WEDNESDAY, 9 MAY 2018
SUBJECT/S: 2018 Budget; Turnbull’s tax hand out to the top end of town; Labor’s Budget Reply; Royal Commission into the Banks
KARL STEFANOVIC, HOST: Welcome back to the show. It is good to have your company. Time now to get the Opposition's reaction to last night's budget. Joining me now is Labor leader, Bill Shorten. Bill, good morning to you.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning Karl.
STEFANOVIC: Jeez, Scott Morrison really jammed you last night didn't he?
SHORTEN: No. What an uninspiring document this budget is. It's one for big business, but not the battlers. It's got $80 billion dollars worth of corporate tax cuts including, would you for believe Karl, $17 billion dollars for the big banks - and what they're offering people is $10 dollars or $5 dollars a week. No, this is out of touch for this Government.
STEFANOVIC: They'll take it though. That’s your heartland isn't it?
SHORTEN: Well, no, actually our people recognise that when the Government's prioritising big business over schools and hospitals they say what's going on? This budget is a hoax Karl. What they're saying is if you vote for Malcolm Turnbull for the next three elections then you might get a tax cut after that. I mean, there's kids who haven't started to secondary school who will be going to university or TAFE in the intervening time. They've got cuts to their institutions and schools and no tax cuts.
STEFANOVIC: Tax cuts though, to lower and middle income earners. Even earners over that period - that is your heartland. That's who you need to get over the line for the next election. This makes it harder for you, doesn't it?
SHORTEN: That's why Karl, when it comes to 1 July this year, we're making a special offer to the Government. Let's vote together to give that $10 dollars a week extra to families doing it tough and as for the rest of the debate, we can have that afterwards. But let's together put the people and the national interest ahead of silly old politics. Don't worry about the seven year mirage. You and I know they're not going to keep Turnbull there for seven years. The fact of the matter is, for this budget, let's look after working people. But I'd also ask the Government, please don't give the four big banks a $17 billion dollar tax cut they don't deserve. Let's put the money, some of that money, back into our schools and our hospitals and looking after older Aussies.
STEFANOVIC: So what you're saying effectively is, that Scott Morrison got that one right?
SHORTEN: What I'm saying is that we'll always back-in giving an extra $10 dollars a week to people who earn $50,000 and $60,000 dollars a year. That's why I stopped Scott Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull from increasing income taxes in the last budget. Also what we want to do is we want to see three things happen. We want to see our schools and hospitals and pensioners looked after. We want to make sure there's genuine income tax relief for the people who haven't had a wage rise, who are battling cost of living with energy prices. We also want to make sure that the budget is in good position. We can do that - cause we're not giving away $80 billion dollars to the top end of town. We're making hard decisions - cause we're actually fair dinkum about the national interest, not just the next opinion poll.
STEFANOVIC: Scott Morrison is going to be swaggering all over town in Canberra today given that you're supporting him?
SHORTEN: On the issue of backing in workers, we always do. The real issue here is if Mr Morrison thinks that making a promise which takes seven years to deliver and in the meantime, sees cuts to hospitals baked in, $17 billion dollar reduction in our funding to our schools, sees people have to work to the age of 70 before they get the pension, just about one of the oldest retirement ages in the world and the fact he's cutting an energy supplement for pensioners - he shouldn't be swaggering - he should be embarrassed. Drop the corporate tax cuts Scott - that's my advice. Let's look after middle and working class Australians. That's the national interest.
STEFANOVIC: Will you be opposing anything?
SHORTEN: Well, we certainly don't agree with creating the world's oldest retirement age at the age of 70. I'm certainly going to stand up for pensioners who are shivering this winter through higher energy costs and they're not getting a simple payment from the Government. It really does show you how out of touch Mr Turnbull and his team are when they're going to cut $350, $360 dollars from an energy supplement for pensioners, yet they're going to give multi-nationals and big companies massive tax cuts.
STEFANOVIC: So you've been, Bill, very successful from a policy point of view over the past couple of years in terms of what you're trying to achieve. That is -
SHORTEN: - Thank you.
STEFANOVIC: You've called for Royal Commission into the banks. You got it. You called for Medicare to be protected. You got it. You opposed company tax cuts. So far, you've got that. All this policy success but still you trail Malcolm Turnbull in the polls. Why don't Australians like you?
SHORTEN: No, I don't buy that at all Karl and I can't wait for an election. For me, it's not about Mr Turnbull or me or about the day-to-day politics. It's about the national interest. I just want to see young people, if they want an apprenticeship, be able to find an apprenticeship. I want people who go on pension after working their whole life to get an energy supplement of couple of hundred dollars, $300 plus dollars to cover the year of extra energy costs. I'm interested in making sure that people get a wage rise, I'm interested in making sure that private health insurance companies stop jacking up premiums - 55 per cent in 10 years. No, I'm just for every day families and that's what drives me.
STEFANOVIC: When will the election be, do you reckon?
SHORTEN: Whenever Mr Turnbull thinks he can win. I mean, you and I know, you've been to plenty of budget rodeos before. You know this is a budget where the Government hasn't actually made any decisions other than disguise the fact they're looking after the big end of town. The same cuts are there - you and I know that if Mr Turnbull thought he could win an election this Saturday, he'd race off. The real problem here is that it's not the national interest. So we're ready for an election whenever one is called. But in the meantime, I'm just going to stand up for working and middle families and give them a proper tax cut, make sure that we see schools and hospital funded and not look after the top end of town - they can look after themselves, can't they mate?
STEFANOVIC: Good to talk to you Bill. Thanks for your time this morning.
SHORTEN: Yeah, super. Have a lovely day Karl.