Subjects: Economic growth; Business investment; Longman by-election; Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation; Facebook; Company tax; Isaak El Matari; QLD Police rescue; Hospital funding.CANDIDATE FOR LONGMAN, MR TREVOR RUTHENBERG:
Folks, welcome to Longman and to this fantastic business. It’s great to have the Prime Minister here, thank you Malcolm for coming up and visiting us. Businesses like this don’t happen without strong economies. In Longman, a couple of our big issues are congestion and were dealing with that. We’ve already put money up to deal with the Bruce Highway and to deal with the railway line. Significant infrastructure upgrades. But also, jobs are a big issue and there a lot of small businesses in this electorate. And again, our tax breaks, the $20,000 claim back is just fantastic for small businesses. We’ve also got crime creeping up a little bit in some of our areas and we need to start addressing that. Again, fantastic to have you Prime Minister, thank you for coming. Over to you.
Well, thanks Trevor and it’s great to be here in a business – where’s the boss? Come down and join us. Do you think you can get Trevor on the tools? You know Trevor has done this work before when you were in the Air Force?
I’m an airframe fitter from way back.
Good on you. Thank you so much. Thank you very much Neil, good on you. This is a great Australian business.
Small businesses, medium businesses, Australian-owned, family-owned; and they are the businesses that are investing and getting ahead, because they believe in themselves and they know they have a Government that believes in them.
That's why we're providing tax relief, so that they can keep more of their retained earnings and then invest in it and they grow. That's what you have been doing. You've been growing your business and you've got innovation. We saw an example of some new techniques being operated here. It’s an example of a small or medium business getting ahead and investing.
We have now seen growth running at 3.1 per cent. 3.1 per cent, 1 per cent in the last quarter.
Last year, we had the highest number of jobs created in Australia in any calendar year.
So, in 2016, we promised jobs and growth and that is what we're delivering.
Growth is up, jobs are up, better prospects for everyone.
It gives us the revenues that we need to guarantee essential services. It's why we are spending more on health and hospitals here in Longman and around the country. More on schools and in Morayfield High for example, in this year 2018, where federal funding per student is nearly $800 more than it was last year. It's going to increase overall by 50 per cent over the decade, across the whole electorate.
So when the Labor Party says we're spending less on health or on schools, they are lying. They are lying.
It tells you nothing about the reality of spending, but it tells you a huge amount about Labor's character. Their former member here for Longman knew she was not eligible to sit in the Parliament last October. And her leader, Bill Shorten, knew that too. He knew the other Labor members who had to resign were ineligible, but they stayed there. They stayed there, drawing their parliamentary salary, spending on their entitlements, when they knew they were not eligible to sit in the Parliament.
And they only resigned when they could no longer get away with it. We can't let Labor keep on getting away with these lies. That's why it's great to have a man of such character and commitment, a lifetime of commitment right around the world.
He's worked for the Australian Defence Force, worked for the Air Force, he's worked for his church, he's worked in business, large and small. He's got a wealth of experience and a character and a commitment and a sense of community that makes him a great advocate for Longman.
So that's why I’ve been very proud to be campaigning today with Trevor Ruthenberg.
You know, one point to remember very keenly is that everything that we are doing, every policy we have is designed to encourage businesses to invest and grow. Everything we're doing is designed to deliver more jobs and a stronger economy.
That's our plan. That is our economic plan and we are seeing that it is working. The numbers are there to prove it.
On the other hand, the Labor Party does not have one policy that would encourage anyone to invest. In fact, they've got a lot of policies to discourage people.
Higher taxes on property. A shocking tax grab against retirees that we were talking about earlier this morning. They're going to put up taxes on companies, large and small. They're going to put up taxes on trusts. They're going go after investment and property.
Nobody misses out on their tax grab. All that means is less investment, fewer jobs and then what follows? Lower revenues and no longer having the ability to guarantee the essential services, whether it's pharmaceutical benefits, whether it's Medicare, whether it's hospitals, whether it's infrastructure, whether it's national security itself.
Labor's inability to manage the economy means they cannot deliver for Australians. You cannot trust them. They're lying in this electorate, with their lies about health and about schools. They lied about the eligibility of their members to sit in the Parliament.
Trevor Ruthenberg is the man to give Longman the integrity, the character and the representation that it deserves.
Prime Minister there’s still seven weeks until the by-election, but are you encouraged by the Sky News Reachtel poll out this week which has Trevor Ruthenberg ahead 52-48 on a two party preferred basis?
Look, these by-elections, as you know, it's clearly close, obviously. But it's a very, very important choice. It's a vital choice and Trevor Ruthenberg has the integrity and the character to represent Longman in the way that the people of Longman are entitled to expect their MP to do.
I’d just say this to you; just remember, the last time a government won a by-election from an Opposition was in 1920. So there's a reason for that.
Are you confident of winning this seat and also how confident are you of winning Mayo as well?
Well, I think I've just answered the question. These are all, all elections are close nowadays. But just remember the last time a government won a by-election from an Opposition was in 1920.
Do you share your colleagues consternation about the ANU's decision not to have a program supported by the Ramsay Centre in Western Civilisation?
Look, I’ve read the reports about that and I'm very surprised by the decision of the ANU. I’ve been out on the road, as you know, this week, in Western Queensland and indeed, New South Wales and I'm going to speak to the Vice-Chancellor about it myself and just get his account of it. But I do, I find it very hard to understand why that proposal from the Ramsay Foundation would not have been accepted with enthusiasm.
We've seen in the United States, Mark Zuckerberg called before Congress there. Given the reports in The Australian this morning, would you like to see him hauled between, hauled before the Australian Security Committee in Parliament?
Certainly there are a lot of concerns about Facebook, about privacy and as you know, Angus Taylor has been talking about the new measures that we're bringing in to deal with some of these issues. I would welcome Facebook coming and testifying before our parliamentary committees, yes.
Would you like to see Mark?
Well, of course, we'd love to see the boss, naturally, he is the founder. But the important thing, everyone is paying a lot of attention to the issue of privacy and of course the question of whether people really know what is being done with their personal data.
I think, you know, these social media platforms have developed relatively recently. You've got to remember it's only - Facebook itself was only founded in 2005. It's not a long time ago. But they've become so dominant in every respect, in terms of the way people use them in their lives, whether it's personally, socially and in business. Of course, they've been enormous platforms for advertising as well. So, it is important that we keep a very close eye on this and make sure that if people's data is being used, it is being used in a way that they understand and that they have been able to consent to, and consented to with full information, knowing what precisely they are signing up for.
How well do you think your company tax cuts proposal is being perceived in places like here in Caboolture?
Well, everywhere we go, we're seeing small and medium businesses welcoming it. Because naturally, the less money they have to give to the taxman, the more they can invest in their business.
We're actually also seeing company tax receipts going up, by the way. Because as you get businesses investing more, they will hire more. You'll get more people in employment - who will be paying tax - and they will generate higher returns. So, they're being very warmly welcomed.
Just remember that more than half of the private sector workforce work for companies that turn over less than $50 million a year. So, we've got the tax cuts for companies up to $50 million a year turnover and we want to take it all the way through. Because, believe me, this is not a political exercise. This is all about ensuring that Australia's businesses are competitive.
You know, we currently have the second-highest company tax in the OECD. Now, do we seriously believe that long term we can compete with all of the other markets, first amongst which of course, is the United States, who have a much lower company tax?
We have to have a competitive company tax. In years gone by, the Labor Party knew that, by the way. Paul Keating cut company tax. What I'm saying to you now, Bill Shorten has said in the past, Keating has said, Julia Gillard has said. Chris Bowen wrote a book about it, did you know that? He goes around the country - can you believe it - he goes around the countryside, this bloke and he says: "You can't reduce company tax." He actually wrote a book, Trevor, you can buy it here, any bookshops where remaindering occurs, you can find piles of it there. It’s there, he wrote that book and said: "Company tax in Australia should be 25 per cent."
Now he's trying to pretend he didn't say it. Well, he did and the reason is, you've got to be competitive. That's what it's all about. We'll just have one more I think?
Prime Minister, Australian teenager Isaak el Matari, do you know when he's likely to be deported and what Australian authorities doing for his case?
Well, everyone gets consular support. I can't give you any further information, I don't know when any decisions will be taken in the Lebanese system. But I can assure you that we will be doing everything to ensure that we maintain our strong national security regime, to make sure that we keep Australians safe. We'll be paying very close attention to the man you've referred to.
Just on those police officers up in Gympie?
Good, I was going to wrap up on that.
Can we just say thank you to the two Queensland police officers who rescued the gentleman in his 70s from a burning car.
You know, whether it is the men and women of the Australian Defence Force, the men and women of our security agencies - including the ones that will be taking an interest in the man in Lebanon - or the men and women of our police forces, right across the board they're putting their lives on the line to keep us safe.
We've got to honour them and thank them and support them.
Just as I was saying at the Seniors Forum, Trevor, the best way to honour the diggers of a hundred years ago is to support the servicemen and women, the veterans and their families of today. We've got to admire and thank the police for the great service they do. They take great risks to keep us safe, whether it's from criminals, whether it's from terrorists and drug traffickers, or whether it is like the old gentleman today in his burning car.
Were it not for the courage of those policemen, he would no longer be with us.
So, thank you.
I believe you met some veterans this morning?
Yep, we just have a question for Trevor.
Mr Ruthenberg, on Caboolture Hospital, the genesis of the Opposition’s claim is that the Government is only funding 45 per cent of activity based funding, when at the 2013 election it said it would fund 50 per cent. Would you like to see the Prime Minister fund the extra five percent?
There is no basis in their claim. It’s hogwash. The funding to Caboolture Hospital through the Metro North Region has increased substantially since the Prime Minister here has been in charge.
So it's baseless. It’s hogwash, it's a lie. This is Mediscare 2.0. It's rubbish.
What Labor is saying, as Trevor said, is a complete lie. Absolute lie.
The formula that we've got in the current health agreement, which the states have signed up to, Labor and Liberal states signed up to, is one that is being rolled over into the next agreement, with $30 billion of additional funding, $7.5 billion of which goes to Queensland.
We are spending 53 per cent more on hospitals in Queensland than we did when Labor was in government. So the funding has gone up every year.
I want to say this; we can get into an argument about funding, well, the facts are there. You cannot deny the reality. Every one of those billboards that Labor has up in this electorate is a lie.
Now, I've set out what the facts are and you can check them yourself. They're in the Budget Papers.
But what does it say about the character of Bill Shorten?
What does it say about the character of a man that is going to stand up and keep his members in Parliament when they are not constitutionally able to be there? After October last year, it was clear they were ineligible to sit in the Parliament. He hung onto them because he thought he could get away with it.
He's lying today, because he thinks he can get away with it.
What those billboards say, they tell you nothing about health. They tell you lies about health spending.
But they tell you volumes about the character of Bill Shorten and why he cannot be trusted to be Prime Minister of our country.
Thank you very much.