Doorstop at Thomas Global Systems

Transcript
30 Jan 2018
Regents Park, NSW
Prime Minister
Defence Export Strategy, Securing Australia’s borders, National Integrity Commission, National Innovation and Science Agenda
E&OE
Defence and National Security

PRIME MINISTER:

So thank you William Hutchinson, Chairman, Angus, CEO, thank you so much for showing us the outstanding work that Thomas is doing, Thomas Global Systems is doing with Australian innovation, Australian technology, in the Australian Defence Industry.

You were saying in your 34 years in the industry, this is the best time for the Australian defence industry.

WILLIAM HUTCHINSON – CHAIRMAN, THOMAS GLOBAL SYSTEMS:

Definitely, Prime Minister and we’re certainly very confident that with the policy settings going forward, this will be a good time for Australian defence companies over the next 10 years.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well you’re doing remarkable work here. Thomas Global Systems is producing, as you’ve just seen, display systems for the US Marine Corps’ M1 Abrams tanks. Now, that’s a pretty discerning and demanding customer – 70 per cent of your business is for export, is that right Angus?

ANGUS HUTCHINSON - CEO, THOMAS GLOBAL SYSTEMS:

Correct.

PRIME MINISTER:

And just tell us about the countries and the places you’re exporting your Australian technology to.

ANGUS HUTCHINSON:

We export for 70 per cent of our revenue, it’s export. The export countries are, we export to the US, Canada, New Zealand, UK, Europe. There’s probably about 50 countries that we export to.

PRIME MINISTER:

Fantastic. This is what Australian companies can do. With innovation, technology and support from government and encouragement, they can do anything. They can sell into every market, they can sell to the most demanding international customers. Now we were out yesterday at Thales Australia and Chris is here today, the CEO. We saw there the great Bushmaster and Hawkei protected vehicles. Bushmaster vehicles are being sold around the world. I was inspecting one of them with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo just the other day. Part of the electronics for the next generation of Thales Australia protected vehicle, the Hawkei vehicle, which is a smaller utility vehicle, that again is being produced here by Thomas Global. You have seen their work today.

What we have is the opportunity to claim a larger share of the global defence industry around the world. We have got the opportunity to do that.

We’re spending $200 billion investing in our Defence Force's capability over the next decade. We are building a sovereign defence industry in Australia, building it bigger and stronger. We have great Australian-owned, family-owned business like Thomas here, which are able to compete globally and we want to encourage them and enable them to do more. That's what our Defence Export Strategy is about.

I have seen criticism in the media today of the Defence Export Strategy in a couple of newspapers, who seem to believe Australians aren't up to it. They want to give up at the outset.

They say: "Oh, we're too small. We shouldn't be trying to compete."

Let me tell you; Australians can win anything. Australians can do anything. They can compete with anybody and they do.

What they need is the encouragement, a Government that backs them in. That backs them in not just to supply the Australian Defence Forces, which of course, while we're spending a lot of money over 10 years, it is a very small part of the overall global market for Australian technology businesses, technology-based businesses, to prosper. I know this from Lucy and my own experience. You’ve got to address a global market and that is what Thomas Global Systems is doing. We want more Australian companies to do that.

So here in Regents Park, just as yesterday in Rydalmere, we see Australian technology, Australian innovation taking on the world. That's what our Defence Export Strategy is all about. It’s all about jobs.

That's why we're seeing the support that we're giving for family-owned businesses like yours, William and Angus, your business is benefitting from the small and medium company tax cuts that have already been legislated. So, you will be able to retain more of your earnings after tax and know that like other Australian businesses, you will be ploughing them back into the business. That will result in more investment, meaning more employment, means more opportunity.

So it’s great to be here. Thank you very much, congratulations to your both and of course, to all your team for the great work you're doing.

The stark contrast is between the Government and our opponents in the Labor Party; every policy we have is focused on encouraging investment and employment.

Whether it's the Defence Export Strategy, the Enterprise Tax Plan, cutting taxes for small and medium Australian businesses, overwhelmingly family-owned.

Whether it’s our big export deals, our big trade deals, including the TPP-11.

We're getting on with the job of creating more opportunities for Australians to invest and employ.

We're seeing that in the jobs growth; 403,000 last year. Highest jobs growth since records began. That is showing that we're delivering.

Our opponents - I regret to say - do not have one policy which would encourage one company to invest one dollar or hire one employee.

They have a lot of policies about higher taxes on companies, on businesses, on families, on property, on investment, which will discourage investment and discourage employment.

So it's a very clear choice.

We're seeing that our policies are backing Australian business, backing Australian enterprise, are working and paying off in that strong growth in jobs.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister was it appropriate for Scott Morrison to ask ASIO to slow down the processing of asylum seekers?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, I notice the ABC seems to have found a whole lot of documents from about four, or more than four years ago, in this case. Look, can I just say that Scott Morrison is doing an outstanding job as Treasurer, of course. When he was the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection he stopped the boats. He did an outstanding job in securing our borders.

We make no apologies for sending the clearest message to the people-smugglers and to their would-be customers; if you want to come or think you can come to Australia on a people-smuggler's boat, you're wrong. You won't. You won't get here. You will not become a permanent resident.

Keeping our borders secure is a critical obligation and responsibility of government and we know what happened under Labor.

50,000 unauthorised arrivals.

1,200 deaths at sea.

Several thousand people on Manus and Nauru which Labor put there and we are now moving them off and resettling them.

So, you can see the stark difference, whether you want to have your borders secure or whether you want to have the Labor approach which is to basically outsource your immigration policy to people smugglers.

JOURNALIST:

But did ASIO comply with the request, that request from Scott Morrison?

PRIME MINISTER:

Scott Morrison I think has answered some questions on this. But this is a long time ago and it’s a document I have never seen. It is not a Cabinet document. It has emerged, I don't know how it emerged from the ABC. I suggest I think they have come across someone's bottom drawer in Canberra, it sounds like, given the date of all these papers that you're putting up on your website.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, Bill Shorten is expected to announce today Labor’s support for a National Integrity Commission. Will you talk to the Opposition about setting up a body like that?

PRIME MINISTER:

We are looking at this issue. As you know I've said we certainly haven't ruled it out. We're reviewing a report by a Senate Committee on a National Integrity Commission. This is, you know, effectively a federal ICAC.

There hasn't been an ICAC set up federally in the past because both sides of politics and in particular Anthony Albanese has been very strongly against it.

I just wonder whether Bill's having a shot across our Albo's bow with that, but I will leave the Labor Party political commentary to you guys

But it hasn't been supported in the past. I'm looking at it, we are reviewing the report. We do have extensive anti-corruption measures already, the Federal Government, both with the Australian Commission of Law Enforcement Integrity, which is in effect like an ICAC but focused on law enforcement and related agencies in the Federal Government. Of course the Federal Police among other agencies have extensive powers and they have an anti-corruption unit operating in the AFP.

I have to say though, you know, Bill Shorten's credibility on the question of corruption is pretty tattered.

This is a guy who has done everything he could to prevent the corruption in the union movement, corruption between unions and businesses, being exposed.

He fought tooth and nail to oppose the Heydon Royal Commission into trade union corruption. We saw his own union, the AWU, has been shown up with several shocking examples - including a number of senior officials of the AWU - have been identified and of course, the CFMEU above all.

But he also did everything he could to prevent the Parliament passing legislation to establish the Registered Organisations Commission, whose duty is to ensure that unions are run transparently and honestly and for the benefit of their members and not engaging in corrupt practices.

So Bill Shorten is no anti-corruption warrior.

But as far as the National Integrity Commission, it’s something as I said we are reviewing the report from the Senate Committee and considering it.

Obviously, in anything like that the devil will always be in the detail. I think as we all know, if you look around the states and territories, the ICAC, some of the ICACs have worked better than others. So, there is a lot of experience to learn from. It’s not something to embark on in a rushed or ill-considered way.

JOURNALIST:

The innovation blueprint released today recommends a greater focus on STEM subjects. Will you consider making sciences and maths compulsory?

PRIME MINISTER:

Thank you. I just want to thank Bill Ferris for his work in producing that blueprint.

Science and innovation are fundamental to ensuring our future prosperity. It is what your business is all about, William and Angus, isn't it? I mean, you have got here men and women with extraordinary talents. They are innovative, they have the training. We've talked about your son, your other son is a

WILLIAM HUTCHINSON:

Mechatronics engineer.

PRIME MINISTER:

Mechatronics engineer. You’re a chemical engineer and you’ve got a whole building full of engineers.

Yes, the answer is we need more people doing STEM subjects. No question about that at all.

Certainly I would like to see at least maths or science being compulsory as, I might say, it was in my day. Maths certainly was, I think that's been a mistake for it not to be compulsory.

Simon Birmingham is working with the various state jurisdictions to ensure that at least one of them is required to matriculate, to get an ATAR, to go on to university.

We want to encourage more kids - particularly more girls I might say - to do STEM subjects and we are and we are providing a lot of incentives to do that.

It is a very, very big priority. It is an example of market failure if you like, that at a time when STEM subjects – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths subjects - are more in demand than ever, we’ve actually seen a decline in kids doing them. This is particularly so with girls. We have a lot of programs to encourage more girls doing STEM subjects.

That is why it was great to see Michelle Simmons as the Australian of the Year. She said she came to Australia to realise her dreams, because she thought that this was the best country to realise your dream. She's absolutely right. Her dream is to build the world's first quantum computer. That is a big project and she's leading the world in that regard.

I hope that a lot of young girls and young women who saw Michelle, were inspired to follow in her footsteps and take on those STEM subjects.

So thank you, all, very much and Hutchinsons, congratulations. Father and son and all your team.

Great Australian family business.

Jobs, innovation, science, technology taking on the best in the world!

Thank you.

[ENDS]