Transcript - Television Interview - Sunrise - Monday, 12 October 2020

Transcript - Television Interview - Sunrise - Monday, 12 October 2020 Main Image

By Joel Fitzgibbon

12 October 2020

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE, HOST: The government is stepping up the defence of its economic plan after criticism that the spending measures announced last week amounted to a budget for blokes.
MATT DORAN, HOST: Labor has seized the opportunity to promote its own $6.2 billion childcare package, but the Prime Minister has dismissed the plan, saying it is welfare for the wealthy. Now let's bring in Nationals MP, Barnaby Joyce, and Shadow Resources Minister, Joel Fitzgibbon. Good morning to you both. Labor says this isn't so much a welfare measure; it's about getting more women participating in work. Barnaby, do you think there is merit in this concept?
BARNABY JOYCE, MEMBER FOR NEW ENGLAND: Well, there's merit in everything if you just want a debt to get even bigger. I mean, what they've said is, they have no intentions whatsoever to take any consideration into the debt our nation ends up – at gross, currently at 1.7 trillion. But the Labor Party have said we want even more. Now, people on to $300,000 a year are suggesting that they get support and childcare. Now, of course they'd love it - I mean, there's nothing wrong with that. But ultimately, you have to say there's got to be a limit somewhere. There has got to be an adult in the room who says we just can't give everything to everybody because it's all borrowed money.
ARMYTAGE: Okay, Joel, how do you get women into the workforce – more women into the workforce? Labor's plan to scrap the childcare subsidy cap will only help families earning more than $189,000 a year.
JOEL FITZGIBBON, MEMBER FOR HUNTER: So, Barnaby's Government racks up record debt and deficit to eye-watering levels, misses the mark in many areas, and then accuses Labor for wanting to promote more debt. It's just a ridiculous proposition. We're talking about priorities here. The Budget is not just a statement of revenue and expenditure, it's a statement of values. And we want to ensure that we improve access to the workforce. For women, childcare is an important component of this. And of course, it's just a fact that the industries which have been given assistance in this budget, are dominated by men, and the industries ignored are dominated by women. Now, long-term unemployed women have been on the rise almost exponentially since 2013 – you'll recall that was the year of the election of the Abbott government, and they just grew a whole lot worse as a result of this budget.
JOYCE: Well, the big thing about the Labor Party is they don't believe in business. I mean, we say that governments might be the instigator of stimulus, but it’s business that's going to get you out. And if you follow the Labor Party idea, they just don't believe that any women are involved in businesses, or own businesses, because what this does, with the instant asset write off and such, is to make businesses more resilient to come out of the COVID crisis so that they can take the nation ahead, because we know it's not possible for a government to just go on and take the hit. And the Labor Party, they can't talk about the debt, because they want more of it. They want a bigger debt, and they want a bigger deficit. If they have universal childcare, which is one of the things they're proposing for people so that people over $200,000 a year, get it. Remember, childcare is already subsidised for the vast majority of people. But if they propose that and then, of course, the only way you can get that is to borrow more money from China, more money from the Middle East, more money from Europe, to supply something that we can't supply out of our own means. Now we've got to be cautious and this is a clear statement of it.
ARMYTAGE: Look, the budget has gone down well in some quarters. The PM's got some good news poll figures this morning. Four out of five voters back the government's tax cuts – no surprise there – 42 per cent believe the budget is good for the economy, 20 per cent think it's bad. Joel, what do you think of those numbers?
FITZGIBBON: Well, you'd expect - I mean, the Government is throwing money around like confetti, largely with the support of the Opposition...
ARMYTAGE: Yeah but nobody seems to care, Joel.
FITZGIBBON: ... so you would expect all those receiving tax cuts, for example, to be pretty happy. Tax cuts we've supported. But on Barnaby's point. Yes, women operate small businesses but twice as many men do. And many of the women who run small business rely on childcare, to open that business on a daily basis. And there are millions of women working in aged care, healthcare and the personal care sector, who are hoping for some support too. These are the women who are over representative on the long-term unemployment queue, and were so prior to COVID-19. So, we would have taken a different approach and we would reorganise our spending priorities to ensure the debt and deficit created by this Government is not further grown.
JOYCE: Ok, that's a fair call – fair call. So tell us how you'd reorganise? What are you going to do? What are you going to cut to cover universal childcare?
FITZGIBBON: Well, you've just completely ignored the areas where females dominate the workforce, Barnaby. That's the point we are making. Accelerated depreciation, for example... accelerated depreciation, Barnaby, doesn't help a worker working in the healthcare sector, for example. So it's just a fact, Barnaby, that the Government has targeted industries that are not dominated by women…
JOYCE: So you'd get rid of it... [inaudible]...
FITZGIBBON: … you can't argue this point.
JOYCE: I can mate, but you're not answering the question. What are you going to cut to pay for universal healthcare - childcare?
FITZGIBBON: Yeah, good on you Barnaby. I'm not announcing Labor's priorities for the next election, here with you this morning...
ARMYTAGE: Why not Joel? Come on? Give us your scoop?
FITZGIBBON: … but how about showing some concern for the hundreds of thousands of women working in the aged care and healthcare services sectors.
JOYCE: This is why you're polling [inaudible]
FITZGIBBON: Who are working – who are working with very, very low wages.
DORAN: I don’t think we are ever going to get agreement here.
JOYCE: Talking a lot doesn't answer a question.
FITZGIBBON: Barnaby thinks the way we debate is to talk over people. That's what turns [inaubible] off.
JOYCE: No Joel, not answering a question turns women off because it shows you have no economic nous.
DORAN: Well, Joel, Barnaby, we are out of time unfortunately.
ARMYTAGE: Ok. I'm sorry, but as a woman, it’s interesting hearing you talk about what’s best for women.
DORAN: Is it working? That’s enough of that?
ARMYTAGE: No, we love you both, I'm only joking. But thank you – good debate, and the idea of it is that they don't mean to agree.