The Hon Patrick Gorman MP Doorstop interview – Supreme Court Gardens, Perth

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister, Assistant Minister for the Public Service

PATRICK GORMAN, ASSISTANT MINISTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER AND ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE:  I’m Patrick Gorman, Federal Member for Perth, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister. I’m joined with Anne Aly, the Member for Cowan, the Minister for Early Childhood Education and Youth, and workers here in Western Australia who will benefit from Labor’s Tax Cut for Middle Australia.

What we saw last week was the Prime Minister release a Middle Australia tax cut policy to give a bigger and fairer tax cut to millions of people across Australia, including 1.2 million Western Australians who will be better off under Labor’s newly announced tax policy.

What I would have thought today, with Mr Dutton coming into Western Australia, spending a whole five hours on a plane, time to think about his tax position. That he’d tell us where he stands. But what we saw from Mr. Dutton today is that he can’t tell us whether he supports these tax cuts or whether he’s going to block them.

Western Australians deserve so much better than that. These workers deserve so much better than that. With Mr. Dutton, just across the road, having his shadow cabinet meeting, the least you could expect after days of speculation, where you have even got members of Mr. Dutton’s own backbench saying he should back these tax cuts. That it is the right economic policy for Australia. Even after they have their long shadow cabinet meeting. We’re not going to have an answer on whether or not they back these tax cuts.

Now, I can look a little bit into the future, and I know that when I sat in Parliament and Mr Dutton voted against cheaper childcare, he voted against cheaper medicines, and he voted against energy bill relief for Western Australians. I think we can expect he’s probably going to vote against a tax cut for these workers and millions just like them.

What we want to see is where does Mr Dutton and the Liberal Party and National Party, as they have their shadow cabinet, where do they stand? Because these tax cuts will give 80 per cent of Western Australians a bigger tax cut. They’ll give 90 percent of women in the workforce paying tax, a bigger tax cut. For early childhood workers, Labor’s tax plan will give 97 per cent of early childhood workers a bigger tax cut. Now, I think that’s worth voting for.

I know that when circumstances change, you change your policies. Western Australians get that. We saw that with the GST. You know, when the GST stopped working for us, we asked for policy change, so we got a fair deal. What we have seen since 2019 when these tax cuts were first released by Mr Morrison and Mr Dutton, is that things have changed. It’s appropriate the economic policies change too.

That’s why we want to give 80 per cent of Western Australians, 1.2 million Western Australians, a bigger tax cut. To help with cost of living, to help household budgets and to help 97 per cent of people who work in early childhood education and the care economy. Help them with their cost of living pressures.

I’m going to hand over to Anne to talk a little bit more about what this means in early childhood and then we’ll hear from some of the people who are going to benefit from these tax cuts right here in WA.

ANNE ALY, MINISTER FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND YOUTH: Thanks Patrick. Morning everyone. Look, I’m, I’m really happy to say that, as the Member for Cowan, the electorate of Cowan is going to get the most benefit, 87 per cent of people in Cowan will get a tax break from our tax reforms.

Now, if Mr. Dutton wants to vote against Labor’s tax reforms, then he needs to look these workers in the eye. He needs to look these hard-working early childhood educators in the eye. He needs to look the people of Balga, Ballajura, Mirrabooka, Nollamara and Noranda in the eye and explain to them why he thinks he is more deserving of a tax cut than they are.

I’m going to hand over to Kaaro, who has spent 45 years in the early childhood education sector. She’s going to talk to you about exactly what this tax cut means to a majority of early childhood educators. Just like the early childhood educators who stand here before me now.

KAARO PALMER, EARLY CHILDHOOD WORKER: Kia ora, I’m Kaaro Palmer and yes, I have worked 45 years in the industry. I stand here today with support from my fellow union people – I’d like to thank, the Labor Party for the tax deductions that we are about to receive. As early childhood workers, we have always been or have seen ourselves as one of the lowest paid groups in the country.

We’re expected to educate and care for our very young. Learning begins at birth and not at five years of age when they start school. So, our job is not about just readiness for school, it is about readiness for life. So these tax deductions, I know for myself, the rebate that I forewent last year, I received back.

It’s going to go a long way. The day-to-day living. The food on my table. Filling up my car. These are the things, the necessities, that we are confronted with when we are very poorly paid.

On that note, we are in bargaining with the Federal Government at the moment. So this is a pathway to what we believe, hopefully, is going to get us more in our wage packets, which we think we deserve.

TENILLE, EARLY CHILDHOOD WORKER: Hello, I’m Tenille. I’m looking forward to the tax cut. I had to pay tax last year and it worked out to be a big struggle with being a single parent and being back in the workforce. I’m looking forward to a tax return of approximately 800 dollars this year, which will help me with car insurance and as well as, schoolbooks and everything. It’s a big, big improvement.

EMMA, AGED CARE WORKER: Good morning everyone, this tax cut is really very good because it helps us a lot. Especially the single parents. You can pay the rates. The cost of living is so high. For myself, I think I probably get 1700 dollars in tax cuts this financial year, which is really good. It would help us with the, with the cost of living, the petrol is so high and everything. I’m trying to look after everybody. It’s great.

REPORTER: We’ve heard from Peter Dutton this morning at a CME breakfast. He says the Parliamentary Budget Office modelling shows that the number of West Australians that will be worse off as a result of these tax cuts increases from 240,000 today by 510,000 by the end of the decade. What do you say to those people?

PATRICK GORMAN: I would say that we know that Mr. Dutton’s not that good with numbers. I would like to see this modelling that he is referring to and if he’s got the modelling then he can make a decision. What we’ve seen from Treasury, Treasury does our modelling, is that all 1.5 million Western Australians will get a tax cut. 1.2 million Western Australians will be better off, including all of these Western Australians who are standing behind me. So if Peter Dutton wants to release his numbers, I challenge them and I’m happy to note that, you know, Mr Dutton wasn’t that good at numbers when he was trying to roll Malcolm Turnbull. He lost out on that numbers thing.

So I question Mr Dutton’s numbers but I also say, if he thinks that he’s got all the numbers he needs to make a decision, why isn’t the Shadow Cabinet making a decision right now? Workers deserve to know whether they’re going to get a tax cut. People need to know where Mr Dutton stands. Otherwise, we can only assume that he’s going to vote no, like he votes no to everything else.

REPORTER: You must accept that bracket creep means, over time, more West Australians will be worse off than they would be under the original Stage 3, higher earning West Australians?

PATRICK GORMAN: Western Australians will be better off under this plan. What we say for a person on an average income is that over, the 10 years to 2034, they are about 21,000 dollars better off under this plan. That’s the modelling that we’ve released. When it comes to the question of bracket creep, obviously that’s something that governments address, in the normal budgetary cycle. What we’re seeking to address right now is the serious cost of living pressures that people in Western Australia are under. The biggest and best way to give cost of living relief is to put this tax cut package into the parliament and for every member of parliament to vote in the interest of their constituents and to put it through.

REPORTER: Do you concede though that Western Australia having a higher median earning income than any other state, will be adversely affected compared, when compared to other states?

PATRICK GORMAN: There are fantastic job opportunities here in Western Australia, from work in the care economy through to the mining industry, to the tech industry. If you want to have a good life with a good salary, you can’t do much better than being right here in Western Australia and, without too much rivalry, I’d say right here in the Perth electorate –

REPORTER: But compared to a New South Welshman or a Queenslander –

PATRICK GORMAN: If you look at it, 80 per cent of Western Australians, better off under this plan. 90 per cent of women, in Western Australia who pay tax, better off under this plan. I’m really happy to talk to those, who work in the mining industry. I saw some data the other day, noting that the average wage in the mining industry is around 130,000 dollars. Those workers, better off under this plan. I’m really happy to talk to people about why we know this isn’t just in the interests of those 80 per cent of individuals who would be better off, but it’s actually in the interests of all of us.

You know, we all live here, in WA. Our neighbours are under cost of living pressure. We know people who are doing it tough, and if we have power, as the Federal Government, to do something, it’s time that we acted. It’s not just about individual taxpayers, it is actually about helping the entire community, which we all live and work in, and that’s what we’re seeking to do.

ANNE ALY: Can I just make a point here? You’ve all just heard from these early childhood educators what the tax cut is going to mean to them. You’ve heard from single mothers here, about what the tax cut means to them. It means the ability to put food on the table. It means the ability to fill their car. It means the ability to pay their car insurance. I don’t want to take that away from them. I don’t want to take that away from them so that people like me and Peter Dutton can get a bigger tax return.

What Labor has done with this tax reform package that we’re putting forward, that we are asking the opposition to support, is ensure that these hard working Australians that you see here, can manage their day to day expenses at a time where everyone is talking about a cost of living crisis, where you go to the shopping centre and people are pulling out coins. Looking in their purses for coins to buy a loaf of bread. To buy a loaf of bread.

So as I said, I dare Peter Dutton to come down here and talk to these hard working Australians about whether or not they deserve a tax cut and whether he deserves one more than they do.

REPORTER: You say when the circumstances change, policy changes. Circumstances change all the time, does that mean that anything that Labor commits to can’t be relied upon because the circumstances might change down the line?

PATRICK GORMAN: I’m really proud of us keeping our commitments when it comes to work we have done in Cheaper Childcare, cheaper medicines, acting on cost of living pressures with cheaper energy bills through the Energy Bill Relief. We’ve been really open about why we changed our position on this. The Prime Minister stood up at the National Press Club. The Treasurer has done a number of press conferences explaining why we have chosen to do what is right for the Australian economy. Even if that means that people will come and say things to us and say, well, you know, call various us names as politicians. That’s part of the business I’m in. That’s fine. I’m relaxed about that. What I’m really interested in is doing the right thing for my community, doing the right thing for the Australian economy and when you’re in a position to do something that will make a difference; And help with the cost of living pressures that people are under and support our economy, than that’s the right thing for us to do.

REPORTER: Dutton has been very quick to say that the change to stage 3 tax cuts means things like negative gearing and capital gains tax, that is back on the table. Is there any credibility in those claims?

PATRICK GORMAN: Mr Dutton has a new scare campaign every day. What we need to know is where does he actually stand on these tax cuts? Do you think people should get a tax cut or not? That’s the question in front of him. No scare campaign or lie from him will make any difference there. What we need to see is simply: Does he back these tax cuts?

REPORTER: There are reports that some Labor backbenches would be keen to see negative gearing revisited. Doesn’t that play into what Dutton is saying?

PATRICK GORMAN: The Treasurer has addressed that a number of times, in terms of our position, being that we have a completely full book when it comes to tax reform, including the tax reform I’m standing here arguing for now. If we want to talk about what backbenchers are saying, I’d note that there are backbenches on the record in Mr. Dutton’s own party room, in the Coalition party room, saying that maybe they actually should back these tax cuts. I think that tells you why Mr. Dutton, despite having spent five hours on a plane flying over WA, plenty of time to read the briefing details. Plenty of time to think about it. He has his entire shadow cabinet here. Plenty of time for them to have a discussion, but they can’t make a decision. I don’t know what that’s about other than his instinct is always to say ‘no’. He’s got pressure on his own backbench saying this is actually a sensible thing to do. Let’s do the right thing by Australian workers, the right thing by the Australian economy, and let’s get everyone backing this plan because it is the right thing to do.

REPORTER: The other thing Dutton said today is that the Prime Minister is concerned about his leadership as a result of recent polling and that Bill Shorten is a stalking horse. What would you say to that?

PATRICK GORMAN: I think Peter Dutton’s revealing a lot about his own mindset in those comments.

REPORTER: Just on another topic, just on the livestock carrier, sitting off the coast of Fremantle at the moment. Currently, I think the Department of Agriculture is sitting on a submission. I think there’s about 200 submissions that haven’t been revealed. Should this report be released?

PATRICK GORMAN: Sorry, there’s two very separate issues there. I’ll say that, the reason that this ship turned around was because there is conflict currently in the Red Sea and it was in the interest of animal welfare and safety that this ship was asked to turn around and return to the Port of Fremantle. Department of Agriculture is working with the exporter to ensure that we can do everything to assist, both of course, the crew and the livestock on that vessel. Of course, the welfare of those animals is the responsibility of the exporter, but we’re doing everything we can to assist.

REPORTER: So that’s not the responsibility of the department who, from that report, said that it was the one that actually said to turn back?

PATRICK GORMAN: As I just outlined, this was in the interest of safety and welfare. There is a conflict, we’ve seen that on our television screens every night, occurring in the Red Sea at the moment. That is the reason this ship was asked to return to port. The Department of Agriculture is working with the exporter right now, I know Minister Murray Watt is monitoring these matters very closely. I think it is important for everyone to understand these are quite separate issues.

REPORTER: On the boat then, whose responsibility is it for these sheep now to make sure that they’re appropriately quarantined.

PATRICK GORMAN: The welfare of the animals is the responsibility of the exporter. The Australian Government is responsible for a strong biosecurity regime. We take that very seriously and that’s why the Department of Agriculture is working closely with the exporter to make sure, that both the welfare of the animals, that the crew are safe, and also that we protect Australia is very important biosecurity, because that’s what so many industries across this country rely upon.

REPORTER: Do you know what’s happening next with the –

PATRICK GORMAN: I think I’ve outlined, pretty comprehensively. There are discussions happening with the Department of Agriculture and the Exporter. That’s all I can say at this point.

To your separate question, and I think it’s important that we recognise these are quite separate matters. On the long-term phase-out of live sheep exports, something that I have supported for a long period of time. We’re currently working through, obviously you mentioned a number of submissions that have been received. The Minister has been talking to industry, talking to state government counterparts. All of those are happening in the appropriate way when you’re making and working towards a big policy shift. It’s a policy shift that I think the community expects.

We have seen very challenging footage in the live sheep export industry over a number of years. For a long time, on the Labor side of politics, we have believed this is the right thing to do. We’ve been very clear with people about that. Of course, I also want to make sure that those who work in the industry, primarily here in Western Australia get support. That support includes making sure that we have transitioned to more processing done here in WA. That means more jobs. Making sure that where people are choosing, and I’ve spoken to particularly grain harvesters and grain exporters, where people are choosing for economic reasons to shift, what they’re doing with their land, they get the support to do that.

We will do that in a careful, measured way, because we want to make sure that, as we make this important transition, people are supported on the way through.

/Public Release. View in full here.