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The Today Show

Monday, 4 August 2014

Errors and Omissions Excepted

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Treasurer, Joe, good morning.

TREASURER:

Good morning, Karl.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Now, you’re not going to try and hock off lemons to me this morning are you?

TREASURER:

[laughter] No.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Are you sure?

TREASURER:

Look, I think there is a fair bit of misinformation around at the moment, starting with the PPL. We’re not dumping the PPL. Most of the money for Paid Parental Leave is going to middle income and low income houses. Then there was a report this morning saying that low income households were the biggest losers out of the Budget. That story is wrong because it fails to take into account a range of things, like the fact that higher income households pay half their income in tax, low income households pay virtually no tax. So I think there is a lot of misinformation around Karl.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

So that story, just on that story in the Age and Fairfax are carrying that across their papers, are suggesting that the numbers, the Treasury numbers themselves, show that the actual cost is $842 for low income households where the average high income family lost $71 dollars – that is a big difference. But even when you remove the repair levy, as you mention, it will be $517, there is still a fairly decent gap there.

TREASURER:

But it doesn’t take into account the fact that higher income households pay half their income in tax and on average higher income households fund the benefits that go to an average of nearly four lower income households. Every dollar that lower income households receive comes from higher income households. It fails to take into account pensions, which is not included in that table, which are a substantial payment. It also fails to take into account the massive number of concessional payments such as discounted pharmaceuticals, discounted transport, discounted childcare that goes to lower income households. So the information, as presented, is deliberately misleading and it does not represent the true state of affairs.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

OK, it looks like this intergenerational report is going to be released, and you will be busy releasing some details of that I know in the next couple of days. But it looks, for all intents and purposes, at this point as we just can’t afford, if things are so bad, we just can’t afford the Paid Parental Leave Scheme.

TREASURER:

Well, the Paid Parental Leave Scheme is actually self-funded. So we still would have a Paid Parental Leave Scheme but at minimum wages. And what the Labor Party and the Greens fail to understand is that the biggest winners out of the Paid Parental Leave Scheme are low and middle income households who still have to pay the mortgage, yet have now, only minimum wages. The fact is Karl, there are two good reasons why the Paid Parental Leave Scheme is good for everyday Australians. Firstly, when you and I were growing up there were a lot of households in the cities that only had one household income. Mum was able to stay at home. But because of the cost of real estate now, in metropolitan areas, you need two household incomes. Well, the mortgage bill still keeps coming in. Yet Mums have to give up their job and do not receive Paid Parental Leave. We are going to give them replacement wages. The second thing is, small businesses can’t afford to pay Paid Parental Leave, so for the first time we are going to pay the Paid Parental Leave obligations of small business without them having any financial burden.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Alright, so the problem here is that no one thinks it’s a good idea, apart from yourself and the boss. Look, we all know what it’s like, the boss comes up with a great idea and everyone has to go, ‘that’s a great idea boss’, and when he’s out of the room you go, ‘we can’t really afford that’. You can’t sell it, the cross-benchers don’t want it, and nobody else in Government wants it. So what, the sell is wrong or the policy is wrong? Either way, it’s bad for you.

TREASURER:

Karl, if we do care about people being able to meet their mortgage repayments, then what you want to do is ensure that people actually receive replacement wages for Paid Parental Leave. And the unions argue for this every time they go into wage negotiations, but the union party, the Labor Party is only opposing this because of politics. It’s just like the Labor Party and the Greens are concerned about lower income households, our changes to fuel excise actually means that higher income households pay more fuel excise yet the Labor Party and the Greens are opposing it. I mean, cut us a break here, these guys are all over the shop and we are entirely consistent in ensuring that there is a welfare system that helps those most disadvantaged and everyone else has to pay their way.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Alright, you’re going to have to keep selling to those cross-benchers though aren’t you? It doesn’t look like, at this point, you’ve got them.

TREASURER:

Well, there is a lot of work to do but I will meet with anyone who is sensible, you know that. I will meet with anyone who is sensible and the independent Senators so far are proving to be sensible unlike some of the others in the upper house.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

You don’t want to name names do you?

TREASURER:

No.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Just finally, Fairfax this morning, it’s carrying a story mentioning that you have mentioned in the past that ‘the age of entitlement is over’, but you’re getting around in a private jet, our private jet, taxpayers’ private jet, what’s going on with that? You shouldn’t be travelling like that should you?

TREASURER:

Well, the first thing is, those flights were only taken where no other flight was available and of course, out of Canberra there are limits to the timing of flights to get back in, especially with the curfew in Sydney. Secondly, I’m prepared to match my bills with any of my predecessors at any time. Thirdly, there were, on those occasions a number of other people on the plane. So, once again, the same newspaper, engages in misleading and deceptive information provisioned to the general public.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Wow, you’re going to war with Fairfax.

TREASURER:

No, no, just picking two stories today.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Oh come on! Land on the line!

TREASURER:

I don’t know, just seems to be a little inconsistent. I saw that they were apologising for one of their cartoons on the weekend and, you know, there’s a lot of misinformation that is coming out and I think sometimes it is quite malevolent out of those papers.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Alright, Joe Hockey, always good to talk to you. Have a good day.

TREASURER:

Thanks very much.

[ENDS]

 


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