30 October 2015
Transcript - #2015062, 2015

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

Interview with Karl Stefanovic, Today Show

SUBJECTS: Federal election, Labor leadership, tax reform, Melbourne Cup.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

A pretty bad week for Bill Shorten, things have gone from bad to worse for him in the polls with the Labor leader plummeting to his lowest ever rating. Will the axe fall on him for the next election. When will that election be? Joining me is Assistant Treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer and Shadow Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese. Will I start with Anthony next?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

Please.

STEFANOVIC:

What is going on?

ANTHONY ALBANESE:

Over what in particular, the racing carnival?

STEFANOVIC:

Anything to get away from it.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

Nice try, nice try.

ALBANESE:

You have flowers and all.

STEFANOVIC:

I know. When are you going to move on Bill Shorten?

ALBANESE:

That's not going to happen. We went through a process of electing Bill as the leader. We're going through what you would expect to happen after a leadership change on the other side. Malcolm Turnbull is having a strong period and it's not surprising because the whole country, including Kelly and others, are breathing a sigh of relief that Tony Abbott is gone across the other side of the world.

STEFANOVIC:

The thing is if they go to an election you won't win at the moment.

ALBANESE:

We're not going...

STEFANOVIC:

You will get smashed.

ALBANESE:

We are not going to an election this week. What Malcolm Turnbull has to do, and the big challenge is twofold, one is to unite his team, it is clear that there is still the Tony Abbott supporters are very raw about what happened to him, and knocking off a first term elected Prime Minister, and secondly, he has got to match his rhetoric with policy. Here in Melbourne where a billion and a half dollars has been sitting in a bank account not being able to be used for infrastructure, finally this week the Government that is acceded to Labor's call to put that into projects, to build the Melbourne metro, get that money creating jobs and building infrastructure.

STEFANOVIC:

Kelly, when are you going to an election? You may as well go sooner rather than later.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

Well that’s interesting, just picking up on what Anthony said I didn't hear him say he’s not going to be running for the leadership of the Labor Party. I think it’s pretty clear…

STEFANOVIC:

Well he's more popular.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

He is the choice of the Labor members.

ALBANESE:

I did say that. I say it every week on the show, Kelly you should tune in.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

No, you haven’t - so you’re ruling it out forever and a day, you're never run running for the Labor leadership?

ALBANESE:

Bill Shorten will lead us to the next election.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

See you’re not ruling it out.

ALBANESE:

So basically in 2050 maybe when I'm sitting there...

MINISTER O’DWYER:

You can be tricky about it; the truth is the Labor Party is incredibly divided as it has been for many, many years. We know that Anthony is the person that most Labor members would actually like to see as leader.

STEFANOVIC:

That's true.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

You are the People's Choice, that is probably why you will be backing Preferment for the Melbourne Cup.

STEFANOVIC:

Kelly, you can't back him so publicly, it is humiliating for him to be so popular.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

I won’t say he is as popular, I think he is more popular than Bill Shorten.

STEFANOVIC:

He is very, very popular. When are you going to an election?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

We have a lot of work to do before we go to an election, we're in no rush. We are going to serve our term.

STEFANOVIC:

April?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

We are going to be serving our term. We have got another 12 months to run.

STEFANOVIC:

So you are going to confirm for us this morning on the Today Show you'll go another 12 months?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

It is not my decision; it is the decision of the Prime Minister. I know that he is absolutely focused not on the election, not on whether or not the Liberal Party wins, but on doing the job that we need to do for the Australian people.

STEFANOVIC:

He will go before a tough budget though won't he?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

We are working very hard today to actually deliver a very sound and sensible budget. You only need to go back to the budget...

STEFANOVIC:

It has got to be tough love though.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

Well you only need to go back to the budget we delivered only a number of months ago...

STEFANOVIC:

You have wound back almost everything on it.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

Let me finish, Karl, a $5.5 billion jobs and growth package, which is with my ministry for small business which is the biggest boost, the most historic boost for small business we have ever seen. A 1.5 per cent tax cut for small business, a $20 000 instant asset right-off, for those businesses that are setting up an immediate deduction of all of the professional expenses that go into setting up a business - huge boost for small business. For those who are unincorporated a 5 per cent deduction for those people who are in unincorporated businesses.

STEFANOVIC:

When are you lifting GST?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

I love the scare campaign that Labor is actually running on this...

STEFANOVIC:

No, no I am just asking personally.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

We are talking about serious tax reform. We are not talking about raising taxes. A lot of people when we talk about changing taxes think that we are simply talking about raising taxes. That is not what the Government is looking at. We are looking at whether or not our taxes are now currently fit for purpose. Whether it is harming our competitiveness as a nation, whether it is actually rewarding people for their effort that they are putting in or whether it is actually penalising them, we are looking at the full tax mix.

STEFANOVIC:

When do you think they will go to an election?

ALBANESE:

Well I think March 19th is a possible date.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

Is that what you are campaigning for?

ALBANESE:

It is possible they will go before the redistribution in New South Wales, which has been bad for the Liberal Party as finalised. That would be a DD. The problem they have got is having a budget. At the moment Malcolm is going around saying all things to all people. The small business package was so good they sacked the small business minister a few weeks ago. This is a government every time it has brought down a budget; it's dived in the polls and they might well want to avoid that scrutiny.

STEFANOVIC:

When is your best guess for when they go to an election?

ALBANESE:

I think March 19.

STEFANOVIC:

Anything to say?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

All I’d say to that is I'm not so sure that he is tuned into the Prime Minister's thinking…

STEFANOVIC:

You’re not ruling it out though.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

We are going to be having a full term, we have lots to do.

ALBANESE:

Malcolm might have to make a tough decision if they go a full term.

STEFANOVIC:

Well he’s got to make one at some point you would have to think. Let's look at the Melbourne Cup, the race that stops the nation. There’s a couple of, obviously, horses that we need to look at here, what do you think, who will win?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

I'm a sentimentalist so I am going to be backing High Midnight, which is a Cummings horse, Bart Cumming’s grandson James, it is his horse. It would pay out big if it wins but…

STEFANOVIC:

You might be able to pay off the debt.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

I'm a sentimentalist. My colleague Christopher Pyne he probably would be backing Fame Game if he was here.

STEFANOVIC:

I'm not sure Pyne is across the horses, is he?

ALBANESE:

No, sport and Pyne don't mix.

STEFANOVIC:

Who do you like?

ALBANESE:

I'm a punter, I'm one of those Melbourne Cup once a year punters, I actually have to look and see the colour of a horse, because I always like the grey horses, I have no idea why, sentiment that’s all, there is no logic to it.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

How that's that gone for you?

ALBANESE:

It’s gone ok actually; the greys have won a couple of times in the last decade.

STEFANOVIC:

You have forgotten the name of your horse that you’re tipping, haven’t you?

ALBANESE:

Bondi Beach.

STEFANOVIC:

Oh there you go.

ALBANESE:

Of course. I reckon an Irish horse called Bondi Beach has got to have something going for it.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

This is Labor logic.

STEFANOVIC:

Nice to see you all, have a great Derby day.