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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 40565

Doorstop, Hobart Tasmania

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: 04/11/2016

Release Type: Transcript

Transcript ID: 40565

Location: Hobart, Tasmania

PRIME MINISTER: Well it’s great to be back in Tasmania with Will and Mathew and above all, here at Breast Screen Tasmania. Petra Buchanan from the McGrath Foundation.

Now the importance of the breast care nurses was well described by Gail just a little while ago. She said that from the moment of her first diagnosis, thanks to Terri, the McGrath breast care nurse, she felt always supported. She said, ‘from the time of my first diagnosis I have never felt lacking in support.’ During this anxious, troubled, traumatic time, frightening time, the women – the support of the breast care nurse is absolutely critical. And you can see that with Gail’s experience here.

Now, we are committing $20.5 million to support, continue supporting 57 McGrath breast care nurses over the next four years. This is vitally important work, as we know, there are – you said earlier Petra – there are 200,000 Australian women living with breast cancer today. It is the most common cancer for women and it is one where we have made real progress. Survival rates have improved, five year survival rates have improved from 70 per cent in the 1980’s to 90 per cent today. But this care and ensuring that the whole patient is treated, that the patient feels informed, respected, included in the therapy, in the overall treatment, is absolutely critical. You can see from talking to Terry earlier, she is a person, a nurse, that combines a formidable IQ and EQ and bringing that emotional intelligence together with the professionalism and training is so important.

So we are delighted to be here to announce that continued support. Petra do you want to make some remarks as well?

PETRA BUCHANAN: Thank you very much Prime Minister. The Commonwealth Government’s support for the McGrath Foundation has been instrumental in our growth and our ability to be able to support more and more Australians, both women and men that experience breast cancer. The organisation has been doing great work for 11 years now, so to be able to continue to fund the 57 nurses that around the country that the Commonwealth funds, is a fantastic announcement to be made today. We’re also very pleased that the McGrath Foundation through personal donations, through everyday individuals in Australia as well as businesses, that we fund 53 additional nurses presently and that’s really important for us to continue to ensure that the care, the support, that information, that empowerment to individuals in a time that is very anxious for them and for their families, that we do support them. That we provide continuity of care from the day of their diagnosis throughout whatever their treatment journey might be. And the life expectancy rates for breast cancer patients has increased phenomenally but it doesn’t mean that people don’t have to go through a really difficult diagnosis, a really hard time of treatment, that it isn’t a horribly anxious, scary and traumatic for them in many ways.

So McGrath breast care nurses are there for them every step of the way and we hope that we can reduce that anxiety, increase outcomes for patients and ensure that Australians, whether it’s men or women impacted by breast cancer, have the best possible care and outcomes available to them.

We do know however that there is a gap in service for breast care nurses and there’s even more people that could and need required care, that we cannot deliver today. So we still need the support of the community, the Government ongoing, so that we can make sure that everybody that does need this critical care receives it.

So thank you again we’re very, very grateful for today’s announcement.

PRIME MINISTER: Well thank you. Will did you want to?

PREMIER HODGMAN: Yeh, sure. Well thanks Prime Minister and welcome back to Tasmania. Great to have you here for the Liberal Party State Conference this weekend but also this fantastic announcement. Petra to you and the McGrath Foundation, thank you for the incredible work that you do to support men and women right across the country and particularly In Tasmania this will have a profound impact.

Like most people, I guess I’ve been touched with breast cancer in my family, my mother and also my father in law. So I know that this additional support from the Federal Government working with the McGrath Foundation will provide additional levels of support for Tasmanian women and men, so it’s greatly appreciated and our very best wishes to all those who work in this space and thank you to the Federal Government for this additional support.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, is legislation for a ban on people from Manus Island and Nauru from ever coming to Tasmania ready to go?

PRIME MINISTER: Yes the Bill will be introduced in to the House next week.

The Bill is a critically important part of the strong message we send to the people smugglers. Ever since 2013, when Kevin Rudd in fact said that people who were sent to Nauru and Manus by him - when he finally acknowledged that his demolition, reduction, removal, of John Howard’s strong border protection policies had been a catastrophe. Kevin Rudd in a very open eyed way, undid John Howard’s strong border protection policies. We begged him not to, I begged him not to – I was leader of the opposition at the time, I remember it all too well. It was a tragic policy failure of the Labor Party and of Kevin Rudd’s Prime Ministership and of course followed by Julia Gillard.

Anyway, by 2013 when he came back he recognised his error and the people that were sent to Nauru and Manus by him - most of whom are still there - he said would never, ever settle in Australia and that was the strong message he sent and that’s the strong message that we have sent as a government and of course the Labor Party has said that they support. Bill Shorten has said he is on a complete unity ticket with the government, well now is the opportunity next week to see if they really are, because we need to send that really strong message.

And let me say that this strong line on border protection, which simply means that the Australian Government decides which refugees come to Australia, that strong line enables us to settle already in Tasmania, and I want to thank the Tasmanian people for their welcome – already ten families that have come through our special programme to bring in refugees from oppressed minorities in the Syrian-Iraq conflict zone.

So there is ten families already as of today who have settled in Hobart about 40 people in total and we expect that to number about 200 in total in due course. We could not have one of the most generous refugee programs in the world, and it is one of the most generous in the world, if we were not able to maintain strong border protection. That’s the point I made at the United Nations and the recognition that a foundation of a generous humanitarian program is strong border protection is now increasingly well understood around the world.

JOURNALIST: Can you confirm that the US and Canada are options for resettlement for people on Manus Island and Nauru?

PRIME MINISTER: We are working all the time with the countries in the Bali Process to find resettlement options. We obviously have identified Cambodia, as you know we have an arrangement with the Cambodians and some of the people in Nauru and Manus have taken advantage of that. We obviously also provide real incentives for people whose claims for asylum have not been recognised to return to their home countries. We encourage them to do that and a number have done so and people on Manus whose asylum claims have been accepted are able to find asylum in Papua New Guinea. So right across the board we are constantly working to find a way to provide durable solutions to those people on Nauru and Manus -

JOURNALIST: But are you looking at the United States and Canada?

PRIME MINISTER: We don’t comment on discussions with any particular countries. Can I just say also that remember since - when we came in to government there were 2,000 children, asylum seeking children, in detention in Australia. There are none today. Labor opened up an additional 17 detention centres in Australia. We have been able to close them; we have been able to close them. During Labor’s time 50,000 unauthorised arrivals – 1200 deaths at sea.

For more than 800 days, there has not been a successful people smuggling venture to Australia and there have been no deaths at sea. Now our policy works, it works in ensuring that we maintain the integrity of our borders. It is a policy that is founded on compassion, there is nothing compassionate or generous about families and children drowning at sea; that was Labor’s legacy that was their tragic legacy of their huge policy failure. Now we’re fixing that – we can’t bring back the lives so tragically lost but we are dealing with the people that have been in detention and are dealing with the people compassionately and practically, in Nauru and Manus.

JOURNALIST: You mention the families that have come to Tasmania. Tasmania made that announcement last year and we’ve only just received the first ten or so families this week. Why has it taken so long for the Commonwealth to process those applications?

PRIME MINISTER: Because we are taking very thorough security checks. Australians expect us to be very thorough. I can give you some further statistics on this. We have already as you know - we committed to 12,000 people to come from the Syrian conflict zone and of that, more than half have come to Australia already. The processing is going well but we are being very, very thorough about the security checks.

JOURNALIST: When can Tasmania expect more families to arrive?

PRIME MINISTER: As the processing continues. I think that Australians understand that this is not something you want to shortcut, it is very important to be thorough about the security checks.

JOURNALIST: You’re introducing legislation for the same sex plebiscite into the Senate, are you still optimistic that that Bill will pass?

PRIME MINISTER: I’m hopeful that it will pass…

JOURNALIST: Realistically though a lot of Senators have said that they don’t support it…

PRIME MINISTER: It’s up to you to make forecasts but at this stage there is more Senators are saying that will vote against it but we will continue to press the Labor Party - and really I know a lot of pressure goes on the crossbenchers naturally, but really the pressure should be on the Labor Party.

We could have a plebiscite on the 11th of February. All of the polls indicate that it will be carried, in which case same sex couples will be able to get married within weeks – as soon as the Parliament will sit, it will pass the legislation and then it will just be a matter of the usual administrative approvals, the Governor-General signing the legislation and so fourth – and it will be available.

The fastest road to allowing same sex couples to get married is to vote for the plebiscite so I continue to urge the Labor Party and the Greens and the crossbenchers to vote for it but obviously at this stage, they’re saying they won’t.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister 18C will be put to the test today at a trial with university students in Brisbane. Will you, or are you considering an inquiry into the law to have it amended or even repealed?

PRIME MINISTER: Senator Dean Smith has proposed that there should be – has proposed a parliamentary inquiry into the issues relating to freedom of speech and 18C and the Government is considering that proposal.

Let me make two points. We have the most successful multicultural society in the world - fact. It is based on a foundation of mutual respect, nobody wants to undermine that, nobody wants to encourage or condone hate speech of any kind. At the same time, we have a robust democracy where free speech is a key element in our way of life. And so getting the balance right is always an issue, it’s an issue in many other areas too. And in this area many people feel that the provisions of 18C impose unreasonable restraints on free speech, or impose restraints on free speech over and above what it needed to prevent hate speech - you know speech that’s promoting or encouraging racial hatred and vilification.

So that has been a live issue for quite some time. Senator Smith has suggested that it be looked at by a committee. And parliamentary committees are a good way to examine issues of this kind because of course everybody with an interest can come and make a submission, can put their view and the various arguments pro and con can be ventilated. So we are looking at that at the moment.

JOURNALIST: Does Bob Day have a moral obligation to pay back nearly $1.5 million to creditors that he took from his company to donate to Family First?

PRIME MINISTER: All of these matters will be dealt with by the liquidator. These are matters of bankruptcy law. Bob Day will be the judge of his own moral obligations and I don’t know what the facts of the matter are beyond what has been reported. So I would say this is - if there are circumstance in which a liquidator is able to recover payments that have been paid out of a company that was insolvent it may well be that some payments made from companies associated with Mr Day may be able to be recovered in that way. But again, we don’t have -  I certainly dont have all the facts and I’m not sure that anyone other than the liquidator does but there are provisions and powers under the bankruptcy legislation to enable that to be done if the circumstances permit it.

JOURNALIST: Just one on the state Liberals – given their recent loss of seats at the Federal election, what does the party need to do to rebuild in Tasmania?

PRIME MINISTER: Well what the party needs always, our party right across Australia and perhaps I’ll leave Will to answer that, to give the final observation on that question as the Tasmanian Premier, but what political parties need always to do is to be more engaged with the people they seek to represent which is in here, all of the people of Tasmania. You’ve got to make sure that your candidates, your representatives, are able to reflect the aspirations and give voice and practical policy outcomes to the aspirations of the people that you seek to serve and so that is why I have always set out a vision for Australia which enables Australians to realise their opportunities, their great opportunities in these very exciting but very changing times.

We are living at a time of unprecedented change in both the pace of change, the speed of it and the scale of it. The developments of technology in Asia alone are a good reminder of that. And of course Tasmania has been a great beneficiary of those big new markets. Think of the extraordinary opportunities and the jobs growth that you are seeing in Tasmania from the opening up for Australia of those big export markets by the Coalition Government.

You know, Labor was in for six years and did no trade deals at all. Korea, Japan, China, Singapore, the Trans Pacific Partnership – one big trade deal after another - all of which offer enormous opportunities. When I was with President Xi Jinping in Beijing recently and indeed in Hangzhou he spoke so warmly of his visit to Tasmania and how enthusiastic the Tasmanians were to receive him and how pleased he was and how important Tasmanian exports were. He talked about, we both talked about Tasmania becoming the delicatessen of China and that is an opportunity that the Coalition has opened up for Tasmania. And of course the opportunities being seized by the dynamism, the entrepreneurship, the enterprise, the innovation of Tasmanians. So these are exciting times, they’re changing times and obviously at a time of change that can create anxiety, but nonetheless they are great opportunities and it is good to be here in Tasmania led by a Premier who understands these big opportunities for his state and is seizing them.

So Will, perhaps you should have the last word – as the host.

PREMIER HODGMAN: Yes, thank you and again welcome back to Tasmania, Prime Minister. I can say very confidently to the people of Tasmania that there is a very strong relationship between the Commonwealth Government and the Tasmanian Government. Yes we have challenges and we tackle those and often there is work that needs to be progressed to ensure that we are working collaboratively and effectively together to deliver the right outcomes.

The strength in our economy, the reduction in our unemployment rate, the elevation of Tasmania’s levels of business confidence to amongst the highest in the nation demonstrates that we are heading in the right direction. But I am very keen to continue to work Malcolm and the Federal Government to ensure that we focus on areas where we can deliver even greater outcomes; investing in our infrastructure, supporting the advancement of our skills and education sectors to lift Tasmania’s educational outcomes and our productivity levels to make sure that we are providing the right skills and training base needed for Tasmanians to enter the workforce and importantly also to be as competitive and as innovative as we can be. Tasmania is much more an outward looking place now. Our trade and export figures have been quite considerable over recent years and the growth of tourism is of course a cornerstone of Tasmania’s economy.

PRIME MINISTER: Outstripping every other state.

PREMIER HODGMAN: Correct. So you know, we certainly are not resting on our laurels – there is a lot we need to do and we are better doing it together. We work very closely and collaboratively and that will continue.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister are you meeting with any of the three amigos, so-called three amigos, while you’re here in Tassie?

PRIME MINISTER: I am sure I will see them at the State Council tomorrow and I will be catching up, obviously our Tasmanian colleagues and indeed former colleagues, both in the House and in the Senate but above all it is great to be here with Will. We are very old friends and we have a very shared vision, we are of the same mind about the way in which Australia and Tasmania will prosper in the years ahead. It is a commitment to enterprise, a commitment to trade, to innovation and a firm belief of the ingenuity and the energy of the people that we represent.

JOURNALIST: Will you be introducing the ABCC into the Senate this year?

PRIME MINISTER: We expect to do so but we will, as I said, we will be – look, let me say this about the ABCC. I’m sorry Will, we were making a graceful exit there. Let me just say this, I and my government are absolutely committed to the passage of the ABCC Bill and the Registered Organisations Bill.

The restoration of the rule of law in Australia’s construction and building sector is of the highest priority. Now words are cheap. Actions speak louder than words. As Prime Minister, I prorogued the Australian Parliament – first time it had been done in this way since 1914, to ensure that we secured a second rejection of the ABCC Bill by the Senate to give us a trigger for a double dissolution. I dissolved both houses of Parliament using the rejection of the ABCC Bill and the Registered Organisations Bill as the trigger and we campaigned on it.

We’ve passed both bills through the House of Representatives. And while we are committed to the Senate passing the bill and we are working very closely with the crossbench – I have spoken to a number of them just in the last 24-hours about this very legislation. If the Senate does not pass the bill we have the ability under Section 57 of the Constitution to go to a joint sitting of both houses of Parliament. So my commitment to the passage of this legislation is not simply based on what I might have said in a speech or what I say today – it is based on action. Real action, delivering the ability to present these bills to the Senate. What we do believe we have the prospect of having them passed and then being able to take them to a joint sitting. That is action.

Now I know I have been criticised in some areas for having a double dissolution election. Of course, it has challenges. Of course it did. An eight week campaign had challenges. Of course it did. But that just underlines the commitment that I have and my government has to the passage of this legislation. I am not interested in gesture politics – I want these bills passed. So we will bring them into the Senate when we have the best prospect of getting them passed. I am governing, I am leading, I am delivering.

Thanks very much. 

Transcript 40565