Sky News Interview: Company Tax Cuts, Ipsos and ReachTel Polling



SUBJECTS: Company Tax Cuts, Ipsos and ReachTel Polling

KIERAN GILBERT, HOST: With me on the program now is Labor’s Peter Khalil. We had the education Minister there and very critical of Labor’s attack ad on the Prime Minister. Why is Labor going personal on that issue?
PETER KHALIL, FEDERAL MEMBER FOR WILLS: Oh, Kieran. I’ve heard this whining and the whinging from the Liberals and the Nats about playing the man. Well, they certainly don’t understand footy because Malcolm Turnbull is the Prime Minister. He’s got the ball. This is a bloody hard tackle, that’s what this ad’s about. It’s about exposing the fact that, the obscenity that they’ve giving $70 billion to multinationals and the Prime Minister’s own pecuniary interests are there publically, it’s all out there, he’s got the ball, no one’s hiding anything, and it’s about exposing that and talking about why he’s benefitting himself.

GILBERT: But exposing he’s got some money. Who cares?

KHALIL: No, that he’s making decisions that are helping millionaires. Not the battlers. About giving tax cuts to people on the high income brackets and company tax cuts, $17 billion of which go to multinationals…

GILBERT: Their argument is that it helps people looking for jobs and wages and wage growth.

KHALIL: The trickle-down theory?

GILBERT: Well, they’re interested in economic growth. It’s been something that Bill Shorten and your own side, Chris Bowen’s advocated that cutting company tax is a good thing to boost growth.

KHALIL: Absolutely. Economic growth is great. And we all want to support that and to have policies in place that push forward economic growth, but the trickle-down theory has been shown… it’s been blown apart. I mean, we’ve seen study after study…

GILBERT: [interrupting] Why don’t you think it’s good to cut company tax then?

KHALIL: Sorry?

GILBERT: Because Labor generally wants to cut company tax at some point, don’t you?

KHALIL: Well, I don’t know. This is a question for the circumstances at the time and I think our economic team will make those decisions when the time is right. But right now…

GILBERT: [interrupting] But if there’s a time for it, how is it… you’re arguing on one hand trickle down on the one hand, but then at some point that we should have company tax cuts.

KHALIL: I never said that. It may be that we don’t have company tax cuts going forward, because the fiscal circumstances don’t mean that we can do that. This is something that has to be assessed during that period of time…

GILBERT: [interrupting] If there is fiscal circumstances that might not allow it. If they do allow it, what’s the argument for cutting company tax?

KHALIL: Well, my argument now about their cuts to company tax is; that we are making a priority decision about putting that money into schools and hospitals, into education, into healthcare,  into infrastructure. Things that also enhance economic growth because it has been shown that when you invest in these areas, it actually aids economic growth…

GILBERT: [interrupting] But Labor says…

KHALIL: [interrupting]: Not putting money into multinationals

GILBERT: But Labor says there should be a time for company tax cuts and yet you’re saying it only boosts wealthy people’s pay packets. And bottom line, why would you back company tax cuts at any point if it’s only going to benefit the wealthy.

KHALIL: Well, no. It benefits… these company tax cuts particularly, $4 billion of which are going to the big banks. You know, given the fact that we’ve had a Royal Commission that’s shown some of the behaviours and some of the toxic culture that we’ve seen, that’s probably a pretty low priority on our front, as far as company tax cuts for big banks. This money should be invested in areas in which people are going to have a better quality of life, a better standard of living, which are spread evenly, which actually make Australia more egalitarian, a better place to live, and which has happened over many, many decades as far as Labor concerned.

GILBERT: But I guess in terms of… you look at this polling today and it says, trustworthy, Bill Shorten, at thirty nine per cent. That’s barely even the base of the Labor party saying that they think Bill Shorten’s trustworthy. How many people are going to look at it and believe it?

KHALIL: You’re always throwing polls at me, you know, and I say the same thing to you every time Kieran. The only poll that actually matters is the one on election day.

GILBERT: It’s actually not. There’s a few that matter at the end of July.

KHALIL: Well, that’s true. There’s five by-elections and we’ve been campaigning very strongly in those seats because we’re going out and telling people why it is important that our priority is to invest that $17 billion into schools, into hospitals, into infrastructure, into things that will make their lives better. And we have a tax plan, an income tax plan, that’s actually better for the lower and middle class…

GILBERT: [interrupting] What about Anthony Albanese’s speech the other day sort of saying, look, I’m here if you need me, if Bill Shorten falls over.

KHALIL: I read Albo’s speech as well and he actually said Bill Shorten’s been a great leader who’s actually united the team and that we’re very brave on policy and that is absolutely right. One of the…

GILBERT: [interrupting] Not trailing his [inaudible]

KHALIL: No, one of the things about what we’ve seen with Bill’s leadership is that…

GILBERT: [interrupting] Was that a no?

KHALIL: Well, one of the things about Bill’s leadership is that he has united the team and Albo himself is a team player. He wants Labor to win. He’s passionate about Labor winning. And our team has been united, it’s been working very, very effectively. High morale. And there’s another thing, which has been very brave on policy. It’s actually put  a lot of policy out for an opposition which is unusual. But we’re putting it out for the Australian people to test and assess us as an alternative government. I think we’ve done a great job.

GILBERT: Peter Khalil, thanks as always. Appreciate it.

KHALIL: Thanks Kieran.