Doorstop - Parliament House, Canberra

Transcript
09 Feb 2018
Prime Minister
E&OE

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, we have a lot to discuss today at COAG, bringing together the nation's leaders to focus on delivering for the Australian people.

We are presenting a very, very substantial and generous offer on hospital funding. A new five-year deal continuing from 2021 when the current one expires, through to 2025. It will add $31 billion to Commonwealth support for public hospitals.

It’s a very generous deal and of course entirely consistent with the one that was agreed several years ago in 2015.

We also are going to be meeting with indigenous leaders following the gathering that has been held here in Canberra over the last few days that I attended yesterday. We will be discussing working together, doing things ‘with’ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and not doing things ‘to’ them and ensuring that we get that full collaboration on the refresh of the Closing the Gap targets, which are expiring, as you know.

Now, the other vitally important issue that we're going to be discussing, among others, is protecting our children. We will be considering the National Redress Scheme that the Commonwealth has proposed. We're looking forward to the states and territories coming on board and ensuring that we can apply that National Redress Scheme nationally.

You've seen the commitment that I made in the Parliament yesterday and the strong support I had from the Opposition as well.

We'll also be dealing with the scourge of bullying, including cyber bullying. I’ll be inviting Julie Inman Grant, the Commonwealth E-Safety Commissioner to speak to the chief ministers and first ministers. Julie Inman Grant is leading actually a world-leading effort on the part of the Commonwealth to keep children safe online. We've set up initially the children's E-Safety Commissioner several years ago and it has now been expanded to cover adults as well as children. But this is a major Commonwealth initiative and it is going to be good to discuss that with the states and get their support.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, some of the states believe that they’re being short-changed by the hospital funding offer. Is there a chance that you’ll put more money on the table?

PRIME MINISTER:

No, this offer is a very generous one and it is entirely consistent with the deal that they all signed up to back in 2015.

JOURNALIST:

Jay Weatherill says this morning, if you can find room for tax cuts, you can find more money for hospitals. How much of a fight do you have on your hands?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, the states asked us to bring forward a proposal for hospital funding to take effect after the current deal runs out in 2020. So we have delivered on that. The offer will involve an extra $31 billion over the second 5-year period, so it is a very generous offer and the structure of it is entirely consistent with the deal that all of the Premiers - including Mr Weatherill - have already signed up to.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, there are reports today in the newspaper that a position was created for Barnaby Joyce's partner in Matt Canavan's office. Do you have any reaction or comments on those reports?

PRIME MINISTER:

Look, these private matters are always very distressing for those involved, I don't want to add to the public discussion about it. I'm very conscious of the distress this causes to others in particular Natalie Joyce and her and Barnaby's daughters. So it’s a private matter, a tough matter. I don't have any more to say about it.

JOURNALIST:

Cathy McGowan suggested that there possibly there should be a ban of certain types of relationships between elected representatives and their staff, like the US House of Representatives has just implemented. What are your thoughts on that?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well adults, particularly elected officials, members of Parliament, ministers all have to be accountable for their actions. As grown-ups, we are all accountable for our actions. Relations between consenting adults is not something that normally, you would be justified in, if you like, seeking to regulate.

Adults can conduct their relationships, if it's consensual, respectful, that's their right. But all of us have to be accountable for how we live our lives and of course Barnaby has been accountable. You've seen him there on the 7.30 Report, he’s been very up-front about it. But it is a tough and distressing episode and I am very conscious, Luce and I are very conscious of the hurt occasioned to Natalie and their daughters in particular. So that's why I don't want to add to, or contribute to the discussion about it.

Thank you all very much.

[ENDS]