28 October 2014
Transcript - #2014028, 2014

Interview on The Project, Channel 10

SUBJECTS: GST, Revised implementation arrangements for fuel excise indexation over next 12 months

ROVE MCMANUS:

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann joins us now. Mathias, do you think the GST should go up?

MATHIAS CORMANN:

I think we need to have a mature conversation about tax reform. We have said very clearly when we campaigned to be elected in the lead up to the last election that we would not be making any changes to the GST in this term, full stop, end of story. Any proposal to change any aspect of our tax system beyond what we said we would do before last election would go to the next election, so that people across Australia can pass judgment on it.

CARRIE BICKMORE:

Okay, well let's have that mature debate. You're the Finance Minister do you think the GST should go up?

MATHIAS CORMANN:

Well, I don't have a view at this point. I think that we need to let the debate take its course. Obviously we want to see lower taxes, we wants to see a lower tax burden. We also want to ensure that taxes across Australia to fund the important services of Government, at a Federal and at a State level are raised as efficiently as possible, so that they don't detract from our opportunity to grow the economy as strongly as possible.

ROVE MCMANUS:

Why even have the debate? Why even have the conversation if you the Finance Minister are saying that you don't even have an opinion on it?

MATHIAS CORMANN:

Well we are starting the conversation. In the first instance this is a matter for the States to raise their voice about. As I have indicated right at the beginning, there will be no change to the GST unless all States, every single State, is of the view that change needs to happen.

PETER HELLIAR:

Mathias, speaking of mature conversations, last week you said this:

MATHIAS CORMANN (EXCEPRT):

Bill Shorten is an economic girlie man.

PETER HELLIAR:

What's wrong with an economic girlie man? My accountant is a female. You have a daughter, what happens if your daughter wants to be Treasurer one day?

MATHIAS CORMANN:

Well I used a bit of humour, playing on my accent, making a very serious point. Bill Shorten was promising to bring the Budget back into surplus more quickly than the Coalition, when he was a senior member of the Labor Government that created the mess that we are now trying to fix, when he is opposing most of the savings measures we have put forward.

FIFI BOX:

You have also announced a petrol price hike without parliamentary approval, why did you do that?

MATHIAS CORMANN:

What we've announced today is a revised implementation arrangement for a Budget measure to reintroduce fuel excise indexation. So in 2001 fuel excise indexation was abolished. We have announced today that from 10 November onwards the excise on fuel will increase from 38.143 cents up to 38.6 cents. It means that by the end of 2014, your typical household using 50 litres of fuel a week will pay about 40cents a week more for their fuel than they are right now. That is a modest impact on your typical family.

ROVE MCMANUS:

One more free kick with your accent. I have a lump on my neck do you think it's a tumour?

MATHIAS CORMANN:

You clearly don't agree some of my statements are humour.

ROVE MCMANUS:

That's not the line and you know it. Say it.

MATHIAS CORMANN:

It's the sort of line that we might have to pursue face to face when I can see whether it is or it isn't a tumour.

ROVE MCMANUS:

Well Mathias, thanks for your time.