Doorstop, Darwin, NT

 

PRIME MINISTER:

…All Australians have seen this morning, with the settlement of the Kenbi land claim, the opportunities that will be derived by the Larrakia people. The opportunities of economic empowerment which are perhaps the greatest keys to advancement for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

As I said in my remarks there, this is all at one with our approach - one of working with Aboriginal people, of doing things with Aboriginal people, rather than doing things to them. It's a collaborative approach. You've seen that with our programs for supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait entrepreneurship and enterprise.

You've seen that with our support for Indigenous procurement, which after 10 months has already seen more than $150 million of Commonwealth contracting going to Indigenous businesses. Now of course right across northern Australia we are seeing massive investment. In fact right around Australia, but right here in the north we're seeing massive investment in Defence infrastructure.

We've got $8 billion that will be going into Defence facilities here over the next decade and $12 billion over the decade after that - that's $20 billion over 20 years.

We've had a very good discussion with the Master Builders here, representing the local contracting sector because they want to be sure - and I agree with them - that the lion's share of that contracting work should go to local companies, because it is critical that we ensure that our investment supports our economic plan for jobs and growth.

Every dollar that we spend on our Defence investment plan will be spent with Australian firms, employing Australian workers. Wherever possible, particularly in the construction sector, it should

be supporting local jobs and local contractors who have a real personal stake in their community.

Whether it is from the Kenbi land claim, from the historic millennia-old right to land of the Aboriginal people of this region, or whether it is here today, talking with the contractors of Darwin, you see that every element of our national economic plan is focused on continuing to drive economic growth and more jobs. That is the key to securing our success in the 21st century.

JOURNALIST:

There's currently an advertisement authorised by Tony Nutt which says "stick with the current mob for a while." Is that your pitch to voters after three years in Government?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well it is a call for continued stability. Really there is a very clear choice here. A very, very clear choice. On the one hand, you have a stable Coalition Government which I lead with a clear national economic plan that will drive stronger growth and more jobs. What is the alternative? Mr Shorten has now abandoned any participation in the economic debate and instead engaged in one desperate lie after another. What does he offer? Some alliance with the Greens, the independents? What will their plan be? After the election his Shadow Treasurer says there'll be a 100-day hiatus when they work out a mini-budget. Who knows what would be produced? The desperation of the Labor Party and their refusal to engage any longer in an economic debate is demonstrated by the desperate lies they are peddling out every day.

JOURNALIST:

Can you give us an ironclad guarantee that you'll legislate the full 10 years of company tax cuts in your next term?

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes absolutely. It is a commitment to legislate for all of those tax cuts which would go out for the 10-year period. Yes that's right.

JOURNALIST:

Including bigger businesses as well?

PRIME MINISTER:

The plan as you know begins in the next three years with a tax cut for the first year for businesses with a turnover of $10 million or less, then $25 million, then $50 million. Then after that it goes to $100 million, $250 million, $500 million and then after that $1 billion. After that to all companies and at that point after eight years it means all companies have a tax rate of 25.7 per cent. Then it steps down to 25.

JOURNALIST:

On Medicare you've accused Labor of running a scare campaign and not having any facts. Isn't that precisely what you're doing on negative gearing?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well the situation couldn't be more different. Labor is simply telling lies about Medicare. It is the most outrageous, bizarre almost, lie told in this whole campaign. As far as negative gearing is concerned it is very clear that businesses like this - how will they go when you pull the investment out of the residential property market? How will they go when you pull the investment out of the commercial property market? How will small business formation go when you can't negative gear against your personal income and investment in a new business or shares in a private company? I

mean let's get real. What Labor is proposing with negative gearing has got nothing to do with housing affordability. The key to housing affordability is building more houses.

What you need is more investment in the property sector and you need more zoning to allow more development, more land releases, and more zoning to allow developments like this. That's what you need. That's why we have our Cities Policy. That's why we have our city deals. We're committed to addressing housing affordability in the only way that will work - which is by increasing housing supply. What Labor is doing is imposing a massive restriction on economic freedom by banning negative gearing, in a way that will drive down house values and drive up rents. And you've seen another economic report in the press today confirming that. But I have to say, it is common sense, which is why everybody in the property sector - that is to say, everybody who actually understands the property market - is saying the same thing.

JOURNALIST:

Bill Shorten today pulled out of an interview with Eddie McGuire as a protest against some of his comments. Have you heard those comments? Given you have spoken so strongly for respect of women, what did you think of them?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, I have heard about the comments. I understand he has apologised for them. So he should. There is no place for disrespecting women. Look, I want to say what - you've heard me say this before but it's worth repeating. Not all disrespecting women ends up in violence against women. But that is where all violence against women begins. There is no place for disrespectful language towards women, and that particularly applies to people who are in the public eye, whether they're leaders like myself or media personalities who have a big megaphone. We have to lead by example.

JOURNALIST:

It seems the Government's happy to consider private involvement in the upgrading and the increased efficiency of payment systems on a whole range of human services but just not Medicare. Is that the position? What is so different about Medicare? And haven't you been boxed in – because of the political heat of this campaign – to a position that just cuts against the free-market ethos of your party?

PRIME MINISTER:

Not at all. I explained this at some length last night in that rather long session of Q and A. There will be no outsourcing of the payments system of Medicare. We have the resources within Government and I set up the agency to undertake this - the Digital Transformation Office - we have the resources within Government and of course we'll acquire technology from outside and bring in experts from outside, naturally, but what we will do is bring the payments system into the 21st century, but it will continue to be delivered by Government. That is my commitment. Now that is an absolutely unequivocal commitment.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, James Brown has written in the latest Quarterly essay that Australia doesn't have enough oversight of its Defence institutions, adding that there needs to be a look at creating a National Security Council with a national security advisor that's legislated its powers and its role. Is that something that you think is necessary? Would you look into that if you were re-elected?

PRIME MINISTER:

I look forward to the discussion that the essay will no doubt provoke. It's one that - these issues of national security are always of great importance and they're worthy of a careful reflection and consideration and debate, not an instant response.

Sorry, we have a local question here.

JOURNALIST:

We've got a very interesting - you know colourful political scene up here in the Northern Territory. You might have read in the NT News, there's a former CLP minister who's going to be facing driving charges. Her son was caught driving a ministerial vehicle unlicensed. We've got a Minister who likes to send pictures of himself masturbating through social media. So, is this part of the reason why you haven't appeared alongside Adam Giles?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well - I don't know - were you out with us today at Mandurah?

JOURNALIST:

I didn't see that, no.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, Adam Giles was there with us all day.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, you had quite a go at Tony Jones last night. Were you saying that he's biased to the Labor Party? Is that what you were trying to say?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, it was on television, you can work it out. It’s pretty clear.

JOURNALISTS:

[Inaudible]

PRIME MINISTER:

Please. Listen, can I just say - I know some of you think - can I say, it is not very polite to talk over the top of anyone, particularly the woman here who is asking me a question. Please continue.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, you're here with Natasha Griggs. A video surfaced earlier last week of her being quite aggressive when someone was talking to her out on the campaign trail. It appears that she smacked the phone out of their hand. Have you spoken to her about this, and what did you say?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, can I just say to you, Natasha Griggs is an outstanding member of parliament. She's an outstanding colleague. And I encourage every elector in the electorate of Solomon to vote for her, because the only way to be sure that we will continue to have a strong Coalition Government delivering a clear national economic plan is to vote for Liberal and National candidates in both the House and the Senate. Thank you very much.