Sky News Interview: First Edition: Luxury Car Tax, China Criticism of Australia’s Coronavirus Handling, Superannuation



SUBJECTS: Luxury Car Tax, China Criticism of Australia’s Coronavirus Handling, Superannuation

LAURA JAYES, HOST: Joining me now is Labor MP, Peter Khalil. Live from Melbourne. Good to see you. Why should the luxury car tax stay? 

PETER KHALIL MP: Well, I mean, as far as I know, we’re not considering, removing the luxury car tax. We will go through our processes on our tax policy as we head to the next election. But it’s kind of remarkable though, don’t you think that, a day after Holden dies, the iconic brand, and by the way, I’m in mourning because I had a Toronto, my dad had a Toronto 1977, SL 3,300. He gave it to me in 1991. It had done 500,000 kilometers a Laura, and it still went like the wind. And I loved that car. And you know, I’m in mourning with millions of other Australians. Even Ford people have been writing to me saying, we are devastated because it was part of that Australian culture. If you grew up in the, in the sixties, seventies, and eighties, you, you’d remember that. But the point I want to make is they are focused on, a luxury, removing a luxury car tax. These liberal employees, a day after Holden dies. What about the plan for the Holden workers? I mean, this is just another pattern in a long, sort of a pattern of behavior by the, the liberal coalition government, which basically allowed the auto industry to collapse. 

JAYES: Okay, can I pause up there, this point has been made over the last 24 hours. But the trajectory was already there. If I could just take you through, the timeline Mitsubishi in 2008 Ford in 2013 Holden in 2014, you know, Toyota is demise, also wanting back, manufacturing in 2017. The list goes on. So some of these happen under labor’s watch too. 

KHALILYeah, that’s true. That the car industry needs support. The point I’m making is, 

JAYES: So what responsibility will Labour take? 

KHALIL: well, Abbott and hockey, Abbott and hockey, hockey goaded GM to leave and removed the support. Now every car industry industry, 

JAYESThat was seven years ago Peter Khalil, seven years ago. 

KHALIL: there are consequences. 

JAYES: Wasn’t the trajectory already there before? 

KHALIL: There are consequences to actions when you remove that kind of support for the auto industry, for manufacturing in this country. And remember, every auto industry globally has to, the major ones have support from their home governments. The US Obama gave a trillion dollar debt interest free loan to Detroit. Germany supports it’s car industry. You don’t think those German cars just come out without German government support? We removed it and hockey and Abbott removed it. Yes, it’s more difficult to actually make cars in Australia, but it needed that support for us to continue to compete. And remember, we were selling Camrys to the middle East, you know, and they made the excuse at the time that ahh the Dollar is too high. That’s why we can’t compete. Well, it’s not high anymore, is it? 

JAYES: Well, let’s look forward. The luxury car tax has been raised. Now. Why keep it in place when it was meant to protect manufacturing, there’s nothing left to protect. 

KHALIL:  Well, this is a decision for the government. I saw Josh Frydenberg 

JAYES: Well what’s Labor’s position? 

KHALIL: Well, as I said to you, Laura, our front bench and our policy process, we’ll go through that and make our decisions around our tax policy and announce it before the next election. You’re not expecting me to be announcing, as a backbencher, a major tax policy at seven thirty in the morning on Sky. As important as your program is…they’ll go through that process. I’m just a bit disturbed that they are banging on about the luxury car tax, which is part of that framework of support. Yes. For the car industry. But they should be talking about how they support the workers. 

JAYES: Okay let’s talk about workers 

KHALIL: and how they provide a plan for them. 

JAYES: Righteous Data is out today. You’re a big policy, brain, I did want to get you on lock shoe contacts but we’ll do it again down the track. Now, superannuation is also going to be discussed by Anthony Albanese today in Queensland. Should given where wages are at at the moment, given the economic climate we find ourselves in, should that compulsory super trajectory to 12% remain as it is or do we need to have another look at it? 

KHALIL: Well, there’s been until now I guess so even earlier than now, a sort of tip had bipartisan support, least support from the college and government to stick to the commitment of raising a super to 12% by 2025 and, but they have been constantly wanting to chip away at super. They never supported it, many of them, on the far right wanted to get rid of it. And again, we’re seeing the same thing play out. Now I’ve gotta say to you this the tyranny of low expectations. You know, we talk about that A cost report. Yes, wages are low, they’re stagnant and they’ve been stagnant under these government’s watch. But the answer is not to renege on a commitment to, to have super go up to 12%. That’s not the answer. There should be responsibility on the government to ensure that wages rise and people can actually afford, you know, the cost of living that they’ve, they’ve facing now with such stagnant wages. So I don’t buy that argument. I think we can have, it’s not, it’s a false binary to say we can’t, we can’t have both, a high super and, and higher wages. We can do both. And really this is the government and elements of the government, wanting to chip away at super as they always have. 

JAYES: Let’s talk about China and China’s criticism of Australia’s response to the Corona virus. We had the ambassador tell my colleague, our chief anchor Karen Gilbert earlier this week that he thought it was overkill essentially. Do you agree? 

KHALIL: Well, I’ve said on this program, I think a while back, that Australia has its sovereign right and responsibility to look after its citizens, the security of our state and take whatever actions are necessary to secure our borders and also to, make sure that our people are kept safe and healthy. So I think there is strong bipartisan support for the actions taken by the government, with respect to the Coronavirus and making sure it’s quarantined based on the best medical advice from the chief medical officer and others. So no, China is, well within it’s right to attempt. It’s an ambassador as well with it’s right to talk on behalf of Chinese citizens. That’s fine. But we have our sovereign rights to, to take action where necessary to keep our people safe. 

JAYES: I have one more crack on these luxury car taxes. I’ve just seen that Matt…

KHALIL: Oh we’ve got back. 

JAYES: I’ve just seen that Matt Canavan has said that perhaps this luxury car tax should be exempt for farmers. Is that a good idea? Something you might look at. 

KHALIL: Well let’s see, interesting Matt Canavan’s not on the front bench anymore. Is he going to be listened to? Well I speak my mind to look on the luxury car tax. As I said, as far as I know we’re not considering removing it, but we are going through and reviewing all of our tax policies and that’s a proper process that we’ll go through over the next year or so before the next election. Look, it is part of the framework that provided a support, a very peripheral part of that framework that provided the overall support for the car industry. And rather than arguing about the luxury car tax, I want them to be focusing on providing a plan for holding workers who’ve lost their jobs. 

JAYES: We’ll see, Peter Khalil. It was good to see you. 

KHALIL: Thank you