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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 40341

Interview with David Koch, Sunrise

Photo of Turnbull, Malcolm

Turnbull, Malcolm

Period of Service: 15/09/2015 to 24/08/2018

More information about Turnbull, Malcolm on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 04/05/2016

Release Type: Transcript

Transcript ID: 40341

Location: Canberra

DAVID KOCH: I'm joined now by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who is out selling the Budget this morning. Morning, welcome.

PRIME MINISTER: Great to see you.

DAVID KOCH: Now we’re going to get sick and tired of this jobs and growth mantra you’re under.

PRIME MINISTER: I don't think anyone will get sick and tired of having a better job, a higher paid job and stronger economic growth.

DAVID KOCH: But where are the jobs and the growth, because unemployment in the Budget papers will only fall slightly and economic growth will be still a bit sluggish around that 2.5% mark.

PRIME MINISTER: Well we’ve had strong growth last year and we’ve had strong jobs growth, with over 300,000 jobs created last year, 26,000 jobs created in March – so we are seeing strong jobs growth and it’s right across the economy, particularly in the services sector. You were in China with me and 1,000 other Australian business people and you saw the big opportunities opening up those markets has done for Australians right across the country. So, the Budget, a long-term plan, an economic plan for jobs and growth, making sure the tax system is sustainable and ensuring that we move to a balanced budget. We bring those deficits down, as you see we’re doing so that we live within our means.

DAVID KOCH: OK, just speaking of those deficits, because each budget over the last couple of years we’ve seen this plan to bring it down. It still seems to be stuck at this high level though, even though the predictions have been saying it will be dropping even by now – it’s not.

PRIME MINISTER: Well, it will – it is set to drop, as you know, over 4 years to come from around $39 billion in the current year, 37 – coming down to 6.

DAVID KOCH: We were told that as well, two years ago.

PRIME MINISTER: Well there have been a lot of changes you know, a big collapse in iron ore prices. There are a lot of parameters that we can't control. Iron ore prices, the global economy but the ones we can control, spending, tax, that's what we’re getting our arms around and you can see this is a long-term plan, an economic plan for growth and jobs. Every single measure in that budget, whether it's the youth, the path program to get young people into employment, to get them into the habit of being employed, to introduce them to employers, many of whom will take them up for long-term employment. Right through there up to the business tax cuts, making sure that multinationals pay their share of tax. Making sure that they pay the tax. The law says they should. All of that is designed to ensure that we get stronger economic growth and more and better and better paid jobs in the future.

DAVID KOCH: You’re really putting everything on small business owners to get out there and hire and build your business.

PRIME MINISTER: Well, they move faster than big business. That's why we prioritised them. Small business is more agile. It's more dynamic. That is where you see the strongest growth, the growth in jobs, sooner and we back enterprising Australians, we back that entrepreneurship – those Australians who have a go, take a risk, borrow some money, get on and invest and hire people – they’re the ones that are creating the strong jobs growth, even though we’ve seen a big downturn in the mining construction boom.

DAVID KOCH: Alright, okay, small business is clearly a winner last night. Top end of town - a bit of budget cut. They’re going to lose the extra Medicare levy to plug the budget deficit, so they’re winners as well. Average Australian families are saying to us this morning, what’s in it for us? There’s really nothing there. You haven't helped us. There’s no more welfare. There’s no changes to tax benefits for us.

PRIME MINISTER: Well, there’s stronger economic growth, Kochie. I mean, that is what it's all about. Ensuring that your kids and your grandkids are going to have great jobs in the future. Ensuring that you've got the advantage of a stronger economy, 26,000 jobs in March. Many of those jobs are right in that category you talk about in you know middle Australia, lower and middle income earners. So a stronger economy ensures everybody benefits.

DAVID KOCH: So you’re saying, “No handouts but hey the environment for you to work and get ahead yourself is there?”

PRIME MINISTER: Well Australians know they have to live within their means. They live within their means within their own household budgets. We know that the Budget is in deficit – we know we’ve got to bring that deficit down. This is a time for a careful national economic plan that is designed to ensure and will deliver stronger economic growth and more and better jobs and every measure in the Budget is calculated, is designed to do that. Whether it is the youth, the path program to get young people into employment or whether it is providing incentives for business in terms of the lower tax rates we just described on the show here.

DAVID KOCH: We had a uni student on earlier saying, “Hey, the Budget shows you’re going to rip $2 billion out of unis.” What’s it going to do for your price of university degrees, because there’s really no detail in the Budget of any changes at all apart from the fact that $2 billion is going come out. Where from?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, as you know what Simon Birmingham is doing, is consulting with the sector – we postponed the changes that have been proposed – he’s consulting with the sector. We do have to live within our means and I think it is fair for students to make a greater contribution. It is fair for universities to have more flexibility but how that will be designed is something that Simon is working on with the sector.

DAVID KOCH: So you’ll wait until after the election basically for details on that?

PRIME MINISTER: Well to finalise that, that's right he’s working on that, because the legislation that we proposed, as you know, was unable to be passed through the Parliament.

DAVID KOCH: Alright. A lot of the newspapers headlines are saying, it’s a bit of a dull Budget. You know, where’s the excitement in it? Because we all thought you would bring that big vision, that big excitement, the big changes.

PRIME MINISTER: Well, what I’m bringing, what my Government is bringing, what Scott Morrison was delivering last night is a plan for jobs and growth. I think that's exciting but everyone’s got their own views on it but let me say this, this is the biggest reform to superannuation in many, many years.


PRIME MINISTER: Well over a decade. The BCA described the changes to business tax, the biggest changes to business tax in more than a decade. So, these are substantial tax reforms but these are reforms that are designed not for the short term, not for an election – they’re designed for the long-term, to ensure that we continue to get that successful, economic transition from an economy that was fired up by a mining construction boom to one that enables us to live within our means, have a sustainable tax system but above all, drive that economic growth and jobs upon which our futures and those of our children and grandchildren depend.

DAVID KOCH: You talk about China - and it is important. Chris Richardson from Deloitte is saying, "Look good budget for business but it really does depend on small business hiring staff and China." How confident are you our biggest trading partner will continue to grow strongly enough that our commodity prices will stay at these levels or a bit higher and we can still enjoy the benefits of that relationship?

PRIME MINISTER: I’m confident about the China growth story. The demand for commodities has obviously changed. They’re not building as much infrastructure, they’re not using as much steel or their not, their growth in use of steel is not as high as it used to be but the big change in China and you saw it up there in Shanghai when we were there together, is that they’re moving more money, more money is going into the pockets of households. It’s moving to a more consumption-led economy. That's why you’re seeing such enormous demand for Australian services, for tourism, for education and of course food.

DAVID KOCH: The Chinese population’s getting richer.


DAVID KOCH: So instead of buying iron ore – they’ll come and see us here in Australia as a tourist. Or send their kids to be educated here?

PRIME MINISTER: Yeah but above all, they want to buy Australian food. We have a clean green image, deservedly and you’re seeing fantastic exports from right across the country. The farmers in Australia haven't had as good a time as this for a long time in terms of exports. You know we face all of the challenges of drought and flood and fire and as you do in Australia but what we’re seeing now is really strong demand out of those markets and remember, remember it was our Government that opened them up. Andrew Robb did that deal and that is a big pillar. That's one of the foundations of our strong economic plan for our future.

DAVID KOCH: We haven't had a recession here in almost 26 years – remarkable - both sides of politics have done a great job to actually get us through that. Can you see an economic recession any time in the future? What are the biggest threats to us?

PRIME MINISTER: Well leaving aside, Assuming we are re-elected in the election later this year, I see a strong, continued strong economic growth and the reason for that is we have a good national economic plan. Every measure of which is designed to drive stronger growth and jobs and you know, you give business, you give enterprises the incentive they need, whether it’s to hire young people, trial young interns or whether it’s to invest in their own businesses. Borrow money, hire people, invest, do all that, you will see continued growth. Now, there are plenty of challenges. That's why it's important to back enterprising Australians, back that entrepreneurship, because that is where the jobs and growth will come from.

DAVID KOCH: Okay. Have you booked a car to go down the road this weekend? To call the election, visit the Governor-General?

PRIME MINISTER: I think your timing’s pretty accurate. We’ll await events but I can assure you there’ll be an election on the 2nd of July.

DAVID KOCH: Okay, so it will mean this weekend?

PRIME MINISTER: Well this weekend is looking pretty good I would say yes.

DAVID KOCH: Okay. Alright we’ll watch out for that.

Alright, I want you to look straight down the camera there for an elevator pitch to the Australian public saying why is this budget good for them and vote for you.


This budget sets up Australia for strong economic growth in the future. It's a national economic plan. It combines with all of the measures we’ve put in place to ensure that we have the investment, the enterprise, the innovation, whether it's our defence industry plan, it's investment in infrastructure, business incentives, ensuring that everyone pays their fair share of tax. Ensuring our tax system is sustainable and above all ensuring that everything we deliver in health, in education and infrastructure is fully paid for and we live within our means. This is a plan that will ensure our children and our grandchildren enjoy the great opportunities these times offer them. This is a responsible economic plan for growth and for jobs.

DAVID KOCH: Okay, that's not bad off the cuff. Alright Bill Shorten will be doing the same later in the program.


DAVID KOCH: But enjoy the drive on the weekend to visit the Governor-General. Thanks for joining us.

PRIME MINISTER: Thank you very much, thank you.

Transcript 40341