Photo: AAP Image/Peter Rae
LAURA JAYES: To the Prime Minister now, he’s in Sydney at the Sydney Markets. Prime Minister, thank you for your time this morning. There’s a lot of happy small business people behind you no doubt, after your announcement yesterday.
PRIME MINISTER: There are!
JAYES: So I’m sorry to get to the technical aspects but it’s important. How will the small business tax cuts to be paid for and has this been modelled by Treasury, in terms of the overall economic benefit?
PRIME MINISTER: Well first of all it is being paid for over the medium term because we’re not proceeding with the tax cuts for large businesses. The measures kick in once the Budget is back in surplus and that’s in 2021. That’s when the tax rate falls to 26 per cent and then to 25 per cent the following year. So we’re in surplus then and we’re also not going ahead with those tax cuts for large businesses and that’s what enables the programme to be supported. I should stress, it’s not just the incorporated tax rate that comes down, the increase in the tax offset for unincorporated businesses, that doubles from 8 per cent to 16 per cent. So we’re supporting all of these small and family businesses.
The Liberal and National parties, we’re about supporting small businesses, family businesses, making sure that they get bigger. The Labor Party takes large businesses and tries to turn them into small businesses with their tax policies.
JAYES: As I said I’m sure you’ve had a wonderful reception there at the Sydney Markets this morning with this announcement. This is great to be campaigning in marginal seats. But the original corporate tax plan under Malcolm Turnbull, which involved big business as well, that delivered a 1 per cent growth in GDP over ten years. What does this revised plan do for the economy? Do you have modelling?
PRIME MINISTER: What it does is it enables every single small and family business and medium sized business in the country to invest more in their business. That’s what it does. I mean this is common sense economics. If you enable small and family businesses to not have to pay so much tax to the government, they can invest it in their employees, in growing their business, invest it in new equipment and that’s what has been growing the economy. That’s what our tax plans are already delivering. That’s how over 100,000 young people got a job in the last financial year, the strongest growth in youth employment in Australia’s economic history. And it’s all being done by businesses around the country, but particularly by small and medium-sized family businesses like the hundreds that are out here.
KIERAN GILBERT: So Prime Minister you’ve got the plan for small and medium sized business. What’s the plan now, what’s your idea now to make our larger businesses internationally competitive?
PRIME MINISTER: Well, talk about our $75 billion infrastructure plan, the Defence Industry recruitment plan, the medical industry plan, these are just three plans we’ve outlined in the last few Budgets. All of these things are creating the right environment for investment. We’re going to get energy prices down, that’s already turned the corner with the reliability guarantee that is continuing to go through the states process as we speak, by ensuring we’ve got the right investment environment for investing in reliable power around the country. Also supporting small and family businesses, again by ensuring that their electricity bills would be between $500 and $1,500 better off as a result of the measures we’re pursuing out of the ACCC report. So lower electricity prices, investing in those industries that are helping us transition, particularly out of some of the things like the car industry and others which as we know we’ve transitioned out of and we’ve got new industries and new sectors soaking up those jobs. You can see it happening Kieran because more than 1 million job have been created under our Government over the last five years under these plans.
GILBERT: Mr Morrison, but if you’re a CEO of a multinational, you’ve got 200 or 300 million dollars to invest, do you invest here, or do you invest in the US or the UK where their corporate rate is 21 per cent and 19 per cent respectively?
PRIME MINISTER: Well you invest here because of not only the investment that we’re making in our infrastructure around the country, but the strong economic management that is being provided by the Government. It has added to the fact that we’ve now had 27 years of consecutive economic growth in Australia. I mean Australia’s economy is resilient, it’s well-positioned because of our trade agreements, not just with China but with the United States and all throughout the region. We’ve had a pro-trade, open access market environment in this country. We’ve got a pro-investment policy environment for foreign investment in Australia which encourages it. We’ve got the most liberal arrangements of anywhere in this part of the world.
So people who come to invest in Australia are getting their money back because of the strength of our economy and we have to keep our economy strong. Labor’s plan for higher taxes, over $200 billion in higher taxes will suffocate our economy. We’re liberating our economy from those taxes, both on personal income tax which we’ve already legislated to cut - and Labor wants to cut that personal income tax plan in half. We’re lowering taxes for small and medium sized businesses that employ half of the people who go to work every day in this country, including those who get up early to come to work here and frankly, you guys get up early yourselves.
JAYES: We certainly do.
GILBERT: Sure do.
JAYES: 3 am actually. Now Prime Minister back in 2016 when you were Treasurer – it may seem like a long time ago now - but you were considering broadening the base or increasing the rate of the GST. You had support there from people like now Cabinet Minister Dan Tehan. Can you rule out broadening the base or raising the rate of the GST in the next term? Will you rule that out?
PRIME MINISTER: Yeah, we’re not doing that.
JAYES: Okay, so you rule it out, it’s not going to happen at all in the next term?
PRIME MINISTER: No, I mean if you were to do something like that, you’d have to take it to an election. That’s not what we’re doing.
PRIME MINISTER: That’s what we said at the last election. I mean, you know, if anything I’m pretty up front. I think I’m pretty clear about things and you know, if we wanted to do something like that, we’d take it to the Australian people and we don’t plan to do that, no.
GILBERT: Obviously one of your achievements as Immigration Minister was to get some control over the boat arrivals. We know that and it’s something you’re proud of, but does it frustrate you that we see another report, this one from Médecins Sans Frontières that it’s absolutely devastating the mental state of some of the asylum seekers still on Nauru five years on? Does it frustrate you that the Government hasn’t been able to resettle all of these individuals?
PRIME MINISTER: Well I think we’ve made a lot of progress on that, but it’s a very difficult job and as you know, the people are living in the community on Nauru these days and the medical support is there. Where there are medical cases that require further attention, then we put those arrangements in place. We don’t go around making a big song and dance about it, we just get on and help people and provide the care that is necessary. The Government will continue to do that, but you’re right, yes it’s five years on and we’re still dealing with the legacies of Labor’s border protection failures. I mean Bill Shorten runs around saying “trust me,” you know, “I’ll keep our borders strong.” Well, that’s what Kevin Rudd said. I mean you just can’t trust Labor on border protection. You can trust our government on that because we have got the runs on the board. You know, we came up with the policies to actually stop the boats. We did do it and you just cannot take it for granted. I’d urge people not to take it for granted, because it turns pear-shaped really quickly when Labor gets in, whether it’s on the borders or whether it’s on the Budget.
GILBERT: One final question, on a very different note, a lighter note in fact. You’re going to be hosting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex next week and they’re making their visit to Australia. I’m just wondering, I don’t think you’ve ever been asked before, are you a republican or a constitutional monarchist?
PRIME MINISTER: I’m a constitutional monarchist, so the picture of the Queen is back up in the PM’s office. It was one of the things Malcolm and I disagreed on, but look, I respect all Australians view on this. It’s not something I go around beating my chest about. It’s just I think I’ve got a lot of respect for the constitutional monarchy and if it ain’t broke, I don’t see the need to fix it.
JAYES: I like it.
PRIME MINISTER: But I respect all Australian’s views on that and I’m looking forward to seeing them. I’m going for a bridge climb with the prince so I recon he’ll get up there a bit quicker than I will.
GILBERT: Yeah I think he might, no offence.
PRIME MINISTER: You’ll see me puffing and panting at the top, it won’t be a good look Keiran.
JAYES: Prime Minister it’s a bit disappointing not to see you in the Shire this morning, why is the Shire God’s country do you think? I’ve got to get that last question in to you.
PRIME MINISTER: Well I’m missing it very much as you know. We’ve had to move house under these new arrangements but I am missing the Shire. I’m missing Cronulla more and there are a lot of people from the Shire here I can tell you, at Sydney Markets.
PRIME MINISTER: But the thing I always love about my community is it’s such a hard-working, self-made community. A lot of small and family businesses there, it really is and it’s just got a great sense of identity about itself as you know. So to all of my friends down in the Shire, I miss you guys. I get back as often as I can and you know, it’s a great part of the country. But what I’m learning - and what I’ve always known I suppose – but as Prime Minister, getting all the way around the country as you’ve seen and I really appreciate just the feedback and the stories Australians are telling me direct. It’s the best part of the job, Australians just come and share stories with you. They share their heartbreaks and they share their joys as well. That is, I find, a real shot in the arm and it’s a great inspiration to just get on and get the job done.
JAYES: Prime Minister, thank you.
GILBERT: Prime Minister, thank you for your time, we’ll talk to you soon. Prime Minister Scott Morrison there at Sydney Markets.