Television interview with David Koch – Sunrise, Seven Network

Transcript
22 Nov 2017
Prime Minister
E&OE

DAVID KOCH:

Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull joins me now, good morning. Now you need this like a hole in the head, what do you say to Tony Abbott? How do you answer his criticism that you’ve just got to show up?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well the thing we’ve also got to do is to deliver on our commitment to the Australian people, to legislate to legalise same-sex marriage before Christmas. All we’re doing is moving the two sitting weeks that were scheduled to begin on 27 November forward a week to begin on 4 December, so that the House will be there when the Senate delivers the same sex marriage Bill.

DAVID KOCH:

Yep.

PRIME MINISTER:

That will not have completed before the end of the previous week, so this is just good housekeeping Kochie. It’s all about honouring and respecting the commitment of the Australian people.

DAVID KOCH:

Sure but you can do more things than one in Parliament. They can be debating it in the Upper House and you can be getting on in the Lower House with a whole lot of other Bills you’ve got to pass.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well Kochie, we’ve got two big priorities to deal with in the House of Representatives before the end of the year. They are firstly, to legalise same-sex marriage in accordance with the direction we have from the Australian people. Secondly, we’ve got to deal with the citizenship issue. As you know, we have two of our members out of the House of Representatives because of dual citizenship issues and by-elections going on. There is a growing raft of Labor members who were clearly ineligible but have not yet fronted up. They’re likely to be referred to the High Court. So what we’ve got to do is get all of the facts out on the table which will happen over the next few weeks and then decide who to refer.

DAVID KOCH:

And are you really doing this to avoid a debate on a potential banking inquiry, a royal commission?

PRIME MINISTER:

Kochie, a debate on that matter can be raised at any time. My commitment is to deliver on the instructions the Australian people have given us on same-sex marriage and do it before Christmas.

It may be that some people do not want to do that. I believe we have a solemn duty to respect that decision and that is what we’re going to do.

DAVID KOCH:

Has the Cabinet considered a banking royal commission?

PRIME MINISTER:

Kochie, look I’m not going to go into what Cabinet talks about.

DAVID KOCH:

Just ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

PRIME MINISTER:

I am not going to go in to what Cabinet discusses. I can tell you that we as a Government, we have decided not to have a royal commission. We made the decision along time ago, not because we don't believe there is nothing going on in terms of problems with the banks, it’s because we want to take action right now and we are. We are taking action right now to ensure that people get their complaints resolved, they get more accountability, we’ve got tough cops on the beat. We’re dealing with issues with banks right now, greater accountability as you know.

DAVID KOCH:

So no royal commission, no matter when? No royal commission on the cards?

PRIME MINISTER:

A royal commission would simply be an inquiry. Take a long time, cost a lot of money and make recommendations which would no doubt be to do precisely what we’re already doing.

DAVID KOCH:

Are you losing control of the Party? There are reports of backbench defections because of this postponement? Do you regret postponing it if you had your time again?

PRIME MINISTER:

Kochie, no names. This is gossip. We are in an age of social media, Twittersphere gossip, speculation gossip, Australians are sick of it. They fascinate people in the media, they bore Australians to death.

DAVID KOCH:

Okay.

PRIME MINISTER:

What they want me to talk about is lower taxes, they want to know there’s going to be more money in their pocket. That’s the very clear division -

DAVID KOCH:

Okay, where did the lower taxes come from? Where did lower taxes come? Because we’re trying to get the Budget back into surplus -

PRIME MINISTER:

It’s in the DNA of the Liberal Party!

DAVID KOCH:

No, no, we’re trying to get the Budget back into the surplus and doing it hard, we’re putting the Medicare levy up. So is this just to offset the Medicare increase? Where did this come from?

PRIME MINISTER:

Kochie we are always focused on putting more money into the pockets of hard-working Australian families. There is a very clear set of priorities here; our next priority in terms of tax is to lower middle income tax rates.

We believe Australians are paying too much tax. You know what the Labor Party believes? They believe they are not paying enough tax. So Labor wants to put taxes up, we’re bringing them down.

DAVID KOCH:

Okay but is it more important than getting the Budget into surplus? Is that more important than getting the Budget into surplus?

PRIME MINISTER:

You’ve got to do both Kochie. You’ve got to do two things at the same time, sometimes three or four and what we’ve already demonstrated is that we are bringing the Budget back into balance. We’ve reduced business taxes on small and medium businesses and we have provided tax relief already for middle income families. We want to do more, so you’ve to be able to do more than one thing.

Labor, believe me Kochie, they want to put taxes up. They’ve said they will on small to medium businesses, on personal income, on trusts. Well, that’s what people are concerned about. They want to know that there are more jobs and more opportunities and more money in their pocket and they know that’s my priority and Bill Shorten's priority is to reach into their pockets and take money out. That’s the difference.

DAVID KOCH:

Prime Minister, appreciate your time.

[ENDS]