17 May 2018
Transcript - #2018096, 2018

Joint doorstop interview, Shoalhaven bridge

Joint doorstop interview with
The Hon. Ann Sudmalis MP
Member for Gilmore

Subjects: Budget 2018.

ANN SUDMALIS:

Look I'm just not mucking around. This is one of my dearest colleagues. This is Scott Morrison who's our Treasurer. Very, very good with finances. If I want a project he says, "OK, you can have it out of that portfolio, then go to the other Minister and say where you're going to get it from because I'm not changing the envelope".

TREASURER:

[laughs]

SUDMALIS:

[laughs] Well-worn phrase. Treasurer, welcome to Gilmore.

TREASURER:

Well thank-you, Ann it's great to be here with you here in your town in this wonderful part of New South Wales and Australia and to have the Shoalhaven bridge in the background where the Prime Minister stood with Ann just a few weeks ago just before the Budget to announce our commitment to funding for this bridge together with the State Government, working together as a team, State and Federal Government to deliver this important piece of infrastructure. There's been, you know, a lot of great investment going into the roads by the State Government and the Commonwealth supporting further down and up here. And this is a tremendous partnership we've seen really rejuvenate the transport infrastructure around this part of New South Wales and a very important part of New South Wales. Ann has been such a tremendous hard working local member here in Gilmore, and she's well regarded by her colleagues and she's well regarded by her community. That's why she's been able to really achieve the things that we have over so many years.

And so that's why it's really pleasing to be here with Ann to be supporting her and the work she's been able to do because infrastructure is the key to creating a stronger economy. Without a stronger economy you can't support projects like the Shoalhaven Bridge. You can't support projects like supporting the National Disability Insurance Scheme and supporting the Spinal muscular atrophy and the PBS drugs, which is taking the drugs which kids and families have had to pay more than $40,000 a year for down to less than $40. That's what, that's absolutely what a stronger economy does for Australia and for the Shoalhaven. So we're pleased to be here investing in infrastructure. We're pleased to be here in New South Wales where almost $9 billion extra is going in the hospitals agreement that we have signed with the New South Wales Government. Premier Berejiklian was the first to sign up for this new agreement which is seeing $30 billion in extra funding go to hospitals all around the country. So that's what we're focused on. We're focused on a stronger economy that is delivering the essentials that Australians rely on, particularly right here in the Shoalhaven, and there's no one more important to that task here in the Shoalhaven than Ann Sudmalis so congratulations, Ann, and it's great to be here with you today.

REPORTER:

Should the Liberal Party preselect Ann Sudmalis for the seat of Gilmore?

TREASURER:

Yes, they should. But that's a matter for them. At the end of the day, we respect our grassroots process. But Ann has demonstrated that she is the right candidate here because she has won this seat in a tough contest. I mean if it wasn't for Ann at the last election, Bill Shorten would now be Prime Minister. If it was not for Ann, let me say that again. If Ann Sudmalis had not been successful here as the Liberal Party candidate at the last election, Bill Shorten would now be Prime Minister. Now if there's any better reason that local Liberals need to understand why it's important, then that's one. But, look, I know there have been some questions raised about this. We have a party where people have the opportunity to do this and we respect those, we respect those arrangements. But at the same time, you know, our party members carry a big responsibility.

QUESTION:

She's facing a possible challenge from a local man. What would your advice be to preselectors?

TREASURER:

Well, support the person in Ann who has demonstrated and delivered on the ground for her community and for the party. I mean, just recently we've just had Georgina Downer preselected in South Australia for the by-election seat in South Australia. We also, at Mayo we've already had Amanda Stoker preselected and now joining the Senate in Queensland replacing George Brandis, we've got the first female Foreign Minister, the first female Defence Minister, who's well known down in this neck of the woods, Marise Payne, and the work she has done with the local defence communities in the Shoalhaven. So you know, in the weeks ahead, and nominations I think close next Friday, I'm getting mine in too, so looking forward to having the support of my local team as well.

QUESTION:

look, just in light of the fact that the Liberal Party has been criticised for a lack of women in Parliament, do you think it would look bad if Ann Sudmalis was replaced by a male candidate?

TREASURER:

I think it would be a bad thing for the Government if Ann Sudmalis was replaced by any other candidate, and particularly a Labor candidate, and if they were to become the member for Gilmore at the next election, because a Labor win in Gilmore means Bill Shorten is the Prime Minister of Australia. That's what it comes down to. And that means the retirees' tax which will hit thousands upon thousands of people here in Gilmore, hitting them right across this country of more than $5 billion a year this retirees' tax. I mean, that's who's actually paying the extra tax under Labor. That's who's paying it. Let's make no mistake about that. If Bill Shorten becomes the Prime Minister, in their first Budget, the biggest tax item in their bag of taxes, which is pretty big, will actually be on retirees. Banks won't be paying any more over that four years. Big businesses won't be paying anymore over those four years. Hardworking self-funded retirees here in Gilmore, like all around the country, will be the biggest increase in tax payers of anyone else in the country. And so this suggestion that it's being paid for by someone else is not true. Under Bill Shorten's plan, what he's going to do is hit retirees with $5 billion and more in extra taxes.

QUESTION:

Is it true as reported… is it true as reported in the media that there is an effort among Liberals to make sure Ann Sudmalis is preselected? And if there is, how does that sit with your comments about letting democracy operate that you made in the Jane Prentice case?

TREASURER:

I'm a member of the New South Wales Division of the Liberal Party. I don't offer my commentary on other divisions. I never thought it was a good idea for Canberra to tell Queensland what to do or South Australia or, indeed, here in New South Wales. These are matters that are handled within our divisions. And my, I'm just here supporting Ann and happy to support Ann. I've supported Ann over a long period of time…

SUDMALIS:

Long time.

TREASURER:

…over a long period. As I did with Jo Gash before her. And always been happy to do that because she does a great job here on the ground so I'm making no secret of that. I'm making it really clear. But we are a grassroots Party and our preselection processes are as they are, and as I've just demonstrated, those preselection processes in South Australia and Queensland, in the case of Amanda Stoker replacing George Brandis, or Georgina Downer now contesting the seat of Mayo in South Australia. That's what our processes are about and the Party divisions actually determine those things, Tim. They're not determined by me or the Prime Minister or anyone else. They're determined by the Party Executive and the Party rank-and-file. And that's where this matter will be determined. And I look forward in the weeks ahead when Ann is re-endorsed and when Ann goes forward to the next election, you can all say "Isn't that great".

QUESTION:

Ann…

TREASURER:

I'm looking forward to your report, particularly, Tim, saying that. I think that will be a cracker.

QUESTION:

It will be. It will be.

TREASURER:

It will be a cracker.

QUESTION:

Are senior Liberals saying "Do not sack another women. Don't do that"? Is that what senior Liberals are saying?

TREASURER:

I support Ann because she's the great candidate and member for Gilmore. Just for the same reason that I thought it's great that Brett Whiteley is our candidate down there in Braddon. I think Brett's fantastic. I think Ann's fantastic. I think David Coleman, in the seat of Banks across the river from me, is a fantastic member. We've got great members on the ground and who are part of their communities. That's why they'll be supporting Ann.

QUESTION:

Are you one of the senior Liberals told Gareth Ward to back off?

TREASURER:

I haven't had a conversation with Gareth.

QUESTION:

Can the Liberal Party afford to lose a female sitting member at this point?

TREASURER:

What the Liberal Party and the Government can't afford is to hand the Government to Bill Shorten. And the country can't afford it either because the cost of that will be $220 billion in higher taxes over the next ten years. Bill Shorten Prime Minister equals all Australians pay more in higher taxes. That's what it means. You will pay more under Bill Shorten, and that's why it's so important, whether it's supporting Ann here as the member for Gilmore, underscore Federal Member elected by the people of Gilmore here in Gilmore, at the last election and the one before that. That's why it's important that we continue to ensure that we focus on putting our best foot forward and with Ann Sudmalis we're always putting our first foot forward.

QUESTION:

It's being reported that you've got a toxic relationship with Gareth Ward, is that true?

SUDMALIS:

I don't talk about friendships or otherwise in the Party, you know that. You're very familiar with that.

REPORTER:

Ann, what would your message be to preselectors?

SUDMALIS:

I've been talking to a couple of people and my message would be, and given that's not in process yet because it is not complete, is I've been doing a damned good job and there shouldn't be any reason to change the jockey on the horse. We've got a great horse, the Government's doing a phenomenal job, so why flick the jockey off? So that's my words to my preselectors.

REPORTER:

As far as people are concerned, like there does seem to be like a bit of a problem with a, I guess, public stoushes between Ann and Gareth Ward over funding for the Princes Highway, and I mean it just looks bad for the local community. I mean what can be done about that? Like shouldn't all Liberals be getting along?

TREASURER:

Well I think the best example of the dividend that has been established by the State and Federal Governments working together is right behind us.

SUDMALIS:

Yes. This is the bridge.

TREASURER:

This is the bridge.

SUDMALIS:

The bridge over troubled waters.

TREASURER:

$300 million…

QUESTION:

But how much money, how much money…

TREASURER:

…is going into this bridge to build this bridge. We're the ones who have stepped up together with the State Government to achieve that. And we'll continue to work together…

QUESTION:

But how much money is the Federal Government thrown in for all the Princess highway work, north of town? Nothing.

TREASURER:

Well I think, I commend the State Government for the work they've done, and why shouldn't we? I think the Berejiklian Government and the Baird Government and the O'Farrell Government have done a great job in answering to these needs on the south coast…

QUESTION:

Alright. Well Ann's asked, Ann's asked...

TREASURER:

So I think that's fantastic. Where Ann has been so much at the forefront is particularly on this project behind us here. And we're pleased to be able to support that. So good on the Berejiklian Government for investing in roads on the south coast and good on Ann Sudmalis for ensuring...

SUDMALIS:

Hassling the Treasurer...

TREASURER:

[laughs] …for hassling the Treasurer and the Prime Minister and the Infrastructure Minister and so on to ensure that we can secure this important funding for what is an important project.

QUESTION:

So Ann's written to the Deputy Prime Minister…

TREASURER:

Hang on, stop shouting, stop shouting.

QUESTION:

Ann has written to the Deputy Prime Minister for $1.28 billion for further works on the Princes Highway for the south. Are you going to support that?

TREASURER:

We're looking very closely at that.

SUDMALIS:

Remember, that's my job.

QUESTION:

Live exports [inaudible]…

TREASURER:

Sorry?

QUESTION:

If I might on live exports. Were you one of the senior Liberals yesterday who said this report has got to wait for a day? Because apparently it was delayed, and if so why?

TREASURER:

I don't know what you're referring to Tim I was in Rockhampton yesterday on my way back to Sydney and I was in Townsville the day before.

QUESTION:

Let me then get your response to the live exports thing because there's a big economic element to the question of live exports. Some believe it should have been halted today or at least the summer trade of live exports...

TREASURER:

Well Minister Littleproud, I think, has been handling this issue sensitively and appropriately, and he'll be the one who'll be making a response on behalf of the Government to these issues, and he has the full support of the Government in doing that. I think he's addressing it in a very patient and sober way and which I think you need to something as sensitive as this. There is a lot of feeling about this issue. That's understood. And I think he's playing the issue and going down the right course on this issue. He's doing it in a very responsible and a very measured way, a very, very measured way. And that's what's creating jobs in this country. A Government that actually takes its responsibility seriously, creates a stronger economy. You know, we've created a million jobs since we've come to Government. That's welcome. And one of if reasons we've been able to do that is because we have fantastic members…

SUDMALIS:

Thanks again.

TREASURER:

…like Ann Sudmalis, who you can see is in the warm embrace of the Turnbull Government. Great to see you! Thanks very much.