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Transcript of doorstop: Perth: 9 July 2018

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PATRICK GORMAN, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR PERTH: It's great to be here at Della's Group, a local printing company here in the heart of the Perth electorate. Thanks to Keith and Jason for showing us around, showing us their amazing machines. They've invested a lot in this company, they've invested a lot in the community of Perth in creating eight jobs for local people right here. They also do fantastic work. I have been pleased to support this business. They print very clever, very creative pieces and they, of course, are suppliers to hundreds of small businesses right across Western Australia. We're here today with Jim Chalmers, Labor's Shadow Minister for Finance and Madeleine King, Labor's Shadow Minister for Consumer Affairs and Labor's Shadow Minster Assisting for Small Business talking really about the plans that keep our economy strong. Plans to make sure we can support small business make investments. Plans to make sure that we give working Australians a fairer, bigger tax cut.

And of course, if you're in the Perth electorate, you can vote from tomorrow. On Tuesday, early voting opens at the Morley Growers Market. People across Perth and, of course, in the electorate of Fremantle can go and have their say and support Labor's plan for a fair go for WA. To talk more about Labor's plans, I'm pleased to introduce Shadow Minister Madeleine King.

MADELEINE KING, SHADOW MINISTER ASSISTING FOR SMALL BUSINESS: Thanks very much Patrick, and thanks for coming over Jim. It's always great to see you

in Western Australia. As you know, Labor has a strong commitment to WA and always has, and we see our leader Bill Shorten here very often. We also see shadow ministers like Jim and Chris Bowen and so on here all the time. So the commitment to Western Australia is very strong from Labor's perspective.

I just want to reflect on this small business we're at here today - Della's Group Printing - with Keith and Jason having showed us around. This is a family business. It's been here for a number of years. I myself grew up in a small business, a drapery store down in Rockingham, so I'm only too pleased to be able to visit other small businesses like this one here in Perth.

Small businesses are the heart and soul of communities right around the country. Here in Perth, in Fremantle, in my home town of Rockingham. In Western Australia, we know that small businesses contribute over $40 billion to our economy, and if small business was taken as an industry in itself, it would be second only to the mining industry. So it means a lot to this country and especially to this state to remember the importance of small business and what it means to the owners, the people who have to continually invest in their own businesses. When they employ people, those people become like family to them. I really take my hat off to Della Printing for their commitment to the industry, to this small business and to their employees. With that, I might hand over to Jim now. He's got a few things to say, and again thanks very much for coming over Jim.

JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE: Thanks very much Mads, it's terrific to be here with Madeleine King, recently promoted into Labor's Shadow Ministry, a terrific outcome for all of us, but especially for the people of Western Australia. It's a very strong federal team that Labor senders to Canberra from the West and I'm really looking forward to working more closely with Madeleine in the months and years ahead. And also with Patrick Gorman. I've known Patrick now for some time. We've worked together at various points over the last little while and I know the extraordinary contribution Patrick will make if and when the people of Perth send him to do a job on behalf of this local community. I wanted to thank Keith and Jason as well at Della's Group for the opportunity to spend some time with you today and learn a bit more about your small business here in the federal electorate of Perth.

Labor has made it very clear for some time now that our priority is middle Australia, small and medium sized businesses like this one and businesses which will actually invest onshore in Australia in local communities and in local jobs. That's why we've got the Australian Investment Guarantee. The Australian Investment Guarantee is all about supporting businesses like this one to make sure that when they invest in their business onshore in Australia that the Australian Government gives them the support that they need and deserve. It means that we prioritise middle Australia in our personal income tax cuts as well. Something like 70,000 people in the federal electorate of Perth will get a bigger, fairer tax cut from Labor than they would under the Liberal and National parties - 70 per cent of the electorate will be better off under Labor's personal income tax plans and 25,576 local businesses in the Perth electorate will be eligible for that Australian Investment Guarantee. What it means when you combine our approach to

business taxes, prioritising small and medium sized enterprises but also prioritising businesses which invest onshore in Australia, something like 99.8 per cent of Australian businesses will either pay the same or less tax under the Australian Labor Party than they will under Malcolm Turnbull's Liberals.

The contrast in company tax and personal tax couldn't be clearer. Malcolm Turnbull will always prioritise the big foreign multinationals, the millionaires and the four big banks over local workers and local businesses over communities like this one. He wants to see 60 per cent of the benefit of his income tax cuts flow to the wealthiest 20 per cent of Australians. He wants to see the lion's share of his company tax cuts go to foreign shareholders and he wants to give a $17 billion tax cut to the four big banks alone. Every dollar that Malcolm Turnbull wants to give to multinationals and the four big banks can't be invested in communities like this one, supporting local businesses, supporting local workers, hospitals, schools and TAFEs. You don't grow the Western Australian economy Malcolm Turnbull's way, which is to give the biggest tax breaks to those who need them least. You don't grow the Australian economy by giving tax breaks to the top end of town at the expense of local hospitals and schools and TAFEs and jobs and small businesses like the one we are at today. The contrast is very clear, whether it be in the Perth by-election, whether it be in the general election in the next few months. The contrast couldn't be clearer. Labor will always prioritise Western Australian businesses and workers; Malcolm Turnbull will always prioritise the top end of town, the multinationals, the millionaires and the big four banks. That is true when it comes to the GST and it's true when it comes to company taxes and income taxes as well.

Just before I get to your questions, I'm sure every Australian is thinking today of those young boys in Thailand and those very brave rescuers making sure that everything turns out OK in those caves in Thailand. It's not hard to imagine the extraordinary anguish that their parents, their loved ones - of the boys and of the rescuers - must be feeling right now as they like the rest of us wait for word from a very, very dangerous situation in a very dangerous place. I'm sure I speak for everyone, I know I speak for my colleagues here, we wish those rescuers well and those little boys well. We hope that it turns out OK and that they can be where they need to be and deserve to be sooner rather than later, which is being cuddled by their loved ones. Over to you.

JOURNALIST: Mr Chalmers, when will Western Australians know whether Labor will support the Federal Government's GST plan?

CHALMERS: We've led the debate on a floor for GST distribution in Western Australia. It's laughable to see the Federal Liberals all of a sudden pretend that they've come up with some great idea. We've been calling for that for some time. Bill Shorten and Chris Bowen and my colleagues locally here in WA have led the debate in calling for a floor in GST distribution so that Western Australia can get the fair share that they need and deserve. We have been leaders in that debate. Our views on this are very well known here in the West. We support strongly a floor for GST distribution of 70 cents and then 75 cents. We've made that clear for some time now. We've dragged the Liberal Party to that position. They've been dragged to it kicking and screaming. We're pleased with the

outcome and we support a floor on GST distribution for the West.

JOURNALIST: So you support the Turnbull Government's plan then?

CHALMERS: We support the floor in the Turnbull Government's plan. We've been calling for it for some time. It is effectively our policy and many of you who've covered this closely will recall well that when we announced it the Liberal Party said it was a bad idea. Now they want to say it's a good idea. That's OK by us. That is effectively our policy that they've adopted. Our concern is, and the reason we want to work through some of the detail, is because like the rest of Australia, we don't actually trust the Liberal Party under Malcolm Turnbull not to claw back these billions of dollars by imposing even harsher cuts on local schools and hospitals and TAFEs and universities. They've got form when it comes to cutting local services, health and education services, and we are very worried that this fix that they are proposing now will come at the cost of even harsher cuts to the schools and hospitals and TAFEs and universities that the people of Western Australian and indeed right around the country rely on. The devil is in the detail, as always. We've said that we will work through the details of what's being proposed, but the people of Western Australia can be assured that Labor supports a floor for their GST distribution because we called for it, because it's our policy. The Liberal Party are now playing catch up. That's a good thing if it means that the people of Western Australia get their fair share at last.

JOURNALIST: There are some suggestions that you'll try to beat them to the 75 cent level. Is that something you're thinking about?

CHALMERS: That's not something that we have announced. I saw those reports today in the West Australian newspaper by Shane Wright. Obviously, our priority is to always try to get a fair share for Western Australia, but we haven't announced anything like what was in that story today. Our priority is to lock in the GST floor so that Western Australia gets the justice that they need and deserve in the tax system, to lock that in and to make sure that Malcolm Turnbull doesn't claw that back in some other way in his typically sneaky and out-of-touch fashion, which is to pull more money out of local hospitals and schools.

JOURNALIST: Would Labor support the Greens' push for a Commission of Inquiry into the power sector?

CHALMERS: There are a whole range of reasons why power prices have been so high over the life of the Turnbull and Abbott Governments. One of the reasons why power prices have been so high is because the Turnbull Government can't get its act together. A bar room brawl between Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott is no substitute for an energy policy. We don't have the certainty that we need in the energy sector because the Liberal Party under Malcolm Turnbull is engaged in this cage fight rather than doing the right thing by middle Australia, which is to come up with a policy that they can then engage with the states and federal Labor on. No doubt the power companies are part of the problems we've seen in this country in the last few years. But the main problem that

we are focused on in federal Labor is the fact that the Liberal Party can't get its act together on energy policy and for as long as they can't get their act together on energy policy, prices will continue to be higher.

JOURNALIST: Every time we have a Royal Commission, it unearths cockroaches Governments don't want you to see. Is it time finally in the energy industry to have one, because mums and dads out there are fed up?

CHALMERS: Mums and dads are fed up with higher energy prices, as are smaller and medium sized businesses right around Australia. Their frustration is partly directed at the power companies, but a lot of the frustration is also directed quite rightly at a Turnbull Government which is more interested in fighting with each other over energy policy than they are in actually finding a solution to these problems. What we've said in federal Labor is that our priority is to engage on a policy which can give certainty to investors, which can encourage renewable energy and which can get downward pressure on prices for families and businesses of all sizes right around the country.

JOURNALIST: Do you believe there's evidence of profiteering or unconscionable behaviour in the sector?

CHALMERS: There are a range of reasons why prices are high and if there are issues like those that you've raised, then there are appropriate ways for them to be investigated, whether it be by the ACCC or by other bodies. The point that I'm making about a Royal Commission into the power companies is that our first priority is to get some stable agreed long-term Government policy. Under Malcolm Turnbull, he has been incapable of doing that because he is more interested in a fight with Tony Abbott for internal political reasons than doing the right thing by people who need and deserve lower power prices, which is to come up with a policy that can put downward pressure on prices, encourage renewable energy and give investors the certainty they need to refresh some of the generation we have in this country.

JOURNALIST: He had to be dragged kicking and screaming to a banking Royal Commission. Why not just go straight to one for energy prices?

CHALMERS: You're quite right. Malcolm Turnbull resisted for something like two years a Royal Commission into the banking sector and we've seen on an almost daily basis how wrong he was to run a protection racket for the big banks, who have treated their customers very shabbily in a number of instances. That banking Royal Commission is something that Labor is proud to have campaigned for and our position has been justified every single day that Royal Commission has been running. That is our priority to get to the bottom of the rorts and the rip-offs in the banking sector. Down the track if there are reasons to consider other Royal Commissions into other parts of the economy of course that will happen. But the point I'm making is this: energy prices will continue to be high in this country for as long as there is a bar room brawl between Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott over energy policy. Our highest priority in Canberra should be to get a settled energy policy which encourages renewables, puts downward pressure

on prices and give investors the certainty they need.

JOURNALIST: The Education Minister is pushing every high school to employ a specialist STEM teacher. Is that something that Labor supports?

CHALMERS: Labor for some time has been saying that we do need to lift the standard when it comes to education and teaching science, technology, engineering and maths subjects. Tanya Plibersek, Bill Shorten, a whole range of colleagues have been on the record for some time now saying that we need to make sure that we are giving our kids access to the best quality STEM education. I noticed in those reports today that the Government is considering lifting the standards for STEM teaching. Our question to them is: how can you possibly lift the standards of teaching at the same time as you want to pull $17 billion out of our school system? This is a Government who says they want higher standards for teachers, but are going out of their way to rob the school system of $17 billion. If the Turnbull Government was interested in a better STEM education for our young people, they wouldn't be pulling $17 billion out of our schools.

JOURNALIST: The Opposition has been pouring millions into this by-election campaign. Is that a sign of how much in danger Bill Shorten's leadership is and how desperate he is to cling to that job?

CHALMERS: Not at all. We are contesting all five by-elections that are on at the moment for the 28 July. I note that the Liberal Party is not contesting all of them. They can't be too confident about their policies and plans for Australia when they've entirely vacated the field here in Western Australia. It is a joke that the Liberal Party is not contesting Perth and Fremantle here. Labor is contesting all five seats around the country on the 28 July. Some of them are very difficult contests for us. We have made the local economies, the local workers, the local small businesses a top priority right around Australia, but especially those five seats that are up for a by-election on 28 July. They will be difficult contests in lots of ways, but we have the better candidates. I'm standing with one right now. We have the better policies which restore cuts to hospitals and schools and TAFEs and say to the people of local communities around Australia that we have values and aspirations more in accord with yours than an out of touch Prime Minister and an out of touch Liberal and National Party in Canberra.

JOURNALIST: Will voters around the country have certainty in your GST policy before those by-elections?

CHALMERS: Voters already know where we're coming from on GST distribution. We have led the debate here in the West on the GST and we are standing up for them in this discussion we're having on the GST distribution because we're saying to Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison and Mathias Cormann, we don't want to see them pull more money out of local hospitals and local schools and local TAFEs to pay for this fix to the GST. We are like the rest of Australia, deeply sceptical that Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison and Mathias Cormann are capable of doing the right thing by our schools and hospitals. We don't want to see this paid for by even harsher cuts to the services that

local families rely on.