TRANSCRIPT - TELEVISION INTERVIEW - SKY NEWS AM AGENDA - THURSDAY, 25 OCTOBER 2018
KIERAN GILBERT (CO-HOST): Joining us now we've got the manager of Opposition Business Tony Burke. Tony Burke, thanks very much for your time. The story dominating headlines around the world this morning are these bombs, explosive devices sent to political figures Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton among them. What are your thoughts on that this morning? Obviously a big concern?
TONY BURKE, MANAGER OF OPPOSITION BUSINESS: It's a reminder of the modern world that we're in, of the deep security challenges. It's one of the reasons why the bipartisanship on national security here in the federal Parliament has been so important. You’ll get lots of politics back and forth but on the national security issues for a long time now there's been a really important level of unity because these sorts of challenges, they are real.
LAURA JAYES (CO-HOST): We've also seen some of the blame laid at the feet of President Trump this morning by the New York police commissioner who said that this starts at the top. What do you think about that?
BURKE: I wouldn't pretend to have insights to be able to know the accuracy or otherwise of that. Certainly when advice comes from the police force you always have to consider that seriously, that's part of security issues. But I wouldn't be in a position to back in or not back in allegations like that.
GILBERT: But when you look at issues of politically motivated violence from your perspective, an Australian perspective, what needs to be done to try and prevent that sort of thing from happening in our context?
BURKE: A big part of what we need to do and that's why I started on the point is to preserve that unity of purpose. I've seen good ideas collapse in this Parliament because they became part of the political game and you never want that to happen with national security. It hasn't mattered whether it was Tony Abbott whether it is Malcolm Turnbull now with Scott Morrison as Prime Minister, we've managed to maintain. There'll be differences of opinion that work through committees and we try to work things through but we have always on national security been able to land with a bipartisan position. I think that's really important. It's not for the dignity of the Parliament it's for the security of the nation.
JAYES: What about the language of hatred? It's been described to US do you think we are in danger in our own Parliament of subscribing to that sometimes?
BURKE: Look I've got such really strong views on hate speech as you know. What I'm reluctant to do is to then link that to these specific actions. The police and those who investigate will know what the cause of specific actions is. And so I don't want to link that in any way. It is certainly true that great harm is caused when hate speech is used and whole groups of people are put down in a really humiliating way.
GILBERT: Let's turn our attention to some other matters and we've seen this morning from Phil Gaetjens the Treasury secretary about savings ratio, that people facing cost of living pressures and low wages growth are facing potentially dipping into their savings. What's Labor's position on this? Particularly in the context of your popular property approach with negative gearing and capital gains tax reductions those exemptions being halved. Is this a risky time to be doing that when a lot of people's net worth is in their property?
BURKE: Let's also not forget that there are a whole lot of people who because of those exact pressures simply can't break into the housing market at the moment because they're being beaten by investors. So let's not have a conversation about household income that leaves out the people who are desperately trying to get into the housing market and who can't. One of the key things on cost of living though that we just can't ignore is the fact that we've had very low wages growth for a very long time. That's why Labor fought and continued to fight against the cuts to penalty rates. They have hit households that are doing it tough in a very direct way. We had direct votes in the Parliament on that. The Government chose to back in those penalty rate cuts. It's also why in Bill Shorten’s budget reply we promised to provide nearly double the tax refund that was in the budget. This makes a real difference in household income because people are seeing this. What was reported in estimates simply matches the anecdotes that you've heard, that we've all heard every day where people say everything's going up except my wages.
JAYES: So to be clear your negative gearing policy and the capital gains discount being halved, is the purpose of it is to bring down property prices so that more people can get into the market?
BURKE: The objective there is because we simply believe it is unfair that you turn up to an auction and the first home buyer keeps missing out to get their first home because there's a tax incentive available for the investor who is buying their seventh home. That's not a fair way to operate. It's not sustainable. It doesn’t make sense.
GILBERT: But you’re still doing it for new homes so why not scrap it for them? I mean if that's the principle.
BURKE: Because the new home market is the area that drives jobs. Construction drives jobs. This is where there was a lot of modelling yesterday that went nowhere near what our actual policy is. We haven't just grandfathered every property that is already being negatively geared by saying that it will still be available for new build you make sure not only that you get the jobs but you also get the supply in the market.
JAYES: What's the impact of this policy? Is it to bring down prices so that more people can get into the market? Because that's what you seem to be explaining.
BURKE: No, I've answered what the purpose is and I gave the exact image of the auction where people are turning up and if people are saying who should be getting the help? Should it be the first home buyer or should it be the investor getting their seventh home? I think you'd be hard pressed to find many people who thought that was fair.
GILBERT: But the policy might have made sense even two years ago, 18 months ago, but now the market has come off the boil in the two biggest housing markets. Is it a risk for you to be taking this to the election?
BURKE: The description that I just gave is as true for the auctions this Saturday as it was for the auctions four years ago.
GILBERT: Let's wrap it up there. Manager of Opposition Business Tony Burke we'll talk to you soon.
BURKE: Good to be back.
JAYES: Thanks Tony Burke.