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24 August 2020

Interview with Allison Langdon, The Today Show

Note

Subjects: Branch stacking; Jobs recovery; Jobkeeper; JobSeeker;

ALLISON LANGDON: 

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg joins us now. Thank you so much for your time this morning.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Good to be with you Ali.

ALLISON LANGDON:

This involves two federal politicians, your former Defence Minister Kevin Andrews and the Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar, pretty damning allegations.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well both Mr Andrews and Mr Sukkar have put out statements and they've completely rejected the allegations and they've referred those matters to the Department of Finance for review and that's the appropriate thing to do. When I saw that program, I knew that Liberal Party members would be concerned about the conduct and about the language that was used. I share those concerns. I've subsequently spoken to the President of the Victorian Division as well as the State Director, as well as the Leader of the Opposition, and the Liberal Party will deal with those matters now internally.

ALLISON LANGDON:

A few months ago when this was Labor, Labor acted swiftly. Do you need to get rid of Michael Sukkar? Does he still have your trust and support?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

He certainly has my support. And as I said, he's rejected those allegations. As my Assistant Treasurer, he's done a very good job engaging with stakeholders and developing policy. But as for the broader issues that were raised on the program, the Liberal Party will deal with that internally. But the Victorian Division, Ali, of the Liberal Party is a very proud one. It's the Division that has produced the likes of Sir Robert Menzies and Dame Margaret Guilfoyle, Jeffrey Kennett, Peter Costello and David Kemp and many many others. And my experience of the Liberal Party, the Party that I love, is that people have joined because they share the values of the Party. They believe in the power of the individual, freedom, personal responsibility. That's what has driven the membership of the Liberal Party in the past. That's what should drive the membership of the Liberal Party into the future.

ALLISON LANGDON

Well we saw last night is that there are rats in the ranks.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

What I saw last night was language and conduct that was of real concern. And as I said, the Liberal Party will conduct its own internal process on that.

ALLISON LANGDON:

Okay, well it is a distraction today because Parliament is resuming. The jobless figures, what kind of numbers are we going to see?

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well, we see effective unemployment today at around 9.9 per cent. Now, that is taking into account those who have either lost their job or left the labour force or have seen their hours down to zero. But as a result of the restrictions being eased and the virus being contained outside of Victoria, jobs are coming back. And we're seeing particularly strong jobs growth, Ali, in New South Wales with 315,000 jobs and in the last two months we've seen 340,000 new jobs around the country. Now, 58 per cent of those have gone to women and around 44 per cent have gone to young people. So it shows what the formula can do when you get the virus under control and you ease the restrictions, people get back to work. But certainly the situation in Victoria with stage four restrictions is very different. And it's Treasury's analysis that up to 400,000 people in Victoria will either lose their job or see their hours reduce down to zero. That's why it is vitally important we get the virus under control. That's why the Morrison Government has deployed 1,700 Defence Force personnel to Victoria and that is why we have also provided additional economic support, particularly with the changes around JobKeeper, paid pandemic leave and extra resourcing for childcare.

ALLISON LANGDON:

As you say there, I mean Victoria, the situation there has changed everything. We're not where we hoped or thought we would be right now. It adds to the pressure on you not to cut JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments just yet.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Well we’ve actually extended and expanded JobKeeper to go for an extra six months. It was originally legislated for just six months at that flat $1,500 payment. What we've done is extend it for another six months out to the end of March. Now, it will transition from $1,500 down to $1,200 and then down to $1,000 and there will be two different payments based on the number of hours worked and that followed a Treasury review. But Ali, at $101 billion and supporting nearly 4 million Australian workers in this September quarter, JobKeeper is a remarkable program. They are not my words. They are the words of the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia. And they have helped keep people in a job. And again, it’s Treasury's analysis that JobKeeper together with the other economic support packages that we have announced, have helped save 700,000 jobs across the country.

ALLISON LANGDON:

I tell you what, we know you have done your two weeks in quarantine. Parliament is back today, it’s going to be pretty busy. You’ve got, goodness me, aged care, JobSeeper, JobKeeker, branch stacking, we will be watching very closely. Thanks for your time this morning.

JOSH FRYDENBERG:

Good to be with you.