13 May 2015
Transcript - #2015110, 2015

Interview with Jonesy & Amanda, WSFM 101.7, Sydney

AMANDA:

Treasurer, hello. 

TREASURER:

Good morning.  How are you? 

JONESY:

How are you going, Joe? 

AMANDA:

Are you trying to seduce us, Joe?  This time you’re all softy, touchy, feely, don’t worry about the deficit. 

TREASURER:

No, no, no, no, no, no, no.  We’ve still got work to do and we still have savings to be made, which we’re doing.  But we want Australians to go out and have a go, and particularly small businesses and tradies.  They’re the people that are going to drive the economy and create the jobs.  And what we’ve said is if they buy anything that helps to build their business up to $20,000, they can write it off against their tax liability on the 1st of July.  And that’s a great incentive to go out and have a go. 

JONESY:

Well, people seem to like your Budget.  There will always be people that complain about your Budget.  In your history of following Budgets, has anyone ever said unanimously, “What a great Budget.”  This is [inaudible]…

TREASURER:

No.  There’s no nirvana.  And, frankly, you want to have scrutiny.  I mean, it’s appropriate because it’s the tax payers’ money.  And you’ve got to be careful and prudent with tax payers’ money.  But, no, what we want to do is put in place the mechanisms that are going to create jobs.  I mean, that’s – it is an exciting world we have before us.  You’re seeing this massive growth in Asia where we can export our socks off.  And you’re seeing businesses emerge today that, you know, were just small businesses years ago like Facebook and Airbnb and Uber and others, who are changing the way we do business.  Those Australian equivalents are there.  They’re there.  We’ve just got to give them a go, give them a chance.  And that’s exactly what this Budget does. 

AMANDA:

Is this the Budget you should’ve released a year ago?  It was so harshly received that there’s speculation, of course, that this is a Budget that’s designed to save Tony Abbott’s job and save your job too. 

TREASURER:

Well, we couldn’t do it last year.  We couldn’t do it because we inherited a Budget that was facing $123 billion of deficits.  We got it down…

AMANDA:

But now you’re saying the deficit doesn’t matter. 

TREASURER:

Well, no, no.  I’m not saying that at all.  My gosh, I’m not saying that at all.  We’ve reduced it to $82 billion over four years.  But there’s still more work to be done.  And at the same time, you know, you want to grow the economy.  You want to create more jobs and greater prospects, people hope, given the opportunity to get ahead.  Now, the world economy is improving compared to last year and certainly we think we’ve seen the worst of the falling iron ore prices.  At the same time, we’re seeing record low interest rates, lower electricity prices flow through because we got rid of the carbon tax.  You’re seeing housing construction as you guys know in Sydney, massive increase in housing construction.  Retail trade is increasing again.  So we’re seeing some real momentum in the economy and big infrastructure which we announced last year through prudent savings we’re actually rolling out.  Things like WestConnex, the airport in Western Sydney, a whole new roads program.  These are the things that are changing the nature of our economy and they’re building. 

JONESY:

Well, I’m not one to tell you your job, Joe.  But, like, I’m just going through the Budget notes here, commemorative flagpole for the good people of Bathurst, $250,000.  I’m just – I was just on eBay.  I was just having a look here and, look at this, eBay, $60.  You get a flagpole for $60.  And what about this one, 4.5 metre flagpole kit with Australian flag, made in Australia, $78 plus $17 postage and handling. 

TREASURER:

Wow. 

JONESY:

Do you guys to go eBay for this stuff?  Because, really, $250,000.  That’s a lot for a flagpole. 

AMANDA:

That’s a bit steep for a flagpole. 

TREASURER:

Yeah.  Well, maybe it is a very big flagpole.  I don’t know. 

JONESY:

Well, how big is it? 

AMANDA:

It’s seen from the moon.

TREASURER:

I’m standing outside Parliament House and I’m looking at a very big flagpole.  So [inaudible]…

JONESY:

I’m just thinking, have you thought about going on eBay for stuff?  Because there’s a lot of infrastructure we could sell.  You know, you put no timewasters and it’d be great. 

AMANDA:

Buy back a monorail. 

TREASURER:

I don’t – yeah, that’s right.  I don’t want to give eBay a plug, but I actually do buy stuff on eBay from time to time.  But not on the taxpayers’ account [inaudible]…

AMANDA:

Do you do what Jonesy does, Joe, and sit up late at night after you’ve had a few glasses of red and make stupid purchases? 

TREASURER:

No, no.  That doesn’t do it for me after a few glasses of red [inaudible]…

AMANDA:

Well, look, you had your budget smugglers on last night.  How are you feeling this morning? 

TREASURER:

Well, yeah, good.  I’m – you know, it’s actually a sunny day even though it’s really cold in Canberra.  And, look, you know, I’m very optimistic about Australia’s future.  I think we’ve turned the corner as a nation and we’re coming through the difficulties we’ve faced in the past and our future is really bright. 

JONESY:

Well, the fact little kids want to get – you know, teenagers want to get selfies taken with you.  So that’s got to be a good thing. 

AMANDA:

Because of the flagpole. 

TREASURER:

That’s right.  Well, you know, it can always go wrong when you have people come up and spontaneously say something.  I love mixing with people.  I mean, that’s my nature.  And so I’m certainly going to be getting out as soon as I can from the building. 

AMANDA:

Look out for the eggings. 

JONESY:

That sounds terrible. 

AMANDA:

Don’t stand…

JONESY:

I’m going to get out as soon as I can. 

AMANDA:

Don’t stand next to a kid holding a milkshake, would be my advice. 

JONESY:

Keep away from kids and milkshakes. 

TREASURER:

Yeah. 

JONESY:

And if someone puts a brown paper bag on your door on fire, don’t stamp on it.  Okay. 

TREASURER:

Right.  Okay.  Okay.  That’s all good advice.  I’ll think about it. 

JONESY:

And that could be Bill Shorten.  If you see Bill Shorten running away, don’t step on it. 

TREASURER:

Well, I’ll make sure when I walk away I’ll walk in zigzags. 

JONESY:

That’s exactly it.  Joe Hockey, thank you. 

AMANDA:

Thank you. 

TREASURER:

Thanks a lot, guys.  Have a great day. 

JONESY:

Our Treasurer there, Joe Hockey.  It’s 8:27.