Transcript: Interview with Tim Shaw, 2CC



SUBJECT/S: Malcolm Turnbull’s 15 per cent GST; Penalty Rates; Offshore Processing

TIM SHAW: Let’s go up to the hill because the Federal Parliament’s sitting this week – the House of Representatives and the Senate – and great to have on the program Senator Zed Seselja, ACT Liberal Senator and Gai Brodtmann who of course is the Member for Canberra. Gai, Zed, a very good morning to you both.


GAI BRODTMANN, FEDERAL MEMBER FOR CANBERRA: Good morning Tim, good morning Zed.

SHAW: Now we’ve got a little bit of noise on this line – so we’re going to battle though this. Zed the Premier of South Australia has said that we should have an increase in the GST, for the people of South Australia to be able to get the services that they want. Is the Premier of South Australia right? Should the GST be increased?

SESELJA: Ah, look, he’s he’s not right with his plan because I certainly wouldn’t want to see an increase in the GST that was simply used for more spending. If we were to go down the path of a GST I would want to see it used for tax cuts. I would want to see a genuine tax reform, the overall tax burden decreased and for me that would be the bottom line. Sure for many of my colleagues that if you do consider tinkering with the GST, but overall Australians pay less tax. So Jay Weatherill whilst he’s been constructive at least his been a part of the debate unlike Bill Shorten, I certainly don’t agree with his plan of just taxing Australians simply more so we can spend more.

SHAW: Gai, Mike Baird the Premier of New South Wales he agrees with Jay Weatherill. Do you agree with Mike Baird? Do you see that an increase in GST, as long as the programs that it’s being destined for is that good value for Australia and for New South Wales particularly in Mike’s case?

BRODTMANN: Well of course state leaders are under pressure to find more money because the Turnbull Liberals have cut $80 billion from schools and hospitals. But Tim, I mean you just have to look at the polls, repeated polls have shown that people don’t support an increase in the GST. And it’s not just the polls, it’s also the MPs who are representing those people. We hear reports today about a revolt in the Liberal Party backbench, the Coalition backbench. Reports that up to 50 per cent of MPs are opposed to a rising of GST –

SHAW: Yup –

BRODTMANN: And many of them marginal seat holders, so I think that if you just take it from Paul Keating in his article, which I’m not sure whether you’ve read –

SHAW: Yeah I was just going to bring that up Gai, have a listen to what Paul Keating said. This is what Paul Keating thinks about increases to GST.

PAUL KEATING: So you could take the GST from 10 to 11 say, to spend another 7 billion on hospitals. Provided that under the Commonwealth State health agreements, there was an agreement that the States would actually spend the money on health but at least then members of the public would feel perhaps not so bad about it.

SHAW: Is that what we need to do you Feds? That we have an incremental increase in GST and but it’s gotta be destined as Paul Keating’s saying. At least the punters can then sign on for it and say that 7 billion extra for hospitals thumbs up, Zed?

SESELJA: Ah, look no, but there’s another really important thing Paul Keating said in his article which is that spending has to be brought under control and that’s what the Coalition has been trying to do for the last few years, blocked at every turn by the Labor Party. Ah look you know, Gai Brodtmann talks about 80 billion in cuts – its absolute rubbish – we’re actually spending more and more on health and education. What we’ve said is on health and education is we can’t have unlimited growth in spending, what we will do is slow the growth in spending –

SHAW: Alright –

SESELJA: So that we can try and bring the budget back into surplus.

SHAW: Alright Gai Brodtmann –

SESELJA: Paul Keating said it and I agree.

SHAW: Alright Gai, I want to ask you a question. Small business, very important, backbone of Australia. We’ve got a new ombudsman, Kelly O’Dwyer’s announced Kate Carnell, former Chief Minister of the ACT as the small business ombudsman. Do we need a Small Business Ombudsman or is this just putting penalty rates in the crosshairs?

BRODTMANN: Well I had a small business before I entered politics Tim, I’m not sure whether you’re aware of that? I had one for ten years and I talk to small businesses all the time. I do a small business walk around and get a sense of the issues that concern them. Just on Kate, I was at Kelly O’Dwyer’s speech yesterday at the Press Club and I saw Kate there. Her appointment as Small Business Ombudsman has been very well received by the small business community. But on penalty rates, our view is that we believe that people should be compensated for working unsociable hours. That’s shift workers and people who are working on weekends and Saturdays and public holidays.

SHAW: Alright Zed, do you agree?

SESELJA: Well look I think Kate’s a great appointment – I really do I think – you know she’s a Canberran who’s made a great contribution here in Canberra but also nationally and she’s a great advocate for small business and you know we have had some wonderful policies that we have been putting in place for small businesses. Big tax cuts in the last budget, the tax write off, cutting red tape, you know now small business ombudsman, we are always looking for ways to improve outcomes for small business so I’m I’m certain that Kate Carnell will do a really sensational job and I’m certain too that the Coalition will continue to fight for small business.

SHAW: Alright – yes or no answer if we can – did the High Court get it right yesterday in the return of those asylum seekers now destined? Has the High Court got it right Gai Brodtmann?

BRODTMANN: Well I don’t know whether we can do a yes or no answer on it but I mean offshore processing has been instrumental in ending the deaths of many man, women and children at sea and it is an important policy that must maintained because there is nothing humane about letting people die at sea. That said, Labor strongly believes that people should not be allowed to languish indefinitely in detention with no hope of settling their claims. And the Government has to immediately secure proper third country settlement options for refugees and they’ve failed with Cambodia – I understand they’ve been in discussions with the Philippines – they’ve failed on so many fronts in terms of resettling options in third countries and also in terms of keeping these people safe and secure and properly cared for.

SHAW: Alright Zed Seslja.

SESELJA: Well the answer’s yes. And further to that you know I think that if you look at what we’ve achieved since coming to office. Not only have we completely stopped the boats, we’ve seen no one drown at sea, we’ve reduced the numbers in detention, the number of children in detention under Labor peaked at almost 2,000, its now almost under 100 and I’d like it to be zero. Our policies are working, we need to keep working to make sure, not only that their firm and strong and stop people drowning at sea but also that their as humane as possible and that’s what we’re doing.

SHAW: I want to thank you both so much, I apologies to our listeners for the quality of this telephone line, but Gai Brodtmann Federal Labor Member for Canberra thank you and Zed Seselja ACT Liberal Senator thank you.

SESELJA: Thanks very much guys.

BRODTMANN: Thank you Tim, thanks Zed.

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