Interview with Kieran Gilbert – Sky News AM Agenda – Wednesday 30 April 2014





SUBJECT/S: Tony Abbott’s deceit tax; Paid Parental Leave; NBN.

KIERAN GILBERT: This is AM Agenda, thank you for your company – with me now the Shadow Communications Minister Jason Clare. Mr Clare, thanks for your time.


GILBERT: Now first of all I want to ask you about the idea of the debt tax, it looks like it won’t be a flat tax rather a progressive tax in the sense that it will go up the income scale. Those on higher incomes will be contributing much, much more. Do you see any benefit of this given Labor adopted a short term levy yourselves when in Government?

CLARE: Kieran I just think it takes a lot of arrogance, it takes a lot of chutzpah, to run around the country for the last three years shrieking about a great big new tax, which is what Tony Abbott did and then as soon as he becomes Prime Minister one of the first things he does is want of introduce his own great big new tax.

We’ve got members of the Liberal Party today saying this ‘electoral suicide’, it’s hard for me to come up with anything that would be more critical of this than what Liberals are already saying. I’d say this is a mistake and if Tony Abbott does go ahead with this then it will haunt him to his political grave.

GILBERT: But if you are making efforts to cut back on welfare and other areas of cuts that are going to hit lower income earners isn’t fair that those on the higher income brackets also contribute through this sort of thing?

CLARE: Kieran let’s be clear about this, this is an issue of trust. Before the election Tony Abbott said ‘no new taxes’ and we are going to hold him to that. He also said ‘no cuts to education, no cuts to health, no changes to the pension, no changes to the GST, no cuts to the ABC and no cuts to the SBS.’ Now we are going to hold him to that. If Tony Abbott was the Opposition Leader today he would hold us to those statements, and we are going to do exactly the same thing and the people of Australia should do exactly the same.

GILBERT: There was another commitment he made and that was to get the budget back on track and to rein in spending. That’s a pretty big one and he does have a mandate for that?

CLARE: Well Kieran this reminds me of advice Paul Keating gave to Tony Blair back in 1995. He said ‘Don’t ever put up income tax mate. Do that and they’ll rip your guts out.’ That’s what Tony Abbott is doing here, he would be increasing income tax. That’s why people are so angry about it. That’s why people in the Liberal Party and in the business community are angry about it. It’s worse than that, it will mean he has effectively lied to the people of Australia and he will pay the political consequence of that if he goes ahead with this deceit tax.

GILBERT: Do you really think that that’s the case even if it is not a flat tax, if it kicks in at the higher income levels that those on higher wages, salaries will be contributing more. Do you really think that it’s going to have that sort of political impact?

CLARE: Kieran, just read the newspapers, listen to what members of the Liberal Party are saying about this. It’s not about where it kicks in, it’s where it goes to. It goes to the Prime Minister’s credibility. This is an issue of trust. He said he would lead a government that doesn’t promise one thing before an election and do the opposite after the election. If he does this, if he imposes this new levy, this new tax on the Australian people, then the people of Australia will say ‘this bloke’s a phoney. We can’t trust him.’

GILBERT: What about on the Paid Parental Leave Scheme, it looks like the Prime Minister has compromised on that, lowered the threshold for where that would kick in to $100,000, this is according to Denis Shanahan in the Australian today. It looks like now that PPL, the more generous PPL, its prospects in the Senate do look brighter today given the Greens have said that they will support a threshold of $100,000 per year.

CLARE: We just don’t have the Liberal Party in open revolt about this deceit tax, they have been in revolt about the Paid Parental Leave Scheme for the last few years. I think what’s happened here is Tony Abbott has jumped before he was pushed. This wouldn’t have got through his party room let alone the Senate. The fact remains that under the scheme we are told about in the newspaper today, millionaire mums would still get $50,000 to have a baby. I don’t know anyone in the community that would say that millionaire mums need $50,000 to have a baby. That’s what will happen under this scheme.

GILBERT: Well they get the minimum wage don’t they, under the previous Labor scheme, so if that wasn’t appropriate why did you give them anything?

CLARE: Kieran, think about what the Prime Minister is talking about here, it will raise five and a half billion dollars a year. If we are going to help get women back into the workforce, wouldn’t we be better spending that money on child care rather than a Paid Parental Leave Scheme that gives millionaire mums $50,000 to have a baby?

To put this in perspective, this Paid Parental Leave Scheme that the Prime Minister is talking about will cost more over the next decade than the cost to roll out the National Broadband Network. I know which one will have a bigger impact on economic growth and productivity, it’s the NBN, not a scheme that gives millionaire mums $50,000 to have a baby.

GILBERT: Jason Clare thank you for your time this morning, as always appreciate it.

CLARE: Thanks Kieran.