TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
CHANNEL 9 TODAY SHOW
THURSDAY, 4 APRIL 2019
SUBJECTS: Budget 2019; Government forgetting people on Newstart; ‘Mad Men’.
DEB KNIGHT, PRESENTER: We may not have an election date yet but both sides of the politics are in full campaign mode. The government selling the merits tonight of its Budget and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten tonight delivering Labor's economic blueprint in his Budget Reply. And there are plenty of sweeteners to try to win votes. Labor's Tanya Plibersek joins us now. Tanya, good morning to you.
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning, Deb. How are you?
KNIGHT: It's a case "mine's is bigger than yours" really when it comes to this Budget. We've got the $7.1 billion surplus announced by the Treasurer with his big headline. Is Labor's going to be bigger?
PLIBERSEK: Well we'll certainly come back into surplus in the same year and you'll have to watch the Budget Reply for more details about that tonight. And we can do that because we are closing loopholes that are at the top end of town for multi-national companies, for the big banks and so on, whereas this government continues to want to the give tax breaks to big companies at the expense of our hospitals and our schools.
KNIGHT: And tax cuts seems to be where the divisions are drawn here. That's going to be a big battle ground in this election. In terms of tax cuts will Labor's be bigger than the government's?
PLIBERSEK: They will for people on less than $40,000 a year. We will match the government up to on tax cuts for people earning up to $126,000 a year. In fact the government followed us, we cuts proposed bigger, better, fairer tax cuts after the last budget last year, so of course we'll agree to tax cuts that start on the 1st of July this year, which basically mirror what we were proposing. But this government has forgotten people earning less than $40,000 a year. And there's almost three million Australians who are in that tax bracket. We'll have bigger tax cuts than the government for those people earning less than $40,000 per year.
KNIGHT: So you're engaging in a bit of a 'class war' here?
PLIBERSEK: I don't understand why it's 'class war' to look out for people who are on low incomes. That's just fair. That's what we call fair in Australia. And what's not fair is a government that proposes a tax cut of 5 bucks a week if you're earning year $35,000 per year and $11,000 a year if you're on $200 grand. That's not fair.
KNIGHT: Now, the government has back flipped in the name of fairness on the one of its big spending projects, the one-off energy assistance payments here, the Treasurer did announce that they would actually provide that Newstart recipients. Labor is promising to review the Newstart allowance if elected. How will you go about doing that? What are you promising?
PLIBERSEK: Let's just take a step back on this energy payment, the government forgot to include, or deliberately excluded, not just Newstart recipients but Austudy, widow's pension, double orphan pension, veterans, there was a whole bunch of people that were excluded by this government. So the budget was released at 7:30 on Tuesday night. By 7am the next day they were having crisis meetings. By 9 o'clock-
KNIGHT: That's a sign of accepting mistakes and moving on. That's a good thing isn't it?
PLIBERSEK: It's pretty extraordinary that months after, you write the Budget over a couple of months, three, four months, they didn't think of veterans and people on a double orphan pension or widows and then suddenly there's a bit of push back and they did back flip. That's good, that's good they back flipped.
KNIGHT: What will Labor do with Newstart? Will you commit to increasing it?
PLIBERSEK: Well, I think most people would say right now that it's not adequate and it's not just Labor and the social welfare groups saying that. It's the Business Council of Australia and business groups saying it. They know that if you're on Newstart, it's pretty hard even to afford the public transport to get to the job interview or to buy yourself a clean shirt for the job interview. So we do have to look at this over time. We need to get the amount of Newstart right. We do need to make a sure that it's affordable for us as a nation but we are committed to looking at it.
KNIGHT: Now, the one constant in all of the opinion polls that we are seeing is the figure of Bill Shorten as preferred Prime Minister. He simply doesn't come close to Scott Morrison. Why is he so unpopular?
PLIBERSEK: Well, I think it's a pretty hard job being Opposition Leader and what people will see from Bill Shorten tonight is a really positive vision for Australia's future.
KNIGHT: And in terms of his popularity though it seems that Labor's really behind the eight ball here?
PLIBERSEK: Oh, look, I think what we're focused on is good policy and making sure that we give those bigger tax cuts to people on less than $40,000 a year, that we tax match the government on the other tax cuts and that we invest in the, services that people rely on - our schools, our hospitals, our aged care, disability services - and Bill's going to show people a really positive vision for Australia tonight and throughout the election campaign and I know that people will respond to that.
KNIGHT: And you have little known skill it seems. You now have taken to film editing, adding some new music to this Liberal Party video. Here is a bit of a taste.
KNIGHT: For those not familiar it is the theme music to 'Mad Men', the series this set in a 1950's ad agency. What this all about?
PLIBERSEK: Oh look I just thought there's so many blokes in this ad they put out, I thought it really looked like the 1950's, so I thought I would, or 1960's as ‘Mad Men’ is, I thought I'd give it the 'Mad Men' treatment.
KNIGHT: A little bit of a cheeky take there, dabbling in film editing from Tanya Plibersek. All right, we thank you for your time this morning.
PLIBERSEK: Thanks Deb.