Australian Prime Minister Doorstop interview – Frankston

Prime Minister

Well, it’s great to be back here in Frankston after the by-election yesterday made the decision, the people of Dunkley made the decision to send Jodie Belyea as their representative to Canberra. Jodie Belyea is Frankston tough, as she said last night. She’s someone who’s absolutely passionate about representing this community. And I want to thank Jodie, but also all of the volunteers and her campaign team who worked so hard to make sure that she can carry on and build on the legacy that the late Peta Murphy provided over an all too short time in being the Member for Dunkley. Last night was a moment to reflect on Peta Murphy. And for Rod, I spoke to Rod earlier in the night, her husband and life partner for many decades, and so it was a difficult period. But I know that Jodie will be just as Peta Murphy was, a strong advocate for this local community. A strong advocate for widening those doors of opportunity that we’re doing through fee-free TAFE, in providing support for families like we’re doing with cheaper child care, cheaper medicines, we’re investing in young people and opportunities through the reforms that Jason Clare has flagged as well through the reviews that we’re doing throughout the education system. Jodie Belyea will also be a strong advocate for jobs. My Government’s very proud that more jobs have been created on our watch than any first time government in Australian history. And on cost of living, we’ll continue to look for what measures we can put in place to take pressure off cost of living without putting pressure on inflation. The tax cuts will go to all 13.6 million people, including every single taxpayer here in Dunkley. We were absolutely committed to doing that. Not because it was the easy thing, but it was the right thing to do. Making sure that no one missed out by putting those tax cuts for those below $45,000. But also aiming squarely at middle Australia. Making sure that middle Australia will get double the tax cut that they were going to get. This week, we have some further actions foreshadowed. I’ll come back and address those during questions. But for now, I think for Jodie Belyea, she’s someone who’s not a political professional. We met very early on about whether she would be prepared to be our candidate. Peta Murphy showed incredible judgment throughout her life. And one of the ways that she showed judgment was in recruiting Jodie to the Labor Party and encouraging her to be a candidate. Because yesterday proved that she was someone who was worthy of continuing the work that Peta Murphy did since 2019. Jodie will join a team which is majority female, the first Government in Australia’s history that has had a majority of Caucus members, Government members, who are women. They’re strong women. They’re people who are there who advocate for greater opportunity. And I know that Jodie’s career, if you look at her work through the Women’s Spirit Program and others, that drew her attention to be taken by Peta Murphy. She will now take those skills that she’s learned as an advocate onto the floor of the House of Representatives. And she’ll be a very welcome addition to our team. So, congratulations, Jodie. The hard work starts now. And the hard work of our Government will continue each and every day up to the next election and beyond. Jodie Belyea.


PRIME MINISTER: I learned the other day with a press conference here.

BELYEA: Good morning, everyone. I’m Jodie Belyea. And I am the MP for Dunkley. Thank you, Prime Minister, for your support and faith in me. And thank you to the people of Dunkley for electing me into this role to represent you in Canberra. I am humbled by the opportunity to represent you in Federal Parliament. Whether you voted Labor, Liberal or independent, I will be a voice for the people of Dunkley. I would like to also acknowledge Nathan Conroy, who fought a great campaign. And I look forward to working with him to ensure we continue to build a thriving community for the people of Frankston. I would also like to acknowledge that I’m ready to roll my sleeves up and lean into the legacy of the late Peta Murphy. One of my first priorities will be meeting with Mount Eliza Secondary College to talk about the upgrade to their science and innovation centre. I will also be working with my colleagues in Canberra to continue to look at cost of living measures and to ensure that we are, as we have heard on the booths these past few weeks, looking to ease the cost of living for people in this community and further afield. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my incredible family in particular, my husband, Dave, my son, Flynn, and my niece, Montana. And also thank you, the people of Dunkley, for giving me this opportunity to represent you in Canberra. Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER: Thanks very much, Jodie. Were happy to take questions.

JOURNALIST: What’s the central message for this result last night? And what do you make of the fact that while you were reasonably visible in this campaign, your opponent, Mr Dutton, sort of dropped in and dropped out?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, that’s a matter for Mr Dutton to explain. For myself, I was very pleased to take the opportunity to get to know the people of Dunkley that much better. I’ve visited this whole electorate, multiple times. Now, I’ve been here for the last three days. It’s good to be back here again today. And one of the things that I’ve done as Labor Leader, as you know, is to not just speak in controlled environments. I’ve walked around these foreshores, I’ve walked around the main centres, I talked with people on pre-poll, and I engage with them. And that’s how you listen to what’s happening on the ground. Peter Dutton, I think they will have an assessment of what it means for them, but I think it’s pretty obvious that a very negative campaign was run by them and their partners in the Advance team, and the Advance team spent upwards of $300,000 of negative divisive messages. I think Australians want to be brought together. We have challenges as a nation, but we have incredible opportunities as well. And we need to be positive. And I think Jodie Belyea ran a very positive campaign. The Labor campaign was positive. We spoke about cost of living and what we’re doing. We spoke about strengthening Medicare. We spoke about fee-free TAFE. We spoke about the opportunities that are there. Peter Dutton is always looking for a political opportunity for himself. What I and my Government are always looking at is opportunities for Australians, how we widen those opportunities for them to lift living standards, for them to deal with greater opportunities to advance their interests and their living standards. That’s what I know Jodie will do going forward.

JOURNALIST: During the campaign, Jodie told me that she wanted to see the scheduled rollout of reports Peta Murphy had recommended on the gambling advertising bans. When will you deliver on that?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, what we do is do things in an orderly way. That is the nature of my Government. To look at the information and advice which is there and then to respond appropriately. So, we’ve already responded with measures like BetStop, that have registered well over 10,000 people. That is making a difference. We’ve changed the way that credit cards can be used for online gambling. We’ve changed the advertising criteria that comes up that, after there are any ads, so that it’s a much more clear message that’s got to people. Because people know that when you gamble, you lose. That’s the nature of the business over a period of time. And so, not just gamble responsibly, that was a pretty anodyne message. But a much clearer message getting through to people. We are in consultation with the various interests around. This includes supporting organisations. We will continue to do that and will respond appropriately.

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible). What do you think should be being done about cost of living?

BELYEA: I think it’s about consulting further with the people in the community about the measures that are going to support them to have more money in their purse at the end of the day. And I know that there is a review going on around Coles and Woolies. And I think it’s about really leaning into that and seeing how we can make our, you know, food and consumables much cheaper.

JOURNALIST: There was a swing against your Government. Do you think that shows that you do need to do more and to expect more in the Budget to help cost of living?

PRIME MINISTER: I’ve already foreshadowed that we’ll have more measures in the Budget. We work each and every day to do more. That’s the focus of the Government. Last year, we had cheaper medicines began on January 1. We then did 60-day dispensing of medicines. Cheaper child care began on July 1. We had the increase, the tripling the bulk billing incentive for Medicare, began, from memory, I think it was October or November last year. We had throughout the year, the rollout of Medicare Urgent Care Clinics, including the one here at Frankston. We had energy price relief plan go through the December before last, through the National Cabinet, and then roll out to reduce people’s bills from what they would have been. We had fee-free TAFE, where we promised 180,000 places. We delivered 350,000, including here at Chisholm TAFE. We will look each and every day for how we can make a difference. Our tax cuts plan was on the basis of there was $106 billion sitting there in the forward estimates going forward. And the advice that we received was this was the best way that we could make a difference for middle Australia without putting pressure on inflation. So, that’s why we were prepared to do what was a significant position. I went out there. I argued why we were doing it. We’ll continue to do that in the lead-up to the Budget. This week, we have the Cabinet is meeting tomorrow in Melbourne. We’ve continued to have last week, the week before every week, we have meetings of the Expenditure Review Committee doing that hard work in the lead-up to the May Budget. This week as well, we have the ASEAN Summit is taking place here in Melbourne. That will commence with the bilateral official visit by the Prime Minister of Malaysia here to Melbourne tomorrow. But we’ll have leaders from throughout Southeast Asia, all the ASEAN leaders as well as Timor Leste and New Zealand here over the next three days. What that’s about is particularly taking the work that Nicholas Moore identified in his Invested Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040. That outlines the opportunity that is here in Australia from engagement with Indonesia, with the Philippines, with Malaysia, with our neighbours in order to create jobs here. That’s what our international engagements are about. Benefit for Australia in terms of our economy, but also in our uncertain world, and national security interests as well, as we announced with increased maritime cooperation last week, during the visit of the President of the Philippines, President Marcos. So, these measures and our actions are ongoing each and every day. We work as hard as we can, taking the advice, doing the right thing, getting national security right, getting our economy right, getting social policy right so it’s inclusive. This week, we’ll release as well further issues re gender equality from Katy Gallagher, the Minister for the Status of Women. We are a Government that is solely focused on making a difference for Australians. We’ll continue to do that. That is what Jodie will be doing as a part of the Government going forward.

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible). Did Mike Burgess make a mistake by raising this case? And how can their identity continue to be hidden?

PRIME MINISTER: Mike Burgess is the Director-General of ASIO. That’s an important role in our national security. And he has my full support. And he makes decisions based upon his national security assessments.

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible). What do you need to do between now and then? And how worried are you?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, it seems to me from some of the commentary last night that the Labor Party is the only political party that seeks to form majority government. I’ve seen the comments of members of the Coalition, and they seem to be targeting, trying to be in a position of minority government. I’m not. I lead to a Government that has 78 Members of the House of Representatives. And in Jodie, we have another quality Member of the House of Representatives, just like Mary Doyle has made a contribution since she created history by winning the Aston by-election a year ago. My Government seeks to govern in majority. That is our objective. That’s what we’re working towards each and every day. The Liberal Party, apparently from their own commentary, that’s not their position. That’s up to them to explain.

JOURNALIST: The Rabbitohs are up 6-0.

PRIME MINISTER: Thank you, mate. Thank you very much. Who scored? Detail.

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible).

PRIME MINISTER: People will make their own judgement. My Government has a majority of Government members are women. We have in leadership positions, Penny Wong, our Senate Leader, Katy Gallagher, Tanya Plibersek, Catherine King, Michelle Rowland, Anika Wells, just an extraordinary group of women who make an incredible contribution. And we also have a very diverse Caucus. I think that when you look at my Caucus, you see Australia. You see people from diverse backgrounds, different faiths, different backgrounds, different ethnicities, different histories. When you look at Peter Dutton’s team, what you see, by and large, is dominated by blokes. And they keep having preselections and putting up more blokes, including to replace women who are retiring at the next election. They have an opportunity in Cook tomorrow, I think the preselection might be, to select a woman. We’ll wait and see if they do. If they do, then that will be a change of the pattern of behaviour that we’re seeing. But we also see the nature of politics as well. I mean, I think that some of the comments that have been made in the lead-up to the days before this by-election do nothing to advance the culture of politics in this country. And people will have a look at those commentary. People have look at the nature of the campaign that was run by Advance here and just shake their head. I don’t want to see the sort of polarisation that we see in some countries, people being prepared to engage in such divisive politics. I mean, the way that questions are even asked on the floor of the Parliament is extraordinary. And I’ve got to say that, you know, some people might criticise me for not being prepared to go down that road. But I won’t. Because it doesn’t help. I think that we need to do what we can to lift up the standards of politics. And from time to time, all sides won’t meet the perfect standard. I get that. And I’m not trying to suggest that hasn’t occurred from time to time. But when you look at the nature of the Question Time statements that were made last week, then I think that does nothing to attract people towards engaging in our political system.

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible). What do you make of that?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, it’s up to them to explain that that’s the case. We heard some commentary prior to the decision being made for 60-day dispensing that they’d all be having devastating consequences. That hasn’t eventuated. It is like the other changes that have been made. We make no apologies for the fact that we have put in place reforms to save people money. That’s what we’ve done. And there’s not a single dollar being saved for the Government in the measures that we’ve put forward, they’ve been about consumers. That’s a positive thing. And there were a range of negative campaigns done. I haven’t seen anyone to cars get taken away as a result of the by-election change yesterday. People will still be probably allowed to drive a petrol vehicle home from this press conference. If you listen to some of the rhetoric, then they would have all been jacked up and taken away. It’s just these fear campaigns really do nothing to add to the quality of public discourse in this country. Peter Dutton has a fear campaign for everything and a solution for nothing. And I think people are seeing that that’s the case. Thanks very much.

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