SKY News, AM Agenda - Interview with Kieran Gilbert

Release Date: 
16 July 2015
Transcript

KIERAN GILBERT:
Let’s go live to the Prime Minister’s Parliamentary Secretary, Alan Tudge, as I said Alan Tudge, we’re standing by to go to Bill Shorten but in the meantime I want to ask you about a few issues quickly. The Greek Parliament, it’s approved and voted in favour of the third bailout after the referendum and all the negotiations, finally that vote taken, despite Jim Middleton reports this morning, the violence outside the Parliament, that vote taken, and as Alexis Tsipras had hoped.
ALAN TUDGE:
G’day Kieran, yes I’ve just heard that news as well and I think that’s an encouraging sign. Hopefully that will lead to some greater stability in Greece and across Europe, and that Greece can now provide a platform for greater economic growth and get themselves out of these difficulties that they’ve had.
KIERAN GILBERT:
Let’s look at the domestic issues that have dominated the last day or so- in fact the last few years really- in politics, and that is the carbon tax, the carbon price debate. You’re reaction to the events of the last few days, have we made too much of a discussion paper which basically which confirms in broad terms what Labor has said for some years now, that they will take a carbon price to the next election?
ALAN TUDGE:
I think there’s two things that have come out of the last couple of days Kieran. Firstly is we absolutely know for sure now, that the Labor Party intends to take a carbon tax to the next election. What that means is higher electricity prices again for Australian residents and greater pressure on our struggling manufacturers. That’s the first thing which we’ve learnt.
The second thing, which is equally as damaging, is that there is pressure within the Labor Party to destroy Bill Shorten’s opposition leadership. Now this was done for one intent only this leak, and that was to put maximum pressure on Bill Shorten. He’s already under pressure because of the union royal commission, he’s under pressure because he’s not performing in the polls, he’s under pressure because he’s still committed to appalling boat policies, and now there’s people who are trying to destroy him with this leak.

KIERAN GILBERT:
So you don’t see any difference between an emissions trading scheme and a fixed carbon tax?
ALAN TUDGE:
At the end of the day Kieran whether it’s a floating price or whether it’s a fixed price it’s a tax on emissions. That’s what it is, and bearing in mind, I refer back to the last carbon tax that Labor introduced, and yes it started as a fixed price then it moved to a floating price. That floating price was forecast to go all the way up to $350 per tonne in 2050, and that presumably is what Labor again has in store for us should they be re-elected.
KIERAN GILBERT:
In terms of the Government’s approach though, direct action, is paid through taxpayer dollars. You’d accept that there’s still a price to be paid? It’s not free.
ALAN TUDGE:
Kieran it’s not a slug on electricity, it’s not a slug on everyday residents, on everyday businesses. What it is, is a fund which through a market mechanism, purchases abatement at the lowest price and we’ve done that very efficiently already.
Already some 50 million tonnes of abatement have been purchased through the first auction alone, and it means we can reach our 2020 targets without having to put pressure on electricity prices, without having to make our manufacturers less competitive versus manufacturers from around the world.
That’s why our policy is working so well.
KIERAN GILBERT:
What about beyond 2020?
ALAN TUDGE:
Well let’s just take one step at a time…
KIERAN GILBERT:
Obviously the debate’s now about post-2020 heading into the Paris talks. How do you upscale it? How do you do that?
ALAN TUDGE:
Kieran, let’s just take one step at a time. We met our first Kyoto target without a carbon tax. We’re meeting our second Kyoto target without a carbon tax. We will meet our 2020 target without a carbon tax through our direct action policy. We’ll continue to be able to meet whatever target that we set post-2020 without having a carbon tax.
KIERAN GILBERT:
Let’s wrap up if we can on this issue of negative gearing. The RBA warning about negative gearing vis-à-vis, the capital gains tax treatment of investment properties, and that maybe this is fuelling too much investor activity in the housing market. What’s your take on it?
ALAN TUDGE:
We don’t support changes to negative gearing. There’s an important principle at play here and that is if you make an expense on an investment you should be able to tax deduct that expense, and that’s a principle across all walks of life in Australia. 

Secondly, should you reduce negative gearing it will put greater pressure on rental prices. That occurred in 1985 when the Hawke Government tried to scrap negative gearing, and they subsequently had to re-introduce it. There our two major concerns.

If we want to address housing affordability then really we’ve got to address it on the supply side of the equation. That means releasing more land, which state governments are starting to do and they should be able to do more on that, and it means that having more houses being constructed and fortunately we’ve got record housing approvals at the moment.
We’ve got to address that supply side if we’re really fair dinkum about addressing housing affordability issues.
KIERAN GILBERT:
Alan Tudge appreciate your time this morning. Thanks for that.
ALAN TUDGE:
Thanks so much Kieran.