4 June 2015
Transcript - #2015139, 2015

Doorstop interview, Canberra

QUESTION:

Treasurer what do you say to claims that you shouldn’t be taking credit for the GDP figures we saw yesterday, because it’s due to factors beyond your control?

TREASURER:

Well, people are entitled to their opinion. I’m not taking credit, I think the Australian people should take credit for a strong economy and being part of an economic plan that is being implemented, and we’re following through. Getting the free trade agreements up and running, getting rid of the carbon tax, the mining tax, removing 50,000 pages of red tape and regulation, it all adds up, all adds up.

QUESTION:

Treasurer, what do you make of the use of words like fools and clowns to describe economic doomsday sayers, when in fact it was language like that that the Government itself has used in the past comparing Australia to Greece and also saying that there’s a debt and deficit disaster. Is this kind of language dangerous?

TREASURER:

Well, the most dangerous language you can use at the moment is to start talking about dark clouds on the horizon for the economy or recession, and there have been a number of commentators that have been using that sort of language and they’re totally foolish. In the last three months we had the fastest growing economy in the G7 and one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

QUESTION:

But the Government itself was economic doomsday sayers last year, saying that we had economic problems to take on that were urgent?

TREASURER:

Well of course we did, and we’ve been tackling them, and that’s one of the reasons why in the first three months of this year we’ve had one of the fastest growing economies in the developed world.

QUESTION:

Treasurer, you asked your department to cost how much GST was being collected on sanitary products for women, have you had those figures come back?

TREASURER:

I have and I’ll be sending that data to the state Treasurers.

QUESTION:

Can you tell us how much it is?

TREASURER:

Not at the moment.

QUESTION:

Why not?

TREASURER:

Because I want to provide the information to the state Treasurers directly. I’d love to do it through the media, but I think it’s best to send the information directly to them at this point.

QUESTION:

Doesn’t the public have a right to know how much tax could be taken out of the mix?

TREASURER:

Yes they do and I’m sure they will in due course.

QUESTION:

Can you make sure that the small business package will be the first thing the Senate looks at when it gets back?

TREASURER:

Well, we certainly want it to go through as quickly as possible when the Senate returns. I expect – I don’t set the Senate agenda, but I expect it will be the first package that will be dealt with by the Senate, and that will be the real test for Bill Shorten. He laid on the stunts yesterday, but the fundamental challenge is, is he going to send it off to a committee, or is he going to delay the passage in the Senate? Because we want it to go through in the Senate as quickly as possible.

QUESTION:

Treasurer, for the small business asset write-off, we’ve had a lot of emails from art galleries saying you can buy art and use this as an asset write-off. Is that what you are intending this [inaudible] for?

TREASURER:

Well, if you can depreciate art at the moment, when it’s on public display and as part of your furnishings in an office, then the same principles apply. What we’re doing – you’ve got to understand, depreciation occurs at any rate on particular items. So under our proposal, what you do is you get depreciation in an accelerated fashion, so you get your money back quicker, which means that you can then go and reinvest in other things that help to create jobs.

QUESTION:

Art doesn’t necessarily depreciate is what you’re saying? [inaudible]

TREASURER:

No, art depreciates over time. The schedule is exactly the same [inaudible]. In the Tax Act there is a depreciation schedule, in the Tax Act, which is very lengthy. The complexity associated with depreciation is alleviated by the fact that we’re saying up to $20,000 you can depreciate [inaudible].

QUESTION:

How does art help a business run?

TREASURER:

Well apparently people are employed in the art industry.

QUESTION:

Treasurer, who exactly are the clowns and the fools you’re talking about, who are you talking about [inaudible]?

TREASURER:

I think you can just have a look around, you can just have a look around…

QUESTION:

Can you name [inaudible] who you’re referring to?

TREASURER:

Well…

QUESTION:

Name and shame Treasurer.

TREASURER:

Yeah, name and shame [laughter]. No I think your forensic powers could meet the challenge here.

QUESTION:

But I’d like you to explain it to me though?

TREASURER:

Have a look at the front pages of newspapers, have a look at website articles, yesterday even. Look, I’ll leave it at that. I think the numbers speak loudly. The Australian economy is doing well, it’s doing well. So let’s look at that opportunity and let’s look at the raw numbers which state the Australian economy is strengthening.