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Transcript of doorstop interview: Adelaide: 9 March 2014: South Australian state campaign launch; media ownership; Budget; the Coalition's policy to index the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card; Malaysian Airlines flight; South Australian and Tasmanian state elections

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DOORSTOP INTERVIEW, ADELAIDE Sunday, 9 March 2014 Adelaide Prime Minister Subjects:

South Australian state campaign launch; media ownership; Budget; the Coalition's policy to index the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card; Malaysian Airlines flight; South Australian and Tasmanian state elections. E&OE PRIME MINISTER: Thanks everyone it really is good to be here in Adelaide for Steven Marshall’s campaign launch. As you can tell there was a lot of energy in the room. It was a magnificent presentation by Steven. I am really excited about the prospect of working with a Steven Marshall led Liberal government here in South Australia. I think we can get this state moving again. I know because I am here often and I meet with them often, people like Frank Seeley, people like the Crotti family from San Remo. I know the people of South Australia can do great things if they are helped and supported by government rather than shackled by a bad government which is more interested in itself than it is in helping the people of South Australia. So, it is great to be here and I do hope to have as a partner in Adelaide someone who wants to work with the federal Government rather than fight with the federal Government. QUESTION: Prime Minister, the Premier often, almost refers to Steven Marshall as your puppet and he’ll do what you tell him to do. Is that the case? PRIME MINISTER: That’s just a bit of cheap smearing. I want to work constructively and cooperatively with all of the premiers. The trouble is all the state Labor Premiers can say at the moment is, “vote for me and I’ll pick a fight with Canberra.” Well, I think the public are sick of this. The public are sick of it. They want to see adults working together, they don’t want to see juvenile political games. QUESTION: Prime Minister, could I ask you, if like Malcolm Turnbull you are sympathetic to relaxing media ownership regulations? PRIME MINISTER: Look, we are consulting with people in the sector. Unlike the former government we don’t believe in giving people in this sector orders about what they should or shouldn’t wear on their heads. We are consulting with people in the sector. We have a deregulationist instinct. Our mindset is always to make rules less rather than more onerous, but let’s wait and see where those consultations go. QUESTION: Is your audit commission proposing a crackdown on eligibility of the Seniors Healthcare Card? PRIME MINISTER: What I want to make absolutely crystal clear is that in the lead up to the Budget we will see speculation in the media, we’ll see more and more scares from Bill Shorten but what you will see on Budget night is a government which keeps its commitments. We will be a government that keeps our commitments and I think you should look at the commitments that we’ve made rather than listen to the kind of scare stories that are the stock in trade of the Leader of the Opposition. QUESTION: [Inaudible] changes in eligibility then or are you not saying one way or the other? PRIME MINISTER: We made a clear commitment on the Commonwealth Seniors Healthcare Card during the election and we will keep the commitment. QUESTION: Why haven’t you released that Audit Commission Report yet? Apparently you have had it for some time. PRIME MINISTER:

We’ve got the Audit Commission’s interim report. We are carefully studying it to see which recommendations might be suitable for implementation in the upcoming Budget. It will be released but it will be released at the right time. QUESTION: Will that be after the elections on the weekend? PRIME MINISTER: We are carefully considering an interim report. The stress that I want to put on everything is that we will keep our commitments. Yes, we will repair the Budget, yes, we will do what is necessary to put Australia on a fiscally sustainable path forward but we will do it in ways which are absolutely consistent with the commitments we took to the people before the election. QUESTION: Can Australia afford to have the current health [inaudible] it has, some people who are drawing large superannuation packages and benefitting from perhaps tax loopholes? Can we afford that? PRIME MINISTER: We made an absolutely crystal clear commitment before the election to index the eligibility thresholds and we will keep our commitments. QUESTION: Do you have an update on the Malaysian Airlines crash? PRIME MINISTER: This is obviously a horrible, horrible business. Our thoughts and prayers are with the passengers and their families on that ill-fated aircraft, particularly to the six Australian passengers and their families that have now been confirmed to be on board. We are looking at ways in which we can help with the search and recovery operation. QUESTION: Prime Minister, do you share the view that the national economy has turned a corner and for the better? PRIME MINISTER: There’s still a very long way to go but there are lots of positive signs. Retail sales were very strong in January, export volumes were up, housing starts are up, the quarterly GDP growth exceeded market expectations - so, there are lots of positive signs. But there is a long way to go and we can start accelerating the economic turnaround by scrapping the carbon tax, by passing the changes to the Qantas Sale Act, by restoring the Australian Building and Construction Commission because we all know that that provided a $6 billion a year boost to productivity in the construction industry. So, yes I believe our economy is strengthening but there is so much more that the Parliament could do if Bill Shorten wasn’t so busy running scare campaigns and actually got the Senate to work to pass legislation. QUESTION: Just getting back to the Malaysia situation, have you been given any insight at all? There seems to be, it’s quite bizarre the circumstances surrounding this flight. Have you been given any insight into the missing link in all of this? How did it happen? PRIME MINISTER: Look, inevitably questions are being asked but investigations have only just begun and I am just not going to speculate till the matter has been thoroughly investigated. QUESTION: Prime Minister, [inaudible] two passports were stolen. Are there suspicions of terrorism? PRIME MINISTER: I’m just not going to speculate. QUESTION: Prime Minister, it is possible that this time next week you will have conservative Governments in Tasmania and South Australia. Do you think that’s a healthy thing for the country to have wall to wall conservative governments? PRIME MINISTER: What’s healthy is to have Premiers and a Prime Minister working together to address the problems of our nation. That’s what’s healthy. I think the public want to see a Premier and a Prime Minister working constructively together to help the people of Australia. We don’t elect a Premier to fight with Canberra, we elect a Premier to work with Canberra and that’s what I expect. I expect to work constructively with the Premiers regardless of their political persuasion. I know that if Steven Marshall is the Premier after next Saturday the Commonwealth and the state of South Australia will work together to try to ensure that we finally get that North-South Road corridor upgraded to freeway standard within a decade. We’ll get the Darlington upgrade done. We’ll get the Torrens to Torrens

upgrade done. We’ll get the whole road done within a decade because you will have a Commonwealth and a state working together like adults for the benefit of the people of South Australia.