Sunrise Interview 13/05/24

13 May 2024



MONDAY, 13 MAY 2024


NATALIE BARR: The Treasurer is set to announce the Government might finally have a handle on inflation, with Treasury forecasts suggesting it will return to the target by the end of the year. Jim Chalmers will release his third budget tomorrow, which will include the forecast of a rapid fall in inflation hitting that 2 to 3 per cent target by December. This is in contrast to the RBA's projections that inflation will remain higher until the end of 2025. For more I'm joined by Environment Minister, Tanya Plibersek, and Nationals MP, Barnaby Joyce. Good morning to both of you.




BARR: Tanya, so the RBA's forecast inflation will remain high until the end of next year. The Treasurer's saying, "We can do it a year ahead." How do you think he can do that?


MINISTER PLIBERSEK, MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND WATER: Well, the RBA's forecast didn't take into account what's happening in this Budget, and the whole focus of this Budget is to keep the pressure off inflation while helping families. We know that people are doing tough, we know that it's not mission accomplished. We came into government with inflation running at above 6 per cent, we've got it down to 3.6 per cent now, and we're hoping to get it down to that target rate of between 2 and 3 per cent by the end of the year. That's what Treasury's forecasting.


BARR: Barnaby, do you think the Government can achieve that?


JOYCE: Well, haven't we heard this yarn before, on basically everything. Well, you've got to make a choice: do you think the RBA got it wrong with their PhDs and all their staff, and the Treasury got to right, and the Treasurer got it right, the Labor Party got it right?


BARR: Jim's a smart guy, isn't he?


JOYCE: The promises are falling to the ground. 


MINISTER PLIBERSEK: There's a few PhDs in Treasury too, Barnaby.


JOYCE: Like the promises are falling to the ground ‑ in politics, he's got a PhD in politics, not in economics. The promises are falling to the ground like the leaves in autumn. The question everybody's got to ask themselves is this.  it's their third budget. Is your life better now than it was when the Labor Party came into power? And I think the answer is quite simple. What you see now, their debt's about to go through $1 trillion, and what they always do, see, in a balance sheet you've got assets and liabilities ‑‑


MINISTER PLIBERSEK: Hang on a minute. Debt is peaking lower than you left.


JOYCE: Expenses and revenue, and they always pay ‑ spend money on the expenses, they never work out actually where they're going to make the money ‑‑


MINISTER PLIBERSEK: Debt will be lower under us.


JOYCE: ‑‑ they can never work that out. And what happens to you? Well, have a look at your grocery bill, have a look at your power bill, have a look at your cost of living and ask yourself, are you better off than you were three years ago? I think the answer is pretty simple.


BARR: And you know, if you like numbers ‑‑


MINISTER PLIBERSEK: I think the only question ‑‑


BARR: ‑‑ you'll find out when the Treasurer rises tomorrow night in Parliament to deliver the Parliament. Yes, Tanya.


MINISTER PLIBERSEK: And the other thing, of course, is on Thursday, Peter Dutton will have close to an hour to lay out his alternative economic policy. So will he spend more; will he cut more; where are the nuclear reactors going to go and how much are they going to cost?


JOYCE: Well, hang on.


MINISTER PLIBERSEK: He's going to have close to an hour to talk to the nation. ‑‑


JOYCE: Why are you talking about us, you're the Government. Talk about yourself. Why are you talking ‑‑


MINISTER PLIBERSEK: No, no, I'm just saying we're a year out from an election, Barnaby ‑‑


JOYCE: Why are you talking about us? You're the Government. You're going to be in budget tomorrow night, Tanya.


MINISTER PLIBERSEK: We don't know anything about what Peter Dutton is planning. ‑‑


JOYCE: Talk about Jim's great budget.


BARR: Okay, we just had the ING guy say it's going to be a spicy budget. I think we're already starting on Monday. We'll move on to another topic. Parliament's set to vote on anti‑siphoning laws to protect sport on free‑to‑air TV. Here's what Anthony Albanese told us here on Sunrise in the lead‑up to the last election. Take a listen.




ANTHONY ALBANESE: We think there needs stronger anti‑siphoning laws. Australians rely upon free‑to‑air TV such as what we're talking on right now, Kochie. This is something that's available for all Australians. So we need to protect free‑to‑air TV.


[End of Excerpt]


BARR: Right now the bill only addresses broadcast TV. Many Aussies get their content, we know, through apps and on their mobiles. Tanya, will your government commit to amending the law to make sure people can watch the sports they love for free if they are streaming via the Internet, or if they don't have ‑ basically if they watch it on an app, or if they don't have an aerial.


MINISTER PLIBERSEK: Well, these are the laws that have been negotiated carefully with the free‑to‑air TV stations and other stakeholders. We absolutely want to make sure that Australians can watch their sport for free. So as well as making sure that free‑to‑air TV has the first right of refusal of those big events like the NRL Grand Final, we're also saying when TVs are sold they should have those free‑to‑air apps pre‑loaded so that people can find free‑to‑air TV more easily. This is the set of laws that the Opposition supports, and we think we've got the balance right here.


BARR: Yeah. The free‑to‑air TV stations, all of them, want to make sure that they go far enough, then if you don't have an aerial, Barnaby, or if you are watching it on an app, that sport is free. What do you say?


JOYCE: Well, I say this, if the Labor Party had spent more time on this rather than The Voice, you might have this legislation through. They still support something they talked about three years ago and it hasn't happened.


If we don't have a vibrant Fourth Estate, free‑to‑air Fourth Estate, we don't have democracy, because it's only people, I hate to say it, like the ABC, Channel 7, News Corp, Sydney Morning Herald, Channel 9, that actually do the investigative journalism so people like myself and Tanya can ‑ you can keep an eye on us.


There's no ‑ there's no journalist in your local town, your local suburb from Netflix or Stan or Binge, and if you want journalists to dig town to how your nation works, you've got to make sure that those enterprises make money, and if they don't have free‑to‑air sport, they're not going to make money.  So it's really important that we be able to watch the NRL Grand Final, and I'll be really frank about this, as an accountant, it's really important that you make money, otherwise we're just going to go, "Well, I think the Government's doing the right thing with the Budget, but I don't know because there's no journalists around anymore".


BARR: Tanya, as I understand it, this only applies ‑ the policy at the moment only applies if you have an aerial. What if you're watching through an app, can your government guarantee that you will get free sport if you're watching without an aerial or through an app?


MINISTER PLIBERSEK: Look, I think the way it will work is that the free‑to‑air TV stations will buy it, and then they'll continue to also have the availability of streaming of on their apps, so my understanding is that that's taken care of, but this is, as I say, being very carefully negotiated with the free‑to‑air TV stations and with other stakeholders; it has the support of the opposition. We think we've got the balance right.


BARR: I think the free‑to‑air stations, Seven, Nine and Ten, are saying this doesn't go far enough, that it's not talking it to people who are looking through the app. And what if American stations, or you know, overseas companies buy the sport gobble it up and then people will then have to pay; I think that's the problem.


MINISTER PLIBERSEK: Yeah, well, I think we've got the ‑‑


JOYCE: Where's the aerial?


MINISTER PLIBERSEK: ‑‑ balance right after a lot of negotiation.


BARR: You're guaranteeing that?


MINISTER PLIBERSEK: Barnaby, what do you mean "Where's the aerial?"


JOYCE: You haven't got anything right; you haven't done anything.


MINISTER PLIBERSEK: Do you mean "Who's still got an aerial"?


JOYCE: You haven't done anything, Tanya.


MINISTER PLIBERSEK: Well then, why do you support the laws then, Barnaby?


JOYCE: How can you have it right? You haven't done anything.


MINISTER PLIBERSEK: The Opposition supports this.


JOYCE: It's like ‑ you haven't done anything.


MINISTER PLIBERSEK: Well, what are you complaining about? I thought you supported these ‑‑


JOYCE: It's just a vacuous statement ‑‑


BARR: Tanya, can you guarantee that people will have free sport if they're watching through an app?


MINISTER PLIBERSEK: Look, that's really a question for Michelle Rowland, the Communications Minister.

BARR: Okay. Okay, we'll leave it there, thank you very much. We'll see you next week.