Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance
KIERAN GILBERT: And joining me now for First Edition is the Finance Minister, Senator Mathias Cormann. Senator Cormann thanks for your time, we have a lot to talk about in terms of the economy and the Mining Tax particularly, but another apparent execution of an American journalist as we saw there in our lead story this morning.
MATHIAS CORMANN: Look, awful and despicable. My heart goes out to his family. It is just terrible what appears to have happened - again. Australia needs to continue to work with our international partners, the United States and others to deal with the humanitarian issues in Iraq in particular, but also to keep people secure here and abroad.
KIERAN GILBERT: I want to turn now to domestic politics and the Treasurer said yesterday if people feel the mining tax deal with Clive Palmer is going to have an impact on their superannuation in the long term they should blame Labor. Why blame Labor? You are the Government.
MATHIAS CORMANN: Indeed and we went to the last election promising that we would get rid of Labor's failed mining tax in order to boost investment, strengthen economic growth and create jobs. We also said that we would get rid of all of the unfunded promises that Labor recklessly and irresponsibly attached to that failed tax. Now this is a tax which Labor said would raise billions of dollars and it has been costing the Budget billions of dollars. Only the Labor Party can come up with a tax that actually costs the Budget money, leaves the Budget worse off.
KIERAN GILBERT: But why should workers blame Labor though? They should blame you because you are the one who has done the deal.
MATHIAS CORMANN: After Labor lost the last election Labor should have respected our mandate. The mining tax repeal package went to the Senate twice before yesterday. Labor and the Greens combined to block our mining tax repeal legislation twice. So what we did yesterday was to achieve the best possible deal in the national interest. We achieved the repeal of the mining tax, which is good for the economy and good for jobs. We achieved the removal of all of the unfunded promises that we said we would remove. Three of them later than we would have liked, but they are all going. This has locked in $10 billion in savings over the forward estimates, $50 billion in savings over the decade. So it helps us repair the Budget which is something we also said we would do.
KIERAN GILBERT: Have you delivered one promise by breaking another? You said in Opposition that there would be no adverse changes, no adverse further changes to superannuation. The industry says this deal will see $128 billion less in retirement savings across the next decade, that's adverse.
MATHIAS CORMANN: It's not an adverse change. Firstly, the industry, the Financial Services Council and others who have said this do not represent workers, they represent financial services institutions. What we have done is, the change that we have made yesterday is leaving people with more of their own money pre-retirement, because as Bill Shorten said in Opposition, increases in compulsory superannuation come out of people's wages. They come out of people's pockets. What we have done...interrupted
KIERAN GILBERT: Entirely?
MATHIAS CORMANN: That is what Bill Shorten said when he was the Minister. The truth is that it comes out of a combination of wages and out of business costs and what we have done, people will be able to make decisions on their own, whether they want to use that money to pay off their mortgage faster, whether they want to use it to deal with cost of living expenses or whether they want to use it to save more voluntarily through superannuation.
KIERAN GILBERT: Do you really believe in compulsory superannuation? Is this exposing a lack of support for the whole idea?
MATHIAS CORMANN: No not at all. We support compulsory super and we have in the legislation yesterday locked in the trajectory to take compulsory super to 12 per cent. We will get there by 2025. The truth is the Budget is not a magic pudding. I know that the Labor Party will take one hit after the other, wasting money left, right and centre. We are committed to repairing the Budget mess that we inherited from the Labor Party and that involves when you incur additional expenses, and we are incurring $6.5billion in additional expenses over the forward estimates as a result of the delay in removing some of these measures, recouping that over the period to 2023 so that the amendments overall are Budget neutral.
KIERAN GILBERT: Have you any concern that you have done a deal with Clive Palmer, a mining magnate, and this is a mining tax. Do you have any concerns about conflict of interest here?
MATHIAS CORMANN: No I don't. Mr. Palmer is the leader of a political party in the Australian Parliament. There are three Palmer United Party Senators in the Senate. There is Ricky Muir from the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party who works with the Palmer United Party. So of course we work with all Senators represented in the Senate in a courteous and professional manner in order to achieve a consensus. Incidentally, Family First and the Liberal Democrats also supported the agreement that we put forward and incidentally the Democratic Labor Party Senator John Madigan supported us bringing this on yesterday in the way that we did.
KIERAN GILBERT: Just finally will you be giving some advice to Peter Dutton on how to negotiate with Clive Palmer? You seem to be able to do it pretty well. But you still haven't got the GP co-payment negotiated.
MATHIAS CORMANN: Peter Dutton is an outstanding Minister and what we are doing as a team is working through all of the Budget measures in an orderly, methodical fashion in a sequential way and prioritising the measures one after the other. The GP co-payment, which is an important reform, is not due to come into effect until 1 July 2015 so we have a bit of time to work our way through that.
KIERAN GILBERT: Minister thank you for your time.
MATHIAS CORMANN: Always good to be here.