Interview on Channel 9 Today with Karl Stefanovic
Subjects: The Federal Budget, tobacco tax, AFL
Karl Stefanovic: Well it’s just over two weeks to go until the Federal Budget is handed down, and it could bring bad news for smokers. This morning Christopher Pyne and Anthony Albanese join us now. Good morning to you both, nice to see you.
Christopher Pyne: Morning Karl.
Anthony Albanese: Morning.
Karl Stefanovic: Christopher, Tony Abbott called a tobacco tax a workers’ tax, but it’s going up regardless, right?
Christopher Pyne: Well the Budget will reveal all of the decisions around taxation …
Karl Stefanovic: [Talks over] It’s in the paper today
Christopher Pyne: … and spending on 3 May. Labor’s policy is to increase the tobacco tax; our policy will be announced in a couple of weeks.
Karl Stefanovic: You’re going to do what Labor propose though, yeah?
Christopher Pyne: Well Labor proposed a hike in the tobacco tax, what exactly is it, Anthony, it’s about double, I think, he wanted to double it. Poor old tobacco tax.
Anthony Albanese: Christopher doesn’t realise that he’s the Government.
Karl Stefanovic: Yeah.
Christopher Pyne: So they want to double the tobacco tax. I don't know exactly what the Budget says at this stage, but I will know obviously before 3 May, and all will be revealed. But I’m not going to speculate.
Karl Stefanovic: [Talks over] You like the idea of increasing the tobacco tax.
Christopher Pyne: We have very high tobacco taxes, but we also have found - as a Minister for Health in the Howard Government, I was the Assistant Minister for Health in the Howard Government - one of the most significant ways of reducing health costs is reduce the number of smokers. It makes a direct impact on the cost of health to the rest of the community.
Karl Stefanovic: So it’s in all the papers today, you can confirm it for us, yeah?
Christopher Pyne: [Laughs] I’m not going to …
Karl Stefanovic: [Talks over] Any other taxes going up?
Christopher Pyne: … no, I’m not …
Anthony Albanese: I think he has.
Christopher Pyne: I haven’t, and I’m not going to do that. You’ll know in the Budget.
Karl Stefanovic: Any new taxes going up? Any new ...
Christopher Pyne: You’ll know that in the Budget.
Karl Stefanovic: Any new taxes?
Christopher Pyne: You don’t have to wait very long.
Karl Stefanovic: Can you rule something out?
Christopher Pyne: [Laughs] I’m not ruling in, ruling out. I’m not ruling in or ruling out.
Anthony Albanese: [Talks over] This is the only government that has ever been in opposition for its entire three years.
Christopher Pyne: Your zingers are getting very old. They are – you’ve tried that one before.
Anthony Albanese: You’ve just been there. Every time you get asked a question you talk about Labor.
Christopher Pyne: [Indistinct] dropped his zingers, he’s dropped his zingers.
Anthony Albanese: [Indistinct] say Government will, the Government will. See how you go.
Christopher Pyne: You’re the only person who’s still trying the zingers.
Karl Stefanovic: Yeah. You like Labor’s policy though, on tobacco.
Christopher Pyne: [Laughs] I’m not going to get drawn.
Karl Stefanovic: We also are- we’re in serious danger of losing our AAA credit rating – that is a big concern.
Christopher Pyne: Well the biggest threat to our AAA credit rating is the election of a Labour Government, because they want to increase taxes, they want to increase spending, they want to smash negative gearing, they want to put up rents, they want to reduce house prices, they want to increase the capital gains tax by 50 per cent, hurting investment.
Karl Stefanovic: The biggest threat, with perspective …
Christopher Pyne: The biggest threat to our credit rating is a Labor Government being elected.
Karl Stefanovic: The biggest threat to credit rating is the national debt.
Christopher Pyne: Well Labor wants to add to it with higher taxes and more spending, and they haven't learnt any of the lessons from the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd period.
Karl Stefanovic: Okay, let’s take a look at the national debt – there it is right there. Okay, it just keeps going on and on and on, nearly ten million dollars an hour. Anthony, how are you going reduce that debt?
Anthony Albanese: Well, what we won’t do is just talk about it, if we come into government, just talk about it as if we’re still the opposition. I mean, Christopher was just asked what we was going to do in the Budget, and he just spoke about Labor. It’s about time – they have two weeks to get their act together to bring down a budget. What that should do is have a path in terms of how they deal with debt. They talked about it, but they’ve doubled it, that’s the truth since since they were in government. And what they’re talking about now is keeping the cuts to education and health ...
Christopher Pyne: What are you going to do about it? That’s what he asked you.
Anthony Albanese: … keeping the cuts – well what we won’t do is cut education and health and give …
Christopher Pyne: [Talks over] So you won’t worry(*) about it.
Anthony Albanese: … companies, the big end of town a big tax cut. That’s what we won’t do.
Karl Stefanovic: You promised that you – you are promising huge spending measures. According to The Australian, they will write $400 billion from the budget bottom line.
Anthony Albanese: Well that’s nonsense of course. All of our spending commitments, including our commitment to spend $37 billion over ten years on giving kids a better opportunity through education, through schools funding - doing what they said they would do at the last election, it must be said - fully costed, fully funded. We’ve said where the money’s coming from, that’s a good thing. Unlike other oppositions in the past.
Christopher Pyne: More taxes, more spending.
Anthony Albanese: Well you’re doing the tobacco tax, you’re increasing that, so you can’t really …
Christopher Pyne: If we have tax savings in the Budget, then obviously(*) you have to be offsetting revenues [indistinct] …
Anthony Albanese: [Talks over] Well we’ve got savings there as well, [indistinct] …
Christopher Pyne: [Talks over, indistinct].
Karl Stefanovic: [Talks over] Okay, where were you getting- when will you …
Anthony Albanese: … getting rid of their ridiculous direct action plan on climate change.
Christopher Pyne: They use the same dollar over and over again, with new spending measures.
Karl Stefanovic: If you get into power on July 2 …
Anthony Albanese: July 2.
Anthony Albanese: Confirm that today, Karl.
Karl Stefanovic: [Talks over] How long will it be- how long will it be …
Christopher Pyne: [Talks over, indistinct] whenever the election’s called.
Karl Stefanovic: He didn’t say no.
Anthony Albanese: We can confirm that.
Christopher Pyne: I did, I said whenever the election’s called.
Anthony Albanese: On May 11.
Karl Stefanovic: [Talks over, indistinct].
Christopher Pyne: Stop putting words in my mouth.
Anthony Albanese: When it’s called on May 11 for [indistinct] …
Karl Stefanovic: You’re worse than [indistinct] …
Anthony Albanese: Its going to be announced here, live on the Today show.
Karl Stefanovic: When will you get the Budget back in the black?
Anthony Albanese: Well, what we’ve said …
Karl Stefanovic: No, no, no, just get to the date.
Anthony Albanese: I’m not – I’m not going to …
Christopher Pyne: [Talks over] They don’t care.
Anthony Albanese: … I’m not going to put a date on it. What we know is that under this mob they said they’d deal with it, and it’s doubled.
Christopher Pyne: He said before that I never stop talking about the Labor Party – he hasn’t stopped talking about me.
Anthony Albanese: But you’re the Government.
Christopher Pyne: He’s obsessed with me.
Anthony Albanese: You’re the Government.
Christopher Pyne: He’s obsessed with talking about me.
Anthony Albanese: It’s not personal Christopher – the whole Government is hopeless.
Christopher Pyne: And one thing’s for sure, Karl – Labor Government never …
Anthony Albanese: [Talks over] You’re one of the – you’re one of the better ones.
Christopher Pyne: Labor Governments never get the Budget into black, ever.
Anthony Albanese: [Talks over] That’s why the Labor budgets never deliver …
Christopher Pyne: [Talks over, indistinct] the last surplus budget a Labor government delivered was 1989 …
Anthony Albanese: You couldn’t …
Karl Stefanovic: That is true.
Christopher Pyne: … before Wyatt Roy was born.
Karl Stefanovic: That is true.
Anthony Albanese: You couldn’t put – there was something called the Global Financial Crisis.
Christopher Pyne: Ah yeah, nah it’s not your fault …
Anthony Albanese: [Talks over] That we dealt with …
Karl Stefanovic: [Talks over, indistinct].
Christopher Pyne: [Talks over] The dog ate my homework.
Anthony Albanese: … that we dealt with.
Christopher Pyne: The tram got a flat tyre.
Anthony Albanese: … and kept people in jobs.
Christopher Pyne: How many more excuses do you have?
Anthony Albanese: This mob – unemployment tyre, debt tyre … it’s a mess.
Karl Stefanovic: Are you obsessed with him?
Christopher Pyne: Obsessed with me, obsessed with me.
Anthony Albanese: No, no, no, well at least we talk though, unlike Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison [laughs].
Christopher Pyne: Ah, trying that line again. Goodness, you just tried that last week. They’re besties.
Karl Stefanovic: [Talks over] How are they going, those two? They going alright? [Laughs] They’re still besties.
Christopher Pyne: They’re doing very well, they’re doing very well.
Karl Stefanovic: Okay.
Anthony Albanese: They haven’t spoken in the last week.
Karl Stefanovic: No, I know, but anyway, it’s …
Christopher Pyne: Oh, rubbish.
Karl Stefanovic: … you don’t necessarily have to get on if you’re Prime Minister and Treasurer, you don’t have to get on.
Christopher Pyne: You were conspiring against Bill in February to take his job.
Karl Stefanovic: Hang on, hang on, listen, hang on. Let’s talk about Malcolm Turnbull; he’s in China at the moment, he’s said something very controversial. AFL is the greatest footy code in the world, that’s what he said.
Christopher Pyne: It’s our code.
Karl Stefanovic: There’s footage of him playing in the- there’s him, there’s Malcolm with one of the jersey on.
Christopher Pyne: Well they’ve won three …
Anthony Albanese: [Talks over] That’s unlikely.
Christopher Pyne: They’ve won three premierships.
Anthony Albanese: That’s more unlikely.
Karl Stefanovic: There he is.
Christopher Pyne: He’s very happy about that.
Karl Stefanovic: What do you say to that, Anthony?
Anthony Albanese: Well, I say that I’ve seen Malcolm Turnbull at an AFL game, he wasn’t outside watching the game, he was inside having lunch, that’s what he was doing, talking to people.
Christopher Pyne: Oh, that’s uncharitable.
Anthony Albanese: He was chatting to people; he missed the game.
Christopher Pyne: Maybe it was lunchtime.
Karl Stefanovic: The Grand Final last year? I was there. He was talking to me.
Anthony Albanese: We were a happy team at Hawthorn last year.
Karl Stefanovic: Yeah, you were a happy team. No doubt.
Christopher Pyne: It’s part of their song.
Karl Stefanovic: Is it the best [indistinct].
Christopher Pyne: We’re a happy team at Hawthorn.
Anthony Albanese: Malcolm would- Malcolm would know that.
Christopher Pyne: I’m a Crows ambassador, I bat for the Adelaide Crows, I’m an AFL team person, and I think it’s a fabulous code, a great code.
Karl Stefanovic: A what? You’re a what?
Christopher Pyne: I’m a team AFL person. It’s a fabulous code. I’ve always backed
Anthony Albanese: Malcolm Turnbull should- AFL league’s a great game, but so is rugby league, which is why you should fund Townsville Stadium.
Karl Stefanovic: Yeah, you should fund that.
Christopher Pyne: There’s nothing wrong with rugby league, but I’m an AFL person.
Karl Stefanovic: You should fund the Townsville stadium, by the way
Anthony Albanese: Yeah, absolutely.
Christopher Pyne: You got some [audio skips] for me? You got another- you got a tree out the back as well, along with …
Karl Stefanovic: Well, you should fund it.
Christopher Pyne: … Bill Shorten’s got a money tree out the back too.
Karl Stefanovic: You’ll be raising plenty of money with the tobacco tax.
Christopher Pyne: He’s got- apparently Anthony’s got more money than he can poke a stick at.
Anthony Albanese: Malcolm Turnbull would fund the …
Christopher Pyne: [Talks over] Labor’s strategy …
Anthony Albanese: … North Queensland Cowboys, excerpt he thinks it’s a rodeo.
Christopher Pyne: Labor’s strategy at the next election is offer everybody what they want.
Anthony Albanese: He has no idea.
Christopher Pyne: Whatever people want, give them it.
Karl Stefanovic: [Talks over] You two are just – you two are firing up, and have a great week.
Christopher Pyne: Thank you.
Karl Stefanovic: I do think he might be obsessed with you though.
Christopher Pyne: I’m- [laughs] …
Karl Stefanovic: Okay. At least …
Anthony Albanese: Isn’t everyone? He thinks about nothing else.
Karl Stefanovic: [Laugh] Lisa.
Lisa Wilkinson: [Laughs] Thanks Karl.
Anthony Albanese: We’re only human.