Interview with Kieran Gilbert – Sky News – Wednesday, 15 February 2017


SUBJECT/S: Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership, Company tax cuts

KIERAN GILBERT: With me on the program now, the Shadow Trade Minister, Jason Clare. There is no consensus, we can’t rely, as I pointed out to our guests earlier, can we on simply better iron ore price, which is what we are seeing at the moment. But it’s not sustainable in the long term.

JASON CLARE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADE AND INVESTMENT, SHADOW MINISTER FOR RESOURCES AND NORTHERN AUSTRALIA: Well here’s the irony here, it’s now almost 18 months since Malcolm Turnbull got rid of Tony Abbott and he said at the time that the reason he was doing it was Tony Abbott’s failure to provide the economic leadership that Australia needs.

Since then, we’ve now got unemployment going up, we’ve got economic growth going down – we had a negative quarter just in the last quarter – and debt and deficit is higher now under Malcolm Turnbull than it was under Tony Abbott. I hate to say it but the facts show it, things were better under Tony Abbott than they are under Malcolm Turnbull.

GILBERT: Largely if you look at the lack of economic reform, it’s down to the Senate isn’t it? In terms of the saves have been restricted and limited, the company tax cuts blocked…

CLARE: Politics is the art of the possible. You’ve got to know what the Senate is willing to agree to and the Labor Party has identified areas where we will support savings. We’ve done that last year. We’ve said reform negative gearing, reform capital gains tax, it will provide money for the budget and it’ll actually make housing more affordable. The Government, even though they know that this is an area where there are excesses have chosen not to do it for political reasons, so they’ve only got themselves to blame.

GILBERT: Now I guess what’s left then in terms of where you get the revenue to cover off things like NDIS, which has strong bipartisan support, quite rightly.

CLARE: Here’s a start, don’t go ahead with the big $50 billion company tax cut…

GILBERT: Then where do you get the growth from?

CLARE: Well what was the Government saying two weeks ago about this? If you provide a big tax cut to businesses, it’ll provide everybody with two dollars extra a day in 2037. That is hardly a compelling reason to cut company tax, especially when today you’ve got the Commonwealth Bank saying that they just made five billion dollars in the last six months and the Government thinks it’s a good idea to cut company taxes for big banks like the Commonwealth Bank but at the same time they want to cut a thousand dollars a year for a family of three on 75 grand a year, and also this Kieran, they want to cut the pension. They want to cut payments for single pensioners by $365 dollars a year. This is a reverse Robin Hood approach to politics, that’s why they’re failing.

GILBERT: You talk about some of those families on certain amounts of income each year but those families are also employed by businesses, which are going to receive those tax cuts so it provides job opportunities. You mentioned earlier on in the interview that unemployment rate is up and economic growth is down, doesn’t that aid in the competitiveness of the jobs market?

CLARE: They haven’t made the argument about how it’s going to stimulate the economy, if they can make the argument more people will listen to them. If their strongest argument is that you and I are going to get an extra two dollars a day in twenty years then they have lost this debate.

GILBERT: Mr Clare thanks for your time. We will see you soon.