11 May 2018
Transcript - #2018088, 2018

Joint doorstop interview, Frankston

Joint doorstop interview with
The Hon. Greg Hunt MP
Minister for Health

SUBJECTS: Budget 2018; Labor’s ‘rolled gold’ citizenship fail; budget in reply; banking and financial services

CHRIS CREWTHER, MEMBER FOR DUNKLEY:

I’m Chris Crewther, I am the Federal Member for Dunkley and it’s great to be here at Frankston Hospital today with the Treasurer of Australia, Scott Morrison and Minister for Health, Greg Hunt to talk about what the Budget means locally here in Dunkley as well as across the nation. To talk about what it means for local healthcare. We have just met Ali who is a person with spinal muscular atrophy and her parents who have been strong advocates along with us to get that treatment of Spinraza for them which was announced as part of the Budget. It is really crucial. I am really glad that came through. We have also been talking about local infrastructure as well. In the Budget we have $225 million budgeted towards extending the Metro line from Frankston to Baxter that will connect the hospital here, enhancing accessibility, free up parking at the hospital. It is very important to the local health service. It will also connect Monash University [inaudible] and Baxter. There are some really good things in the community for the local area. That is one of the largest infrastructure investments ever in the Dunkley electorate so I really appreciate the efforts of the Treasurer. More than that it also means enhanced connectivity in the electorate. It means people can get to work faster, their employment, education, their community faster and be connected with each other.

TREASURER:

Thanks very much Chris. It is great to be here with my good friend Greg Hunt the Minister for Health. It has been wonderful to meet the whole team here at the hospital, particularly young Ali. What this is about today is really the crossroads of what this Budget is all about. We are standing here at the Frankston Hospital where as Greg will go thought we were able to continue our commitment to guarantee the essential services that Australians rely on when it comes to the health. Whether it is the Hospital or Spinraza’s listing on the PBS or any of the other elements that we have, people being able to age in their own home, getting the support and care they need, mental health support in residential care, all of this is made possible by a stronger economy. Without a stronger economy we just can’t deliver those things. That is what pays for it. Our Budget is a plan for a stronger economy and with that stronger economy then Greg can go and he can make the investments, he can do the deals with the State and territory governments, he can work it out with the medicines companies to have affordable medicines and we can enable Greg to do what he does well and that is get things done. He can get things done with that help. The other thing that is a crossroads too is not far from here we will be doing the electrification of the Frankston Baxter Line. I know that has been a very important project that Chris has been an advocate for for a long time. I know it has been a very important project for locals for some period of time. For that to be announced on Budget night demonstrates again what you can do with a stronger economy. A stronger economy that invests in local infrastructure and services because that in turn makes an even stronger economy by investing in that important local infrastructure and services.  In Victoria the new project commitments in this Budget are the greatest of any state or territory in the Commonwealth under this Budget. It is in Victoria that we have really ponied up, stepped up. Whether it is the Frankston to Baxter electrification line here or indeed Tulla Rail which I can assure you – $5 billion is in this Budget. It is not squirreled away or anything like that with a whole bunch of commitments. It is $5 billion. I will tell you how it works because I know there has been a few questions on it. At the last election we committed $75 billion to infrastructure investment. We made a provision for that. That $5 billion comes out of that $75 billion we budgeted for last year. So it is real money, there as a grant. That is how it is treated. So it is $5 billion real dollars. We already provisioned for it the year before. We have the feasibility study. It is almost completed now. Just like we are doing on the Frankston Baxter Line. That means the money is real and it is there. Anyone who tells you any different is being shifty, totally shifty, shifty as. But that is not why we are here today. What we are here today to talk about is how managing a stronger economy is making our health essential services more reliable.

GREG HUNT, MINISTER FOR HEALTH:

Thanks very much to Scott and Chris. Scott having you here is to have you at a very familiar place. My mother was a nurse here and I was born in Frankston Hospital though I think they have demolished the site and moved on to bigger and better things. But this Budget is all about not just Frankston Hospital, not just hospitals all around Australia where we are delivering $30 billion of additional investment which you can only do if you have a strong and sustainably strong economy but it is also about the human face of the Budget. As Ali’s mum said. We just met with little Ali. Ali is a young girl with type 3 spinal muscular atrophy. If it is treated early enough she can have a full, long, rich life. The drug would otherwise have cost $367,000. No Australian family other than the most fortunate few could ever dream of supporting that. But in this Budget we committed $240 million to putting Spinraza, to treat spinal muscular atrophy, to give Ali and other children access to that life saving and life changing treatment immediately. So as her mum said, ‘our lives will be different from this Budget going forward. Our lives will be better from this Budget going forward.’ And when we think about everything that we do we create the environment for people to create the jobs and therefore the income, the wealth for the nation, that allows us to sustainably afford these medicines.

We also met Georgie. Georgie is a breast cancer survivor. Georgie has been on a trial for Kisqali. It is an amazing breast cancer treatment for metastatic breast cancer. On Budget night, in the third largest allocation ever made to a new medicine to Australia, the Treasurer announced that we would provide $700 million for 3,150 Australian women to have access going forward to this amazing new breast cancer treatment. Georgie has her life back and her future in front of her. Georgie, it is great to have you here and we are really privileged. So her story, Ali’s story is what this Budget is about. A strong economy guarantees access to life saving, life changing medicines and all the other services that are essential to our national health.

TREASURER:

Well why don’t we take some questions on that and then we are happy to take other questions [inaudible]. Well I am pleased to see it is so well acknowledged and supported and the interest.

QUESTION:

Treasurer if Anne Aly doesn’t publicly release proof she is a dual citizen should she resign?

TREASURER:

This just keeps going from bad to worse for Bill Shorten. His ‘rolled gold guarantee’ that all of his members were ‘rolled gold’ and ‘solid’ is really just starting to get very embarrassing now and it just goes to show that Bill Shorten is ‘unbelievabill’. You can’t believe him. It doesn’t matter if he promises all his members are standing up the right way in the Parliament or promises you will get tax cuts. He used to say he was in favour of tax cuts and then he changed his mind and wasn't. You just can’t believe the guy. He is ‘unbelieveaBill.’

MINISTER HUNT:

He is more dodgy Rolex than rolled gold.

QUESTION:

Do you think people will have sympathy for these Labor MPs like they did with John Alexander?

TREASURER:

Here is the difference, and JA is a mate of ours. The minute JA knew about it he didn’t rush off to the High Court or anything like that, he resigned. He said I am going to go and face my electorate. He didn’t delay it or try to hope it all went away. He didn’t get shifty. He just got on with it, went and fronted his people up there in Bennelong and they returned him. They returned him and I think that’s the big difference. These members have been trying to put this off. They probably thought they were going to get away with it, probably hoped they would get away with it. This is just what I think we are seeing here. Those by elections will be held and we will respect the outcome of what the voters say in all those by elections but know this, the way they have gone about this just shows they were not being upfront. The law, as the High Court made pretty clear, he knew what is was last year. Now you have asked that we tell you again, don’t make us do it a third time, go and face the people. The fact they actually refused to do that earlier and tried to get away with it and Anne Aly still seems like she is still trying to get away with it, she has a lot of explaining to do but the person who has the most explaining to do about it is actually ‘unbelieveaBill’.

QUESTION:

[inaudible]

TREASURER:

Again, I have answered this question many times. We have been getting on with the job of ensuring there are tough penalties and sanctions. There is a Banking Executive Accountability Regime we have legislated. We increased the funding for ASIC which means, I should stress, that when we had the CBA report come down from the Laker Review, commissioned last August and highlighted many of these issues, APRA is now using the laws we have already put in place as a key part of the response to ensure there is accountability. So I remain very much of the fact in my own view that taking action now was always the right thing to do. Others will make judgments about the politics but it wasn’t about the politics for us. It was about taking the actions needed to deal with these issues. As I have said, particularly in relation to those matters, board directors all around the country need to step up. A lot is expected of them and I think the bell has been rung for directors across the country whether it is the Laker Review or any of the other reviews that we have had or are ongoing it should be a wake up fall for all of corporate Australia, not just banks and financial institutions. All of these boards have governance responsibilities for these large corporations in which millions of Australians have invested and they again have a responsibility to know, to enquire. It is not a retirement gig, it is a very serious job. I know there are thousands of directors who take that job very seriously but as I said the other day, time to step up.

QUESTION:

[inaudible]

TREASURER:

Well we have increased both ASIC powers and resources. Two years ago we increased their resources by over $120 million and we have changed the chair of ASIC. We have a new Chair, James Shipton, a Victorian. James is in the process now of now coming back to Treasury and seeing what additional support he needs. We will also be very mindful of what the interim report of the Royal Commission may suggest at that time. We want to be available to respond in an appropriate way at that time. But it really is for ASIC as the cop on the beat here to be out there enforcing the rules and the powers. Let’s not forget we have just increased the gaol time from five years to ten years. We are increasing the penalties here to $1 million or thereabouts for an individual and over potentially $200 million for these institutions. So the additional powers and penalties and resources we are putting in to address this is something we have been doing now for years and years. So we have been acting and the Labor party have been playing politics. We have been acting.

QUESTION:

Treasurer just on the budget. The government says Labor’s plan is unfunded and unbelievable but how can the government trust a seven year plan when it is a number of elections away?

TREASURER:

Only one vote needs to take place to secure a seven year tax plan. It is a vote. You don’t need to go to a polling booth for. Senators and House of Representatives members need to come to work, come to Parliament and vote for it. It only takes one vote. I introduced a bill for the seven year tax plan the day after the Budget. The Labor party didn’t want to debate it then. They didn’t want to have to vote on it. They actually wanted to delay actually voting on that bill. We accepted that but it was made pretty clear at the outset you can’t trust Labor when it comes to tax relief. They are for it on one day, against it the other. Who knows what they are going to do. So Australians can’t trust Bill Shorten’s political promise on it because he is unbelievable. But you can trust the Liberal and National parties because we believe in providing that tax relief. We have outlined a seven year plan starting with low and middle incomes, moving on to deal with bracket creep which robs Australians of the extra they earn by putting them on higher tax rate and we are simplifying the tax system so that 96 per cent of Australian under our well-considered, responsible and affordable plan will pay no more than a marginal rate of 32.5 cents. Bill Shorten does not have a plan for lower taxes, he just has a political promise that is unbelievable. We have a well-considered, seven year plan that will leave Australians right across the board better off.

Thanks very much. It has been great to be here today. Greg, thanks. It was personally very moving to meet Ai today. We met many young people like Ali around the country. Well done on the Frankston to Baxter line Chris. I heard it got a big cheer when I announced it in the Budget. That is great. So we will have to go and take a look at that. Hopefully they are looking at having one of the stations nearby this hospital which I am sure will really relieve some of the parking pressures you have here and we welcome that as well. So we have a lot of work to do and Chris is always doing a lot of work so well done mate.