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Transcript of doorstop interview: Parliament House, Canberra: 20 June 2012: School Kids Bonus; Julian Assange; Gina Rinehart and Fairfax

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Hon Christopher Pyne MP Doorstop Interview Parliament House, Canberra 20 June 2012

SUBJECTS: School Kids Bonus cash splash; Julian Assange; Gina Rinehart; Fairfax;


Christopher Pyne: Well, today the School Kids Bonus so called will arrive in people’s bank accounts and it’s important to point out that the School Kids Bonus is just a cash splash. The Government belled the cat itself by describing it as “cash for you” in the letters they sent to Australians across the country. It is not an education reform. It is not an education payment. There is no correlation to spending on education at all. It is exactly the same as the $900 cheque that was sent out during the global financial crisis. It is carbon tax compensation and the education tax rebate was a much better policy because it was linked to education spending and I believe Australian parents will see it for what it is. While they will certainly welcome extra cash - no one ever knocks it back - they’re essentially being given their own money back again that’s come to the Government through higher taxes and they’ll see through it as just another cash splash using borrowed money, putting Australia further into debt.

Journalist: (inaudible)

Pyne: We don’t support the School Kids Bonus. Our policy before the last election was to expand the education tax rebate. The education tax rebate is linked to spending on education. It is not very hard to keep invoices of spending on education. As a father of four children at school myself we spend a lot of money on education. It’s not very hard to keep an invoice to claim the education tax rebate.

Journalist: (inaudible)

Pyne: All our policies to do with budgeting matters will be announced before the election. I’ll be very surprised however if the School Kids Bonus made it through the Coalition policy process. The education tax rebate is a much better policy and the School Kids Bonus is just a cash splash designed to compensate people for the coming carbon tax and the price increases from the carbon tax will be much worse than the cash splash for the School Kids Bonus.

Journalist: (inaudible)


Pyne: That is the most ludicrous argument I’ve ever heard for a cash splash or a “cash for you” payment. What they’re really saying is because parents didn’t know about the education tax rebate they need to scrap it and instead just give cash to people, which has no bearing on education expenses. If the problem was that parents weren’t aware of the education tax rebate they should have advertised it better.

Journalist: (inaudible)

Pyne: Look, Julian Assange has got to make his own decisions. It’s up to him where he seeks asylum. The Australian Government I believe has been acting appropriately with respect to Julian Assange and it surprises me that he would think Ecuador would provide him with better protection, but that’s a matter for him.

Journalist: What do you think of Gina Reinhart upping her stake?

Pyne: I think the call from the Greens to intervene in the press today and yesterday completely exposes the fact the Greens are much less green and much more old fashioned communist. Only the Greens could think returning to the days of controlling the press like in the old Soviet Union would be a better outcome than allowing the market to determine ownership of publically listed companies. It is an absolutely ludicrous decision for the Greens to adopt that the Government should regulate charters of independence in newspapers across the country and Gina Reinhart, if she chooses to increase her stake in Fairfax and gain board positions would be just as much of a diverse founder or owner of media in Australia as for example the Wotif founder if he chose to invest in Newspapers across Australia.

Journalist: Do you the editorial content of the papers will change if she does gain control?

Pyne: Newspapers have got to change all the time otherwise their readers won’t buy papers and hoping the Sydney Morning Herald or the Age will stay the same as they were in 1950 is not a very good model for people to buy newspapers. If people aren’t buying newspapers then the editorial policy should be changed so people want to buy them.

Journalist: (inaudible)

Pyne: Freedom of the press is one of the most important bulwarks against the destruction of democracy. Freedom of the press entails government not influencing or controlling the press. The idea that the Greens have that that is the opposite case only exposes how stupid the Greens are.

Journalist: (inaudible)

Pyne: The Charter of Independence is decades old. Whether it has any relevance to current circumstances is a moot point.