18 December 2018
Transcript - #2018095, 2018

Interview with Deb Knight, Today Show, Channel 9

Subjects: Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, Andrew Broad.

DEB KNIGHT:

Treasurer, good morning to you…

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Nice to be with you, Deb.

DEB KNIGHT:

It’s a positive economic outlook, does it put you back in a fighting chance to win the election?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, surely the Australian people know that the Coalition is best placed to manage the economy and these books are the best that they have been in more than a decade. But, they’re also no accident. It’s the product, Deb, of hard work over the last five years; difficult decisions, restraining government spending but also lowering taxes. And we have seen Australia’s economic performance being better than any of the G7 countries around the world since we came to Government. But, this is allowing us to provide a dividend to the Australian people; record spending on health, on education, and of course, the infrastructure and the defence of the nation. That is what you get from a strong economy.

DEB KNIGHT:

Sounds like an election pitch to me and you’ve got a healthy $9 billion to play with, can we expect tax cuts for voters?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, we’ve already delivered tax cuts, as you know, for the crane drivers and for the café owners…

DEB KNIGHT:

But is it something you want to deliver more of?  

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, we certainly want to lower people’s taxes and ensure they can keep more of their hard-earned money. This is a big distinction between us and the Labor Party. They’re going to the election promising $200 billion of new taxes; new taxes on your property, on your business, on your income and even on your electricity bill. We actually want to lower people’s taxes, that’s in the DNA of the Liberal and National Government. Unfortunately, for Labor, it doesn’t matter what the question is, the answer is always higher taxes.

DEB KNIGHT:

And, unfortunately for the Government, this good news story is again being overshadowed by an own-goal by a story of a very different nature, the scandal engulfing former Assistant Minister, Andrew Broad, over revelations that he used taxpayer funds for a trip to Hong Kong to meet a so-called ‘sugar baby.’ He has quit the frontbench but Deputy PM, Michael McCormack, knew about this for six weeks. Should he have acted sooner?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, look, as soon as the Prime Minister heard, he acted straight away…

DEB KNIGHT:

Should Michael McCormack have acted sooner?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, look. I think Michael McCormack was trying to work through this issue but what is very clear is that this conduct was unacceptable. He has resigned, that was the right thing to do…

DEB KNIGHT:

…do you want someone of that nature actually in the Parliament, should he quit Parliament alaltogether?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Look, these are decisions that he will take himself. But, the reality is, the Australian Government, the Liberal and National Government, is delivering a strong economy. That is what matters to the mums and dads watching your show this morning. They want to know that there is going to be more money for health and education, for lifting the congestion in their cities, for providing drought-stricken communities with assistance and for defending the nation, that is what we’re doing.

DEB KNIGHT:

Well, there is no argument there. But, unfortunately, you have this scandal, you’ve had Barnaby Joyce and his affair. And the National Party, they claim to stand for family values, can they seriously stand for that in the face of this?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Look, Deb, and the Labor Party has had the whole, all the Emma Husar revelations and she being overlooked for Labor preselection, again. So, these things happen on both sides of the Parliament, but the real job of our politicians is to deliver a better Australia and you can only deliver a better Australia when the economy is in good shape. These numbers are the best in more than a decade; that is what we’re focused on, that is what your viewers are focused on and that is why we will take to the election a strong economic plan that is already working.

DEB KNIGHT:

Alright, Treasurer, we thank you for your time this morning. We wish you and your family a Merry Christmas as well, thanks again.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Merry Christmas to you, too.