Print

Sunrise - Big Guns

Friday, 12 August 2011

Errors and Omissions Excepted

MELISSA DOYLE:

From the first moment the Prime Minister announced plans to introduce a carbon tax the Opposition has said it will scrap it if elected. Now the actual cost of dumping the tax has been revealed; confidential minutes from the Coalition's Budget Razor Gang have been leaked to Seven News.

DAVID KOCH:

This is what they show: axing the carbon tax will cost taxpayers $27 billion, cutting the mining tax will cost around $11 billion. The minutes show too that the Opposition has to find $70 billion in cuts.

MELISSA DOYLE:

Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey wouldn't confirm or deny the figures to Seven News so let's see what he has to say this morning. He's here along with fellow Big Gun Environment Minister Tony Burke. Good morning gentlemen. Joe, this is fortuitous that you were booked for the Big Guns segment this morning.

JOE HOCKEY:

How about that? I still turn up! I'm a bloody good guy.

PRESENTER:

While those figures are on the screen, you were sitting there shaking your head?

JOE HOCKEY:

It is not a cost if you abolish a tax. You collect less tax, you spend less money therefore it is not a cost to taxpayers. The $27 billion for the carbon tax is the government's figure. That is how much they will collect from the carbon tax.

DAVID KOCH:

$11 billion from the mining tax?

JOE HOCKEY:

That’s how much they are going to collect from the mining tax. The total amount that you have to find is around - from our perspective it is a significant number.

DAVID KOCH:

70 billion?

JOE HOCKEY:

I will tell you what we are doing. We are going through the budget, line by line and item by item. The government will spend - Liberal or Labor - will spend $1500 billion over the next four years. It is a massive amount of money. Therefore finding 50, 60 or 70 billion is about identifying waste and identifying areas where you do not need to proceed with programs. No apologies for it.

DAVID KOCH:

You will cut the budget spending by 5%.

JOE HOCKEY:

I am not going to give a running commentary on the numbers.

DAVID KOCH:

You just told (us) that.

JOE HOCKEY:

Kochie, I am not going to give a running commentary

DAVID KOCH:

(Inaudible) It is 5 per cent.

JOE HOCKEY:

I am not going to give a running figure. You will see the details of our numbers before the election.

DAVID KOCH:

You have said it before.

JOE HOCKEY:

That is not the final number.

DAVID KOCH:

Are they real, those numbers?

JOE HOCKEY:

They are obviously running numbers but they are not the final numbers.

MELISSA DOYLE:

Tony?

TONY BURKE:

Well, there is a $70 billion question that has to be answered.

JOE HOCKEY:

No it doesn't.

TONY BURKE:

If you are cutting tax then you have got to cut spending to match it up.

JOE HOCKEY:

Correct

TONY BURKE:

$70 billion is not a program here or there, if you have to find that in cuts, you have to find that much increases in taxes or significant cuts to the pension. They are the only ways you can find that sort of money

JOE HOCKEY:

I don't, let me just say this - if you don't have a tax you don't have to have compensation. If you don't cause injury in the first place you do not have to have compensation. Of course, as we went to the last election, we are not going to have the mining tax and we are not going to have all the associated spending.

TONY BURKE:

It has got to be better than what you took to the last election? An $11 billion black hole.

JOE HOCKEY:

We don't accept that.

TONY BURKE:

I will give one example from the last election, you were going to sell Medibank Private and booked you would keep collecting a dividend from it.

JOE HOCKEY:

That is not right.

TONY BURKE:

That is what Treasury found when they went through your costings. You can’t sell and entity and keep collecting the dividend. It would be a good deal on shares.

JOE HOCKEY:

It is not right, if you pay down the debt with the proceeds of the sale of the entity you don't pay the interest on that debt.

TONY BURKE:

On this you are increasing debt.

JOE HOCKEY:

Hang on, hang on, this is inane. If you have no taxes, if you reduce tax, you reduce the size of government. I give an absolute guarantee under the Liberal Party, government will be smaller, there will be less tax collected, less government expenditure, but you will have smaller government as a percentage of the economy.

DAVID KOCH:

Lets move on, a couple of other topics to get through today. This week the government's so-called Malaysia deal hit a legal hurdle in the High Court. The Prime Minister has announced a deal with Papua New Guinea to re-open the processing centre on Manus Island. Tony, the Labor party dumped this in 2007, does this show you are pretty desperate to get something? Why go back to it?

TONY BURKE:

We have been talking to Papua New Guinea for a long time about this – that has been public. We want to have a regional solution. What you say about the impact of the court case is right. There would be already people on planes who have been taken to Malaysia and that is the big message. Up until that point, the people smugglers can keep lieing to people and making false expectations. But once the planes have gone from Australia and people see they are gone back to where they already were, at that point the message is loud and clear.

MELISSA DOYLE:

We will move on now to a report that is out this morning about major flaws in our detention system. A pretty damning report about overcrowding, a lack of staff training to deal with serious incidents and a failure to recognise the different cultures of detainees. Joe, does there need to be an urgent overhaul of the detention system?

JOE HOCKEY:

Well, of course. But detention centres wouldn't be necessary if they had a Nauru solution and temporary protection visas again. It is what we had, the boats stopped. The boats are coming back.          

DAVID KOCH:

They have got a Manus solution!

JOE HOCKEY:

No, I will believe it when I see the Manus solution. It is like Malaysia, we are waiting to see the impact of Malaysia, the government said it was announced and signed that all the people would end up going to Malaysia. Well they signed the deal and boats are still coming, one came overnight. The boats are still coming and the Malaysia people swap is in place. With Manus, is it the same old story. Ultimately the only way to stop them is to have a Nauru solution and temporary protection visas.

TONY BURKE:

Let's not forget the big problems in detention centres are often people who are awaiting deportation coming from planes. It is not only people from boats in detention centres, there are people who have come illegally, who have lied on documents, people who come here legally but then commit a crime and are awaiting deportation. To simply brush away problems in detention centres as being about that I don't think is accurate.

JOE HOCKEY:

No, but you have more detention centres operating now because more people are coming on boats. Simple as that.

DAVID KOCH:

Okay chaps, have to leave it there. See you next Friday.

MELISSA DOYLE:

Have a good day, Joe.

JOE HOCKEY:

Yeah, yeah, I'm fired up.

MELISSA DOYLE:

I can tell. Thanks Tony.