SAM ARMYTAGE, HOST: The Morrison Government is set to unveil details of its Coronavirus stimulus plan within days. The Treasurer says the multi-billion-dollar package will be targeted. It’s tipped to include infrastructure spending as well as tax breaks and incentives for business. The Opposition says it will support any sensible measures to help the economy. And for more, as we are joined by Nationals MP, Barnaby Joyce, and Shadow Agricultural Minister, Joel Fitzgibbon – morning to you Gents. Barnaby, what do you want to see included in this plan?
BARNABY JOYCE, MEMBER FOR NEW ENGLAND: I want to see something that takes the fear factor from up here to a caution and prudence factor to around about here. Look, it’s tragic. We’ve had over 3,000 deaths globally. But you need about 30 to 40 times that number to equate to the deaths from snakebite. Yet, people are not going down to the shops, running the shops out of shotgun shells, compression bandages, antivenin. People are still walking through the long grass. We’ve got to make sure we get a reality-check here. All the toilet going; what are they doing? I’ve worked out they are going to wet themselves, wrap it around them, walk down Martin Place or get on a train – no one will get near them. They won’t catch anything. Not even a movie because they look like they belong in a psych ward. This is an issue where you need a proper prudence, note that if you to an aged persons’ home, yeah you could probably be responsible for someone dying. But if you go to an age person's home with the flu you are possibly responsible for somebody dying, so prudent expenditure on things such as roads, on things such as duplicating the New England Highway. I'd like to see that; wasteful money and exacerbating the fear, I don't want to say that.
DAVID KOCH, HOST: Yeah. And Joel, we can afford to really splash out because the economy's in pretty good shape. Government debt as a percentage of the economy is quite low compared with other countries. So, go over the top, stimulate it, what do you want to see?
JOEL FITZGIBBON, MEMBER FOR HUNTER: Good morning. I think Barnaby just told us he supports a stimulus package; not exactly sure. But yeah, of course. And you know, Ken Henry told us back in the days of the Global Financial Crisis go early, go hard, go families. And I think action is overdue. The economy was struggling even before the bushfires, and the Coronavirus and things just got a whole lot worse. So, we're ready to support sensible measures both on the investment and on the consumption side. And we need to do something about those workers who have been now asked to self-isolate at the risk of both losing their personal leave and, maybe beyond that, some cash as well. So, there's lots to do and it's about time Scott Morrison started moving on it.
ARMYTAGE: Joel, Kochie just said the economy is in good shape and we can afford to spend money and you say it's not.
FITZGIBBON: Well, I suppose Kochie sees things as all relevant or relative, but I mean, the economy was very flat prior to both the bush fires and the coronavirus...
KOCH: No, no. December quarter of economic growth 2.2 per cent better than everybody expected. Really resilient economy. Twentynine consecutive years of positive economic growth – a world record that's pretty good. From both sides of politics, I’ve got to point out.
FITZGIBBON: No, no, no, let's hope that continuous growth continues, Kochie. We are now at risk of going into a recession. We all want to work together to ensure that's the case. But again, all things relative, Kochie, that year on year result was better than expected but still flat by historical terms. So, there's lots to do when and we need to get on with it.
KOCH: Not really.
ARMYTAGE: You can't have it both ways.
JOYCE: That's the noise of somebody wishing things were worse. It's a gold medal mate, you won the gold medal, what else do you want?
ARMYTAGE: Barnaby, I guess good for one area of manufacturing in Australia; toilet paper making?
JOYCE: Yeah, it's a boom on that. As I said, it's completely insane. And this is why we've got prudence, absolutely. Caution, absolutely. Tracking, absolutely. But fear, and what is it with dunny paper? What are you going to do? You're going to eat it? I mean, how does this work? I go down there, I can't... I can't... I can't go home have a crap because the toilet paper is gone.
KOCH: Okay. Well...
FITZGIBBON: Barnaby just got his grab for the day.
KOCH: Yeah, you'd use a gum leaf from the bush anyhow.
BARNABY: Yeah. Have a shower.
KOCH: Go hard, go early, go families, good advice.