Sky News Business Ticky (1)

09 May 2017



SUBJECT/S: Budget comparisons to Labor; banks levy; tax cuts for big business and millionaires; Turnbull’s cuts to Medicare; NDIS; Housing affordability


TICKY FULLERTON: Now some have described this as a Labor Budget in disguise. So what does the Opposition make of it? Well, joining me at the desk, Shadow Finance Minister Jim Chalmers. Jim, it is great to have you around here. Now, would you be proud to bring down a Budget like this?


JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE: I have heard the analysis that says this is some sort of Labor-lite Budget, and there is no doubt that was Scott Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull's political objective, but they have fallen well short of that. A Labor Budget wouldn't have a $50 billion tax cut for big business. A Labor Budget wouldn't have cuts to schools and universities and family payments. A Labor Budget wouldn't have done a whole raft of things; Labor would have continued the deficit levy for example. So there are still substantial differences between our approach and the Liberals’ approach.


FULLERTON: Well let me just, a few things we could unpack there of course. But essentially, going for the banks for example, $14 billion wiped off the value of Australian banks today Anna Bligh tells us. I mean, that is a much higher levy than you could have even dreamed of.


CHALMERS: It is a much higher levy than we had earlier proposed, that is definitely true. 


FULLERTON: So when you are saying they are not going for the big end of town or the rich, surely they are attacking just that?


CHALMERS: But the Budget isn't fundamentally about that bank levy. The budget is fundamentally about raising taxes on people who work, to pay for a tax cut for big corporations and people who are on a million dollars or over $180,000.


FULLERTON: But this is about getting the Budget back into surplus. I mean that is a big contribution, $6 billion to get the Budget back into surplus it would seem to me.


CHALMERS: It is a big contribution to that and so would be ditching the $50 billion tax cut. So would be doing something about negative gearing. There are other things that the Government could have done that Labor would  have done.


FULLERTON: But you wouldn't stand in the way of, as I understand it, the Treasurer said you won't stand in the way of this banking levy?


CHALMERS: We won't be opposing this banking levy. It is for the Government to explain and guarantee why the banks won't pass this on to customers. I did notice the ABA is in the building saying that they can't guarantee that that won't happen so that is for the Government to reassure people on.  But in principle, we won't oppose the bank levy.


FULLERTON: What about Medicare and the whole guarantee of Medicare? I mean, this is diffusing your strong message that some called “Mediscare”, the fact that the Government is looking at guaranteeism and looking indeed to put $10 billion into health funds.


CHALMERS: Don't fall for that Ticky. I mean, a lot of people will be tempted to fall for that. Can I assure them that when they talk about unwinding some of the Medicare cuts, they are taking some years to do it. There are still some substantial cuts to Medicare. They should be removed immediately. That freeze should be unfrozen immediately but instead we have got this sort of dawdling towards an objective to try and convince people that this Government cares about Medicare but people know that they can't trust Malcolm Turnbull on Medicare.


FULLERTON: Isn't it going to be hard now to argue. They have come a long way from the Abbott Budget you have got to admit haven't you? Both in NDIS as well. It is very hard not to look at that funding and see it as a genuine offer?


CHALMERS: We don't except that the NDIS wasn't fully funded. That is the first point.


FULLERTON: How were you funding this?


CHALMERS: Well, with a very similar change in the Medicare levy but other ways as well.  There was a whole range of measures put on the table in the life of the last Labor Government to fund the NDIS…


FULLERTON:  ...Medicare levy. Couldn't you guys see reason?


CHALMERS: We have got an open mind to it. We want to understand the impact properly and we want to take our time to come to a decision.  It is a big save - about $8B over the forward estimates so we want to be sure of it before we come to a position on the Medicare levy. We don't want to see the NDIS held hostage.


FULLERTON: No. No. Housing would be one space where you are poles apart I would say?


CHALMERS: Absolutely. Any housing policy that doesn't have changes to negative gearing and capital gains is just a shocker and that is what this is. There are other elements there; we don't think superannuation is for housing - we think it is for retirement and we don't want to see superannuation undermined.


FULLERTON: Jim Chalmers, thank you very much.