Doorstop - Stirling, South Australia
GEORINA DOWNER: It is great to be here in the Adelaide Hillswith another Hills girl, Julie Bishop Foreign Minister of Australia. We havehad a wonderful time. Julie Bishop participated in the Mount Barker Park Run -we got, I think, a very good time - still waiting on the results. We have alsobeen at the Woodside Netball watching the fantastic sense of community spiritout there where all these boys and girls are playing netball throughout theHills in one location in Woodside. Tomorrow we will be heading to Strathalbynand talking about how we can help fix some of our regional roads which are inreal need of investment here in the Adelaide Hills.
Minister, ithas just been wonderful to have you here and I do thank you for coming to Mayoand of course coming back home to the Adelaide Hills.
We are herein Stirling talking to a number of small businesses and we've been doing a lotover the last 24 hours. In fact, I was just talking to the owner about herturnover and what impact the Turnbull Government's tax cuts will have on herbusiness. What it means is that their business will have more money in theirpocket, more money to reinvest in their business to employ more people. Our taxplan for small and medium businesses gives these businesses the opportunitiesthey need to grow, to employ more people - and that is how you get more jobs.
In contrast,Labor's tax plan is now a shemozzle but even though Bill Shorten has backflipped, even though he has been rolled by his Shadow Cabinet, even though hisParty doesn't have confidence in him, under a Labor Government small businessessuch as this one would still be paying higher taxes.
JOURNALIST: How much has Shorten's back flip helped yourchances in Longman and Braddon?
JULIE BISHOP: It certainly hasn't helped Labor's chances.He went out, he spoke the truth and said that he would increase taxes onbusinesses that had already received a tax cut. He has been rolled by hisShadow Cabinet. He wants the Australian people to have confidence in him. Whyshould the people of Australia have confidence in Bill Shorten when his ownParty doesn't have confidence in his judgement?
JOURNALIST: Who would you prefer to face as oppositionleader at the next election, Bill Shorten or Anthony Albanese?
JULIE BISHOP: It wouldn't matter who Labor put up asleader. The Labor Party is anti-business. The Labor Party is anti-jobs. Itwouldn't matter who they choose as leader it is the policies that count and weknow that Labor is at war with business.
JOURNALIST: In terms of lower taxes for business, do youthink you can campaign on something that is coming into full force in 2026?
JULIE BISHOP: People appreciate that we have a plan. Wehave a plan to bring down taxes. They know it is going to take time. Theyunderstand that we have a massive debt that we inherited from Labor but we areturning the corner on debt and we are going to get the Budget back into surplusahead of time and we can pay for the things that Labor didn't pay for.
Theannouncement yesterday about the new Future Frigates, nine new frigates to bebuilt here in South Australia, more jobs for South Australia, advancedmanufacturing, high skilled jobs. Under Labor, under the Rudd-Gillard-Ruddyears, not one new naval boat was commissioned. Under us we now have theoffshore patrol vessels, we have submarines, we have the Future Frigates.
Anotherexample, if you haven't got the money to pay for lifesaving drugs, then youhave lost control of the Budget. Under Labor, they ceased listing lifesavingdrugs on the PBS because they had to get the Budget back into order. That iswhy focusing on the economy is so important and that is why I believe peoplewill invest in our plan for cutting taxing over time.
JOURNALIST: Minister, would you have liked to have seenAustal involved in the announcement yesterday?
JULIE BISHOP: Austal has been discussing the contract withBAE and I understand there are opportunities for Austal. In fact, there areopportunities for up to 500 companies, we understand, across Australia. 4,000jobs across Australia, most of them here in what is becoming the shipbuildinghub of Australia, in South Australia. I know Georgina is delighted about that,she was at the announcement yesterday. It also means jobs across Australia,direct and indirect. This is huge news for South Australia but it is alsofantastic news across the country. Our defence industry profile is growingaround the world. As I meet foreign ministers and defence ministers around theworld, Australia is being recognised as a hub for defence industry. It is alsoabout national security and the Turnbull Government places both our economicsecurity and the national security in terms of defence, as our highestpriorities.
JOURNALIST: Minister, on another issue, on the defenceissue of the mishandling of the so-called 'Jedi Council' investigation, doesthe former head, David Morrison, have questions to answer?
JULIE BISHOP: This is a matter that the Defence Departmenthas dealt with. I understand Defence has put out a statement and I am not goingto add to that. It is a matter for the Defence Minister to talk about and I amnot going to progress the discussions.
JOURNALIST: You don't think it is appropriate for theGovernment to reopen the case?
JULIE BISHOP: It is not appropriate for me to talk about aninvestigation that was conducted by the Defence Department. It is a matter forthe Minister for Defence to comment upon.
JOURNALIST: Back to your comments on Bill Shorten'sleadership, do you think Anthony Albanese will move against him?
JULIE BISHOP: That is a question you will have to put toAnthony Albanese. It was a huge blow to Bill Shorten yesterday to have the backflip on an announcement he had only made a couple of days before. It shows thathis judgement is flawed and that his party room don't have confidence in hisjudgement. The fact that a leader of a party had his central tax policy planpulled out from under him only a couple of days after announcing it speaksvolumes about the lack of confidence in Bill Shorten's judgement.
JOURNALIST: Do you think Malcolm Turnbull will be facingBill Shorten at the next election?
JULIE BISHOP: I don't know who the Labor Party will have astheir leader. I know Malcolm Turnbull will present to the Australian people astrong economic plan that supports economic growth, that supports jobopportunities particularly here in South Australia.
JOURNALIST: Minister, are you concerned about DavidMorrison's treatment of soldiers impacted by the botched inquiry?
JULIE BISHOP: I am not going to go into this inquiry. Itwas handled by the Defence Department. They've put out a release and I am notgoing to comment further.
JOURNALIST: Minister, on penalty rate cuts that willcome into effect tomorrow, how will businesses like this be affected?
JULIE BISHOP: This is a very good question and I am gladyou raised it because here is another example of Bill Shorten's back flips. Youwill all recall that when he was the leader of the Union movement in Australiahe traded away the penalty rates of low paid workers for no compensation atall, just a kickback into union slush funds. In 2013, when he was the Ministerfor Workplace Relations, he introduced these penalty rate reviews. He appointedthe umpire, the President of the Fair Work Commission, and he knew that over timepenalty rates would reduce. Now he is saying that he had nothing to do with it,that he is not going to back the finding of the independent umpire that heappointed. So it is just another example of his back flips.
I think thatthe independent umpire's view has to be respected and hopefully businesses likethis one will continue to employ more people if they have more access to thefunds that they raise.
JOURNALIST: AndMs Downer?
GEORGINA DOWNER: I totally agree with the ForeignMinister. I think this is important for businesses to be able to employ morepeople and I think we need to respect the independence of the Fair WorkCommission. That is appropriate that we have an independent Fair WorkCommission that determines these penalty rates and the minimum wage. They setthose rates outside the sort of political football of debates and you have seenthe way Bill Shorten has handled this over the years, flip flop betweenpolicies and I think it is appropriate that we have the independent Fair WorkCommission to determine these rates. They have taken a view based on economicconditions and it will be great to see businesses like the Organic Market herein Stirling take on more young people, to employ them, give them more workopportunities and increase their hours too.
JOURNALIST: Will the Government do anything to preventthe Fair Work Commission from reducing rates in the future?
JULIE BISHOP: The whole point of a Fair Work Commission isto be an independent umpire and as Georgina said, take these issues out of therealm of the political football match that goes on in Canberra. The point I ammaking is that Bill Shorten introduced this framework. It was Bill Shorten'sidea to have the penalty rates reviewed and to have the Fair Work Commissionumpire to determine the outcome and he said that he would back the umpire'sdecision. Now, he's saying he won't back the umpire's decision and he is makingout that he had nothing to do with it. That is why the Australian people don'ttrust Bill Shorten. You can't believe a word he says.
JOURNALIST: Minister, just on another matter, have you hadany discussions with the East Timor government after the Attorney Generalapproved the prosecution of Witness K and his lawyer?
JULIE BISHOP: I have met with the Ambassador and we areplanning my visit to East Timor shortly so yes, we have spoken about my visit.The matter of the prosecution of Witness K has nothing to do with Timor-Leste,it is all to do with a domestic prosecution.
JOURNALIST: Just back on penalty rates, in the pastyou've said – or when you were here – you said that penalty rates should be cutaltogether and the minimum wage should be abolished, do you not stand by thosecomments anymore?
GEORGINA DOWNER: I fully support the independenceof the Fair Work Commission. As I said before, I don't think that people'spenalty rates or the minimum wage should be a political football. I think weshould legitimately have a debate about this but when it comes to decisionsabout penalty rates and the minimum wage I think it is appropriate that we havean independent Fair Work Commission that determines these issues, taking intoaccount economic conditions, taking the politics out of this and making surethat we get the best outcomes with these decisions for businesses so they cantake on more people, employ more people, give people more hours if they do havea part-time job and I think that is a really good outcome for the economy andfor everyday people's lives.
JOURNALIST: Do you think that some of the things you saidat the IGA are at odds with the things you are saying now that you are acandidate?
GEORGINA DOWNER: No.
JOURNALIST: Minister, I just wanted to ask you a quickquestion about Huawei and it has come out and defended its, sort of,credentials to do with the 5G network, could you perhaps explain what sorts ofconcerns the Government has in terms of that?
JULIE BISHOP: The matter of our 5G network has not yet comebefore the National Security Committee, nor before the Cabinet so it wouldn'tbe appropriate for me to discuss specific security issues nor would I discussnational security issues in any event, but we will most certainly ensure thatAustralia gets the best service possible, that we focus on the economicopportunities as well as national security. They are the fundamentals.
JOURNALIST: Minister, you mentioned before it isparticularly hard for a government to win by-elections, so therefore are thesemore a test of Malcolm Turnbull's leadership or Bill Shorten's?
JULIE BISHOP: These by-elections were forced upon us. Theseby-elections are as a result of Labor members, and in this case Rebekha Sharkie,refusing to admit that they were ineligible for Parliament when it was quiteobvious after the High Court cases last year that they were ineligible. Wecould have had all of this dealt with last year but they steadfastly refused toadmit that they wereineligible to sit and then we have these by-elections onthe 28th of July. …
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