SUBJECTS: Upcoming Budget; AFL player Jordan De Goey.
REBECCA MADDERN: Welcome back. It seems even tougher times are on the way. Speaking to the Australian Financial Review this morning, Treasurer Jim Chalmers warning big budget cuts lie ahead as the government prepares to hand down its first budget in October. It is one topic that has us talking today. Let’s bring in Education Minister Jason Clare and Neil Mitchell, host of 3AW Mornings. Good morning, gentlemen, to both of you.
JASON CLARE, MINISTER FOR EDUCATION: Morning guys.
NEIL MITCHELL: Good morning.
MADDERN: Minister, to you first. The Treasurer keeps going on about the one trillion dollar debt, talking about inheriting this wasteful spending. What is he referring to?
CLARE: Well, we’ve inherited some massive challenges. Inflation’s through the roof. You know that if you’ve been to the petrol station recently or if you’ve been to the supermarket. We’ve got wages that are flat, and we’ve got interest rates that are now coming through the door, hitting people really hard. There was some good news this week with an increase in the minimum wage. That will help Aussies that are on really low incomes. But we’re lumbered here with a budget that’s got about a trillion dollars of debt. The federal budget’s in worse shape than most state budgets. So what Jim’s talking about there is, one, we’ve got to make sure when we hand down this new budget in October that we implement the commitments we took to the election. But we’ve also got to go through it line by line, find the waste, find the rorts, he made the point today, find areas of duplication, where you might have two departments doing the same thing, to make sure we’re getting bang for buck. Make sure that taxpayers are getting value for money in a budget where you’ve got a trillion dollars of debt that we’re going to have to pay off.
MADDERN: We don’t have a bottomless pit, do we? Neil, what do you think about this? Labor has inherited a mess, or is it just a handy excuse?
MITCHELL: It’s the tradition, isn’t it? You win power and you say: Oh, look at the mess they’ve left us with. Everybody knew they were getting into a huge debt. That’s partly the pandemic, it’s partly other reasons. The question now is: where do you trim? Where do you cut? Do you know, every government comes in and proceeds to throw out promises. One of the strongest critics, and rightly so, of Tony Abbott when he did that, was Jason Clare, the very man we’ve got here. He went after Tony Abbott, because they got in, said it’s a mess, we’ve got to cut spending. So, Minister, are you going to cut spending in your areas? What about cheaper childcare? Is that still there? The school rebuilding projects? More university places? Free TAFE? You’re going to have to go through all your promises, and I will guarantee you they don’t all survive.
MADDERN: Will you deliver, Minister?
CLARE: My criticism of Tony Abbott nine years ago was he said no cuts to education, no cuts to health, no changes to the pension, then he went through, one by one, and broke all of those.
MITCHELL: Yeah, that’s right.
CLARE: You do that, you break trust, Neil.
MITCHELL: That’s what I’m saying.
CLARE: So my response to that is: we promised cheaper childcare. One of the top priorities for me, for Anthony and the team, is to introduce legislation when parliament goes back and get it passed through this year, so that we can make that a reality. We need to keep our promises…
MITCHELL: [Interrupts] So, will every one of your promises be honoured?
CLARE: Yes, absolutely.
MITCHELL: Every single one? But you’ve already said, and Jim Chalmers says in this interview that you can no longer argue for a total catch-up for the wage case. All right, 5.1 per cent is the argument this time. He says you can’t expect future wage cases to keep pace with inflation…
CLARE: And we said that before the election as well.
MITCHELL: Well, that’s not what Anthony Albanese said in the campaign.
CLARE: We said there were special circumstances there, where real wages had gone backwards for the last 12 months and were forecast to go backwards for the next 12 months, and that we didn’t want Aussies on the lowest income to go backwards. I think we should all be happy that we’ve seen, this week, the Fair Work Commission respond to that, and say: Aussies that are on twenty bucks an hour get an extra dollar. You know, we want Aussies who are on the lowest incomes, who are struggling the most when they walk into Woolies or Coles or the petrol station to pay the bills, to have a little bit of extra money to pay those bills. They do it a lot harder than you or me.
MITCHELL: Of course they do.
MADDERN: Well, it will all be revealed on October 25. We’re off to a fiery start, I’m loving it, guys. [Laughs] But we’ve got to move on. AFL star Jordan De Goey is in hot water again for his off-field behaviour, filming partying in Bali on a mid-season break. Neil, the high-profile Pie, you know, it’s not his first strike. How many strikes will he get?
MITCHELL: This bloke should have trouble stamped across his forehead. There was a saying around football: In goes the booze, out goes the brains. And this bloke hasn’t got many brains to force out when he drinks. It’s just an incredibly stupid thing to do. The club shouldn’t have let him go. He shouldn’t have behaved like this. He was in New York only a matter of months ago, in disgrace, he ended up pleading guilty to a charge of harassment. He was fined $10,000 by the club, put on probation by the club, and he goes off and carries on like this. He’s out of contract. This could cost him $4 million over five years. He’s worth $800,000 a year. He’s a very, very good player, but he’s an idiot. You know what I’d do with him? Brendan Nottle is a marvellous Salvation Army officer here in Melbourne, he works endlessly with the homeless, he’s a Collingwood supporter. I’d make this kid go and work with Brendan Nottle, learn some humility, learn something about life and the real world.
MADDERN: Yeah, well, there are standards, not just as a footballer, as a human. And this person, this isn’t it. Minister, Collingwood gave De Goey the tick of approval for the trip. Was that a good idea?
CLARE: Just picking up what Neil said. Brendan, I know as well from the Salvos in Victoria is an absolute legend. So that’s a brilliant idea, I encourage Collingwood to pick that one up. Whether you’re a football player, whether you’re a movie star, if you’re on the telly you’re a role model, kids are watching. It goes with the job, whether you’re on the field or off the field, you’ve got to expect that the cameras are there, they’re going to pick it up. And if you misbehave, you’re going to end up on the front page of the Herald Sun or the Daily Telegraph. You’re a role model. I know kids are watching, I’ve got kids at home that would be watching this sort of stuff. And so there’s an expectation here when you are a public figure that you behave.
MADDERN: Yeah, absolutely, I think we all agree on that one. Thanks, gentlemen, for your time.