The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Wayne Swan

Wayne Swan

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013

5 July 2012

Doorstop interview

Joint doorstop interview with
Graham Perrett MP
Federal Labor Member for Moreton

Brisbane

SUBJECTS: Instant asset write-off for small business, Loss Carry-Back, Queensland's State of Origin victory, Clive Palmer's influence on Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party, carbon price structure, people smugglers, whaling

TREASURER:

I'm at a small business here in Brisbane, in south east Queensland. We've been having a look around here this morning and of course I'm here with Graham Perrett who is a very local active member for Moreton.

I want to say a few things today about some significant tax relief which commences from 1 July. In particular I want to talk about the instant asset write-off, the $6,500 instant asset write-off, which is going to be a very significant boost to cash flow to 2.7 million small businesses in Australia. Small business can buy items up to $6,500, multiple items and write them off in the current year, not as it is at the moment where they have to be looking at it over a period of years. That's a really good boost to cash-flow for small business.

Of course from 1 July we've got the Loss Carry-Back arrangements starting as well which will apply to incorporated small businesses. That's a very significant initiative as well. It means that if they have a loss in the current year they can write it off against a previous year's profit. That once again can give business the great certainty they need for continuing to invest in their enterprise.

Of course these great initiatives are funded by the mining tax. Of course the mining tax is there to ensure that we can not only assist people with the cost of living, but it's there to spread the benefits of the boom, to households and of course to small business. Because it's vital that everybody in the country shares in the mining boom and has a stake in the outcome of this great mining boom in Australia. Spreading the benefits of that right around our country goes to the very core of what the Gillard Labor Government is all about.

Ensuring that all Australians have a stake in our future prosperity and making sure that many businesses that aren't in the fast lane of the mining boom get to share in that as well through important tax relief, such as I've spoken about today.

Graham, did you want to say anything?

PERRETT:

It's great in terms of my patch that's been hammered so much by the floods to have businesses like this that are prepared to have that support. And to reap some of the benefits of the mining boom, not only just working for mining companies and executives, but also to buy those assets that spread the wealth right throughout my electorate which certainly did some tough times.

JOURNALIST:

Bit of a win last night for Queensland?

TREASURER:

Isn't it a great day to be a Queenslander. It's normally pretty good, but today's a very special day. What a great win. That's really cemented this team into the history books.

I had the privilege of presenting the jerseys to the team last Sunday night. To see the performance last night, to see the character, to see the commitment, to see them keep fighting to the end – it was a great game. It wasn't just Queensland that won last night, rugby league won. This is one of the great games of rugby league.

JOURNALIST:

All those attributes you said, does that sound like Clive Palmer and his choice not to run against you?

TREASURER:

No, no. He's got his tail between his legs and he's been running away. He's run away to Tahiti.

But the fact is that Clive Palmer owns the Liberal National Party in Queensland lock, stock and barrel. Any candidate that runs in Lilley will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Clive Palmer.

Of course he and Tony Abbott are brothers in arms. They pretended to have a lovers' tiff. But the fact is that when it comes to the Liberal Party in this state and more broadly around the country, they do the bidding for Mr Palmer.

The tax relief I'm talking about today is funded by the mining tax which is opposed by Mr Palmer and people like Gina Rinehart. They don't want to see small businesses, they don't want to see households benefiting from the mining boom.

One of the reasons why I would have welcomed a direct contest with Mr Palmer in Lilley is because I could explain to the electors of Lilley that Mr Palmer was running in Lilley so Tony Abbott could give him a gigantic tax cut. Because if the Liberals get in, out the door goes the Instant Asset Write-off, out the door goes the SchoolKids Bonus, out the door goes Loss Carry-Back. That's what you'll get under the Liberal Party and Mr Palmer and Mr Abbott.

JOURNALIST:

What do you make of his new plan to go against Bob Katter?

TREASURER:

Well good luck finding out. He did appear I understand on Lateline last night, but I like most Queenslanders was concentrating on the State of Origin.

He said from Tahiti I gather that he might be running in either Fairfax or in Kennedy.

Whether he's a candidate or not, he pulls the strings in the Liberal Party, not just in Queensland, but right across Australia. They do his bidding when they oppose the mining tax, they're doing the bidding of Mr Palmer.

PERRETT:

And my money's on Bob Katter. I can tell you that.

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer, are the LNP preselectors in Fisher spoilt for choice? Choosing between Mal Brough and James McGrath? And are you putting a bet on either?

TREASURER:

Well it's very interesting what's been happening in Fisher because we now know that Mr Hockey and Mr Brough met up at the Hyatt Coolum along with Mr Palmer to discuss the preselection for Fisher.

Of course, it's now coming out day by day that Mr Abbott also had knowledge of what they were talking about at that meeting. What they were talking about at that meeting was really a conspiracy to do in the current Member for Fisher, Mr Slipper.

The details of this are coming out slowly, but coming out they are. What it will show is how compromised the Liberal Party is in this whole sordid process that's involved the charges that have been levelled by Mr Ashby.

JOURNALIST:

On the carbon tax, is the Government negotiating with the Greens to lower the floor price of $15?

TREASURER:

What the Government has got is a fixed price for three years. That's what we've got. That's the package that we support.

JOURNALIST:

Are you negotiating with them?

TREASURER:

I think there will be discussions at all levels from time to time, in the community, from the business community, from others about matters to do with the carbon price. But it doesn't change the fact that there's a fixed price for three years.

JOURNALIST:

So it's locked in. How low do you think it should go?

TREASURER:

There's a fixed price for three years. We move to a floating price after three years.

JOURNALIST:

If the economy in Europe continues to struggle, (inaudible)?

TREASURER:

No we're not revising the fixed price for three years. That was the point that I just made.

JOURNALIST:

Do you think that after the three years is up, and then the floor price can come in, do you think a lowering of the floor price will help address the problem?

TREASURER:

Well let's be realistic about this. The carbon price started on 1 July. We have got a fixed price for the next three years.

JOURNALIST:

Talking about reducing it though, if there is talk out there about reducing it after the three years is over, what would that achieve?

TREASURER:

I'm not getting into hypotheticals of that. We've got a fixed price for three years.

JOURNALIST:

It's reported this morning that some immigration officials are concerned that people smugglers are using Australia as the NRMA. Are you concerned?

TREASURER:

The people smuggling trade is an evil trade. We can see what they do, people drown in the hands of people smugglers. So I wouldn't be surprised about much though of the activities of people smugglers.

The reason that we need, urgently, off-shore processing is to break the people smugglers' trade. That's why it's been disappointing that the Liberal Party and the Greens won't support off-shore processing in Malaysia. We've got a unique combination here where the combination of the Greens and the Liberal Party are stopping the Government from putting in place an important measure to break the people smuggling trade.

JOURNALIST:

If you break the people smuggling trade, what happens to those people that desperately want to..

TREASURER:

Well then they are processed in an orderly way in Malaysia or other source countries. That's what we are seeking to achieve through the Malaysian arrangement.

JOURNALIST:

Just a quick one on whaling. South Korea apparently wants to whale?

TREASURER:

Let me tell you this Government is absolutely opposed to commercial whaling. And we are absolutely opposed to any arrangement which might seek to disguise commercial whaling as scientific whaling. Now we don't know enough about the reports that have emerged overnight to say any more than that.

JOURNALIST:

Is there anything the Government can do (inaudible)…

TREASURER:

That's a hypothetical. This matter has arisen overnight. I can't give you any more of an update as to where it is. What I can do is outline those two fundamental principles that we operate on.