By Tanya Plibersek

07 October 2020





SUBJECTS: Federal Budget; university fee hikes.

DAVID KOCH, HOST: For their take, we're joined by Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce plus Shadow Minister for Education and Training, Tanya Plibersek and independent MP Zali Steggall. Good morning to you. Barnaby, is it overly optimistic to assume a vaccine will be ready in time?
BARNABY JOYCE, MEMBER FOR NEW ENGLAND: It's an assumption and that's what you base budgets on and what is not overly optimistic is the $2,500 which most people will be getting in tax cuts, over about $5,500 for families. What isn't overly optimistic is the instant asset right off new prime mover, new driver, new excavator, new miner, new welder, new tradesperson. These things are part of making sure an economy is able to manage the $1.7 billion gross debt $1.1 million net debt, which of course we can't resile from.
KOCH: Tanya your view? I think the forecast is that if we don't get a vaccine next year it will add another $55 billion.
TANYA PLIBERSEK, SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING: I think this budget’s a bit like the Christmas present you get when you're a kid and you rip off the paper, you're really excited, and then you read “batteries not included”, because for a trillion dollars of debt, you'd expect a bit more bang for your buck. We'll have another 160,000 people unemployed by Christmas. Workers over the age of 35 don't get any support to get that job. There's nothing in here for schools or TAFE. They're still doubling the cost of going to university. So as usual with this Government, the marketing's dialled up to 11, but you've got to read the fine print.
KOCH: Zali?
ZALI STEGGALL: Look you just have to listen to Barnaby's list of what he thinks, you know, the business write-off. These are all male dominated things that they're focused on. Clearly no one around the table as had to juggle the cost of childcare and the decision of 'can I afford to go back to work?' childcare, women, biggest losers in this budget. We know women over forty five makeup 56 per cent of people on JobSeeker – before the coronavirus virus hit – so that number has only grown and there is nothing in this budget that will help those women.
KOCH: Barnaby?
JOYCE: Zali do you think that women don't have businesses? I mean, I think that's a bit of an insult. But both Zali and Tanya said the same thing. They want us to borrow more money. They don't think the $1.7 trillion gross debt is enough.
PLIBERSERK: No, we want you to spend it better Barnaby. It's not about borrowing more, it's about spending it better.
JOYCE:  They want us to borrow more money. You've just said you wanted more money for child care more money for people over 30.
STEGGALL: No Barnaby we want less money for the professions that you want. The reality is there are so many women out there - you have a young family Barnaby. How are you going with the juggle of the cost of childcare and the decisions to go back to work? There are so many women over the age of 35 that are now going to find themselves in competition with younger workers to be able to go to work.
JOYCE: I'll tell you what Zali, it's my responsibility to pay for it, not my grandkids and your grandkids and your great-grandkids. We shouldn't be lumbering them up at the cost of your childcare or my childcare to be quite frank.
STEGGALL: Well hang on a minute Barnaby, if you can make tax deductible business assets, why isn't childcare tax deductible for working for families.
JOYCE: Because we're trying to get people employed. We've got massive unemployment.
STEGGALL: Because you are picking and choosing winners. You picking and choosing what you want to support.
JOYCE: We're not, we're getting trainees into jobs, we're basically subsidizing their wages. We're giving employers the capacity to pay, to getting a $200 subsidy to take someone on if they're over 30 to 35 to 35, $100. We are trying to get people employed Zali and one of the ways to get people employed is to get your capital base-
PLIBERSEK: But Barnaby nothing for those over the age of 35. We've got a million people who are unemployed who don't qualify. We've got a million people who don't qualify for this assistance. And Barnaby the tax cuts that you're talking about, those same people will lose $300 a fortnight from JobKeeper. So the same people who get $50 a fortnight as a tax cut lose $300 a fortnight from JobKeeper. We want to see extra money in people's pockets, because when they have extra money in their pocket they go out and spend it.
STEGGALL: Barnaby is just doing a Trump, and speaking over people...
PLIBERSEK: Because when they have extra money in their pocket they go out and spend it.
KOCH: Let me speak over all three of you and say Tanya, to your point let's focus on the JobMaker wage credit for new employees under 35. Earlier on Sunrise the Prime Minister defended the exclusion of those over 35 who could find themselves at risk of losing jobs to younger workers, have a look: 
[Audio clip]
KOCH: Yeah Tanya, 928,000 over 35s are currently on unemployment benefits. That's the point you're making is it? And what kind of message is a PM said then?
PLIBERSEK: Well, it is almost a million who are over the age of 35. We want to see help for them. They're going to they're going to snap back to $40 a day of unemployment benefits. No one can live on that, and it's not good for our economy because those people don't have money in their pocket to spend creating jobs for other people, but it's also the fact that the Liberals are doubling the cost of going to university and there's nothing for TAFEs of schools in this. So we want to train our workforce so that they're ready for that...
JOYCE: That's not right.
PLIBERSEK: Well, it's true Barnaby. It is true.
JOYCE: It's not right because what you're doing it you're being selective...
PLIBERSEK: You should actually read the Job Ready Graduates Bill...
JOYCE: Not if you're doing agriculture, not if you're doing STEM subjects, you are being, taking a particular section, but I can assure you in other areas...
PLIBERSEK: Oh okay, I should say 40 per cent of students will have the cost of uni go to $58,000 for four years. American, American high university debts. Who wants to have  $58,000 debt?
JOYCE: Tanya first. Well, that's a different answer from what you first gave. Your first answer was misleading, then you're doubling it for everyone. And secondly, what we are doing is making sure that STEM subjects, which are going to drive the economy...
PLIBERSEK: You're only doubling it for 40 per cent of people? That’s not a strong argument Barnaby.
JOYCE: What we're looking for... You're going to need the people even if you ever become the government to pay the debt back.
KOCH: Zali?
STEGGALL: Yes,  look it's very hard. All I can hear is a lot of crossing to and fro. There's clearly there's winners and losers in this budget of course tax cut will be really effective for people doing it tough in the sense that they have jobs, but we do have to focus on those that have lost jobs. So the Prime Minister saying look for everyone over 35, he feels that they've held their job with JobKeeper, the reality is casuals haven't. A lot of women are in casual employment and have not been able to access JobKeeper and so in that situation they now find themselves where that is going to, JobSeekers going to go down, their tax cuts are only going to be effective for people with jobs. I welcome that. I support that but there needs to be more. There is no ambition in this budget. There's no vision for what Australia can be. There is nothing towards a green recovery and jobs of the future.
JOYCE: Okay, businesses provide jobs, not governments. We have to get businesses are going. This is about.
KOCH: All right team will have to leave it there, we've run out of time. Appreciate your turning up on Sunrise today.