ABC Gold Coast 16/11/21

16 November 2021

SUBJECTS: Carl Ungerer Labor’s candidate for McPherson; LNP taking the Gold Coast for granted; The election will be about the risk of three more years of attacks on wages, job security, Medicare and renewables; The Liar from the Shire’s increasingly desperate scare campaigns; Labor and the next election.




SUBJECTS: Carl Ungerer Labor’s candidate for McPherson; LNP taking the Gold Coast for granted; The election will be about the risk of three more years of attacks on wages, job security, Medicare and renewables; The Liar from the Shire’s increasingly desperate scare campaigns; Labor and the next election.


MATT WEBBER, HOST: Is there a federal election on the cards? Sure seems like there's a bit of campaigning going on. There's been no official announcements, of course, but the Prime Minister has certainly been very visible since his return from the Glasgow climate conference, COP 26. And today on the Gold Coast we welcome Shadow Treasurer, federal Labor Member for Rankin, Jim Chalmers. Mr Chalmers, good morning.

JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW TREASURER: Thanks for having me on your show, Matt.

WEBBER: To what do we owe the drive down the M1?

CHALMERS: We've announced today our terrific candidate for McPherson, Carl Ungerer, who's been a teacher at the local university here at Bond, he’s an international expert on foreign policy, but most importantly he's a genuine local who unlike the LNP wouldn't be taking the Gold Coast for granted. So we're going to give it a good shake here. We've announced our candidate. Wonderful parts of Australia deserve wonderful representatives like Carl, and that's what today's announcement was all about.

WEBBER: He's had a crack at state level before, I think pulled back about five points off Ray Stevens in the seat of Mermaid Beach at the last state election, but McPherson is pretty much as blue as blue can be. I don't think it's ever been in anything other than conservative hands, and the sitting Member there, Karen Andrews, has it by a margin of about 20 percentage points two-party-preferred. So have you really got any hope of making any inroads here?

CHALMERS: Well, there's a first time for everything Matt. I think the most important thing is we put all of our effort into it and that begins with picking a great candidate like Carl Ungerer, and that's what we've done. I think also, people on the Gold Coast understand that because these seats have been held by the LNP for so long, there is a bit of a sense that the federal LNP takes the Gold Coast for granted. So we want to give people an opportunity to vote for an alternative, a Labor alternative with Carl Ungerer as the local Member, not taking the place for granted, but genuinely taking the fight up on behalf of local families.

WEBBER: Jim Chalmers is with me. He's Shadow Treasurer of course, federal Labor Member on the Gold Coast today. Carl Ungerer announced as Labor's candidate for the very safe Liberal seat of McPherson. When are you anticipating that an election will be Mr Chalmers?

CHALMERS: We know it won't be this year, they've missed the boat for this year. I think Scott Morrison had a good sniff around maybe a late November / early December election, but that won't be the case now. Whether it's early March or the middle of May, we'll be ready for it whenever it is. It's a decision for the Prime Minister to make, and he'll run when he thinks he's got the best chance of winning it, but we'll be ready whenever it is. The issues here are the same as many of the issues around Australia. We don't know when the election will be but we know what it will be about. It'll be about another three years of attacks on wages, and Medicare, and job security - like the last eight years - or will be a future where the economy and our communities are stronger after COVID than they were before. Those will be the issues, whether the election's in March or May.

WEBBER: I want to talk about economics . I did mention in my introduction, the Prime Minister certainly seems to be in something of a campaign mode. He's been very visible since he arrived back from from Scotland. He was in Western Sydney yesterday and here's what he had to say.


WEBBER: The Prime Minister yesterday. It certainly sounds like something of a pitch, talking to economic credentials pretty much exclusively. You, Shadow Treasurer, Mr Chalmers, what's your response to that?

CHALMERS: I think Australians see through those kind of ridiculous and pathetic scare campaigns from this guy. You know, he's not called the liar from the Shire for nothing. He lied about electric vehicles last election, this time he wants to lie about petrol prices, and interest rates, and all the rest of it. And we know why he's doing that, he's desperately trying to distract from his own failures on economic management, his own failures on advanced manufacturing and apprenticeships, and some of the other issues that he mentioned. His own attacks on wages, and job security, and Medicare, which will only continue if he is re-elected. So we all know what he's doing here.

We'll hear more and more of this rubbish as we get closer to the election, where he pretends that he's got some plan to keep petrol prices down. If he does, he's failing badly, because petrol prices have skyrocketed on his watch. And the big issue there is that working families can't keep up with these cost of living pressures because Scott Morrison's gone after their wages and job security for much of the last eight years. So that will be an issue in the election. Australians have an opportunity to do away with a guy that's come after their wages and job security, and come after Medicare made it harder for them to deal with the rising cost of living.

If Morrison is re-elected, we'll just see more of those sorts of attacks on working families. So that will be central to the election, but I think people see through these kind of pathetic, unhinged, desperate, scare campaigns from a Prime Minister who's just trying to distract from his own failures on economic management. He's got a trillion dollars in debt in the Budget and not enough to show for it, and that's because the Budget is absolutely riddled with rorts, and waste, and mismanagement. He's got a shameful record on wages growth, and economic growth, and productivity, and business investment. The list goes on, and on, and on. And so we know what he's trying to do, he's trying to distract from that.

WEBBER: Shadow Treasurer, Labor Member for Rankin, Jim Chalmers is with me. Integrity's an issue that's been front and centre over the last couple of weeks, and a lot of criticism levelled at the Prime Minister on that front. If integrity though, becomes a battleground during an election campaign, and it becomes a battle of finger pointing, rather than a contest for ideas, wow are you going to find clear air to lay a platform to give Australians an option, the one that you say that they desperately seek?

CHALMERS: We do have a positive alternative when it comes to integrity in government. We're the only party which takes seriously a national anti-corruption commission. The Government, for years now, has been pretending that they believe in one while not lifting a finger to actually implement one. So integrity will be one of the issues at play in this election, but so will be some of those other issues that I mentioned. Whether it be attacks on wages, and Medicare, and job security. Or whether it be our positive alternatives. For example, the Prime Minister, you played a clip of him talking about advanced manufacturing a moment ago, we've announced the National Reconstruction Fund where government will partner with industry to create jobs in advanced manufacturing, diversify our economy, and invest in the regions in particular. That is a good example of the difference between us and the Government.

Scott Morrison likes to bang on about manufacturing to try and cover up for his shameful record on manufacturing, and apprenticeships, and jobs, and cleaner and cheaper energy, and skills, and research and development, and all of the crucial components of the future economy. We've actually got a positive alternative, whether it be childcare. Whether it be the National Reconstruction Fund, our policies for cleaner and cheaper energy, including rewiring the nation, our policies for apprenticeships. I heard Mark Bailey on the show just a moment ago talking about that terrific investment the state government's been making in the M1 What we've said, is for every big Commonwealth project at least one in ten of the workers on that project should be an Australian apprentice. So we've got lots of positive alternatives out there and we are confident that when the election gets closer, and people focus on the alternatives, they can have three more years of the same attacks on wages, and job security, and Medicare we've seen for the last eight years, or they can have a positive alternative, which is all about support for working families, more secure jobs, and a future made in Australia.

WEBBER: May's six months away. Have you got the energy in you to go the distance?

CHALMERS: Absolutely. Our whole team - from Anthony Albanese all the way down - our whole team is absolutely raring to go. We're setting out a positive alternative. We're pointing out the risks of another three years of this Government after their failures over the last eight. We're raring to go. We've got a great, coherent team. We've announced our priorities. We've got more policy to come, including when it comes to cleaner and cheaper energy. We're raring to go, and we'll be ready whether it's in March or May.

WEBBER: On climate policy, when can we expect some headline items to emerge?

CHALMERS: We've said a few times now that we'll be announcing our comprehensive plan in the coming weeks. The specific timing is in the hands of Anthony Albanese, and Chris Bowen, and our Shadow Cabinet. But in the coming weeks we'll lay down the comprehensive plan for cleaner and cheaper energy that we needed from Scott Morrison when he handed down a pamphlet instead. And we'll take into account the modelling that the Government's released, we'll take into account the outcomes from Glasgow, and we'll give this country the energy policy and the climate change policy that it needs and deserves to grab those jobs, and that investment, and those opportunities which we know from the modelling are there when you get cleaner and cheaper energy into the system.

WEBBER: Appreciate your time, Mr Chalmers. Thank you.

CHALMERS: Appreciate your time, Matt. All the best.

WEBBER: On the Gold Coast today, Shadow Treasurer and federal Member for Rankin, Jim Chalmers.