Transcript – AM Agenda with Kieren Gilbert – Sky News

Topics: refugee resettlement deal, change to GST, corporate tax cuts

 

E&OE

 

KIEREN GILBERT:

[Long intro on policies around resettlement of refugees excluded]

What’s going on with this?

 

SENATOR SCOTT RYAN:

The Foreign Minister explained there exactly what’s going on. The important point here Kieren, and what the public is interested in, is us cleaning up Labor’s mess. That’s what we’ve done, that’s what Peter’s done. He has maintained our incredibly strong border protection policies, there are no unlawful arrivals, and we’re emptying Manus and Nauru, which Labor filled. That’s what the public are interested in and that’s what the Government is interested in. Julie Bishop there explained exactly the terms of the arrangements we have in various places.

 

GILBERT:

That’s a good way to try and spin it, but there’s been nothing but confusion this week. Not a lot of clarity – you’ve got one minister saying we’re going to hold up our support of this Costa Rican arrangement that Mr Turnbull signed in September last year, another coming on this morning and saying that’s not my understanding of this agreement.

 

SENATOR RYAN:

At all times, the Government has made clear that there is no link between the two agreements.

 

GILBERT:

Not at all times. That’s not right.

 

SENATOR RYAN:

In the interview that Peter had the other night, he even said this wasn’t a people swap and he did make that clear again yesterday morning.

 

GILBERT:

At all times? That’s a bit rich isn’t it? Given what Mr Dutton said: we’re not going to take yours, unless you take ours. That seems, from most assessments, a link.

 

SENATOR RYAN:

But he clarified that yesterday morning, in the same interview you referred to, he made it clear it wasn’t a people swap, it’s not a term he’d use.

The point here Kieren, is the outcome. The outcome is that we’re maintaining our own border security, we’re maintaining control over who comes to Australia and we’re cleaning up Labor’s mess and we’re emptying Nauru and Manus as quickly as we can. That is the focus of the Government.

 

GILBERT:

It just shows the Government can stuff up even its strong suit.

 

SENATOR RYAN:

The real outcome here is the policy. An interview here or there, the Government has made clear at all points there is no link between the two arrangements.

Peter Dutton even said it wasn’t a people swap. He said that yesterday and he said that the night before and the Government is focussed on the policy outcome. That’s important, that’s what Australians are worried about. That’s what they want to see from the Government.

 

GILBERT:

Sure, but it also helps if there is a bit of clarity, because the interview we’ve been talking about with Andrew Bolt, Mr Dutton said, ‘if people want to call it a people swap, I’m happy with that characterisation’.

 

SENATOR RYAN:

But he also said that he didn’t think it was. The fact that both countries retain control over who gets access to their respective refugee programs under the separate agreements, confirms that it can’t be characterised that way at all.

 

GILBERT:

Let’s move on, I want to ask you about Ken Henry’s comments. He is going to be speaking at the CEDA conference here in Canberra today, calling for a higher GST and company tax cuts and no compensation. Is that doable? It doesn’t sound it.

 

SENATOR RYAN:

We took a policy for the last election with a corporate tax plan over 10 years. It reflects what Ken Henry said in his report to Wayne Swan; that when you cut corporate taxes, you get more investment, you get more jobs and you get better wages for workers. That is a policy that Bill Shorten himself held.

I don’t agree with everything in the report today that Ken Henry said, but when it comes to the issue about supporting business investment, which supports jobs and higher wages, he is in lockstep with what the Government is trying to do and it is the Labor Party that he provided this same advice to. The Labor Party, who at one point agreed with that advice, including Bill Shorten personally, but now, for entirely opportunistic reasons, is running around trying to say this doesn’t matter. All the evidence says otherwise, Ken Henry said otherwise.

 

GILBERT:

And you’d welcome the fact that he is also encouraging other business leaders to engage in the public policy debate?

 

SENATOR RYAN:

I think the more voices in public policy debate, the better – and particularly the more voices from people who have good relationships with their employees, the more voices from people who undertake investment – to remind those who oppose it, particularly the Greens and Labor. We need to keep Australia competitive, we are a capital importing business and always have been. Our corporate tax rate is much less competitive than it was before, we are particularly uncompetitive in our region and if we want to support the investment that is going to continue job growth, and most importantly as well, continue wage growth, then we need to have a competitive corporate tax regime. We have a 10-year plan to do that so it is not a quick shot to the economy, it’s to give business that certainty that Ken Henry also talks about.

 

GILBERT:

Finally, Labor’s spokesman on treasury matters Chris Bowen has shot down speculation that they might look at a ‘Buffett rule’, as it’s called, on tax policy for high income earners, setting a minimum amount of tax that those earning upwards of $300,000 per annum should pay. You’d welcome that from Mr Bowen and the leadership of the parliamentary Labor Party?

 

SENATOR RYAN:

I think it was Peter Whish-Wilson that said yesterday that the Labor Party was trying to out-green the Greens. All that we need now is for Bill Shorten to come out and say ‘there will be no tax increases under a government I lead’ and the circle is complete. What we’ve got here is, within the Labor Party, a battle for extremists who want to increase the tax burden on Australians – and don’t have any doubt, when they say they’re going to go after high income earners, they will go after middle incomes because that’s where revenue is in Australia. Chris Bowen can slap them down all he wants, but we know that the left is pushing a higher tax agenda and we know that’s reflected in the policies Chris Bowen, himself, took to the last election.

 

GILBERT:

Special Minister of State, Scott Ryan, thank you.

 

[ENDS]

 

Author: senatorryan

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