6 April 2016
Transcript - #2016036, 2016

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

Interview with Karl Stefanovic, The Today Show

SUBJECTS: The Turnbull Government, $1.2 billion of unclaimed money

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Right now in Australia, there is around $1.2 billion of unclaimed cash sitting dormant in bank accounts, shares, other investments and some of it could be yours. So how do you check for long lost money and take back what is rightfully yours? Assistant Treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer joins us now. Good morning to you Kelly.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

Good morning, Karl.

STEFANOVIC:

Nice to see you. First up, how is Malcolm Turnbull going because he looks like a beach ball a day after Christmas, all the air has been sucked out of it.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

Not true. I saw him yesterday in our Cabinet meeting and we’re basically just focussed on the task at hand, focussed on delivering good government. One of my key roles at the moment is to make sure we preserve the integrity of our tax base and go after corporate crooks and go after individuals who are ripping off the Australian taxpayer.

STEFANOVIC:

When was the last time you spoke to Scott Morrison?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

Yesterday in the Cabinet meeting, I mean we speak all the time.

STEFANOVIC:

They are having a massive blue at the moment though, aren't they?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

No, not at all. That is simply not true.

STEFANOVIC:

Every source that we have spoken to in Canberra is saying that they are having an all-out fall out.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

A lot of people like to create stories and I can tell you, from somebody who sees this first-hand, there is a very good and strong relationship between the Treasurer and the Prime Minister and all of this nonsense, speculation, is simply a distraction. People want to know that the Government's getting on with the job, and that's what we are doing. That's what I'm focussed on each and every day. We have announced a number of reforms. The Prime Minister announced, for instance, the National and Innovation Science Agenda which will mean that we can become an even more innovative and nimble economy which is what we need to do as our economy transitions.

STEFANOVIC:

They hate each other.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

That's not true. It's just not true Karl. I mean, you can keep asking me this but it's simply not true.

STEFANOVIC:

I'm not asking you. I'm telling you.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

You are just wrong. I like your enthusiasm.

STEFANOVIC:

You can't keep defending it.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

You are simply wrong on this.

STEFANOVIC:

I'm not enthusiastic, I feel bad for them. They were once friends.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

You don't need to feel bad because it is not true, Karl.

STEFANOVIC:

So Scott Morrison isn't going to the IMF and the G20 Finance Minister meetings because of the Budget, obviously he thinks that is more important and you're going instead, right?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

That's right, I’m heading off to the G20.

STEFANOVIC:

So Glenn Stevens says the high Aussie dollar could derail the economy, the debt keeps piling up and up and up, you are behind in the polls, the members of Cabinet are starting to say he is making too many captain's calls now. There is not a lot to like.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

It is just not true. There is a lot of media speculation. We are just focused on very steady…

STEFANOVIC:

With respect, that’s not media speculation they are the figures. That’s weak.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

What I'm talking about Karl, is that we are simply focussed on the job at hand which is governing and making those decisions that Australians expect us to make each and every day.

STEFANOVIC:

I put it to you that you may not necessarily be doing a great job of it given those polls.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

There are going to be polls every day up until Election Day and at the end of the day, the only poll that counts is the Election Day.

STEFANOVIC:

Malcolm did say there were polls on Tony Abbott that were bad and he was the one that brought attention to it.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

I'm really keen to talk to you about all of those things that we are doing at the moment, Karl. That's why I'm here on your program today. But if you want to talk to a commentator about polls, that is not me. I’m no poll expert.

STEFANOVIC:

Ok, I understand. What about everyone is saying that he should stop dithering. Do you think Malcolm is a bit of a ditherer?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

We have made a lot of announcements, I mean just last year for instance…

STEFANOVIC:

He just dithers a little bit.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

Let me finish. You want me to respond to your question. Last year, for instance...

STEFANOVIC:

I hope you're not dithering.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

We announced the multinational anti-avoidance laws which means that we have cracked down on loopholes that exist in our taxation system for multinational companies, that were ripping off the Australian taxpayer.

STEFANOVIC:

Good.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

They can't avoid laws…

STEFANOVIC:

That's a good thing.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

They can’t avoid paying tax now in this country because we have given the ATO more powers. We have increased the penalties on them. We’re now sharing more and more information internationally...

STEFANOVIC:

I've already said I think that's a good thing.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

The Labor Party opposed it. We did it, we didn’t just talk about it, we did it. We got on with it.

STEFANOVIC:

You did it. I understand. Now, but he does need to stop dithering though, doesn't he?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

That is one example. We have got Senate reform. Do you want me to go through all of them? I’m really happy to do that.

STEFANOVIC:

Do you think he dithers?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

No, I don't. Because we have been making announcements about the reforms that we need to make as a country to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future.

STEFANOVIC:

I want you to dither a bit here on this unclaimed money that's out there now.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

It's not dithering. It's important for people. There are people sitting at home, Karl, 1.3 million Australians who have got more than $1.2 billion in unclaimed money.

STEFANOVIC:

Where is it?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

It could have been in dormant bank accounts, insurance pay outs, investments that they haven't collected and there is even somebody in New South Wales who has got about $1.9 million lying around.

STEFANOVIC:

Wow. So say for example let's personalise it here on the Today Show because we love having you in, say for example there is Peter Fitzsimons who may or may not be the partner of Lisa Wilkinson here on the show.

LISA WILKINSON:

Now you have got my attention.

STEFANOVIC:

So if he had unclaimed money out there...

MINISTER O’DWYER:

He might have about $1,500 of unclaimed money, Lisa. I reckon you should get it.

WILKINSON:

Have you been in the files have you Kelly?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

No, you can look it up. It is so easy. ASICs money smart website. You can look it up – www.moneysmart.gov.au. You can type in your name, you can look up whether you are owed money, whether your friends are owed money and check it out and claim it.

STEFANOVIC:

Can your wife claim it on your behalf? There is two pairs of Jimmy Choos. Nice to see you, thank you very much for coming in today.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

Great to see you too Karl.

STEFANOVIC:

We will see you soon.

WILKINSON: 

I don't know if I have got time for the news Karl. I'm on line right now! Thank you very much.