21 May 2019
Transcript - #2019070, 2019

Interview with Brian Carlton, Tasmania Talks, 893 LAFM

Subjects: Election 2019; the economy; the Labor Party; tax cuts; and GetUp.

BRIAN CARLTON:

Josh Frydenberg, the Federal Treasurer and returned member for Kooyong. Congratulations, Mr Frydenberg.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Good morning, to you, Brian, and to your listeners.

BRIAN CARLTON:

It's a stunning victory, Josh. Were you expecting it?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Look, I think it has probably surprised a lot of people because all the opinion polls had pointed to us having a narrow loss, but it came good on the night and, you know, Scott Morrison deserves a huge amount of credit. He campaigned with vigour, with belief, with conviction, he criss-crossed the country. Tasmania's obviously proved to be a very happy hunting ground for us, but, ultimately, it's not about the Liberal Party or the National Party. It's about the Australian people and they have sent a very clear message about who they want as their government.

BRIAN CARLTON:

Is it a clear message as to who they want as their Government or who they wanted as Prime Minister; do you think?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, I think you wouldn't divide the two. I mean, the Prime Minister is fundamental and key and the leader of our party and in the case of Scott Morrison he has campaigned brilliantly, but it's also the Government and the policies, in particular, that we were taking to the Australian people as laid out in the budget, paying back Labor's debt, new apprenticeships, $100 billion on infrastructure, tax cuts for over 13 million Australians as well as guaranteed funding, record funding on hospitals and schools and other essential services and that was in stark contrast to the class warfare rhetoric that was coming from Bill Shorten where he was dividing employer versus employee as well as the very high-taxing, high-spending agenda that couldn't have come at the worse time for the Australian economy as we face domestic and international economic headwinds.

BRIAN CARLTON:

One of the things that was difficult to find the cut through on, given all the leadership argy-bargy over the last handful of years, was the actual economic narrative, the economic record of the government and what you're up to. I made the point any number of times heading into the election, it's hard to imagine having a discussion with anyone about a government with a, what, a record of 1.2 million jobs created, projected budget surpluses out for the next four years, this deficit now hardly worth worrying about, those sorts of things and, of course, the record low interest rates and record number of people in their own homes. When you go through the economic data that used to matter in election campaigns, you've had trouble getting those noises out. So do you think the economic narrative, the economic success of the Government actually had a bit more cut through at the back end of the campaign there? I'm just curious.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

I do. I think the economic narrative and the economic plan was central to this election result. In a nutshell, it was about sound economic management with more jobs being created and lower taxes. And that was in stark contrast to what Bill Shorten and the Labor Party were offering the Australian people with higher taxes for retirees, for homeowners, for renters, for people who wanted to put money into their superannuation, for income tax earners - taxpayers and, of course, for family businesses and you won't forget those incidents during the campaign where Bill Shorten was confronted by a worker in Queensland and he was asked what was he doing for tax relief for him and he said well - and he asked him how much he was on, he said about $250,000, he worked night shifts and extra days and the like, and Bill Shorten said, "I'll take a look at it" but what Bill Shorten failed to tell that worker was he was actually promising to increase his rate of tax by an extra 2 per cent. Likewise, when Bill Shorten looked down the camera and said that he wasn't increasing taxes on superannuation, well, we know they were by $34 billion and clearly the retirees of Australia were very angry with the Labor Party and when Chris Bowen told them that if they didn't like Labor's retirees tax to vote against them, I think they took that literally and I think that's what they did.

BRIAN CARLTON:

Yeah. I think one of the issues, here, Josh, to me is that politics listens to demographers too much. You talk about the impact on this generation and that generation and the other generation. Our generations are all linked together. It's called a family. And I just think the concept that you can whack the seniors in a family without having an impact on both financial and attitudinal on their children and grandchildren, is a little naive in terms of policy development. Very often Mum and Dad or grandparents are at the top of the money totem pole and there's a trickle down in the family, if you like, economics.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

I think what didn't wash with the Australian people was the inconsistency between the Labor Party's previous positions on various tax measures and what their positions were at this election. So, for example, with the housing tax and changes to negative gearing and capital gains tax, Wayne Swan had said it would be disastrous to do anything about negative gearing when he was the Treasurer but now Labor was going to act with housing tax. So too with retirees. It had been a bipartisan position for two decades where the parties had supported the franking credit system and then Labor was now going against that. So too on discretionary trust. The Labor Party had made it very clear that they didn't see trusts as a problem but then they were now whacking them with higher taxes. So there's a whole series of areas where the Labor Party had previously taken positions which were understood by the Australian people to be Labor's position. But now at this election they were taking something very different.

BRIAN CARLTON:

Speaking of tax, you're going to be attempting to drag the Parliament kicking and screaming back into action, the 46th Parliament, as it turns out, to try and get this fairly broad sweeping tranche of tax cuts through the Parliament so we all get them by, what, July 1, is that the plan?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

That's the plan and it's for those who are earning up to $126,000. They will get up to $1,080 in their pocket in just a matter of weeks' time. This policy has bipartisan support so will become a reality and if you've got two listeners who are in a couple today and one's a tradie earning $60,000, the other is a teacher earning $60,000 that family will be get $2,160 in their pocket in a matter of weeks' time and I think that will be good news for the economy and good news for that family.

BRIAN CARLTON:

It's one of the more astonishing weekends in Australian politics that I can recall other than perhaps '93. I think there's some comparisons there that we haven't got time to go into now. Are you confident of retaining the Treasury portfolio?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, I'm obviously keen to remain as deputy leader and the deputy leader gets to choose their portfolio and that would be the Treasury portfolio. Scott Morrison and I have worked very closely together. We have each other's trust and I think it's been a very good combination and that's obviously played out over the weekend.

BRIAN CARLTON:

Just one really quick one. We've had any number of instances of alleged violence at polling places. Last night it was alleged that a One Nation billboard truck was torched in Hobart.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

I saw that.

BRIAN CARLTON:

What's the message to those on the other side of the political divide to you who are not happy with the outcome and who are sort of getting a bit rabid? Any advice?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, we may have our political differences but we all need to understand that our masters are the Australian people and they have made their choice at this election and we need to respect that and while people, for whatever reason, they may have wanted a different result, the people have spoken. We need to accept that result and move on and our priority, as a Coalition, under Scott Morrison, is to deliver on our promises and is to deliver better outcomes for all, regardless of who voted for us, and I would say to the Australian people, that the election has played out, the election's been contested, the result is now in and we need to get on and deliver for the Australian people.

BRIAN CARLTON:

Looks like Get-Up claimed a scalp with Tony Abbott at least. They didn't get you, though.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, I've always said that Get-Up is just a front for the Labor Party and, as you know, Bill Shorten was a founding board member of Get-Up, the unions funded Get-Up. Get-Up have never supported anything other than an extreme left agenda and I don't think they're a very positive influence on the political debate and this election shows that they had a marginal influence on the political debate, if you look across the country, if you look the results that they delivered compared to the effort that they put in.

BRIAN CARLTON:

You promised us three years of relative leadership stability; can you do that?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, Brian, as you know, we've changed our rules as a party in terms of the leadership and the people have elected a Coalition Government with the expectation that Scott Morrison will remain as Prime Minister and that will be the case, and I know he's looking forward to the next three years and I'm looking forward to the next three years as his deputy and to deliver not just for the people of Kooyong but for the people across the country in the role as Treasurer.

BRIAN CARLTON:

Appreciate your time this morning. Congratulations on what can only be described as a stunning win. Thank you.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Thank you, Brian, and all the best to the people of Tasmania. It's a great State and it's obviously provided the Coalition with some good victories, too.

BRIAN CARLTON:

Yeah, and we look forward to the conga line reforming in three years' time. Appreciate it, Josh. Thank you.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

All the best to you