Sky News First Edition – Stage Three Tax Cuts, Jobs Summit



Subjects: Stage three tax cuts, Jobs Summit

PETER STEFANOVIC, HOST: You are back with First Edition. Thank you for your company this Tuesday morning. Well let’s go to Melbourne now. Joining us live is the Labor MP Peter Khalil. Peter, good to see you. So, all systems go for the job summit this week, are you about to reverse the stage 3 tax cuts though?

PETER KHALIL, MEMBER FOR WILLS: Well, Peter, good morning to you. Couple of points about the taxation reform and the tax cuts. Our priority actually, is to make multinationals pay their fair share of tax, because they’ve been getting away with blue murder. Some big multinational companies paying four cents, five cents in the dollar, whereas your local small businesses paying their full tax rate. Because those big companies can offshore their headquarters and do all sorts of accounting tricks to not pay where they’re making their profits and that’s got to stop and there’s a big package in place in that. As well as a package around cutting all the rorts and all the stuff that went on in the previous government to try and peg back some of that $1 trillion debt. Now, with respect to the tax cuts that you raised; the Prime Minister has been pretty clear on this. This was passed through Parliament; I think a couple of years ago now. My understanding is that the stage three of those income tax cuts are not due to commence for another two years and that stage three also includes tax cuts for people making from about $45,000 up to about $200K, which is a significant tax cut for those people in the middle income bracket and again, very important with respect to relieving the cost of living. But they don’t come in for another two years and that’s an important point. The Prime Minister has said very clearly he took that to the election and he’s following through on that commitment.

STEFANOVIC: Yeah, I mean, you talk about the multinationals and taking back some money from them. At the moment, I mean that pales in comparison to what you could earn back by reversing the tax cuts or stage 3 tax cuts though.

Khalil: Well, there’s a lot of different measures that the Treasurer and the government can take to peg back that trillion-dollar debt. As I said, there were a lot of rorts and, we’re talking in the hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars with respect to the multinational tax avoidance or not paying their fair share of tax. And there are many other measures to relieve cost of living in the budget. You know you can’t just look at one thing in isolation, Peter. There are many things that the Treasurer is looking at.

STEFANOVIC: Sure, but that one thing in isolation, the Stage three tax cuts. That’s a whole stack of money.

KHALIL: Yeah, but as I said that doesn’t come in for another two years – July 1st 2024 and the point that the Prime Minister has made, I think as recently as yesterday in the National Press Club was that that was something that was taken to the election and he’s standing by that commitment that he made.

STEFANOVIC: Have times not changed since they were legislated though?

KHALIL: Times always change, Peter, as you know. And I think the government is well within its rights to always assess what is the right course of action. And it’s always about getting the balance right between commitments made during elections, because you know, everyone says ‘politicians, they don’t keep their promises’ versus oh look, times have changed, you’ve got to change with the facts on the ground. So, it’s always about getting that balance right. And as I said yesterday the Prime Minister’s pretty clear that those stage three tax cuts were passed by Parliament and that was a commitment that he took to the last election.

STEFANOVIC: Yeah, you got the job summit that’s coming up on Thursday. Not very far away. Now there’s going to be a live press conference that we’re going to take very shortly, involving the TWU, the Union and Tony Burke – relates to the gig economy you had deals yesterday – small business and the unions. I mean, are you in danger of placating the unions too much here when it comes to this Job Summit, which is exactly what Peter Dutton had feared?

KHALIL: Did you write that question for yourself or?

STEFANOVIC: No, I mean there’s a trend here, isn’t there?

KHALIL: No, no, well hold on. The TWU represents people in the gig economy who are getting effectively shafted right. We’re talking about drivers, truckies and so on, many of them on casual contracts and so on, were they work long hours and they work dangerous long hours to try and make ends meet. We’re talking about a minimum wage for these workers in the gig economy who are effectively exploited by the structure of the way that these companies in the gig economy operate. So, whether it’s Uber or whether it’s any of these other employers, I think it’s well within the remit of the Union to push for a minimum wage. I support it 100%. I’ve met some of these workers, who work these shifts. It’s unacceptable. Some people have actually died on some of these very long shifts, so there’s a safety issue as well. Look the good thing about the Job Summit, Peter; it’s not about placating and it doesn’t need to be a competitive conflict. This is about bringing unions, employers, civil society, governments together, to work on one of the big challenges facing Australia, with respect to our jobs and our skills, our employment. We’ve got clearly massive skills shortages in this country. It needs to be addressed and a lot of the previous government sitting on its hands for years and years, not dealing with it. For mine, I’m very, very passionate about ensuring that when it comes to getting the balance right with the migration policy to bring in more migrants to this country.

STEFANOVIC: Yeah, and what and what should that be?

KHALIL: Well, we’re not doing what the previous government did, which was upping, temporary work visas and pretending that they were reducing migration and pretending that they were congestion busting. When the temporary work visas went above 2,000,000 in Melbourne and Sydney, Scott Morrison was parading around, carrying on like he was congestion busting, when he actually increased temporary work visas. He said he reduced skilled permanent migration. He did so by 10,000. That’s crazy, right. My parents came to this country and actually committed to being new Australians, like millions of others. That’s what built Australia post World War Two – is the permanent skilled migration. So, we don’t want a guest worker model that we were crawling towards, like you see in Germany and other places like that, where there’s only temporary workers. You want people to come here, you want them to become new Australians, you want them to commit to this country and be part of the economy, not a temporary worker.

STEFANOVIC: Yeah, so what should it be? There’s an argument at the moment about what the number, what the new number should be. Well, what have you got your eyes set on?

KHALIL: Well, I think the numbers should be based on evidence. It should be based on where the skill shortages are.

STEFANOVIC: Right so 200 (thousand), 220 (thousand)? Where do you think?

KHALIL: Well, I am not going to pluck numbers out of the air. No, well it depends upon the evidence base. So, if there is a real need in a particular sector, particularly, you know for a type of worker if you like in a particular industry or particular type of technology or whatever, a technician or whatever it might be and you get those numbers based on the evidence base. That’s how you build the numbers up for a skilled migration programme. But the point I’m making is, it’s got to be permanent migration, so these people become Australian, settle here and actually make the long-term contribution to the economy that we need, not temporary work visas. There’s a place for temporary work visas to fill gaps in the short term. What happened was that that was abused over years, and it went beyond just filling short term gaps to becoming sort of the go to for every employer in every industry. Well I’m mixing up my metaphors, but it actually become a real problem for us over time. It’s very early in the morning Peter. I haven’t had my coffee yet.

STEFANOVIC: I do that all the time, don’t worry. Peter Khalil, good to see him. We’ll chat to you again soon.

KHALIL: Thanks, Peter. See you mate.