Transcript of doorstop interview, Brisbane
SUN 13 MAY 2012
Subject(s): Mother’s Day; Schoolkids Bonus; Budget 2012-13; Family payments; Craig Thomson; National Disability Insurance Scheme; Carbon pricing
PM: It’s fantastic to be in Brisbane on what is such a beautiful day. I’m joined by the Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan and we’re here in the Federal electorate of Petrie with the local member Yvette D’Ath.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mums around Australia. Happy Mother’s Day to my mum Moira, I got to see her in Adelaide yesterday and I hope she’s having a terrific day with the rest of the family.
We’re here today talking to some local mums about what Mother’s Day has been like for them but also about how we want to help them with the costs of getting the kids to school.
We’ve just talked to Katie who has three high school aged students in her family, three high school aged kids and one primary school kid, about the extra help that the Schoolkids Bonus will mean for her. She said it’s a recognition of all of the hard work that goes on in families and that’s a pretty good way of putting it. We want to ensure that mums and dads around the country who need our help the most feel that help through the Schoolkids Bonus before 30 June this year and then it can become an (inaudible) part of how they meet the costs of getting the kids to school.
It’s part of what we did in the Federal budget to make sure we’re spreading the benefits of the boom, spreading opportunity to every part of the country. It’s going to make a difference for families right around the nation and here locally in Petrie and in Queensland it’s going to make a difference too.
So in Yvette’s local electorate we’ll see 9,700 families benefit from the Schoolkids Bonus, 12,000 families benefit from our increase to family payments and here in Queensland we’ll see over 280,000 families benefit from the Schoolkids Bonus and 335,000 families benefit from new family payments.
I hope everybody’s enjoying Mother’s Day and we’re certainly very pleased to be here and very proud of working with Australian families who are doing the hardest work of all, raising the next generation.
I’ll turn now to Wayne Swan for some comments and we’ll take your questions. Swanny.
TREASURER: Thanks very much Julia. It was good to talk to Katie and the other parents here today about the costs of bringing up school kids and if you’ve got three kids in high school it costs a bomb. So they understand how important it is to have a Schoolkids Bonus which is why I was just so appalled this morning on television when Mr Hockey said it was bad policy. This is good policy. It’s good for parents. It’s certainly good for mums who do a lot of the work around the kitchen table trying to pay the bills who understand how much it costs to clothe a student, to buy all the essential equipment.
So a lot of families are going to get a very big benefit from the Schoolkids Bonus but also they’ll get a very big benefit from the increase in family payments that we also announced in the budget which will start from 1 July next year and the Opposition has not yet committed to supporting those payments. Mr Hockey has refused to guarantee them. Mr Abbott has refused to guarantee them. We certainly guarantee them because, along with the Schoolkids Bonus, what this does is provide support to parents who are doing the most important job in the country. Here on Mother’s Day it’s important to reaffirm the role of parents, what they do for our country by bringing up the next generation and making it a better place.
PM: Thanks, we’re happy to take some questions.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister-
JOURNALIST: Was it important to do that reaffirming here in Queensland for any reason?
PM: We’ll be talking to families around the country. I’ve had the opportunity to talk to families in other parts of the nation. I want to make sure that everybody understands the Schoolkids Bonus is coming and that they can look forward to further assistance through family payments.
JOURNALIST: You must be concerned though about what looks like a collapse of support for Labor in Queensland re: the state election?
PM: Well the budget is about helping families and that’s why we’re here talking about it, talking to families like the ones here in the park today. One of the families we’ve spoken to will see around $2,800 before 30 June from the Schoolkids Bonus alone. A family, raising four kids, all of the costs – the shoes, the calculators, the school uniforms, the books, the bags, all of the costs that come with getting the kids with school and the budget’s providing that bit of a helping hand.
JOURNALIST: (Inaudible) a chapter from Mr Abbott’s personal history last week in relation to previous accusations against him. How dirty is the ALP willing to get to stem the Craig Thomson crisis?
PM: The point was simply being made that people are entitled to a presumption of innocence, that point was being made by Minister Albanese in the Parliament.
JOURNALIST: Do you think Craig Thomson was set up?
PM: I think it’s not for me to come to conclusions here or announce conclusions. It’s for the proper authorities and ultimately for the courts.
PM: I am not going to judge. The appropriate place for this to be judged is the courts. I understand many Australians will have seen Mr Thomson’s interview yesterday and they will have drawn their own conclusions but ultimately the only way this matter can be resolved is properly before the courts.
PM: I don’t have the time or the inclination to listen to gossip in Parliament House, like many other workplaces there’s gossip in Parliament House, it can be hurtful to people and I think Mr Shorten and his wife were making that point today.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, the Queensland Premier has said he doesn’t have the money to support the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Do you have any comment on that?
PM: I’ll be happy to talk to Premier Newman about how we can work together on having a launch site in Queensland. Here in this great state people who have a disability, whether they’re born with it, whether they get one of the really cruel diseases – Parkinson’s or MS or one of those very cruel diseases or whether they are acquired as a result of an accident, we know that too many of these Queenslanders aren’t getting the care and concern they need from the current system. We want to improve that and I’m sure Premier Newman will want to be involved in discussions about how we can work together to do just that.
JOURNALIST: (Inaudible) any other of the states?
PM: Well we announced the budget last Tuesday with the billion dollars to support launch sites four years earlier than the Productivity Commission recommended. When I sat round the table with all the premiers and chief ministers a little bit earlier this year there was a real sense of enthusiasm for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. People just simply recognise things have got to change. So if a premier or chief minister recognises as I do that things have to change then it’s only a small step to working together when we’ve budgeted a billion dollars to get this done.
PM: No, we’re doing it in this order deliberately, so deliberately we announced on Tuesday night that a billion dollars would be available, we want to put that on the table first and then go and have the discussions about the location of the launch sites.
JOURNALIST: (Inaudible) Parliament becoming unworkable from your perspective, should you be cutting ties with the Greens (inaudible)?
PM: No, I’m not at all worried. We delivered the last budget in record time and we’ll deliver this one too. We’ve delivered around 300 pieces of legislation, many of them huge nation changing reforms that will set us up to be a stronger and a fairer place in the future.
JOURNALIST: Are you confident of the support from the Independents, given Mr Oakeshott’s comments.
PM: Yes I am.
PM: I’d certainly welcome discussions in the Parliament on a code of conduct for MPs. I do want to see Members of Parliament always doing the right thing, there are various rules now for Members of Parliament, but I’m obviously open to suggestions that we have a code of conduct and a clearer set of rules – be very happy to engage in discussions about that.
JOURNALIST: Last week the New South Wales Government expressed it’s unlikely to challenge the carbon tax. Was that ever a concern?
PM: No. I always thought it was posturing and it was.
JOURNALIST: Just going back to Craig Thomson, (inaudible)?
TREASURER: Sorry, who said that?
JOURNALIST: Union leader Paul Howes.
PM: At the end of the day, it isn’t a question of what conclusion an individual comes to whether that’s you or whether that’s anybody else. It’s about what the courts find that matters.
PM: Do you want to give me an example?
PM: Well if you haven’t got one it’s a fairly silly question.
JOURNALIST: A question for the Treasurer?
JOURNALIST: How would you gauge the public reaction to the Federal budget a week out?
TREASURER: I think a lot of parents out there are really keen to see all of the payments flow through. I mean, those people that have cost of living pressures understand how important the Schoolkids Bonus is, for example, how important the family payment increases are, but most importantly this budget comes back to surplus and that delivers something really important to people sitting around the kitchen table. It gives a lot more flexibility to the Reserve Bank to change their interest rate settings, should they decide to do so.
So for example, at the moment if you’ve got a $300,000 mortgage you’re paying $3,000 a year less than you were paying when the Liberals were last in power. So it’s very important to have good fiscal policy in place. It’ gives flexibility to the Reserve Bank but also to spread the opportunities of the mining boom around the whole of our community through things like the Schoolkids Bonus. There’s a very good response to that.
PM: Okay – all in, all done? Thank you very much.