Interview with David Koch and Natalie Barr – Sunrise – Monday, 2 May 2016

MONDAY, 2 MAY 2016

SUBJECT/S: Education, Tax reform

DAVID KOCH: Education is the latest battleground for this election. The Government have announced a $1.2 billion boost for schools with strings attached, including new checks on children’s literacy and numeracy levels.

NATALIE BARR: It was a promise made as former Chief of Staff, Peta Credlin warned the Turnbull Government to get its act into gear or risk an election defeat in July. That all happened over weekend.

KOCH: Joining us for the first of our regular segment ‘Cash and Clare’ – Minister for Employment and Women, Michaelia Cash and Shadow Communications Minister Jason Clare. Good morning to you both. Good to have you aboard. Now the government insists it can lift school performances by spending less than what the Gonski report proposed and what Labor has promised. Jason, doesn’t that make the government offer worth considering?

JASON CLARE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS: David, this just looks like a government that’s desperate to convince parents that it cares about education when for the last three years it has refused to do anything here. They have said five minutes before midnight, just before an election that they will put an extra $1 billion in, but that’s a long way short of what David Gonski and his team proposed. Labor has said we will invest $4.5 billion. So the difference couldn’t be clearer – $1 billion versus $4.5 billion.

If you are voting Liberal at the next election, it just means that you will be voting effectively for a cut to education and don’t forget this either, I suspect we will see in the budget tomorrow night that the Liberal Party will want to jack up the cost of going to university as well. So once again you’ve got a Liberal Party and a Government that doesn’t care about education.

BARR: Jason Clare if it the Government can do it for less, isn’t that good?

CLARE: The Gonski team didn’t make this up overnight. They said that extra investment was needed in schools where they need it most and that you need to tie that to outcomes. This wasn’t something that was just made up by a political party. It was made up by Katherine Greiner, David Gonski, and a whole team of experts who said this is what our schools need. Parents watching know that our schools need this extra investment and the fact that the Libs don’t understand this I think shows their priorities are all wrong.

KOSH: Michaelia Cash that is a big gap though, $4.5 billion to $1 billion, is Jason right?

MICHAELIA CASH, MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT AND WOMEN: No he is not. Except what the Labor Party continually fails to acknowledge is that there has been record funding in education now for years and years and years. Educational funding has been on the rise. The biggest issue we face as a country though is that we have not seen an improvement in our outcomes. In fact what we have seen now, for a number of years is a decline in the educational outcomes of our students. This Government, the Turnbull Government – we are going to tackle that head on. We still have a record investment in educational funding with an additional $1.2 billion. But what we are concerned about is not just the money. You can’t just be concerned about the money. You have got to be concerned about the quality outcomes that you get for our students, it is a fact that those outcomes have been on the decline that is what we are going to address?

KOCH: Are you blaming teachers? Are you blaming teachers – not good enough, so they need this extra incentive. Hey, get your act together or you don’t get no money?

CASH: What I am saying is, you have to a have very good look at the evidence base that determines how you get better outcomes. We are looking at the Gonski program obviously in relation to the needs based funding and we are going to focus our additional spending on how do we improve literacy? How do we improve numeracy? How do we improve our investment in science, technology, engineering and math. Because it is all about quality outcomes and that is how you should be targeting your spending.

CLARE: Michaelia a quick invitation, come out to Cabramatta, come out Bankstown or Parramatta in Western Sydney and see the sort of schools that I represent. You will see why the funding is needed and why what David Gonski was talking about was absolutely right. Come out to Western Sydney, you will understand why this is so important.

CASH: We have as you know Jason, in excess of what will be a $76 billion investment in funding. Your comments show the clear difference between the Labor Party and the Coalition. It is not just about money. It’s about achieving an outcome that’s what we are looking for.

BARR: Teachers do say money equals more results.

CLARE: Absolutely right.

BARR: We will agree to disagree on that one. Let’s go to an analysis by News Corp of the budget tax cuts. It finds three out of four taxpayers will miss out because they have income less than $80,000. Michaelia will people who are earning less than $80,000 miss out on a tax cut in this budget.

CASH: I am so glad that I can finally say to you and your viewers, all will be revealed tomorrow night. I am so sorry but the Treasurer would literally kill me I think if I was to make an announcement.

KOCH: You can’t say anything but Jason certainly can. Hang on, let me explain to people what this is about. What the talk is, that they are going to cut the middle tax for the middle income bracket. So if you are not – if you are under that, paying tax under a bracket under that, you will not get any relief. The middle and the higher will as a result. Jason?

CLARE: If you are earning $180,000 or $250,000 or $500,000 it’s happy days, you are going to get a tax cut tomorrow. If you earn less than $80,000, which is 75 percent of Australian workers, then you won’t get a brass razoo. You will get nothing out of this. Mind you, the company you work for apparently is getting a tax cut tomorrow night but you won’t.

The other thing, David that I think is sort of amazing is that the Government is so desperate that they think they can offer people a tax cut that comes into place the day before the election, and think they can bribe people to vote for them the day before an election.

KOCH: Hang on, your mob have been guilty of that before too. That’s politics. We don’t trust either side.

CLARE: Do they think the Australian people are that stupid that they can buy their vote the day before an election. When on the same day, all the Medicare cuts come into place as well.

CASH: Kochie and Nat, it is speculation. You are looking at something in isolation. The clear difference which will be outlined tomorrow night is a government that has an economic plan for jobs and growth. A government that within its DNA is a government that believes in lower taxes versus an opposition that has history and form in spending, spending, spending taxpayers money, look what they did in but six years under the former Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Governments.

KOCH: I am not sure.

CASH: And paying for that by increasing your taxes.

CLARE: Michaelia I hope we see a plan, because we haven’t seen anything. We’ve just seen waffle and waffle and waffle. All the vision of Elmer Fudd in the last nine months.

BARR: Let’s go to Tony Abbott’s former Chief of Staff, Peta Credlin spoke out quite vocally on the weekend, and said that Bill Shorten is a real contender and that the opposition is a genuine threat. And this morning Mr Shorten said he would look like a union leader if he became Prime Minister. Jason, could that turn voters off? Is that a positive or a negative?

KOCH: He is saying he is going to think like a union leader. That’s a red rag to a bull for most people.

CLARE: One of the best Prime Ministers Australia has ever had is Bob Hawke. A hero of mine. A bloke who was a union leader who became a great Prime Minister. I see a lot of Hawke in Bill Shorten, a bloke who can bring people together to fix difficult things. Remember, Bill Shorten is the bloke that created the National Disability Insurance Scheme that people said was impossible to do. Hawke was a bloke who had a great vision for the country and implemented big change. You’ve seen in Bill Shorten over the last two and a half years a bloke who is prepared to roll out big bold policies. By contrast, you’ve seen Malcolm Turnbull talk a lot but all he has done is criticise our ideas. He hasn’t come up with his own ideas himself. So the contrast is great.

BARR: Michaelia what did you think about Peta Credlin coming out on the weekend and saying that Bill Shorten is a real contender? Is that really transparent, sort of sour grapes, whether you liked her or didn’t like her?

CASH: At the end of the day, every opposition is a contender. Any government who thinks otherwise quite frankly is mad, so we know that.

BARR: Her saying it is different Michaelia isn’t it?

CASH: Just on Bill Shorten saying that he will act and behave like a unionists, that should send a shiver down the spines of all Australians. The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour. When Bill Shorten led the AWU he accepted secret payments from employers, which he did not disclose to his workers. He ripped off the penalty rates of those he was meant to be allegedly representing. He bolstered his union membership numbers with $25,000 a year from Cleanevent, sometimes with people who did not exist. I would argue that is not acting in the national interest. That is acting in the interest of but a few. And I think you know, someone on the weekend wrote, the words Prime Minister Bill Shorten should send a shiver down the spines of Australians and that has been confirmed today.

CLARE: That’s desperate stuff Michaelia. Just desperate stuff.

BARR: Can you just answer the question. What did you think of Peda Credlin coming out and saying that over the weekend?

CASH: Again, any person or anyone in politics who thinks that the opposition is not a contender is wrong. Oppositions are always contenders. I think it reflected political reality. An election is always a hard fought race and that is exactly what I would say both Labor and Liberal are approaching it as.

KOCH: All right, thank you for joining us. Catch you next time.

CASH: Great to be with you.

CLARE: Thanks guys.

MONDAY, 2 MAY 2016