5 July 2019
Transcript - #2019093, 2019

Interview with Mark Howard & Brigitte Duclos, Hot Breakfast, Triple M

Subjects: Delivering tax relief; AFL; tennis

MARK HOWARD:

Brig, two words that typically get your attention: "tax cuts".

BRIGITTE DUCLOS:

Yes!

MARK HOWARD:  

When you hear them you typically get interested. To explain all that and more is the Treasurer of this great country, the Honourable Josh Frydenberg MP. He joins us now. Good morning to you, Treasurer!

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Good morning Howie, good morning Brig and sorry I'm not in the studio. I'm still stuck here in the nation's capital.

MARK HOWARD:  

Well I tell you what. You had us on the run when I heard you were coming in. You've never seen a studio tidied up so quickly, but it's great to speak with you and it's great to speak about tax cuts, it's a nice positive story. So, for those who wake up this morning, Treasurer, what is the story and how do we get these tax cuts and so-called 'grand in the hand'?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, Howie, the Australian people are getting the tax cuts that they voted for. More than 10 million Australians will get up to $1,080 from as early as next week when they put in their tax return. If you earn between $48,000 and $90,000, you'll get the full $1,080 and you'll get a part thereof if you earn up to $126,000. This will put $8 billion a year into the economy, it will boost household consumption. The Reserve Bank Governor has given it the tick and it will allow people to keep more of what they earn.

BRIGITTE DUCLOS:

Okay. So, Treasurer, if I want my money, what do I have to do? Is it as simple as just putting in my tax return?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Correct. Simple as that and the tax office will send you the refund for, obviously, eligible people and if you've already put in your tax return, you don't need to do anything else because they will automatically update it and then send you the cheque.

BRIGITTE DUCLOS:

Oh, this is nice. It's a good start. What's the feel like in Parliament? Like, obviously we've had so much trouble getting… when I say 'we', obviously I mean the Government… getting anything through. It just seems like a really great start for the fresh Government.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, we're really pleased. Obviously this tax policy was the key to our Budget, which I handed down on April 2nd. We then took it to the Australian people. It's an enormous amount of money that is being sent back to the Australian people; $158 billion in total. The Labor Party opposed it, so we had very constructive and productive negotiations with the crossbench, particularly the Centre Alliance, Cory Bernadi and Jacqui Lambie, and with their votes we got the legislation through last night. And it's good news for the economy and it's good news for the Australian people.

MARK HOWARD:

Treasurer, I struggle with the BAS statement. That's pretty much the extent of my financial capabilities. When they say to you 'alright, Josh, you're going to be the Treasurer. You have to get the Budget sorted. By gee, that must be an enormous job. Like, do you sit there on day one and think 'right, where do we start here?'.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, exactly right and I'm very fortunate to have a team of professionals down in Treasury who have done this all before. But, we the 12th, 13th, depending on the day, largest economy in the world. We've got a AAA credit rating agencies, we're one of only 10 leading countries to have such a rating from the credit rating agencies. We are delivering the first surplus in more than a decade and Australia is having a remarkable 28th consecutive years of economic growth. Now, that's not to say there isn't headwinds, there are. There are real challenges you would have heard about; the tensions between China and the US and the impact that is having on the world economic outlook. We've also seen really terrible consequences from the droughts and the floods that we've had across the country, as well as a slowdown in the housing market. So, we're up for these challenges. We've put the plan out in the Budget. And as you say, Brig, this is a great start with the passage of this legislation.

BRIGITTE DUCLOS:

Now, Treasurer. You're an important man these days. You know, I sat here while I was putting my lippy on, thinking you were coming in, and we also discussed "what do we do?", "do we call him Treasurer?",  "do we go Mr Frydenberg?", "Josh?", "the Fry", "the Big Berger", what do you like?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Just Josh the sad Carlton supporter. When Eddie is in the chair we always have a jab or two about Collingwood and Carlton because, you know, old rivals. But, it's good to see the Blues…

BRIGITTE DUCLOS:

Who do you want to coach? Who do you want to coach Carlton?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, look, I'll leave that to the Board but I take it Teague is doing pretty well at the moment and, you know, it's a great club so it will be a privilege for anyone to coach it. But, you know, we've got some really top players coming through. Some young guns like Walsh and obviously Cripps and some stable hands like Murphy and Kreuzer. So, I think we can look to the future with a lot of confidence.

MARK HOWARD:

And the thing I like about you, Treasurer, when you talk about sport… sometimes I'm not convinced by politicians and they flip and flop. You're not a man like that. You've got a heavy history in sport. Brig, this is a man that, from all reports, took a year off after school to try and become a professional tennis player. Played against the likes of 'the Scud' and Patty Rafter.

BRIGETTE DUCLOS:

No!

MARK HOWARD:

True story!

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

True, and they were obviously a lot better than I and my ambitions were far greater than my talents. After a year on the circuit, took a reality check, went to university after that. Still played while I was at uni and had the privilege of representing Australia at the World University Games a couple of times in the UK and the US. Now, I just eat for a living, so that's alright. 

BRIGETTE DUCLOS:

Hey, it's not a bad way to earn your money if you ask me. You must be loving Ash Barty's work, being a tennis player.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

How good is she? Just walking tall on the world stage and a great ambassador for our country the way she's conducting herself and obviously everyone really likes her and she doesn't challenge the umpires that much.

BRIGETTE DUCLOS:

I'm not sure she'll get the $1,080 bucks, she might be above the….

MARK HOWARD:

Great news with the tax cuts. Just as we let you go, when you're sitting down to do the Budget, and you said you eat for a living, when it's late at night, you've got to get something done, what's your go-to snack?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Oh, well look, it's M&M's at my end. And I've got a lolly jar that I'm staring at right now and probably by 7.30, much to my wife's chagrin, I'll probably put my hand in it. So there you go.

MARK HOWARD:

Oh well, you're handing plenty out to the country which is the main thing. We appreciate your time, Treasurer. Congratulations to you and your Government on the tax cuts.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Have a great morning Brig and Howie, thanks.