5AA Breakfast with David Penberthy and Will Goodings

April 20, 2016
Ministerial Feed
Transcripts

E&OE…

DAVID PENBERTHY:

With 72 days to go, it’s going to be a long and probably bumpy sort of a ride for both sides but today you’re government has moved to neutralise Labor’s attack on the banks through its royal commission plans by announcing that you are going to give extra powers and extra resources to the bank regulator ASIC. Tell us about how that will work?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well thanks David it’s great to be with you and just before we get onto ASIC, can I just say how pleased I am to be on air with you today and I know there’ll be lots of owner-drivers in South Australia listening to your radio show and they will be back on the road doing their jobs, making money, paying their interest payments on their mortgages and they’ll be back at work because we abolished the RSRT - that shocking tribunal that Bill Shorten set up quite deliberately to drive owner-drivers out of business. To put them out of work, which he succeeded at doing and we managed to abolish on Monday night, as you know, so that was a great achievement of this week and it’s a really, it demonstrates that our Government and our party stand up for small business, we stand up for enterprising Australians who want to get ahead.

DAVID PENBERTHY:

There was quite a fiery rally here on the steps of State Parliament, where your friend and colleague Chris Pyne ended up being badgered by a few of the drivers at that protest. Do you think that Labor can make any capital though out of saying that this poses some kind of safety risk?

PRIME MINISTER:

Absolutely not David. The reality is, that there have been a number of reviews of this tribunal which demonstrate that there is no link between remuneration and safety. I mean safety should be dealt with by safety regulations and we have a Heavy Vehicle Regulator and Michaelia Cash, our Minister, has committed to putting the $4 million a year we’ll save by getting rid of this tribunal, which as we know was done as a deal between Shorten and the Transport Workers Union precisely to put owner-drivers, independent operators out of business. That $4 million a year will be going in to provide additional resources to the Heavy Vehicle Regulator and you see what this demonstrates is in a very practical real context that people can see and understand and feel is that we are standing up for jobs – we’re saving jobs – whereas Labor was actively setting out in a shocking deal with the TWU to actually put those owner-drivers, those mum and dad businesses out of business, put them off the road and indeed they were off the road until we managed to get the tribunal abolished. So Monday was a very successful day. We got the Senate made up its mind on the ABCC which was good because as you know they’ve been filibustering and trying to avoid making a decision on that and on the construction industry watchdog bill and we managed to get the, this RSRT, this Labor tribunal abolished. So, it was a very, a very, it was a good days work I must say.

DAVID PENBERTHY:

On the banking question, apparently yesterday there were a number, six I believe, Coalition backbenchers who supported the, in principle, the calls from Labor for some kind of royal commission into banking.  Is that part of your thinking today? To address what is clearly significant public disquiet over the conduct of banks by restoring some of the money that the Abbott Government removed from ASIC and letting ASIC muscle up to go after the banks when the banks appear to have engaged in wrongdoing?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well David firstly let me say I was very clear and very upfront and frank with the banks when I spoke to the big Westpac 199th birthday celebration on the 4th of April and I made it very clear that they, that while the banks in Australia are well regulated and they’re well run and they’re well capitalised, they had on too many occasions let their customers down and there needed to be some big changes and in particular, the leaders of banks had to ensure that everybody that worked for them practiced a culture which put the customer at the centre of everything they do. They had to take on that obligation because they’re a business in a way like no other. Because they are a business that’s built on trust and this is a critical part of it.

Now what we need to see and as I said to the banks, when the wrong thing is being done, people need to be compensated promptly and generously and so my focus has been on getting action here and that’s what we’re doing with ASIC – we’re ensuring that ASIC has the tools and the resources to do its job.

Now this is not, this is not a response to anything that’s happened recently. This has been an issue that we’ve been addressing methodically. The ASIC capability review was commissioned months ago – it was commissioned last year. It recently reported. We’ve been considering the report and Scott Morrison and Kelly O’Dwyer are, with the support of the Cabinet which has carefully considered it this week, they are presenting what our response will be and as has been foreshadowed it will involve providing ASIC with additional resources and also, in money terms but also changes that will ensure that it has a sharper edge in its ability to deal with wrongdoing.

WILL GOODINGS:

Prime Minister upon announcing that you were coming on this morning, at about 6 o’clock, we were inundated with texts from people here imploring us to ask you to give us something definitive on the S Kidman and Co sale. Now I appreciate that you won’t pre-empt the decision of the Foreign Investment Review Board that’ll bring about their finding following the federal election but philosophically, does the prospect of foreign ownership of an agricultural asset with the sort of land mass that S Kidman and Co covers, does it give you any concern, philosophically?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well can I just say that we look at these things very, very carefully. There’s an important role for foreign investment right across the board in Australia and South Australia and Adelaide have been beneficiaries of foreign investment. Where foreign investment is not contrary to the national interest, then under our laws it’s able to proceed but we review these things very carefully through the Foreign Investment Review Board and our goal is to ensure always that Australia’s national interest is advanced. But, remember we do benefit from foreign investment. You know, every state minister of every, or your State Premier spends a lot of time overseas beating up investment into South Australia and so they should. So we’ve got to make sure we get the balance right and proceed with the consideration of this which you said the FIRB is doing. It will be the Treasurer’s decision but that’s got to be done very carefully and focused on what is going to contribute to our economic plan to drive jobs and growth.

What we are focused on doing right across the board with every policy whether it is getting rid of the RSRT to put the truck drivers back on the road. Whether it is focusing on a defence industry plan that is going to see real investment and a continuous shipbuilding industry, not for a few years but for decades and decades to come in Adelaide. Those commitments that we’re making are determined to drive jobs, growth in the future.

Now, regrettably our opponents, everything they’re doing, you saw it with the truckie tribunal, everything they’re doing is actually destroying jobs. They’re against jobs, we’re for them.

WILL GOODINGS:

Prime Minister, one of your opponents is going to be here soon here in South Australia but probably other places too, the Nick Xenophon team. Do you concede that by deferring the decision on the S. Kidman & Co. property sale, you’re effectively handing them the biggest stick with which to whack you with over the course of this campaign?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well David, it’s very important that these decisions are taken methodically and in this case it is a decision under the law for the Treasurer acting with the benefit of advice from the Foreign Investment Review Board. Now, it’s very important that we are seen as being a very well-considered, well-regulated government that deals with foreign investments, the foreign investment proposals carefully. You see Mr Xenophon’s entitled to treat it in a very political sense…

WILL GOODINGS:

People don’t see it as well-considered they see it as politically pragmatic delaying it until after the election.

PRIME MINISTER:

You’re entitled to that opinion but I’m saying to you the Treasurer is considering this matter carefully and it’s important that he does so. Because it’s very important that foreign investors, upon whom we depend for many of the jobs in Australia see Australia as the safe place to invest in and a place where their applications will be considered carefully and methodically, in accordance with the law.

DAVID PENBERTHY:

Mr Turnbull, you’d remember back in 2010 when Julia Gillard raised a few eyebrows by talking about how the ‘Real Julia’ had gone missing. What do you make of the assessment the Coalition’s recent modest but significant slide in the polls and also your approval rating where people are saying that it’s almost like a battle between the New Malcolm and the Old Malcolm. The Old Malcolm was much more forthright in his views on the republic, same-sex marriage much more passionate about things like climate change. Do you think that after the election we might see more of the Old Malcolm and less of the New Malcolm?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, David, I’m not going to run a commentary on myself but let me just say to you that there will be a plebiscite after the election on the matter of same-sex marriage and I will be voting yes. And as far as the Republic is concerned, I am a very committed Republican and when the time is right and the Australian people feel that this is an issue that should be addressed, then I am sure there will be a referendum and I will be voting yes for it.

So you don’t have to worry about my views on those issues, they are very strong and very consisten. Now I can tell you the issue that is in most Australians minds and is in my mind overwhelmingly right now is jobs and growth.

How are we going to successfully continue to transition from an economy that was fuelled up by mining construction boom, which was great, but to one that is more diverse? One of the ways we do that is by ensuring that we invest in our defence industry that we have a continuous substantial Australian defence industry and a big part of that is going to be in Adelaide because that is where the surface vessels, the large surface vessels, are going to be constructed.

You would have seen the announcement earlier in the week where we announced that the offshore patrol vessels, which are around 1,500 to 2,000 tonnes. The first of those will be built in Adelaide starting in 2018 which is about the time the work on the Air Warfare Destroyers starts to be, is completed and that will then lead into the construction of the nine future frigates, which is a huge program, a $35 billion program, beginning in 2020. So what we’re doing with our defence industry is yes, we’re getting the ships, the planes, all of the equipment that our soldiers, our servicemen and women need, but we’re also making sure we have a strong indigenous Australian defence industry.

Building up that industry, David, is just as important as giving the men and women of the ADF the tools they need. Because that, the strength of that industry enables us, will enable us to build, yes, the future frigates that we will be commissioning shortly. But will be enable us 30, 40, 50 years from now to be building the future frigates of the end of the 21st Century, So this is a long term commitment, a great national enterprise, a great vision for a strong Australian defence industry, and it’s a vision that is backed by real dollars, real resources and real policy.

DAVID PENBERTHY:

You’re absolutely right Prime Minister when you say about that announcement. It was very well received here in South Australia this week. But at the risk of sounding crabby, are we going to see a similar announcement providing that same type of clarity on subs prior to the election?

PRIME MINISTER:

The announcement about submarines will have complete clarity but…

DAVID PENBERTHY:

Prior to the election?

PRIME MINISTER:

It will be made in due course. It will be made shortly.

DAVID PENBERTHY:

Pre July 2nd?

PRIME MINISTER:

I’m not going to be drawn on dates David, there has been a very, very careful process, the competitive evaluation process as you understand and we are making these decisions carefully as a responsible and methodical government should. A government that is committed to making the right decisions for Australia but above all, the right decisions to ensure that we have the jobs and the growth and the opportunities that our children and grandchildren need right around the country and including, of course, in Adelaide where you are today.

WILL GOODINGS?

Can we reasonably anticipate good news as South Australians on that front?

PRIME MINISTER:

It’s kind of you to enquire but we, as you can see, we make these decisions very deliberately and after very careful consideration have made the decision we will make an announcement.

DAVID PENBERTHY:

And we will get you back on the show again. We always love talking to you Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, thanks very much for joining us on 5AA Breakfast.

PRIME MINISTER:

Thank you.

Ends

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