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Transcript of doorstop interview: Quickstep Technologies, Geelong, VIC: 23 June 2016: advanced manufacturing; Deakin University; trade export deals; the election; corporate tax cuts; Brexit; Tony Abbott; youth radicalisation; Medicare; CFA; asylum seekers; kidnappings in Nigeria



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PRIME MINISTER

THE HON. MALCOLM TURNBULL MP

23 June 2016

TRANSCRIPT

Doorstop, Quickstep Technologies Geelong

E&OE…

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, how exciting and inspiring is this. Advanced manufacturing in Australia, exporting, best in the world, technology, collaboration with Deakin University, Geelong - centre of carbon fibre innovation globally. Australians can do anything. Taking advantage of our big trade export deals. Taking advantage of our commitment to innovation and science. Here you have the revival of Australian manufacturing. If you believe some people they would say it’s all over but the truth is Australians can do anything but you need a clear economic plan to do it. That’s the choice at this

election. We have that plan. We have that clear economic plan, a national economic plan. Innovation, investment, trade export deals, opening up those big markets, backing businesses like this with tax reductions. Right across the board we are supporting businesses like this and we’re supporting innovation and I’m so proud to be here in Geelong with Sarah Henderson. So proud because she is such a great advocate of her community which has been doing it tough with this transition, this economic transition, but you can see the success of it, you can see with investment, with innovation, you can see the big opportunities that are here for Geelong and of course we see them all over Australia.

Can I say that the clear choice is one between my government - a stable Coalition Government with that national economic plan - and on the other hand the chaos of Labor-Greens-independents. We heard Richard Di Natale this morning warming up to submit his log of claims on Mr Shorten over his demands for weaker policies on border protection, no doubt higher taxes on business. Who knows what would emerge from the chaos of an alliance like that.

That’s why between now and July the 2nd every vote counts, every single vote counts. The only way to ensure the economic security, to ensure the prosperity of Australia is to vote for the Coalition. Vote for Liberal and National candidates because we have a plan.

Labor has a list of complaints. It has lies. It has personal attacks. It has no plan for jobs and growth.

And you know there are many other choices too here, or many other clear cut differences. Mr Shorten has said that he has the same border protection policy as the Government. That is simply untrue. It is untrue. There are three pillars on which our border protection policy is based and this is

what they are - turning boats back, Temporary Protection Visas and offshore processing. Labor has already said that they will abandon, abolish Temporary Protection Visas. That will be used as a marketing ploy, as a marketing plan by the people smugglers. They will say: “If you get to Australia and there’s a Labor government, don’t worry, you will be able to stay permanently.” They will use that - that is a golden opportunity for them to be marketing and we see evidence of that marketing already. And of course in terms of turn backs, the question is, does Labor have the will to do it? Their policy says that they retain the option of turning boats back. The real question is - do they have the will? We saw what happened under Kevin Rudd, he said he’d do it but then he did not - 50,000 unauthorised arrivals, 1200 deaths at sea of which we know and we know that Mr Shorten has at least fifty of his colleagues and candidates who are vehemently opposed to our policy on border protection. So the truth is, Labor does not have the same policy as the Coalition on border protection because of the three pillars, they avowedly have abandoned one of them and we cannot trust them on the others - based on their past experience in government and recognising the opposition of so many of his colleagues with the fundamental elements of keeping our borders secure.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister on corporate tax cuts, you said you want to get them all through in the next term of Parliament but that could be difficult. Will you potentially split them up to guarantee that the small businesses will get their tax cuts even if the bigger businesses don't get the tax cuts?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well you’re asking me a hypothetical question. We don’t even know who will be in the Senate at this stage let alone the House of Representatives.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister we’re about to see a vote in the UK on Brexit. Can I just ask you if there was a vote to leave, do you think that would represent the first significant unravelling of the European experiment? What would the strategic consequences be? Would it assist Britain? Russia? And what would you do?

PRIME MINISTER:

It would be a very big shock there is no doubt about that if Britain votes to leave the European Union. There will be obviously be great efforts to ensure that the consequences of that shock are minimised. Clearly Britain is not voting to leave NATO for example so the strategic implications are not as severe as they could be if that were the case. But it will be a big shock and it is a reminder, as Margaret Thatcher once said, to expect the unexpected. There are a lot of headwinds in the global economy. There are a lot of challenges. There are a lot of things that are beyond our control that affect global markets that affect us. That is why you need to have a stable government with a clear national economic plan that builds on and builds up the resilience of our economy. That is why the economy is front and centre of everything we are talking about. It is absolutely critical to have that strong economy and to have a resilient 21st century economy, in order not only that you can take advantage of the great opportunities that are there, but so that you can deal with the challenges that arise in the global environment.

JOURNALIST:

Tony Abbott has said overnight that he is ready to serve and essentially his future is in your hands. I’ve heard you many times this campaign say the Ministry you have now will be the Ministry you have after the election but is he any chance of coming back to the frontbench while you’re Prime Minister?

PRIME MINISTER:

Mark, I can only say what I have said before that I have a very capable Ministry. It is a younger Ministry, it is a relatively new ministry, in many respects and the Ministry that I will lead after the election, if we win, will be the same as I lead today.

JOURNALIST:

Labor's candidate for Cowan, Anne Aly is regarded as an expert for stopping Islamic youth from joining terror groups and has received federal funding including from the Coalition in the past for her work. Yet your Justice Minister Michael Keenan yesterday effectively accused her of being soft on terrorism because she had written a letter suggesting Junaid Thorne and another young person would be candidates for her de-radicalisation program and counselling during sentencing submissions after they were charged with flying under a false name. She says she is now on a kill list from Muslim radicals. Isn’t Mr Keenan’s comments just a smear because the Liberal Party is struggling to hold Cowan?

PRIME MINISTER:

I can't comment on reports that I haven't seen and with respect I don't know whether what you’re reporting is accurate so I just can’t comment on that.

JOURNALIST:

We’re hearing from both camps that this scare campaign of Labor’s is starting to bite. How frustrating is that you haven’t been able to counter it to date and do you have any more shots in the box to try and overcome this before election day?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well it is a deceitful scare, it is a deceitful lie. It is a lie. Indeed the President of the AMA himself has said what Labor is saying about Medicare is false. So I won’t dignify it with anything other than to say it is a desperate lie and one that I believe Australians will recognise for what it is - a dishonest act of desperation.

JOURNALIST:

How much do you think the CFA issue will help you retain the seat of Corangamite?

PRIME MINISTER:

Look the CFA have been outrageously treated by this Labor government here in Victoria. The idea that you would subject 60,000 volunteers, disrespect their service, disrespect their selflessness and their courage in defence of their own communities and put them under the thumb of a militant union - that tells you a lot about the Labor Party. It tells you a lot about Bill Shorten. Remember he said he wanted to run Australia like a trade union. Well if he became Prime Minister he would run

Australia at the direction of militant trade unions. Not just the UFU, the CFMEU. We saw what he did on the instruction of the Transport Workers Union. That put 35,000 family businesses, owner-driver truck owners out of business. If we had not been able by the skin of our teeth to abolish that tribunal they would be penniless. They wouldn’t be able to pay their mortgages. They wouldn’t be able to pay the grocery bill. This is what Labor did. They are totally, wholly-owned subsidiaries of militant unions. Nobody can believe that Daniel Andrews is taking on the CFA. It seems political madness but he has no choice - he is owned by those unions and so is Bill Shorten. His silence speaks volumes. We stand up for those volunteers and as I said earlier today if we are returned to Government we will amend the Fair Work Act to protect it from this shocking union take-over.

JOURNALIST:

As a moderate member of the Liberal Party throughout your career how personally do you feel about having to resort to a scare campaign on asylum seekers?

PRIME MINISTER:

What I have described is the facts. They may be uncomfortable. They may be uncomfortable to you for example. The fact is Bill Shorten says he has the same border protection policy as the Coalition. He does not. He does not. He does not support Temporary Protection Visas.

Now look I’ve seen this film before and so have you. We’ve seen it before. Kevin Rudd did the same thing. I was Opposition Leader at the time - I remember it well. Kevin Rudd said, “Oh yes we can change John Howard’s border protection policy and don’t worry nothing will happen. Domestic policy isn’t important. It’s only the push factors that matter.” We saw what happened. We saw Kevin Rudd abandon the commitments he made prior to the election in 2007. He changed John Howard’s policy. John Howard’s strong border protection policy which had worked and we got 50,000 unauthorised arrivals and 1,200 deaths at sea of which we know. These people smugglers are more aggressive than ever. They have agents in Australia. They have access to technologies and smartphones and social media that were not available in John Howard’s day. They are very adept marketers. Let’s not kid ourselves. They are among the most evil criminals in the world but they are very smart in the way they use social media and they market and they will market the change, a Labor change to Temporary Protection Visas as an enormous opportunity. There will be more boats and more people smuggling. There is no question about that. They test us out. We have turned back 28 boats and they know what our policy is. They absolutely know. So they test us. What do you think they’ll do to Labor when they know that they have a government whose previous track-record was one of weakness and has actually, factually, unequivocally abandoned one of the three pillars of our policy? There is no question about that. So reporting that Bill Shorten has the same border protection policy as the Coalition is not true. He does not. He does not. He cannot be trusted on the border. What he is offering is an enormous marketing opportunity to the people smugglers. I know some people find this hard to hear but it is true. These people smugglers are criminals. They are evil

criminals but they are very smart at marketing and any change, any weakness, they will exploit to get more people, vulnerable people on boats and set off on voyages towards Australia.

JOURNALIST:

[Inaudible]

PRIME MINISTER:

Among seven people captured, kidnapped I should say, in an attack on an Australian contractor’s operations in Nigeria. One person was killed in the attack. The Australia High Commissioner is on the

scene and we are working with the authorities, local authorities at the highest levels. We don’t know at this stage the identity of the kidnappers and the families in Australia have been notified of course but what I would say is I encourage you to be restrained in your reporting - in many respects the less Julie and I say about this the better from the point of view of recovering the kidnapped people. Okay? But it is a very serious kidnapping, a very serious criminal assault. One person was killed as you know and the seven people have been kidnapped.

Thank you very much.

ENDS