Photo: AAP Image/Peter Rae
PRIME MINISTER: Well it’s great to be here with my good mate Craig Laundy, the Member for Reid but it’s particularly good for both us to be back here at the Sydney Markets. You want to know the capital of small and family businesses around Australia, well it’s right here. Like so many markets like this round the country, as you move around these markets, you talk to business after business and they’re fourth-generation family businesses or they’re new family businesses that are being created. The kids are here on school holidays, helping out their mum or their uncle or dad or their brother or whoever. These are family businesses and our Government is backing in small and family businesses by reducing their taxes, by increasing the definition of what a small business is, up to $10 million, which we’ve already legislated. Giving them the tax relief and the support which enables them to invest more in their businesses and in their future, to create a future for the next generation that are going to come up and take on those family businesses. We’ve met seven and eight and nine year olds, you know, fourth in line, third in line, who are going to be taking over these businesses. So it’s been great to get the reaction here from these businesses that know that if they pay more money to the Government in taxes, then that restricts their opportunities for them and their workers. That’s why we’re delivering this tax relief for small and family businesses all around the country. So, down to 25 per cent five years earlier. It’s all affordable, it’s all in the Budget, it’s there when we go back into surplus. We’re not going ahead with those big business tax cuts. What we’re doing is focusing on the small and family businesses that are really the backbone of this country. We’re backing them in as we’ve always backed them in as Liberal and National parties. They know that they can always trust us and that we always have their back, because we always stump up for them?
Craig do you want to say anything mate? You’re a third generation.
CRAIG LAUNDY MP: I am a third generation. Look, it’s great to have you here Scott. The reality is that the only way that the Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten or the shadow treasurer will ever run a small business is if someone gave them a big business to start with. They have no idea of how business works. This is the epicenter of it, we’ve been touring today talking to second, third, fourth generation school kids on their holidays who are helping out mum and dad. That’s my earliest memory of business life. If you talk to most parliamentarians, when we make our maiden speech, you talk about the work that they’ve done with their families. You see it here at the coal face. Scott, always great to have you mate.
PRIME MINISTER: Good on you Craig. Ok, happy to take questions.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister what are your thoughts on the prospect of Angus Houston becoming Governor General?
PRIME MINISTER: Well I’m not really thinking about who the next Governor General is to be honest, what I’m thinking about is getting people’s electricity prices down. Getting taxes down for small business. Making sure we do the right thing particularly over there in Western Australia, about how we fix the GST. We’ve announced the residential aged care Royal Commission just this week. There are a lot of frankly very pressing issues that are impacting on the household budgets of Australians and on businesses around the country and that’s where my focus is. We’ll make that important decision in due course but it’s not something that’s dominating my focus at the moment. We’ve got a great Governor General at the moment who is doing a terrific job. I know he finishes up next year and we’ll make that decision in due course.
JOURNALIST: Who will your pick be?
PRIME MINISTER: Well, I think I’ve just answered the question. I’m not even thinking about it at the moment.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, you said last night you don’t want gay children discriminated against [inaudible].
PRIME MINISTER: That’s right.
JOURNALIST: What steps have you taken to ensure that they won’t be?
PRIME MINISTER: I don’t want to see any child discriminated against in our schools, whether its because of their gender or their sexuality or their race or their religion. I don’t want any child discriminated against and what the proposal is to the Government, is that we should be targeting and better protecting children in those laws around religious schools. It was actually the Labor Party that introduced the laws which this report is actually critical of. So I found it a bit rich actually, for the Labor Party to be going around trying to beat this up the other day, when they themselves were the ones who introduced the laws which leaves it open for that discriminating to take place. Now I don’t want to see any child discriminated against on this basis and we have that report in front of us now. So we’ll be looking carefully at what that recommendation is and we’ll be making further decisions on that.
But I want to make it really clear to kids and to parents of kids in this situation that the Liberal and National parties do not support the discrimination of children based on their sexuality, based on their race or based on the religion or anything else. Because you know, in Australia, if you have a go, you get a go. Ensuring that people are free from discrimination, particularly children, that is the agenda of our Government and we won’t cop anything else.
JOURNALIST: You’re saying that you want to make sure that gay children aren’t discriminated against, but [inaudible] existing - ?
PRIME MINISTER: That’s why I’m saying that we’ll be bringing forward our response to that report once we’ve gone through the proper process of considering it. That’s what we’re in the process of doing right now.
JOURNALIST: The raids that took place yesterday, the Home Affairs Minister and Secretary of the Department referred this to the AFP and those raids took place. What is your reaction to the searches? Why do you think or suspect this happened?
PRIME MINISTER: This is an independent police operation they make their own decisions and they’re driving that investigation as they should. So while I’m aware as anyone else is that they’re conducting that investigation, it’s entirely an operational matter for the police.
What I’m disappointed about is that the Labor Party would call into question the independence of the Australian Federal Police. I mean my dad was a police officer and you know, I get pretty annoyed when people start having a go at the police. They put themselves in harm’s way for us, every single day. For the Labor Party to go out there and play politics and try to suggest that the Australian Federal Police are not independent, well, I think that’s just frankly a bit disappointing. I’d ask them to step back from those comments.
JOURNALIST: [inaudible] Wentworth voters not to vote for the Liberal Party, do you think that’s [inaudible]?
PRIME MINISTER: What I know is Malcolm Turnbull wants people in Wentworth to be voting for the Liberal Party and for Dave Sharma. Alex is his own man, that’s how Malcolm has raised his kids, Malcolm is a great dad and his family are entitled to have their own views. But I do know this about the Wentworth by-election, if you’ve voted Liberal in Wentworth, then know this; it’s a three horse race and all that Kerryn Phelps has to do is come second. She can be a fair way behind on primary vote, but that means, because she’s getting the support of the Labor Party and ultimately the Greens and a lot of the independents in the field, then she can be elected as the Member for Wentworth. So if you think you can, you know, take an option to maybe vote for Kerryn and still think that the Liberal Party will get elected, that’s not how the system works. The maths are quite simple. It doesn’t matter whether she’s giving her preferences to the Liberal Party or not, if she finishes second, her preferences don’t go anywhere and she’ll be supported by the preferences of the Labor Party and the Greens and all of those parties that will be expecting for taxes to go up and all of the Labor Party’s destructive policies for our economy. I mean it’s a very tight Parliament. There is a one seat majority for the Government and if we were to go to a minority government then that would have very, very significant impact on the certainty that we need right now.
There are a lot of threats out there in our economy, because I know that 29,000 business owners, small business owners in Wentworth understand and those who are running large businesses as well. They know the threats. So if you want the certainty of the continuation of the policies that have led to more than 1 million Australians in work – I understand that many Liberal Wentworth voters might be feeling quite aggrieved at the events of several weeks ago. But you know, the future of the nation, the future of the nation and the certainty of economic policy in this nation is in focus for this Wentworth by-election. Dave Sharma, his story, coming from an immigrant, to an ambassador for Australia, is a remarkable Australian story. He’s got the goods to be an outstanding member for Wentworth, just like the last one was and I know Malcolm Turnbull is heavily supporting Dave Sharma to be the Liberal Member for Wentworth and he’ll do a fantastic job. I would urge all Liberals, don’t risk your vote. You may think you’re voting for Kerryn Phelps but at the end of the day, it’s Bill Shorten who will be most happy.
JOURNALIST: Just finally on energy, the Energy Security Board head Kerry Schott, I can see here has said if politicians can’t agree on an approach to the issues [inaudible] ten years, they think that industry should go it alone. Has she mischaracterized the policy paralysis and why shouldn’t businesses take further action if [inaudible]?
PRIME MINISTER: Well the comments Kerry has made I think recognise an important point. That is that the Government’s policies on our emissions reduction target are clear and we’ve had a 26 per cent emissions reduction target now for several years. We’ve been consistent about that all along. We’ve reaffirmed our commitment to that. It’s not going to affect electricity prices one way or the other. I’ll tell you what will though; Labor’s emissions reduction target of 45 per cent. That will see an impact on household electricity bills almost three times the size of the carbon tax we had to abolish when we first came to government.
So if you want to see electricity prices go up, then vote Labor. Because their emissions reduction target can increase household power bills on one study which says by around $1400 per household. Now our emissions reduction targets are clear and I believe businesses will just get on and do it. As time continues to go on, investment in renewable technologies is just good economic sense, you don’t need subsidies for it. They just go and they invest in it. To that extent, business will go it on their own, just like they are in the United States. They will just go an invest in those technologies. That’s why I’m so confident about us hitting our targets in 2030. Emissions reduction has become part of a business as usual approach for business. So we’ve sent the clear message on what our targets are. Business will, you know, adjust and get on with things as they always will. What they actually need in our electricity markets is reliable power supply. That’s been the missing link and that’s why we’re encouraging the state and territory governments to back our reliable energy guarantee so we can get more fair dinkum power contracted and into the system and we can support more investment in fair dinkum power. Stuff that works when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow, that can be anything from hydro and pumped hydro initiatives down in Tasmania or indeed in the Snowy, or it can be in more traditional forms of power generation, whether it’s coal or gas or any of those other sources. We want more certainty around those investments to get power prices down.
JOURNALIST: Just one more quickly, will you be announcing any comprehensive energy policies before the next election?
PRIME MINISTER: Of course. Thanks a lot, cheers.