PRIME MINISTER:

Innovation, investment, growth and jobs. We see it today, here at Saab, elements of our national economic plan at work. Innovation and science, cutting-edge technology, Australian technology, being developed here in Australia by 350 people here at Saab. Supported of course by other Australian firms. CEA Australia in Canberra with whom Saab works very closely, of course Hendon Semiconductor here in South Australia.

There is a big industrial ecosystem associated with defence industry and defence technology and of course I should acknowledge my colleague the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne and Graham Reynolds, who is our candidate in Makin. Graham, 27 years in the Air Force. Last job overseeing the Over-The-Horizon Radar. So again somebody that understands the technology at work in the defence sector.

But what we have as part of our national economic plan for growth and jobs, we have elements that are right at work here, as I was saying. We have our investment in innovation and science, encouraging right across the board, more research and development, more innovation - encouraging that because we know the technologies that are at work here that are being developed here will drive our success in the years ahead.

Of course we have our investment in defence procurement and particularly here in Adelaide of course with the big naval ship-building program. But right across the board we are spending as much of our dollars that we need to spend on Defence in Australia with Australian companies, Australian technology, Australian expertise in advance manufacturing.

So right across the board all of our policies they are supporting jobs and growth and as you saw up in the Adelaide Hills with Jamie Briggs small businesses that will benefit from our enterprise tax cuts. They will have - they will be able to retain more of their earnings and invest more because they know – and you can see the evidence there, if they can keep more of their after-tax earnings, then that will drive more investment, more productivity, more employment, higher wage growth. All of those elements that come from the business tax cuts that we are proposing.

So our plan, national economic plan, jobs and growth, at work here in South Australia and across Australia. We are delighted to be here at Saab here with this augmented reality but the reality is that we, my Government, is the only party in this election that has a clear economic plan for jobs and growth. We have set it out and Australians are seeing the value of what we're proposing because they know it will secure their future.

Remember the lady we saw just up in Stirling in the street there, who said her big concern was about her children, who were young adults, about what their job prospects were. That was what her concerns were. I told her that we shared her concerns and that's why every element of our plan is driving jobs and growth right across the board, right around Australia and especially here in South Australia today.

JOURNALIST:

What do you make of Nick Xenophon's anti-trade agenda we saw in The Australian newspaper today? And would you be prepared to do deals with the Nick Xenophon Team in the Senate in order to get legislation through?

PRIME MINISTER:

Can I respond in this way. Those South Australians who are considering voting for Nick Xenophon and his party should bear in mind that the only way to secure a continuation of a stable Coalition Government and the delivery of our clear economic plan for jobs and growth is to vote for the Coalition. To vote for a Liberal or National candidate. That's the only way to be sure that your vote will support continued stable Government and strong economic growth and strong growth in jobs. A key element of our economic plan as you know are the big trade export deals we've done. They've been so valuable to Australian businesses right around the country but particularly here in South Australia where the wine industry, in particular, is enjoying exponential growth into the Chinese market - made possible by the big China- Australia Free Trade Agreement which of course the Labor Party opposed.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister here in South Australia Nick Xenophon is polling in the 20s in terms of primary voting. How worried are you about his popularity here?

PRIME MINISTER:

I just repeat what I said before. The only way to ensure that your vote will support stable Government, a stable Coalition Government delivering a clear economic plan for jobs and growth, is to vote for a Liberal Party candidate or a Nationals Party candidate.

JOURNALIST:

Can I ask about his impact particularly in Mayo and Sturt? How worried are you about Nick Xenophon team's impact in Mayo and Sturt where you’ve been heavily campaigning? They’re traditionally safe Liberal seats.

PRIME MINISTER:

I’ve made my point about Mr Xenophon. There is a choice on July the 2nd. The choice is between a strong Coalition Government with a clear economic plan every element of which has been described in detail again and again. We are very consistent about what we are laying out. We know it will deliver jobs and growth because it is. Because our plan is already delivering jobs and growth. The innovation agenda that Christopher and I announced last December is already delivering growth. The trade export deals are already delivering record prices for our farmers, more visitors for tourism, more students for education, more opportunities for services exports right across the board, more beds going into China as we saw yesterday at AH Beard. So our plan is delivering but it has so much more to do. We cannot take economic growth for granted, which the Labor Party would like to do. What we have a plan that is delivering and will continue to deliver. The only way to ensure that occurs in the future is for Australians to vote for the Liberal-National Coalition.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister do you still support a ban on political donations by corporations and unions and caps on donations for individuals?

PRIME MINISTER:

The answer is in an ideal world you would have, my view is that donations would be limited - or electoral spending if you like, that's an important distinction - would be limited to people who were on the electoral roll and with a cap. I don't have a strong view about what that cap should be but a reasonable figure so that would exclude unions, it would exclude corporations and so forth.

The NSW Liberal Government as you know sought to do that or something very close to that and ran into trouble in the High Court. The problem that we face at the moment is designing a campaign finance law that does not allow trade unions for example to simply get around it by spending directly. The Labor Party as all of you involved in the television industry know very well are outspending us massively. They have enormous resources from the union movement. Of course you see right across the board the Labor Party under Mr Shorten delivers for the unions. Look what they were doing with the truck drivers. Imagine that putting 50,000 owner-drivers out of business. That was the deal which was done with the Transport Workers Union under the Gillard Government. It was just as well we were able - just - to abolish that tribunal and get those families back at work.

JOURNALISTS:

[Inaudible]

PRIME MINISTER:

I’m sorry you’re all asking at once. Tim just go back to the beginning.

JOURNALIST:

There has been I think a strikingly negative response from people who believe their Prime Minister should have attended the RAAF repatriation ceremony at Richmond. Do you stand by your decision to defer to the Governor-General? Were you right? Or were you wrong with the benefit of hindsight?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well Tim neither the Opposition Leader nor I attended the ceremony yesterday. This is the middle of an election campaign. The ceremony was designed to be, and was, for the families. It was their loved ones' remains that were being repatriated. That was the centre of attention. It was the families that were the centre of attention. The decision was taken not to have the two contenders in the Federal election present in order not to detract from the dignity and the quietude of that reunion of those families. The Australian Government, the Australian people, were represented by our Head of State, by the Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, who is the highest Office holder in our nation and who served in Vietnam and won a Military Cross there. The Governor-General would have served with some of those men whose remains were being repatriated. It was a solemn occasion. The occasion was dealt with I believe, in a very respectful and honoured way. It was not politicised yesterday. I do not want to politicise it today.

JOURNALIST:

On the company tax cut. When will that company tax cut deliver the 1 per cent boost in economic growth that you have spoken about? Do we have to wait 20 years for that? Will you agree to the Sky News-Courier Mail people's forum in Brisbane next Wednesday?

[Laughter]

JOURNALIST:

Shameless.

PRIME MINISTER:

[Laughter]

Yes shameless. Yes – exactly, that’s right.

As you can see from Mr Lester’s comments, we have had many proposals about another leaders' debate and we have already done one with Sky News, as you know and we've done one at the Press Club which was carried by the ABC and by Sky News. There are other media organisations that have presented other proposals and we are considering them. That's the answer to that part of the question.

As far as company tax is concerned, let me just - let's remind ourselves of some facts. It was only a few years ago that Mr Shorten stood up in the Parliament and said that a cut in company tax delivers greater productivity, greater investment, more employment and higher wages. And he was right. He was absolutely right. That's the reason why Paul Keating reduced company tax on two occasions in fact. It's the reason Peter Costello reduced company tax. It's the reason the UK Government has reduced company tax. It's the reason why governments across the world have done that. The fact we have not changed our company tax since 2001 is why it's gone from being, as it was in 2001 after the change, at the lower end of company taxes in the OECD - now it is right at the higher end and it is much less competitive.

At the risk of wanting to quote Mr Shorten again from 2011 what he said then in the Parliament as a Minister was absolutely correct about the effect. The effect obviously takes place over time. With smaller businesses you will see more rapid response. With larger businesses it will take longer. That is why the cuts to company tax in the next term of Parliament in the next three years, apply to businesses with turnovers in the first year of $10 million or less, second year 25 million or less, third year 50 million or less and then there'll be another election. Then it ramps up and, after eight years and after three elections, all companies are included. After three more years the rate comes down from 27 and a half to 25. It's a long glide path. I think I’ve explained earlier we have designed it that way deliberately because we believe that larger companies such as Saab for example making long-term investments will say ‘alright, we are making an investment today of many millions, that will bear fruit some years down the track by which stage company tax will be coming down and that provides a greater incentive to make the investment.’

What we are saying about the impact of a company tax cut is entirely on all fours with what Mr Shorten said when he was in government only a few years ago and what Mr Keating said when he was Treasurer.

JOURNALIST:

Just to clarify. Will we have to wait 20 years to see a 1 per cent growth out of that?

PRIME MINISTER:

You will see continued growth out of it. Every improvement in the return on investment in companies will result in more investment. This is the big difference between my Government's economic plan and what Labor is proposing. We can have an argument or a friendly discussion about how much economic growth and how many jobs will come from reducing company tax but there's no question it will result in more investment and it will result in more jobs. Please let me finish. On the other hand what do you have from Labor? You have an increase in capital gains tax. That is an increase in the tax on investment, which will reduce investment. If you have less investment, you have less jobs. So that is a job destroying tax. They’re going to increase the price of energy so increasing a tax on energy and of course with their ban on negative gearing, which doesn't just apply to residential housing, it applies to every asset class except new dwellings, again you are putting a huge brake on investment. So you have a Government which has a plan to increase investment which will increase jobs and an Opposition which has declared war on business and hence declared war on jobs and is seeking to tax and deter investment with every policy it proposes.

JOURNALIST:

Do you agree with your father-in-law that appointing Abbott as leader in 2009 was a potentially catastrophic decision and like having a principal lunatic in charge of the asylum in his book that is published next Monday?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I won't comment on that other than to say that my father-in-law is a very distinguished lawyer. He is a great man. 93 years of age this year. He served in the Royal Australian Air Force in the Second World War. He served his country in Parliament and at war and his memoir will be of great interest and inspiration to many people who read his life story. Tom has great respect for Tony Abbott and the note that is referred to in his memoirs, of course, is some years old and I know that Tom has written a note to Tony just to apologise if any offence is caused by that.

JOURNALIST:

The ceremony yesterday that it would not have politicised the events, this is from veterans' groups. Bill Shorten has apologised for not attending. Have you let those veterans down?

PRIME MINISTER:

Look I've dealt with that matter. I'm not going to politicise it. It was a solemn occasion. It was a solemn occasion for the families. The Governor-General, the highest office holder in our Constitution other than the Queen herself of course, was present, former Chief of the Defence Force, winner of a Military Cross in Vietnam. It was accorded great dignity and great solemnity.

JOURNALIST:

The issue of pensions has been thrust back into the spotlight of former parliamentarians. Given Nick Xenophon’s making political hay for it right here in South Australia, is it time once again to look at that issue?

PRIME MINISTER:

I'm not sure what you are referring to as far as Nick Xenophon is concerned but there is a parliamentary pension scheme in place. As you know it was changed in 2004 so it only applies to the old system, which is a defined benefits system, only applies to people who were elected prior to 2004 and the new system which of course affects me and anyone else elected after that year, is a contributory one consistent with current practice in the public service.

JOURNALIST:

One of your frontbenchers spoke out this morning on super saying he will raise the issue after the election. Given you have said the only thing you will look at after the election is the way these changes are implemented, not the changes themselves, why is it so many people in your party seem to have a different idea about how receptive you'd be to substantive changes?

PRIME MINISTER:

I will repeat what I said before. Our changes to superannuation are fair. They make the superannuation system more sustainable. They make it fairer for people on low incomes. They give greater opportunity for women in particular who have been out of the workforce to catch up and make larger concessional contributions after they return to work. They enable independent contractors who currently can't contribute in the same basis as employees, to do so, and they allow older Australians who are older than 65 and younger than 75 who currently can't contribute concessionaly to super to do so because so many of them are working. It is a fairer system. Yes it is true that some people around 4 per cent, who are either on very high incomes or have very large super balances will not have as generous a tax concession as they used to have. People with a balance of more than $1. 6 million in the retirement phase, a tiny fraction of the total population I might remind you, they will pay 15 per cent tax on the earnings from, in effect, that part of their superannuation over the $1.6 million.

As I said yesterday we have to be real about this. 15 per cent is a lower rate of tax than the marginal rate that a kid stacking shelves at Woolies pays. Let's get real. Super remains enormously generous. It is a very advantaged, tax advantage system for everyone that participates in it. For those on high incomes and very large super balances it remains very generous. It’s just not quite as generous as it was. By doing that we have made it fairer and more flexible and it works better particularly for women, people on lower incomes, for older Australians and independent contractors. Remember, I'm the Prime Minister for all Australians. Thank you very much.