WEDNESDAY, 30 JANUARY 2019
SUBJECTS: LNP’s cuts, chaos and congestion in Queensland; Morrison’s desperate scare campaigns; Economy not working for middle Australia; Liberals’ division and dysfunction
JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE: Scott Morrison's had five years to invest in Queensland infrastructure and all we've had instead is five years of cuts and chaos and more congestion on our roads. Four days of prime ministerial announcements won't make up for five years of cuts to our roads and hospitals, schools, universities and TAFEs. Scott Morrison's not making these announcements now because he all of a sudden understands the pressures on Queenslanders. He's making these announcements because he's under the pump and there's an election around the corner.
Scott Morrison's made life harder for Queenslanders, not easier. And now all of a sudden, he wants them to believe he's on their side. It would be more believable if Gus Gould said that all of a sudden he was on the side of Queenslanders. Scott Morrison has an appalling record in Queensland - a record of cuts and chaos and more congestion. Queenslanders want a Prime Minister who will govern in their interests and not at their expense, and what they have now in Scott Morrison is a Prime Minister who has considered Queensland for some time to be a target for some of his worst cuts to roads and hospitals and schools and TAFEs and universities.
Queenslanders and Australians want an end to the ridiculous scare campaigns on the economy as well. With every passing day, Scott Morrison's scare campaign on the economy gets more and more ridiculous. The Liberal Party's scaremongering is falling down all around them. Today on Adelaide radio we had a member of the Government forced to admit that he had absolutely no evidence for some of the ridiculous claims that the Government has been making about the economy under Labor. We've had an independent fact checker this morning torpedo the absurd scare campaign that the Government is running on dividend imputation policy under Labor. An independent fact checker has torpedoed the Government's claims about Labor's tax policy, describing them, charitably, as "misleading".
We've got Stuart Robert, the walking gaffe machine, who has proven unable to go a full day without at least one spectacular gaffe about the economy and he's up to it again this morning. We've got a Prime Minister claiming that he'll pay down debt - the same claim that they made in 2013 and in 2016, when debt has actually doubled the life of this Liberal Government. We've got a Prime Minister and Stuart Robert - the Prime Minister's right-hand man, all at sea over the jobs commitment, the jobs target that they pulled out of thin air yesterday, because they had nothing else to say about the future of the economy. Is it any wonder that Queensland fares so badly under the Morrison Government, when his right-hand man from Queensland, Stuart Robert, cannot go a full day without getting something spectacularly wrong?
We've got a lot of challenges in this economy. We've got small business conditions falling; falling consumer confidence; stagnant wages; slowing growth; high household debt; low household saving - all at the same time we've got a Government too divided, too dysfunctional, and too out of touch to focus on the things that really matter to people. Scott Morrison is out there claiming that everything is rosy in the economy. Is it any wonder that the people of Queensland, the people of Australia, think that Morrison is so spectacularly out of touch when he thinks that this economy is delivering for ordinary working people?
There's one question that Scott Morrison has been dogged by every single day of his prime ministership. And that is, if the economy is going so well, why did they knife Malcolm Turnbull, and why is Scott Morrison now the Prime Minister?
Every day that Scott Morrison's in Queensland, it will be a reminder of the cuts and chaos and extra congestion which has happened over the last five years of the Liberal Government, and especially in recent years with Scott Morrison as Treasurer and Prime Minister. Queenslanders will see through the four days of announcements, because they know that there's been five years of division, dysfunction and targeting Queensland with some of the worst cuts to our roads, hospitals, schools, universities and TAFEs.
JOURNALIST: Do you think that addressing congestion in Brisbane's northern suburbs is important to the people of Queensland?
CHALMERS: Labor has a phenomenal record of investing in infrastructure around Brisbane and, indeed, throughout Queensland and the rest of the country. We've got a proud record and we've got a series of commitments that the Government is now playing catch-up on. Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese have spent a heap of time in the northern suburbs of Brisbane, making important commitments to park and rides, and roads, and up and down the Queensland coast, and into the bush. So we do accept that there is a need for substantial investment in Queensland's infrastructure. The difference between us and the Liberal Party is we've got a good record and we've got good commitments, and the Government is now playing catch-up because there's an election around the corner and they're under the pump.
JOURNALIST: What are your thoughts on the PM specifically targeting Dickson and Petrie today with that announcement? Obviously Dickson is on a less than five per cent margin, it's important for them to maintain Dickson, isn't it?
CHALMERS: To see Scott Morrison in Peter Dutton's electorate to try to bail him out when those two have been at loggerheads - they've been a key part of all the division and dysfunction of the last five years - it is an extraordinary sight. Whether it's in Dickson, whether it's in Petrie, right around Queensland, I think the people of those communities will understand that Scott Morrison doesn't have a clue about their daily lives. He's just making these announcements because he's under the pump and there's an election around the corner. And four days of announcements in Peter Dutton's electorate or Howarth's electorate or whoever it may be, won't make Queenslanders forget about those five years of chaos and cuts and carnage and congestion.
JOURNALIST: (inaudble) where he was talking about a potential recession under Labor. Today he seemed to be shifting away from that narrative, saying he didn't say recessions, he wasn't referring to a recession. What are your thoughts on that?
CHALMERS: With every passing day the Government's scare campaign on the economy gets more and more ridiculous. I think like the Government itself, it's falling down around Scott Morrison. You can't just make these things up as you go along. You shouldn't be speaking about the economy as Prime Minister or Treasurer. Or indeed any member of the Government shouldn't be talking about the economy in such an irresponsible way. They splashed that commentary across the front pages of the paper. They disagreed with each other, they were all at sea over it yesterday and now they're running 100 miles from it. Australians don't need more of the irresponsible, unhinged and breathless scare campaigns from the Liberal Party. They need stability. Australians are crying out for stability, they're crying out for economic leadership and a Government that understands we have stagnant wages and insecure work and that the economy's not delivering for working people. Instead, they get all of the lies and chaos and cuts and confusion and division and dysfunction that have been the hallmarks of the last five years of the Liberal Government in Canberra.