Gold Coast Doorstop 16/11/21

16 November 2021

SUBJECTS: Labor’s candidates for McPherson and Forde; LNP Members taking the Gold Coast for granted; Another bumbling burst of rambling incoherence from Barnaby Joyce; Coalition split on Glasgow agreement; Labor would task Treasury with modelling risks and opportunities from climate change; Google announcement; Liar from the Shire’s latest scare campaign on petrol and interest rates; Cheaper and cleaner energy policy.




SUBJECTS: Labor’s candidates for McPherson and Forde; LNP Members taking the Gold Coast for granted; Another bumbling burst of rambling incoherence from Barnaby Joyce; Coalition split on Glasgow agreement; Labor would task Treasury with modelling risks and opportunities from climate change; Google announcement; Liar from the Shire’s latest scare campaign on petrol and interest rates; Cheaper and cleaner energy policy.


MURRAY WATT, LABOR SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND: Thanks everyone for coming along today to one of the most beautiful places in the entire world, beautiful Burleigh Heads Beach. One of my favourite spots, and I know so many Queenslanders and Australians as well. It's great to be here with my colleagues Jim Chalmers, the Shadow Treasurer. Our new candidate for McPherson, Carl Ungerer, who Jim will introduce shortly. And our candidate for Forde on the Northern Gold Coast, Rowan Holzberger, as well. I'm really excited to be here as part of Carl being announced today as our Labor candidate in this part of the Gold Coast. I'll leave it for Jim to really set out what bring what Carl brings to the job, but what I did want to say is that it is so important that we have a Labor voice at the federal level in the House of Representatives for the Gold Coast because we are sick - and I think Gold Coasters are sick - of the Morrison Government leaving the Gold Coast behind. In so many ways, this growing community is being taken for granted by the LNP. We know that they hold every House of Representative seat on the Gold Coast. They hold all but one state seat on the Gold Coast, although Labor is obviously closing in.

It’s far too long that the LNP has been taking this part of Queensland for granted. In particular, we know that the Gold Coast tourism industry has been suffering over the last few months as a result of interstate lockdowns. But the Morrison Government has been nowhere to be seen when it comes to supporting our tourism industry and the people who work in it. The Gold Coast LNP Members have been nowhere to be seen when it comes to supporting the tourism industry and supporting tourism workers. They didn't even provide disaster assistance payments to Gold Coast workers and businesses over the last few months, even though most of their customers were locked-down interstate and unable to travel. So that's why we're so keen to take on the LNP at the federal level, and with great candidates like Carl and Rowan, I know we'll really take it up to them. I'll hand over to Jim now and we're obviously happy to take questions at the end. Thanks.

JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW TREASURER: Thanks very much Murray. Labor takes the Gold Coast very seriously, that’s why we've got a Senator based here and it's why we're going to campaign really hard here in McPherson and elsewhere on the Gold Coast. We’ve got Rowan Holzberger here as well who is our candidate in the electorate of Forde up the Gold Coast corridor. As Murray said, for too long now the Liberal and National parties have taken the Gold Coast for granted. What we want to do here is put pressure on them by running great candidates like Carl Ungerer. Carl and I have been friends for some time now. Carl has been a lecturer at the University here locally. He is a published expert on international relations. But most importantly, he is a genuine local who cares deeply about this part of the Gold Coast. We need to send Carl Ungerer to Canberra to properly represent this part of the Gold Coast.

For too long now, Karen Andrews and the LNP are taking the Gold Coast for granted. They have not done their best to represent the local area. And Carl Ungerer and Labor under Anthony Albanese want to change that. There's no better symbol of the way that the LNP takes the Gold Coast for granted, then the way that they've left so many local small businesses, particularly in tourism, in the lurch throughout this pandemic. We've seen time and time again, a Government prepared to leave small businesses on the Gold Coast behind when it comes to disaster payments, or JobKeeper, or other forms of support. We desperately need Carl Ungerer and an Albanese Labor Government to take the small businesses, and tourism operators, and the local economy, and the local community seriously and give it the representation that it needs and deserves. This is a wonderful part of Australia. It needs a wonderful representative like Carl Ungerer. I'm really pleased to announce today that he will be our candidate, and invite him to say few words now.

CARL UNGERER, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR McPHERSON: Well, thanks very much Jim, and to Murray, and Rowan, my colleagues here today. Welcome to Kombumerri Country. This is obviously a beautiful part of the world, and I've lived here now for many years on the southern end of the Gold Coast. And people come and live here for a range of reasons. They want the lifestyle. Look at the beautiful beaches that we have. They want good schools for their kids. They want to be able to maybe grow business and then maybe retire here on the Gold Coast. But what they're getting is really, really bad service from this federal Government, from the Morrison Government. And we need to change that. So everything from the aged care sector, we know the horror stories that are going on - the neglect and the abuse that's going on in our aged care sector in the aged care homes just up here at Robina. We know that on Medicare, they're trying to cut 900 items out of the Medicare list, making it harder and more expensive for everyone around here to get healthcare. And we know that they're going to put people like my 85-year-old mum who lives down at Coolangatta just south of here, put her on the cashless welfare card because they think pension is a welfare. They're trying to privatise our pension system. And for all of these reasons, we really do need to get rid of the Morrison Government and put in a Labor Albanese Government that is going to restore manufacturing here in Australia, and in Queensland, is going to invest in infrastructure.

You know, when Karen Andrews first got elected to parliament some eleven years ago, she said that infrastructure was her number one priority but everyone around here knows that the M1 is still a mess. There's no heavy rail to the border. There's been no investment in infrastructure. There's been no investment, as Jim said, in the small businesses that operate round here. But we're going to change that. And if we were lucky enough to get elected here in McPherson we're going to invest in these sorts of things - in small businesses, in the jobs of the future. Jobs like down at BusTech just here at Burleigh who are making hydrogen buses that are going to be used up in Mackay. That's what we want to see. We want to see better jobs, better education, better services for our aged care system, and really supporting our pensioners as they retire around this part of the world. I'm really proud and honoured to be the Labor candidate here in the seat of McPherson. It's where I live with my family, my wife, our child. We want to grow up here, but we need a better government in Canberra going forward. So thanks, everyone. Thanks very much to all my colleagues and happy to take any questions. Thank you.

JOURNALIST: So how confident are you?

UNGERER: I'm very confident. You look at the last state election and the seats that are here in the state election of Currumbin and Burleigh came down to the absolute wire between our candidates. There was some 500 votes in it in Currumbin. So there are lots of people on the southern Gold Coast who really do want a better government. They want a Labor Government to be able to help and support them, and that's what we intend to do. I ran in the state election in Mermaid Beach just up the road here. And lots of people are prepared to vote for good candidates on the Gold Coast, but we need better representation here. Otherwise, what we get, as Jim and Murray said, is neglect - neglect for the aged care system, neglect for our pensioners, neglect of the education system. I don't want to see that anymore. I want to change that.

JOURNALIST: What's the single biggest thing you think you'll do for the Gold Coast?

UNGERER: I think it's going to change how we invest in infrastructure. You know, Karen Andrews talked a lot about it, but in eleven years did nothing. But an Albanese Labor Government will genuinely invest in the kind of infrastructure that we need to finish the M1, to build the heavy rail, to finish the light rail, to build the ocean way along here, this beautiful pathway that we have on the beach for all the families to come out and enjoy this lifestyle that we have down here.

CHALMERS: I might just run through some national issues and then we can take some of your other questions. I've got a few issues to cover off from a national perspective.

First of all, another rant from Barnaby Joyce on the radio this morning. Yet another bumbling burst of rambling incoherence from Barnaby Joyce, which speaks volumes about the coalition's policy failures on climate change and energy. When you listen to the Deputy Prime Minister, another bumbling burst of rambling incoherence, you can see why this Government has been such a tragic failure on climate change and cleaner and cheaper energy for their eight long years in office. This is a Government which has a Deputy Prime Minister actively campaigning against an international agreement that the Prime Minister just signed, that the Prime Minister says he has no intention of sticking with. We get desensitised to this kind of rubbish out of this Government.

We've got a Deputy Prime Minister campaigning against an international agreement signed by the Prime Minister. In a government with even the most basic standards, that shouldn't be happening and wouldn't be happening. But under this Government, it's just yet another day in the shambles that is climate and energy policy under this Prime Minister and under this Deputy Prime Minister.

The Deputy Prime Minister of this country shouting at trains, and shouting at ships in the harbour, is not going to get our emissions down or our energy costs down. What we desperately need is a meaningful policy on climate change and energy, so that we get that cleaner and cheaper energy into the system and we grab those jobs, and that investment, and those opportunities, which has been going begging over eight long years of inaction from this LNP Government.

What we've said today is that a Labor Government under Anthony Albanese would put Treasury back at the centre of climate change policy. We would task the Commonwealth Treasury with modelling the broad, comprehensive impacts of climate change - the risks and the opportunities - on the economy and the budget. No serious, responsible Government could leave Treasury out in the cold when it comes to this important modelling.

No responsible government which intends to do something meaningful about cleaner and cheaper energy can afford to go any longer without Treasury being asked to do this important work. It beggars belief that Josh Frydenberg, who pretends to care about climate change and energy policy, hasn't even asked his Department to model the broad impacts of climate change, the risks and opportunities, and what it means for our economy and our budget. Labor under Anthony Albanese will do that important work in conjunction with the Treasury, so we get a clearer picture of the risks and opportunities associated with climate change, and how we take seriously the jobs and investment and opportunities which flow from cleaner and cheaper energy.

Now instead of doing something meaningful here we've got the Prime Minister mounting yet another ridiculous and pathetic scare campaign, this time on petrol prices and interest rates. 

The liar from the Shire is at it again, this time on petrol and interest rates. Petrol prices have skyrocketed on his watch. Is he now seriously claiming that he has a policy to keep petrol prices down? Well, then let's hear it. Is he's seriously claiming that interest rates will not rise if he is re-elected? Let's hear about how he intends to do that and how he intends to promise that.

The liar from the Shire is at it once again. Unfortunately, Australians will hear more and more of these pathetic, ridiculous scare campaigns from Scott Morrison and the LNP as we get closer to the election.

The last election he lied about electric vehicles, this election he's lying about petrol prices and interest rates. And there will be more of this as we get closer to an election, whether it's in March or whether it's in May.

The big risk to working families is another three years of Scott Morrison's attacks on wages, and job security, and Medicare, which will make it harder for Australian working families to meet the skyrocketing costs of petrol. The biggest risk facing working families is another three years of a Government which deliberately goes after wages, and job security, and Medicare, and makes Australian working families more vulnerable, not less.

This is a Government which has made it harder for working families to meet the rising cost of living. In the Government's own Budget, they say that real wages will go backwards, that the cost of essentials will rise faster than the wages growth that people need to rely on to provide for their loved ones. So enough of this rubbish, enough of these pathetic scare campaigns, based on lies from the liar from the Shire, when it comes to petrol and interest rates.

I think Australians are working this guy out. They know that he will always reach for some kind of pathetic, ridiculous, laughable, scare campaign and we're seeing that once again.

One more issue before we take your questions. Google has announced an investment today that I wanted to respond to briefly.  

We welcome investment in Australia, in Australian jobs, in Australian research and development. We will go through the details of this announcement being made today but we are obviously very welcoming of investments made here in Australia, which provide jobs and opportunities for Australians, particularly when it comes to research and development and the jobs of the future. 

But one investment from one company doesn't undo eight long years of weak business investment and weak research and development under this LNP Government. One announcement on one day close to the election, will not make Australians forget that this is a Government which attacks our universities, attacks our research institutions, attacks research and development, and has delivered some of the weakest levels of business investment in the history of this country. 

I’m happy to take any of your easy questions and Murray's volunteered to take any of your curly ones.

JOURNALIST: Jim, Alex from the ABC. I just wanted to touch on a few things that you mentioned. You were talking about petrol prices and interest rates. How is Labor going to keep those down?

CHALMERS: Well, the most important thing when it comes to the rising costs of petrol on Scott Morrison's watch - or the interest rates that the Reserve Bank has said will obviously go up at some point in the future given they can't stay at zero forever - is wages growth. In the Government's own Budget, the Budget has fessed up and said on the Government's policy settings, the wages of working families will not keep up with the rise in the cost of living. That's in the Government's own Budget.

The Prime Minister has overseen a spike in petrol prices. If he has a plan to keep that down, then let's hear it. If he has a plan it's failing, because Australians are getting absolutely pummelled at the petrol browser. And one of the reasons they're finding it so hard to keep up with the skyrocketing costs of petrol is because Scott Morrison has gone after their wages and their job security. So Labor's priority is more jobs, and more opportunities, for more people, in more parts of Australia. And that means support for working families. It means more secure jobs. It means a future made in Australia. Because we need to turn around this shocking record that the LNP have on wages, and that's our priority.

JOURNALIST: What do you think about the Prime Minister shifting away from major issues like the pandemic and climate change and moving towards the interest rates and the cost of living argument?

CHALMERS: The liar from the Shire is absolutely desperate to distract from his shameful record on wages, and job security, and his attacks on Medicare. And we'll see him become even more desperate, and even more pathetic, and even more untrustworthy, as we get closer to the election. This guy does not do subtle, we can see him coming from a mile away. And once again, he's prepared to dust off ridiculous, and pathetic, and laughable scare campaigns as a distraction from his record on economic management, which includes historically stagnant wages and a Budget which is chock-full of rorts and mismanagement. This is a Prime Minister with a Budget with a trillion dollars in debt and not enough to show for it, because it's absolutely riddled with rorts and riddled with waste and mismanagement. He's got a record of weak economic growth, stagnant wages, weak business investment, weak productivity, right across the board. So we're not surprised to see him reach for another pathetic scare campaign to try and distract from his own failures on the economy.

JOURNALIST: You touched on the announcement with Google ,do you agree that we have come a long way with the platform though since it took its search engine down last year?

CHALMERS: The approach that we take to investment in jobs and opportunities in Australia, is we welcome it. We welcome it from any source where there is an opportunity to create good jobs, which are modern jobs, which give people the opportunity to be part of a fast-growing part of the economy. It is, from our point of view, a welcome development and a welcome announcement, which doesn't undo all of the damage that's been done to business investment and r&d by this Government over eight years. Clearly, there have been issues with that company in the past, and they are in the past. Clearly, we want to see this investment flow.

JOURNALIST: Just on carbon emissions. How ambitious should Labor be with their 2030 reduction target?

CHALMERS: We need to do something meaningful about climate change and cleaner and cheaper energy. We've said for some time, that Australia needs to be part of the solution when it comes to climate change, and not part of the problem. I think Scott Morrison and Barnaby Joyce have embarrassed Australia on the world stage. We need to be seeing the way the world is moving on climate change and energy as a jobs and investment opportunity for Australia. When Scott Morrison sees the global developments on climate change and energy, he sees it as an opportunity for all of the same politicking and all of the same inaction, which is defined the last eight years of this Government. Australians broadly, state governments of both political persuasions, the big employers, the miners, the farmers, and the international community, all understand that there are jobs and opportunities which come from cleaner and cheaper energy. We don't have a federal government that understands that, or appreciates that, or wants to do anything about it, and Labor can do better.

JOURNALIST: And do you think that you would be too big a target to the coalition if you chose a 45% target again?

CHALMERS: We'll come up with the best policy, which is good for people, good for jobs, and investment, and opportunities, and good for the economy. We've said for some time that we'll take the time to do that. We've got the Government's modelling now, we've got the outcomes from Glasgow, and in the coming weeks will announce a comprehensive policy for climate change and energy which shows the right level of ambition and which gives people an opportunity to get those jobs and opportunities. You look at the Business Council of Australia modelling, they said that if we're ambitious on climate change and energy, then there will be more jobs and more opportunities for more people, including and especially in the regions. For too long now those opportunities have gone begging, because we've got a Prime Minister and a Government who takes his marching orders from the kind of bumbling incoherence that we saw again from Barnaby Joyce this morning.

JOURNALIST: Did you say that you will announce a climate and energy policy. When will you do that?

CHALMERS: We've said for some time, that after the outcomes of Glasgow are known and after we've seen the Government's modelling, then we will announce our comprehensive plan for climate change and cleaner and cheaper energy. That's our intention to do that. The timing will be determined by Anthony Albanese, Chris Bowen and the Shadow Cabinet. But we've said repeatedly that that will happen in the coming weeks. Thanks very much.