5 March 2016
Transcript - #2016023, 2016

In the role of: Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer [21 September 2015 - 18 July 2016]

Interview on Weekend Sunrise

SUBJECTS: Defence White Paper; negative gearing.

ANDREW O'KEEFE:

For the inside word on what's been happening in the corridors of power this week we are joined by Assistant Treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer and Deputy Labor Leader Tanya Plibersek. Good morning to you booth.

MINISTER O'DWYER:

Good morning.

TANYA PLIBERSEK:

Good morning.

O'KEEFE:

Welcome to the show. Happy Mardi Gras, happy Parathon. So first up this morning of course, there has been so much toing and froing between the PM and former PM and it really ratcheted it up during the week. Malcolm Turnbull is taking Tony Abbott to task in the form of what some people are calling a slap down over the defence submarine issue.

Prime Minister: During the week about submarines which were commented on and in fact contradicted by the Chief of the Defence Force.

O'KEEFE:

It's looking a little ugly Kelly, how do you respond?

MINISTER O'DWYER:

The Government has announced a very clear vision and plan for investment in our defence industry and in our defence capability. That was the plan that we announced through the release of the White Paper – an additional $30 billion of investment over ten years. That amounts to around about $447 billion over that ten year period. We're making decisions about submarines and our defence capability because it's in our national interest and we're doing that because no decision was made during Labor's time in Government.

ANGELA COX: But speaking about Tony Abbott, I mean is he going rogue? Critics are saying that he's looking like Kevin Rudd in the Gillard era, I mean is he trying to undermine Turnbull do you think?

PLIBERSEK:

I think the most important duty of government is to keep its citizens safe. The fact that the civil war in the Liberal Party has broken out even when it comes to our national security is troubling in the extreme. You've got a Prime Minister and a former Prime Minister at war over the Defence White Paper.

O'KEEFE:

People seem to be fairly – speaking in unison when it comes to the notion that the former PM has really caused mischief by commenting on the leak – quiet extensively – why would he do that other than to cause mischief?

MINISTER O'DWYER:

These are questions you would actually need to put to Tony Abbott himself. The point I would make is it's very clear that we have to make a strong investment in our national security. That's what the Government is doing. We are focussed on that, we are not focussed on being distracted by who said what at what particular point in time…

PLIBERSEK:

[Inaudible] the gorilla war that's going on in the Liberal Party at the moment.

O'KEEFE:

If the issue is national security, you know that the leak is obviously very troubling but do you agree on the Labor side of politics that we should be tying two per cent of our GDP to defence.

PLIBERSEK:

We have said that we need to get to two per cent overtime. I guess one of the most important differences between us and the Government on this is that we have said all along that these 12 submarines should be built in Australia. That we need to have the capacity to build and maintain these huge projects right here in Australia.

COX:

Moving on, the front page of the Australian this week ran a story about Labor's policy on negative gearing, with forecasts it could cost the economy as much as $19 a billion a year. There are also claims it would lead to lower house prices, rent rises of up to ten per cent and job losses. Tanya, in light of that modelling should Labor rethink?

PLIBERSEK:

It's not modelling Labor's policy. This report models something completely different. For a start, it starts with a GDP of $160 billion. Our GDP in Australia is $1.9 trillion so it gets the size of our economy wrong and then it models a policy that is nothing like Labor's policy so it's a bad report. It's commissioned by an anonymous commissioner. Nobody knows who actually commissioned the report. And it models something but it's not Labor's policy.

O'KEEFE:

The Grattan Institute has said that the report is giggle worthy in large parts because of all the incorrect assumptions and things. And of course the last time similar changes to negative gearing were attempted there was no outcome as predicted by this report. What do you say about that?

MINISTER O'DWYER:

The last – actually the time that Labor did muck around with negative gearing rents actually did go up…

PLIBERSEK:

They went up…

MINISTER O'DWYER:

 That's something that meant that the Labor Party actually went back on their policy over that period of time…

PLIBERSEK:

It isn't true, Kelly…

MINISTER O'DWYER:

I listened to you Tanya, it would be really nice if you'd give me an opportunity to also respond to this particular question.

COX:

It is probably fair enough that we give you a chance.

MINISTER O'DWYER:

So the point I would make is that it's very clear that Labor, in their policy, want to take a third of all property investors out of the market for established properties. Now, that hits ordinary Australians. Ordinary Australians like nurses, like doctors, like teachers, like emergency service workers who are watching your program at home today. All of home whom want to get ahead and are using negative gearing to do that. There are more than 55,000 teachers who negatively gear and Labor's policy will mean that their home, their investment is going to actually be worth – that their investment in their property, is going to be worth less as a result of the fact that when they try to sell it established homes will be worth less. They are also trying to take those investors and put them into the new property market which means that those first home buyers that are looking to buy new property are being crowded out by those particular investors.

PLIBERSEK:

So here is the proposal, prices are going up, prices are going down we should be frightened of both. Is that your proposal?

COX:

We love having both you women in here. Good strong opinions. We do have to wrap this up but we have to do it again. We have got a parathon to get to sorry ladies.

MINISTER O'DWYER:

That's right well that is very important.

O'KEEFE:

Thanks very much team.