Interview with Laura Jayes, The Latest, Sky News

  • Minister for Employment
  • Minister for Women
  • Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service
  • Senator for Western Australia


LAURA JAYES: I spoke to the Employment Minister Michaelia Cash and begun by asking her about these latest unemployment figures today. You won’t be surprised that she was taking the glass half-full approach.

MINISTER CASH:  We’re pleased that obviously the unemployment rate dropped from 5.8 per cent to 5.7 per cent.

We saw in excess of 26,000 jobs created by the economy.

If you look at employment growth this year, it’s sitting at 1.9 per cent.

If you compare that to the decade average, it’s 1.7 per cent. 

Employment growth under this Government is higher than the decade average.

If you also look at the number of jobs that have been created by the economy in the last 12 months of this Government, it’s approximately 220,000 jobs.

If you compare that to the last 12 months of the former Labor Government, the economy under Labor created around 86,000 jobs.

On any analysis, under a Coalition Government, under the Turnbull Government, the economy is performing well and employers are out there creating jobs.

LAURA JAYES:      Jobs, growth- and growth was of course part of the Coalition’s election mantra, and we have seen the first big signal from the Prime Minister about this omnibus bill of $6.5 billion in savings. But this omnibus bill is looking quite ominous in terms of it getting through, because Bill Shorten has indicated that it’s not going to be afait accompli. He wants further negotiations on some of those individual measures, saying yesterday that he wants to see Malcolm Turnbull give something up. Is the Government willing to do that?

MINISTER CASH:  Well Laura, in the first instance, these are savings that Bill Shorten took to the election and promised the Australian people.

He’s reneging on a promise made to the Australian people, and in fact, it’s opportune that we’ve got the Rio Olympics on at the moment.

Bill Shorten could go and become a gymnast.

He’d get a gold medal for the biggest backflip that anyone’s ever performed in the history of the Olympics.

He took these savings to the election, Laura.

On what planet do you now say, as the person who put himself forward as the alternative Prime Minister, look, I might have taken it to the election, but I’m reneging on the promise?

Bill Shorten needs to come out this afternoon and say to the Australian people, "I said I would act in good faith and work with the Prime Minister of this country, Malcolm Turnbull. In that regard I took approximately $6.5 billion in savings to the election, and I agree we will work with the Government to deliver on those savings."

It is an absolute joke if he does anything other than that.

LAURA JAYES:      I think, during the election campaign, that Labor might argue that these weren’t ironclad promises, but there were certainly indications from Labor that some of these measures- savings measures would be supported by Labor. We’re less than two weeks away from the 45th Parliament sitting for the first time. Do you think this is a bit of an ominous sign about how easy or hard it’s going to be to negotiate savings measures through the Senate, and perhaps Bill Shorten’s just taking a leaf out of Tony Abbott’s book?

MINISTER CASH:  Bill Shorten has a very clear choice to make.

Is he going to continue to play politics, or in relation to the promises he has made, is he going to stand with the Government and say on this: “You’re right, we’ll all act in the national interest, we’ll pass the omnibus bill"? Then if you want to play politics after that, hey, game on.

But let’s face it: Bill, you took these to the election.

You have a handshake with the Australian people.

Don’t renege on your handshake with the Australian people.

Grow up, be a man, act like a leader, and put through the Government’s omnibus savings bill.

LAURA JAYES: Bill Shorten has never supported what was the centrepiece of the Coalition’s election platform, and that is a company tax cut for the higher end, big business. What lessons are there from the last Parliament, Michaelia Cash, when it came to holding on to measures for too long that were never going to get through the Senate, that were never going to get support from either Labor, the crossbench, or the Greens? I know that this is one of the fundamental promises from the Coalition Government, but if it can’t get through the Senate, will you amend it?

MINISTER CASH:  Let’s just take a step back.

In terms of our tax cuts, in the first instance, it’s all about tax cuts for small business. 

Small business, the backbone of the Australian economy.

As the Prime Minister articulated yesterday, we’re going to back small business every step of the way, and we recognise that the tax burden is too high on them, and I would ask Bill Shorten to stand with us.

Let’s work together to stimulate small business.

Let’s ensure small business has every opportunity to grow.

Laura, can you imagine if every small business in Australia had the opportunity to employ one more person because the policy framework in which they operate is conducive to that?

That’d go a long way toward solving unemployment in Australia.

So in the first instance, let’s talk about tax cuts for small business, but in terms of the Senate and negotiations, it is a fundamentally different Senate, and I would look forward – and I’m sure the Treasurer does, and the Minister for Finance, and the Prime Minister – to sitting down with the new crossbenchers, clearly articulating our policies, and in particular obviously, the fact that they were taken to an election and we were re-elected to govern, and eliciting their support if Labor just wants to continue to play politics and be blockers … for blocking’s sake.

Nothing more, and nothing less.

LAURA JAYES:  It’s going to be a very interesting 45th Parliament, a Parliament just less than two weeks away from sitting.


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