Prime Minister Morrison standing on a lookout near Lake Cethana in Tasmania, with the river as a backdrop.

Doorstop - Lake Cethana, Tasmania

27 Feb 2019
Prime Minister

LIBERAL CANDIDATE FOR LYONS JESSICA WHELAN: Hi, I’m Jessica Whelan, the Liberal federal candidate for Lyons. I’m here today with my colleagues Senator Barnett and Minister Price. We’re excited today to have Premier Will Hodgman with us and, once again, Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Welcome.

PRIME MINISTER: Thank you very much. We’re in your state, Will.

THE HON WILL HODGMAN MP, PREMIER OF TASMANIA: I’m thrilled to again be welcoming the Prime Minister and Minister Angus Taylor and Minister Price back to Tasmania and also to be here with our other federal colleagues, especially my Minister for Energy, Guy Barnett, and local member Leonie Hiscutt, and to be really making a very strong announcement, not only about Tasmania’s great competitive strength, that is renewable energy, but also the potential for Tasmania to be the nation’s battery, the renewable energy battery.

I want to also take the opportunity to acknowledge the team from Hydro Tasmania. When I talk about our great competitive strengths, there’s no better example of expertise and passion and commitment for our state and its energy sector than the team from Hydro. They’ve been working very hard on these projects for a number of years, so I want to acknowledge that effort.

Prime Minister, yesterday I know you were in another state. I want to welcome you to what is Australia’s renewable energy state, the hydro state. We are very well positioned to be the nation’s renewable energy battery and by working very closely with the Commonwealth, we are progressing this vision of Tasmania being the nation’s powerhouse. We’ve got what the rest of the world wants in renewable energy. We want to provide that to an unstable national grid to bring prices down and to ensure that Tasmania can capitalise on one of its greatest competitive strengths and that will mean economic benefits for Tasmania. More jobs, more investment, turbo-charging our state like never before. But it has to be done in partnership with the Commonwealth, so we acknowledge this significant investment already by the Morrison Government as being matched by Tasmanian Government investments and that is progressing us on what is an extraordinary vision and an extraordinary opportunity. It’s nation-leading, it’s state-building and we’re delighted to be here today to mark the next important step in this process.

PRIME MINISTER: Thanks, Will. It’s great to be here with Premier Hodgman in the turnaround state and again I commend the Premier and all of his ministers on the great job they have done in really turning around the Tasmanian economy. I also want to pay my tribute to Hydro Tasmania. This is not my first time to one of these facilities in Tasmania, let alone elsewhere in the country, but I am always completely overwhelmed by the scale of the vision that was put in place to see these assets built in the first place. It is really quite extraordinary. For those watching on at the moment, the road in here is quite windy and to think all those years ago when this was done 50 years ago and these incredible assets were built for future generations, what that speaks to is that what we’re doing here today is also intergenerational in the same way that the decisions were taken by those over 50 years ago and more to see this realised. What the Premier and I are doing here today with ministers is saying this is the next phase of that grand vision. Today, what we’re announcing is $86 million which is being invested in getting us to a final investment decision for MarinusLink, the interconnector between Tasmania and the mainland, and the working up of the Battery of the Nation feasibility program.

Yesterday, I stood at Snowy Hydro and we were able to announce a final investment decision on that project. That’s what this process we’re starting today is going to take us toward and the same way yesterday we followed through on the important feasibility work we did on Snowy 2.0. It is our absolute commitment to follow through on the feasibility work we’re now doing here as part of this Battery of the Nation project, which linked together with the interconnector makes all of this work.

So what does all this mean? So what does all this mean? We’re about sustainable and reliable jobs. That’s going to be generated here by stable and reliable power, which is delivered through the Battery of the Nation project.Some 3,700 jobs will be created in Tasmania and in Victoria as a result of the projects that we’re commencing the process of today. Some $7 billion of economic impact out over the medium term and beyond will be generated as a result of the decisions that we’re taking today to start this program. This is exciting.

The other thing it does is it delivers as part of our sustainable plan to meet our emissions reductions targets and ensures the renewable power revolution that has been going in Australia over recent years is able to be maintained through the firming power support that comes out of projects like this. Projects like this reinforce the investment that has already been made in renewable power across Australia and makes it possible by providing the reliability component which gets prices down and makes sure the lights stay on. We understand the need to address all of these issues, but I’ve got to tell you, and I know Jessica Whelan will be particularly excited about this, it’s the jobs here for Tasmania – the real jobs in these real industries that are created here in Tasmania that make us most excited here in Tasmania. It’s a huge economic dividend and it’s something that our governments have been working together on and will continue to work on into the future so we realise the economic goals. We get the economic harvest, we get the jobs harvest, we get the energy harvest and we get the renewable and the sustainable energy harvest that delivers on our environmental commitments.

This is a win-win project all the way round. I want to thank all of those who have been involved in it and on that note, I’m going to pass now to Angus Taylor, our federal energy minister, and Guy Barnett, the state energy minister, who will talk a bit more about the projects and I’m going to ask Minister Price to talk about what all this means for our credible and sensible plan to reduce our emissions and to meet out 2030 target which I outlined on Monday. I’m going to hand over to Angus.

THE HON ANGUS TAYLOR MP, MINISTER FOR ENERGY: Thank you, Prime Minister. It’s wonderful to be here with Melissa Price, my federal colleague, and of course my state colleagues, on a project that’s had an enormous amount of work to get to this point – more work to get to a final investment decision but after yesterday, I’m very confident that great projects like this can succeed because we are backing great hydro projects. It’s particularly good to be getting around a project like this because you get to go to absolutely beautiful locations, so thank you for having us here today.

We are absolutely focused on driving down electricity prices while we keep the lights on and meet our international emissions obligations. That is exactly what these projects, Marinus and Battery of the Nation, can deliver. We face a real opportunity and challenge in our electricity markets right now. We’re seeing unprecedented investment in solar and wind – absolutely unprecedented. There will be a 250 per cent increase or more in the next three years in the renewable energy from solar and wind coming into our electricity market. 250 per cent increase. That is great for driving down emissions and it’s why in our electricity market we’ll reach our 26 per cent obligations in a few short years in the early 2020s. But it does create a challenge. That challenge is to make sure that when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, we can still flick the switch and the lights go on – that the wheels of industry keep turning when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. And that means we’ve got to have backup and storage. That’s exactly what Battery of the National and Marinus can deliver to Australia. We have seen what happens when state governments fail to have that basic insight to see that you need that backup when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow. In Victoria, when 200,000 houses lost their lights only a few short weeks ago, as well as the Portland aluminium smelter having to go offline. We’ve seen the same damage done in South Australia by a South Australian Labor government and we don’t want to see Bill Shorten taking that failed experiment national. What we are going to do is make sure there’s the backup there for those investments and make sure we do have the storage necessary to keep the lights on when we need it. That’s exactly what these projects are doing.

I want to make a short comment about jobs. I grew up in a hydro town. When you have great projects like this, you create jobs and regional jobs that are great jobs. You bring great people into the area. You give jobs to people who are in the area and I think for Tasmania and regional Tasmania and northern Tasmania, this is a fantastic project. I have seen with my own eyes the impact it can have. Great countries and great organisations build from the strengths of their past into a vision for the future. That is exactly what this project is doing. Again, congratulations to the hard work that’s been done to get it to this point.

THE HON GUY BARNETT MP, TASMANIAN MINISTER FOR ENERGY: Thanks very much, Prime Minister. It’s great to have you here in Tasmania and to Angus Taylor, my counterpart, Melissa Price, Premier and colleagues. It’s a very special day and an historic day for Tasmania and the nation. The combination of the MarinusLink with Battery of the Nation and the renewable energy developments that can flow as a result will deliver billions of dollars, thousands of jobs and downward pressure on electricity prices. Of course, in Tasmania, improved energy security. In terms of jobs, it’s in regional and rural Tasmania. We are very proud of that fact and it’s really important. Today the Tasmanian Government is confirming and announcing up to $30 million will be expended on the feasibility of the top three pumped hydro sites in Tasmania. Those locations will be identified in the very near future. That process will take up to 18 months and we want to thank, on behalf of the Tasmania Government, the Australian Government’s commitment, the Morrison Government’s commitment to underwriting that new generation investment in Tasmania. To identify that pumped hydro site, that process will continue. We’ll continue to collaborate and work with the Australian Government and we thank them for their commitment to commit further and work with the Tasmanian Government and, specifically, with Hydro Tasmania.

Here we are at Lake Cethana. It is a fantastic location and it’s one of those possible sites that will be considered and there are many in the Mersey-Forth Valley. This is a great location and I just want to pay tribute, as the Prime Minister did, to our forefathers for the vision that they demonstrated. In this case, 50 years ago, but across the 30 hydro power stations across the state of Tasmania, thank you to those visionaries that put in place those assets that we are now benefitting from. Today’s historic decision, we believe we will have more confidence than ever before that we’ll deliver not just for Tasmania, but for the nation low cost, reliable and clean energy which will provide that energy security that we all need.

THE HON MELISSA PRICE MP, MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT: Thank you. It’s great to be here with my federal and state colleagues. This has been an excellent week for the environment. Together with the Prime Minister, we announced our $3.5 billion Climate Solutions Package. We’ve committed another $2 billion to our Emissions Reduction Fund and yesterday as part of our trip to have another look at the Snowy Hydro Project, a commitment of $1.4 billion.

We are a government that is committed to ensuring we meet our international emissions obligations. We’re also a government that’s committed to rural and regional jobs. As someone who represents the largest electorate in Australia, Durack, I know what good jobs mean to people in regional areas and so this is a great outcome for the people of Lyons and also more broadly for Tasmania. We know that the emissions reduction we will get from a fabulous project like this is around 25 million tonnes. That will help us meet our international obligations. We’re committed to ensuring that renewables are supported and that we have dispatchable power when we need it. When we turn on the lights, we need to know they’re going to come on. Thanks very much for being here.

PRIME MINISTER: Happy to take questions on this project and then deal with other matters if you would like to move to those as well. Let’s deal with the project first.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, are you biting off more than you can chew by pursuing both this and Snowy 2.0?

PRIME MINISTER: No, not at all. What we’re demonstrating here, and you would have seen yesterday, is that we’re going through a very methodical process. We began the Snowy 2.0 process over two years ago, and that included the Commonwealth actually fully taking out the purchase of Snowy 2.0 and then putting in place a very disciplined feasibility process. As I commented yesterday, it wasn’t just a couple of people roaming around in a ute and pointing at things, they did serious bore drilling and so on to work out what the real cost of that project was going to be. That’s the process we’re now going to go through here on these projects. The MarinusLink project and the Battery of the Nation Project, they have to go together. It is about the Battery of the Nation and Tasmania sending that power across Bass Strait. Currently, we have 400 megawatts which is just sitting idle out of Tasmania which would have been very useful in Victoria recently when they had the lights go out on so many homes. It is a disciplined and a very measured process we’re engaged in. It’ll be several years before we get to the position here that we arrived at yesterday in Snowy 2.0 and so these are projects where we’re looking well ahead and doing what we need to do now to be able to make the right decisions and how we can make them reality.

JOURNALIST: You’re all speaking as if this is definitely going to happen. Are you pre-judging the outcome?

PRIME MINISTER: I’m very confident about the outcome, I’ve got it say. Angus, you might want to speak to this, but as we’ve been through the Snowy 2.0 exercise, I think it has only highlighted, and there are other projects we’ve been involved with to, which is demonstrating that as you’re energy market continues to transition toward renewables, if you don’t have projects like this, then you lose the value of a lot of those renewables. In fact, you’d get a lot of dumping of generated electricity out of the renewable sector which can’t be accommodated in your market. If you want to have a renewables future, you’ve got to have big batteries like this and the commercial element of that is quite compelling and that’s what the numbers so far have shown. Of course, we’ll go through the numbers and only be led by the numbers, ultimately as we were on the Snowy. Mathias Cormann and Angus Taylor really put Snowy through their paces on this, as we will on these projects. But I’ve got to say, it’s looking good.

JOURNALIST: So in that case, how are you going to finance the up to $3 billion cost for the MarinusLink?

PRIME MINISTER: It’d be a commercial project and a commercial project means it can support its finance. That’s how any commercial project works. Angus, did you want to comment on it?

THE HON ANGUS TAYLOR MP, MINISTER FOR ENERGY: As I said earlier, we are seeing absolutely record investments in solar and wind – household solar as well as large scale solar and windfarms. They must be backed up and we must have storage. If we don’t, the lights go off and industry stops. Projects like this aren’t nice to have, they are necessary to have. We must have them. That’s why we see such potential in these projects. We stand ready to finance them. We demonstrated that yesterday. We demonstrated exactly that yesterday. They are good projects commercially, but they need government involvement and that’s why we will play a role if the numbers stack up. But I’ve got to say, given the environment we face, there is every, more than every chance that the numbers will stack up on this project.

JOURNALIST: Just to clarify – this $86 million – that’s new funds?

PRIME MINISTER: Yes. There’s $56 million from the Commonwealth which is going specifically on the Marinus Project and $30 million from the state government specifically on the three projects Guy Barnett outlined.

JOURNALIST: Would we expect to see physical work start on a second interconnector in your next term of government?

PRIME MINISTER: That very much depends on the process we’re now engaged in and the first one is a 600 connector and the potential to go to 1,200 as well. The project will look at both of those. The timetable will be very much a focus of those works and we want to see it happen as soon as possible. It could be as late as 2025 before we saw something there, but it could be earlier. I’m not going to pre-judge that. The point is to get it happening as soon as possible, but to make sure it’s being done on commercial basis. So what does that mean when I say it’s on a commercial basis? It means it can pay for itself. It means it can actually generate the revenues that actually support its financing. Yesterday, we made an equity investment in Snowy 2.0. We could have down that in many different ways. We could have done it by not taking dividends and the dividends could have been reinvested in the company. We chose a different path. Either way, it required that equity investment from the shareholder, which was the Commonwealth, and we’ll be looking at the innovative ways that the battery project and the Marinus project can be established working together with Hydro Tasmania.

JOURNALIST: The current Bass link is unreliable. We still don’t have an explanation for why it’s failed twice in recent years, so could that fail again and we’re left with just one interconnector after you’ve spent $3 billion and we’re back to one?

THE HON GUY BARNETT MP, TASMANIAN MINISTER FOR ENERGY: Thanks very much and I’m happy to respond to that. This plan for MarinusLink will, of course, increase and improve energy security for Tasmania and for Victorians. It’ll be an additional link, a second interconnector – 600 followed by, all being well, a further 600, subject to those studies. That will improve energy security.

JOURNALIST: Minister, should the Victorian Government be pitching in any money for this given that the Tasmanian Government has put some money forward for pumped hydro, should the Victorian Government also be offering funds on their end?

PRIME MINISTER: There are two parts to this project. We’re looking at Marinus. Marinus is what is really helping Victoria. The way this will be worked out is that those who are buying the energy, they will be the ones paying for the energy, at the end of the day. Tasmanians won’t be paying over the odds to see the Marinus Link put in place and for how the electricity will flow between Tasmania and the mainland. The beneficiary of having that reliable power will be in Victoria and the consumers will be the ones who obviously pay the power bills which will be lower, by the way, in terms of what we’re able to produce out of Tasmania. It’s great news for Victorians and it is great news for Tasmanians. In terms of the creating the assets that are here in Tasmania, I mean, that’s where the real value is for Tasmanians. To have these assets and to see them expand and to have Hydro Tasmania be in an even stronger position to return the sort of support they already do to the Tasmanian budget, but I’d say more broadly to the Tasmanian economy. The jobs in all of this is something that makes a lot of sense, so I wasn’t surprised that the Tasmanian Government was so keen to get in behind this project and the Premier has been a champion of this project for a long time – a long, long time.

JOURNALIST: How will the government ensure that Victorians pay more than Tasmanians for project Marinus because the feasibility report says under the current regulations, Tasmanians will bear…

PRIME MINISTER: We’ll take a different approach, but Angus might want to speak to that.

THE HON ANGUS TAYLOR MP, MINISTER FOR ENERGY: There are two ways to build transmission. One is a regulated asset, the other is an unregulated asset and what we believe is that the customers of the service should pay for the service. It’s a simple principle and I think it’s the right principle in this case. The Victorian Government does need to take some responsibility for what it’s doing right now. We’ve seen the failure to take responsibility. The impact that this has had last summer, 200,000 houses losing their lights, we are stepping up. That’s exactly why we’re doing this project. We’re stepping up. But the users of services should pay for a service and that’s the simple principle we’ll apply.

JOURNALIST: Angus, the major renewable company UPC has raised concerns it’s taking a long time to build the second interconnector. Will there be more funding to speed that process up?

THE HON ANGUS TAYLOR MP, MINISTER FOR ENERGY: I think we’ve talked about the funding. We’re providing funding here today to speed the process up, that’s exactly what we’re doing.

PRIME MINISTER: This financial year, by the way. Right now.

THE HON ANGUS TAYLOR MP, MINISTER FOR ENERGY: $56 million dollars from the Federal Government and of course you’ve heard the announcement from the Tasmanian Government, so that’s exactly what we’re doing. We do need to move as quickly as possible because this is an urgent problem that needs to be solved and that’s why we’re here today.

JOURNALIST: UPC is building a wind farm on Robbins Island here in Tasmania. Do you support wind farms?

THE HON ANGUS TAYLOR MP, MINISTER FOR ENERGY: I support affordable, reliable, sustainable electricity and of course that is exactly what we get from Tasmania Hydro and that’s why we are supporting Battery of the Nation and these projects and of course they provide backup to the sorts of projects you’ve just described.

JOURNALIST: Can we have the Prime Minister for other questions now?

PRIME MINISTER: Has everybody covered off what they’d like to on the project?

THE HON WILL HODGMAN MP, PREMIER OF TASMANIA: Can I just make a point about wind in Tasmania and UPC. We are very pleased with UPC and the development of Robbins Island. Their plans are very significant. What this MarinusLink will do is unlock renewable energy development with pumped hydro and with wind, and they complement one another beautifully in Tasmania to benefit the nation. And as the Prime Minister and Angus Taylor have made very clear, customers obviously pay but they benefit through low cost, reliable, clean energy from Tasmania being the Battery of the Nation.

JOURNALIST: I have another energy-related question. Tasmania’s renewable energy was at its most valuable during the carbon tax. What is your government doing to make sure Tasmania is rewarded for its renewable energy contribution?

THE HON ANGUS TAYLOR MP, MINISTER FOR ENERGY: That’s why we’re here today. Tasmania has an enormous amount to offer because of the incredible work of past generations as you heard, which can now be a vision for future generations. That’s what we have here in Tasmania. That’s why we’re here and we want to make sure that the good work that has been done will be properly rewarded. It will also benefit the nation in driving down electricity prices and making sure we can keep the lights on. So this is a fantastic opportunity for Tasmania but also great for the rest of Australia and that’s what makes it such a great project.

PRIME MINISTER: Why don’t we go to federal topics and then I’m sure the Premier’s happy to take state topics. I want to thank Hydro Tasmania for being here today and you’re welcome to stay or if you need to do other things, we understand.

JOURNALIST: Should George Pell be stripped of his Order of Australia?

PRIME MINISTER: My first thoughts when I saw this yesterday, read this yesterday, went to all the victims of child sexual abuse in institutions. Last year, I led the national apology to those victims and I know the events of yesterday, I know for a fact that that would have brought all of that back to people – families, people they lost, and my thoughts are really with them, I’ve got to say. I’ve listened to their stories and I know their pain. I know their pain would have… they would have felt it all again yesterday and it would have been a really tough day for them and it’ll be tough again today as these issues continue.

There’s a legal process underway. That will follow. I said yesterday I was appalled and shocked. I think any Australian would be to read of those events, but it shows that no one is above the law in this country. We do have the law in this country and that law requires a process now to be followed, so I don’t intend to engage in that other than to say to all of you out there who have been victims of child sexual abuse, know that we’re thinking of you. Know that there are people around you who love and care for you and want the best for you. The words that I said in that apology, I say them again to you today. You are not alone and we know it happened and we are there with you.

JOURNALIST: He has been found guilty, though. Will you strip him of the Order of Australia medal?

PRIME MINISTER: There is a process that is always followed in these matters, to wait for the legal process to conclude and I understand the matter is under appeal. That precedent has been established in the past and we’ll follow the normal process.

JOURNALIST: So you won’t form an opinion until the appeals process ends. Has the Cabinet decided that Ita Buttrose should be the Chair of the ABC?

PRIME MINISTER: When I’m in a position to make an announcement about the Chair of the ABC, I will do that.

JOURNALIST: When will that be?


JOURNALIST: How many Lower House seats can you win in Tasmania?

PRIME MINISTER: I’m after five and six in the Senate. That’s the number of places available and our Government I think has a great story to tell here in Tasmania – all about jobs and the strength of the economy. Premier Hodgman has shown to Tasmanians what can be achieved and they’re going out there and achieving it under his leadership. We’re backing him in and his entire team in by having the policies that support a strong economy. Richard Colbeck was there with us just the other week when I was down here talking about forestry hubs up in north-western Tasmania. We get how to support jobs here in Tasmania. Certainly, Premier Hodgman has and you’ve got people coming back to Tasmania. The population is increasing in Tasmania. I think that is one of the greatest votes of confidence you can see in an economic plan that I could tick. We’re pleased to be part of that. That’s what we’re saying to people in Tasmania. Whether it’s here in Lyons or up in Bass or Braddon or anywhere else in the state, what we’re saying is we have a plan to work with the state government to continue to strengthen the economy. The economy you will live in under a Morrison Government and under a Hodgman Government here in Tasmania will be stronger. Will be stronger than what can be offered by the Labor Party under Bill Shorten.

JOURNALIST: What will you do if the states don’t agree to a disability Royal Commission?

PRIME MINISTER: I believe they will and I want to thank Will for his support for that and I want to thank also Dan Andrews for his support – I met with him earlier this week – and Gladys Berejiklian and Steven Marshall. I’ve written to all the premiers and chief ministers. On the disability Royal Commission, we need to understand that the states and territories all do need to be involved – it is absolutely analogous to the royal commission into institutional child sexual abuse and on that occasion, all states and territories issued joint letters patent. This is where the services and the interface is between people with disabilities and to not have those jurisdictions subject to the Royal Commission, I think would impair it overwhelmingly. And so I honestly am seeking to do this in a bipartisan way, but I don’t agree with the Leader of the Opposition that it can be done without the states and territories. It must be done with the states and territories and the states and territories were very forthcoming when Prime Minister Gillard went forward with her excellent proposal for the Royal Commission and I would expect states and territories, as they already are within in days – I mean, Will and I spoke about this on the weekend –  they will come on board. That is imperative. I think it will be a Royal Commission of a similar size and standing as what we saw with institutional child sexual abuse. Let’s remember that went for four years. It had five commissioners. The Leader of the Opposition said he could do it for $27 million. I don’t know what sort of Royal Commission he was talking about, but it clearly was not one that he had properly thought through. I’ve applied quite a lot of focus to this and been working with our departments. I’ve met with the Disability Commissioner to talk through how this can be proceeded with and we’re making a lot of progress. We’ll continue to work with the states and territories. I appreciate the bipartisan support for this and we’ll just get on with it.

JOURNALIST: Will we see it started before the election?

PRIME MINISTER: I believe that we can get to a terms of reference and letters patent before then. I believe we can, but it took around two and a half months from memory when Prime Minister Gillard instituted the child sexual abuse Royal Commission. That means we’re going to have to move very quickly, but we’re certainly doing that and I think the cooperation from states and territories to date has been very encouraging and I think there’s a real spirit of let’s just do this properly. But make sure we get the terms of reference right so we can set it up so this thing can be above politics and, hopefully, provide the same sort of release, the same sort of support and opportunity for victims of child sexual abuse can now be afforded to people with disabilities who have been the victims of abuse and misconduct and mistreatment. Sadly, this happens in our country. It’s shameful that it does and I believe we’ll be able to arrive at a process hopefully in that time. I’m certainly working to that end.

JOURNALIST: Stephen Jones is also in Tasmania today.

PRIME MINISTER: Good for him.

JOURNALIST: They’re announcing an election commitment towards fixing local black spots. What’s your government doing to address this issue in Tasmania?

PRIME MINISTER: We just announced the Hobart City Deal just the other day so if he wants to come down and play catch up, that’s fine. But what I do know is every time you hear the Labor Party, whether it’s Bill Shorten or anyone else spending money, remember they’re spending your money and they’re increasing your taxes to spend it. When you hear us announce these projects, whether it’s the one I announced today - $56 million going to this project – or the money we’re investing in congestion busting infrastructure in Hobart or the Bridgewater Bridge or any of these projects, that is being done without increasing your taxes.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, when do you expect the first asylum seekers will be transferred from Manus Island or Nauru to Christmas Island?

PRIME MINISTER: When that is occurring we’ll be in a position to give further advice. At this time, we continue to work very closely on having to deal with what the Labor Party has done to our border protection laws. I note that they feel all gingered up in recent weeks because of the position they took in the Parliament. Our party, our government remains absolutely resolute that that was the wrong thing for the Labor Party to do. We already have 60 medical professionals on Nauru. All of the children, all of the children are off Nauru and those last four will be leaving very, very shortly. The Labor Party wants to think they’ve been vindicated by politics. This actually shows why they’ve always got border protection wrong. They have only ever seen border protection in a political prism. We’ve always seen it as a responsibility of a government to protect our borders, to ensure we meet our national security obligations and responsibilities. We’ll keep doing that. I don’t know what Bill Shorten’s position is on the issue now. He was against Christmas Island, then he was for Christmas Island, then he was against Christmas Island. It’s another day, so he’s probably got another position. What that demonstrates to you is that the Labor Party can’t hold a consistent position on this issue and if you want to issue an invitation to people smugglers, in the event that you’re able to form a government if that’s indeed what the Labor Party are able to do, Bill Shorten’s going about it exactly the right way – exactly the right way to issue an invitation to people smugglers.

Thank you very much.