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Sunday 26th June 2016 - 3:23 pm
Comments Off on PM urges Australians to vote for “stability”

PM urges Australians to vote for “stability”

by Alan Thornhill

Malcolm Turnbull says:  “the shockwaves in the past 48 hours from Britain’s vote to exit the European Union are a sharp reminder of the volatility in the global economy.”

Delivering his policy speech in Sydney for the July 2 elections, the Prime Minister also spoke of the need for stable majority government, experienced economic leadership and a national economic plan.

An edited copy of  his 4,000 word speech is reproduced below.

After praising senior Liberals who attended the launch, Mr Turnbull said Australia needs a national economic plan  which “recognises the nature of our times – both the opportunities and challenges – and gives us the resilience we need to succeed.”

“Only the Liberal National Coalition can deliver that plan, that security, that leadership,” he added.

“Everything we seek to achieve, all of our hopes, our dreams depend on strong economic growth, “ Mr Turnbull said.

In a strong economy, business is  confident and  prepared to risk investing, expanding and hiring.”

Mr Turnbull said:  “Our business tax cuts encourage small and medium businesses to do just that.

“A strong economy means a mum whose kids are now at school and wants to work a few more days, or work full time, will have plenty of opportunities to do so,” Mr Turnbull said.

“And our childcare reforms will make it easier for her to do so too,” he added.

“It means that young men and women who have left school and are looking for a job will find an employer who is hiring and is happy to give them a start.”

“Our PaTH program with job training and internships will provide additional support to youth employment,”Mr Turnbull added.

A strong economy means we can fund our Innovation and Science Agenda to ensure our kids learn the digital skills of the 21st century, our research is commercialised to create jobs here at home and investors support start-up companies.

A strong economy means that senior Australians know their children will be in good jobs, their investments will deliver better returns and that Government will have growing revenues to support their pensions and health care.

It means that the farmer is getting much better prices for his cattle and can afford to hire a local contractor to replace his fences, clean out a dam or build a new hay shed.

It means the cafe, the restaurant, the hotel has more tourists and they hire more staff to cater for them.

All thanks to our export trade deals.

A strong economy means that builders will be hard at work on new homes and tradesmen will have more jobs.

It means that a manufacturer has more export orders, can buy more equipment, hire more workers and expand their business.

A stronger economy means we can fund over $50 billion in 21st century road, rail and other infrastructure including the Western Sydney Airport and the 39,000 jobs it will create.

“A stronger economy means we can afford to fund world-class education and health services, including Medicare, without weighing down our children and grandchildren with more debt and deficits,” Mr Turnbull said.

A strong economy means we can meet and beat our international obligations  to address climate change and do so without massive hikes in electricity prices as Labor would do.

“We have a national economic plan because the prosperity and security of 24 million Australians depend on it,” he said.

Mr Turnbull said success in the 21st Century cannot be taken for granted.

“Always expect the unexpected.”

“We will need to renegotiate vital trade deals with Europe and Britain,” Mr Turnbull said.

“We concluded five in the last three years – Japan, Korea, China, Singapore and the Trans Pacific Partnership.

“In six years Labor concluded none,” he said.

“We have carefully considered what we need to do to succeed, to make the transition from an economy fired up by a once in a century mining construction boom to one that is more diverse, more innovative, smarter, more productive – an economy that wins, and keeps on winning.”

“So there is a clear cut choice at this election,” Mr Turnbull said.

“We present our fellow Australians with a national economic plan every element of which supports more investment, stronger economic growth and more jobs.

“Our plan invests $1.1 billion to promote leading-edge innovation in our industries and to prepare our children for the jobs of the future.”

Our plan promotes export trade deals to generate 19,000 new export opportunities, giving our businesses premium access to the biggest economies in our region.

Our plan invests in local defence industries to ensure every defence dollar possible supports advanced manufacturers and thousands of Australians jobs.

Our Enterprise Tax Plan provides tax relief to tens of thousands of small-to-medium family businesses now and to all companies over time so they can invest, grow and hire more Australians.

“On the other hand, our opponents in the Labor Party have no economic plan.”

“Labor believes its best hope of being elected is to have trade union officials phone frail and elderly Australians in their homes at night, to scare them into thinking they are about to lose something which has never been at risk,” Mr Turnbull said.

“That’s not an alternative government, that’s an Opposition unfit to govern.”

Every element of Labor’s platform would discourage investment and employment.

He described it as: “a recipe for economic stagnation.”

“If returned at this election, we will convene a joint sitting to restore the rule of law in the construction industry and reinstate the Australian Building and Construction Commission, Mr Turnbull said.

So Australians could  have the building infrastructure  they need  “at a price they can afford.”

He said:  “housing values would fall in a fragile property market and rents would rise, because of Labor’s investment destroying ban on negative gearing and 50 per cent hike in capital gains tax.

“This threat is real.

“ So we need to be crystal-clear about what our votes will mean,” Mr Turnbull said.

“If your local vote is for Labor, Greens or an Independent, and you are in one of the 20 or so key battleground seats across the country, it is a vote for the chaos of a hung Parliament, a budget black hole, big Labor taxes, less jobs and more boats,” he warned.

Only a Liberal or National vote ensures stable government, a clear economic plan, real funding for the aged, Medicare and education; more jobs and strong borders.

Mr Turnbull urged Australians to: ““Vote for your local Liberal or National in the House and in the Senate.”

“In the last calendar year, there were 300,000 new jobs,” the Prime Minister said.

“Our unemployment rate of 5.7 per cent is well beneath what was anticipated when the Coalition came to office,” he added.

None of this happens by chance. Strong economic leadership supporting hard-working Australians means that, even with difficult global headwinds, we continue to grow our economy and expand our workforce.

And, today, I can announce additional policies from our Coalition team to support our national economic plan for jobs and growth.

Mr Turnbull said his government is determined to ensure none of our regional communities are left behind as we make the transition to a stronger new economy.

“… our regions must be at the frontline of the drive for innovation, jobs and growth,” Mr Turnbull said.

Our ‘Regional Jobs Fund’ is a major commitment… he added.

“As we build a stronger economy, it is vital that we also do all we can to ensure all Australians, especially young Australians, are not left behind,” he added.

So the Coalition woulds deliver a record $73.6 billion over the next four years for all Australian schools,” he said.

“Today, I can announce an additional $48 million for scholarships under the Smith Family’s Learning for Life program, to help disadvantaged students to complete year 12 and transition to work or further education and training,” he added.

“The Coalition will also invest $31 million in programs to encourage more girls and women to study and work in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” Mr Turnbull said.

It would also help older Australians get smartphones.

He said only about one household in five, with people aged 60 or above, had a smartphone.

“To make their lives easier, to help them retain their independence, and to keep them connected to families and friends, I am announcing today a $50 million Coalition strategy to assist seniors who want to improve their digital literacy skills,” he said.

“And as announced earlier today, my Government will be investing $192 million more in front line mental health services including twelve suicide prevention sites around Australia and ten more headspace centres; and at the same time using smart phone and other technology to make these services more accessible,” he said.

This complements our support for Veterans’ mental health programs, itself a reminder that we best honour the diggers of Gallipoli and Fromelles by supporting the veterans and their families of today.

Mr Turnbull said; “only a strong Australia can be a safe Australia.

“After six years of abject Labor neglect and indecision, our continuous shipbuilding strategy will ensure Australia retains a sovereign capability to build and sustain naval vessels, securing thousands of advanced manufacturing jobs for decades to come,” he added.

Mr Turnbull said:”Labor’s abandonment of John Howard’s proven border protection policy opened the door to the people-smugglers:

The results had included:-

  • 50,000 unauthorised arrivals on 800 boats,
  • 1200 deaths at sea, of which we know,
  • Over 8000 children put into detention,
  • 17 detention centres opened, and
  • An $11 billion border protection budget blowout.

“In contrast, the Coalition has restored security at the border, integrity to our immigration program – and with it, public trust,” he said.

“I am proud to announce that today marks 700 days without a successful people-smuggling venture to our country,” he added.

“I am also very proud to announce that we have removed every child from detention in Australia,” Mr Turnbull said.

Labor had failed Australia before.

“The people-smugglers are looking for the earliest sign that an Australian government will waver,” he added.

Mr Turnbull said: “our policies are tough.

“But  these policies have stopped the drownings at sea, and restored the integrity of, and trust in, our large but orderly immigration and refugee programs,” he added.

To further strengthen our domestic security I announce initiatives that go to that most fundamental of liberties – the right to live without fear of violence.

Mr Turnbull also said: “my first announcement as Prime Minister was a new $100 million package to encourage all Australians to confront squarely and honestly the ugly truth of violence against women and children in our society.

“Today, I can announce a $64 million commitment to crack down on the trafficking of illegal firearms on our streets, in particular by criminal gangs,” he added.

He said he is asking Australians to make a clear choice — to back a strong and stable Coalition majority government that can press ahead with its plan for a stronger new economy.

That would deliver the economic security that enables Australians to fulfill their aspirations.

“That is why I am asking my fellow Australians at this election to support our Coalition’s National Economic Plan for a Strong New Economy,” he said.

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Friday 24th June 2016 - 9:30 pm
Comments Off on UK PM quitting after referendum fails

UK PM quitting after referendum fails

by Alan Thornhill

 

The UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, announced today that he is planning to resign before a Conservative Party conference in October.

 

His statement follows the failure of a referendum he promoted to keep Britain in the European Union, which it joined 43 years ago.

 

The loss sent global currency and share markets into chaos and pushed the British pound to its lowest point in 25 years.

 

The BBC put the number of votes urging Britain to leave the EU at 17,410,742 or 51.9 per cent of the total cast.

 

It said, too, that 16,141,241 votes were cast, by those who want Britain to stay in the EU.

 

This was 48.1 per cent of the total vote.

 

Australia’s Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, said:  “ This is a momentous and historic decision and we respect the wishes of the British people, expressed through this referendum“

 

However he added:  “I want to say that Australians….will be concerned by the uncertainty and instability in global markets, falls in currencies, including the Australian dollar and in equity markets.”

 

But Mr Turnbull said, too, that: “it is important to remember that the Australian economy is strong and resilient and has weathered global shocks before and weathered them well.”

 

“So there is no cause for Australians to be alarmed by these developments,” Mr Turnbull said.

 

But he said there would be a “… a period of uncertainty and some instability in global markets.”

 

“ I’ve no doubt that European leaders will provide reassurance and leadership that will in due course, settle many if not all of those uncertainties,” Mr Turnbull said.

 

However he added:  “…now more than ever Australia needs a stable majority Coalition Government .”

 

He said the nation also needed a strong economic plan that sets Australia up for a prosperous future.

 

This would enable Australia to take advantage of new opportunities and resiliently meet the challenges and the headwinds “that we cannot always anticipate and that we cannot always influence.”

 

“But  but they will always be there,”  Mr Turnbull said.
 

Friday 24th June 2016 - 1:11 pm
Comments Off on High Brexit vote hits markets

High Brexit vote hits markets

by Alan Thornhill

The $A tumbled today, as the vote to leave the EU came in higher than expected.

 

However, a short time ago, the BBC still had the vote to stay higher than the vote to leave.

 

At that point, 2,933,388 Britons had voted to stay in the EU.

 

But 2,841,709 had voted to leave.

 

The $A fell by 1.35 per cent, to 75.35 US cents in the confusion that followed the unexpectedly high vote to leave.

 

That vote is seen, in large part, as a product of British impatience with calls for austerity.

 

But British Conservatives are being urged today to maintain their faith in the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, who campaigned hard for the no vote, that would keep Britain in the EU.

Friday 24th June 2016 - 9:49 am
Comments Off on Labor to announce its temporary worker policy

Labor to announce its temporary worker policy

by Alan Thornhill

Labor says it is planning to ensure that temporary workers are not exploited and that local workers get priority.
In a statement early today, the opposition leader, Bill Shorten, said: “Australians have rightly been appalled by the systematic exploitation of workers on temporary work visas.”

 

He said thousands of employees at 7-Eleven stores had been exploited through the underpayment of more than $100 million in wages.”

 

The issue of temporary work visas has already become controversial in the current election campaign, with the National Party urging the government to clarify issues with 457 visas.

 

These allow farmers to employ visiting students, on pay rates they consider affordable.
Mr Shorten said: “Labor believes the temporary work visa system must have robust safeguards in place to protect all workers.”

 

It must not be used as a back door avenue to source cheap labour.

 
“This means that we need policies and systems in place that support a growing economy, prioritise Australian workers, allow industry to access the skills they need, and importantly, ensure and importantly, ensure workers are not disadvantaged or exploited,” Mr Shorten said.

 

He said Labor’s policies would meet these tests.

Monday 13th June 2016 - 1:27 pm
Comments Off on Disbelief greets reef plan

Disbelief greets reef plan

by Alan Thornhill

There has been a sceptical response to the Federal government’s offer to spend $1 billion to save the Great Barrier Reef.

 

The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull,   and his Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, made the offer official today, with a joint announcement in Queensland.

 

Mr Turnbull said the reef had long been “…a great passion for both Greg Hunt and myself.

 

“As one of his predecessors as Environment Minister I took a great interest in the Great Barrier Reef years ago and always have done,” the Prime Minister said.

 

“Now what we are announcing today is the largest single investment in protecting the reef in particular in addressing these land side problems of run off,” he added.

 

“This is to allocate a $1 billion fund from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation which will be available for projects that will both reduce emissions, use clean energy and, of course, protect the ree,” Mr Turnbull said.

 

But  Labor’s environment spokesman, Mark Butler, was not convinced.

“Malcolm Turnbull claims he has made the biggest ever investment in the Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Butler said.
“But it is really just the biggest ever con job.

 

“It provides no new investment.

 

“It is just a redirection of existing resources.

“This is spin and political desperation on a grand scale.

 

“For three years we have seen the Abbott-Turnbull Government duck, weave and avoid doing anything meaningful to address climate change,” Mr Butler said.

 

The Greens and a citizens’ organisation shared  that view.

 

The Deputy Leader of the Greens, Queensland Senator Larissa Waters, said: “this is a sneaky attempt by the Turnbull Government to try to distract from the damage it is doing to the Reef by approving coal mines to export out through the Reef and cook its corals.

 

“All of this money is taken from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the government hasn’t specified how much will go to clean energy and how much will go to water quality,” Senator Waters added.

 

The Solar Citizen’s organisation was also unimpresse3d.

 

“No matter what they try and tell the Australian public, this government has no coherent plan for the shift to clean renewable power beyond 2020.

 

“These sort of politically driven, piecemeal policies will end up with us responding to emergencies rather t saidhan building a decent plan for our future energy needs,” Claire O’Rourke, National Director of Solar Citizens.

 

Friday 10th June 2016 - 4:50 pm
Comments Off on Labor budget “savings” target the rich

Labor budget “savings” target the rich

by Alan Thornhill

 
Labor has targeted tax breaks enjoyed by Australians on high incomes, in the Federal budget revisions that it announced today.

The Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, the Shadow Treasurer, Chris Bowen and Shadow Finance Minister, Tony Burke, said these would include negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions on property purchases.

They said they were advancing a budgdet repair plan “which is fair.”
But many will not agree.

 

In a joint statement the three Labor leaders said: “Labor has been announcing budget repair measures over the last two years to improve the budget and support our investments in schools and Medicare.
“Today we are announcing a $10.1 billion improvement to previously-announced budget measures, as a result of 2016-17 Budget update.
“This includes boosts to our negative gearing and capital gains reforms, and VET-FEE HELP loan caps.
“Labor’s announced savings from these measures now total $122 billion over the medium term,” they added.

 
Then they said: “Labor is today announcing a further $6.1 billion in budget improvements through measures that better target the Private Health Insurance (PHI) rebate, reduce wasteful spending and better target family payments.

 
These measures have been designed to limit the impact on the household budgets of low and middle income families.

 
They saiid the savings would include:-

 

*$3.0 billion from better targeting the PHI rebate over the medium term, by continuing the Government’s 2016-17 threshold freeze and removing the rebate from natural therapies.

 

 

*Reforming Industry Growth Centres, saving $0.5 billion over the medium term.

 

 

*Re-directing DFAT spending to other budget priorities, including the abolition of the Innovation Xchange which focussed on purchasing bean bags. This saves $0.4 billion over the medium term.

 

 

Friday 10th June 2016 - 1:23 pm
Comments Off on The cards that keep us warm

The cards that keep us warm

by Alan Thornhill

Australian shoppers sharply increased their credit card debt, as cold weather approached this year.

The Bureau of Statistics reported today that revolving personal credit commitments rose by 14.2 per cent in April, a traditional time for buying new clothes and shoes.

The bureau also noted that, overall, personal finance commitments rose by 5 per cent in the month.

But housing finance, for owner occupation, rose by just 0.1 per cent in April.

All of these figures are seasonally adjusted

There were some signs of pre-election caution, though, in the bureau’s lending finance figures for April.

Commercial finance, for example, fell by 3.3 per cent in the month.

And lease finance rose by just 0.4 per cent.

Sunday 5th June 2016 - 7:13 pm
Comments Off on Labor “a risk” PM

Labor “a risk” PM

by Alan Thornhill

The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, says the election of a Labor government is now the only risk to the creation of new jobs in South Australia.

Campaigning on Adelaide Sunday, Mr Turnbull spoke of the new jobs he said would appear in that state, as the Federal government’s submarine building program gets under way.

“The only risk to these jobs starting immediately this year is Labor,” the Prime Minister said.

“Labor failed to commission a single naval ship from an Australian yard in six years of government.

“Labor cut more than $18 billion from defence funding and delayed more than 100 projects.

“Risking critical gaps in capability, Labor’s neglect plunged naval shipbuilding in South Australia into the notorious valley of death.

The Prime Minister said:“ South Australians should think very carefully about whether we can afford more Labor delays and cancellations.”

He said: “Now, our GDP, our economy grew 3.1 per cent in the year to March, faster than any of the G7 economies and well above the OECD average.

“That doesn’t happen by accident.

“You need a clear plan.

“You need strong economic leadership.

’You need a pro-growth, pro-business agenda that drives investment and jobs.

“In the last calendar year, 300,000 new jobs were created and two thirds of these were women.

Mr Turnbull said: “450,000 jobs have been created since the last election.

“But we can and must do more.

We are strongly positioned to gain from growth in the large, dynamic economies of Asia.

“Our export trade deals with China, Korea and Japan are giving farmers a competitive edge and opening doors for our service industries into those expanding markets, Mr Turnbull said.

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Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
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