THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
SUNRISE, CHANNEL 7
WEDNESDAY, 13 MAY 2015
KOCHIE, PRESENTER: We have a special edition of Kochie's Angels this morning, dissecting the ins and outs of the Budget. Let's bring in Deputy Leader of the Opposition Tanya Plibersek, Liberal Senator Michaelia Cash and Independent Senator and selfie lover, Jacqui Lambie. Good morning, ladies. Jacqui had a selfie with Joe on the lawns here a bit earlier. Tanya, from an Opposition point of view, what do you like about the Budget?
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: The 1.5 per cent company tax rate cut for small business and the instant asset write off, they are both Labor policies that Joe Hockey voted against in the past. So of course we are inclined to support that sort of thing. What we can't support, Kochie, is the fundamental unfairness that is still at the heart of this Budget, so massive cuts to schools and hospitals still there, increased pension age still there, big cuts to family tax benefits and now a new cut to paid parental leave for 80,000 mums.
KOCHIE: So because, small business people would be excited today. Joe Hockey says go out and spend. In the back of their mind, we’ll be saying “will it get through the Senate? I don't want to spend if I can't claim it and it doesn’t go through”. So you are saying, go out and spend, not a problem.
PLIBERSEK: Kochie, remember we proposed this 1.5 per cent tax cut and Joe Hockey and The Greens voted against it. We also had an instant asset tax write off that was $6,500 and going to $10,000 and Joe Hockey killed it in the last Budget. When you see things that we proposed in the past, you've got to say we would be inclined to support.
KOCHIE: Okay. Michaelia, enough infrastructure spend? I must admit I was a bit disappointed there wasn't as much as I thought there would be.
MICHAELIA CASH: But when you look at the infrastructure spend and in particular in relation to the injection into northern Australia, this is on top of the infrastructure spend from last year, the $50 billion record infrastructure spend in Australia's road transport system. This budget says to Australians "We are empowering you to have a go. Whether you are a small business, whether you’re a family, we are going to give you the tools to have a go”. But what it also says to Australians, this is a government that has a long-term plan for Australia's future. We are going to literally unlock the untapped potential of northern Australia. That then has a trickledown effect to all Australians. Can you imagine the jobs that are going to be created once we get the North of Australia properly going? I think it's a Budget and the feedback that I've got is that people are excited by the optimism. They are excited by the government's have a go attitude. But also the effect that we are providing them the tools with which they can actually have a go.
KOCHIE: Because most people have been in the bunker for the last 12 months, because last year's budget was so mean. Do you regret it being so mean, because it changed the psychology to being glass half empty, rather than full.
CASH: At the end of the day, we went to the election in 2013 with a number of commitments. We said we would abolish the unfair carbon tax, we actually did that. We said we would abolish the mining tax, we did that. We said we would stop the boats, we did that. We also said to the Australian people-
PLIBERSEK: You also said no cuts to health, no cuts to education-
CASH: Tanya, you know that is not true.
PLIBERSEK: No, you said that.
CASH: Health spending and education spending continues to increase.
PLIBERSEK: There is an $80 billion cut from the last Budget that’s still in this Budget, Michaelia, and there are still $100,000 university degrees.
CASH: And there are still savings measures that you took to the 2013 election and you said to the Australian people, “if we are elected, guess what, we are going to give you those savings measures” and you can continue to block them in the Senate.
PLIBERSEK: We proposed $20 billion worth of savings - with multinational company tax savings and high income super, so multimillionaires, you know Kochie, for some people on very high balances, this is a just a tax minimisation effort. We proposed $20 billion worth of extra savings that Joe Hockey’s knocked back.
KOCHIE: There's one bloke with $300 million in super which I can’t believe anyhow.
PLIBERSEK: It’s ridiculous.
KOCHIE: Jacqui Lambie, you are the person to keep the so and so's honest if you like. They’re the big parties [inaudible] what do you think?
JACQUI LAMBIE: First of all, I think when it comes to health and education, very little has been said on it, I am very concerned about that, you are right about that $80 billion. I know the health system in Tasmania, it's completely lost down there. You want to create jobs in this country, yet I have seen very little infrastructure spend out of the $50 billion that the Prime Minister had put his job on the line for and basically said “I'm going to be the infrastructure king of the nation. That's what I want to be remembered for”. I can't see that going on. So I would like to see a lot more infrastructure and it's great that they are helping out northern Australia but quite frankly everybody needs that infrastructure spend. And it should have started 12 months ago. I just don't think they are sitting around a table and they are - I actually believe they are in chaos. I don't think they can make a straight decision. They can't make a firm decision. I think that's where the problem is. If you want jobs in this country, you had better get that infrastructure spend you had better bring it forward.
KOCHIE: What about small businesses?
LAMBIE: I think what they’ve done for small businesses is great, I would’ve liked to have seen more tax cut to small businesses. But I tell you what, if you take out that Family Tax B benefit, you’re going to waste all that. Because that Family Tax B benefit, I was on disability support pension for seven years and that little bit of that Family Tax B pension that I was getting, family support, I would go out there and spend in my local community. That's all small business. So it stimulates local community. So I can't see them having that Family Tax B. There is $3. 5 billion you are going to lose straight up, so you better take that out of your Budget savings because you’re not going to get it. I can tell you that right now.
PLIBERSEK: It's pitting families against one other.
CASH: Not at all.
PLIBERSEK: It says, if you want child care spending, then you have got to give up family tax benefit and you’ve got to give up paid parental leave, for people who work in businesses like Woolworths and McDonald's, that give their staff 8 weeks, you know, it's not much extra paid parental leave, they’re going to lose that. It’s one family against another.
CASH: It is ironic that you were one of the key people who rallied against the Government's original PPL scheme saying it was too generous.
PLIBERSEK: Which gave the most to millionaires. It was.
CASH: You can't have it both ways.
PLIBERSEK: No, these are two different schemes.
PLIBERSEK: You can't give more money to millionaires and less to people working in McDonald's and Woolworths.
KOCHIE: Alright ladies, we’ll have to leave it there. Thank you kindly. As can you see, there is still a bit to go to get some of these policies through but I suppose the message to small business owners, the small business initiative seemed to have had a big tick from everybody.