Doorstop with Attorney General, the Hon Christian Porter MP

  • Transcript, E&OE

CHRISTIANPORTER: Welcomeout to Ellenbrook. It is really good to have you all out here in the heart ofthe Pearce electorate. We are out here today selling the initatives in theTurnbull Federal Budget and how they will be affecting local people here inEllenbrook and throughout the great 14,000 square kilometres of my electorate. No better person tohelp sell that message and help explain the benefits to Western Australia thanJulie Bishop. I might, before getting Julie to say a few words, just note thatyou are basically standing in infrastructure central for Australia at themoment. Behind us is the billion-dollar NorthLink Project – 80 per cent fundedby the Federal Government. We funded 50 per cent of the extension of thefreeway, north up to Hester Avenue, and now we are extending it further up toRomeo Road. Again, half funded by the Turnbull Commonwealth Government. Youhave also of course got Ellenbrook Rail which is now actually going to be a realitywith real money in a real budget because Malcolm Turnbull sees the great needwe have for congestion busting infrastructure in WA. So I am enormously pleasedJulie to have you here. This is now an infrastructure hotspot for Australia.There is more investment in the area that surrounds us now than there ever hasbeen in the history of this area and it makes me enormously proud to haveplayed my part with Julie and with other members of the Western Australianteam, getting this congestion busting infrastructure money into WA. Julie,thanks very much. Great to have you here.

JULIE BISHOP: Thank you, Christian. I amdelighted to be with my Cabinet colleague and West Australian colleagueChristian Porter in his electorate as we talk to local people about the impactof the Turnbull Government's Budget on local businesses, on local schools andlocal services. This Budget delivers according to the Liberal Party's timelessvalues. We are living within our means as a government. We are reducingspending, yet investing in essential services, essential infrastructure,productivity enhancing infrastructure. We are providing tax relief toAustralians who want more of the money they earn to spend as they want to spendit, and that way we have also got a path back to surplus. We are the only partywith a credible path back to surplus and now we can start the long and arduoustask of paying back Labor's debt. This is a responsible budget. Today we wereat Ellenbrook School and we are delighted to confirm there will be extrafunding for school students across Western Australia - an additional $1.7billion for Western Australia schools – and that meant a $2,000 increase perstudent at Ellenbrook. It is good news and we are getting a strong receptionfrom people who recognise that this as a responsible Budget and it is right forour times.

JOURNALIST: Ms Bishop, why has the LiberalParty chosen not to contest the seat of Perth and Fremantle?

JULIE BISHOP: The seat of Fremantle has come up aspart of a number of by-elections caused by Bill Shorten's broken promise to theAustralian people. Let's remember that he looked the Australian people in theeye and said that none of his members had any problem with their citizenship,and now we know that at least four have. We are facing by-elections in Queensland,in South Australia and Western Australia as a result of Bill Shorten's brokenpromise, his broken guarantee to the Australian people. In addition, in theseat of Perth, there is a by-election at the same time. There is also now aby-election at a state level in Darling Range. We have limited resources. Wealso know that the seat of Perth is a Labor stronghold. A government has notwon a by-election off an opposition seat since 1911 so we have got to berealistic. Even at the height of the anti-Western Australian campaign of theRudd-Gillard government when they had the mining tax, and the carbon tax, and borderprotection out of control, the people of Perth still returned a Labor member tothe seat of Perth. Even when we had 57 per cent of the 2-party preferred vote,the electors of Perth still returned a Labor member to Perth. We are beingpragmatic about it. We are having to fight by-elections across Australia as aresult of Bill Shorten misleading the Australian people about the status of thecitizenship of his members, and we will focus on those by-elections. Also, we arefocusing our efforts and our resources on the general election which will beheld in 2019.

JOURNALIST: Christian Porter - how much of adrag is the GST, or has it been on you? You promised to fix the problem – youhaven't. How much responsibility do you take for that?

CHRISTIAN PORTER: Itis obviously a very, very hard problem to fix, and I think that when I lookaround – myself and my colleagues, Julie and Mathias - what we have managed todo is $3.6 billion worth of compensation money prior to this Budget. Another$3.2 billion in this Budget. We've managed to commission a ProductivityCommission Report, which is the first authoritative national report that saysthat the present system needs fixing and that there are very significantdeficiencies. Probably, most importantly of all, is we have managed to smokeout Bill Shorten and Labor, and they have said, unequivocally, that they will never,ever do anything to change and fix the formula. There is still much more to do,but if you're asking whether we believe that we are in there fighting every day- we believe that we are - because we are. We've not achieved everything thatwe would want, but we've achieved more than any other group of people in thehistory of this problem. So there's more to be done, but our record, I think,is a very positive one.

JOURNALIST: Whilethe Foreign Minister is standing next to you, do you want to debunk thoserumours that you're trying to steal her seat?

CHRISTIAN PORTER: Julie, don't worry! Julie's out here helpingme. I'm helping her. Look, it was reported recently in the news that someoneapproached me about these types of issues. I unequivocally said: "No". Myoffice is down the road. My home is in the electorate. This is where I live.It's a place that I love. My commitment is to the electorate, and you can seethat commitment written in the billions of dollars that I have managed toachieve with the help of great advocacy from Julie and from my colleagues tobuild better lives for people in my community. I'm not going anywhere.

JULIE BISHOP: Mypreselection is coming up shortly, and I am the only candidate for preselectionin the seat of Curtin. Christian is the only candidate for the seat of Pearce.He is doing a magnificent job as the local member and the feedback I got today,particularly from the local business people, is that Christian Porter is deliveringfor the seat of Pearce.

JOURNALIST: Ms Bishop, there has been anintervention in Ian Goodenough's seat in that preselection. If it is goodenough for Ian Goodenough, why not for Jane Prentice?

JULIE BISHOP: I can only speak on behalf of theState Division, well in relation to the State Division here in Western Australia,and steps were taken in relation to the seat of Moore by the State Division.The LNP Division in Queensland - I can't speak for them. That's a matter that theQueensland LNP deals with, but it is a reminder to us all that these pre-selectionscan't be taken for granted. We all have to work very hard to maintain connectionwith our local community. Jane Prentice is a dear colleague of mine. She's beenan outstanding Minister, particularly in the area of the National DisabilityInsurance Scheme, and I look forward to supporting more female candidates inupcoming elections. Thanks to Bill Shorten, we have a number of by-elections tocontest.

JOURNALIST: Does the Liberal Party have a womenproblem, and if so, what is being done about it?

JULIE BISHOP: I'm the Deputy Leader of the LiberalParty. I've been the Deputy Leader for 11 years. I'm a female. I'm the firstfemale Foreign Minister. It look a Liberal Coalition to deliver the firstfemale Foreign Minister, and the first female Defence Minister in Marise Payne.We of course would like to see more women in Parliament. I certainly encouragemore women. Kelly O'Dwyer, the Minister for Women, has set up the Enid Lyons FightingFund to ensure that we can get more female candidates into politics. But at theend of the day, we want to see the best people - we choose our candidates onmerit and we want to ensure that they best represent the interests of the localpeople.

JOURNALIST: PeterDutton says 50 per cent of pre-selectors were women and they voted to dump JanePrentice. So, is it women dumping women?

JULIE BISHOP: Itis a pre-selection in a seat in Queensland. I am not going to run a commentaryon every preselection because thanks to Bill Shorten we now have a number ofby-elections where we want to see females standing, as well as males. We wantto attract high quality candidates. I should point out, in Queensland, recentlyGeorge Brandis stood down and he was replaced as a Senator by Amanda Stoker – afemale replacing a male.

JOURNALIST: MrPorter, are you convinced by Anne Aly's correspondence from the Egyptianembassy about her citizenship issue and if not will you be pursuing the matterfurther?

CHRISTIAN PORTER: We place great and proper reliance on notificationinformation that comes from embassies, so as far as I am concerned thatnotification from the embassy is to be read at its face value – yes, I acceptit totally.

JULIE BISHOP: Itdoes raise questions about the Members of Parliament that Bill Shorten hasknown for months were not eligible to sit in the Parliament, and yet he refusedto the refer them to the High Court. This again goes to Bill Shorten'scredibility. He cannot be trusted. He cannot be believed. He looked the peoplein the eye, the Australian people, and he said time and time again there wereno questions about any of his members, and all the while he knew that at leastfour were ineligible to sit in the Parliament.

CHRISTIAN PORTER: Also, Anne Aly has done what the ParliamentaryRegister required. This Parliamentary Register was of course sought by BillShorten and created by the Government. It sets the same standard rules forevery Member of Parliament, and importantly, that part of the form for theParliamentary Register says that you need to have evidence of the conclusion ofthe renunciation process – not merely note that you started it. Now, Anne Aly,when the registry first came into being had indicated that she had started therenunciation process and it has taken her quite some time to evidence that itwas completed. I think the question now becomes: are there other Members ofParliament? I believe there may be two members of the Labor Party who evidencedthe commencement of the renunciation process, but not the completion of therenunciation process. The Parliament Register has to be abided by. It is timefor those two to abide by the Register.

If I mightjust, while I have you here, raise one local matter – I have been going throughthe state budget which was handed down this week and state budgets aresomething that I am reasonably familiar with. One of the critical projects formy electorate is the extension of the freeway north up to Romeo Road.Previously the Federal Government had been the majority funder of the firstpart of the extension up to Hesker Avenue. The extension up to Romeo Road isutterly critical for the northern suburbs of Perth. It is something that theTurnbull Government in the infrastructure package that was delivered just weeksago has committed $108 million to, and as I thumbed through the State Budgetlooking for the partner money from the State Government, I was astonished tosee that it was not in the state budget. Now, the $3.2 billion that wecommitted was meant to be partnered on a whole range of projects with the stategovernment. In almost all cases the money appears in the state budget, it isjust astonishing and inexplicable that the freeway extension north to RomeoRoad does not appear in the state budget. Now I hope, as good members of themedia you will put this question to the State Government. Do not accept rubbisharound the need for a business case or final planning. The argument always waswhen the extension to Hester was completed, that perhaps it should've just beenextended right out there when the trucks were on the road because whilst a verylarge project, the planning was very advanced, the contracts have clearprecedent because of the extension out to Hester. There is partner funding fromthe State Government for a whole range of projects that we funded where thebusiness cases are not yet finalised but are before Infrastructure Australia. Iam just at a loss as to why this critical project is not in the state budget.The only thing I can think of is that it is one of those classic accountingtricks to try and make the State Government books look better than theyactually are. This should be in the budget now. Construction should start essentiallystraight away which means that the State Government money should be in thebudget, and I hope that you guys can help me get to the bottom of it.

JOURNALIST: Ms Bishop, today's Newspollshowed a slightly closer race than it has looked for a while. Is there anytemptation to go to an election this year?

JULIE BISHOP: The Prime Minister has said that theelection is due next year and it will take place next year. I think theNewspoll reflects the fact that we have a tale of two competing visions forAustralia. Ours, contained in our Budget, to give Australians a fair go, givethem an opportunity to invest more of their money, provide the essentialservices that they need but put the national accounts back in to order, get theBudget back into surplus so we can start the arduous task of paying off Labor'sdebt. Whereas Labor's budget is just a typical Labor big-spending,unfunded-spending, high-taxing, burdening future generations with debt. I thinkthe Australian people now have a very clear choice between the responsibleapproach in economic management and national security – the Turnbull Government– and the profligate spending, high-taxing, high-spending, burdening futuregenerations with debt of Bill Shorten's opposition.

JOURNALIST: Will you update travel advice toIndonesia amid these latest blasts?

JULIE BISHOP: We are deeply concerned by thelatest spate of terrorist attacks. We condemn these cowardly attacks over theweekend. There are in fact reports that there has been another attack that hastaken place today. Innocent people have been murdered in these attacks. TheAustralian Government will continue to work very closely with the IndonesianGovernment to ensure that the perpetrators are held to account, and that we canprevent terrorist attacks as best we can. We work very closely with Indonesiaand in law enforcement, in security, intelligence, counter-terrorism generally.We express our deepest condolences to the families of those killed and hopethat those who have been injured recover soon. Australia must be ever alert,ever vigilant to ensure that we can prevent terrorist attacks taking place onour soil.

JOURNALIST: DoesAustralia have any plans to move its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem?


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