Australian Prime Minister Radio interview – Nova 93.7 Breakfast

Prime Minister

: If you know us, you know how much we love a Federal Budget.

NATHAN MORRIS, HOST: We love it so much we turned it up and had a party.

LOCKE: Here to tell us, well, obviously he’s going to tell us how great it is. Our friend, the Prime Minister. Good morning, Albo.

ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: G’day. Good to be with you. And it’s good that Nathan’s back. You got the whole team. I missed you last week.

SHAUN MCMANUS, HOST: He was, the Prime Minister’s mucking around with your chair there Nathan. I was bit worried that you might be off put.

MORRIS: Albo, I know that we have to show you the utmost respect because you’re the leader of this fine country, but if you do that again, you will go down.

PRIME MINISTER: When you weren’t there, we didn’t have coits, darts, there were no games in the studio at all.

MCMANUS: It was very serious, wasn’t it Prime Minister?

PRIME MINISTER: It was. Nat and Shaun were very, very serious. We were last week. Very serious indeed.

MORRIS: I was at Hollywood Hospital with my mother for the week Albo.

PRIME MINISTER: Yeah. But I was talking with Amy –

MORRIS: Our producer.

PRIME MINISTER: And she said that your mum’s going okay, now.

MORRIS: Mum’s going alright now.

PRIME MINISTER: Shout out to your mum.

MORRIS: She really does miss the hospital food, though. No, the hospital food at Hollywood Hospital is amazing. There is a rack of lamb, Albo, right. This is so funny. So, dad was doing this thing, right, where he would, because dad gets very excited about free things and in his mind, the hospital is free. So, he was very excited for dinner time because he would have the conversation of whether mum’s gonna have the hospital dinner or if he’s gonna order that, then I’ll get him something else, I’ll get Mum something else. So, he did that most of the night. Anyway, all week, Albo, I was telling him, “get the rack of lamb,” because it’s got a rack of lamb on the menu. And dad goes, “no it’s hospital food, it’s not gonna be good.”

PRIME MINISTER: They’ve got a menu? Hooly dooly.

LOCKE: This is a private hospital Albo.

MORRIS: So, then dad orders the, so, mum’s last day there, that’s when she was getting a surgery, her last night. And I said, “Mum, you’re going to be starving after your surgery.” Mum goes, “you know, let’s get the rack of lamb.” So, mum orders it anyway. It comes out Albo, it looks like they set up a fine dining restaurant. It was amazing and dad couldn’t have it. And the regret. It’s all he’s been talking about for the last week, is the fact that he didn’t get this lamb.

PRIME MINISTER: I just learned something about you that we have in common as well, which is we’re only sons.

MORRIS: Yes, we are. I know because we are enough.

PRIME MINISTER: That’s what I say to my son.

LOCKE: Prime Minister, is there rack of lamb money in the Budget?

PRIME MINISTER: No, but there is tax cuts in the Budget for everyone and there’s energy bill relief for everyone as well.

MORRIS: That’s great.

PRIME MINISTER: In addition to that, we’ve got increased, I’ve spoken on your program before about how successful the Medicare Urgent Care Clinics are and we’ll have almost 30 new ones of them.

LOCKE: How many will WA get, Prime Minister?

PRIME MINISTER: They’re getting their share. I think they get four or five more on top of what they’ve got already.

LOCKE: They’re good, I’m all for an Urgent Care Clinic.

PRIME MINISTER: They’re up in Broome, they’re down in Bunbury, they’re there, I’ve been to a couple of ones there in the centre of Perth. There’s one at Midland. So, they’re making an enormous difference, taking pressure off those emergency departments.


PRIME MINISTER: You don’t want to end up in an ED waiting if your kid falls off the bike. They do that midpoint, so it’ll make a difference.

MCMANUS: There’s a few things that people are always looking at when it comes to Budgets and more so, the future, the short term future, and that is how we’re going to get interest rates down. So, we’re paying less on our mortgages. How can we go to the shops and not pay a truckload for food? Because everything’s gone up with inflation. And the other thing is obviously energy and the bills that will come through which you’ve dealt with, which is fantastic. The other two. How are we going to get inflation down? Because there’s, I mean, if you’re in the Opposition, you’re always going to say the opposite because that’s what the deal is. But do you believe that what Jim Chalmers has done with this Budget is going to help bring that inflation under control by the end of the year, therefore, that we all benefit across the board?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, it will make a positive difference. And that’s what Treasury has estimated. What we did, we sat down in the Expenditure Review Committee, which is a very dull committee.

LOCKE: It sounds fun.

MORRIS: Have good sandwiches at least?

PRIME MINISTER: Mate, it goes for hours and hours, days and days, weeks and weeks, and it seems like years, let me tell you line by line. But making sure that the measures we’ve put in place on cost of living also contribute to putting that downward pressure on inflation. So, measures like Fee Free TAFE, so big winners for people who are doing TAFE courses. I’ve been to TAFEs there in the West with people studying everything from new sort of energy apprenticeships to people studying to be chefs, across nursing, across a range of areas and doing Fee Free TAFE cuts the cost, obviously, for them, but it also contributes to the economy and reduces inflation. So, good for both. The energy price relief plan that we’ve got by taking money off bills rather than giving people a cash payment. What you do is you put that downward pressure on inflation. So, Treasury estimate that our cost of living policies will reduce headline inflation by three quarters of a percent in the financial year we’re in now.

LOCKE: Fingers crossed.

PRIME MINISTER: And half a percent next year. And importantly, we’ve produced now two Budget surpluses. The former Government didn’t produce any. Never.

MCMANUS: We’re going into deficits though, aren’t we? We’re going deficits after this?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, we’ve reduced the bottom line by over $200 billion over six years. So, yes, there are deficits projected in the future, but they’re lower than what they would have been what was projected under the former Government. And we turned a $78 billion deficit into a $22 billion surplus last year.

MORRIS: That’s just bringing their own tea bags into work, Shaun. So, it really loosened up a lot of money.

MCMANUS: We’ve been a Parliament House. We know it works. We gotta pay for that cafeteria somehow.

MORRIS: So, there are great things like, you know, the energy rebate and all that sort of stuff, you know, and there’s medication stuff, too. Medication stuff as well. And I explained the cost of living at the moment like the head of Hydra. You cut off one head and then seven more appear. And that’s with cost because everything seems to be going up. Can you be really honest with me right now? Right now and be honest with people in Australia? Is this just life now? Is this the price we’re going to be paying now? And is this the reality of the housing situation now? Because we’re complaining about it. We hear politicians saying they’re going to do something about it. It doesn’t seem to be working across the board because, as I said, when you, when something’s reduced in price, you get a rebate from something, seven other things go up. So, is this just like, are we just living in a more expensive world post COVID now, and we just have to deal with it in our own lives and make it work? Because it seems like that’s what the reality is.

PRIME MINISTER: Well, there has been a long tail from COVID because it exposed some of supply chain issues that are still there. And there’s also, you had on energy, you had the biggest international energy crisis since the 1970s with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It just flowed through, right around the world. So, you’ve got to be straight about that, and you’ve got to be straight as well about housing is a supply issue that you can’t fix overnight, but what you can do is put your shoulder to the wall and make a difference. And on inflation, it is now half what we inherited. So, the annual inflation rate at the moment is down to 3.6 per cent. Now we want to get it to between 2 and 3 per cent. The measures that we’ve put in place are aimed at further moderating inflation, and it’s not a simple issue. So, when we sat down and did the Budget, we had to look at measures that would put that downward pressure on inflation while giving support to people. That’s why we made the decision earlier this year, too. We know people were doing it tough, so we changed the tax cuts. That was a big call and it was the right thing to do, done for the right reason. I was criticised at the time. No one now, not even the Opposition, who oppose everything, they ended up voting for it because it was the right thing to do, so that your listeners, who are earning $45,000 or less, would have got not a single cent. They’ll get a tax cut now, on July 1. The measures that we put in place as well for students, so that we wiped $3 billion of people’s HECS debt will make a difference as well. Making sure that for people undertaking prac training as part of their course in teaching and nursing, they’ll get paid for that. So, we’ve tried to address support where it’s needed. A 10 per cent increase in rent assistance on top of the 15 per cent increase that we had last year, again, making a difference in a targeted way, as well as those measures that go right across the economy to everybody, which includes the energy bill relief and the tax cuts for every taxpayer.

MCMANUS: Yeah. No, there’s a lot to work with.

LOCKE: People always want more, is the bottom line.

MCMANUS: That’s right. And going back to what Nathan was saying, are we just stuck in this time where we’ve accepted this is the price?

LOCKE: The question is, is this a hump or is it, is the line going up?

MORRIS: Because I can tell you right now, I do not feel like, I do not feel that the way that you can’t afford, people cannot afford anything at the moment. The amount of pensions I see walking around the shops now because they’re frightened to turn their power on.

LOCKE: And the fact that at the moment we’ve had warm weather, people are relieved because they don’t have to turn the heater. They’ve delayed turning that heater on by a few more weeks.

MORRIS: I mean, a simple product that you like at the shops, that product over the last couple of years could have gone up a dollar, $1.20, $2. So, the fact is, like, I do not see, since post COVID, the prices ever coming down.

PRIME MINISTER: Well inflation, inflation is moderating.

LOCKE: It is not going up by as much is what that means.

PRIME MINISTER: It is, it’s is going up across the board, 3.6 per cent is the annual figure. But one of the things that we’ve had to do as well, that will make an enormous difference is that producing two Budget surpluses in a row. And people, I think get that. People get that, you know, running a budget, people have got to run budgets at home. They can’t spend more than is coming in. And what we’re doing in running two Budget surpluses in a row, the first time that’s happened in almost a couple of decades. And certainly there were no surpluses under the former Government. That will make an enormous difference and will assist as well. So, that delicate balance that we had to do of providing relief and support whilst being responsible and delivering a budget surplus was a difficult task. But in Jim Chalmer’s Budget last night, we announced both of those things, support, relief but also a Budget surplus.

MCMANUS: You must be rapt about talking about this all day long.

MORRIS: Oh, my God. You’re going to say this same stuff how many times today? Oh, I would drive into a tree.

PRIME MINISTER: But this will be the highlight of my morning. There’s no one else I’m speaking to that has their photo on The Lodge mantel piece.

MORRIS: And believe me, we’ve already started discussing your wedding gift. Got a few ideas, mate. You’re going to move that picture just over slightly. Something else going on the mantle.


MORRIS: Have a great day.

MCMANUS: Thanks for your time.

PRIME MINISTER: And you guys, thanks a lot. Bye bye.

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