SUBJECTS: Raise to Newstart, Barnaby Joyces financial circumstances, Newspoll results.
NATALIE BARR: Barnaby Joyce has said he is skint as he tries to support two families on his wage of $211,000 a year. Mr Joyce has told Newscorp he is killing his own meat, buying the cheapest groceries and is turning the heater off even on cold nights. Barnaby says he has new empathy with the battlers as he pushes for an increase in the dole.
SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE: Barnaby joins us now along with Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Resources, Joel Fitzgibbon. Morning to you both gents.
BARNABY JOYCE: Morning Nat.
JOEL FITZGIBBON: Morning team.
ARMYTAGE: Barnaby you are probably the second biggest story after the swimming which you probably just heard today. Now you have said when you did this interview with the paper that you are not crying in your beer and youre not asking for sympathy. You are merely saying that you can relate to many people out there but do you think youre going to get some flack here? Youre a politician and are on over $200,000 a year.
JOYCE: Of course I am and Im not skint, Im far from skint, Im on a very, very good wage. Of course circumstances of my own fault means it is spread thin and of course I am working out on a very, very good salary how you make two ends meet when you are supporting basically two families. God knows how someone on $280 bucks a week ever gets by. I dont know how they do it? It would be near impossible so if anything and I said this in the story is that it is an exercise in humility but I reemphasise I am on a very, very good salary and I am not skint. Im making sure that like so many of us that I budget.
BARR: Yeah because you are on $211,000 and the dole equates to about $13,000 a year. Do you think it was a good idea to do it like this because in the political world does it play well Barnaby for you to sort of compare it almost?
JOYCE: No it doesnt at all Nat and I wouldnt have picked the headline Im skint I would have said, you know, I have a greater empathy for what people are going through on Newstart. Someone has got to speak up for them and so often Nat if you say you know we have to do a better deal for these people and people say how would you know, youre a politician. A lot of people are I suppose hate to really talk about it but I have to because of the front page, in a marriage breakdown you go from supporting one family to supporting two in many instances.
ARMYTAGE: Okay Joel lets talk about Barnaby like hes not here for a minute, forgive us Barnaby. Maybe he is making a good point. I mean Barnaby is going against his government calling for a raise to Newstart, to the dole. Maybe he is giving fresh insight into how people on Newstart are living to a degree, you know what I mean?
FITZGIBBON: Well whatever the cause of Barnabys epiphany its really good that he has now acknowledged that after six years under this government people are doing it very, very tough. Wages continue to flat line and energy prices continue to rise and now of course the government is going after the superannuation accounts of Australian workers and they want to destroy the union movement the very group that defends ordinary workers in the workplaces so it looks like Barnaby and I are heading for a dream team here. Im very happy to work with him to get some justice for these people.
JOYCE: There is nothing that concerns me more than when you start talking like that.
BARR: The dream team, were looking at them this morning. Now the Australians first Newspoll since the election has the Coalition leading Labor 53-47 two party preferred. Have a look at these figures. Scott Morrison also recorded his largest margin as the preferred PM leading the new Labor leader Anthony Albanese 48 per cent to 31. Joel, was Albo the right choice to lead?
FITZGIBBON: Well you know the story, polls come and go but the only one that matters is the one held on election day and that has never been so true given the contrast between the polls pre-election and the result on May 18 but I think the key point here is the orthodoxy has always been that governments make the tough decisions and go for the hard reform early in their term and then try to make up for any political lost ground closer to the election but this a government which does nothing except drive wedges in the Parliament and looks to be popular so its hardly surprising that the government hasnt lost any skin since the election because it hasnt made any tough decisions.
ARMYTAGE: Barnaby it is a good result for your side but I have visions of SCOMO telling your side though to not get ahead of yourselves. Would that be right?
JOYCE: The four people who should really not take into account polls, or maybe five one is Tony Abbott who lost his job because of polls the other one is Malcolm Turnbull, the one is Bill Shorten who thought he was going to win the election and the one is Scott Morrison and if there is a final one its the rest of us. I think the polling authorities or polling companies have really got to make us gain some confidence in them and if there is one thing we can all learn is dont govern by polls, govern to make sure Australia is a better place. Im certain that Scott Morrison is doing that and Scott Morrison and his team with Michael McCormack and the cabinet. I think Christian Porter has gotten off to a very good start and is doing a great job and we want to make sure that it that its not just the election that we are talking about that it has been a good government all the way though. It will be tested by things like the construction of dams and the construction of infrastructure and making sure we get the budget back into surplus and then people can (inaudible) -
ARMYTAGE: Tell us honestly Barnaby, should we stop listening to polls because they havent actually got it right on an election since Menzies was in -
JOYCE: Look Im sceptical from now and imagine poor old Abbott and Turnbull. They would be saying they basically lost their jobs for polls that were incorrect.
BARR: Exactly, then should we not report on it? Should we ignore them?
JOYCE: Well its like everything. If you chose to read the paper then you chose to read the paper. Its a democracy so what weight you put on it is up to you.
BARR: But they have been that wrong so maybe we should start ignoring them. Okay, thank you very much gents for your insight this morning and I hope you can go and have a cup of coffee Barnaby.
ARMYTAGE: Go down to Aussies Barnaby. I feel like we should shout you one.
JOYCE: Im going to hand the tin around.
FITZGIBBON: Well go straight down stairs and Ill shout you one.
ARMYTAGE: Youre never going to live this down Barnaby.
JOYCE: I know, I know its another chapter disaster in Barnabys life.
BARR: Someone go bake him a cake and shout him a coffee.
ARMYTAGE: I was going to say we feel sorry for you, Barnaby we dont. Good on you, take care.