96FM – Breakfast

Senator the Hon. Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator for Western Australia






2018-19 Budget

LISA FERNANDEZ: We have got Mathias Cormann on now to talk about said Budget which was handed down last night by ScoMo, as they are calling him. Good morning Mathias.

MATHIAS CORMANN: Good morning Lisa.

PAUL HOGAN: How does it make you feel, Mathias, that you were being discussed at Lisa’s business end?

MATHIAS CORMANN: As long as everything went well, there are worse topics to talk about.

LISA FERNANDEZ: Correct, Mathias. Thank you. I had a lovely baby boy.

PAUL HOGAN: Lisa’s business end is a little bit like Canberra in that no one wants to go there.

LISA FERNANDEZ: Stop it. That is nasty.

PAUL HOGAN: Alright let’s get down to the nitty gritty, Mathias. Australians on less than $90,000 a year get a ten dollar a week tax relief and Australians on less than $37,000 a year a four dollar a week tax relief. Is that enough for low income earners, Mathias?

MATHIAS CORMANN: Well we have prioritised low and middle-income earners for tax relief, because we want to reward them for their effort and also help with cost of living pressures and encourage them to work harder. At the low-income end, of below $37,000 people pay significantly less tax. They pay between $2,000 and $3,000 of tax compared to much more tax at the higher levels. This is what we believe we can afford.

PAUL HOGAN: But if they are on such little money and they are struggling, is four dollars enough for someone on less than $37,000? Can’t we help out more than four bucks a week?

MATHIAS CORMANN: Well we have made the judgement based on what is affordable in the Budget. We are focussed on keeping the economy strong. We are focused on making sure that more jobs can be created. We are making sure that we can provide some affordable income tax relief to low and middle-income earners and that is prioritised to low and middle income earners.

LISA FERNANDEZ: Mathias, one little bit of the Budget concerns me a great deal. There was a story recently, you would have seen it in the WA press about the young mum who got a speeding fine and it said that she was doing 164 km in an old Getz and in actual fact, she was not. So, if that had happened and you guys have new powers to withhold welfare payments for outstanding warrants or fines, then she is going to be in a bit of a spot. I just fear for that particular situation, where the most needy in our community, you know, those ones who do have outstanding warrants and then you might cut their welfare payments. That is not great.

MATHIAS CORMANN: Well, outstanding warrants have to be dealt with. I think you will find there would be broad community support for people who are not responding to outstanding warrants. There is got to be a means to resolve their situation. To bring people back to face justice who should be facing justice.

LISA FERNANDEZ: Oh, but look no, I disagree. There was a time I was at uni and I racked up a lot of fines. A lot. Like a thousand and I know if I had my AUSTUDY cut, if that was considered a welfare payment, I would be screwed. It was just mismanagement on my behalf. I am not a criminal, I was an idiot.

MATHIAS CORMANN: Well these sorts of things are applied sensibly. But at the hard end, why should somebody who, quite frankly, is being prosecuted for a criminal offence, why should they continue to receive welfare payments while avoiding justice?

PAUL HOGAN: Do their children suffer if the welfare payments are cut back?

MATHIAS CORMANN: What will happen is that they will be forced to actually respond to the outstanding warrant.

PAUL HOGAN: Ok, what about the ABC funding. Cut by $85 million. Is that because the Tom Ballard show makes fun of your Government?

MATHIAS CORMANN: Not at all. The ABC over that three year period will get $3.2 billion worth of funding. Nearly all taxpayer funded organisations are subject to an ongoing efficiency dividend. The ABC for the last few decades has been exempt for pretty well the whole period. The $84 million is equivalent to the efficiency dividend that applies to nearly all other taxpayer funded organisations. There are opportunities for the ABC to be as efficient and as productive as 96FM and I think that taxpayers deserve an expectation of the ABC being more efficient.   

PAUL HOGAN: There is nothing efficient about this radio station. We make a few dick jokes, play an ACDC song. There is nothing efficient about that.

LISA FERNANDEZ: In this case it was vagina jokes. So I mean we have even gone further. Hey, Mathias, just lastly, this is a personal plea. Can you find out who is in charge of the myGov website or the team? Because the myGov website crashes all the time. Like, I am trying to do stuff on there, which I am meant to be doing, like, print out my child’s immunisation records for day-care. Legit. I could not get on that website for three days because every time I went on, it crashed. When it did not crash, I had to get a login from another app, then try to get the login code and by the time I came back with the login code, it had crashed.

MATHIAS CORMANN: Well I am sorry to hear that. And yes…interrupted

LISA FERNANDEZ: On behalf of so many people who do use it, it is ridiculous. So maybe you just need to get a new web team.

MATHIAS CORMANN: I do think that it is an important service and we are investing in making it better…interrupted

LISA FERNANDEZ: Our web girl here at 96FM, Pippa, she is really good. I am sure she might be able to help.

MATHIAS CORMANN: I take that on notice.

LISA FERNANDEZ: That is all we ask. Thanks Mathias. Thanks for your time.

MATHIAS CORMANN: Talk soon. Bye.


Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann, Minister for Finance, Perth