DATE: 19 JULY, 2017


SUBJECT/S: GST in WA, Greens citizenship woes


GARETH PARKER: Tim Hammond is here, one of those heroic Labor Members that the Prime Minister referred to in my interview at 8.30am, he had his tongue firmly in his cheek. He was having a big crack at you Tim and your WA Labor colleagues over your submission to the Productivity Commission’s GST review, said it was full of waffle and didn’t mean anything and limp.


PARKER: What do you make of that?

TIM HAMMOND SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSUMER AFFAIRS: Talk about waffle, it’s just really sad Gareth. Firstly if I had known about the super hero reference I would have brought my cape in, sorry about that. Secondly, it articulates why we are entitled to feel so disappointed with this Prime Minister because again he is so focussed on the other side that he forgets that he is the one in the top job at the moment and he is the one with the capacity to fix this right now and he’s failing to do so. I’m really happy to talk about our submission because I’m proud of the fact that it demonstrates that you’ve got a united Federal WA Labor team listening to their community and putting the position very clearly to the Productivity Commission that Western Australian’s are entitled to a fair share that they are not getting now. What we saw with Malcolm Turnbull’s interview this morning was entirely the reason why the community is so disappointed with him and with his Government because they have the opportunity to fix this right now but all he can do is focus on the other side.

PARKER: Before the next election Bill Shorten is going to have to put his cards on the table on this question, I’m not going to ask you to do that today but he is going to need to give us a concrete solution, you all understand that don’t you? Then it will be his problem and you won’t be able to continue pinning it on the PM because he won’t be the PM if Bill Shorten wins.

HAMMOND:  What I’m really proud about is the track record of Bill and the WA Federal Labor team on this issue. Bill has been out to WA eight times in nine months. He was here on 2 June saying that Western Australians need a fair share and he’s up for it.

PARKER: So he understands the issue?

HAMMOND: Completely

PARKER: When is he going to articulate his solution, five minutes before the election?

HAMMOND: There is a process that needs to take its course. Bill is making it very clear that he is committed to sorting out the problem with the disparity with the fair share for Western Australians and he’s committed on doing that.

PARKER: Did you read the Western Australian Government’s submission to the Productivity Commission review submission?

HAMMOND: These things were happening in parallel and I think you’ll see by the timing of the submission they were in on or about the same time. What our focus was on, bearing in mind you are dealing with two pretty different dynamics here. You have the Western Australian Government and the resources available to it and you’ve got a Federal WA Labor team putting in a submission which is just focussed on making sure the Productivity Commission understood there was a disparity here that needed to be fixed.

PARKER: So I take it the answer to that is no and the reason I raise it with you is because I’m informed that there are some people in WA State Labor who are a bit disappointed with your submission, which was highlighted by Peter Van Onselen piece in the Sunday Times.

HAMMOND: I am absolutely delighted to talk to anyone who might want to ask us some questions about our submission because we’ve been really clear that the position as far as the GST share to WA is not fair it needs to be fixed right now.

PARKER: We’ll move off the GST for a moment. You don’t have to renounce any citizenship do you?

HAMMOND: I tweeted yesterday Gareth that I was born in Mount Lawley and I live in Mount Lawley.

PARKER: What do you make of all of this? It is quite remarkable.

HAMMOND: It is remarkable in a way; it demonstrates that we’re not seeing the level of sophistication from a party like the Greens that they might otherwise like to pretend is the normal course of things.  

PARKER: Secretly or maybe not even secretly, maybe openly you Labor people are loving this. You kind of can’t cop a lot of their sanctimony on a lot of these issues; you think they don’t live in the real world. So there’s actually I think a lot of Labor people quietly grinning at this as evidence the Greens can’t run a bath.

HAMMOND: This is just about complying with the constitution. And again, this stuff is not just technicality, this is a big deal and if you can’t comply with a fundamental document like the constitution the question the community are entitled to be asking is what sort of job can you do in terms of delivering outcomes for a community and I think they’ve been found wanting.

PARKER: 922118882 is the number to be calling and we’ve got a few people wanting to have a chat to you Tim this morning. Chris, good morning.

CALLER1 CHRIS: I just want to point out something that seems very, very obvious to me and apologies if it doesn’t to the rest of your listeners but it seems very convenient for the Prime Minister to blame Labor for not standing on his side of this issue and allegedly putting up a road block to it and now Labor to say, or to not say, that they stand on it in a bipartisan way. Doesn’t it seem like an obvious solution? Just get on with it and tell everybody that you agree and make the change to the GST for the betterment of WA and the rest of the country.

HAMMOND: Chris, I think you’re on the right track here because what we can’t allow this government to lose sight of is they are the ones in a position to be able to fix this and they have been in a position to be able to fix this since 2013 and they are simply not doing anything about it. What we need here is leadership, it is just so sad that it is not what we are getting.

PARKER: I do make the point though that Bill Shorten will need to come clean. SO we’ll keep on you, I know you get tired of me telling you that but you know it’s true.

HAMMOND: I never get tired of coming in here Gareth, don’t worry about that.

PARKER: Dianne, good morning to you.

CALLER 2 DIANNE: Tim, I think it was one of the seniors’ papers is where I read you were going to propose a private members bill regarding the banks charging seniors for their paper bank statements, am I correct in that?

HAMMOND: Thanks Dianne, look, you are. In my portfolio responsibilities as the Shadow Minister for Consumer Affairs one of the issues that has been brought to my attention is there is a real problem in the community at the moment where pensioners in particular are being told to stump-up hard earned money to simply receive paper statements in the post in circumstances where many corporation, including banks, are seeking to send this stuff out by email and save money. It’s not fair and I’ve raised it in Parliament through a private member’s motion and what I have dropped the weights on the Government to do is to change the Australian consumer law to protect pensioners from having to pay for something they should receive for free as a fundamental right. We will continue to pursue that until we see the change.

PARKER: Thanks Dianne, good morning Ben.

CALLER 3 BEN: G’day guys. Hi Tim I just wanted to know if Labor win Government are you going to cross the floor to represent WA people on the GST issue to make sure you lock in some value for West Australians?

HAMMOND: Thanks Ben, I’d like to think it won’t come to that. One of the things we are doing now that we’ve done very consistently as a unified Federal Labor team is to make it very clear to Bill Shorten and to Chris Bowen, and you can ask them yourselves, about the need to address the disparity. Bill has been out here on the record to say he’s up for the fight in terms of addressing a fair share for WA. So I’m hopeful and optimistic that it won’t come to that.

PARKER: Is the most likely model that the Labor party commit to is some variation of the Canadian model whereby some percentage of Western Australia’s mineral production, let’s say 25%, maybe 50%, is exempt from GST calculations?

HAMMOND: I think it is a bit early to lock in behind any particular proposal, What I think is important here is that the community just simply wants to see WA in a position where it is not losing as much as it is now. So what we are actually concerned about here is the bottom line. Let’s look at all of the models and let’s look at what the Productivity Commission have to say and get on with addressing the disparity we have right now.

PARKER: On a general question about the health of people’s family budgets, it does seem as though people are going to absorb the increases the State Government has made to water, electricity and those sorts of things. Today the newspapers are reporting the Reserve Bank will probably be hiking interest rates over the next little while. Do you think that household budgets will be able to accommodate that? Are you worried about the level of indebtedness?

HAMMOND: I think Western Australians have every right to be worried about the bottom line to household budgets. We are in the invidious position where not so long ago we were such a strong economic environment over here in WA and now we are in a position where what Ben Wyatt has to address is a $33 billion debt. I think they are entitled to be concerned and I think it is really important for the Federal Government and the State Government to try to work together to minimise any impact on household bottom line.

PARKER: If interest rate rises come than that pressure is going to be brought to bear. That’s just obvious.

HAMMOND: It will be broughtto bear and made worse by the fact that we have mums and dads and workers battling issues in relation to cuts to penalty rates, that’s going to bight to. It’s about focusing on ensuring we do everything we can to protect the community and the budget bottom line.