David Koch: Simon good to see you, seven females are set to be sworn into senior roles on Wednesday, has the Coalition fixed its women problem do you think?
Simon Birmingham: Well g’day Kochie, look it’s a great and historic moment to see Ken Wyatt, the first Aboriginal person to be the first Indigenous Affairs Minister, to see such a strong lineup of highly capable women who’ve got there on their merits and coming into the cabinet. But of course you want to make sure that we continue to drive and encourage a representation that reflects the diversity of Australia and this line up does that. But most importantly for Australians, it’s not about each of us around the cabinet table, it’s about the job we have to do for Australians to make sure that we get that service delivery right for them, which the PM’s put a focus on. That we fully and effectively deliver the NDIS, that a new Minister created for Youth is able to really focus and build on the PM’s plan to focus on youth suicide and mental health, all those key issues.
David Koch: But the star of this new cabinet has got to be Linda Reynolds, former army brigadier, senator from WA and only been in parliament for five years, getting Defence Minister is a massive credit to her too isn’t it?
Simon Birmingham: It is, Linda has a lifetime commitment as she says to really two things in her life, the Army and the Liberal Party. She has served our nation and as an army officer, as a brigadier, she’s also been a long time worker and volunteer and contributor within the Liberal Party and Government ranks, long before she served as a senator. So she brings rich governmental and political experience, deep military experience, and Linda’s going to be an enormous asset to us in the defence portfolio.
David Koch: Before you go, you scared the pants off most retirees during the election campaign with the so-called retiree tax that you accuse the ALP of bringing in. Over the weekend, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg saying that there’s going to be a review of all our superannuation. Not again, what’s going on there?
Simon Birmingham: Well Koche, it’s not about superannuation per se, this was a recommendation of the Productivity Commission, to review retirement savings in their entirety. But there’s an absolute promise, there will be no increased taxes on superannuation, it’s a promise Scott Morrison made at the election.
David Koch: So no change in franking credits or anything like that?
Simon Birmingham: Absolutely no way. The person who was scaring Australians at the last election was Bill Shorten. That’s done and dusted, we want to make sure Australians can plan for their retirement with confidence and be able to access their retirement savings (indistinct) they have worked for.
David Koch: But none of that changes?
Simon Birmingham: Definitely not.
David Koch: No one will be worse off?
Simon Birmingham: Absolutely no, this is about making sure the retirement system works in ways where people get the best bang for their buck out of their superannuation, where they’re able to save most effectively, to build the next step for their retirement, for people to live better, richer retirements in the future.
David Koch: Okay, glad you cleared it up. Congratulations on the appointment. Thanks for joining us.