Subjects: Visit to Perth; Labor’s cost of living crisis; CPI figures; Stuart Robert; online gambling ad reform; West Australian Cultural Heritage Act.
Good morning everyone. It’s great to have Liberal leader Peter Dutton here in the electorate of Moore in Perth’s northern suburbs. We got off to a very busy start this morning by visiting a local manufacturing business – Duo Glass and Kitchen Craftsmen – who have been in business for over 20 years.
As you all know, cost of living has been affecting our local residents, our households with higher interest rates, higher fuel costs, higher electricity prices, and that leads into consumer confidence – and businesses like Jewel Glass who are experiencing a downturn in consumer confidence in the renovation and building market.
We also visited the ECU Business and Innovation Centre, where we looked at a number of start-up businesses that are getting their first start at the local incubator, and in particular, we met an entrepreneur who had started a software and I.T business which now employs 40 staff from starting off at the centre.
We are now here at the North Shore Community Hub, where we are looking forward to meeting with members of the community and finding out what their concerns are. So over to you Peter.
Ian, thank you very much and I want to say thank you to all of the people we’ve had a chance to chat with today. It’s been a really significant visit that we’ve had to Perth. This is the third day. We’ve been across the city and into the suburbs and just talking to people about what’s happening in their lives. In Opposition, it gives us an opportunity to reconnect and to talk to stakeholders, to reconsider our policies and try and find a way to sort out Labor’s mess, which is always inevitable when we’ve had a period of Labor in government.
At the moment families are really starting to see the economy tighten and that’s as a result of Labor’s two budgets – we should be very clear about that. The government’s had decisions that they’ve taken, which have made a bad situation worse for a lot of families.
Small businesses are now paying double-digit interest rates for their overdrafts; there is a softening in consumer demand; we obviously welcome the CPI figures today, but it’s important to point out that in those figures the only thing really that’s come down is fuel and clothing. There are many other cost of living pressures that continue, including energy, that continue to rise under the policies of this government.
So, I’m really very grateful for the reception we’ve received here in WA. I think a lot of residents have rightly expressed to me that they can’t understand why the Prime Minister’s obsessed on every issue, but that which is most important, and that is how to help families who are facing huge mortgage repayments under this government – energy bills, electricity, gas continue to go up – and we need to make sure that we’re helping, not hurting families, and at the moment the Prime Minister, the Treasurer, the Energy Minister, they’re making decisions which really make it much harder for families. I’m happy to take any questions.
Given the allegations raised against former Liberal minister Stuart Robert, do you think the matter should be referred to the national anti-corruption watchdog?
I think there’ll be a number of matters that get referred to the corruption commission and I think that’s appropriate. If there’s evidence that people believe they have, it should be referred for independent investigation. So we would support that process.
Does Mr Robert have questions to answer over allegations he deliberately omitted the majority of meetings with Synergy 360 owners and related parties from his diary?
Again, they’re questions for the Integrity Commission.
Do you think it could hurt you in the Fadden by-election?
I suspect that Labor will run a grubby campaign in Fadden. We’ve preselected Cameron Caldwell. He’s a local councillor, 12 years in the local community. The cost of living issue is by far and away the biggest issue in Fadden, but will Labor throw mud? Of course they will. Will they run a dirty campaign? Well, they’re well-known for doing that.
We have a candidate with a positive plan for the local area. He’s delivered projects which have increased the numbers of jobs that have been available in Fadden, he’s put money into crime projects to try and reduce the incidence of juvenile crime, CCTV etc, he’s been a great champion of his local community. So I’m going to concentrate on the positives. If the Prime Minister wants to throw mud and yell at people, well that’s up to him.
But are you worried about a second by-election loss in as many months?
Well as I’ve said, I think by-elections are always difficult to predict, but we’ve got the best possible candidate. You can’t change the government in a by-election, but you can bring somebody into the seat who’s going to be a champion for your local community and Cameron Caldwell is exactly that person.
He’s been fighting for his local community for 12 years. As a former small business owner he understands the pressure that a lot of small businesses are under because of Labor policies at the moment, and I think he’s a natural candidate for that area. He will be a champion for the people of Fadden when he comes to Canberra, and he’ll never forget where he’s come from.
He’s a father and a husband and he’s been immersed in the local community for a long period of time. I think he’ll do very well, and I think people in Fadden will recognise that and I’m sure that they’ll support him on the 15th of July.
Should online gambling ads be banned within three years?
Well, we’ll wait to see the response from the government. Obviously in my Budget in Reply speech only a few weeks ago, we stated – and I think it’s a view that’s shared by many, many Australians – that the gambling ads have just gone way too far.
When you’re sitting down with your kids on a Friday or Saturday night, or over the weekend watching a footy match, or watching a cricket game, you don’t want to be bombarded with ads and you don’t want the conversation with your teenage children to be about ‘multis’ and who’s going to score the first try. We’ve created a gambling culture in this country which goes well beyond anything we knew before, and I think we should act in the best interests of parents here.
So we suggested restrictions in relation to gambling advertising. The government now has a report – we will wait for the government’s report – but I’ve signalled before that we would support the government in relation to steps that they would take to restrict the gambling ads, which I think are completely invasive into a time in our country – Friday night or Saturday night – that’s footy time and it’s family time. We shouldn’t disrupt that with the culture of introducing young adults into gambling on every game, for and against their team – it’s not a culture that I think we should promote – and so I hope the government can respond very quickly to the report.
Do you think all 31 recommendations of that report should be implemented?
Well again, we’ve only just received that this morning, so we’ll go through the report, but we’ve signalled very early on that we’re up for a change in the way in which the laws operate at the moment. It is invasive for families and we can have a conversation with the industry and the affected stakeholders, but in the end the decision that we’ve made is to be on the side of families and if the government can respond quickly to the report, tell us what they’re going to do, then we’ll be happy to consider it from there.
What about the committee recommendation that online wagering services should pay a levy to help fund a national harm reduction strategy?
Well, I think there are a number of elements to it, which is why you need to properly consider the report. There’s location as to where these services are. There’s the reality of the internet and there’s only so much that you can regulate, including, and in particular, online. There are different responses that the government could provide. There are different technologies that they could utilise. There are filters and all sorts of options available to the government. So, let’s see what they have to say in response.
We’ve put the flag in the ground on this issue in May, and I hope the government can respond very quickly because I do think families, overwhelmingly, want to enjoy sport without having that time, that precious time with their kids, and with their mates being intruded upon by just constant back-to-back gambling advertisements.
Does the government get any credit for the latest inflation figures showing that it’s coming down?
Well as I say, we welcome the fact that the number’s come down, but I’m really worried that people’s power prices haven’t come down – in fact they’re going up by 29 per cent on the 1st of July because of the Labor Government’s policies. I’m worried that the Reserve Bank is not yet done with interest rate increases.
Again, before the last budget we were told by the Treasurer that the Reserve Bank wasn’t going to increase interest rates again. Well obviously in response to the government’s budget, and because of the decisions the Treasurer made in the Budget, we have seen interest rates go up and likely we’re going to see them go up again.
So, I really worry about the fact that families just aren’t balancing their household budgets at the moment and I hope that the government can reverse some of its bad decisions. I hope that they can put support in place. I hope the Prime Minister can honour his commitment to reduce power prices by $275 a year. It was a commitment he made here in Western Australia and across the country – in fact on 97 occasions before the election – but we know that since the election the Prime Minister has never mentioned that figure once in the last 14 months.
So, I hope that we can get some relief to families at the moment. There are a couple of indicators in the inflation figure today…the CPI figure today, but it only affects fuel and clothing. Everybody knows that when you go into the supermarket now you’re getting less for the $50 or $100 or $200 that you’re spending and that’s because the energy policy of the government is affecting every part of the supply chain, which ends up making your groceries more expensive and families are having to grapple with that at the moment.
In Western Australia, there’s a call to delay the implementation of the Aboriginal Cultural heritage reform. Do you think that would be the correct approach of the West Australian Government?
I just think there’s a lot of community concern in relation to the practical implication and how this will affect landholders. If the government is deciding to delay it, because they don’t want that noise around whilst people are considering whether they vote for the Voice, I think that’s a little too tricky and I think it’s too tricky by half.
I think Australians want to know from our Prime Minister what the Voice means and the Prime Minister has taken a deliberate strategy of not giving the detail up. So people want to be informed when they make their decision, when they cast their vote in October, but the Prime Minister has deliberately starved that information.
If Premier Cook is going to delay this by 12 months just to get through to the Voice vote, I think West Australians are much smarter than that. They’re not going to fall for some political card trick and I think it needs to be ruled out altogether, to be honest. I think the cost, the way in which it will provide just more red tape, and will inhibit on people’s property rights – it’s a very significant issue. That’s why residents of Western Australia are very much offended, I think, and up in arms about what this legislation means. It should be ruled out and delaying it until after the Voice so that it doesn’t interfere with people’s consideration of the Voice is just too tricky.
All right. Thank you very much.