Transcript - Murrumbeena Park Community Hub Press Conference

MARGARET ESAKOFF

Good morning, everybody. I’m Margaret Esakoff, the Mayor at Glen Eira City Council and it’s a pleasure to be here this morning at Murrumbeena Park and I welcome very warmly the Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack and our local member, the hardworking Member for Higgins, Katie Allen.

We’re here this morning to make some funding announcements and launch the Murrumbeena Community Hub. So I’ll ask our local Member for Higgins, Katie Allen, to say a few words.

KATIE ALLEN

Thank you, Margaret. And thank you to Margaret, our hard-working mayor of Glen Eira and also to Rebecca McKenzie, the CEO of Glen Eira. And thank you, thank you so much to the Deputy Prime Minister, the Honourable Michael McCormack, for joining us here this morning for what is really a fantastic announcement for Higgins.

In this part of Higgins there are very few community spaces that can be used and I’m absolutely delighted that the Morrison Government has announced $4 million for this project, which is due to start in the next month or so and will be finished by the middle of next year.

Now what this community space is going to do is provide some much-needed facilities, particularly for women and girls sports. We know with the exposure of AFLW that women are real getting into sport, not just football but sports right across Higgins, in fact, right across Australia. So this is fantastic news because this space behind us is going to be knocked down and a wonderful purpose-built facility built, which is state-of-the-art with home and away change rooms for both men and for women and special changing places facilities for those with disabilities. This will be a facility that provides a community function room with viewing of sports. It’s in a very important part of the electorate because in Higgins we don’t have a lot of open space and so every bit of open space needs to be used effectively and efficiently and we know the community needs this space. And we’re so delighted the Federal Government is committing to this very important project right here in Higgins.

So I’d like to introduce our Deputy Prime Minister who’s here at our turning of the sod event. We’re very excited that this is happening right here, right now, particularly after our terribly difficult COVID year last year with people being locked up. They’re dying to get out to play sport. Really keen to get out into the community and this facility is going to help make that easier. So thank you, DPM. I’ll hand over to you.

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Well, thank you very much, Katie. And I certainly welcome the Mayor as well. I’ve just met young Rosie and young Barney, young kids from here, from Glen Eira. They want to dream big and whether it’s the Murrumbeena Community Hub, whether it’s the MCG, they want to be able to dream big. They want to be able to get out there from their community and play on the MCG. And they’re going to be able to do it. They’re going to be able to do it because they’re going to be having these great facilities as young people growing up in a wonderful community such as this.

And when you have good suburban facilities that adds so much to the community capacity in a place like Melbourne. And I’m from New South Wales and I appreciate, I understand, I acknowledge that Melbourne is the sporting capital of Australia. It certainly is. And there’s no better place to be than the MCG on Boxing Day and maybe the young fella that I met before, maybe he’ll one day open the bowling for Australia. One day young Rosie, well, she’ll be playing AFLW on the ‘G. And they’ll do it from a start from Murrumbeena.

If they are going to get there they need good facilities when they’re kids. They need to have good facilities. And Katie Allen has worked very hard to ensure that this Murrumbeena Community Hub is going to be the very best it can be. $4 million of Commonwealth funding, backed on the top of Local council funding, backed on the top of State Government funding, too – I’ll acknowledge the State Government – all up, an $11.9 million community hub. This is going to improve the facilities here, enhance the facilities here and make it a real community hub that is going to be so important for locals around here.

Pretty soon, next month, as Katie Allen has just said, the building behind us, well, that’s going to come down and they’re going to build a state-of-the-art I’ll even say world-class facility right here in suburban Melbourne, right here so that locals and visitors alike can come here, can play, can watch sport. It’s not just about sport, it’s always going to be very much about other community events. And whether it’s Glen Eira, whether it’s the neighbouring suburbs, they want their community to be its best self. And we you’ve got facilities to the tune of this, to the tune of $11.9 million, well, you’re going to attract events. You’re going to attract big sporting contests and you’re going to make it a real community hub.

So I say well done to Council, well done to Katie Allen. Katie is constantly in my office banging on the table wanting more funding. Wanting more funding for Higgins, wanting more funding for her local electorate. She understands just how important this $4 million is going to be to create more jobs. And as she’s just said, throughout COVID it has been very difficult. And that is why she has come and banged her fist on my desk and said, “I need more money. I need more money for my electorate,” because, indeed, when you build community capacity then you make your communities more livable spaces. You make these areas places in which people want to work, live, invest, play and that’s what it’s all about.

I’m delighted to be here today with the Mayor and with Katie to see the start of this project. Pretty soon we’ll have bulldozers, we’ll have hi-vis workers, we’ll have shovels in the ground and we’re going to make this facility world-class. Why shouldn’t suburban Melbourne – or anywhere else for that matter – have world-class facilities? That’s what we’re doing, not just here but right across the nation. It’s part of our $110 billion that we’re spending on infrastructure. And whether its roads or whether its rail or whether it’s community facilities such as this, we’re getting on and we’re doing it. And the $110 billion of infrastructure that we’re spending across the nation is supporting 100,000 jobs – 100,000 jobs, so important. That means also not only local workers but local procurement. That means the contractors, chippies, sparkies, plasterers, whatever the case might be, carpenters, they’ll be here. They’ll be working on site and that’s going to create so much work, so much, indeed, community capacity.

And I look forward to coming back here middle of next year and having a bit of a kick to kick, having a look at the new facility. Two-storey building, it’s going to make such a difference to this community. It’s going to have something for everyone – not just AFL. I know, indeed, the Murrumbeena Lions haven’t won a premiership for a while. With a new facility like this they’ll probably be top of the pops again. Also important for their netballers, of course. It’s not just about football and netball, it’s also about increasing that entire community capacity. So well done to the local council. Well done to Katie Allen and I very much look forward to seeing the shovels in the ground and the work underway.

JOURNALIST

Just in terms of the vaccines, if I can just quickly ask, Denmark, Norway and Iceland have suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine due to fears the vaccine could cause blood clots. Do Australian authorities share those safety concerns?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Well, I’ve spoken to the Secretary of Health, Professor Brendan Murphy, this morning. And we have all the way through taken the best possible advice from the Australian Health Protection Principle Committee. We’ve taken the advice from that committee all the way through. We’ve taken the best possible medical advice, whether it’s Professor Paul Kelly the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Murphy in his previous role as CMO and now as Secretary of the Department of Health, and we’ve followed that advice.

Our Therapeutic Goods Administration has said that the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe to use and we’re getting on with the vaccine. We’re getting on with the rollout. And Australians should be assured that our TGA, which is world-best practice, world-class, they’ve said that it’s okay. And we follow that advice.

JOURNALIST

Has the Federal Government been forced to back down from its pledge to have all Australians vaccinated by the end of October?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Well, that’s still the plan. There’s still the hope. And we’re in regular contact with Saul Resnick from DHL. It’s a big job. They’re getting the logistics done. Australia is a very, very big nation. I’m pleased as a regional member that regional people are being vaccinated at the same rate as our metropolitan friends. We want to make sure that that vaccine gets out to all Australians. We’ve got a plan. We’re rolling it out. We’re getting on with the job.

It won’t go flawlessly all the way through and the Health Minister, Greg Hunt, has acknowledged that, the Prime Minister has acknowledged that. But we’re doing the very best we can in a very large nation. This is the largest peacetime logistical exercise in Australia’s history. Largest peacetime logistical exercise in Australia’s history. And we’re getting on with it. And we urge and encourage Australians when it comes their turn to get that jab to get it. When it comes their turn to get that second jab, get that second jab. Because we want to vaccinate all Australians.

We need to be able to do that so we can get through this COVID pandemic. It’s been very, very tough on families, on business, on life in Australia as we know it. But we’re going to get back to some sort of pre-COVID normality. We’re the envy of the world when it comes to what we’ve been able to do as far as the health outcomes and certainly as far as the economic outcomes. I mean, other countries look at us and think, “Why haven’t we been able to match Australia when it comes to actually all of those health outcomes and economic outcomes.” We’ve done very well, and we’ll continue to do so.

JOURNALIST

Are you concerned that a Chinese-linked company has been granted a mining licence on an island close to a Defence training site in WA?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Well, any foreign investment goes through the Foreign Investment Review Board. And what we’ve done since we’ve come to Government is that we’ve put the national interest test all over every foreign investment. When Labor were in power it was $248 million which then went up another $4 million just before they lost Government to us in 2013. So it took a $252 million trigger before the FIRB looked at any foreign investment. And you know what Labor’s plan was? It was to push that trigger to a billion dollars. So Labor didn’t care whether the rest of the world came in and bought anything in Australia. And certainly from a regional area, that really concerned me because I didn’t want to see my farmland in the Riverina electorate or, indeed, any farmland or agribusinesses bought up just like that because some other country in the world decided to do so, some other foreign investor wanted to do so. So I was very pleased and worked very hard with the then Treasurer, Joe Hockey, and subsequent to him, Treasurer Scott Morrison, now Prime Minister, and Josh Frydenberg, the current Treasurer, who’s doing an outstanding job, to make sure that our foreign investment rules are as tight and as tough as they need to be. The national interest test is placed over every one of those investments or potential investments by overseas. So the rule is tight.

JOURNALIST

Do you understand, though, why people would be worried about the situation given what has happened with Darwin?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Well, again, I say we’ve put the national interest test over our foreign investment. Now Labor can carry on and carp and whine and whinge all they like. I mean, that’s what Labor does. They’re so negative. We’re getting on with the job of building Australia back after COVID. And we’ve done that yesterday through the aviation support. We’ve done that through all the measures and assistance and support that we’ve put in place since COVID first hit our country. And we’ve done very well and so have Australians. They’ve responded magnificently to the call to social distance, to wear masks, to do everything, go in quarantine, self-isolate when asked to do so. And that is why our COVID rates are very, very low compared to the rest of the world. That’s why our economy is getting back on track. If Labor were in power, goodness knows what would have happened to Australia or our health outcomes.

JOURNALIST

What guarantee can you give that the defence security will be maintained then?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Well, our defence security is number one. I mean, first order of government is to ensure that the protection and defence of our nation is first and foremost and that’s what we do. That’s what we do every day in every way. Every government policy is aimed at increasing Australia’s defence and security and our nation. And we want Australia to go ahead. That’s what we do as a Government. That’s why we’re entrusted by the people of Australia to look after them, to look after their interests, and that’s what we do.

JOURNALIST

Has the Federal Government taken action internally in response to ASIO’s findings that a Liberal Party donor with ties to Michael Sukkar and Gladys Liu was an alleged agent of foreign interference?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Look, I appreciate the speculation that’s been put in papers, but I’m getting on with the job of working in a very dedicated team to get Australia through this COVID pandemic. That’s the first order of priority. And, yes, of course, all these things, they are looked at by the right officials, by the right people. And, you know, they are addressed if need be.

I say again, Australia has a proud record with the COVID situation. We’re getting on with making sure that Australia is safe. We’re protecting our national interests when it comes to foreign investment. And we don’t – we don’t take our job and our role of protecting our sovereignty lightly. We make sure that in every way that we keep Australia’s sovereignty protected, and we’ll keep doing that.

JOURNALIST

This wasn’t just speculation, this was ASIO’s findings about foreign interference. How long has The Government known Mr Liu was identified as an agent?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Well, we look at all those things. But, I say again, national interest is number one for Australia. Security and protection, they are first orders of priority for any government. And we make sure that, indeed, any foreign influence is, of course, looked at and addressed in the right and proper way.

JOURNALIST

Mr McCormack, you’re in Victoria which had the longest lockdown in Australia. Does it deserve more as part of the tourism and airline package you’ve announced? The Victorian Government doesn’t seem to be very happy with it?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Well, the Victorian Government also locked down their borders like that – drop of a hat, hasty decisions. Locked down their borders when they had just a couple of community outbreaks. And I appreciate that last July was very difficult when there was that massive outbreak which cost the lives of more than 800 people. I understand that. And I know that whatever we think and say about our Premiers, they’ve done what they thought they needed to do to protect the people in their state. But it has come at a big cost. It’s come at a big cost to business, it’s come at a big cost to livelihoods. And particularly when I’ve got members in my own party who were far closer to, indeed, Adelaide and South Australia than they were to Melbourne and yet they were still under the same impositions that Melbourne was. I mean, I spoke to farmers who had to wear, for goodness sake, face masks to go and check on their stock when they were many hundreds of kilometres from Melbourne. That’s pretty hard. That’s pretty difficult.

But what we’ve done with this aviation and tourism support package is provide support to airlines and travel agents and through them tourism operators in those areas hardest hit and in those areas where international tourists are normally all over the joint. And certainly with the Great Ocean Road, that’s where international tourists flock to. That’s one of the biggest areas which was hardest hit in Victoria. And so that was why we put Avalon on the list. That’s why we wanted to ensure that those tourism operators – and there’s many of those fine tourist operators up and down the Great Ocean Road, it’s a fantastic area and I encourage any Australians to go and visit, take a drive there or take one of the half price airline tickets. Go to Avalon, see the Great Ocean Road. It’s magnificent. The Twelve Apostles and everything else. Go and have a look at it. But that’s why we chose all the other destinations as well. Not every destination is on the list, but, again, I state it is an initial list. So we’ll revisit it. We’ll relook at it. But at the moment there’s 800,000 half-price tickets. Get out and see Australia. It’s a fantastic place. And certainly get out and see regional Australia. See regional Victoria. Go to the Great Ocean Road. You know, do your duty for the nation. Do it for the team. And do it for yourselves. You’ll see a great country out there and places that need visiting. They need your support. They need your tourist dollars. And I’ll state again – every dollar spent on an airline ticket means $10 spent at the place of location, at the destination. So those Great Ocean Road tourism operators, they need your visitation, they need your dollars. And they’re ready with open arms to come and see more Australians sooner.

JOURNALIST

This has been welcomed by airlines, but what about tourism operators? I mean, people have been kept away from their families for so long. There’s no guarantee that they’ll go and spend money on actual tourism. They might take advantage of these flights just to visit family members. Has the Federal Government looked into travel vouchers not only for flights but also for tourism activities and hotels?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Well, when people get on planes and go for, say, a week or 10 days, I mean the Federal Government is not going to look in and actually ask for explanations as to where they’re going and why they’re going. We’re hoping that they do the right thing and go for a holiday. And even if they do go and visit relatives, heaven forbid, I mean, some of the decisions made by Premiers have stopped people from doing just that. And it’s actually a holiday when you do go and visit your relos – trust me, I know. And what people have been worried about is the fact that if they do go somewhere that the Premiers will make a snap decision to shut borders and they won’t be able to get back home.

But with the vaccine rolling out we want Australia to return to some sort of pre-COVID normality. We also want to keep those 8,600 workers in the airlines in their jobs. There are many workers in Qantas and Virgin relying on this support, but also not only that, we also want to make sure that those regional airlines, not least of which is REX, which has benefited very largely from the support that we’ve provided, we’ve extended the regional airline network support. That’s going to be vital for those regional carriers, to get to those regional centres which, but for that assistance and extending that assistance to September 30, they would not be able to go to many of those locations which would otherwise not have seen an airplane landing at their airports. So this is going to support airports. It’s going to support airlines by extending RANS and DANS. It’s going to support the tourism operators, they’re going to benefit. Hotels and all those operators, all those charter boat operators, they’re also going to benefit from all the support that we put in place yesterday – $1.2 billion. That takes our support to the aviation sector – appreciating this is demand driven – to somewhere in the order of three and a half nearly $4 billion. That’s a significant support for an industry that was hit first and hit hardest. And we’ll continue to look at what we need to do as far as yesterday’s aviation support package is concerned and if we need to tweak it, then we will.

JOURNALIST

Just building on from Patrick’s question, is it though, valid criticism that it’s really targeting the aviation sector and there’s travel agents, there’s other tourism operators and people that aren’t close to those sites that may not be able to benefit?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

No and I’ll tell you why – because all of those people will benefit when those people get off the plane and go down those steps of that plane and land on the tarmac and look at the wonderful Sunshine Coast or the Gold Coast or Avalon Airport knowing they’re going to go to the Great Ocean Road, they’re going to go, “How good is this?” And they’re going to go straight into a café or a pub or a tourist operator. They’re going to buy a ticket for whatever theme park or whatever the case might be and they are going to spend money. Just by getting from point A, which might be a capital city or it might be another regional city, to go interstate to visit that place. They’re going to be spending money. Every dollar that they’ve spent on that airline ticket – 50 cents of which will come from the Federal Government – they will then spend 10 bucks – $10 – at the destination. So that’s got to help the tourism operators. That’s got to help the cafes and all the foodies. And that’s got to put people back into business.

People have done it very, very tough and the decisions taken, particularly in Queensland and Victoria and, I must say, Western Australia too, have been very, very hard on those local tourism operators. Well, the Federal Government’s coming to their assistance. Once again, we’re the white knight on the shining white horse and we’re coming to the support and the help of those tourist operators on behalf of those cafes and hotels and accommodation places and of course, the airlines and of course, the airports. That’s what we’re doing. That’s what we’ve done all the way through. And when I mentioned Western Australia, there’s an election on this Saturday and I urge and encourage those people in those seats, you’ve got Zak Kirkup leading the Liberals and Mia Davies leading The Nationals. They’re the ones, if you want to get ahead in Western Australia, they’re the ones to vote for.

JOURNALIST

Just in terms of obviously trying to push the local tourism, you were talking about the Bellarine Peninsula and the Great Ocean Road, but there are a lot of other parts of Victoria that are going to miss out. And the Victorian Government has said that they will lobby you to try to include Melbourne Airport, other airports like Mildura or Albury-Wodonga. Do you see yourself increasing to some of those other sites and will you be able to at least help some of those regions out as well?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Potentially yes. Like I say, it’s an initial list. An initial list of 15. We’ll certainly look at those other centres and other destinations as well. But I’m not going to stand here and take lectures from James Merlino. I appreciate he’s the Acting Premier and he wants to get out and get on the front foot and get a headline for himself. A bit rich coming out and criticising the Federal Government when we have provided so much support for Melbourne, for regional Victoria, for the state of Victoria in general when it’s been the Victorian Labor Government that, at the drop of a hat, has closed its borders and then caused so much heartache and hardship for so many people in this state.

That said, I did text Dan Andrews yesterday and wished him well. I am concerned, of course, as are many people, about his health. And I do wish him a full recovery and hope he’s back on his feet very soon.

JOURNALIST

Mr McCormack, why should states – why shouldn’t the Federal Government be talking to states about implementing a drive-through clinic to boost vaccine roll-out?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Well, we’re providing the vaccination. We’re spending the money on the vaccination. We’re getting it distributed through DHL and Linfox and making sure that it gets to all parts of Australia in good time. We’ve got the vaccination plan. But it’s state public health that do the actual delivery, the actual jabs in the arm. And we will work closely with them, of course, to make sure that that runs as smoothly as possible. But it is state public health, and they make the decisions. And, you know, New South Wales may make decisions for and on behalf of those citizens in New South Wales. Victoria might do something completely different. But the fact is we want to get those vaccinations into those hospitals, into those pharmacies, into those GP clinics as quickly as possible. If states want to have drive-through clinics, then, you know, so be it. If it’s safe to do so and the health authorities decide, indeed, that that’s appropriate, then they’ll do it.

JOURNALIST

So has there been any sort of advice given to states about how the rollout should be conducted or are you leaving it to the states to decide?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Well, indeed, Professor Paul Kelly, who’s the Chief Medical Officer and Professor Brendan Murphy, who’s the Secretary of the Department of Health, they work very closely with our state officials.

They work – a whole bunch of school kids arriving. They must know something’s on! They’ll be delighted about the Murrumbeena Community Hub.

But, yes, so we work, of course, very, very closely, the Federal and State does. But at the end of the day it is the state that are actually in charge of the actual jabbing and the actual vaccination delivery from needle to person. All I can say is I just encourage people to actually get that vaccination because do it not just only for yourself but do it for those loved ones around you or that person you may never have ever met. Because the sooner we get everybody vaccinated the sooner we can get back to normal life and the sooner we can open our international borders and have people coming in from overseas where they’ve got the vaccination programs rolling out in their own countries as well.

JOURNALIST

Mr McCormack, just on another topic, are you worried about the financial situation of the Whyalla steelworks and the impact that might have on the Inland rail project?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Look, yes, I am and Sanjeev Gupta has spoken with the Federal Government, of course, with the Industry Minister, Karen Andrews. We want Whyalla steelworks to be still providing the steel for Inland Rail. One of the great things about Inland Rail is that it is using South Australian steel. No better steel in all of the world. And we want to make sure that that steelworks continues. And, of course, it supports many, many jobs in Whyalla. These are difficult times. It’s not just difficult, of course, they’ve got investments elsewhere in the world. And it’s a situation that, of course, they will look at from a commercial point of view. The Federal Government will look at it obviously from a jobs point of view and making sure that Whyalla is supported.

We want our South Australian cities – we want all our cities, regional or otherwise, capital cities – to be supported. That’s what we’ve done the whole way through. You know, $252 billion of support we’ve provided through COVID. The situation in Whyalla, it’s always been a little bit volatile, but that’s why we are making sure that we use Australian steel on the Inland Rail. That’s why they’ve got $50 million of contracts. The second phase from Narrabri to North Star is underway, having the first phase – Parkes to Narromine finished, completed, the first of 13 sections. And I’m proud to say that 99 local businesses were able to procure $110 million of support from that first section of Inland Rail.

So we’re getting on with the job. We’re building that corridor of commerce from Melbourne to Brisbane and it’s going to be important and I’d like to think that Australian steel will be used on the whole line.

JOURNALIST

If worst does come to worst, where are you going to source the steel?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

That’s hypothetical and you know, we’ll cross that bridge if we need to.

JOURNALIST

Just in terms of the tourism package again, why wasn’t Adelaide and Darwin initially included on that list of destinations?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Well, what we were doing is we were looking at where the areas were hardest hit. I spoke to Sam McMahon, Senator Sam McMahon, and she felt it would be appropriate that Darwin be included. And indeed, Adelaide, given the fact that we had Kangaroo Island on the list but many of the planes delivering tourists from interstate do arrive at Adelaide and so then they transfer to Kangaroo Island. So it’s important that we get those tourists into those centres and that’s why we extended the list. And that just goes to show that, as I’ve said all along, it’s an initial list but its fluid. And we’ll look at it and we’ll tweak it as per need be. That’s what we’ve done the whole way through. We’ve had assistance for the COVID-situation and where we’ve needed to adjust we have. Where we’ve needed to amend, we’ve done it. And that’s why we’ve been a good and responsible and practical and pragmatic Government. All our measures have been targeted and scalable, but we’ve also addressed the needs as they’ve arisen.

JOURNALIST

Just back on to ASIO’s findings against Mr Liu, how can you be satisfied that Liberal Party partners haven’t been influenced by him?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Well, again, I’ve answered your questions in that regard. Of course, we’ll always put the national interest test over everything and we’ll continue to do that.

JOURNALIST

Why is the Government sweeping this under the carpet?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

No, no, I’ve answered your questions on that.

JOURNALIST

In terms of super guarantee, does raising it – will it ultimately be good for Australians?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Well, yes, what we’ve done with the super situation is we’ve made sure that people can access super so that they can have those funds available to them to spend on what they needed to spend it on in these emergency/urgency times. But we’ll always look at what we need to do as far as the super is concerned. We’ve said that. Josh Frydenberg has made statements on the super guarantee situation.

We’ll continue to look at it, but what we’ll make sure that we do is support Australians. We’ll support Australians. Australia has the best situation in the world when it comes to COVID and the economy. We’re backing our businesses. They’re paying the lowest rate of tax since pre-World War II days. They’re paying the lowest rate of tax. We’re cutting taxes for individuals. That’s what we are about – lower taxes. We’re getting on with the job of making sure that Australians who want a job can get back into work. We’re making sure that through all the arrangements that we’ve put in place that they’re the right fit for Australia right now. And of course, we’ve just upped the JobSeeker level, and it’s the biggest increase of that rate since 1986 and that’s a Liberal-Nationals Government. Since 1986 and that’s a long time ago. That was the year I got married – 1986 – so it is a long, long time ago, thirty-four years ago. I know that because my wife’s birthday actually is tomorrow. So there you go. Happy birthday, Catherine.

JOURNALIST

So you said that there’s plans to raise it. Do you think it’s a good idea?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

Well, look, as I say, Josh Frydenberg and Jane Hume are the Ministers responsible in this regard, they look at all these things. We’ll do what’s best for Australians. We’ll do what’s best for Australians’ hip-pockets. That’s what we do. Labor, well, they put in place all these taxes. If ever they get the keys to the Treasury box they’ll just absolutely tax the daylights out of ordinary, everyday Australians, because that’s what Labor does. They’ll shut businesses. Labor’s version of a small business is a business that was once, under a Liberal-Nationals Government, a big business. Labor’s only business they’re interested in is one they can put a picket line out the front of.  They don’t care about workers. They’ve shown that. You only have to look at what they’re doing in the Hunter Valley at the moment. Those Members for Paterson and Shortland, though don’t care about the works in those coal mines. They just want to shut down industry. They want to shut down farming as we know it. And they’re not real good for metropolitan cities, either. So we’re there. We’re building such things as the Murrumbeena Community Hub.

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