhood we have a responsibility to work with our neighbours and we’re doing that and that will continue.
ALBANESE: The lesson here is that foreign aid does play a role in international relations and it’s why we shouldn’t be cutting back on our foreign aid. We should continue to play a leadership role in the Pacific. We don’t want to see a militarisation in the Pacific, a military presence from China or Russia. We want to be the leaders, as we have been for many decades.
STEFANOVIC: Albo you’ve had a very quiet week. I was worried…
ALBANESE: I don’t know about that. I’ve been in Mackay, I’ve been in Cairns.
STEFANOVIC: You weren’t going around counting numbers were you or anything?
ALBANESE: I’ve been out there campaigning for the Labor Party against Peter and his mob.
DUTTON: He’s been counting numbers mate. He’s been absent for five days, because to get to 12 it takes Albo, you know, a little longer than the average bear. So one thing I’d say is don’t trust Albo with the numbers. He’s just told you to cut (inaudible) savings and then he’s spent money on aid in the next answer. So Albo, you would be a true, traditional Labor leader. You’d spend and tax like crazy mate.
ALBANESE: You’re the bloke promising tax cuts for business, for individuals, for even the big banks and you’re going to spend it by giving more money to the states as well.
STEFANOVIC: Alright guys, have yourself a great weekend.
DUTTON: Thanks Carlos, see you Albo.
ALBANESE: Good to be with you. What’s he done to Christopher Pyne?
STEFANOVIC: Wouldn’t you like to know.
ALBANESE: He’s probably locked him up somewhere.
DUTTON: He’ll be back. Don’t go there, don’t go there Albo.
ALBANESE: That’s his speciality.
DUTTON: Don’t go there.
STEFANOVIC: I wouldn’t mind seeing where Christopher Pyne is, actually, might be interesting.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.