SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE

SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADE AND INVESTMENT

SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

TRANSCRIPT

3 June 2016

TODAY SHOW WITH KARL STEFANOVIC AND LISA WILKINSON

TOPICS: ANTHONY ALBANESE, SUPERANNUATION, THE GOVERNMENT'S $50 BILLION TAX CUT TO BIG BUSINESS

E&OE - PROOF ONLY

KARL STEFANOVIC: Superannuation has dominated the election campaign this week. I am joined by Christopher Pyne and our special guest in her state of South Australia, Labor Senator Penny Wong. A big round of applause folks for these two.

SENATOR PENNY WONG, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE: Good morning.

STEFANOVIC: The only politicians getting round of applause this week.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: I notice that Penny Wong got a much more generous introduction than I did.

WONG: Don’t take it personally.

STEFANOVIC: Christopher Pyne everyone.

PYNE: Hang on, no, from you, the special guest Penny Wong. What I am chopped liver?

WONG: He said that it’s unusual for me to be here, okay. It’s not all about you.

STEFANOVIC: Exactly.

PYNE: Of course it’s all about me, you have always known that.

STEFANOVIC: What are you doing about superannuation, are you rolling over on that?

PYNE: No, we believe our changes are very fair, Karl. You see, what we are asking people to do, is on incomes over $1.6 million in assets, on that income we are asking them to pay 15 per cent tax, which is less than a person who is stacking the shelves in Coles and Woolworths pays in tax right now. That is a fair policy, which means we can bring back the low income superannuation tax off set, so that people on low incomes get a boost in their super. So this is a fairness measure and there is absolutely no reason why we should change it.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, you flipped on negative gearing, you flipped on GST, are you going to flip on this?

PYNE: We were never in favour of Labor’s policy on negative gearing. I never supported an increase in the Goods and Services Tax–

STEFANOVIC: -You are guaranteeing that you are going to do this though.

PYNE: Absolutely we are. We are guaranteeing–

STEFANOVIC: -You’re sure you don’t need to go to a meeting?

PYNE: No, it’s been to a meeting, it went to the meeting the night of the budget. These are fair measures that affect less than four per cent of people on superannuation.

STEFANOVIC: Your own members in your own party don’t like it.

PYNE: Yes, they do.

WONG: Come on Chris.

PYNE: No, the only division in this election is about boarder protection and it’s all on the Labor side.

STEFANOVIC: You know members in your own party don’t like this change.

PYNE: Look, I am not getting that feedback at all, especially once I explain to people what the changes mean. Now, with four per cent of people on high incomes being affected, 96 per cent–

STEFANOVIC: -You’re not trying to sell it to me.

PYNE: Clearly I do, because you are asking me. But the only division in this election is about Labor’s division on border protection.

WONG: That was a good pivot, wasn’t it?

PYNE: Penny is particularly conflicted on this one.

WONG: It is interesting, isn’t it? Christopher is in this trying to suggest that the chaos that we have all seen is somehow part of the plan. It’s clearly not part of the plan. He clearly can’t even convince his own party members of it. And the fairness measure he’s described, he actually spent three years trying to abolish. So, the low income super offset–

PYNE: -But Labor supports the super changes.

WONG: It is actually our policy, you spent three years trying to abolish.

PYNE: So we’ve taken their policy, apparently.

WONG: If you can’t convince your own party, it’s a bit hard to convince the voters.

PYNE: Well, I’m convinced. Karl’s convinced. Malcolm’s convinced.

WONG: You’re convincing yourself in the mirror.

STEFANOVIC: Let’s talk about Bill Shorten. Now, we have dug up a grab from him in 2011, where he supported cuts to company taxes. Let’s take a look at that.

SHORTEN: Cutting the company income tax rate increases the domestic productivity and domestic investment. More capital means higher productivity and economic growth and leads to more jobs and higher wages.

STEFANOVIC: Change of heart, Penny?

WONG: Look, the point here is priorities and choices. Where the budget is, we know the budget’s under pressure, you’ve got to make a decision about where is the best place to spend money. We just think we’d rather be putting money into Australia’s schools, into protecting Medicare, so that we don’t get a GP tax by stealth, than a $50 billion tax break for businesses earning up to $1 billion, most of which, a great amount of that benefit will go to foreign investors.

STEFANOVIC: That looks bad, though, doesn’t it?

WONG: No, I think in a world where you had a different set of choices, where the budget wasn’t under pressure, where your school were funded and Medicare was protected, you didn’t have GP tax by stealth, which is what Christopher’s policy is.

STEFANOVIC: Don’t you cut taxes to increase growth?

WONG: I think you also invest in your people and the Reserve Bank Governor a couple of years ago made clear one of the most important investments we can make is in our people. That is why parents care so much about their children’s education. We should care about it more as an economy.

STEFANOVIC: Christopher?

PYNE: Well Karl, it’s just completely exploded Bill Shorten’s credibility on the economy.

WONG: Oh, come on.

PYNE: In 2011 he recognised that cutting company tax grew jobs and growth and in 2016 for base political reasons he is saying that the company tax rate is a disaster.

WONG: I don’t think schools are a base political reason.

PYNE: Because he’s trying to buy the election.

WONG: Oh, come on.

PYNE: So therefore he is throwing money at every single interest group, where the reality is we all know that if we cut the company tax rate it’ll mean jobs, it’ll mean growth, it’ll mean lower unemployment and Bill Shorten admitted that only five years ago.

WONG: Two points, actually even your own modelling shows that the impact on jobs is marginal over the long- term. But the second thing is, the interest group you’re talking about, that you say we are throwing money at, happens to be every school kid in Australia and every parent in Australia.

PYNE: It is $165 billion of new spending and $100 billion-

STEFANOVIC: -One final question because Anthony Albanese sent me a text saying that are you cheating on him.

PYNE: He must be missing us.

STEFANOVIC: Are you cheating on him?

PYNE: Well, Penny and I have known each other a very long time, even longer than I’ve known Anthony.

STEFANOVIC: You told people to vote for her this week instead of Nick Xenophon.

PYNE: At university we knew each other, so we go back a long way.

WONG: The secrets I know about Christopher Pyne, I tell you.

PYNE: Please don’t start me on Penny Wong. Don’t start me.

STEFANOVIC: Lovely to see you both, have a good week.

PYNE: Thanks for having us.

ENDS