E&OE - PROOF ONLY
GEORGIE GARDNER: There is big news for beer drinkers this morning who are no doubt raising a glass to Treasurer Scott Morrison. He has announced a tax cut in next week’s Budget that will bring down the price of craft ale. It’s just one of a range of populist measures he is planning and joining me now is Christopher Pyne and in Adelaide Penny Wong. Good morning to you both.
Christopher to you first. Cheap beer makes a great headline but is it what we really need?
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: It is a good idea because why should the craft beer makers be charged more just because they have smaller vats and kegs? It has fixed an anomaly that should have been done a while ago. And of course it will be popular with craft beer drinkers and there is a lot more of them than there used to be because there is only one Australian major beer producer and that is of course in Penny’s and my home state, Coopers.
GARDNER: Of course it is an Anthony Albanese idea. Are you going to steal any more of his ideas?
PYNE: Anthony likes to take credit for everything. I think he is trying to take credit for the Sphinx and the pyramids as well when he was Infrastructure Minister. But he can’t claim to be the first person to think of charging craft beer producers the same as everyone else.
GARDNER: Penny, you can’t argue against cheap beer though.
SENATOR PENNY WONG, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE: I think it is a good idea and it is Albo’s idea. He is your mate Christopher. You should say “Good on you Albo” it’s such a good idea we picked it up.
PYNE: He’s a good man, but we’re happy to have you this morning Penny. Much better looking.
WONG: Oh come on. Flattery, first thing in the morning Christopher.
GARDNER: Penny, the Budget leaks keep coming and tax breaks to entice more Hollywood movie makers to come to Australia. That is hard to argue against?
WONG: We want to see what the Budget contains. The best thing the Budget could do is not cut $17 billion to schools and instead of giving the banks a $17 billion tax cut how about we give our schools a bit more money and stop the cuts to Medicare? I think those are the things that the Australian people would really welcome in the Budget. But we do welcome the change on the beer tax. As I said, it’s something that Labor and Albo and others have been arguing for for a long time.
GARDNER: We have been talked a lot about aged care on the show. It matters to so many people. We know that an estimated 100,000 people are currently waiting for assistance. They want care in their own homes. They don’t want to go to these facilities. What are we going to see in the Budget that helps those people?
PYNE: The first thing we have already announced Georgie is that we are bringing together the three different agencies that manage aged care in Australia into one national organisation. I think that is a good idea, where compliance and regulation are altogether in the same agency.
Of course this is a very difficult issue. Nobody really likes to see their loved ones, their parents, or grandparents going into aged care. A lot of the homes are very, very good. Both my mother-in-law and my mother are in aged care and they are excellent facilities. Every now and then you do get a bad outcome, a rogue trader if you like, and those people need to have the book thrown at them in the same as anyone who breaks the law needs to have that happen.
GARDNER: But I am talking about people who want to stay in their own homes, who don’t want to go to a facility. What are you doing for them?
PYNE: We have a lot of programs for people who want to stay in their own homes because it’s actually a lot cheaper for the Australian taxpayer and for Australians if people stay in their own home for longer. That is why we have a whole lot of programs to keep people in their own homes, run by local councils on behalf of the Australian Government and we continue to expand those. They are called Home and Community Care packages.
GARDNER: It is a big issue Penny isn’t it?
WONG: It really is and there aren’t enough Home and Community Care packages. That is the reality and certainly as a Senator that is what people tell me. They want more support to stay in their homes for their parents or obviously for the individuals themselves. I hope in this Budget the Government does actually respond to this demand in the community because frankly, there’s a lot of people who need more support to stay out of residential care and they are not getting it.
GARDNER: Alright, let’s move on. Labor has announced they are committed to ending live sheep exports. The PM has condemned the decision, calling it emotional and reckless. Penny, the findings of the review into live exports are due out in about two weeks, why not wait for the findings?
WONG: I think that Joel Fitzgibbon chatted to Ben about this and said we are not announcing it immediately. We are not in government. What we have said is this is what a number of people in the industry even have said which is that we need to transition out of this industry.
GARDNER: Does that mean stopping live exports altogether?
WONG: Yes. It means over time transitioning out of the industry. Ending this and going to chilled meat exports rather than having a situation where we continue to see the problems in the industry which have been around for a long time. Let’s remember, I think it was in 2006 even John Howard had to suspend the trade. I think that the public and the industry know that are problems so we do need to work on a plan to transition out of it. We do that with industry as Joel explained.
PYNE: Well Georgie this is just another example of Labor making policy on the run. They said two weeks ago they would wait for the McCarthy Review. That was a sensible decision. That was bipartisan. We all want this trade to be either conducted properly or not at all and if there is a rogue trader in live exports they need to have the book thrown at them as well.
WONG: Well why did you remove the regulator?
PYNE: Labor of course are just being populist. They think this will make them popular in the short time. It is a good example of why they shouldn’t be in government.
WONG: Oh Christopher.
PYNE: You need a calm, methodical approach to government, not this jumping around knee jerk approach. There are thousands of Australians that get their livelihoods from live exports and they need to be thought of as well as the welfare of the sheep and cattle who are part of it.
WONG: Can I just respond to that? First, you have even got Liberals calling for an end to the trade. Sussan Ley, one of your own members of your party room has called for an end of the trade.
WONG: You have looked pretty calm and methodical over the last six months mate. How many tax policies have you announced?
PYNE: We are doing pretty well.
WONG: Barnaby Joyce, speaking of calm and methodical, removed the independent inspector.
PYNE: Now you are just getting nasty.
WONG: I am not getting nasty. I leave that to you Christopher. The Inspector-General of Animal Welfare, the independent oversight, was one of the things he removed when you came to government. Well, you are paying the price for it now. The reality is it is better for the economy long-term. Of course we will work with the industry to ensure it is supported.
PYNE: It’s like with asylum seekers. Labor wants to bring the people smugglers back.
WONG: Oh settle down Christopher.
GARDNER: Oh let’s not start another issue. Regrettably we are out of time. Penny it has been lovely to have you on this morning. Come back soon.
PYNE: What about Anthony?
GARDNER: We love Anthony as well.
PYNE: We love having Penny on.
WONG: I don’t mind that you love Anthony more. I can cope with that.
PYNE: I love you both equally.
WONG: Even people on the set are laughing.
PYNE: They know it is true.
GARDNER: Enjoy a craft beer over the weekend. Thank you both very much.
Authorised by Noah Carroll ALP Canberra.