PRIME MINISTER: Hi everyone, well it's great to be here at Bronte Public to meet with the Principal, Melinda Sikora and the staff to talk about the great work they’re doing in educating the kids, instructing the kids, on the importance of respectful relationships.
They have a White Ribbon Program here at the school, but, as we all know, right across the board, a harmonious society, like Australia, the most successful multicultural society in the world, harmonious families, harmonious relationships, safe relationships depend upon respect, mutual respect and it's very important that those values of respect that so underpin the success of our nation are taught to kids and that they understand them and discuss them.
And the program I'm going to discuss with the school here today is one that has been undertaken in a number of schools in this in my electorate of Wentworth and right around Australia, so this is a very important priority, whether we're talking about violent extremism, whether we're talking about violence against women. The answer to all of that is respect; and the younger you start talking about respect, the better. So that's what we're talking about today.
REPORTER: Prime Minister, what do you think of the Premier, Mike Baird's announcement to roll out these counselling and everything in schools?
PRIME MINISTER: Well, we support them and I've discussed them with Mike. There’s been very close collaboration, as you know, between the state and federal governments - between the Federal Government, our government and all state governments and territory governments. This is, what Mike is doing, is very important and he certainly has our full support and we endorse the programs that he’s rolling out today. I'm delighted that he is doing so.
PRIME MINISTER: Sorry
JOURNALIST: Is your government modelling GST increase changes to 15 per cent tied to income tax breaks and if that is the case, are you worried that’s going to remove the incentive for bureaucracies to actually deliver services efficiently and to cut spending?
PRIME MINISTER: That's a long question. Let me say this: There is a, there’s been a lot of speculation in the press about changes to the tax system. The fact is that our tax system and that is when I say "our" I mean the Federal Government and state governments and indeed local governments.
Right across the board, the job of the tax system is to find the revenue to pay for the services that we need from governments, like this school, for example. But the tax system also has got to work in a modern way, in a contemporary way, to provide the right incentives for people to work. So it has to reward work, it has to encourage investment, it has to encourage businesses to take on new staff, and so forth. It's got to be as, in the Treasurer's words, a tax system that right across the board encourages people to work, save and invest and that's very important.
So we are having a look at the tax system. As you know, there’s a Tax White Paper process underway, we’re talking to state governments, we’re talking to the community, there’s a lot of input going into the White Paper. I see David Gillespie's contribution today, which is a very thoughtful one and I want to compliment David for raising those issues. I did something myself when I was a backbencher some years ago and I think it's really important that we get lots of ideas out there and lots of discussion but it's premature to say that the Government has landed on one particular change or another.
But if I can just conclude with one observation: Any changes to the tax system have got to be ones that ensure that there is no disadvantage to the most vulnerable Australians, to less well-off Australians. We’ve got to make, be absolutely clear that any changes to the tax system or the transfer payment system are ones that are fair, that are seen to be fair across the board.
We all know we’re in tough budgetary times, everyone accepts that, we all know we’ve got to get the maximum bang for the taxpayers' buck, we all understand that but we are a very fair society in Australia and it’s important that our tax system reflects that.
JOURNALIST: Are you prepared to go to an election on tax reform, the next election?
PRIME MINISTER: We’ll be going to an election next year. I’m expecting it to be about this time - perhaps October, November is getting a bit late, I would say around September, October next year is when you should expect the next election to be.
On that note I'll go and see the Principal, I can't possibly be late. Thanks a lot.
JOURNALISTS: Knights and dames?
PRIME MINISTER: Knights and dames. Look, can I say to you, I'm glad you’re, yeah ok, knights and dames. Look it is a long way from being the most important issue in Australia today. But it is a change as you know, removing knights and dames from the Australian Honour System has been, is a decision the Cabinet has taken. Her Majesty's agreed to amend the Letters Patent which are essentially the rules of the Order of Australia and this reflects modern Australia, knights and dames are titles that are really anachronistic. They're out of date, they’re not appropriate, in 2015, in Australia. Thank you very much.