18 December 2014
Transcript - #2014144, 2014

Interview with David Koch, Sunrise

DAVID KOCH:

Treasurer Joe Hockey joins us now. Joe, you also sit on the National Security Committee. This review of what went on here in Martin Place this week – has the National Security Committee put a time limit on when we will get answers?

TREASURER:

The combined review will come back by, I think, just before Australia Day – the 25th of January. Kochie, I can say to you, throughout the process, there was close liaison with Mike Baird, with Police Commissioner Scipione. We were in video conferences with them. Everyone wants to get to the bottom of it.

DAVID KOCH:

But everyone is saying this bloke was on Centrelink payments for a number of years; debate over whether he had a gun licence or not. Islamic leaders saying, ‘hey, we have been dobbing him in for years now’. Authorities haven't had the power to deal with him and the other tens of people who are worse than him, who are walking around our society. Do we need stronger laws in this area? Do we need more money to go [inaudible] watch list? What is ASIO doing with all this dough we give them?

TREASURER:

They are good questions. We have just given our security agencies, a few months back, over $600 million more for policing these sort of people. In the first meeting of the National Security Committee, the Prime Minister started asking these questions of ASIO and others. I was there with the Prime Minister in the middle of a Cabinet meeting when he got the note about the siege in Sydney. He was incredibly calm; he was focused. He then said, ‘Look, we are going to have to adjourn to have the National Security Committee meet immediately.’ He then informed the National Security Committee of what was happening and then we brought in the best people to give us advice. That's what you've got to do – be methodical.

DAVID KOCH:

But it sounds as though we just don't have the resources at grassroots to track these guys?

TREASURER:

There are a lot of good questions. I mean, how we missed him is a source of immense frustration to us, particularly given that we have given more resources to our security agencies, and also because at a state level, I know Mike Baird and Commissioner Scipione have done everything they can as well. We have got to get lessons out of this.

DAVID KOCH:

Absolutely.

TREASURER:

I think they have got to be very public about the lessons.

DAVID KOCH:

Good, glad they will be public. We will talk about those when the report comes out. Now, Budget matters now – blowout, $40 billion this year. But during the announcement, you seemed to have back flipped on this promise to crack down on multinational corporations avoiding tax?

TREASURER:

That is just complete rubbish.

DAVID KOCH:

[Inaudible] Look how passionate you are.

TREASURER:

I am. That is just straight out of one newspaper that is just completely fabricating the whole thing. We are cracking down hard on multinationals that are not paying their tax in Australia. The previous Government made an announcement that would have penalised Australian companies that want to expand offshore.

DAVID KOCH:

Let's forget the previous Government. So, you haven't done a backflip, though?

TREASURER:

No, no.

DAVID KOCH:

So you are not watering down the proposed laws?

TREASURER:

No, no, completely not. In fact, we are much harder. I just emphasise, because it needs to be said, right? The criticism of me is that I haven't upheld what the previous Government announced. That's the criticism. I am saying that that is untrue because what they were doing was going to penalise Australian companies that go offshore. Now, we don't want to harm Australian companies that expand offshore.

DAVID KOCH:

But international companies here, who are avoiding the tax – still cracking down?

TREASURER:

Absolutely, we have got people embedded in their businesses right now.

DAVID KOCH:

You've got a Budget deficit problem – $40 billion, commodity prices dropping. Good to see the Australian dollar dropping, hopefully to help exporters. OECD is urging you to lift the GST to 15 per cent.  Is that on the cards?

TREASURER:

No.

DAVID KOCH:

Why?

TREASURER:

Because, they are not looking at the full picture. If you increase the GST, you need to compensate middle and low-income Australians with significant tax cuts. We haven’t got the financial capacity to do that at the moment. Also, I don't think it is the right time at all to increase prices for Australians. I think they have got enough pressure on family budgets as it stands. Therefore, we should not be increasing the GST. We said we have no plans and we will not be increasing the GST and if we are – if we were to change that, we would take it to an election.

DAVID KOCH:

Okay. Joe Hockey, good to see you.

TREASURER:

Good to see you, Kochie, Chris. Kochie.

DAVID KOCH:

Did you have your staff Christmas party last night and have a bit of a hangover as well?

TREASURER:

It's Christmas – Chris – Christmas. You know what I mean.

DAVID KOCH:

Nat.