Subjects: The Prime Minister’s divisive Voice, Treaty, Truth proposal; the Prime Minister’s announcement of the date but not the detail; Labor’s cost of living crisis; Inflation data; Labor’s sweetheart airline deal that will keep airfare prices higher.
Thank you very much for being here this afternoon.
The Prime Minister today has announced the date of the Referendum, but he’s not announced any of the detail. It’s clear that the Prime Minister now has six weeks to concentrate on providing the detail to the Australian public.
You can’t go to an election asking people to make the biggest change to our Constitution in our nation’s history without providing the detail. I think most Australians – millions of Australians – will want to know what it is they’re being asked to vote for, because it’s not going to provide practical outcomes, it is going to be Canberra-based, it’s not going to provide the panacea that the Prime Minister is promising and it’s without precedent that a Prime Minister would go to a Constitutional Referendum without providing the detail to Australians.
There’s been no constitutional conference, there’s been no provision of detail – in a completely unprecedented way. We know that this is divisive, we know that it’s unknown, we know that we’ve got a Prime Minister who just deliberately is withholding information from the Australian public, and if that happens, people are being asked to vote for something that they don’t truly understand.
I think the onus is on the Prime Minister over the course of this campaign to actually be honest with the Australian people, because at the moment he’s not being honest. He’s deliberately withholding detail from the Australian public. He says that all of the detail will be provided after the vote takes place. Well, I just don’t think that’s good enough.
If you’re the Prime Minister embarking on a course where you’re dividing the country at a time when families are paying through the roof for their electricity prices, they can’t afford to go to the supermarket, they can’t afford to fill up their car, and we’ve got a Prime Minister who is concentrating on everything else but the needs of the Australian people.
I’m happy to take any questions.
‘Yes23’ has an army of volunteers and resources to use over the next six weeks. How confident are you in your campaign infrastructure?
There’s no question that this will be a tight vote because the Yes campaign – thanks to the unions and thanks to big business bosses – has somewhere between $50 and $100 million. Now, I know that the Prime Minister likes hanging out with CEOs of airlines and other rich people and the bosses of the union movement, but the fact is that for ordinary Australians, they just want the detail.
So, I don’t think people should be bullied into a position. If you don’t understand, if you don’t know the detail, if you don’t really have your questions answered in relation to the Voice – if you don’t know, vote ‘no’. If you don’t know, vote ‘no’, because this is the biggest change to our Constitution in our country’s history, and we’ve got a Prime Minister who is deliberately keeping detail from the Australian public until after the vote takes place. There’s no precedent for that in our country’s history.
You’re saying ‘if you don’t know, vote no’ – don’t you think you should be encouraging people to educate themselves rather than appealing to their ignorance?
But there is no detail out there. This is the biggest change to our Constitution in our country’s history. It is broad-sweeping by design. As the advocates have pointed out, it would be a very game government to not take the advice from the Voice. It covers every area of government policy, and the Prime Minister is deliberately keeping the design and the detail from the Australian public until after the vote.
I don’t believe that the Australian public can trust Anthony Albanese when it comes to this Voice debate. It is unknown, it’s divisive, it’s permanent, and I believe very strongly that if you don’t understand the detail – because the Prime Minister is deliberately keeping it from you – then vote ‘no’.
The monthly CPI shows inflation is moderating. Are you concerned that this could work in the Yes campaign’s favour?
Look, I’m really worried that families at the moment are paying almost 16 per cent more for their electricity than they were 12 months ago – they’re the figures that are out today. So Australian families know that under this renewables-only policy of Anthony Albanese, they keep paying more and more and more and more for their electricity bills. But it’s not just your electricity bill, it’s for your mortgage. The Prime Minister promised before the election that your mortgage rates would go down. He promised that you wouldn’t be paying as much for gas as you are now, but the gas price keeps going up. When you go into the supermarket – the Prime Minister telling you that there’s ‘no problem’ – I mean, it’s just a nonsense. People know that you’re getting less in your basket than you were 12, 15, 18 months ago. So, I worry about Australian families and I worry that the Prime Minister has been completely obsessed with the Voice over the course of the last 15 months, which has put us in the position of where we are today with higher electricity prices, higher grocery prices, higher fuel, higher insurance costs, and a Prime Minister that’s trying to deceive the Australian public.
But the data does show that inflation is moderating. To my question, do you think that could work in the Yes campaign’s favour?
Well, again, I think what Australians know at the moment is that they are paying 16 per cent more for their power now than they were 12 months ago. That is quite staggering, and it’s not the peak of the prices. The price of your electricity bill is going to continue to go up under Labor’s renewables-only policy. Chris Bowen has been very deliberate in his design of that – they’re designing the system so that people pay more or are charged more, so that they use less electricity. But people know you can’t turn the cold rooms off at the local IGA or at the local butcher shop. That’s just not reality and that’s why a lot of small businesses now are getting into a very difficult and tight position where they’re starting to put off staff because the Labor Government just can’t manage the economy.
Just finally, are you concerned about the Liberal MPs who are going to reportedly be targeting electorates which could go either way in this Referendum vote?
Will you be seeking to make the Voice a focus during the next two weeks of Parliament?
I think there are a lot of questions that the Government needs to answer over the course of the next couple of weeks. When it comes to the Qatar deal – this sweetheart deal that’s been done between Anthony Albanese and Alan Joyce – the Government’s had seven different positions in seven days on the Qantas-Qatar deal. I want to see Australians paying less for their airfares because, at the moment, Anthony Albanese’s signed up to a sweetheart deal in secret, that we don’t know any detail of and it means that Australians are going to be paying more and more for their airfares. It’s inflationary, it’s unfair to a lot of Australians who might have worked hard, but now in retirement they want to go to see family in Europe or the United States or elsewhere and under Mr Albanese’s sweetheart deal with Qantas, they’re going to be paying thousands more for their airfares. I want more capacity in the system, I want more inbound tourism because those tourists will be spending money here in the local economy.
So, I think there’ll be a lot of questions for the Government on that and many issues over the course of the next couple of weeks. But it’s obvious that the wheels are falling off the Albanese Government, and Australians want a government that is just honest with them, a Prime Minister who is just straight up and down. This Prime Minister is not. He’s being tricky. He’s withholding the detail on the Voice and I fear very much that Australians will continue to pay more and more and the cost of living pressures will just go higher and higher under the Albanese Government.
Thank you very much.