Last week I sat down one on one with the Prime Minister.
A journo from a rival rag snivelled, “He’ll answer questions from hosts who aren’t wearing shoes” … which, unless Malcolm has been doing vox-pops with homeless people, is a swipe at yours truly. (And for the record, I not only wore shoes, I even donned my wedding suit jacket for the occasion.)
Anyway, I found him to be a good bloke — though maybe that’s because we’ve got a lot in common (like me, in his line of work he tends to upset people, and, like me, he’s even been known to cop it in the neck from his own … err … kitchen cabinet).
The video is on the Barefoot Investor Facebook page … but here are some of the highlights from our chat:
Power to the PM
Barefoot: You’ve recently given the energy retailers a slap. I’ve saved $540 on my power bill by going to energymadeeasy.gov.au. Have you run the numbers on The Lodge?
PM: (laughs) Well, I’m pretty sure my son-in-law has … but I must say your savings are representative of what a lot of people are making by switching.
Financial Education in Schools
Barefoot: Something close to my heart is financial education. The Commonwealth Bank is one of the biggest providers of financial education in schools. Do you think there’s a conflict of interest in having the banks teaching kids about money and then getting them on a database to sign up as customers?
PM: Well, um, I can understand that argument but I think the important thing is getting plenty of people in schools giving that financial education. I mean financial literacy is critically important as you say, so it’s a fair point, Scott.
Barefoot Community Q&A with the PM
Barefoot: Now to some questions from our Barefoot Investor community. Laurie asks, “Why does our government continually reduce the amount we can salary-sacrifice into super?”
PM: I don’t think it’s fair to say we continually reduce. We made some changes in the last budget to make the super system fairer and more flexible, but we don’t have any plans to make any other changes.
Barefoot: Elle asks, “Why is so little being done to help housing affordability? There are so many tax deductions for property investors, like negative gearing, but those of us trying to buy just one home get jack!”
PM: You’ve got to recognise that there’s nothing special about negative gearing … It’s been part of the income tax system since the Income Tax Act was passed in 1911.
(Barefoot aside: Though in 2005 he agreed with you, Elle, labelling it ‘tax avoidance’.)
Barefoot: Finally, I’d like to give you a copy of my bestselling book. I think you’ve got your money sorted, but you might want to give that to ScoMo — it could help him balance the budget.
PM: (laughs) Thanks very much, Scott.
Tread Your Own Path!