PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 41598

Doorstop, Kurnell Visitor Centre

Photo of Turnbull, Malcolm

Turnbull, Malcolm

Period of Service: 15/09/2015 to 24/08/2018

More information about Turnbull, Malcolm on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 28/04/2018

Release Type: Transcript

Transcript ID: 41598

Subject(s): Kurnell Cook landing site, North Korea, Banking Royal Commission, ABBA

PRIME MINISTER:

Well thank you Noeleen. Thank you so much and Scott and Gabrielle and Mark and Carmelo it's great to be here.

We're making a very substantial investment - federally through the budget - the Treasurer is here, and of course from the state government. It's a great partnership working with the local Aboriginal community, the La Perouse Mob, the LAPA mob.

I just want to say a little bit about this. The importance of this place. This was the first encounter between Europeans and Aboriginal Australians here on the East Coast. And what this offers us is the opportunity to show the view from the ship and the view from the shore.

A momentous occasion in our history. One that has to be deeply understood and reflected and interpreted with wisdom and with empathy. And that's why it's so good that we've been working - the state government particularly - has been working and Gabrielle well done, working so closely with the La Perouse community which is a community of extraordinary resilience.

Noeleen and Raymond's ancestors were here when those ships arrived. They were here when their world changed and they're still here.

What extraordinary resilience. What extraordinary endurance. What incredible courage. So, this is a momentous place and it's one that we need to celebrate, to understand, to interpret and reflect on as we become even closer together in this extraordinary nation of ours.

So Scott…Gabrielle!

GABRIELLE UPTON, NSW MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT:

Well good morning everybody. It is such a privilege to be here today with all my colleagues.

Welcome to the Prime Minister to the local members, to the local mayor and of course to you Noeleen. This is a really special place and the announcement today is going to make this an even more special place.

The State Government has dedicated $25 million towards the total investment of $50 million, together with the Commonwealth Government. Today we are announcing a consultation on a master plan for this special place.

We are going to be working closely again with the local community to make sure that together with Indigenous leaders here that we have something that speaks to the history of the indigenous nation, indigenous people here together, with the other histories that are represented here.

But probably not highlighted and celebrated in the way that they deserve to be. Look I am pleased to be here as I said today to say that we will be working together because, of course, we have an incredibly special day, the 250th anniversary coming up and at that point, and I'll defer now to the Treasurer as local Federal Member here to talk about some of the works that will be delivered at that time.

And of course all the works that will include an upgrade to educational facilities here, a cafe, walkways. Look, this will speak to everybody and it will be a place in which we can all share a great pride about our joint stories together that have formed this nation. Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER:

And this is Scott he is the Member for Cook, named after the greatest navigator who at this place encountered the oldest human civilisation. Such a potent place.

TREASURER:

Thanks Prime Minister and welcome again to the Shire it's great to have you here and to Noeleen and to Raymond and to Carmelo Pesce, the mayor, my colleague Mark Speakman. For the two of us it's been a bit of a journey to get to this point today and we're very pleased to be here as part of our local community. And Gabrielle representing herself but also the Premier and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet who's also played an important role in where we've got to today.

248 years ago, just over there, tomorrow, the HMB Endeavour came around this point and it moored just out here. Issac Smith jumped off onto the shore just where that little monument is over there. He met and they met and encountered the Gweagal people of the Dharawal nation. And our ancient Australian Story started a new chapter.

And this is the place we're standing on. This is a remarkable place of local, state and national significance and we need to recognise all of that history. All of that achievement with humility but also with a sense of pride. Out of respect for Indigenous Australians but also in celebration for all Australians about the tremendous nation that we have become.

That's what this place is all about. The works that we're announcing funding for today have been in train for some time. There has already been a fairly heavy consultation process in the development of the draft master plan which was initiated, of course, by Mark when he was Minister for Environment and we thank particularly the Land Council for their engagement in that process and the Sunderland Council and all the community.

What we're adding to that plan today and we'll be setting up a special panel to initiate and work through a similar consultative process. Is a water-based monument out here in the bay which will bring together, as the Prime Minister said that view from the shore and the view from the ship and to represent what was there at that time.

And that I think will be a remarkable installation here that local school kids can come out and see and listen and learn about these stories as much as visitors coming from the other side of the world and come and take part in these incredible stories, to hear the indigenous stories, to hear the broader stories of our local community and to hear the stories of Australia.

So, it's tremendously exciting and I want to thank the Prime Minister. I want to thank the New South Wales Government. I want to thank the Land Council and the Sutherland Shire Council. I particularly want to thank Mark Speakman for being a great local partner in this process over a long period of time.

Great day for the Shire. Great night for New South Wales, a great day for all Australians and a great day for our nation. Mark.

MARK SPEAKMAN, NSW ATTORNEY-GENERAL:

Good morning everybody. Can I acknowledge that we're on the land of the Gweagal people of the Dharawal Nation and pay my respects to the elders, past, present and emerging.

This project being announced today has been a long time passion of my great federal colleague Scott Morrison and myself. In 2011, when I was elected to Parliament, I lamented in my inaugural speech the underwhelming nature of this site and for how long Kurnell and Kamay Botany Bay National Park had been neglected notwithstanding the seminal role this site plays in our nation's history.

And I was pleased in 2016 as Environment Minister to commission a community reference panel and a master plan that will go on exhibition today.

But I cannot thank enough all the stakeholders, all the partners that collaborated so far in this project and will continue to do so. Can I thank the Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Dominic Perrottet and the Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton for their support for this project without which we would not be in a position today to have NSW contribute $25 million.

Can I especially thank my federal colleague Scott Morrison for his passionate advocacy for upgrading this seminal site since he's been the local Member for Cook, and the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for supporting this today.

This site is about history. There will be many interpretations of our history. The facts can't change but the way we interpret history, the way we commemorate history will evolve over time.

I've been around long enough to remember 1970, the 200th anniversary of Cook's landing at Kurnell and the way we will commemorate that landing in 2020 will be very different from the way it was commemorated in 1970.

We can't walk away from our history, no matter what controversies there may be and interpretations of that history. A nation that ignores its past does not know where it is going in the future. So, today we will be upgrading this site and I hope it will facilitate and encourage a discussion about our shared history.

This is not just some nostalgia for an imperialist past. It's not about white triumphalism. It's about bringing all of Australia together.

We will celebrate here and we continue to celebrate the most ancient living culture in the world. It has been here for 40 or we now think 60 thousand years.

We also commemorate the meeting of two cultures back in 1770 commemorate the fantastic achievements that Australia since that time has overcome. And the values, the Enlightenment values that James Cook brought here in 1770 of freedom and tolerance, very much an important part of our values in Australia today.

So James Cook, as navigator, as an explorer bringing a crew which includes scientists. Very much an inquiring mind, very much a critical mind. That's the sort of mind and discussion we want Australia to be like as we go forward to 2020.

So can I thank all those who've collaborated on the project. Can I thank the Aboriginal Land Council for their crucial role in getting to this point. I look forward to Indigenous engagement as we go forward to 2020.

That is absolutely crucial, absolutely fundamental to this project which is a project about all Australians - Indigenous, non-Indigenous so that we can look at the meeting of two cultures and move forward with a shared future.

TREASURER:

Just before I do that this is Carmelo Pesce he is the mayor of Sutherland Shire and the other person we should also acknowledge today is Bruce Baird who was the previous Federal Member who really was an initiator of this when this site was registered back in 2005.

CARMELO PESCE, MAYOR OF SUTHERLAND SHIRE:

Thank you everyone. First of all I want to welcome the Prime Minister and Minister Gabrielle Upton for coming out here to the Shire and announcing being part of this announcement. As the mayor of Sutherland Shire I'm extremely excited to be here, to be part of this announcement.

It's a long time waiting but this is the birthplace of Australia. I want to thank the federal government and the state government. This is when three levels of government with the land council work together. Federal, state and local councils get together and this is what we can achieve at the birthplace of Australia.

I really want to thank Scott and Mark who had a long term vision for this and for our area. So I do thank them because you know we wouldn't be standing here today.

This is exciting for the Shire. This is great for the local community. This is really good for tourism.

So again, I want to thank everyone involved. I can't wait. It's really exciting for this particular area. Thank you.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister may I ask you in relation to North Korea?

PRIME MINISTER:

Just before we get there, we'll come to North Korea do we have any questions about this project?

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer how can you defend spending $50 million on this development when the standard of indigenous health and education is still well below the national average?

TREASURER:

Earlier this week I stood in Alice Springs and I announced $550 million from the Commonwealth in a partnership agreement with the Northern Territory Government to address the challenges of remote Indigenous housing.

When it comes to closing the gap and I'm sure the Prime Minister can elaborate further. I mean this is a government that is taking closing the gap seriously very, very seriously. And that announcement just this week with the Northern Territory Government I think demonstrates that genuine commitment to addressing the very serious challenges facing Indigenous Australians not just here but all around the country and particularly in the remote areas of the Northern Territory.

At the same time what this is about here is an opportunity to come together and tell the shared stories of Australia including and most importantly the indigenous stories and I think that's a great opportunity for indigenous people.

And on top of that indigenous Australians will be one of the real beneficiaries from the economic benefits of our investment here. Indigenous businesses, indigenous jobs so on all scores this is a win.

JOURNALIST:

You talk about an aquatic monument what do you mean, a fountain?

TREASURER:

Over a decade ago when this was last discussed there was actually a proposal just out there on the mooring site to have three steel masts coming out of the water. Stylised masks with stylised sails and I thought that was a really interesting idea at the time and gave it some support.

But I think the thinking has gone beyond that and there needs to be also an incorporation of what the indigenous presence was here at the same time and their water based craft and other examples of that which is encapsulated in what is done here.

But we will leave the design details to those who are best accomplished to do that. That panel we appointed they'll commission some works to be done in terms of designs and that will go on public display for consultation. Working closely with the Land Council as well to ensure that it is sensitive and respectful.

So, that's the process. This being I think quite an extraordinary landmark here and people come from far and wide to see.

JOURNALIST:

Do you have any security concerns with recent statues in Hyde Park being victims of vandalism. Do you have any concerns down here?

TREASURER:

I think, I mean for many years, for a very long period of time we have a meeting of two cultures ceremony here down in the Shire at this site and it's always very respectful, moving experience.

In our community here we understand very much that this is about a meeting of two cultures recognising the incredible individual that was James Cook and at the same time as the Prime Minister has said commemorating the resilience of Indigenous Australians, not just here but all around the country.

And I think most Australians, if not all, are bigger than what that threat would suggest.

PRIME MINISTER:

Capturing that view from the ship, view from the shore is going to be I think one of the most exciting, interesting challenges for - artistic challenges - for the design team.

So, this is going to be a real opportunity. Do you want to get onto North Korea. 

JOURNALIST:

What is your reaction to the statements that come out overnight. I notice you mentioned a false dawn do you believe that is happening again. Can I just ask the ABC has a strap up about Australian aircraft being sent to monitor North Korea?

PRIME MINISTER:

We welcome the developments with the meeting between the two leaders and it is welcome but with caution. There have been false dawns in the past and disappointments and so we have to be cautious in our welcome.

Having said that, and I want to pay credit to the whole global community for putting such strong economic pressure on North Korea, which has brought it to this point and in particular to the United States and China and to President Trump and President Xi who have worked together to put that economic pressure, which must be retained and maintained, on North Korea until there are committed verifiable steps towards denuclearisation.

The goal has got to be the denuclearisation of the peninsula.

Now you've asked about an Australian aircraft. Yes, we do have a P-8A surveillance aircraft that is going to be working in the region to monitor compliance with sanctions and that is part of our collaboration with our partners in that exercise to enforce those U.N. sanctions. Very important that that be done.

JOURNALIST:

Can you give us a bit more detail though on exactly the operations will involve? We understand it's not illicit ship to ship operations between North Korea.

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes. Yes. What has been occurring is that sanctions have been evaded by transferring materials from ship to ship so obviously being able to surveil, to add to the surveillance of the area enables that to be identified and then of course those who are party to that to be held responsible and brought to account.

JOURNALIST:

So what will our operation be exactly?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well it's a it is a surveillance aircraft and it will be flying, naturally, and it will be observing what is happening on the ocean below.

JOURNALIST:

Apparently Kelly O'Dwyer has conceded that the government got it wrong in relation to a Royal Commission into banking do you agree with that?

PRIME MINISTER:

I'll just repeat what I've said before, you know we are all shocked and extremely disappointed by the revelations in the Royal Commission.

We called out the problem, however, I called out the problem specifically, in a speech at a bank function two years ago. And the problem, the fundamental problem that we've seen is a failure in the culture in the banking sector and the financial services sector. It goes beyond banks, of not putting the customer first.

Banks and financial advisers have a solemn duty to put the interests of their customers, their clients, first. And it's particularly important because very often the adviser, of course, has vastly more knowledge than the person they’re advising.

So, that's that is critical. Now, there's been that failure of culture has been apparent for some time. Scott and I and the government and Kelly have put in place very substantial reforms since 2016. We decided to get on with the job of making those big reforms. There is new, much heavier fines much more resources with ASIC, much stronger powers. Banking executives are held responsible for their conduct and if they do the wrong thing they may find themselves not being able to work in the industry again.

We've also established a one stop shop so that people who have got, who have been wrongly treated, been the victims of misconduct in the financial services world will be able to get compensation and do so quickly and cost effectively.

So we've put a lot of reforms in place. The Royal Commission is now up and running. And while I agree that with the benefit of hindsight it would have been better certainly from a political point of view to have set the Royal Commission up some time ago.

The benefit of the way it has happened is that we have all of those reforms in place. They're operating and the Royal Commissioner, with much wider terms of reference than he would have had, had it been set up two years ago. Much wider terms of reference. It's now able to review those reforms that Scott and Kelly and the government put into place.

So, it's going to be a very effective use of the Royal Commissioners time.

JOURNALIST:

Surely it's more than just a political mistake though. We've now had allegations of criminal misconduct against AMP. Do you bear some of the responsibility for the commission if it had of been called earlier. We would have had less people fall victim to these practices.

PRIME MINISTER:

The responsibility for wrongdoing lies the people who did the wrongs. Let's be clear about that. And we have law enforcement agencies, we have ASIC who were already investigating these matters. ASIC was already investigating.

JOURNALIST:

Were you wrong not to have had it earlier, from a social point of view?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well look, the choice that we faced was basically this - and I made the decision so I take responsibility for this - and I made the decision. So I take responsibility for the decision.

We were presented with clearly a failure in the culture in the banking sector and in the financial services sector. There have been plenty of examples of it. I called that out in 2016, I gave a speech about it. I confronted it squarely. And the reason I did not hold a Royal Commission then was my concern that if he had set up a Royal Commission it would run, obviously, for some time, probably for several years and during that time people would say, don't do anything don't institute any reforms you've got to wait for the Royal Commissioner's report.

And you know that's exactly what people would say particularly those in the banking sector. So we decided, Scott and I decided, I mean I take responsibility as the Prime Minister, obviously. But we decided together, it was a joint decision. We decided that we would get on with the job of putting those reforms place which we did.

And so you know if we had a Royal Commission two years ago it may be wrapping up now who knows? Could be wrapping up now and then we would be starting to consider what reforms you would have.

All of the reforms we’ve put in place that people are benefiting from now, all of the extra resources that ASIC has, which ASIC is being able to deploy now. All of the legislative resources and financial resources. They are all helping consumers and customers right now.

So I can well understand the criticism that people have made saying we should have set it up earlier and certainly from a political point of view it would have been better to set it up earlier. But you can't live your life backwards.

The fact is we called out the problem and decided to take action immediately and that's what we've done and the good thing is as I said the Royal Commission has got very wide terms of reference, much wider than anyone was contemplating two years ago and it has the ability to review what we have done so far and compare that against the evidence and give us some recommendations as to how to improve it

JOURNALIST:

Just on North Korea, do you think Donald Trump deserves any credit for the developments on the Korean Peninsula?

PRIME MINISTER:

Donald Trump absolutely does, yes. I have given him that credit because Donald Trump has taken a very, very strong, hard line on the denuclearisation issue and he has been able to bring in the support of the global community and, in particular, China. You have to give great credit to President Xi and China for enforcing the sanctions.

Remember that North Korea's economic relationship is overwhelmingly with China. So China's preparedness to impose those sanctions has been the critical change that has put the economic pressure on North Korea.

That, coupled with the strong stand President Trump has taken, and other nations - Japan, Australia but, you know, overwhelmingly, the pressure has come from China and the United States and that has brought Kim Jong Un to the point where he has, it appears, to be prepared to move towards denuclearisation.

That's what we need. That Peninsula must be denuclearised. The leaders of North and South Korea have said that's their goal. It's the goal of the global community. What we've now got to do is not relent on the economic pressure until that goal is achieved.

JOURNALIST:

One more on the Victorian Opposition Leader, he wants to implement anti-consorting laws, essentially, that would stop teenagers from consorting with gangs?

PRIME MINISTER:

Look, I will leave that to him.

JOURNALIST:

Favourite ABBA song? Are you happy about the reunion?

PRIME MINISTER:

OK. Sorry, you want me to say something about ABBA? Can I tell you - we have all got favourite ABBA songs but it's the classic, it's hard to beat Dancing Queen, isn't it? Scott, actually, Scott does a bit of ABBA!

TREASURER:

Thank you, Prime Minister. We can do the whole Agnetha and Frida thing, no, ok well Bjorn and Benny have to go.

PRIME MINISTER:

Did you want to say anything on the banking stuff?

TREASURER:

Just to confirm what you've said, Prime Minister. What matters is taking action to deal with this problem, which is what the government has been doing from the get-go. We will continue to do that. Tougher jail penalties for people who do the wrong thing.

We announced last week increasing it from five to 10 years. Investigations that were already on foot. We will continue taking action to deal with this.

Responsibilities of certainly executives and financial planners, people who run superannuation funds, insurance companies but the boards of these organisations are the ones that are ultimately accountable for the running of these organisations, the governance, the culture, all of this.

I think there's a very strong message already coming out of the Commission, one that we already understood in the actions we have taken - remember the Banking Executive Accountability Regime also applies to board members.

Shareholders depend on board members to be putting the right culture into their organisations and their governments. Customers depend on those board members to ensure that those banks are focused on customers.

I think there is a heavier responsibility on boards here and I think that will get a lot of attention. We have already taken action there. We are going to keep taking action for one simple reason: We don't want to see these things happen again.

We've already been putting in place the things that stop them from happening again and we are going to keep doing it and doing it and doing it. But right now, I will take the PM and others for a walk to look at the memorial.

PRIME MINISTER:

Let me just repeat that, just to be very clear: We are determined to do everything to ensure this does not happen again. Never happens again. That's our goal. Right? All the reforms we have put in place are designed to do that and we will do more.

We will be looking forward to advice from the Royal Commission. The other important point is those who have done the wrong thing must be held to account. Whether they are financial advisers, whether they are bank executives, whether they are directors. It is vital. Never again and those responsible must be held to account. Thanks very much.

[ENDS]

Transcript 41598