Q&A, National Press Club - Barton, ACT

Transcript
01 Feb 2021
Prime Minister
E&OE

LAURA TINGLE, NATIONAL PRESS CLUB PRESIDENT: Thank you, Prime Minister. You've emphasised the need to wind back spending, that you're not running a ‘blank cheque budget’ as a result of the pandemic. You're also encouraging everyone to get out and get vaccinated. You're spending $24 million of taxpayers funds on a vaccine campaign to build public confidence in the safety of the vaccines on offer. But aren't we wasting taxpayers' money if, at the same time, you don't reign in your own government MPs who are spreading disinformation about both the virus and the vaccines on social media?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, we've been very clear to point out where you get your information from. You don't get it from Facebook. You get it from official government websites, and that's what I encourage everybody to and that's what we're doing and that's what we're investing in. Don't go to Facebook to find out about the vaccine. Go to official government websites. If you want to understand about vaccines, go and talk to Brendan Murphy over there, that's who I talk to.

LAURA TINGLE: You don't go to Craig Kelly?

PRIME MINISTER: He's not my doctor and he's not yours. But he does a great job in Hughes.

LAURA TINGLE: Well, we will go to our journalists here today, and I remind everybody it is one question, despite what I just did.

PRIME MINISTER: Leading by example, Laura, right from the get-go.

LAURA TINGLE: David Crowe.

DAVID CROWE: Thank you, Laura, thanks, Prime Minister. David Crowe from the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. So many big themes in the speech, PM, so little time. So one question on JobSeeker, you talked about the fall in the unemployment rate. We still have a million people  who are on $51 a day. The coronavirus supplement ends at the end of March. What's the reason to keep them in suspense and unsure about what their future is and where they stand on that dollar amount? And what are the factors on your mind when you make a decision about where to set that rate for the longer term? Is it participation? Is it the unemployment rate? What are the factors that are going to decide that rate?

PRIME MINISTER: It is all of those things, David as you would expect. We are awaiting right now some further information on the labour market, particularly on the last step-change, gear-change, on both JobKeeper and JobSeeker at the end of December. Not all that data is in, I‘ll tell you, if there is one thing I've learnt over the course of this last 12 months is in a pandemic, don't get too far ahead of yourself, things have a habit of changing on you. I think that isequally true here. The difference between JobKeeper and JobSeeker is that with JobKeeper, that involves the business community and the arrangements they have to put in place because they are a partner in the delivery of that. The Government makes the arrangements on JobSeeker. We will be continuing to meet, the Treasurer and I, Minister Ruston, in particular, of course, Simon Birmingham, as the Minister for Finance, to work through those many issues. The Australian labour market is coming back and I think it is coming back far more strongly than I think many anticipated but it still got a long way to go. It is true, and Michael McCormack would tell you, and I was up there, in you know, in regional Queensland just last week, the week before I should say. There are real shortages out there. You see, workforce challenges this year is one of, and next year, and going forward, are I would have to say one of the biggest, if not the biggest single economic challenge we have in this country. People having the right skills, people being where the jobs are and where they're needed and ensuring that's plugged into a broader economic understanding of where the opportunities lie ahead. That's why we put so much in skills. That's why we've put so much in additional university places. That's why we're looking to have a new National Skills Agreement. The labour market is very sensitive to all these issues and of course the settings that sit around the unemployment benefit. Now it is true that we've maintained it at a much higher level through the COVID supplement but at some time these arrangements will adjust. Now we haven't made those decisions yet, and we are looking at the many issues that relate to where people are at and their needs, but of course the need to also have them in jobs because you will always get paid more in a job than you will on a benefit. At least, that's how it should be.

LAURA TINGLE: Just, Prime Minister, the way the legislation is written that the Government is still considering, it's basically March 28 and that's it, and it specifically says you can't extend it?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, that's, I mean, we're still in January- February, today. So there's plenty of time for us to deal with any, any new settings we want to contemplate.

LAURA TINGLE: Lanai Scarr.

LANAI SCARR: Prime Minister, Lanai Scarr from The Western Australian. Thank you for your speech and welcome back to the first sitting week of the Parliamentary year. Right now, WA is experiencing its first case of COVID-19 in the community in 10 months. The outbreaks experienced recently in various states have all originated from returned travellers and we know that there are some very nasty and morphing strains in the UK and South Africa. Is it time to consider a different form of quarantine for returned travellers? Do we need to have custom quarantine facilities rather than using hotels, or do we need to simply not accept travellers from countries where the virus is at its worst until the vaccine can be rolled out in Australia?

PRIME MINISTER: There’s a lot in that Lanai, and obviously we're all thinking of those in Western Australia, they are going to have some difficult days ahead of them, particularly the business owners there. I think one of the things we've learned is we cannot be too careful around these new strains. There is so much still we don't understand about it and they can move very quick. And you don't want to find yourself on the wrong end of that decision when it comes to how quickly you move, I think where these new strains are coming in. So far, we've been very successful. I mean, the localised lockdown that we saw in the Northern Beaches, and I see Jason here, and your community did an amazing job up there, mate, whether it was there or what was done in other places, and the very brief lockdown we had in Brisbane, which you know I supported very strongly. One of the key reasons for that is you don't know what you don't know and with what's happening in Western Australia now, the extent of the geographic area covered, they're matters for the Premier. But the idea that you give your contact tracers a fighting chance I think is sound. When it comes to quarantine, this matter was addressed last year at some length. Now, if you want to see thousands of Australians come home every week, thousands, then as we work through this with the Department of Home Affairs and the many other important agencies that assist us with these matters the advice was very clear that the most effective way to do that was in a partnership with the states which utilised the very significant accommodation capacity and other services that can be brought to bear to manage quarantine in that way, the idea that we could sort of replicate a sort of border protection failure, detention network that was put in place by the previous Government and, somehow, that that's the way we should have gone down, you will remember that alone led to cost blowouts of more than $11 billion at the time. Heaven knows what it would have been now. The idea that you can do that on that scale and that's the best way to manage it, the clear advice from our agencies was that was not the case. And it was also the view of the states and territories, I can tell you, pretty clearly and we've had a good, I think an outstanding partnership with the states and territories, in managing that process. We provide the support. And that is where the bulk of the Defence Force support for quarantine facilities is. But as you know, when we had the recent strain emerge in Queensland we took a decision together to take the pressure off. We took the decision which I know has real consequences for those that, Marise is working every day to try and get home, that had consequences but we believed we had to take the pressure off that system and we've done that until the middle of this month. So I believe we've managed it quite practically. When you think of the, you know, the half-a-million Australians, or thereabouts, that have come home in the last 12 months and, yes there have been outbreaks but that's why we've always said, you can't just rely on that alone. It is the outbreaks and it is the contact tracing and all the other things that follow from that. Now, I can appreciate that after 10 months in Western Australia they would be, understandably anxious about how the public might react having got into other habits. But I'm encouraged by what I saw in Brisbane. That was not dissimilar. And the response that I saw from the people of Brisbane, I was incredibly impressed with. It matched what we saw coming out of Sydney and Melbourne with record levels of people coming forward for testing and understanding what was needed, and the same we'll see in Perth. We'll get it through again. And I'm confident. Because you know when Adelaide had their outbreak, it was the Western Australian contact tracers that came to their aid as well. They've kept their contact tracing system match fit. They haven't had the game time that many of the other states have had and I think they're pretty happy about that but, nevertheless the states have continued working on that and, through the National Cabinet, and particularly the work that we've done about quarantine systems support and tracing systems support, I think that leaves Australia in a pretty good spot.So you know they will get our support. I'm sure they will get on top of this just like the other states have.

LAURA TINGLE: Andrew Probyn.

ANDREW PROBYN: Hi, PM, Andrew Probyn. I've noticed that your, in your speech that you ever so slightly, hardened your language on climate change, net zero by 2050, that you would like to see it preferably by 2050 when it comes to Australia. Given that you’ve said that the solution has to be technology and science based, do you think that in the next months that you will be so assured that you can achieve it by 2050, that you might harden that even further towards a commitment by the time Australia goes to the Glasgow Climate Change talks?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, what I can say is what I said to the Australian people at the last election. When I can tell you how we get there, that's when I'll tell you when we're going to get there. I gave them that commitment Andrew at the last election, and I'm going to stick to that. When we are in a position to know that, then we’ll be in a position to say potentially more. But that point in time has not yet arrived, and I'm not aware of it arriving, frankly, in too many other places. See we like to think that we can make these commitments and somehow they’ll just make their own way there. If you don't get there by technology, if that's not what actually gets an economy to net zero, there’s only one other way that that’s achieved and that is a tax. That’s the only other way you get there. So my commitment to Australians that I will not tax our way to net zero by 2050 is a very, very important one and I will hold my faith with the Australian people on those issues. So we will see how the technology develops. We will see the great work that Alan Finkel is doing with us and with Angus Taylor and so many others. But Australia’s approach will be technology driven, not taxes driven, not higher electricity prices, not an electricity tax. None of that. The person I have got running our energy policy and emissions reduction hasn't spent a lifetime coming up with new taxes. He's spent a lifetime coming up with new technologies.

LAURA TINGLE: Chris Uhlmann.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Prime Minister, Chris Uhlmann, Nine News. The World Health Organization has said that after countries, rich countries, have vaccinated their frontline workers and their most vulnerable, they should then pause and make sure that poorer countries get the vaccine. Is it your intention to do that?

PRIME MINISTER: We're doing this in partnership with our Pacific family, in particular and we're in those planning phases even now. Marise and Zed have spent much of the summer speaking to those leaders and going through their plans. The first thing, the first challenge we have in many developing countries but particularly in the Pacific is working with their workforce to be able to deliver the vaccine, and that's not a small task. And so that's where we begin and that's work we envisage also doing in South-East Asian countries as well. So I think we'll be acting very much in the spirit of what that is seeking to achieve.

LAURA TINGLE: Rose Lewis.

ROSIE LEWIS: Rosie Lewis from The Australian Prime Minister. If your Government does manage to legislate the media bargaining code and Google makes good on its threat to exit the Australian market, are you confident that alternate search engines are going to be able to fill what would be a massive void left by Google and Australians won't be left worse off?

PRIME MINISTER: I can tell you, Microsoft's pretty confident. When I spoke to Satya the other day, there was a bit of that. Look, these are big technology companies and what's important to Australia, I think is that we set the rules that are right for our people. And having a news environment in this country that is one that is sustainable and is supported commercially, then this is vital to how democracies function. Even when I was Treasurer, as Josh knows, when I would go to the G20 I would be talking not just about are they paying tax and how do we best address that, but I began the conversation, when I was Treasurer, with the G20 about antitrust and competition policy issues that I said we were going to have to address. Now Australia is being true to our word, again. I would like to see more alignment between the world's economies on these sorts of things. You know, our simple rule around the digital, as Paul Fletcher knows, is that we just want the rules in the digital world to be the same that exist in the real world, in the physical world. And that means you can't go around abusing people and carrying on like people do. You wouldn't behave like that in a room like this. Well, I don't think you would. And similarly when it comes to antitrust practices, paying your taxes, all of those things, Australia has just taken a very consistent, and I think, principled stand. We want to work through with the companies on these sorts of things, we want a practical outcome, we don't want things sitting in the courts and all those sorts of things forever. But the world has changed, digital technology has affected that, and we are trying to ensure that our regulatory system keeps pace with that change to ensure that the journalists can do their jobs, not just in taxpayer funded organisations but commercial ones as well. 

LAURA TINGLE: Phil Coorey.

PHIL COOREY: Hi PM, Phil Coorey from the AFR. In your speech you sort of said the year ahead your priority was the vaccine rollout and otherwise a sort of careful stewardship of the economy recovery and getting people back on their feet. To purists probably listening in, there is a lack of bold reform ideas or proposals. You're not talking about large-scale economic reform or anything like that. Is it your view that people just aren't up for that at the moment given what they've been through for the last year, and, in that context, where are you up to at the moment on your thinking on superannuation and having a crack at that?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, you're talking to someone who has had pretty heavy involvement in superannuation over the last five years and there were a few more that we've been taking through Parliament. But Phil look, I'm aware of this narrative. I’ve just outlined to you, $29 billion of infrastructure investment, this includes massive projects in Snowy, major transport projects, Sydney West Airport, the Inland Rail. A $5 billion-plus digital transformation strategy. We've taken albeit modest industrial relations reforms forward to the Parliament, I note that’s not proving any easier to get through the Parliament. So I’m now, see I'm not one that likes to pursue things for the sake of vanity. I like to get things done and not waste time on things that don't get done because that doesn't help anybody. The changes help people. The workforce challenges I really think are being underappreciated in a lot of this commentary. I mean when I read those articles, what I hear is, "You want me to put on a carbon tax and you want me to put up the GST." Apparently they are the holy grails of economic reform in this country. I'm not putting on a carbon tax and I'm not putting up the GST. They're just tax increases. That's all they are. Investing in skills, transformationally changing the way that we train our young people based on the skills they're going to need in the future, rather than the rear vision mirror where we just used to throw money around and hope it found its way to someone somewhere, that’s, these are the big changes we need going forward. The trade agenda equally. I mean we are abolishing an entire schedule of personal income tax, an entire schedule. So look, we're doing the things that are needed to grow the economy. And to grow the economy this year in particular, the health strategy around the vaccine is obviously fundamental, but the economic recovery plan that we're pursuing is strong, it's consistent, it's getting done and it's getting results.

LAURA TINGLE: Mark Riley.

MARK RILEY: Mark Riley 7 Network. Prime Minister, what concrete action will you take to ensure those companies that took billions, or tens of millions of dollars from taxpayers for JobKeeper and then funnelled it through to executive bonuses and dividends, pay that money back?

PRIME MINISTER: I'm not in the politics of envy, Mark. I'll leave that to my opponents. We put in place a scheme with JobKeeper that gave this country certainty at the most profoundly challenging period they’ve faced since the Second World War. You know, when you go through a crisis and you're some 10 months down the track, sometimes we forget what it was like 10 months ago. Josh and I don't. And neither does my Cabinet. We were staring into the abyss. And some countries have gone into that abyss. We have not. And the way that was achieved was providing the certainty that those businesses that were facing that environment had the certainty of that support and we legislated it. Six months, it's in. You can bank on that. You can put your plans to work on that. You can employ your people and keep them in jobs. JobKeeper saved 700,000 jobs. I'd say that's pretty significant and I’d say that made a big change. Now, the law is the law. The law that we put in place and passed through the Parliament ensured that those funds were provided into the corporate sector. Now, if there are some companies that feel that they want to hand that back, great! Good for them. But let's not lose sight in some sort of envy narrative that that program did not change the course of the nation.

LAURA TINGLE: Michelle Grattan.

MICHELLE GRATTAN: Michelle Grattan from The Conversation. To go back to your climate and energy remarks, Prime Minister do you expect to attend the Biden climate conference, and do you think this might provide an opportunity for a face-to-face meeting with the President?

PRIME MINISTER: Oh, well, look there will be those. At this stage, we haven't received the details or nature of the event at this point. As you can appreciate, things are very busy over in the White House at the moment, and they will be communicating that to us and then I'm sure the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Marise Payne and I, and Angus Taylor, and others, will discuss what is the best way for us to participate in that and how that will work. But we welcome it and we look forward to supporting it.

LAURA TINGLE: Prime Minister, the ABC is extending by 10 minutes, the broadcast today.

PRIME MINISTER: Sure.

LAURA TINGLE: So we're just wondering whether you're happy to take a few more questions?

PRIME MINISTER: Always, always.

LAURA TINGLE: Excellent. Andrew Clennell.

ANDREW CLENNELL: Prime Minister, Andrew Clennell Sky News.

PRIME MINISTER: Hey, Andrew.

ANDREW CLENNELL: Last year you started out saying the policy was suppression, and that we had to live with the virus. And ensure we had enough ICU beds, that we were flattening the curve. Now you've supported the Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth lockdowns, despite hardly any cases in those jurisdictions. Have you given in to the view of the vast amount of Australians they want zero cases of coronavirus, none at all? Are you pursuing eradication now? And would you therefore consider, given we're looking at a whole bunch of short, sharp, lockdowns now, some sort of programme like JobKeeper where when the government shuts down economies it helps fund business for that?

PRIME MINISTER: Well the answer to your first question is, no, my view hasn't changed. Right from the outset of this pandemic it had always been my view that localised lockdowns were a good way to suppress the virus and its spread through metropolitan areas. Professor Murphy will remember that very, very well. We spoke about it a lot and I think what you saw in the Northern Beaches of Sydney was a good example of that approach and how effective that approach can be. One of the things you learn, as you go through a pandemic like this, is you don't get to set the rules. The pandemic tends to write those, and you need to work and adapt to the things as they change. And I've heard this, there's only one case. It's not just one case. It's a case of a more virulent strain of which we know little about. And so, I would caution an equivalence with earlier strains and the responses there. The other thing, I think, we've learnt is, I'm sure Victorians would agree with me, no-one wants to go into a four-month lockdown again and by giving our contact tracers a weekend's head start, which is effectively what those things were. Then that has avoided something far more significant. All of these are judgements you make at the time based on the evidence you have with the health officers in the room but ultimately Premiers, Chief Ministers, Prime Ministers, Health Ministers have got to make calls on these things and we will seek to make the best possible calls that we possibly can. You know that I’ve been very respectful of the Federation, and I am respectful of the Federation, I'm a federalist at heart, and what that means is, sure, states can make decisions about what they intend to do in areas of their responsibilities, but they're then also responsible for also dealing and mitigating the impacts of those decisions that they make. It is not a blank cheque. And when it comes to what level of government has stepped up and backed-in the Australian economy, small businesses, medium-size businesses, those working right across this country, employees, and those who've lost their job, there has never been a government at a federal level that has provided more support than this one. So I'd say the Federal Government has done its fair share of the heavy lifting here, and we will continue to as my presentation is set out today. JobKeeper is one of many, many initiatives that we're doing to support and sustain the Australian economy, but it changes over time. You don't rent your economy. You actually grow your economy. And that's what we're doing and the states have an important role to play in that. But I would agree that greater certainty about how these rules are put in place, and I've urged the Premiers on this front, they need to keep that in mind as they put these things in place. But suppression is our strategy. Hasn't changed, not a day.

LAURA TINGLE: Peter van Onselen.

PETER VAN ONSELEN: Peter van Onselen, Network Ten. Prime Minister, you mentioned in your speech that the past year has been one of the toughest in Australian history. What have you learned about leadership over the last 12 months?

PRIME MINISTER: Listen. You've got to listen. That's something I've sought to do across my public life. But I tell you what, over the last 12 months, my ears have gotten very sharp and I listen carefully. I really enjoyed getting up to Queensland the other week with Scotty and Michael, and David, and Keith. I spent a bit of time in a lift with Keith. We got out. But the opportunity, and once again, even over that short break I had again back at the Shoalhaven Heads Hotel, to listen where Australians are at. And one of the hardest things over the past 12 months, I have got to say, Peter, is I've been here, necessarily, necessarily but that has prevented me from in so many days from doing what I love to do and that is to get out and about across the country and listen. I listened carefully when I was up in Gladstone the other day and what was happening with the LNG industry and the oil industry, listened very carefully about what they need. And there is no substitute for that. Whether it is listening to Brendan Murphy and his amazing team, Dr Kennedy and his incredible team, we are well served by the public servants of this country but there are many channels of advice in to my Government and the ones I listen to most carefully is those Australians I get to meet all across the country.

LAURA TINGLE: Katherine Murphy.

KATHERINE MURPHY: Hello, PM.

PRIME MINISTER: Hi Katherine.

KATHERINE MURPHY: Science, as you’ve dwelled on a bit today, and in your references to people like Professor Murphy and Dr Kennedy here. Science determined Australia’s response to the coronavirus, that was your decision. And that’s why Australia has fared better than many other countries and many other governments but in today’s speech, you’ve said that technology will determine the pace of decarbonisation. So my question is very simple, if science determines Australia’s response to the pandemic, why doesn't climate science set the trajectory for how fast and far Australia needs to change, given both, given pandemics and climate change both represent existential threats to humanity.

PRIME MINISTER: Thank you Katherine, well look I’ve got the text of the speech here, I’m quite confident that I said science and technology,

KATHERINE MURPHY: I don’t have the text.

PRIME MINISTER: Science and technology is what I said. And that's true. Technology is the product of science. So I'm not sure the point you're seeking to make. What I am saying is if you go back across the energy history of the world, you will find that the big transformational developments that have happened in economies have happened because of the changes in technology borne by science. Shale oil for example, in the United States, completely changed not only the price of energy, which drove a manufacturing revolution in the United States, but for the first time, I think since Nixon first called for it, the US had energy independence and that had a profound impact on their global outlook. That happened because of science and technology, and research, and major advances, and it changed the world. And if we go back across all of this, whether it's electric vehicles, or whatever it happens to be, batteries, the work we're doing on hydrogen, I mean is going to change the world, then it comes from science and technology. The science I'm talking about is the science that fixes things, that gives you solutions, that actually creates a path. I'm simply saying that if, and I thought, Special Envoy Kerry was making this point the other day, he said the US could reduce their emissions to zero tomorrow and it wouldn't solve the problem. Why? Because all the emissions increases are happening in developing countries. Now, they're not going to switch off their economies. They're not going to do it. I tell you why they will do it, in terms of making a change, if there's commercial technology that enables them to do it. And that's why we want to partner with them, we want to partner with India on these issues, with Indonesia, with Vietnam. We have got to focus on the how, now. That's what we need to do to get emissions down because that is what's going to change things. And that's what we're doing. That's the action we're taking and it's science-led all the way.

LAURA TINGLE: Science does deliver the technology, Prime Minister, but the point is that the science also tells us what we should be trying to achieve. Isn't it going to be better to have opinion galvanised by looking at what the science says about what we need to do?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, as I outlined, we're seeking to get to net zero. We'd preferably like to see it happen by 2050, as I’ve said. It could happen sooner with significant technological change. But I tell you, if there isn't the technological change, then it's just a bit of paper. So we all know where we need to go. Now is the time to focus on how we're going to get there. So if we can produce hydrogen, as Angus tells me at $2 a kilo, then, we can get there. If we can't, it's going to be very hard. And so, they're the targets I'm interested in, achieving those, because I know they'll achieve the bigger target, which is where we're seeking to head. And if we do that, I don't have to put, and will not put that tax burden on Australians, particularly regional Australians, that some seem to want us to do.

LAURA TINGLE: We’ve got time for one more question from Tamsin Rose.

PRIME MINISTER: Sure.

TAMSIN ROSE: Thanks, Prime Minister. Tamsin Rose, from the Herald Sun. A report released yesterday found that Collingwood Football Club has a problem with structural racism and that the club should publicly make amends to those who've paid a high public price for speaking out about it. Does Australia have a problem with racism?

PRIME MINISTER: I'll give you a personal view. This is an issue that has vexed, you know, countries like ours and the United States, Canada, New Zealand for centuries, and we are each struggling to find peace for our nations along this journey. We've had significant challenges in this country but I believe we're working to overcome them. The Closing The Gap initiative that was set up by Prime Minister Rudd, a very noble and I think an outstanding initiative,  one which I supported and our party room supported at the time, but we had to get beyond, we had to get beyond what was a very noble intent and actually get a much more cooperative set of targets that actually got us to the end of the journey. Reconciliation will be achieved in this country when young Indigenous boys and girls in this country can grow up with the same opportunities as every other Australian. That's my goal, and I'm very committed to it. But when we spoke about Australia Day this year, we talked about, of course, our 60,000 years of Indigenous heritage, we talked about those who first came in chains in ships including my fifth great grand-father, and then we talked about the waves of migration that have come. I believe, no, I know that Australia is the most successful multicultural immigration country on the planet. And when I speak to other leaders, they ask me about how we’ve achieved this. That doesn't mean we have our challenges or our issues, but it does mean that we're very conscious of the great benefits of the cohesion of our society, and where there are problems, we try and deal with them, we try and deal with them. And so, I think that is the noble spirit of Australians. And I would encourage us to continue on that path.

LAURA TINGLE: Prime Minister could I just ask you, very finally, to perhaps comment on the developments in Myanmar today?

PRIME MINISTER: These are rather disturbing developments. I am aware of those troubling reports and the Foreign Minister has been following them closely and Marise you’ve already issued a statement on this matter as I understand it. The details I’ve got to say are very limited, because of communications that were reportedly cut and it is still relatively early in Myanmar. We have been a long standing supporter of Myanmar's democratic transition, including the election in November. In fact I was the first minister of our Government first elected in 2013 to visit Myanmar when I was the then Minister for Immigration. So I am somewhat aware of the significant challenges that country has faced over many years, as it seeks to take their path forward. And clearly, there are very significant hurdles for them still to overcome and the tensions are still very present. We have joined in a statement last Friday, opposing any efforts to alter the election outcome and urging the military and all parties to adhere to democratic norms. We have done that with Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the EU countries as well. So we all hope for Myanmar, we all hope for what I know the Myanmarese people want to achieve. I found them the most beautiful of people when I was there, so peaceful in nature but having suffered such terrible violence over the course of their nation's history. And I, I hope.

LAURA TINGLE: Ladies and gentlemen, please help me thank the Prime Minister.