Doorstop, Sunshine Coast, QLD

 

PRIME MINISTER:

More opportunity and more jobs. We understand the nature of the times in which we live. More competition, more opportunities, greater challenges. We recognise that we cannot take our economic success for granted.

We need to have a plan. We do have a plan. Every element of it will deliver stronger economic growth and more jobs.

On the other hand we have seen the chaos and confusion yesterday from the Labor Party. They have not enlightened us on how deep or dark their black hole is. Perhaps they have thrown some pebbles into it. They are still opposing 90 per cent of our budget savings.

They are doing backflips left right and centre, but the bottom line is they are spending vastly more than are raising. They are asking us to believe in what surely must be a fiscal fantasy. That they will run higher deficits in every single one of the next four years but then, miraculously, like Houdini, escape from the trap that they have set for themselves. Escape, spring out of their black hole of debt and deficit and come into budget balance at the same time as our forecast estimate.

Really? They are taking Australians for mugs. Australians are too smart to believe this nonsense from Bill Shorten. He doesn't know what his budget outcomes will be. They talk about ten years, they talk about five years but one thing they have fessed up to however is this; that they will run higher debt, higher deficits over the next term of Parliament.

That is what Labor is asking Australians to do. Vote Labor and run up more deficit and more debt. I thought debt and deficit was a problem? They are asking Australians to vote for more.

They are also asking Australians to believe that you can deliver stronger economic growth and more investment at the same time as you would increase taxes on investment. We all know that if you want more of something you lower the tax on it. If you want less of something you increase the tax on it.

We are reducing business taxes because we know that will encourage more investment and more jobs. We know the bulk of the benefit of that will go to employees. Right here on the Sunshine Coast there are over 14,000 men and women who work in businesses that turn over $2 and $10 million. They will get a tax cut on 1 July if we are elected back into Government, and they will not if Mr Shorten is. He regards businesses like that, small businesses, medium-size businesses, as being as unworthy as the large banks that he rails against almost every day.

Those 14,300 people here on the Sunshine Coast are 12 per cent of the private sector workforce here. Their businesses will get the means to invest more to grow and employ more. Mr Shorten seems to think you can wage a war against business without the casualties of that war being jobs. We all know that they are.

We all know that they are because a few years ago he told us so. He told us. He said any student of economics or business history in Australia would know that one of the sources of our economic growth and prosperity has been reductions of income taxes.

Well Shorten the student has forgotten his lesson. He’s forgotten that lesson. What he is setting up now is an anti-business, high-taxing high-spending, big borrowing program that will put our economy backwards. It will put our economy into reverse. It will put the jobs of every Australian at risk.

What we need in these exciting times, but challenging times, in these times of opportunity and great uncertainty as well, what we need is a clear economic plan. We need a stable Coalition Government to deliver on that plan and that is what we will do.

Now from next week Australians will be able to vote. When they do they should remember that the key, the key to stable government, the key to strong economic growth, the key to success in the future is to vote for the Coalition candidates in their state or in their electorate. That is the key.

A vote for Independents, Greens, Labor, all of that leads back into the chaos of minority government that we saw not so long ago. We even have some of that chaotic band getting back together. We have the Greens of course, we have Labor, we have Mr Windsor he is coming back. We have Mr Oakeshott he is returning. He said farewell and now he is coming back.

Can you imagine? What Bill Shorten is offering is just a repeat of the Juilliard Gillard minority Greens Independent Labor alliance. Australia can’t afford that. We do not have a mining boom to prop us up at the moment. We need stronger and more diverse growth. We are seeing it but we need a clear economic plan to make it certain, to deliver on it and secure our future.

That is what we are doing here, across Australia and in the Sunshine Coast and around the nation. Our future is secure with a clear, economic plan and that is what we are going to deliver if the Australian people return us to Government on the 2 July.

JOURNALIST:

Is it fair to say that the Liberal and Labor Party will be doing preference deals to block them out? Is that true?

PRIME MINISTER:

The preferences are a matter for the party organisation and announcements will be made in due course.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister it’s been said by successive governments that there are no easy savings in the Budget. One thing that Labor did do yesterday is announce that they are halting – would halt the private health insurance rebate for natural therapies. Why should taxpayers subsidise things like aromatherapy and pilates?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well look we have a Budget. We have a clear economic plan, it is all set out in the Budget and we are not going to be making any changes to that now. We have set that up, that is our platform, that is our plan.

JOURNALIST:

Are there more savings to be announced during the election campaign?

PRIME MINISTER:

We have set out our savings and they are in the Budget. We did not produce a glossy brochure with photographs and not many words. We produced a Budget with lots of text and lots and lots of numbers. Our numbers add up. All of our proposals, all of our measures are fully costed and fully funded and confirmed in the PEFO. Australians know what our plan is. With Labor as you know it is a chaotic, rolling catastrophe of backflips and qualifications, uncertainties. Who knows what they will do? After all let’s take Mr Bowen at his word. This is Mr Bowen who rallies against cutting company taxes. He says that is a dreadful idea. Now he wrote of book saying it is a great idea. They have all done a backflip on that. They have no credibility. No credibility at all in their war against business and Mr Bowen has said that if they won government, after a hundred days they would bring down a new Budget. That is presumably after negotiating with independents and the Greens. Who knows what it would contain? The new massively increased taxes on superannuation that the Greens propose? Who knows? Will it contain the retreat on our free trade agreements that Mr Xenophon proposes? Who knows what they will do? I can tell you something; they do not know.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister earlier this week you described yourself as a feminist. Does your brand of feminism extend to leaving the GST on tampons or will you disappoint 50 per cent of the voting population like Bill Shorten did?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well we have never - we don’t propose any change to the GST either than the rate or the [inaudible].

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister do you support [inaudible] -

PRIME MINISTER:

Well it is an important proposal and it is certainly one that is being considered. As you know we have a very strong commitment to regional infrastructure and It’s certainly under consideration.

JOURNALIST:

It is a marginal seat though. You’re giving $150 million for a rail freight corridor in Townsville, over $181 million in concessional loan here. It’s now gone into a safe conservative seat there is no word.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well we will make announcements about other infrastructure projects in the course of the campaign. I can assure you that we have commitments, that we are putting a record amount of money into infrastructure across Australia. We are putting $50 billion in our infrastructure program. This does not include the money that is being spent to roll out the NBN. Thank you for raising it but it is a question that we will obviously address between now and the election.

JOURNALIST:

If you win Government will you try and abolish the current mandatory reporting process for transgender children?

PRIME MINISTER:

I sorry I am not familiar with the process that you are referring to. I'm happy to take that question on notice.

JOURNALIST:

You have made a lot of Mr Keating’s past moves on company tax. The 1993 changes to company tax were opposed by the Liberal Party. They said they were grossly irresponsible. They wanted it jacked up from 39 to 42 per cent that time. Was that wrong?

PRIME MINISTER:

Clearly, absolutely. The fact of the matter is that history has demonstrated that in a very competitive world you need to have a competitive company tax. When Peter Costello reduced this tax to 30 per cent we were the seventh lowest in the OECD. There are now 28 countries in the OECD with a lower company tax than us. This is a question of relativity. So what was a competitive company tax at one time, may not be at another. There have obviously been debates back and forth about the level of company tax in the past but I have to say that history and experience has shown that if you want businesses to invest more, you must lower the tax on investment. This is not a secret by the way. Obviously, Bill Shorten - I'm not holding him up as the world's greatest economic commentator - he has made that point. Peter Costello has made that point. Keating has made that point and governments have acted on it and we have seen stronger growth and more jobs. If you look at the Labor policy on the other hand, what they are proposing is - at a time when we clearly need more investment, no one can argue with that, no one can argue that we need more investment - at a time where we need more investment, Labor is increasing the tax on investment. They are increasing the capital gains tax by 50 per cent. Does anyone imagine that would have any other result than harming investment? They are banning negative gearing on every asset class except new dwellings. That will restrict the amount of investment not just in residential housing but in commercial property, every form of real estate except new dwellings and of course business assets. If you want to start a business, if you want to capitalise a company, borrow some money to invest in shares, you can’t negative gear that. This is an extraordinary restriction on working Australians who want to be able to offset investment losses against their personal income. They will not be able to do that under Labor. That is a brake on investment. At the same time as doing all of that, at the same time putting brakes on investment, brakes on employment, they are now proposing as we know to spend more money and run bigger deficits over the next four years. What will that mean? Higher debt, a threat to our triple-A rating. This is the most anti-business, financially reckless proposition we have had from the Labor Party in many a generation.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister do you acknowledge that Barnaby Joyce is at real risk of losing New England with reports that -

PRIME MINISTER:

I have great respect for the electorate of New England and I am sure that they will return Barnaby Joyce as their Member.

JOURNALIST:

This is a real risk though. I know you say the way preferences flow is up to the party but surely this is a case where you might step in and use some of your influence?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well thank you for your advice on political management. All I can say to you is that preferences are determined by the party organisation obviously with consultation with the party leaders. This includes Barnaby Joyce and myself. We will make those announcements in due course.

JOURNALIST:

Bill Shorten has today looked at women's policy including things like mandating positions on boards in companies for women. Is the market doing enough to promote women? And does it need to be helped along by legislation?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well it’s certainly something we encourage, strongly encourage. We are leading by example. Let me give you a couple of more examples of that. We have set a target of about 50 per cent for all Australian government boards and agencies. That shows you what we believe should be the outcome. So we are aiming to do that. As you know we have put very substantial additional resources into protecting women who have been the subject of violence, domestic violence. And as you know, this is an issue about which both I and my wife Lucy, who is here today as you see, are very passionate. The first announcement that I made as Prime Minister was increasing funding for domestic violence shelters and other related measures. We are completely committed on that. Can I also repeat Lucy’s very wise observation that she has made, and I will take every opportunity to repeat; all of us as parents have an obligation to ensure that our son’s respect their mothers and their sisters and the women in their lives. If we bring our boys up to respect the women in their lives, that is an enormous step towards ensuring that we eliminate violence against women. Let me say this to you again, it bears repeating frequently; disrespecting women does not always result in violence against women but believe me, that is where all violence against women starts. I am so passionately committed with strong policies, strong measures, strong examples, respecting women and can I say to you the strong economic growth that we have delivered is benefitting women. Last year 300,000 new jobs were created in Australia demonstrating that our economic plan is working. Two thirds of them were women. Women are finding greater opportunities for work and with our childcare policy which as you know will give greater benefits particularly to families on lower incomes. It is a substantial reform of the childcare system. Of course it has been blocked in the Senate by the Labor Party. But that, those reforms will also result in greater participation by hundreds of thousands of women in lower income households. So thank you all very much. It is great to be here on the Sunshine Coast with Ted and Andrew. Lucy and I have had a great morning here. A great walk on the beach this morning. We even encountered the local yoga group. On that note I should say farewell from this doorstop and Namaste.