31 October 2016
Transcript - #2016157, 2016

Doorstop Interview, Sydney

SUBJECTS: CFMEU video threat to Bill Shorten; Bill Shorten’s weakness on border protection; paid parental leave; Andrew Robb

TREASURER:

Bill Shorten’s weakness is on display again today. We’ve seen with the quite damning footage from the CFMEU, issuing threats and intimidation, not on a building site this time, but to the Labor Party itself. This just indicates again the weakness of the Labor Party in not standing up to the CFMEU, rolling over, and putting their candidates in the parliament. Candidates, frankly, from the union movement, which the Royal Commission themselves has recommended that charges be laid against them, and be pursued.

So, the test for Bill Shorten is – will he stand up to militant unions, or will he continue to do what he’s been doing today and up until this point, to call them the side of the angels. To back them in. To be intimidated by them. Not stand up to them. Continue to show a weakness, towards the union movement, and this is costing Australians. The union movement, the militant union movement in the building and construction industry in increasing the cost the construction projects, estimated by around 30 per cent. That means it costs more to build a hospital. More to build a school. More to build roads. More to build all of these things, not only for the taxpayer, but the cost of lost jobs, the cost of lost investment, by militant unions driving up the price of doing business in this country. That’s why this is important, it’s costing our economy that the Labor Party is being intimidated by the movement in not supporting the reintroduction of the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

Now we’ve seen Bill Shorten’s weakness also now exposed on the immigration front. He’s already blinked. This is an area that I know from personal experience you can’t blink when it comes to dealing with people smugglers. The Labor Party is only being asked to support their actual policy position in legislation, but we’ve seen nothing from him, heard nothing from in over 24 hours. Instead we’ve heard from the deputy leader, one of the key figures of the left of the Labor Party, Tanya Plibersek, calling the shots on Labor’s immigration policy. If Bill Shorten is this weak in opposition, imagine how weak he would be as a Prime Minister, unable to stand up to people smugglers, unable to stand up to militant unions who are calling the shots within the Labor Party.

QUESTION:

Mr Morrison, Nick Xenophon appears to have (inaudible) his position on paid parental leave, and has now made it clear that he won’t back the proposal in its current form, what changes are you willing to make to pass this legislation?

TREASURER:

I’ll be catching up with Nick Xenophon this week and we’ll continue to work through, not just that measure, but the series of measures that are before the parliament to restore the Budget to balance. There are some big decisions that have to be made in the Senate, about the Budget, and obviously senator Xenophon’s NXT Party will be critical in making that decision about whether the deficit is higher or lower, or the debt is higher or the debt is lower, and the obvious pressure that places on our ratings from the ratings agencies who have already issued their warning to the parliament about the need to support the Government’s plan, and program to restore the budget to balance to increase our financial resilience. So they’re the issue I’ll be talking to Senator Xenophon about. Those discussions have been ongoing for some time now. I note the issue that has emerged over the weekend in the response that the NXT Party gave on this particular issue, which Senator Xenophon seemed to be unaware of, but anyway, we’ll work through those issues with Senator Xenophon. What I want to ensure is that Australians are not forced to pay in the future higher taxes for benefits that people are wanting to have today. We can’t ask our children to have higher debt, and higher taxes, because today we’re not willing to live within our means. That is just simply unfair to our kids.

QUESTION:

Andrew Robb had frequent with Landbridge going back to the start of the Abbott Government, should he have left significant space between finishing up as a Minister and moving into this role?

TREASURER:

Andrew Robb is fully aware of what the requirements were of the ministerial code and would always have acted consistent with that.

QUESTION:

How can Mr Robb possibly guarantee that he will not use information he was privy to within cabinet while lobbying from Landbridge?

TREASURER:

You’d have to suggest to me where there is a risk in that occurring. I don’t think there’s been anything established of there being risk along those lines. You’ll remember in particular on the Port of Darwin issue that that wasn’t a matter that came before the Federal Government for a decision. That was a matter that was decided by the Northern Territory Government. There was no FIRB approval because there was no FIRB assessment required under the Act, so I’m not sure what the suggestion is.

QUESTION:

Are you comfortable with him taking that position?

TREASURER:

Andrew Rodd is a person of the highest integrity. I’ve known him for a very long time. He’s our finest ever Trade Minister and Australians will be benefitting from his work, as Trade Minister, for generations to come. If people are suggesting anything about Andrew Robb, then frankly, they’re impugning our finest ever Trade Minister and they’re doing it without any basis at all, and just seeking to slur.

What’s going on today, is that the Labor Party are refusing to allow the restoration of the Australian Building and Construction Commission to reinforce the rule of law on building sites around the country. We know why they’re doing that, because the CFMEU are calling the shots over Bill Shorten and over the Labor Party he leads. Bill Shorten is completely captivated and intimidated by the CFMEU, and as a result, Australians will pay more for that weakness on Bill Shorten’s part, if we’re unable to get this Bill through the parliament.

Thanks for your time.