SUBJECTS: Carbon tax; superannuation; GST
Pyne: The media has revealed today that the Coalition has a very detailed plan for the abolition of the carbon tax. We will have done so within a hundred days of an election, and what that will mean is that we are immediately addressing the cost of living issues that Australians are facing. By getting rid of the carbon tax will reduce prices in electricity and gas, and across the economy, and in fact the Energy Users Association has already indicated that the abolition of the carbon tax should lead to an immediate at least 8 per cent drop in the price of electricity. So we have a plan, and that is on the front page of The Australian today. That means that the tax cuts that were carbon tax compensation, and the increase in the pensions which were carbon tax compensation, are now genuine tax cuts, and genuine increases in pensions, because they’re no longer linked to a carbon tax. So an Abbott Government will deliver cost of living pressure relief by increasing pensions, by reducing taxes, by getting rid of the carbon tax which caused prices to rise.
Journalist: Christopher, six Government Ministers have been out attacking the Coalition’s super stance. What’s your reading on this?
Pyne: Look, six Government Ministers are hysterically trying to create a desperate scare campaign around Tony Abbott. Labor has given up governing, and has simply decided that for the next one hundred and nineteen days, they will excoriate Tony Abbott and lecture the Coalition. Now being lectured by Julia Gillard about budget honesty is like listening to Hannibal Lecter telling you he has become a vegetarian, and the Coalition won’t be lectured by Julia Gillard. This is the woman who, six days before the last election, said that she would never introduce a carbon tax – ‘There’ll be no carbon tax under the government I lead’, she said – and ten days later, announced she was introducing a carbon tax. Last year in the budget she said she’d give people $1.8 billion in increased Family Tax Benefit part A, just to rip it away two weeks ago. She’d give people $1.4 billion in tax cuts, which were legislated, only two weeks ago to rip them away. She said she wouldn’t increase the cost of Medicare, she’s cutting Medicare by $900 million. The Government said they wouldn’t touch the Medicare rebate. They’ve now means tested the private health insurance rebate. So the Government cannot be trusted, and listening to Julia Gillard lecturing the Coalition really makes my stomach churn, knowing how much she has lied to the Australian people over the last three years. The carbon tax shows she’s a proven liar.
Who will people believe? A Prime Minister who lied about the carbon tax, or an Opposition Leader who has told people exactly how he will pay for increased pensions and lower taxes.
Journalist: The Government says people will be $10,000 a year well $10,000 worse off under this super plan. Are you worrying about a voter backlash?
Pyne: Look, the Government is talking about changes to superannuation in twenty years time. People are facing real cost of living pressures right now. People can’t pay their bills. They’re worried about paying their school fees. They’re worrying about filling up their car. They’re not worried right now about a two year delay to a change in superannuation. What they’re worried about is cost of living pressures today. They’re worried about job security today, and the Government will do anything it can to distract people from its failures. I mean this is a Government that last week announced $43 billion of spending cuts and is now trying to pretend that the Leader of the Opposition’s honesty about where he is going to get the money from for tax cuts and increasing the pension is somehow a great scandal. I mean you can’t believe the credibility of this Government on any issue.
Journalist: Labor said the Coalition government would raise the GST, are you considering a rise?
Pyne: The Coalition has absolutely no plans to change the GST. The GST is a State and Territories tax. In a debate about tax reform and white papers or whether it’s COAG or tax reform or industrial relations of course everything is discussed and if the States and Territories want to try and build a case amongst themselves for changing the GST that is a matter for them, but the Coalition has no plans to change the GST and we couldn’t in any event because it’s a State tax and Labor States would have to agree and the Labor Opposition would need to agree and that’s not going to happen so there’s no possibility that there will be a change to the GST. But if the States and Territories want to talk about it that’s a matter for the States and Territories.
Journalist: Well if the states want to change the GST, would the Coalition be prepared to talk about that?
Pyne: Well we have absolutely no plans to change the GST. The next election is about the Carbon Tax, it's about job security, it's about cost of living, it's about protecting our borders, it's about economic management. It isn’t about the GST, but the Labor Party will do anything to create a desperate scare campaign, because they are desperate and listening to Ministers talking, Bill Shorten could hardly get his words out yesterday he was so desperate to try and attack Tony Abbott. Julia Gillard talks about nothing other than Tony Abbott and the public are thoroughly sick of it, thoroughly sick of it. They want adults in the room running a Government for the benefit of the people, not running a Government for the benefit of the Labor caucus and that's all we're seeing from the Prime Minister. Constant campaigning, negative attacks on Tony Abbott, no new ideas about the future of Australia. As I said before, being lectured by Julia Gillard about budget honesty is like listening to Hannibal Lector telling us that he's become a vegetarian. Nobody's going to buy it.
Journalist: Is the Coalition going to- Would the Coalition put the GST into its tax white paper?
Pyne: We have said that if the States and Territories want to talk about the GST that is a matter for the States and Territories. It's a state and territories tax. It isn’t a Commonwealth tax and as a consequence it's not up to the Coalition to say what's in or not in any kind of report or white paper about tax reform but we have absolutely no plans to change the GST whatsoever.
Journalist: Will there be merit in at least considering the changes to GST in a tax review?
Pyne: Look I think I've answered this question now in about three or four different ways and I've made it absolutely clear that the Coalition has zero plans to change the Goods and Services Tax. It's a State and Territories tax. It’s a matter for the States and Territories if they want to argue for it. It's not a matter for the Coalition.
Journalist: Super groups say people could be retiring with $20,000 less in their account, how’s that fair?
Pyne: Well if super groups want to find ways to deliver cost of living relief to Australians right now, I'd be very interested to hear their ideas, but I'm the father of four children, I run a household. Tony Abbott is the father of three children, he runs a household. We know from our own experiences and the experiences of listening to our constituents that what they're concerned about right now is a government that will reduce their cost of living pressures, that will secure their jobs, that will start managing the economy like adults and protect our borders and they're really not that concerned about people in the superannuation business community, lecturing the Coalition about superannuation which is 10, 20, 30 years away rather than the concerns they have right now about the need for tax cuts and about the need for pension rises that are genuine because they have the Carbon Tax removed from them.