SUBJECTS: ACCC Bank Inquiry; 2019 federal election.
SUBJECTS: ACCC Bank Inquiry; 2019 federal election.
DAVID KOCH: For their take this morning we’re joined by Shadow Minister for Agriculture Joel Fitzgibbon and Nationals MP, Barnaby Joyce. Good morning to you both. Joel do you seriously believe someone with Bill Shorten’s ambition can spend two more decades in the job and not want another go at leader?
JOEL FITZGIBBON, SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND RESOURCES: Good morning everyone. Look I think it’s a great credit to Bill Shorten that he’s taken responsibility for the loss and I’m pleased that he’s determined to remain part of the Labor team. He’s too experienced and too talented to let go. But the important thing is that we learn lessons from the result and the first lesson is, that an under-achieving Government doesn’t assure an opposition victory. And the second is that in the future we need to not be challenging aspiration but fuelling aspiration; giving people the incentive they need to work hard to achieve, which is what basically most Australians want to do, both for them and of course for their families.
NATALIE BARR: Barnaby there’s this focus – these topics –particularly the negative gearing and the franking credits, were too complicated for voters. What about the issue that people just didn’t like Bill Shorten?
BARNABY JOYCE: Look I think they just didn’t like the whole approach to government policy that the Labor Party were proposing. It’s interesting that Joel missed the big one, that they were lead-around by the nose by the Greens. Joel almost lost his seat and came within a hair’s breadth of losing his seat. In Central Queensland they didn’t pick up any seats. And I think those two situations clearly explain that people don’t want a Green government and if you want to swing to the Greens and you want to make yourself the big hit in Woolloomooloo, you will be a big hit, but you won’t win an election. And everything about it was socialist: taking the money back off pensioners, closing down power stations, driving people toward electric cars. It just seemed like Fantasia and it seems like they didn’t really know what on earth they were actually going to do except send the country down the toilet if they got into Canberra.
KOCH: Joel the official post mortem will come out from Labor pretty soon, but do you think the bottom line is Labor just got a bit cocky, thought it was home and hosed so it thought, yeah let’s bring in tax reform, let’s do what Barnaby was indicating then – sort of side with the Greens? We’re a motza to get in so we’ll do what we like, and they just misread it?
FITZGIBBON: Well just on what Barnaby said, we had no arrangement or relationship with the Greens, we were not proposing to close down coal-fired power generators but yes, Kochie, we were super-ambitious. We were ambitious for our education system, we were ambitious for our health system, we were ambitious for the environment. But to fund those big institutions – health, education – we were looking to save money and we identified a whole range of areas where we thought the tax system could be tightened. The biggest problem was we opened ourselves up for a scare campaign and many of our policies were misrepresented in terms of their impact and we paid a price for that and we need to put all that aside now, the review’s not far off and certainly we can’t go into this next election with the same suite of policies we took to the last election. That is absolutely true.
JOYCE: Joel, are you honestly saying that you can’t remember any of your people saying that they were going to close down coal-fired power stations? You’re smarter than that. Of course they were. And that was part of their policy – 50 per cent renewable target, you were saying that Joel. You stood by and actually let Hazelwood close down with your state colleagues in Victoria. Of course that was part of your policy and it bi you on the backside and that’s the reason you’re sitting there as a happy member of the Opposition.
FITZGIBBON: That’s not right Barnaby. Our policy was to allow the coal-fired generators to reach their …
JOYCE: Okay I’ll bring it back to you. The next time we meet I’ll actually get the quotes for you, Joel.
BARR: Let’s go to the next topic…
JOYCE: I’ll help you out with your research, mate.
BARR: We can save that argument for another day, we need to move on…
FITZGIBBON: You can shout Barnaby…
BARR: Moving on to the next topic. The ACCC wants to launch another inquiry in Australia’s banking sector. The government’s under pressure to back it. Let’s go to Barnaby on this first. This is looking into barriers to new players. Barnaby, would you back this?
JOYCE: I definitely think we need a range of players in any marketplace. And that’s why even in the power system we have divestiture powers coming forward, which the Labor Party don’t back, they want to keep centralisation of the big power companies. But you have to have multiple players in the marketplace. Round here, Regional Australia Bank is one of the ones – I bank with – and it’s incredibly important that we’ve got multiple players in the marketplace and one of the things we’ve got to look at is that the recommendations that come out of these inquiries such as the Banking Royal Commission, don’t unwittingly discriminate against the middle-tier players. And we’ve got to make sure that we have multiple players – multiple players in a market place to get fair prices back to consumers.
KOCH: And Joel the Competition watchdog, the ACCC, has its sights set on banking start-ups and foreign players such Neo Bank, Zenga as well as ING and the Big Four. So do we need an inquiry just to see there is level playing field?
FITZGIBBON: Well Kochie, when the ACCC is asking for the opportunity to inquire into competition in the banking sector we should all just be nodding our heads and saying yeah, just go for it. We’ve got a Productivity Commission inquiry, the Government hasn’t acted on it. Now we’re got the ACCC making an offer and the Government should absolutely take up that opportunity. Did you see the headline this morning, something like a $14 billion windfall as a result of the banks not passing on the cash rate reductions to its customers, so Barnaby shouldn’t be all over the place on this – he shouldn’t be wandering off onto energy policy we should be looking down the barrel of [inaudible] and saying let’s get the ACCC on to this.
KOCH: Okay, Joel.
JOYCE: Take a breath, Joel. It’s about concentration in the marketplace and in the retail marketplace for our – you guys are actually voting against…
KOCH: We’re not going to get back on to power again, we’ll cut it off there. Here’s Nat.