Radio Interview with Darren Kerwin, Radio 7AD 900AM

Transcript
16 May 2018
Prime Minister
Cradle Mountain announcement, Braddon by election, Airport security, Federal Budget and GST
E&OE

DARREN KERWIN:

It’s 8:10am and the Prime Minister is on the line.

PRIME MINISTER:

Good morning Darren it’s great to be with you.

DARREN KERWIN:

You’re on your way to Cradle Mountain.

PRIME MINISTER:

I am indeed yes that’s right. Going up there to see the Premier and announce our commitment of $30 million for the cable-way project that is part of the Cradle Mountain Plan.

DARREN KERWIN:

Right, so it’s a big project $160 million in all I believe so $30 million will certainly help. Have you actually seen the master plan, like seen the draft?

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes I have. I was studying it this morning and what we're providing is effectively 50 per cent of the money for the cable-way which is the centerpiece of it, the main transport infrastructure. And then of course as you know, there is a new visitors centre and a hotel and a lot of other things planned. But I think just, the big idea there is to work with the private sector so that it becomes a public-private partnership. The cable-way is the main piece of the infrastructure.

DARREN KERWIN:

Yep. So not only will we get the tourism dollars hopefully from this project when it's completed but in the meantime jobs for construction workers?

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes that's right. It will you know generate about another 150 jobs during the construction. And of course it's part of the huge commitment we're making to infrastructure in Tasmania including the Bridgewater Bridge replacement, the Midland Highway, all the work that is being done in Launceston on the City Deal  and there is $400 million worth of targeted works in Tasmania under the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative. So there's a lot going on.

And of course I’ll be joined up there by Senator Steve Martin, of course, who’s been a great advocate for this development, this project and indeed the coastal walk. He was with Mathias Cormann announcing that just yesterday. But also with our candidate for Braddon, Brett Whitley who is making a return to the election electoral hustings.

DARREN KERWIN:

We’ll I’ll get to the fight for Braddon in a sec, but you mention Steve Martin there. No doubt, I’m sure get ready for Steve to chew your ear off about - have you heard about the proposal to get a Qantas pilot training facility in Tasmania? He wants it in Devonport. Launceston have put their hand up, so he’ll be having a word to you about that because we really want it, it'll be great.

PRIME MINISTER:

Okay well I'll look forward to having a chat to him about it. He is a very passionate Tasmanian as indeed is Brett. So that's good.

DARREN KERWIN:

Yeah, we could use your support on that.

Right let's get to Braddon. And so by election – have we got a date yet or what?

PRIME MINISTER:

No the date’s not been set, that’s a matter for the Speaker. I understand he's consulting with the Electoral Commission. And you know he’ll set a date in the normal way.

DARREN KERWIN:

When will we find out that?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, again you’d have to - that's a matter for the speaker Darren. That is in his hands.

DARREN KERWIN:

Alright, so Braddon the by election it’s what? I think Justine Keay won it by two per cent.

PRIME MINISTER:

Yep.

DARREN KERWIN:

Last time around, so it's a pretty tight fight?

PRIME MINISTER:

It is a tight fight and by elections normally go against the government, naturally. In fact, almost invariably. The last time the government won a seat from the opposition in a by election was in 1911. But Brett delivered for Braddon and he's got the ability to do so again. I believe we've got a great story to tell in terms of investment, in terms of stronger growth. You know unemployment is while still a bit higher than the national average here, is considered much lower than it was when we came into government in 2013.

Our message of more investment, more jobs, more infrastructure, all of that I believe is resonating with voters in Tasmania.  And you know, we're putting very substantial dollars on the table to support that. 

DARREN KERWIN:

Right well, the by election of course caused by the dual citizenship debacle; it turned out to be, I’m sure it was a huge headache for you. But, this is just my opinion, that rule with people ineligible to be in Federal Parliament because one of the parents was born overseas, do you think it's time that we change that rule?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well Darren, the only way now you can change it is to change the Constitution and I have to say to you I don't think Australians would support a change the constitution so that dual citizens could sit in the Parliament.

You know the High Court made it very clear in October last year that if you were a dual citizen at the time you nominated to Parliament - which Justine Keay was of course - you were not eligible. And she continued to sit in the parliament, continued to draw a salary, continued to draw on all of the entitlements of a Member of Parliament. Bill Shorten defended it. They just stonewalled and then finally the High Court said just last week in the Gallagher case precisely what they said last October. And so finally, it all became too much for them and they resigned. But they really should have done this at the latest, last October. If you read the High Court’s words in the Canavan case last year they were very explicit about it.

DARREN KERWIN:

I agree with all of that and I think the right decision was made, clearly. But do you think now that it's time to amend the Constitution? Because if we perhaps have a kid at school now whose mother or father was born in say the UK for example or New Zealand and could possibly go on to be Prime Minister of Australia, but they're going to miss that opportunity.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well they won’t Darren, I mean to be absolutely, you know fair about this, it is very easy to renounce your UK citizenship. It is literally a matter of filling in a form and making sure that you get it in time enough for the administrative process to be completed in the UK. There no obstacles to renouncing your UK citizenship.

You saw that Susan Lamb, the Labor Member for Longman, has also had to resign. Now she went through this sort of malarkey about not being able to do it, not being able to get a mother's parents wedding certificate and so forth. Yet I notice she’s managed to renounce her UK citizenship now, after all these months. In a matter of days.

So plainly, it’s a very straightforward business and the same with the New Zealanders, I meanour people were, Barnaby Joyce and Matt Canavan, have fully complied and they didn't know they were dual citizens. Justine Keay knew she was a dual citizen. She absolutely knew it and she failed to get her renunciation through prior to the nomination date.

So I guess the message from the High Court, stripped of all the legalese is: “Get your act together before you nominate.”

DARREN KERWIN:

Yeah fair point.

PRIME MINISTER:

I think a lot of Australians would say that’s fair enough.

DARREN KERWIN:

Yep, fair point.

Okay I also wanted to briefly mention now, security upgrades at airports. Now this has been because of what’s been going on in Indonesia mainly over recent times. So what exactly is going to happen? Will we have more security checks, will it just be international airports? Or other airports?

PRIME MINISTER:

Yeah, we have heightened security at all airports and some of that will be apparent, some of that will not. But we’ve heightened security at all airports including regional airports. So that’s the first point.

We’re also at the major international airports, like Melbourne and Sydney and so forth, there are going to be body scanners, like many of your listeners might have seen when they’re travelling overseas, particularly into the US. There will be body scanners. There will also be improved luggage scanning devices, that enable you effectively to get a 3D view of what is inside a bag and we were demonstrating some of that equipment at Melbourne Airport yesterday with Peter Dutton and Angus Taylor.

DARREN KERWIN:

Finally, I just wanted to mention the taxation, I guess you’d call them reforms that were mentioned in the Budget. So for the majority of listeners, I guess it means an extra $500 on their tax refund, right?

PRIME MINISTER:

Yep, well $530 for middle-income people, between $48,000 and $90,000 and it tapers down after that. Over all, it’s about 10 million Australians will get a tax refund after next financial year, in respect of next financial year. That is real money, that’s a real saving, it’s real support to meet cost of living increases.

Then, the longer term reform Darren, over the seven year period of the reforms, will see, if you like – a removal of a lot of the barriers to working longer or you know, getting a pay rise or a promotion. Where people have said: “Oh, if I work some overtime, it’ll all get chewed up with extra taxes”. What we’ll have is from $41,000, when you go into the 32.5 cent bracket – this will be from 2024 – all the way up to $200,000, the marginal tax rate will be 32.5 per cent. So if you earn some more – and that will cover 94 per cent of Australians – your marginal tax rate on that extra dollar, will be no more than 32.5 cents. I think that’s a very good thing, it encourages enterprise, it encourages people to get in and get ahead.

DARREN KERWIN:

GST, Mr Cormann was on the coast as you know, yesterday, the Finance Minister. He was asked a question about the GST. So, I guess most people, it’s mainly just media really, want a guarantee from you today that we’ll get our fair share and we won’t get any less with the GST split up?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well what Mathias said – and I can confirm this – is that Tasmania will not lose a cent from any changes. Clearly the GST, the formula, which frankly hardly anyone understands, has been a matter of great contention for a number of reasons. It’s important that any new arrangements pass the pub test, not just in Bunbury in Western Australia, but here in Burnie in Tasmania and Ballarat and Bendigo and Bathurst, right around the country. So it’s important to get this reform right.

DARREN KERWIN:

Are you still there Prime Minister?

He might be getting out of range, he’s on his way to Cradle Mountain. Mr Turnbull, are you there?

PRIME MINISTER:

I can hear you.

DARREN KERWIN:

Okay, alright I just want to finally ask you, getting away from politics before we finish up, what’s your day like? What time did you get up this morning?

PRIME MINISTER:

I was up a bit before…

DARREN KERWIN:

We’re losing him there.

Sorry Prime Minister we’re losing the line there, you must be getting out of signal there.

Alright, thank you very much, have a good day there at Cradle Mountain.

[ENDS]