30 July 2015
Transcript - #2015162, 2015

Doorstop interview, Bexley North

TREASURER:

Well it’s terrific to be here at Admire Florist and thanks to Shelly and Guy for hosting us. To my great friend Nick Varvaris, who’s an outstanding local Member. He himself has been a small businessperson and knows how important it is that the Federal Government never leaves behind small business. We say often that small business is the engine room of the Australian economy and as a result of our Federal Budget, small business has reacted incredibly positively to our tax cut initiatives. We’ve seen a surge in not only business confidence, but importantly, consumer confidence as well. The world is facing many challenges, but Australia is going to meet those challenges head-on and beat them, and we are. The Australian economy has real momentum as we stand, from the delivery of major infrastructure, particularly in Western Sydney but right around the country, through to a stronger and more prosperous economy that is delivering more jobs and greater trade opportunities. The Prime Minister has said a few words this morning about the threat of the CFMEU to the free trade agreement with China. It is hugely important for Australia to have a free trade agreement with China. They are our biggest trading partner and they have made a very significant positive contribution to the Australian economy over the last few years, when the rest of the world has clapped out. So we need to have the free trade agreement with China. It has always been a bipartisan approach to deliver free trade because as an exporting nation, and as an importer of capital, we need the rest of the world more than many other countries. I say emphatically to Bill Shorten, please, Mr Shorten, stand up to the unions. Do not give in to the xenophobic demands of the CFMEU, the union that is helping to hold you up in the Labor Party. Do not give in to them and simply try and roll the free trade agreement with China, because ultimately that will cost Australians jobs. It will cost our nation jobs, it will cost Australian families jobs, and it will cost Australian businesses the opportunity to be more prosperous and create further wealth and innovate. So there’s a simple message for Mr Shorten, stand up to the union bullies for a change and put Australia’s interests first. Questions?

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer, the Bronwyn Bishop scandal, it doesn’t paint a rosy picture for the Government. Is this issue damaging the Government?

TREASURER:

I understand the Speaker has said something this morning, I’ve got nothing further to add.

JOURNALIST:

What did you think of her apology this morning?

TREASURER:

I have nothing further to add. I think it’s time everyone focussed on the issues that are important to the Australian people, such as jobs, such as Bill Shorten being controlled by the unions and opposing the free trade agreement. There are many, many issues that are more important for Australia at this point in time, and I’m focusing on those important issues. I’ll leave the Speaker to explain issues for herself, as she has. I have nothing further to add.

JOURNALIST:

Are you happy for her to stay on as Speaker?

TREASURER:

I’ve got nothing further. It’s going to be a short presser – I understand where you’re coming from, but really, I want to focus on jobs and prosperity. That’s what you expect me to focus on, that’s what I’m focused on, doing my day job and focusing on what’s right for the country. Thanks very much.