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Transcript of doorstop: Bundaberg: 4 July 2018: visit to Bundaberg; Labor's bigger, better, fairer income tax cuts; Turnbull Government's penalty rate cuts; GST distribution; Paris agreement and climate change; Labor's Australian Investment Guarantee



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CHRIS BOWEN MP

SHADOW TREASURER

SHADOW MINISTER FOR SMALL BUSINESS

MEMBER FOR MCMAHON

JIM CHALMERS MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE

MEMBER FOR RANKIN

ANTHONY CHISHOLM

SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

DOORSTOP

BUNDABERG

WEDNESDAY, 4 JULY 2018

SUBJECTS: Visit to Bundaberg; Labor’s bigger, better, fairer income tax

cuts; Turnbull Government’s penalty rate cuts; GST distribution; Paris

Agreement and climate change; Labor’s Australian Investment Guarantee.

ZAC BEERS, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR FLYNN: It’s great to be here outside the

Port of Bundaberg with Jim Chalmers, Labor’s Shadow Minister for Finance and

Chris Bowen, Labor’s Shadow Treasurer, along with Senator Anthony Chisholm,

having a look at the port facilities here and having some good conversations about

opportunities for the future of this region. We know that the economy of Bundaberg

is reliant on a number of industries and we want to see more opportunities for the

people in this region. Today we have had a great opportunity to have a look at the

port facilities and have some discussions about what the future looks like for this

part of the world and when you go further west to the North Burnett, opportunities

that might also exist for the future of that region.

It’s great to be here today, I might hand to Chris and we will move forward.

CHRIS BOWEN, SHADOW TREASURER: Thanks very much Zac, it’s terrific to

be back here with Zac, today in Bundaberg, as part of a broader visit to the

Bundaberg Wide Bay area. We just had a terrific briefing on the plans for the Port,

plans for the expansion, plans to create jobs. It is very important that the Federal

Government is interested in how regional Queensland operates. It is very important

the Federal Treasurer and Federal Finance Minister understand the Queensland

economy and understand the different parts of the Queensland economy. Jim

Chalmers and I have prioritised visits to important places like Bundaberg and will

continue to do so. It’s terrific to do so with the terrific candidate in Zac Beers.

Now here in Hinkler for example, 49,000 taxpayers will be better off under Labor’s

bigger, better and fairer tax plan. In the seat of Flynn, 58,000 taxpayers better off

under Labor’s personal income tax plan. Now that is very important when it comes

to this economy. Not only are those individuals better off, but more money in their

pockets sooner, means they will be able to spend that money in these economies,

in these towns, create jobs.

Now Labor’s plans be it income tax or corporate tax are focused on areas just like

this. The Turnbull Government has a different set of priorities. Because Labor has

listened and worked and developed policies, we have the policies which are better

designed for places like Bundaberg, Gladstone, Wide Bay and the broader

Bundaberg area.

Just on the weekend, 10,000 workers in Bundaberg received a penalty rates cut.

That’s exactly the opposite of what this area needs. A penalty rate cut means less

money to spend, less money in their pocket to drive the economy. We will continue

to come to places like Bundaberg and Gladstone, right up and down the

Queensland coast talking about our alternative plans. We have the better plans

with the better candidates and we have the better processes for listening to people

right up and down the Queensland coast. It’s always great to be back on the road

with Zac Beers and with Jim and with Anthony. We have done it many times and

we will continue to do it right up until the election, but more importantly than that,

after the election, making sure we’re in touch with the views and needs of

Queenslanders.

We’ll just go to Jim and then take your questions.

JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE: Thanks very much for

Chris. Thanks for our friends at the Bundy Port here for the opportunity to check

out some of the exciting plans they have here. It’s a pleasure to be here with Chris

Bowen, Senator Chisholm and also, Zac Beers.

What this part of the world needs is not more MPs who just go to Canberra and

warm seats. We need MPs who go to Canberra and kick down doors to ensure

that this part of the world gets its fair share and that’s what they will get from Zac

Beers who is a close friend of ours, who will be, really, a remarkable MP from this

area if and when he is elected at the next opportunity. What we know in the Labor

Party is that you can’t grow the national economy without growing local economies

like this one. What we need is investment here, investment in TAFE, investment in

services, in infrastructure, and we need to make sure that we target our company

tax cuts, so that areas like the Wide Bay and Bundy benefit the most. And

Malcolm Turnbull's priority is not tax cuts for businesses in this part of the world.

Malcolm Turnbull's tax cuts will see the lion's share of the benefit go to foreign

multinationals and the big four banks. And that's the difference between Labor's

economic policy and Malcolm Turnbull's economic policy. He wants to see billions

of dollars lining the pockets and boosting the bottom lines of foreign multinationals

and the big four banks based in Sydney and Melbourne. We want to see genuine

investment in communities like here in Bundaberg and right throughout regional

Queensland because we do understand that to grow the national economy you

need to grow the economy in regional Queensland as well.

Now Budgets are about priorities. And Malcolm Turnbull's priorities are always the

big end of town. That's why his income tax cuts flow overwhelmingly to the

wealthiest Australians and why his company tax cuts flow overwhelmingly to those

foreign multinationals and the big four banks. Now we've seen in this area $3

million cut from the Bundaberg Hospital and $7 million cut from the Wide Bay

Health Service. And what that means is Malcolm Turnbull says to the people of

Bundaberg: "Look I can't find $3 million for your hospital, but I can find $17 billion

to give to the big four banks based in Sydney and Melbourne. I can't find $7

million for the Wide Bay Health Service, but I can find $85 billion in total for

company tax cuts which will overwhelmingly flow overseas or to the southern

capitals."

We've got a different set of priorities. We will be here frequently between now and

the election, talking to local people about our different priorities and how we will

grow this local economy as a key part of growing the national economy in an

inclusive and sustainable way.

I'll just throw to Senator Anthony Chisholm and then over to your questions.

SENATOR ANTHONY CHISHOLM: Yeah thanks Jim, and what you see from

Federal Labor is a real contrast. We've got the Shadow Treasurer, the Shadow

Finance Minister here in Bundaberg, we were in Hervey Bay yesterday, where you

never see Scott Morrison outside of Sydney. He thinks that the national economy

is going well if Sydney is going well. Whereas Federal Labor have a different view

on that. We understand that for the Australian economy to be functioning well,

places like Bundaberg are getting their fair share. So it's fantastic to see the

commitment from Chris and Jim to spending as much time as they can in regional

Queensland. But there's also a contrast when it comes to the candidates. I mean

you look at the Federal Members for this area, in Ken O'Dowd and Keith Pitt. They

just come to Canberra and do what Malcolm Turnbull wants. Whereas what Labor

are putting forward, with Zac Beers, and when we get a candidate for Hinkler, is

people who will stand up for this area. So the contrast when it comes to the

economy, the contrast when it comes to those candidates on the ground, could not

be more stark, where you've got a Federal Labor team that are committed to

delivering for this area, and it's fantastic to see senior shadows that are prepared

to come and listen to the local community. Thanks for your time.

BOWEN: Okay folks, over to you.

JOURNALIST: So you were talking about investment for Bundaberg, can you

expand on that a little bit more?

BOWEN: Well we've received a briefing today from the Port of Bundaberg and Port

of Gladstone Authority about the plans for the marine industry, about hotels and

tourism, about expanding the capacity, and of course that will require some

Federal investment. Now we've heard those plans today, we'll be receiving further

briefings. We would encourage the Federal Government to support those

plans. And of course, if it's not, if they're not supported, then by the time we come

to office, then of course we would be looking sympathetically on those plans. But

of course, today we're not here to make policy announcements, today we're here

to listen, to get the updates, to hear from the people on the ground about what’s

important for the Bundaberg economy. We have been doing that. Yesterday we

had some great briefings on the Harvey Bay economy in Cairns and as Jim and I

travelled around, we hear these plans and we take them away, we work on them,

we consult, we talk to our fellow shadow ministers who are relevant to the portfolio.

And of course, by the time of the next election, if they haven’t been dealt with, we

have the opportunity to put forward our alternative. Now, we’ve done that in the

past, with Zac, with plans for the Flynn economy. Whether it be, facilities in

Emerald, where now it’s good to see those plans which I announced before the last

election in Emerald have now become a reality despite the fact that we didn’t win

the election. We managed to set the agenda there, that’s great. And of course, we

can continue to do that right across regional Queensland.

JOURNALIST: So the question out of Canberra, if you wouldn’t mind looking here

still, the Prime Minister says, “No one will be worse off under changes to the GST

carve up.” Do you accept that statement?

BOWEN: Well, the Prime Minister and the Treasurer have played an appalling

game here. They’ve been sitting on this Productivity Commission report for weeks.

They promised that it will be released in June. I have an update for the Prime

Minister, today is the 4th of July, now that’s not June. Now, I understand State

Treasurers will be receiving a briefing today and hopefully, the report will be

released tomorrow. It is the Labor Party that has ensured that no state or territory

is worse off. Because we have recognised the legitimate needs of Western

Australians, the legitimate grievances of Western Australia. And the virtue of our

policy is that we could say the same thing in Perth as we do in Brisbane or

Bundaberg because we have a consistent policy. That is Western Australians have

a legitimate concern, we have said we would top up Western Australia’s GST

payments with payments from the Commonwealth. Now, if Mr Turnbull is fair

dinkum and says that he has this magic formula, to make sure no state or territory

is worse off then share it with the Australian people. They’ve been sitting on this

report for six weeks with no excuses. It’s now July, get on with the job, get the

report out and let the Australian people see it.

JOURNALIST: When did Labor request it’s advice on company tax from the

Parliamentary Budget Office that led to the reversal of your policy last week? Was

it after Bill Shorten made the announcement on Tuesday?

BOWEN: No, we’ve had consistent requests into the Parliamentary Budget Office,

with whom we work very, very closely, they’re independent, statutory independent

body. They cost all our policies and they are policies regularly need updated

costings, in response to changing economic circumstances. We had a budget

update, just recently. And it was very good that the cost of expanding that tax relief

for businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million had come down. But of

course, we are in constant contact with the Parliamentary Budget Office. We’ve

had rolling interaction with them over that issue since the budget.

JOURNALIST: I’ve got a few questions from our Canberra team as well. Tony

Abbott, has given another speech overnight [inaudible]?

BOWEN: Well, on a personal level, frankly, it is quite sad to see Tony Abbott

behaving in this way. But it really goes to the fundamental divisions in the heart of

the Turnbull government. I mean, it’s not just about Tony Abbott. I mean right

across the Turnbull government, you see people who agree with Tony Abbott on

these things. You see this chaos and dysfunction at the heart of the Turnbull

government when it comes to the important matter of energy policy. I mean, here

in Queensland but right across the economy there’s few more important issues for

our economy than getting the policy settings right when it comes to climate change

and energy investment.

We’ve got to have consistent settings when it comes to policy for energy otherwise

the investment just won’t come. Now we’ve seen missed opportunities, we’ve seen

Josh Frydenberg want to institute the recommendations of the Chief Scientist,

which the Labor Party gave bipartisan support for, even though it wasn’t our policy,

because we recognise how important it is. The trouble was, the Labor Party gave

support to the Minister, the Liberal Party didn’t. So riven with division was the

Liberal Party, they couldn’t even accept the recommendations that the report from

the Chief Scientist they had commissioned. They had commissioned. So the Labor

Party is at one that we need policies which deal with climate change. Let’s get the

investment going. The Liberal Party is just all at sea. And while ever Tony Abbott is

making these reflections and representing a wide view - a widely held view within

the Liberal Caucus -Malcolm Turnbull would find very difficult to get the policies

right for Australia’s future.

JOURNALIST: How damaging would it be if Australia abandoned the Paris

Targets?

BOWEN: Well I mean it is unthinkable. It’s unthinkable. This is an agreement that

Australia signed up to under Prime Minister Abbott. I mean, now that is an

important point to make. But what is the key about the Paris Agreement is that you

need to sign up to it. And then you need to have the policies domestically behind it

to make it a reality. Now Tony Abbott signed up to the Paris Accord. Now he says

it’s all too hard. And frankly as I said at the outset, it’s rather sad to see Tony

Abbott behaving like this but it’s really a matter for the Liberal Party.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible] What do you think about the decision to name a

Suncorp Stadium stand after Terry Mackenroth?

BOWEN: As a humble Sydneysider, I wouldn’t dare comment. I’m going to hand

over to my friend, Jim Chalmers, who is much more expert on these matters.

CHALMERS: Thanks Chris. Lang Park is the best rugby league stadium in the

world. And I think every Queensland kid can remember the first time that they were

there and they heard the noise swirling through the cauldron. And it’s really a

monument to the contribution that Terry Mackenroth made as Sports Minister and

as Treasurer to our state. And we miss him terribly, we miss Terry Mackenroth

terribly and it’s right and proper that we look for a way to recognise and

acknowledge the towering contribution that Terry made to our great state - the

greatest state in the Commonwealth.

BOWEN: Steady on.

CHALMERS: As we relate to the naming of stands at Lang Park, at Suncorp

Stadium: there is nothing stopping other stands in Lang Park being named after

some of the other greats. I would personally love to see part of the stadium named

after the King, there’s no reason why we can’t have a Wally Lewis stand at Lang

Park and I would encourage the decision makers to consider naming one of those

stadiums after the King. There’s no reason why there shouldn’t be a stand named

after Artie Beetson and the contribution he made not just to footy but to our

indigenous community. There are kids in my electorate in Logan City that know all

about Artie who is still, after his passing, a great role model and mentor for a lot of

kids right round Queensland. So I think that the state LNP have got the wrong end

of the stick. There is nothing to prevent us recognising Terry Mackenroth and his

contribution at the same time we recognise the King and Artie Beetson and some

of the other greats have made Lang Park not just a great piece of physical

infrastructure, the greatest footy stadium in the world, but also made it something -

a place where we’ve seen some remarkable things.

Maybe not this year and in this series, but we’re looking forward to Game III. But

really it’s an amazing place, and in lots of ways it’s the spiritual home for

Queenslanders and we can recognise people who’ve made a contribution to that

without excluding Terry from the recognition he needs and deserves. Anthony

Chisolm might just add to that.

CHISOLM: I might just add to that. The first time I went to Lang Park, I actually sat

in the Ron McAuliffe stand. And Ron was a former Labor Senator for Queensland.

So it’s not the first time a stand at Lang Park has been named after a politician. But

the other part with Terry Mackenroth that isn’t being acknowledged is he was a

long time board member of East Rugby League and he was also a long time board

member with the Queensland Rugby League. So he made a significant

contribution to rugby league as a politician but he has also done it as a private

citizen. So I think it absolutely should be recognised but it should also be that there

are other stadium stands there that should be named after other prominent rugby

league players and that would entirely be appropriate.

JOURNALIST: What about Labor’s stance on the cashless card?

BOWEN: Again, I will get Jim to comment on that.

CHALMERS: So Labor supported the initial trials in East Kimberley and Ceduna

for the cashless welfare card because the community genuinely asked for it. It was

consulted and it wanted to trial the cashless welfare card. The difference between

those communities and this community is that views are split here in Bundaberg

and more broadly in Wide Bay about whether the community wants it. Our view in

the Labor Party is if the community isn’t as one in requesting and wanting the

cashless welfare card then it shouldn’t be imposed on a community, it should come

from the community rather than imposed on the community so we don’t support

that trial happening here in this part of Australia.

JOURNALIST: The community has been split on a lot of issues in the past and we

still see changes. There is no leeway there?

CHALMERS: Well no, that’s our position and we have come to that position after a

lot of consideration and a lot of consultation. I know Zac himself has been out and

about in the community hearing people’s views about the cashless welfare card.

Those initial trials elsewhere in Australia came from the community so they are

very different I think, it was nowhere near a unanimous view here in Bundaberg

that it is wanted or needed and so Labor, we are the party of the community, we

listen to the community, we consult widely and there is no unanimous view and so

there is no support from Labor for it to be rolled out here.

JOURNALIST: What about a candidate for Hinkler? A Labor candidate for Hinkler?

CHISHOLM: So from a Federal Labor point of view our priority was obviously to

get Zac Beers endorsed in Flynn because he did so such an outstanding job last

time so we are really pleased that Zac is now on the way. The nomination process

has opened for Hinkler and we would be hopeful that we have a candidate on the

ground ready to take the fight up to Keith Pitt in coming weeks.

BOWEN: Any other issues guys?

JOURNALIST: Yeah I’ve got one more question from Canberra sorry guys.

Yesterday Bill. Shorten touted your Australian Investment Guarantee as being

targeted at small businesses, saying you’re not rewarding multinationals and big

banks. (INAUDIBLE). Are you out of step with the leader?

BOWEN: No, not at all. We are making the same point, the Government wants to

give away $85 billion in corporate tax cuts on the hope and the prayer that

multinationals will invest it in Australia, 60 per cent of the benefit will flow offshore

in the Government’s scheme. Our scheme is designed to encourage investment by

making it conditional on investment, conditional on investment unlike the

Government’s scheme. So Bill and I are saying that our policy applies to only those

businesses who are willing to invest in Australia and that is what policy should do.

The Government says ‘It’s going to be great, we are going to give this tax cut and

businesses just might invest it’. We say that is not good enough, our policy is

conditional on investment for every investment more than $20,000 that any

business makes in Australia . That’s what we want to see, we want to see more

investment, we need more investment. Our policy is well designed to encourage

that investment, the Liberal Party’s is not.

Okay, thanks for coming everybody.

WEDNESDAY, 4 JULY 2018

MEDIA CONTACTS: JAMES CULLEN (BOWEN) 0409 719 879

NATHAN PAULL (CHALMERS) 0427 532 705

Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra.