Australian Prime Minister Doorstop interview – Frankston

Prime Minister

Good morning everybody, it’s Jodie Belyea the Labor Candidate for the Dunkley by-election, coming to you with the Prime Minister from Frankston, six days before the by-election on March 2nd. Cost of living is the number one issue that I am seeing out and about in the community and hearing about from local residents. If I’m elected on March 2nd, I will be advocating strongly for the community on cost of living measures, understanding that due to the 1st of July tax cuts, over 70,000 taxpayers from Dunkley will benefit from more tax cuts in their savings. If I’m elected, I will be a strong local voice for the Dunkley community. I am not a career politician, what I am is a woman that has a strong commitment to people and the community, which I have demonstrated through my work supporting women and families in this community for over 20 years. So, if you vote Labor on March 2nd, what you will receive is a strong local voice in Dunkley that will get things done for the people, for the community. I would now like to introduce the Prime Minister.

ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: Well, thanks Jodie. And can I thank Jodie Belyea and the team here of volunteers, who’ve been working each and every day to get the message out that a vote for Jodie Belyea, next Saturday, is a vote for the continued advocacy for this community that Peta Murphy did over such a long period of time. This community was devastated by the loss of Peta, so young, at age just 50, to cancer. But Peta Murphy was a fighter, Peta Murphy was someone who stood up for this electorate. And Peta Murphy was someone who identified Jodie, as someone who could carry on her legacy in this community. In the past period, we’ve had cheaper child care, we’ve had our energy price relief plan, we’ve had, today we’re announcing that our commitment on fee-free TAFE, which was 180,000 people, it has not only been met, it’s been exceeded, with 350,000 fee-fee TAFE places commencing last year and in addition to that, another 300,000 starting this year. What that shows is that Labor’s measures to address cost of living pressures, whilst putting downward pressure on inflation, are having an impact. And this week, we had the announcement that in 2023, real wages grew. Grew much faster than was predicted by Treasury with that 4.2 per cent figure of wage growth, with inflation coming down. So real wages going up, inflation going down. And as a result of our cost of living tax cuts, every single taxpayer in Dunkley will get a tax cut. Under the Coalition, they wanted some people to get a tax cut. And when we announced the cost of living tax cuts, so that every Australian would benefit, and average workers would get double the tax cut they were promised by Scott Morrison. What we got from the Coalition, from Peter Dutton, firstly, they said they’d oppose it and fight it. Then they said they’d roll it back. Then they said, we should go to a full federal election on the basis of our commitment that we’re making, and then they changed their mind again and didn’t vote against it in the Parliament. The truth is that Peter Dutton is all negativity and zero plan. He has zero plans on cost of living. He’s just opposed every single measure that has been put up. He has zero plans when it comes to strengthening healthcare. Here in Dunkley, there’s an Urgent Care Clinic operating in the main street there of Frankston. And it has seen over 12,000 people to get assistance when they need it, and all they’ve needed is their Medicare card, not a credit card. When Peter Dutton was the Minister for Health, he wanted to abolish bulk billing by having a fee every time someone visited the doctor and every time someone visited the emergency department of a hospital. And he wanted an increase in the costs of medicine as well. This electorate, can’t trust and can’t afford to have Peter Dutton. What we need is a fighter in the local community in Jodie Belyea. She has run an amazing campaign, six days to go in order to make this fighter a local voice in government over the next period. Happy to take questions.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, what do you think of Labor’s chances at the by-election next week?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, by-elections are tough for governments. We know that the average swing against a government in a government held seat is around 7 per cent and that’s greater than the margin here. But what we’re doing is putting out a positive plan. And in Jodie, we believe we have a great candidate who’s standing up on cost of living issues. The Liberal candidate is someone who as mayor, voted for rate increase after rate increase after rate increase, and voted for the maximum rate increases every time as well. And so he’ll just be another bloke sitting with all the other blokes in the Liberal Party team there behind Peter Dutton, when they’re not fighting each other on Nemesis, on national TV programs, saying how much they hate each other and who fought who and who stabbed who over the years, what they do is just say no to everything. And what this electorate needs is someone who’s positive, someone who will put forward positive ideas, someone who will say yes to the needs of this electorate, not more of the relentless negativity that we see from Peter Dutton.

JOURNALIST: Just off topic, are we going to be seeing any increase in military aid to Ukraine?

PRIME MINISTER: We have. Last week, in the Parliament, I announced an additional $50 million for aid to Ukraine. Today, of course, has seen over this weekend, the second anniversary of the brutal invasion of Ukraine by Russia, and I pay tribute to the people of Ukraine and to President Zelenskyy. What they are doing is fighting not just for their national sovereignty, they are fighting for the international rule of law. And they have shown such extraordinary courage against an invader, which is a much larger country, with a much larger military. The people of Ukraine are an inspiration to democratic forces around the world. And we will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, there’s a large bushfire in state’s west still burning out of control. We’re looking ahead to Wednesday potentially being another catastrophic day. What support is your Government offering? And what support will you be offering in the next couple of days as we look towards Wednesday?

PRIME MINISTER: I’ve had discussions with the Premier Jacinta Allan, and my Minister, Murray Watt, has been at the control centre in recent days as well. We will provide whatever support is requested from Victoria. These are difficult times. And I say to people, listen to the advice of the authorities. We need to make sure that we watch and act when that advice comes through both here in Victoria, and also in Tasmania. In other parts of Australia as well, including South and Western Australia, we have warnings about heat waves. This is a very difficult time. And over this period, we’ve seen floods, we’ve seen bushfires, we’ve seen heat waves, we’ve seen these events that have had a real impact on Australians, and it is a reminder of two things. It’s a reminder of the need for us to be vigilant for us to continue to work and act on the threat that is climate change, with an increased number of extreme weather events and increased intensity of those events. But there’s something else that’s reminded of us as well, which is that at the worst of times, we see the best of the Australian character. What we see is the police and emergency services, is fire and rescue, is the SES, is we see Australians just going out of their way to help their fellow Australians, to help their neighbours, to help people who they don’t know, who they might never meet. And I just pay tribute to all those who are providing assistance to their fellow Australians at this difficult time. You are all heroes. You do us proud as a nation, and I paid tribute to you today. Thank you very much.

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