DARYL MANZIE:

On the line we have the Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull. Good morning to you Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER:

Good morning.

DARYL MANZIE:

Now obviously it’s great to see that you’re in Darwin. I know you have got a cold. This might do you a little bit of good.

PRIME MINISTER:

It will. The beautiful warm weather of Darwin and the fresh air will cure me immediately I hope.

DARYL MANZIE:

Well keep your fingers crossed. Hey listen I just want to comment, well done last night on Q&A. I thought a bit of a hostile environment. You handled it extremely well and I think most people would have appreciated the way you approached the task. I guess every day is a new day isn’t it?

PRIME MINISTER:

Every day is a new day. A historic day today because I am going over to Mandorah to hand over the title deeds for the Kenbi Land Claims.

DARYL MANZIE:

Been going for a long time.

PRIME MINISTER:

Absolutely.

DARYL MANZIE:

But any way it’s all finished. In fact I think we’ve been, governments locally on both sides of the political spectrum, having been working with the Larrakia in terms of development along the lines of the land belonging to them as it is so it is something that will formalise what has been an informal sort of approach for the last few years. That has got to be a good thing.

Prime Minister can I just ask you, obviously you’re here for that but there are other things that people are keen to get some information on. Things like the military spend and what is happening in terms of infrastructure development spends here over the next period of government.

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes, thank you. Well Daryl as you know part of our national economic plan is our investment, our defence investment plan. It’s a very substantial one. Right here in the Territory in the next decade through to 2025-26 over $8 billion will be spent upgrading defence facilities. That’s about 30 per cent of the total defence facilities investment for the decade. So that ramps again in the following decade through to 2035-36 with an additional $12 billion to be spent. So there is $20 billion to be spent over the next 20 years. These are upgrades to HMAS Coonawarra, upgrades to the RAAF bases in Darwin and Tindal, and many other elements too but it is a substantial investment in the Territory.

I am meeting with the Master Builders Association of the Northern Territory later today. The aim there is to talk to them about, to ensure that local contractors get as much of the business as possible. We want them to have the lion’s share of the work. There has been a very reasonable expectation that local contractors should get as much of this government work as possible and I am determined to ensure that happens.

DARYL MANZIE:

I think that’s a really positive step. The Master Builders have worked very, very hard in gaining a consortium of people to present their capacity to government. I am glad that you have listened because it really has been very frustrating over the years to see major contracts for defence both in infrastructure development and also in repair and maintenance going south when we do have capacity here. So that’s a good step Malcolm.

Can I also ask you, the Labor party has been really running on a, it’s like a push polling approach, they make some false statements and then really hammer them home as though they’re true and then campaign on them and say they’ll fix them. I guess Medicare, the claim you’re going to privatise Medicare and the other one is the claim you’re going to take away people’s weekend penalty rates. It’s becoming almost ridiculous. It must be taking hold on uninformed people in the electorate. How much does that concern you that you’re going to waste time on something that is patently false?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well it should concern all of us that the Labor Party, you know which is the Opposition - the alternative government - is spending so much time telling such absurd lies. You know just deal with them. With penalty rates we have made it very, very clear. I have made it absolutely unequivocally clear that we will not be doing anything to affect penalty rates. Penalty rates are determined by the independent umpire the Fair Work Commission. I made that clear in the debate with Bill Shorten last week. Of course that is what he has said. He said that to Neil Mitchell on radio in Melbourne that penalty rates should be determined by the Fair Work Commission. So as between him and me there is actually no issue. We have an independent umpire they determine penalty rates. Of course unions and employers and employees can vary them as they often do through their EBAs but in terms of setting awards it is a matter for the Fair Work Commission.

As far as Medicare is concerned, this is the most outrageous bald-faced lie. Medicare is a government service. It will never ever be privatised. It will never ever be sold. Everything that Medicare does, every element of its services that is done by government will continue to be done by government full stop. I have made that absolute unequivocal commitment.

Labor wants to keep on running the scare – it shows really Daryl that they have no plan or vision for the future of Australia. I mean we have a lot of great opportunities particularly here in Northern Australia. Huge opportunities, a lot of big challenges too, you know a lot of headwinds and so forth. I’ve got a plan to deal with that which I have laid out. All Labor’s got is a couple of absurd lies and they are peddling them and pushing them as hard as they can.

DARYL MANZIE:

I think it’s disappointing. A lot of people, Labor people are finding it disappointing as well. Another issue, I see that there’s reports that people smugglers have started moving people out of Sri Lanka, off from India that are Sri Lankan, heading to Australia and I’m just wondering, look I don’t know how many people are aware of the Labor promising to grant permanent residency to nearly 30,000 asylum seekers who were eligible, they believe, who arrive by boat during their time formally. Would those two things in themselves be sufficient to possibly start this evil boat trade again?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well certainly the people smugglers are starting to market again and we know, we’ve seen it in the media and we know that they are marketing that there will be or could be a change of government in Australia and the way - the opportunities to smuggle people to Australia will be open again. They are absolutely adept at using the social media in particular for marketing to their very vulnerable customers. They are among the most evil criminals in the world but they are very adept at marketing and what Mr Shorten has done by saying that he would abolish the Temporary Protection Visas, what he’s done is send a signal that will be used and is being used by the people smugglers to start their business up again.

Now as long as I’m Prime Minister, as long as the Coalition Government is in place, the people smugglers, I believe will know that whenever they try to get through they will be turned back - and we do that as you know. We are very resolved and relentless in our determination to keep our borders secure and it’s nearly 700 days since the last successful people smuggling operation. So that’s the proof of our operation but, you know, we have, Shorten says he’s got the same policies as me, well most of the people that are running as his candidates appear to have different views, we see evidence of that all the time and of course you’ve got to remember what Labor did in government. I mean Kevin Rudd ran in 07 on the basis that he would turn back the boats and follow John Howard’s policy. He abandoned it. I was Opposition Leader at the time, I begged him not to. I begged him again and again not to and Rudd believed he could placate the left of his party and the Greens and the left-wing of the Labor party and there’d be no increase in arrivals or so he said. Well we know what happened, 50,000 unauthorised arrivals, 1200 at least drowned at sea and so – the Labor Party is, you cannot based on experience and based on what we know, a very large percentage - over fifty of their candidates actually believe - you cannot reasonably trust the Labor Party to keep our borders secure.

DARYL MANZIE:

Look and again it brings misery and death to those that are most unfortunate on our planet and they’re taken in to, they’re gullible enough to be taken by people smugglers on this expensive ride that leads them to nowhere. Look I’m going to say good morning Prime Minister, I do thank you very much for joining us - I hope you do get over your flu.

PRIME MINISTER:

I’m sure I will.

DARYL MANZIE:

And you enjoy your time in the north.

PRIME MINISTER:

Thanks a lot Daryl. Bye.