SKY NEWS FIRST EDITION
THURSDAY, 27 JUNE 2019
SUBJECTS: Tax Cuts, John Setka, Christopher Pyne, Bad Blood documentary.
LAURA JAYES, HOST: Let's go live now to Shadow Assistant Treasurer Labor MP Stephen Jones. Thanks so much for your time. I want to ask you in with Malcolm Turnbull, sorry not Malcolm Turnbull, Scott Morrison. It's been a couple long couple of weeks hasn't it.
STEPHEN JONES, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Easy to get confused.
JAYES: Exactly. Exactly. Scott Morrison heading to the G20. The economy, the global economy. The domestic economy is in sharp focus. Was interesting Chris Richardson speaking to him earlier this week. He's a very respected economist. He says these tax cut package is worth in terms of the stimulatory effect to the economy about two interest rate cuts. So that's a good enough reason for labor to get behind it. Isn't it?
JONES: Yeah two points I would make there. Firstly: it needs to be brought forward. The vast majority of the tax cuts won't come into effect until after the next election. It's a good reason to bring forward Stage Two, which is what Labor is calling on the Government, in fact willing to work with the Government to do but look the situation we've got here is that you've basically got monetary policy and fiscal policy working in opposite directions. You've got the Reserve Bank Governor basically throwing his hands up in the air and saying well we can continue to cut interest rates but it's probably not going to have the stimulatory effect that we need to kickstart household consumption. What we need to do is to have the Government do its role by bringing forward some spending and that second tranche of tax cuts is absolutely critical in that. It's why we're calling on the Government to do the right thing, to do the smart thing, and bring them forward as a part of our tax ...
JAYES: But you're not in Government Stephen Jones, I hate to remind you and this was a package that only four, five weeks ago the Government, Coalition took to the election and won. So, why are you standing in the way?
JONES: Look there's a hundred and fifty-one members who got elected to the House of Representatives each and every one of them claims to have a mandate from their electors, from their electorate to go to Parliament and vote in the way that they campaigned on in Parliament and Labor simply takes the view that if you take a really simplistic view on mandates then all the Government members turn up to Parliament and all the opposition members stay home. It's clearly not that simple we have an obligation to do what is the right thing by the country, by the budget and by the economy and that's why we're calling on the government to bring forward those tax cuts. Ultimately, it's up to them about whether they do the right thing in the responsible thing.
JAYES: What about - what is the right thing when it comes to John Setka, we saw these... Everything aired yesterday, really. Everything is on the table, but some of the unions that were supporting him last week unequivocally after that conviction yesterday, the guilty plea, those unions have remained silent.
JONES: Look, I think it shows that Anthony Albanese had tremendous hindsight when he called two weeks ago for John Steka's membership of the Labor Party to be removed. Now as far as Mr Setka's leadership of his division of his branch of the CFMEU: That's a matter for the union and his members but as far as the Labor Party goes, we've made it clear. There is no role for him in the Labor Party and I think yesterday's proceedings underline exactly why that's the case.
JAYES: Is there any role for the CFMEU to be officially aligned to Labor?
JONES: Look, I don't think... Look can I just say on the CFMMEU: Lots of divisions, lots of very fine officials representing members doing tough and hard work. I don't want to see a building sector in Australia that doesn't have strong workplace representatives who are looking after health and safety whether it's in our dangerous coal mines whether it's on building sites or whether it's in the maritime or the stevedoring industry. They've got a critical role to play. Labor's got an important relationship with our trade union movement, which keeps us in touch with ordinary working Australians. The leadership of the CFMMEU is a matter for them. But Mr. Steka's membership of the Labor Party is soon to be terminated.
JAYES: Okay, well, we'll wait, await that official decision now just a few other things Christopher Pyne has gone from really Defence Minister in a couple of weeks to defence lobbyists. He's taken a job with EY. Do you see that as an issue?
JONES: Yeah look there's hardly a Member of Parliament that doesn't like Chris, and find him entertaining and great company, even if we disagree with his views. We wish him well in his post-politics career, but what's gone on here seems to be a breach of the Government's own ministerial code of conduct and the government needs to act. I mean Christopher Pyne is working in a field directly related to his Ministerial responsibilities. Most Australians would say that's not on that's not right. There should be a healthy break between your Ministerial life and then jumping into the private sector and working directly in an area that you were once a decision maker on.
JAYES: Yeah, look it's a bit perverse though isn't it Stephen Jones? A Ministerial code of conduct, he's no longer a Minister. I mean once you leave politics do you really have to adhere to it?
JONES: Yeah, but Scott Morrison is the prime minister.
JAYES: Yeah, but what can he do? What's in his power to do?
JONES: He can make it quite clear that his departments, his Ministers, make it clear that they cannot deal with Chris for as long as he is in breach of the Ministerial code of conduct.
JAYES: And how long should that be?
JONES: For the duration that the Ministerial code of conduct makes it clear that they shouldn't be operating.
JAYES: How long is it, do you know?
JONES: I think it's at least 18 months or two years. Many may say that that's not long enough. But at least the letter of the code of conduct should be applied.
JAYES: Just finally got to ask you about Bad Blood, New Blood the documentary we ran this week also the revelations from Paul Kelly on the front page of the newspaper. I mean the Liberal leadership turmoil was dramatic, it dragged on it is still a feature a year on but Labor still couldn't win an election with that backdrop. What does that say?
JONES: Look, we've got to go through our election review. There are lots of issues not just one that we've got to come to terms with but I've got to say what David's excellent documentary is showing is that the divisions in the Liberal Party haven't gone away. Same personalities pulling the same strings. And as soon as the first crack shows we can be guaranteed that the chaos that we saw in the last Parliament will continue in this one.
JAYES: Okay, Stephen Jones appreciate your time this morning.
JONES: Good to be with you