Minister Cormann Interview, PVO Newsday, Sky News

 

PETER VAN ONSELEN:

Let’s go to Senator Cormann now. He joins us live from the Nation’s capital.

MATHIAS CORMANN:

Good to be here.

PETER VAN ONSELEN:

What do you thing about these polls? I know that politicians prefer not to comment on the polls telling us the only one that matters is on election day. We will find that one out soon enough. Two polls, two of the more reputable polls to say the least show it is close. 49 to 51 inverted in each respect. Your thoughts?

MATHIAS CORMANN:

The election is close. What it shows is that every vote matters and every individual Australian will have to weigh up very carefully the choice they make at this election. It is a choice between the Coalition with a plan for jobs and growth, a plan to help secure our successful transition from resource investment driven growth to broader drivers of growth in a strong, new, diversified economy and the Labor Party, which has no plan for economic growth. It just has its push for higher taxes, which will hurt jobs and growth. These polls just show how important it is that every individual Australian very carefully weighs up the choice they make at this election

PETER VAN ONSELEN:

I’m on the record as saying that I think the company tax cuts are a good thing for growth. That’s what most economists, not all, but most economists comfortably agree with that. Certainly the Treasury forecasts suggest so. But it is also true isn’t it, that more money going into education helps with growth because of the productivity improvements we know that it creates? That would be Labor’s argument on that funding move.

MATHIAS CORMANN:

Our ten year enterprise tax plan does help to increase the size of the economy permanently by more than 1 per cent over the medium to long term. It does so by helping us attract more investment, helping us boost productivity, helping us create more jobs and over time helping us increase real wages and living standards. Labor is making all sorts of spending promises that are not funded. Spending promises which are not funded lead to higher taxes. Higher taxes which hurt the economy. Higher taxes which are bad for jobs and growth. Labor’s approach... interrupted

PETER VAN ONSELEN:

Well can I ask you, can I jump in Senator. You say they are not funded. I have got Andrew Leigh on the program in the next hour. He of course would beg to differ on that. When you say they are not funded what is the argument to illustrate that?

MATHIAS CORMANN:

Well Labor currently is fudging their numbers. Changing between 10 year projections and four year forecasts. All of their tax increases are projected over 10 years. They have already told us that they want to increase taxes over the next decade compared to what the Coalition is proposing to do by more than $100 billion, which would be bad for jobs and growth. On the spending side of course, what we know, is that they have hardly made any savings whatsoever. They have hardly put forward any spending reductions. Over the current forward estimates period, over the current Budget forward estimates period, Labor has a Budget black hole of about $65-$66 billion. It keeps increasing by the day as Bill Shorten is making more and more unfunded spending promises.

PETER VAN ONSELEN:

I don’t think it’s disputed, even in Labor circles that the Labor Party plans to tax more and spend more. Is the Coalition worried that voters might philosophically agree with the Labor Party? That that’s what a modern government should become?

MATHIAS CORMANN:

Well here is the very important point. The Australian economy is an economy in transition. We are continuing to face global economic headwinds and global economic uncertainty. We need to ensure that the Australian economy is as competitive, as productive and as innovative as possible. That is why our Budget is our national economic plan for jobs and growth. That is why in our Budget we have put forward our plan for innovation and science, helping to support start-up businesses. That is why we have put forward our defence industry plan to support our local high end manufacturing industry. That is why we have put forward our plan to provide tax cuts and incentives for small and medium sized businesses and for hard working families. That is why our Budget is underpinned and our economic plan is underpinned by the export trade deals that we have been able to enter into so far, helping our businesses be more successful in key markets in our region. It is a holistic plan. That is why we are so focussed on making our tax system more growth friendly. We started that on coming in to government in September 2013 with getting rid of Labor’s carbon tax and the mining tax. We have built on that in subsequent Budgets and in our most recent Budget by delivering our 10 year enterprise tax plan. Our plan is genuinely a plan for jobs and growth. It is a plan that is funded. Our Budget plan is to put our Budget on a sustainable foundation for the future. We are all spending... interrupted

PETER VAN ONSELEN:

Mathias Cormann let me just jump in. Sorry to interrupt but Bill Shorten has just taken to the podium. Stay with us Senator. We are going to get your reaction from the Government to what Bill Shorten has to say. He is up in Queensland in Cairns.

[BILL SHORTEN PRESS CONFERENCE]

The Coalition’s spokesperson for the campaign is Senator Mathias Cormann. Also the Finance Minister, Special Minister of State and Deputy Leader of the Government of the Government in the Senate. He was kind enough to stay with us during that. He joins us once again. Thanks for your company. Can I get an instant reaction I suppose to this claim by Bill Shorten. Which is fair enough isn’t it, that they are putting, tipping more money into education that you guys?

MATHIAS CORMANN:

Well it is quite ironic that Bill Shorten would be promising additional funding for schools up in Queensland. Because when he actually had control of the Budget as the education minister, just before the last election, he cut funding for schools in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory by $1.2 billion. Funding which we restored in Government after the 2013 election in our first Budget update. The second point is, Bill Shorten is just again doing what Labor has done in the past. Making unfunded, unaffordable spending promises. Our funding increases for education in this Budget, in our Budget are guaranteed, because they are actually reflected in the Budget bottom line.

PETER VAN ONSELEN:

But you say that theirs is unfunded, but none the less, I’m right aren’t I when I look at this and say, well hang on, they’re not proceeding with the company tax cuts that you’re side of politics are. They therefore have tens of billions of savings there that could perhaps be classified as a way of funding the education.

MATHIAS CORMANN:

This is the typical Labor budget magic pudding. Bill Shorten is trying to spend this sort of money over and over. Yes he is pushing for higher taxes which will hurt the economy, which would be bad for jobs and growth. But if you actually look at the effect on the Budget bottom line of all the savings and revenue measures of the Government that Labor is opposing over the decade, that costs about $70 billion. If you look at all of the spending promises that Labor has made so far since the last election, that costs about $70 billion. There is about $140 billion worth of spending and costs to the Budget bottom line over the next decade. That is not even taking into account the savings and revenue measures that the Government has implemented where Labor says we must restore spending such as on things like foreign aid and other matters. Just looking at the Budget improvement measures from the Government that the Labor Party is currently opposing, that is a cost of $70 billion over the decade. Just looking at the spending promises Labor has made so far, that is a cost of $70 billion over the decade. Bill Shorten is way behind and he hasn’t got the money to pay for all of this spending. The truth is, that all of this additional Labor spending in the end will lead to higher taxes which is bad for jobs and growth.

PETER VAN ONSELEN:

When you say though that they don’t have the money, and whether you are right or not about the debt implications of some of their adjustments, how do you win the fairness argument? We heard it again there from Bill Shorten. Him talking about Labor having a fairer plan than the Coalition. How do you win that argument when he is pitching for health and education upticks in funding and you are pitching for company tax cuts? Even if you are right Senator, even if you are right and they have the economic growth impact that you are talking about.

MATHIAS CORMANN:

It is not fair to raise expectations with the Australian community which Bill Shorten knows he cannot meet. It is not fair to commit to expenditure, borrowing from our children and grandchildren, reducing their opportunities down the track. It is not fair to push up taxes in a way that hurts growth and jobs, because ultimately, that reduces the opportunity for families around Australia to have job security, to get a better job, to get ahead. Our Budget is a national economic plan for jobs and growth. It is a plan which will help us secure the transition in our economy at a time when we are continuing to fight global economic headwinds. All of the funding, including funding increases for schools and hospitals is guaranteed, because it is provided for in a Budget which is sustainable.

PETER VAN ONSELEN:

Alright Senator Cormann I’ve got a sneaking suspicion we are going to get a chance to have a few more chats during the longevity of this campaign. We appreciate you joining us as well as staying with us during the opposition leader’s press conference there up in Cairns. Thanks very much.

MATHIAS CORMANN:

Pleasure.

EO&E