Doorstop - Mural Hall, Parliament House

Transcript
08 Dec 2017
Mural Hall, Parliament House
Prime Minister
Same-sex marriage; 2018; Citizenship; Nationals
E&OE

PRIME MINISTER:

Well good morning, good morning.

In a little while I’ll be going out to Government House for a meeting with the Executive Council where the Royal Assent will be given to the Marriage Bill.

It will become the law of the land after midnight tonight, people will then be able to give notice of their wedding plans under the Act and so around - I think it’s the 9th of January same-sex couples can get married under Australian law, which is great.

So it’s been a great day and I’m just so thrilled.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister you’ve got this done but in reality it took ten years to do it. The reform process in Australia seems to take an inordinately long time, the GST took ten years, Sydney’s second airport took 30, climate change, the response to climate change isn’t yet done after more than ten years of debating. What does this say about the way the Australian parliament works?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well what it says, it says a lot about the way my government works. You’ve mentioned same-sex marriage and the Western Sydney airport. I haven’t had them rolled into a question together before but -

JOURNALIST:

I’m agile.

PRIME MINISTER:

You’re agile, that’s good. But you’re right, both of them have been issues for a long time. I’ve been in support of both for a long time. I’m the first Prime Minister to support same-sex marriage and it is now law. Delivered.

JOURNALIST:

You’re also a supporter of a price on carbon as well.

PRIME MINISTER:

Yeah well but hang on. As far as Western Sydney Airport is concerned, we are building it.

I was meeting with Paul Fletcher, the Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Paul O’Sullivan the Chairman of Western Sydney Airport Corporation that we’ve setup only yesterday talking about the progress for the construction of the airport.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister you’ve had a good week and a big debate is behind you.

PRIME MINISTER:

Australia’s had a great week.

JOURNALIST:

How do you turn that into a good 2018, what’s the focus from now on?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well the focus is on putting more money into the pockets of hardworking Australian families and businesses and this an economic growth story.

We’ve had nearly a thousand jobs a day over the last year, 85 per cent of them full time. That is in part due to our policies, big free trade deals, opened up new opportunities. We’re planning to do more of them and I signed a new one just in Da Nang the other day, with Peru for example. And there’s more to come.

But look at the business tax cuts we’ve delivered for small and medium businesses. This is enabling them to invest more, and when they invest more they employ more. Those companies and these are not huge multinationals, these are businesses with turnovers up to $50 million a year, overwhelmingly Australian family businesses. They employ half the private sector workforce, and the private sector workforce, just so we remember is 86 per cent of the workforce. So if we want more opportunities, more jobs, you’ve got to make sure that business is investing.

Now Bill Shorten on the other hand, as he acknowledges, as he told the BCA the other day, wants to have a class was against business. He’s not going to – he wants to jack up company tax on the businesses that have already got it and deny company tax cuts to any others. He wants to play a political game, he’s all about politics, he’s not about prosperity.

Prosperity depends on economic growth and so that’s why we’ve got an energy policy as you know, which will combine emissions reduction, affordability and reliability in one market instrument.

It’s been praised across the board. There’s been support from the ACTU and the World Wildlife Federation on the one hand and the BCA and the Minerals Council on the other. So we have brought all those elements together and as you know from the independent modelling of the Energy Security Board, it will result in lower energy costs.

So, that’s the difference – we’re actually putting more money into the pockets of hardworking Australian families, Labor wants to jack up tax and jack up energy prices. That’s a recipe, a recipe for unemployment and it will put all of our prosperity at risk. Labor is a massive risk to the economy.

JOURNALIST:

There is still a problem with wages though isn’t there? That people who are working aren’t seeing a lift in wages while they’re seeing inflation beginning to creep up – isn’t that part of the reason that they’re actually feeling so unhappy with things at the moment?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, wages, you know, the answer to low wages growth is stronger economic growth. Because, I mean Phil Lowe said this the other day, the Governor of the Reserve Bank, you get more, you have stronger economic growth, more investment. We’re already starting to see that, the last national account numbers were very good as you know, and you get more demand for labour and you see wage increases following as a result. That is the key.

We have, unemployment is now at the lowest level it has been since January 2013. Now, you know, I said in the election campaign, that you all enjoyed so much, eight weeks of fun, I said we were all about delivering jobs and growth – well it was a slogan then, it’s an outcome now.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, this was expected to be a tough week for the government – how did you feel coming into it compared to how you feel now?

PRIME MINISTER:

I am always calm and collected about these interesting parliamentary challenges but I must say it was very good to see Barnaby Joyce when he arrived on Wednesday.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, just one question on the citizenship crisis-

PRIME MINISTER:

Yep, sure.

JOURNALIST:

How disappointing is it for you and how damaging will it be for you to not get that sorted before Christmas?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, the issue is well underway to being sorted out actually.

Look, it was very disappointing that Labor is continuing to run this protection racket for people on its side that clearly should be referred to the High Court. Bill Shorten’s position has been so inconsistent. You know, he said for months and months, ‘no problems on our side, we’ve got perfect vetting systems’. He gave ‘rolled-gold guarantees’ I think was one of the terms he used, he was so confident.

And of course from our side, people fessed up – Barnaby, Fiona Nash, John Alexander, Stephen Parry. You know, they either went to the High Court, in Barnaby’s case and Fiona’s case. They went there and they lost. And then Barnaby went off to a by-election and he won it and he’s back. John Alexander just said, ‘Right, I can’t satisfy myself that I am not a dual citizen’, although he didn’t think he was, he’s gone off to a by-election.

On Labor’s side they have still got sitting in the House of Representatives David Feeney and Susan Lamb both of whom are UK citizens now. Right now. They’ve got a number of people, Josh Wilson and Justine Keay who were on their own admission British citizens at the time they nominated. Bill Shorten won’t refer them to the High Court but Katy Gallagher, the Senator who is in exactly the same position as Wilson and Keay has been referred to the High Court.

So I think in practical terms, Feeney has obviously been referred - but he’s a UK citizen, truthfully he just should resign now – they haven’t referred Lamb, but as for Keay and Wilson, their fate will be determined by the Gallagher case because the facts are essentially the same. If Katy Gallagher is successful then they will rest easy. If she is unsuccessful then they will have to resign. I think it has been a colossal failure of leadership on Bill Shorten’s part and the contrast is in the Coalition, the people with the problems fessed up and either went to court or resigned.

JOURNALIST:

One quick follow up Prime Minister – will the Nationals retain their numbers in Cabinet, or the fact that Jim Molan replaces Fiona Nash change the equation?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, look, all of those matters are covered by the Coalition agreement and we discuss those within the Coalition. It is a very strong partnership. You should’ve been there on Saturday night at Tamworth. It was a great win. Huge win for Barnaby. Great win for the Nationals. But it was so inspiring to see Young Libs and Young Nats working well together and a lot of those Young Nats are now back down in Bennelong supporting John Alexander.

Thanks very much.

[ENDS]