Interview with Seb Costello and Lawrence Mooney, Summer Breakfast, Triple M

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Transcripts

SEB COSTELLO:

Good morning Kelly O’Dwyer.

KELLY O’DWYER:

Good morning Seb and I am a bit concerned that Lawrence is carrying around so much cash.

LAWRENCE MOONEY:

A couple of hundred bucks isn’t too much cash. Now before we get into the $100 note Kelly O’Dwyer, you’re also the member for Higgins and I am one of your constituents.

KELLY O’DWYER:

You are, and I know your local hangouts.

SEB COSTELLO:

Where do you see him Kelly? Where’s that?

KELLY O’DWYER:

I’ve seen him at the Coin Laundry, getting a coffee.

LAWRENCE MOONEY:

I see you down there and I always remain circumspect, I like to respect your privacy even though you are a Federal Member and easily approachable. I just want to say I am in a siege mentality at the moment Kelly O’Dwyer because I got a letter in the mail from you saying that there’s a crime wave sweeping Higgins, the bad lands of Malvern and Armadale are awash with thieves and pirates. Should I be worried?

KELLY O’DWYER:

Not quite thieves and pirates but it is actually a very serious issue. We’ve had the Apex gang in operation in Malvern, as brazen as walking into David Jones on a Sunday afternoon when there are shoppers there, they have done rampages through David Jones. There have done rampages through Officeworks and other various stores and they’ve been engaged in carjackings. We’ve seen crimes go up, crimes against a person, go up in Malvern by about 21 per cent.

LAWRENCE MOONEY:

So it’s no laughing matter, and especially when DJs is stormed on a Sunday arvo. That’s the thin end of the wedge.

KELLY O’DWYER:

It’s quite extraordinary actually that more is not being done to actually deal with this problem and that’s why I have written to people and said we actually need to take some action here. I have called on the Daniel Andrews Government to do something about it and to actually throw some resources at it.

LAWRENCE MOONEY:

I’ll make those calls in a minute because I want Higgins safe again.

SEB COSTELLO:

I’ll get back to the $100 note in a moment but is there any particular concern for middle aged men in the comedy industry who carry large quantities of cash?

KELLY O’DWYER:

I will be speaking to Chris Jordan, the tax commissioner, later on this morning and I might just mention to him that the money is good in comedy.

LAWRENCE MOONEY:

I am up to date.

SEB COSTELLO:

Mooney is M-O-O-N-E-Y. Pull out those records.

KELLY O’DWYER:

I can’t direct him of course but he takes an interest in people who have got lots of cash.

SEB COSTELLO:

I like it and that is partly why we are having this conversation, because around the world there’s a bit of a theory going, that particularly the very valuable bank notes around the world are largely used by criminals and not honest members of the public so there’s a push to get rid of them. What are you guys actually doing here? Is there a bit of a review on?

KELLY O’DWYER:

For the very first time we’ve got a whole of government approach to look at the black economy because it’s around about 1.5 per cent of our Gross Domestic Product which is around about $24 billion that we are losing in revenue every year. When you consider that a lot of Australians who do the right thing, pay a lot of tax, they are potentially paying higher taxes as a result of someone not paying the tax that they’re supposed to pay and that’s just not fair. So we’ve said we are going to do a proper review of this. We’re obviously very concerned about reducing and eliminating money laundering opportunities and criminal activities which as you say, a lot of people engaged in those activities only use cash. But there are a lot of honest people who do use cash, but they need to declare it and they need to make sure they get a receipt when they actually pay cash and again, that’s part of what it is that the Black Economy Taskforce which will involve the Australian Federal Police, the Reserve Bank of Australia, that’s what they’re going to be looking at.

SEB COSTELLO:

We’re talking to Kelly O’Dwyer who is a Federal Member and is looking into whether we should get rid of the $100 note.

LAWRENCE MOONEY:

So how is getting rid of the $100 note, Kelly, going to stamp out that black economy?

KELLY O’DWYER:

We haven’t actually said that that is what we are going to do. We’ve said to the Black Economy Taskforce headed up by Michael Andrew, that you can look at anything. Look at the international experience, look at what works in other countries to make sure that the honest Australian citizen is actually getting the money that is owed to them because it goes into schools and hospitals and it goes to other important services. So we’ve said, you know, look at what has happened overseas. We know it’s a bit odd in Australia that we’ve got three times as many $100 notes in circulation as we have $5 notes and frankly, apart from your wallet, I haven’t seen too many $100 notes…

LAWRENCE MOONEY:

It’s $200…

SEB COSTELLO:

Kelly how would you actually do it? Say the recommendation comes back, the $100 note has got to go. Is it sort of a buy back, a handover? Would people be encouraged to go to the bank and give in their $100 contraband?

KELLY O’DWYER:

I don’t want to get ahead of the process. The interim report will first come out in March and then there will be a final report in October and we’ll consider the recommendations. We want it to be evidence based, we want them to look at what’s worked. Over in France for instance, they have basically looked at saying to citizens you can’t make a cash payment for a good or a service that is worth over €1,000 and again they are seeing more revenue come in as a result of the some of the changes that they have made there. So we’ll look really carefully at what it is they’ll come up with. We’re not going to say that we are going to accept everything until we’ve actually seen it and had a look at it but we want them to give this very careful consideration right across the board.

LAWRENCE MOONEY:

Great stuff Kelly and I’ll see you in the bad lands of Higgins.

KELLY O’DWYER:

Indeed, I look forward to it.