14 November 2017
Transcript - #2017219, 2017

Doorstop Interview, Queensland

SUBJECTS: Visit to electorate of Petrie; Queensland election; Turnbull Government’s legislated tax cut for small and medium businesses; Bill Shorten’s business tax hike; Australian business conditions at highest level in 20 years; strongest growth in full time employment in 40 years; strongest trade performance in 40 years; Bennelong by-election; ICAC; Kristina Keneally’s $316 million cut to NSW public schools funding; Jacqui Lambie; same-sex marriage survey.


Welcome everyone to the Petrie electorate. I am Luke Howarth, Federal Member for Petrie. I want to thank Australia’s Treasurer the Honourable Scott Morrison for coming up to Petrie, to this very important business in my electorate Kingswood Cabinets and I want to thank Tom and his wife Sarah for what they do as a local business in this area, employing local people, manufacturing kitchens for the people of Petrie and right around Australia. It is employers like Tom and Sarah and businesses like that that is really important for my area and as a government they are the sort of people we want to encourage to keep employing. So, I might also just acknowledge as well Kara Thomas, the Liberal National Party candidate for Bancroft who is working really hard to secure this seat. So, Tim Nicholls and the Liberal National Party can govern in Queensland. We need that better government in Queensland. So, welcome as well, Kara. I will hand over to the Treasurer now to say a few words.


Thanks very much. It is great to be here and I particularly want to thank Tom for welcoming us into his business and for Kara, Luke and I to join you. Luke it is always great to be here in your electorate here in Queensland in Brisbane. This is a very totemic business to be in because it actually highlights some significant things that are happening both at the state election and of course what is happening in Federal politics.

What we are doing as a federal government under the Turnbull Government is we are giving businesses like Tom’s a tax cut. This year he is paying less tax then he did last year. Last year he got accessed to the instant asset write off because businesses up to $10 million in turnover were going to be eligible to access the instant asset write off. So tax cuts, the instant asset write off, last year he could have accessed the GST on a cash basis, pool depreciation, the tax benefits that go with being a small business. Now Tom’s business is continuing to grow and that is good news. There are 50 people working here, he puts on two apprentices every year and we just met one of the apprentices that have been here for ten years and now of course is fully trained and is doing a great job here ten years later. Businesses like this create those jobs, they train people, they create bonds in the local community and it is all based on them being successful and backing themselves and the Turnbull Government is doing exactly that with our policies on business taxation. Now this year he will have clicked over that $10 million mark and good for him but what Bill Shorten wants to do if he is elected is rip that tax cut away from him and over 100,000 businesses that would currently be getting a tax cut under the Turnbull Government. They will reverse those tax cuts we’ve given for small and medium sized businesses and that is not good for jobs and it is not good for growth whether it is here in Queensland or anywhere else.

The other reason it is great to be here in Queensland today is because Tim Nicholls wants to support small business as well. Tim Nicholls is out there in the Queensland election saying he wants small businesses to pay more tax by paying more payroll tax. So, whether it is Tim Nicholls or Malcolm Turnbull, we know that when small and medium sized businesses have less of the tax monkey on their back they can employ more Australians and get on with the job of creating local jobs whether it is here in Petrie or anywhere else around the country. So it is great to be here and to once again be demonstrating what is happening on the ground.

I note a couple of other things today, I am happy to take questions on the announcements in New South Wales about the by-election and happy to respond to that. But I also note today that the National Australia Bank survey showed that Australia’s business conditions – this was their survey – are at their best level in 20 years. That is a strong result and we will continue to put the policies in place that support those strong business conditions, whether it is a strong trade environment, a competitive tax regime, ensuing that we have got the defence procurement policies in place that are rejuvenating Australian manufacturing all around the country. These are the policies that are creating jobs, the strongest jobs growth in full time employment in 40 years. The strongest trade performance, consecutive, month-on-month in 40 years. That is the economic growth. That is the jobs and growth story that is a reality here in Queensland under the Turnbull Government.


So, on to those issues, are you worried that John Alexander won’t be able to beat Kristina Keneally at a by-election?


Not far from here in Queensland where I am standing today the Labor party thought they could put a former Queensland Labor Premier and force them on a local community many miles away from where he resided as well. What the people of Bert van Manen’s electorate demonstrated in Forde is they would rather have someone who has a demonstrated track record of local commitment who has been putting in for them day in day out, year in year out as John Alexander has done also in his electorate of Bennelong, just like Bert van Manen had done down there in Forde and just as Luke has done here in Petrie. One thing that Luke has in common with John Alexander is they both had an increase in their margins at the last election because they were great local members. John Alexander is someone who has served his country, both on the playing field as a great tennis professional but also in our parliament as a great local member in Ryde and there’s a contrast and a choice in this by-election coming up in Bennelong. The person Bill Shorten has chosen to represent him in this by-election is the person Eddie Obeid chose to be his premier in New South Wales. Now, Eddie Obeid today is in jail. The person who Bill Shorten has chosen to be his candidate in the by-election in Bennelong, one of the first people they appointed to their Cabinet was Ian Macdonald. Ian Macdonald is also in jail now following his time serving in Labor Cabinets in New South Wales. On top of that, there were two other members – one Joe Tripodi. Joe Tripodi was responsible for putting Kristina Keneally into the Parliament in New South Wales. Joe Tripodi was found to be corrupt by ICAC and as premier, she never referred Joe Tripodi to ICAC. Tony Kelly was another one who was found to be corrupt by ICAC – someone else she wouldn’t refer – and he served in her Cabinet. On top of that, we had Karyn Paluzzano – a parliamentary secretary in her government that she refused to stand down who later pleaded guilty to misusing public money. Now, that’s just the start of it. $316 million is what Kristina Keneally cut out of schools funding in New South Wales. She was part of the government that gold-plated transmission companies in New South Wales for electricity which we just found from the ACCC put electricity prices in New South Wales through the roof.

So, this is who Bill Shorten has chosen to be his candidate in Bennelong. Who the Liberal Party are putting forward is John Alexander. John Alexander, someone who was re-endorsed at the last election, who’s shown a lot of honesty, integrity in standing up and identifying the issue that has been present which has forced this by-election, and he’s putting himself before the people of Bennelong once again. He’s got a great track record of local commitment and fighting for issues locally and getting results. So, I think there’s a very clear choice.


What’s your reaction to Jacqui Lambie’s resignation?


That’s a matter for Jacqui Lambie and she has taken the decision based on becoming aware of the fact that she’s ineligible under section 44. John Alexander has taken the right decision in resigning from the Parliament and putting himself forward again for re-election. What that compares to is the Labor party who think they’re above the High Court. They think they are in a position to judge who should and should not be referred based on their own assessments. Well, I’m sorry, Bill Shorten is many things but a High Court Justice is not one of them and he should be prepared to enable  people who clearly, on the facts as we know them, do not line up with the High Court’s most recent decision and if he’s confident about his position, well, he should be happy to have these matters referred off to the High Court, or even still, he should be happier to do as Jacqui Lambie has done and particularly, John Alexander has done, and be happy to resubmit himself to the election at a by-election of his own constituents. I think John has every reason to be confident that he can go back before his local constituents because he’s got a strong track record and Bill Shorten can think he can come in and impose a former premier, as I said it was Peter Beattie that they tried to force on the people of Forde, well the only difference between Peter Beattie and Kristina Keneally is that Peter Beattie was a half-decent premier.


On to a separate issue, are there sufficient religious protections in Dean Smith’s same-sex marriage bill or do you support James Patterson’s legislation?


I support there being strong religious protections in the bill should tomorrow, the Australian people have decided through the marriage survey that they would like to proceed to see same-sex marriage legislated in Australia. If that’s the outcome of tomorrow, the Government gave a very clear commitment that it would be the Australian Parliament then who would decide how to progress that matter and legislate that before the end of the year and I was committed to that as every other member of the Government. I do think there needs to be strong protections, I’m aware of the Smith bill and I think there would need, personally, additional protections to those provided in the Dean Smith bill. But that’s just my view as the Member for Cook in New South Wales, one of a 150 members of the federal House of Representatives and that’s where this issue will be determined.

Okay, thanks very much for your time.