6PR Interview WA's GST Share


Matt Keogh MP

Federal Member for Burt







GARETH PARKER, HOST: Labor in my judgement are playing funny buggers, Bill Shorten came into this studio about 6 weeks ago and told us he was on a unity ticket to fix it, now Chris Bowen is casting some doubt over Labor’s support for the unity deal, so who do you trust? 922 11 882. The Labor Party’s lead man on the GST issue here in WA is the Member for Burt, Matt Keogh. Matt Good Morning. 


MATT KEOGH, MP: Gareth, great to be with you. 


PARKER: Why’re you playing funny buggers on the GST? 


KEOGH: We’re not playing funny buggers at all Gareth, if anything Labor’s been leading the charge on this and the Government’s finally catching up. 


PARKER: Chris Bowen is casting doubt on the Legislation; it doesn’t seem like a unity ticket. 


KEOGH: No look all Chris has done rightly and this goes to the Treasurer’s meeting this morning is say all the states want to guarantee that no-one’s worse off and I think no one other than Western Australians understand this better we’ve been basically shafted under the GST as it’s operated. Labor’s been about getting that fixed. We also want to make sure no-one’sworse off as a consequence. We don’t want other states to go through what we’ve had to go through; we want to fix it for WA as well. That bit seems to be missing from the Legislation as well. All of the Treasurers have identified this as a problem. Labor will support this legislation undoubtedly, we called for it first. As you pointed out the Prime Minister only a few months ago said oh we don’t need legislation...


PARKER: I don’t know why he wants to legislate, as I said I’ll ask him about that when he joins us shortly but Mark McGowan, Ben Wyatt, they’re not particularly happy with your leadership team at the moment. 


KEOGH: I think that’s a bit of a gross oversimplification of what was said actually Gareth. What was pointed out...


PARKER: He said yesterday he was going to ring Chris Bowen to get behind the deal. 


KEOGH: We are behind the deal and we always have been behind the deal because we were there first. The government’s only just caught up to where Labor has always been. We said that we’d legislate for this, now the Government’s suddenly changed its mind; it’s done a backflip and said oh yea we’ll legislate it too. Of course we’ll support the legislation, absolutely. Chris made an observation that some of the states aren’t happy there’s a few things missing from the legislation. That can be fixed but we will support the legislation because absolutely we’re about fixing the GST issue for Western Australia. 


PARKER: Can you guarantee in legislation that no state will be worse off in perpetuity and if so what sort of actual assurance are you looking for? What detail do you want? 


KEOGH: There are ways, if you look at the legislation it sets out a number of formulas, there’s a guarantee in particular around the Northern Territory’s GST that goes forward, that could be set out too. Or at least what the state Treasurers are asking for is some sort of method of assessing what will be there under the new formula vs what currently exists under current forms. That’s what they’re asking for.


PARKER: It seems as though the Victorians in particular are running all sorts of economic models to demonstrate how they’ll be worse off so Daniel Andrews the Labor Premier of Victoria looms as it seems to me one of the biggest obstacles to getting this deal done with state and Federal Treasurers today in Melbourne. Does he just need to get on board? 


KEOGH: I think all the State Treasurers can and will get on board with this new deal because there’ll be more money if this is done properly, for all of the states and that’s the thing the Treasurers understandably want to make sure. We need to make sure from WA. What we don’t want to have happen is money poured into GST distribution, tick that’s good then see it pulled out from infrastructure funding that would otherwise be coming to WA. They’re the things the State Treasurers all want to see guaranteed. We would need that in WA we don’t want to be worse off either so as long as those things get fixed the Treasurers will get on board, Labor is on board and we’ll see a GST fix for WA and no states worse off as a consequence. 


PARKER: OK, my guest in the Studio is Labor MP for Burt Matt Keogh, he’s leading the GST for the WA contingent of the Labor Party. Shortly the Prime Minister Scott Morrison will join me in the studio as well so we’ll get the other side of it and I want to hear from you 922 11 882. I think this is a big day, a very big day for this issue. Matt if State and Federal Treasurers emerge 90 minutes or so from now and they all hold a press conference and agree is that good enough for Federal Labor? 


KEOGH: We’ll see the legislation going through the Parliament in a matter of weeks and that’s what I expect we’ll get to. We may see a few tweaks the State premiers want and I’d expect the government to step up to the plate and make sure that’s incorporated into the legislation, that’s the right thing to do that’s why we’ve been saying hey Treasurer hey Prime Minister show us the detail and remember. 


PARKER: If they come out today the state and federal treasurers they all agree they all sign off is that good enough? 


KEOGH: That should be good enough and we’ll be supporting, we will support this it will go through we will get the GST fixed for WA have no doubt. Remember this also the Prime Minster said he didn’t need legislation. If he’d fixed this at the last budget WA would have been over $3 billion better off but instead he’s left it to the last minute. 


PARKER: I think that’s a reasonable point to make. Can I ask you this, immediately after the Liberal party changed leaders, you and some of your WA Labor Colleagues said let’s vote on this let’s go to an election on it. On this issue would you rather see it resolved before the election or would you like to campaign on it? 


KEOGH: I would like to see this issue fixed for all Western Australians as soon as possible. But remember when we get to an election no matter when it is, and you talked about trust, which’s going to trust a government under Scott Morrison whose cut funding to education, schools, hospitals, cut funding to the ABC, has meddled in the ABC. If you look at all those funding cuts if you talk about trust, let’s get GST fixed absolutely but there’s a whole range of other issues for an election as well Gareth. 


PARKER: Thanks for your time Matt, I appreciate it. 


KEOGH: Great to be with you.