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Kelly O'Dwyer joins Insiders -

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Barrie Cassidy:
That's the papers, now we'll go to our studio guest, the Minister for Revenue, Kelly O'Dwyer, while she joins us here’s the Minister for Employment, Michaelia Cash on the budget savings that the Government says Labor is now honour bound to support.

Michaelia Cash:
These are savings that Bill Shorten took to the election and promised the Australian people. He's reneging on a promise made to the Australian people. And in fact, you know, it's opportune that we've got the Rio Olympics on at the moment. Bill Shorten could go and become a gymnast; he'd get a gold medal for the biggest back flip that anyone's ever performed in the history of the Olympics. He took these savings to the election, Laura. It's an absolute joke if he does anything other than that.

Barrie Cassidy:
Kelly O'Dwyer, welcome.

Kelly O’Dwyer:
Good to be with you.

Barrie Cassidy:
Is that the best way to open negotiations? Does that really capture the right spirit?

Kelly O’Dwyer:
Look, my colleague, Michaelia Cash, I think nails it when she says the Opposition and the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, has no economic credibility if he is prepared to walk back from the commitment that he made to the Australian people prior to the election. Now, they banked on over $6.5 billion worth of savings. They banked that in their bottom line, in their budget figures and if they

Turn around and say no, we didn't really mean it, it means they are playing petty politics, they are playing with our national interest and Bill Shorten can't be trusted.

Barrie Cassidy:
Why don't you try persuasion before the hectoring and the lecturing?

Kelly O’Dwyer:
We believe it's important for Bill Shorten to honour his commitments. He wants to be constructive - he said he will. They will honour their commitment bus they want to see the legislation. There will be no issue. These are the commitments they gave at the election so they will be able to honour those commitments. You don't need to negotiate something you've already agreed.

Barrie Cassidy:
Isn't it reasonable they see the legislation because they don't want you slipping in something they didn't agree to. They're entitled to see that, surely?

Kelly O’Dwyer:
Are they going to honour the commitment they made in the election? Now Bill Shorten has not said that he will honour those commitments. If he honours those commitments -

Barrie Cassidy:
He has said that.

Kelly O’Dwyer:
If he honours those commitments he will pass the bill.

Barrie Cassidy:
Why hasn't Malcolm Turnbull, Scott Morrison called Bill Shorten in, and Chris Bowen, sat them down and said this is what we want and start the negotiations that way?

Kelly O’Dwyer:
But it isn’t a negotiation when they've already agreed these particular measures. Negotiation is around measures that you haven't agreed. These are the measures that Labor, during the election, said they did agree, $6.5 billion.

Barrie Cassidy:
Is that why you bundled them all together -

Kelly O’Dwyer:
Correct

Barrie Cassidy:
so there's no wriggle room?

Kelly O’Dwyer:
We're putting all the measures that Labor have agreed in one bill so they can pass it and so that we can really commit ourselves to the task of budget repair. It is critical that we commit ourselves to the task of budget repair, that we reduce deficits because it will only be through doing that that we are able to reduce debt and that we reduce the burden on future generations, our children and our children's children.

Barrie Cassidy:
There might be one problem with that strategy, that if they do want to vote against one part of it, say the clean energy agency money, $1 billion or so, if they were to knock that back then you're left with nothing. You don't just lose the billion you lose $6 billion.

Kelly O’Dwyer:
But this is the issue. They actually baked that in to their figures, their budget bottom line, that particular saving prior to the election. Now if they want to crab-walk away from a commitment they made to the Australian people they need to be honest about it. Bill Shorten needs to say that he is going to play politics with the Australian budget, with the future of Australians and with our economic national interest.

Barrie Cassidy:
But wouldn't you rather be $1 billion rather than $6 billion short?

Kelly O’Dwyer:
Well this is for Bill Shorten to explain. This is not for the Government to explain. It is for Bill Shorten to explain why it is that he's back-flipping. We saw this prior to the election and during the election they made all sorts of grand statements of the things that they weren't going to do. In the election they back-flipped on around about $47 billion worth of savings and revenue measures and that was because they needed that to bake it into their budget bottom line. The Australian people are sick, they are sick of these games, they are sick of the politics. They want the Government to get on with governing, they want us to fix the budget. They want to make sure that the Labor Party works well with the Government to act in the national interest.

Barrie Cassidy:
There might be a lot of wasted outrage if in the end they support you?

Kelly O’Dwyer:
I would love it. We would love that, Barrie. That's what we want.

Barrie Cassidy:
Now on these welfare payments, and we're hearing that Labor - well they've already, I think, indicated this anyway, they meet you halfway on that. With these supplements $700 or so on average, if that was reduced to $350, would that be acceptable?

Kelly O’Dwyer:
This is actually Labor's policy, this is not the Coalition's policy and we are brought forward a policy in relation to child care that is supported and paid for by these savings measures that we have put forward. Now, this only goes part way to delivering that. The Government needs to make sure that we cannot only deliver on the policies but make sure that we can pay for them as well otherwise we're simply extending out the problem that already exists with the budget. So this is a Labor policy, I'm not sure where the speculation has come from that a deal has been done.

Barrie Cassidy:
There's been some kind of deal around that figure,
that would still leave enough for child care relief?

Kelly O’Dwyer
No, no, it doesn't pay for it at all, it doesn't actually go halfway there to actually paying for it.
That's why I'm surprised to read this sort of speculations and reports in the paper today. We need to make sure -

Barrie Cassidy:
That sound to you like their leak, not yours?

Kelly O’Dwyer:
I don't think it's come from the Government, let me put it that way.

Barrie Cassidy:
Alright, on superannuation, here you're negotiating with your own side which makes it a little unusual, but on these non-concessional contributions, $500,000 as it stands, you are open to increasing that?

Kelly O’Dwyer:
Well, what we've said on superannuation is that, you know, as the fiscal pressures increase and as our demographics change we need to make sure that superannuation is fit for purpose going forward. That it is affordable, that it is sustainable and flexible and that it allows Australians to be able to save for their retirement. We're going to be legislating an objective for superannuation that says that it is for the retirement incomes of Australians that will either supplement or substitute for the aged pension. Now that is where our package has been tied together through this particular objective. The non-concessional contributions is one aspect that people have highlighted.

Barrie Cassidy:
And the question was, are you open to allowing that to be increased?

Kelly O’Dwyer:
What we're doing at the moment is we are having discussions with stakeholders, we're having discussions with colleagues as we would - ordinarily do.

Barrie Cassidy:
With an open mind.

Kelly O’Dwyer:
As we would ordinarily do with any piece of legislation.

Barrie Cassidy:
George Christensen tweeted overnight it you double it, if you double it to $1 million that would satisfy most concerns?

Kelly O’Dwyer:
Well, what we're doing is we're doing what we always do when it comes to legislation, we are consulting very broadly. We're making sure that there are no unintended consequences. We're making sure that we get it right.

Barrie Cassidy:
Because you did say in the run up to the election and during the campaign you would be sticking to the policy, you wouldn't change a word of it?

Kelly O’Dwyer:
This is our package, this is our policy. It's got additional flexibility measures which mean those people who are on lower incomes who haven't taken full advantage of their concessional contribution caps, they will be able to do that going forward, up to $125,000 going forward on that rolling 5-year basis. We've extended out 10 years for people to be able to make concessional contributions. That adds up to $250,000 that people will be able to put into superannuation if they take advantage of it. We're encouraging people to put money into their spouse's superannuation if they've got a lower income spouse and we're giving them a tax offset to do that. We're making it a level playing field for people who want to be able to have tax deductions for their superannuation contributions so that if their employed by a small business that doesn't actually offer this, they're not put at a disadvantage. We're creating a level playing field for people to be able to contribute to their superannuation because at the end of the day, it's their retirement income and we want them to be able to have a good and strong retirement.

Barrie Cassidy:
Alright and just finally on the plebiscite around same-sex marriage. What if any decisions have been taken around this?

Kelly O’Dwyer:
So I've read the reports today. Obviously the Cabinet would be the ultimate decision-maker around the question and the timing of the plebiscite. The Government has committed to a plebiscite. We took that to the last election -

Barrie Cassidy:
But the timing?

Kelly O’Dwyer:
We want the Australian people to have a vote.
We have always said we would be very hopeful to be able to do that before the end of the year. We have said -

Barrie Cassidy:
That won't now happen?

Kelly O’Dwyer
We're committed though, committed to doing it as soon as practicable.

Barry Cassidy:
Is February 17 the date?

Kelly O’Dwyer:
My understanding is the Special Minister of State has received clear and direct advice from the Australian Electoral Commission that says it's not possible to hold it before the end of the year.

Barrie Cassidy:
Why is it not possible?

Kelly O’Dwyer:
That's the advice he's received.

Barrie Cassidy:
Why is it not possible?

Kelly O’Dwyer:
No decision has been taken but ultimately that will be for Cabinet to decide.

Barrie Cassidy:
Why is it not possible to hold one this year?

Kelly O’Dwyer:
That's a decision for Cabinet. But if there are practical reasons as to why we can’t do it

Barrie Cassidy:
That's not a decision for Cabinet. It's advice from AEC that it's not possible this year, the question is why not? What have they said about that?

Kelly O’Dwyer:
Well I’m not the Special Minister of State, I'm the Minister of Revenue and Financial Services and that advice will no doubt be put to the Cabinet at a future point in time.

Barrie Cassidy:
So then, only then the country will know why it's not possible. Surely that's a question that can be answered now?

Kelly O’Dwyer,
Well, well, as I said to you, no decision has been taken, Barrie.

Barrie Cassidy:
So no decision on the timing, no decision on the wording?

Kelly O’Dwyer:
That's correct. No decision has been taken.

Barrie Cassidy:
Except it will be next year, not this?

Kelly O’Dwyer:
No, no, no Barrie, no decision has been taken as to the timing or the question. So you can't make that assumption.

Barrie Cassidy:
Well, one decision that's been taken, it won't be this year, do you accept that decision has been taken?

Kelly O’Dwyer
No, that decision has not been taken, Barrie.

Barrie Cassidy:
So it might be this year?

Kelly O’Dwyer:
That is precisely the point I'm making that Cabinet has not made a decision. Advice has been received. That advice will be considered.

Barrie Cassidy:
Alright, we'll leave it there. Thank you.

Kelly O’Dwyer:
Thanks.