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Transcript of doorstop interview: Melbourne: 9 April 2016: infrastructure investment in Victoria; union corruption; banking sector; protests

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The Hon. Greg Hunt MP Minister for the Environment


9 April 2016





Topics: Infrastructure investment in Victoria, union corruption, banking sector, protests


REG HUNT: On behalf of the Victorian division and Victorians everywhere, I want to thank the Prime Minister and the Treasurer for their commitment to a Victorian Infrastructure Plan.

This is a plan to help urban Victoria, Melbourne, suburbs, to reduce congestion.

There’s a long term commitment to East West Link.

And there’s an immediate commitment to free up the funds that are in the Victorian Government’s ba nk that are sitting there idly, to get the Monash moving, to get the ring road going to help with fr

eight from rural Victoria.

This is an immensely important set of projects and I would say to Mr Andrews, juts say yes. Let's get going. Let's get the graders working, let's fix up the roads, get the extra lane on the Monash, clean up the ring road, and get our freight going.

This is the time to put away partisan differences and to support and get on with the job of fixing up our transport systems.

We're not willing to wait and we hope that the Victorian Labor Party will put aside petty differences and ensure that every Victorian has better transport.

I also want to say this, that transport and construction are fundamental to supporting our steel industry.

And earlier this week Mr Shorten was talking about trying to support the steel industry on one hand, but in another part of the country he was talking about a massive new manufacturing and electricity tax.

Now this a manufacturing tax on steel. It's a manufacturing tax on cement. It's a manufacturing tax on a luminium and zinc and nickel.

And so it time for Mr Shorten to come clean as to how big his carbon tax will be, which Australian industries it will affect.

Will he include or will he exempt steel? And if he exempts steel, what about cement, what about nickel, what about aluminium.

So these are the questions for Mr Shorten, who says one thing on one side of the country and another thing on the other.

JOURNALIST: Minister, can I take you to something the Prime Minister said in his speech. He said Labor wilfully ig

nores and does nothing about the corruption in the union movement, but can't that be an accusation of your Government when you're refusing to hold a Royal Commission into the financial sector?

GREG HUNT: Well indeed we've got a standing equivalent of a Royal Commission with the powers of a Royal Commission, and as the Treasurer said yesterday, in some circumstances even greater powers than a Royal Commission - the ability to compel witnesses, to call witnesses, to hold them under oath.


o these are fundamental in terms of the powers of ASIC. And that's what we're doing.

Having reformed the financial system under the previous Government, having made significant changes in the last year, having ASIC in place with the powers of a Royal Commission.

And only a short while ago, Bill Shorten voted against the very thing he now says is indispensable.

So make the claim, set out the charges, detail the evidence, and get that evidence to ASIC. Is Mr Shorten withholding evidence from ASIC?

And if he isn't, then he should make a case as to why ASIC is incapable of continuing to do its job as effectively a standing Royal Commission.

JOURNALIST: But Minister if that's true, why are we still seeing these ongoing scandals in the financial sector?

GREG HUNT: Well I think what we are seeing is, as the Heydon Royal Commission showed, massive scandals, massive scandals in the construction industry.

And Mr Shorten's effectively running the Labor Party as a protection bracket for the CFMEU.

In Victoria we have the Andrews Government which is in the pocket of the CFMEU and nationwide Bill Shorten is a throwback to the 50s, to the worst of the historic Labor Party which is joined at the hip with old unions and old Labor.

JOURNALIST: Christensen has come out in support of a Commission. Has the Government got a split on this issue and would you consider instigating (inaudible)

GREG HUNT: No. We have a very clear view that ASIC has the powers of a Royal Commission.

And if there is any evidence that Mr Shorten has he shouldn't withhold it. He should release the evidence immediately, provide it to ASIC.

And if he doesn't have it then he has been exposed for baseless claims.

JOURNALIST: Aren't you concerned though that ASIC has these powers, but it's taken the media to get these scams to light, does that mean ASIC's not doing the job that it should be doing?

GREG HUNT: Look, I think that what we have seen is that through the global financial crisis - it was Julia Gillard who w

ent to the World Economic Forum and said that we had one of the best and most effectively re gulated systems in the world.


nd when other countries' systems collapsed the Australian system was strong.

Now having said that, ASIC is the right body, free of political interference, to do the job.

And Mr Shorten doesn't seem to respect Royal Commissions which expose real corruption in the construction sector.

He's washed his hands of corruption in the construction sector and he won't provide evidence, if he has any, to ASIC.

And he needs to explain why he won't provide evidence to ASIC, or whether he actually doesn't have any.

Alrig ht, thanks very...

JOURNALIST: The Prime Minister says that the budget won't contain a fistful of dollars. How financially c

onstrained will it be?

GREG HUNT: Look, it will be responsible and prudent. And the reason why is because Bill Shorten and the Labor Party have a $51 billion black hole.

So they are promising more than $50 billion over and above what is in the nation's finances.

And that means that the children and the grandchildren of today's citizens and taxpayers have to pick up the bill.

It's an act of intergenerational theft on behalf of the Labor Party, and it's an act of intergenerational responsibility to be prudent in the budget.

Oka y, thank you very much.

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible)

GREG HUNT: There's more evidence that under the Andrews Government and under a Shorten Government the unions are running the show, and would run the show.


ill Shorten and Daniel Andrews are joined at the hip in supporting the unions, and the CFMEU is in charge of Victoria, and it's time to put the people, the Parliament and the Government in charge of Victoria.

JOURNALIST: Sorry, in reference to a protest about education. There was a protest out here last night.

GREG HUNT: I think you'll find that there was also a very strong militant union presence as well. Thank you.

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible)

GREG HUNT: Look, what we do know is that you have a very strong aggressive CFMEU presence, which has a dispropor

tionate influence over this State.

As the Heydon Royal Commission found, that comes at a massive cost to economic efficiency and jobs not just in Victoria but around Australia.

And we'll clean it up, Bill Shorten will let it happen.

Okay. Thank you.