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Transcript of interview with Tom Connell: Sky News AM Agenda: 25 July 2017: marriage equality; Shorten inequality speech



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THE HON MATT THISTLETHWAITE MP SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY MEMBER FOR KINGSFORD SMITH

E&OE TRANSCRIPT TELEVISION INTERVIEW SKY NEWS AM AGENDA TUESDAY, 25 JULY 2017

SUBJECT/S: Marriage Equality, Shorten Inequality Speech.

TOM CONNELL: Going now to Labor’s Matt Thistlethwaite joining us now to chat about all things in politics thanks for your time today Matt Thistlethwaite, keen to get your view on all this talk on inequality, what about not on the tax side but Newstart people on $38 a day, is this something else Labor will look at?

MATT THISTLETHWAITE, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY: Well we want a system that works for middle to low income workers in Australia, we want a system that ensures that the economy grows and creates jobs and over the course of the last few years we’ve shown a willingness to act where there’s unfairness in the system particularly around negative gearing, capital gains tax discounts, and that’s part of an ongoing process that Labor’s committed to over the course of the last couple of years and consulting with the Australian public, working out where there’s unfairness in the system, where there’s policies that inhibit growth and jobs and acting on those and we’ll continue to do so into the future, we’ve got no specific accouchements coming up on Newstart, but we’re always looking at where there’s unfairness in the system and what we can do to create growth and jobs.

CONNELL: Do you think that’s unfair though that people are on that $38 a day or is it fair enough that you need incentive to get out there and work?

THISTLETHWAITE: Well look it’s an amount of money that’s supposed to provide an incentive for people to get out and work, there’s no doubt that it would be difficult for people that are on that type of income but it’s not meant to be a long term thing, it’s meant to be a payment that people receive whilst they’re looking for work and whilst they’re using other government services to get into work and if there’s bottle-necks in the system that aren’t providing people with access to those jobs, with access to training, then we certainly will act and we’ve made a number of announcements around boosting Tafe, increasing the education expenditure and also working to ensure that people get access to jobs through the jobs network.

CONNELL: It’s something the Business Council of Australia says should be increased so I’m not expecting an announcement today but does it strike you as something that should be included in a mantra of fairness and inequality, that lower payment?

THISTLETHWAITE: Well as I said it’s not something that we’re specifically going to announce over the coming days, it’s certainly something that has been raised by a number of advocate groups but it’s not meant to be a long term payment, it’s a payment that provides an opportunity for people to get back on their feet and to look for work and to ensure that the system provides those incentives for people to get back into work, it’s not meant to be a substitute for having a job.

CONNELL: What about all the talk on trusts, potentially on family trusts, do you think there could be an issue that could be addressed here, a specific one albeit a targeted issue perhaps?

THISTLETHWAITE: Labor’s going through a process Tom of consulting with the Australian public about developing better policies and when we’re in rural and regional Australia, when we’re out in the towns and cities, a consistent theme is the unfairness of the current system and low to middle income Australians, workers and their families are sick and tired of going to work, paying their bills, seeing their electricity prices increase, yet at the same time reading in the papers about people who are on high incomes that can afford to use loopholes if you like in the system to minimise their tax and then try and arch-up about it when Labor tries to increase the transparency and accountability by disclosing what people are actually paying with their tax, so we’ve demonstrated a willingness to act in this area and to ensure that where there is unfairness that people do pay their tax at their marginal rate, and do pay in a timely manner which I don’t think anyone can argue against.

CONNELL: Watch this space I suppose on that. Just finally the same sex marriage postal plebiscite floated over the weekend if this is something the Government goes down would you be out there campaigning for a yes vote?

THISTLETHWAITE: Well look a postal vote is insulting to gay and lesbian Australians and it would be very expensive and clumsy. Really I think that the conservatives in the Liberal Party and the Coalition should man-up, they should go into the Parliament, express their views in a speech and then have a free vote on the issue. They shouldn’t hide behind this notion of a postal vote, of a plebiscite and try to avoid doing their duty as legislators, walking into the Parliament, expressing their view and voting on the issue, that’s the way that we should be determining this, that’s the way that the gay and lesbian community want it to be determined and that’s the way that Labor believes it should be determined.

CONNELL: One word answer, we’re out of time but would you campaign for it all the same?

THISTLETHWAITE: My view is that we do need to make this reform, but I don’t support a postal vote and I don’t support a plebiscite, my view has been clear and that’s to

express the view of the gay and lesbian community that I consulted with and they don’t want a postal vote or a plebiscite.

CONNELL: Matt Thistlethwaite, thanks for your time today.

THISTLETHWAITE: Cheers Tom, thanks.

ENDS

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