Television Interview with Natalie Barr – Sunrise – Friday 26 January 2024


SUBJECTS: Australia Day Awards; Bigger tax cuts for middle Australia

NATALIE BARR: Well, the Opposition is demanding the government holds an early election so voters can decide if they support the Prime Minister’s tax cut changes. Anthony Albanese says he accepts responsibility for making the backflip after promising to keep them multiple times, including during the 2022 Election. For more, we’re joined by Education Minister Jason Clare and Deputy Opposition Leader Sussan Ley. Good morning to both of you. Jason, will the government call an early election and let voters decide whether these changes pass the pub test?

JASON CLARE, MINISTER FOR EDUCATION: G’day, Nat. Can I just quickly congratulate Georgina and Richard on becoming Australians of the Year. When I got cancer a couple of years ago, I got melanoma, I got to meet Georgina and Richard and work with them and still get to do that today. What they’ve done has saved countless lives, including a lot of my mates. Lifesavers aren’t just the people in the speedos at the beach, they’re Georgina and Richard. And I think we’re all hoping and praying that what they’ve done might help to save Richard’s life.

BARR: Absolutely. Well said.

CLARE: Onto the question that you asked. We’ll have an election next year, but people need help this year. I know the Opposition is focused on the politics of this, but what this is about is a bigger tax cut for more than 11 million Australians. A lot of them are watching this show right now. They’ll get a bigger tax cut because of these changes.

BARR: Yeah, Sussan, more than 11 million people, as Jason said, will get more money. The average wage earner in Australia is going to get double. That’s hard to argue against. Will you keep arguing against this?

SUSSAN LEY: Happy Australia Day, everybody. And yes, Jason, Georgina and Richard are proof that we live in the best country in the world.

CLARE: You bet.

LEY: Please, please, please don’t think of a tan as something that you need to do to make yourself look good.

The problem here, Nat, is we have a liar in The Lodge. And Anthony Albanese is a weak man, a weak leader. He was prepared to look your neighbour in the eye and lie to them. You will be next. And I know the Australian people, they take people, they take their leaders on trust and that trust and that faith is being broken.

So, our leader, Peter Dutton, of course, said this should go to an election because, remember, Labor took this policy along with us, a bipartisan policy, to the last two elections. So, it’s quite extraordinary to see this broken promise. And when you drill into it, Nat, you’re talking about savings to taxpayers. There’s $28 billion of bracket creep baked into this over the next ten years. If you’re an aspirational Aussie, if you’re trying to start in the housing market or get your career underway or have a family, you will see additional taxes baked into your future income earnings, and that’s not good. So, this liar in The Lodge is not going to be popular with Australians after this announcement.

BARR: Sussan, has the Coalition ever gone to an election, made a promise and then got in and said, well, economic times are different, we have to change tact?

LEY: Nat, this has to be undone with legislation. This is already legislated. And that’s a key difference between some of the things that people have been comparing this with. It’s really important to understand that. And the other thing is, if you’re struggling today, there’s nothing in this announcement that’s going to help you today. Prices are going up. There’s no economic plan to tackle the fact that all around us, prices are going up, your mortgage is going up, your groceries are going up. It’s so tough to meet that rising cost of living right now.

CLARE: That’s what this is going to do. This is going to double the tax cut for the average Aussie worker.

Every week Nat, you ask us, ‘what can we do to help Australians with the cost of living?’ And every week I say, look, we’re tackling childcare, we’re reducing the cost of medicines, and you say to me, ‘what more can you do?’

Now, the easy thing would have been to say, look, we feel your pain, we know that you’re doing it tough, but there’s no more that we can do here. The tough thing is to say, look, we’ll change the policy to help more people. And I’m happy to cop a tongue lashing from Sussan on the show today if it means that we can give a bigger tax cut to 11 million Australians.

Now, sure, it’s going to mean that Sussan gets a smaller tax cut and I get a smaller tax cut, but it’s going to mean that almost every single person watching this show right now gets a bigger tax cut. And what Sussan is saying here is that she’s going to go into the Parliament in a couple of weeks and vote against a bigger tax cut for 11 million Australians and potentially go to an election where she’s going to promise to increase taxes.

Now, they say they want an election now. What would your policy be, Sussan? Are you saying that you’re going to vote against a bigger tax cut for 11 million Australians and jack taxes back up again if you win the next election?

BARR: Sussan, are you? Will the Coalition vote against these changes?

LEY: We’ll drill into the detail. Like I said. Nat we’ve discovered there’s $28 million of bracket creep.

CLARE: No, you’ve got the detail. They’re weasel words.

BARR: Is that a no?

LEY: We’ll drill into the detail. We will have a look at this.

CLARE: You’ve got the detail.

LEY: We will have a close look at this. We haven’t even seen the legislation.

CLARE: They don’t know. They don’t know what to do.

LEY: We don’t even have the legislation. We will look at it closely but the Coalition will always have lower taxes.

CLARE: You’ve got the policy. It’s been announced. Are you going to vote against a bigger tax cut for up to 11 million Australians?

LEY: Your viewers know that. Taxes will always be lower under the Coalition.

CLARE: Well, will it?

LEY: Taxes will always be lower under the Coalition.

BARR: What’s your gut feeling? Sussan, you seem pretty firm on it.

CLARE: So you’re going to vote against a bigger tax cut for 11 million Australians or not?

LEY: Jason, you’re asking me to forecast something we haven’t seen the detail.

CLARE: You have got it. It was announced yesterday.

LEY: Will you rule out any more taxes and more importantly will you rule out any deals with the Greens to put this legislation into the Parliament?

CLARE: They don’t know what to do.

LEY: To put this legislation into Parliament you’re going to have to make a deal with the Greens. Will you rule out? Will you rule out any? Don’t verbal me.

CLARE: There you have it, for everyone watching Nat. Everyone watching on Sunrise this morning that’s going to get a bigger tax cut, the Liberal party can’t tell you they support it.

LEY: What you want a gold star Jason for lying to the Australian people? You want a gold star? Stop with the political attacks.

CLARE: No, what we want to do is give a bigger tax cut to everyone watching and you don’t support it.

LEY: You want a thumbs up for lying to the Australian people? We just don’t trust anything that this liar in The Lodge says.

BARR: And that’s what it’s between the broken promise or the money. The people will decide between you two. You’ve heard it. I think you’ve both had your say. We’ll leave it on that cliffhanger. Thank you very much. We’ll see you next week.