25 March 2015
Transcript - #2015059, 2015

Doorstop interview

TREASURER:

Questions?

REPORTER:

Mr Hockey, are you confident of overcoming the Cabinet divisions on joining the AIIB?

TREASURER:

There are no Cabinet divisions.

REPORTER:

[Inaudible] already signed or signed off by Cabinet?

TREASURER:

No final decisions have been made.

REPORTER:

Treasurer, what do you think about Andrew Forrest’s suggestion of the effective creation of a cartel of iron ore producers across the world?

TREASURER:

We’re not very supportive of cartels at all.

REPORTER:

Wouldn’t that give the Government extra revenue though?

TREASURER:

Yes, but it’s important that we continue to believe, as we always have as Liberals, in the free markets. And yes, I am as concerned of the falling iron ore price as anyone else. I am meeting with Rio and speak regularly to other iron ore producers.

REPORTER:

So, is the answer to his concerns – I know that you would also like a higher iron ore price – but is the answer, perhaps, shifting more and more – you talked about the Indian [inaudible]

TREASURER:

Look, the first shipment of iron ore went from BHP to India just a few months ago. It wasn’t heralded but it was a big event. The lack of infrastructure in India means it’s hard to get those shipments over there. So, anything we can do to help to build port infrastructure in India with the Indian Government through any international [inaudible] is actually going to be to our great advantage. This is where, if we contribute a bit, we can get a lot. That’s certainly at the forefront of our thoughts about signing the MoU for the Asian [inaudible].

REPORTER:

Mr Hockey, if there are no Cabinet divisions, why has it taken so long – almost to the deadline, for Australia to sign?

TREASURER:

Because we have wanted to be reassured that appropriate corporate governance principles are in place. Now, we’ve been in discussions with the Chinese Government, but also, as I said just there, we’ve been in discussions with other countries and Finance Ministers - I have been speaking to all the way along, and various people have sought reassurances that it will be a transparent and open international financial institution and we’re very close.

REPORTER:

Mr Hockey, have you settled on – should we join – what our contribution would be [inaudible]

TREASURER:

Well, it depends so much on who else joins. Understand this: it would be a case of signing the MoU first, and if they accept us and the United Kingdom and all the other countries as well, then we’ll all be at the table and then you can work out, on the basis of the size of the total economy of those who are members, how much their contribution would be. Look, I live in hope that we can convince other countries to join as well if the right governance principles are put in place.

REPORTER:

[Inaudible] pensioners be confident that in this year’s Budget there will be no adverse changes to pensions that will [inaudible]

TREASURER:

Of course, we’re not looking to have adverse changes at all to pensions.

REPORTER:

Treasurer, do you think that the AIIB would be an investor in Australian projects?

TREASURER:

We’ll wait and see. We’ll wait and see.