ALAN JONES: The Prime Minister is on the line.
PRIME MINISTER: Good morning Alan.
JONES: Prime Minister, thank you for your time, I should just say before we get in to the election stuff, I was in Julia Creek yesterday, they asked me to go there to raise the morale of these people and we took up the Huey Bowman the jockey and Mark Vincent -
PRIME MINISTER: Yeah great.
JONES: They asked me to pass on to you their thanks for what you did for them when you went up there immediately. There are still some problems mind you, but there are problems that can be addressed. I said I’d thank you and that’s from all of them, a long way from here I have to tell you
PRIME MINISTER: Well, thank you.
JONES: Not at all. PM can I just play to you a very brief extract of a call earlier this morning from Michael?
CALLER - AUDIO RECORDING: One thing we’re really missing, you were talking about the impact of negative gearing. I’ve been in the game for 35 years, the building game, what they’re forgetting is that negative gearing stuff is the secondary issue. The main thing renewable energy and climate change policy is going to have a massive impact on the cost of manufacturing and the building game. The price of bricks, price of aluminium windows, price of metal, the game is down 50 per cent today, to what it was 2 years ago and last year. The game is in a massive decline at the moment and we haven’t even started the climate change policies that this idiot wants to bring in. The bloke’s a goose, he doesn’t understand the real facts of what this whole economy is based on; the building game. I want to walk around with a thing on my back saying ‘vote Liberal,’ because this country is gonna to go downhill quickly.
JONES: Ok I think the Prime Minister’s line has - is he back up there? The lines fallen out, doesn’t pay his bills, doesn’t pay his bills. [Laughter]
You there PM?
PRIME MINISTER: Yeah I am, it dropped out mid-way through.
JONES: But you heard that one? Let me go one step further because you tried to address this – and this has really angered people - on Friday night, when Mr Shorten was asked simply, what would be the cost of these same energy policies that Michael is talking about. This was the answer;
BILL SHORTEN – AUDIO RECORDING: The cost to the taxpayer of our policies is practically nil.
JONES: Michael then finished his call to me saying this.
CALLER - AUDIO RECORDING: The climate change policy is going to have a massive impact on the cost of manufacturing in the building game’.
JONES: Well now Prime Minister can, I just raise with you the ‘nil’. Now you’ve got this chap Brian Fisher who has been an adviser to Australia in Kyoto, the climate change negotiations. He’s a lead author on the intergovernmental panel on climate change, he was the former head of the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics. He’s worked under both Labor and Coalition governments and he costed these policies. He’s spelled the thing out; he’s talking about the loss of up to about 300,000 jobs, lower wage growth up to 11 per cent, 50 per cent increase in the price of electricity. Now the economy is everything, is it not? The impact of this policy on the economy surely is unstainable?
PRIME MINISTER: Well of course. We’re taking action on climate change and we’ve got record renewable investment, so that’s not the issue. The Issue is that Labor has a policy that Bill Shorten won’t tell Australians what it will cost.
There’s a reason why he won’t tell you what it costs; because he doesn’t know the price of anything, because he doesn’t have to pay it. It won’t be him that is paying it, it’s people working in central Queensland, out in Western Australia, Victoria, NSW all across the country. That research that you referred to, I mean that’s an $8,000 a year hit to peoples wages. The companies that are going to be hit, specifically and targeted by Bill Shorten’s policy, that alone will force them to buy these carbon credits from overseas, which will see anywhere between $27.5 billion and $35 billion just go offshore.
PRIME MINISTER: It’s just going to go offshore.
JONES: Well one report said that the cost to the economy could be as high as $1.2 trillion? But this fellow said on Friday night that the cost to the taxpayer - now even if it was taxpayers money, if we’re going to have electric cars and we’re going to have to build charging stations and all the rest of it and the subsidies to renewables - but then he went on FM radio. He was asked the same question about the cost that he wouldn’t answer on Friday night. He said;
“Look, if you had a friend who was perhaps on the large side, the chubby side and they had 10 Big Macs a day, there is a cost to not eating big macs.” I can’t believe this is from an alternative prime minister. “But long term it’s an investment isn’t it? Sure, there’s a cost to exercising, but there is a benefit. Now, which do you measure? The cost or the benefit? Or do you accept it’s all part of a total package?”
That’s the answer to the cost on energy policy?
PRIME MINISTER: You can’t compare people losing their jobs to eating Big Macs, which is what he did. I think that shows a great insensitivity to the real impact on Australians each and every day, just going out there and working hard. The fact that he won’t be up front about what the cost of these policies I think gives everyone real cause for concern.
But the thing is, Bill thinks he can make everything free without anyone having to pay for it. We saw that again on the weekend. We’ve seen it day in and day out on this campaign, he’s spending like there’s no tomorrow and apparently it’s not going to cost anything. Well it is - your business. I mean the retirees are going to be taxed 27 times harder than multinationals under Bill Shortens policy. That retirees tax is going to hit $5 billion a year and Bill Shorten is going to totally let multinationals off the hook, while he’s going to hit retirees, homeowners looking to buy investment properties to get ahead -
JONES: Just to interrupt there, sorry to interrupt you there. You introduced legislation didn’t you, to address multinational issue and Labor voted against it?
PRIME MINISTER: They did. That legislation has already brought in, in less than 3 years, $7.7 billion in additional revenue from multinationals in terms of additional tax liabilities we’ve been able to raise. So we’ve been moving on this, we’ve been working with other countries around the world. But what Bill Shorten is going to go for, he’s going to go for your wallet, he’s going to go for retirees wallets and I continue to hear him say that retirees are getting ‘a gift’ from the government and that they don’t pay tax.
JONES: Ok, can I stop you there, can we stop there for a minute. He waved his hands on Friday I nearly threw something at the TV set, because forget me and forget Scott Morrison; Professor Judith Sloan makes the very valid point about ‘the gift’. She says that there is a stack people out there who work hard and they pay their tax, but the welfare transfer payments mean that they pay no tax, no net tax. Are we going to stop them getting a refund?
PRIME MINISTER: Yeah well that’s the point she’s making, absolutely. But we do have a welfare safety net in this country and we do have benefit payments and Australians are fair. We understand the importance of that.
What is really concerning me in this campaign Alan, is that Bill Shorten thinks he can spend all of your money and then tell everybody else they get everything for free.
Now we’ve seen this before in this country; that’s when Budgets go upside down, that’s when debt is out of control. I mean I saw when there was Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd, they were all there at the launch on the weekend. What that reminded me of, was just of all of those failed programmes they had when they were in Government. Because Labor are spending an enormous amount of money, huge amounts of money they’re planning to spend. We always know, when they implement these big programmes if they get into government, it always costs more. Because people who don’t know how to manage money always end up spending more, then they come after those who are careful with their money; the retirees, people saving for their future, people working hard, running small businesses. That’s who they’ll come for. I mean he was talking about space invaders the other day, the space he’s going to invade is people’s wallets. That’s what he’s going to do.
JONES: [Laughter] Just one simple point. Ok, we’re going to have, by 2030, half the new cars sold to be electric. Now he’s running away from this policy at a hundred miles an hour. However, what hasn’t been addressed - though I know Angus Taylor made some comments about this - he also said this, that a Shorten government: ‘Will work with the states to ensure that new’, and this applies to every person listening to you and me, ‘new and refurbished commercial and residential developments will include EV charging capacity,’ electric vehicle charging capacity. So if the electric car becomes a reality, everyone, non-car owners, will be hit with thousands in extra building and permit costs. This is another housing tax surely?
PRIME MINISTER: Well it is and this is what Labor never thinks through; the costs of things when they put all these big programmes in place. I mean this is how they messed up pink batts. This is how they messed up school halls and how they messed up cash-for-clunkers and messed up all of these big spending programmes. They think they can solve everybody’s problems, by spending you money. What I think Australians continue to want to see is a Government that knows how to manage money, but at the same time increase funding for hospitals and schools that’s we’ve done. We’ve increased funding for public schools by more than 60 per cent across this country. Same for hospitals. We’ve increased aged care funding by 50 per cent, going up by $1 billion every year. And we’re doing it without raising taxes, because we know how to manage money.
Bill Shorten wants to promise the world, he wants to say; ‘Everything’s going to be free’, he wants you to pretend like it’s not going to have any cost. But we all know there will be a price to pay. Do you remember that Little Doer ad, the carpet guy years ago? He’d always run those ads where he’d say; ‘Tell us the price son, tell us the price!’
JONES: [Laughter] That’s right.
PRIME MINISTER: Well this is what I’m asking Bill Shorten, I want him to tell us the price. But in that ad there was good news at the end, because he was selling it cheaper. But with Bill Shorten, you’re going to pay a lot more.
JONES: Great line. Then you know, they want to create the perception – I’m talking about voting for Australia, I’m not talking about voting for you or anyone, but for Australia – that; ‘Oh, you’re out there looking after the big end of town’ and he’s out there looking after the battler. Now I saw wage tables, tax tables in relation to all Australians. By 2024-25 the gains under your policy compared with Labor’s are substantial. At $80,000 you’ll pay $875 more under Labor in tax. At $100,000, you’ll pay $2,125 more. At $140,000, you’ll pay $5,705 more and that’s before you go to stage three. Now it’s true isn’t it, that Labor’s is opposing both, but offering both but offering no comparable reform? So the taxes are higher under Bill Shorten.
PRIME MINISTER: Well they’ll definitely be higher. But at the same time those who are still on the highest rates of tax, those who are on the top marginal tax rates, they’ll still pay the same overall share of the tax burden. In fact a bit more, a little bit more actually.
So, this idea that somehow they’ve been given a leave pass by our Government is not the case. We’re just trying to reduce taxes for everybody, but those who earn more they’ll still pay higher rates and those who earn less will pay lower rates. That’s how our tax system works. But what I do know is that if you go and put $387 billion of higher taxes, whether it’s on retires, on housing, small and family businesses, superannuation, all of these things that just weighs down your economy.
I said yesterday, it’s like putting Andrew Fifita on Winx. I mean Winx, she’s amazing, but I mean having a jockey that size would certainly slow here down, it would even slow Winx down. And Andrew Fifita, I mean he’s one that should be on the football field. He’s doing a great job for the Sharks this year I’ve got to say, but you don’t go and put him as a jockey on a racehorse.
That’s what Labor is trying to do with their tax burden. Even if you’re not hit directly by one of these taxes, it’ll still affect your job, it’ll still affect your small business, because you’re holding the economy back. You can’t put people’s wages up by increasing their taxes. It just doesn’t work.
JONES: Absolutely. Well talking about increasing taxes, Mr Shorten, ‘top end of town, top end of town’ he says. Everyone over $180,000 is going to have their tax rate raised by 2 per cent to 49 per cent, he said by July 1, over $180,000.
So, he gets this shift worker, one of his voters in Gladstone and says; ‘Well what are you going to dio, are you going to give me any tax cuts?’ He’s on $250,000, he’s working for it. And Bill Shorten can’t face him up and say; “No I’m going to charge you more.” He says; ‘Oh look, we’re going to look at that.” I mean the bloke couldn’t look him in the eye and say; “Yes I am increasing your tax.”
PRIME MINISTER: And that’s still the case. That’s the point on I was making in the debate last Friday, he wouldn’t look me in the eye and tell me that was the case either.
One of the things we’ve done with our tax plan though Alan, is get rid of something that I think has been the bane of all hard-working people and that is bracket creep. You know, as you do a little bit better and you go up into the next tax bracket, it’s a disincentive to keep working hard. I mean we’re abolishing completely the 37 cent tax bracket and we’ve already legislated for that. Labor wants to bring it back and for younger people, that means as they do better in their first ten years of life in working, out there having a job, as they do better, they won’t have to worry when they take on the extra shifts or they get that promotion or they do the extra training and they earn a bit more, that somehow they’re going to be penalised for doing that.
Because you know, we’re for having a tax system which removes that bracket creep for about 94 per cent of Australians. That gives them incentive to get out there and do the things that makes Australia really strong. So, it is a big choice. It’s a massive choice and I’ve only got to stress to your listeners, it’s going to matter everywhere and your choice will make a big difference.
JONES: Absolutely. Ok.
PRIME MINISTER: So we’re calling on their support.
JONES: Yep, ok leave it there, leave it there and we’ll talk to you again next Monday. Keep at it, thank you for your time.
PRIME MINISTER: Thanks a lot Alan.