21 January 2019
Transcript - #2019006, 2019

Interview with Ross Greenwood, Today Show, Channel 9

Subjects: Economy; budget; Labor’s housing tax, and women in politics.

ROSS GREENWOOD:

Josh, just first up, let's go to the economy and all of that type of thing. The Prime Minister here, last week, said there were economic headwinds. Does this mean that your ability to get the budget back into surplus, you will have a budget in April, of course, is that diminished by those economic headwinds that the Prime Minister is talking about? 

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

We will be delivering the first budget surplus in over a decade on April the 2nd. We have seen a record number of women in the workforce, we have seen a record number of young people get a job over the past year. And so, the fundamentals of the economy are strong and that has enabled us, Ross, to spend record amounts on education and health.

But, the Prime Minister is right, we are seeing globally China slow-down from its previous highs, Europe has been gripped by Brexit and those trade tensions between the US and China…

ROSS GREENWOOD:

But, also, house prices are falling here, construction is down, people aren't spending as much money it would seem, aren't they headwinds that really could affect the economy and that surplus?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

There is a cooling of the housing market, but what we don't want to see is the housing market to be hit with a new big tax, namely the plans to abolish negative gearing from our political opponents. So, that is a real danger.

ROSS GREENWOOD:

Ok, then the other thing about this also is, would you say that the Australian economy, if it is back in surplus, is robust, is it healthy? What sort of state is it in right now?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

The fundamentals of the Australian economy are good, but the Prime Minister is absolutely right. We need to prepare for a winter day, we need to deal with these cold headwinds.  

ROSS GREENWOOD:

Okay, so, is it the problem that you say, yes, there might be some issues around the place, but its broadly healthy. Isn't that at odds with what the family, listening here at home are saying. They're seeing tight wages, they're seeing falling house prices, they're seeing higher electricity prices. So, therefore, your view of the economy might be different to the view of the economy of people who are sitting here, watching it at home?   

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, certainly the lived experience of Australians right across the country is of energy prices that are too high and we have also seen the impact of the drought.
But, we have also seen record job creation, much lower than when we came to Government and that is an important point.  

ROSS GREENWOOD:

Your side of politics, does it have a female problem? Kelly O'Dwyer has quit, there are obviously issues in terms of other female representatives who are not there anymore. Is there a problem with women inside the Coalition?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

We want to see more women in our parliamentary party, but we've also got outstanding women in the team right now. We've got the first female…   

ROSS GREENWOOD:

But, the question is whether there is enough, that is the whole point.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, we want to see more and actually at this election, we've got a number of very strong female candidates in important seats that we must win.   

ROSS GREENWOOD:

Alright, that you must win. And that's going to be the key going into the thing. I want to take you into your tennis career, were you any good?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

My ambitions were far greater than my talents, Rossco.  

ROSS GREENWOOD:

Okay, but you took a year off during your gap year to have a crack at the satellite tour, what was that like?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

It was great, travelled the world. Had a few losses, had a few wins. But the point is, I got to fulfil my dream. I didn't want to finish school, actually.   

ROSS GREENWOOD:

Is it true that you beat Mark Philippoussis in a doubles match, is that right?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Yeah, I did, and it went to a tie-break with Pat Rafter up in Queensland…

ROSS GREENWOOD:

And did you beat him there?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

No, he took the honours…

ROSS GREENWOOD:

So you were that good, in other words you could actually be on the same court with these sort of fellows at that time in your life?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

On the same court, but not necessarily winning.  

ROSS GREENWOOD:

Nah that's right. So, in terms of tennis, you also were an Oxford Blue twice, you played for Oxford University. You travelled the world with them, so you know, you've actually played some reasonable tennis.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, now I eat for a living, as you know, Ross…

ROSS GREENWOOD:

That's right. Are you a better tennis player or Treasurer?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, I hope to be good at both.

ROSS GREENWOOD:

Let's have a crack, let's see how good he was. Treasurer, The Josh Frydenberg here, on the people's court.
Have a bit of a go at this Josh.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Ok.

ROSS GREENWOOD:

Look at this, here is a bit of action from last night. Here we go. Well, that's not me.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Ross, bend the knees Ross.

ROSS GREENWOOD:

C'mon on Josh, oh look at this, it's going well, isn't it. Well there's the Treasurer going, oh look, there we go.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

So, are you going to teach Ash Barty a thing or two Rossco?

ROSS GREENWOOD:

Well, I'm not going to teach Ash Barty anything, except the cricket I would have thought. But, how about you Josh? Now are you still any good as a seniors vet tennis player, Josh?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Ah well, I try to get on the court a bit. But, it is fantastic to see so many Australians come out to the open. It is a really national event.

ROSS GREENWOOD:

The Treasurer, I got to tell you, the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. He is the Treasurer and also a tennis player as well. Well done Josh.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Thanks Ross, great to see you.