Transcript by The Hon Scott Morrison MP

Sky News AM Agenda


KIERAN GILBERT: Minister Morrison thanks very much for your time. Were you surprised by how little you had to give the Greens to get them on board here, it is only an extension of something you’re already planning?

MINISTER MORRISON: Well it is good policy and that’s why I think it is being supported. They have had a view about having these matters regarding retirement incomes being part of the review or a Tax White Paper process as we finally agreed. It is good policy and they came to the table on good policy, the Labor Party chose not to. We sent the same information to the Labor Party that we sent to the Greens and what we saw yesterday is Bill Shorten chose politics not policy and now he is left stranded, absolutely stranded on an island of his own making which is the island of reactionary politics.

GILBERT: But he believes that he is drawing a line in the sand here that you are going to target pensions, he is defending pensions. Clearly the battle lines are drawn, you are saying he is targeting super?

MINISTER MORRISON: Well he is targeting super that is very true but what he refuses to do is support a fairer and more sustainable pension. He wants to support people who have more than $1 million in addition to the family home continuing to receive a part pension while those on lower and modest levels of assets he wants to deny an increase to them.

GILBERT: That’s for couples though? Half a million for singles isn’t it?

MINISTER MORRISON: Just over that I mean – just over that for singles and that’s with their family home as well. The current threshold was well above that it was about three quarters of a million or there abouts. So we are making the pension fairer – he knows that’s good policy, Jenny Macklin knows it’s good policy but he chose to try and create a political wedge on this yesterday because he is all about the politics. He wanted chaos in the Senate, he wants chaos in the Parliament, and the Government has worked together again to get this arrangement.

GILBERT: Did you have any indication from Labor at any point that they were considering getting on board with this? That they sounded promising or encouraging on this particular reform?

MINISTER MORRISON: Well there are a range of measures where they were quick to say no, no, no which we are quite used to. On this one they actually didn’t say no immediately they drew that out over a longer period of time. I am not surprised when Labor says no that is what Bill Shorten does; he always goes for the politics over the policy. But on this case there could have been a different outcome and I don’t think those who believe in good policy had the victory in the Labor Party and I know they were quite divided and riven over this that is no surprise either. At the end of the day they look foolish now.

GILBERT: I think that they were basing their final decision on modelling that they were awaiting which showed that across the decade I think it was a million pensioners that were going to be adversely affected. Is that figure right?

MINISTER MORRISON: No, we don’t accept those figures. The Labor Party are talking up the book of those who brought the arguments to them from the industry funds sector. That’s alright they can talk up the book of those who wanted to keep everybody’s assets in their funds rather than actually have to spend them in their retirement which is why we have the superannuation tax concessions so people can build up their retirement savings and then live on those retirement savings. What we are not going to do is we are not going to tax those savings, like Bill Shorten wants to do. That is the difference, we will not tax your super, Bill Shorten will.

GILBERT: Are we faced with a situation where the Greens are actually ironically from any people being the most responsible when it comes to retirement savings that they not only want to look at the pension situation but also super and hence their agreement with you to extend the Tax White Paper so it can allow people to have at least that discussion while your Treasurer and others are ruling that out?


GILBERT: You shouldn’t rule it out.

MINISTER MORRISON: The Greens have supported good policy here and that has been the basis of our discussion the entire time and we are very pleased with that outcome. I think Richard Di Natale has exposed Labor’s Bill Shorten as just being all about politics. Richard said he would be different to the previous leader and I think on the basis of this he has been different. But there is also Senators Xenophon, Leyonhjelm and others who were very engaged in this process. We believe very strongly that people’s superannuation is their money. It is not a pension; it is not a welfare payment. A tax concession for super is not the same as a welfare payment.

GILBERT: But my income is my money as well, you tax that?

MINISTER MORRISON: Yes, and there are other taxation arraignments that apply to superannuation already and we are not going to increase those taxes as the Labor Party does and nothing we have done with the Greens has in any way changed the Government’s position on not taxing your super. We will not tax your super.

GILBERT: And finally Di Natale do you say he is more of a middle ground moderate Green, light Green?

MINISTER MORRISON: Well look all I can say is based upon our professional working relationship on this issue is he engaged, he listened, he looked for good policy. There are other areas we have a massive disagreement on policy and they are not areas where I could see us ever coming to an agreement but on this issue the Greens supported good policy, Bill Shorten went for politics and the ‘have a go’ Budget is having a go.

GILBERT: Minister Morrison thanks for your time.