Doorstop - Australia Day

Transcript
26 Jan 2018
Canberra
Prime Minister
Australia Day; TPP
E&OE

PRIME MINISTER:

Happy Australia Day. What a great day. Weren’t those new citizens fantastic? They were so filled with enthusiasm and joy, joining the Australian family. So, it’s a great day and a day we celebrate this remarkable nation of ours, the most successful multicultural society in the world.

As ancient as 65,000 years of continuing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and civilisation and as new as little Nika, the little girl, little 5-year-old girl who became a citizen today.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, yesterday and again today you spoke about the unified nation. Today we're seeing protests from the far Left and the far Right, Indigenous people across the country. What does that say about how unified we are?

PRIME MINISTER:

What it says is that there are people that disagree about the issue, but not many. You know, the overwhelming majority of Australians are celebrating Australia Day, like we all are here today.

They are just in love with our nation, with our story, with our people, with our success, the most successful multicultural society in the world.

JOURNALIST:

You made it clear that you don't want to even revisit or visit the changing of Australia Day. So, that's pretty obvious now and for the future. But Johnathan Thurston made comments yesterday that perhaps in the future if people are educated about Indigenous pain, maybe if the whole country starts to talk about changing it, then it would happen? Is that the only time the date would be revisited?

PRIME MINISTER:

What we should be focusing on is the recognition of our First Australians, the recognition and the honest and open and truthful recognition of our history. Our history, Australia's history, overwhelmingly is a bright story of success. But there have been, the impact of European settlement on Aboriginal Australians was tragic, of course it was. We understand that and there are many wrongs that were done in the past, which we seek to right today.

That's what we should be focusing on. We should be focusing on Closing The Gap, on health, on education. Telling our story honestly, but above all, remembering that this is a story of enormous achievement.

You know, the people who chose to become citizens today, they became citizens because they have been entranced by this story. Because they believe in the story, they believe in this remarkable nation, and they're celebrating it today, making a choice, as I said in my speech - I became an Australian citizen on birth, involuntarily, squalling and screaming as an Aussie citizen.

They've made a choice and in doing so, they've honoured us.

JOURNALIST:

There’s a design for another new flag out today. Can you see a change of flag before we become a republic?

PRIME MINISTER:

I don't think the Australian flag will ever be changed. I think the Australians, particularly young, younger Australians, Australians younger than me, say, my children's generation, they don't deconstruct the Australian flag, and, you know, say: "Well, there's a Union Jack, that's the flag of another country”. They look at it as one Australian symbol.

That's the one they have on their backpacks when they're travelling overseas.

That's the flag that our soldiers have on their shoulder patches.

That is our flag. So I think the Australian flag will be flying over Parliament House long after all of us have shuffled off the stage of history.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, just on trade, are you surprised that Donald Trump said he might reconsider the TPP if they get a bigger deal? Is this something you might talk about when you meet next month?

PRIME MINISTER:

Sure. Donald Trump and I have talked about trade on pretty much every time we've met. But I don't expect the United States to join the TPP any time soon. We're certainly not counting on it. It would be great if they did, it is a real engine for jobs, for investment. There are thousands of jobs that will be created by the TPP.

Of course it would be a bigger deal if the United States was in it. It will become a bigger deal when other countries join. Indonesia has expressed strong interest, so has Thailand, South Korea. Even the UK has expressed interest in talking about it. So, it's been set up on the basis that it is a trade deal that can admit new members, or even re-admit a member like the United States, that chose to pull out.

But you know, it is very well understood, by the way. This Trans-Pacific Partnership has been the product of enormous consultation over many years and the whole process is one that has been very open, very transparent.

And believe me, it delivers jobs in Australia.

We have seen the strongest jobs growth in the last year since records began - over 400,000 new jobs in Australia.

A big part of that is opening up new markets, opening old markets up wider for Australian exports.

All of that delivers great opportunities.

So, thank you all very much and a very, very happy Australia Day.

[Ends]

Australia Day