SUBJECT/S: GST, Marriage equality


TIM HAMMOND MP, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSUMER AFFAIRS: So here we are you know, just when I thought that Malcolm Turnbull had exhausted the ways in which he can come to Western Australia disrespect and disappoint us in terms of leaving us empty handed in relation to the GST he's done it again. It was this time last year at the Liberal conference that he ride in on his white horse and promise to fix the GST disparity talking about a floor talking about doing something meaningful to take us from where we are at 34 cents in the dollar but he’s done nothing and what we see today in relation to a development incentive, make no mistake is simply just a reheated policy that the Liberal party themselves dropped out of their budget only a few months ago. There is nothing in the announcement today that is directly of benefit to Western Australians, it is a nationwide policy not a West Australian policy. He has not locked in any meaningful figures in terms of addressing our disparity, he has not locking in anything meaningful in relation to a floor. You compare that to what happened just one week ago at the Labor party conference. Bill Shorten came to town, stood next to Mark McGowan and put into place a separate fund, protected by legislation The West Australian Fair Share Fund which has 1.6 billion dollars dedicated to addressing the disparity between our GST shortfall and a 70 cent floor. We have stability under Bill Shorten and Labor we have certainty under Bill Shorten and Labor. We have a guarantee of bridging the gap and fixing our GST disparity under Bill Shorten and Labor that is good for jobs that's good for Western Australia and that is a long way from anything Malcolm Turnbull has delivered.

JOURNALIST 1: The Prime Minister says that he is going to respond to the Productivity Commission's interim report which is due soon so isn't that a responsible approach to take, to wait the see what the Commission says and then respond?

HAMMOND: Look we've always said that we will also take note of what the productivity commission report has to say but quite frankly they're empty words and hollow promises because in the absence of being able to deliver stability and certainty which he can do right now his track record would suggest that we have no reason to be confident in any way shape or form of Malcolm Turnbull doing anything about addressing the GST disparity.

JOURNALIST 1: He says that Federal Labor's policy is empty and unfunded. What is your response to that?

HAMMOND: I just could not disagree more. Bill Shorten and Labor have made it very very clear. The WA Fair Share Fund is protected by legislation. It is 1.6 billion dollars of additional infrastructure money on top of anything else committed to Western Australia. That is a 70 cent floor between our GST disparity and where we need to be. It is protected by legislation. It is real money. It's equal to a 70 cent floor. It will deliver jobs for Western Australia. That is the sort of project that is the sort of policy that will get WA on its feet again, as opposed to this empty rhetoric from this empty Prime Minister.

JOURNALIST 1: But it doesn’t do anything to address the structural issues does it?

HAMMOND: What West Australia wants is a fair share. What they want is to be treated fairly and to have the disparity recognised. The Fair Share Fund does that. It does that by making sure that we have enough money in that fund to meet infrastructure projects to see us at a 70 cent floor to give us the stability and certainty we need going forward, which will create jobs whichwill get us back on our feet.

JOURNALIST 2: All West Australians really want to hear out of this conference today is Malcolm Turnbull announce something for the GST given that he is probably not going to is he just digging himself a further hole in WA?

HAMMOND: It shows what great lengths he seems to go to, to want to disrespect Western Australia. But it’s not just Malcolm Turnbull. Make no mistake he's not the only one here having to fend off issues of secession. You have six government ministers from Western Australia who have come up completely empty handed when it comes to doing anything meaningful about the GST. It’s not only Malcolm Turnbull who should hang his head in shame it's every single one of those West Australian government ministers who, quite frankly may as well not even be there.

JOURNALIST 1: Why won’t Labor agree to a structural change that would see a long term floor rather than this effective top up payment that its promised.

HAMMOND: Well more to the point Labor has delivered certainty in terms of how it intends to get Western Australia to the equivalent of a 70 cent floor. Bill Shorten has laid it out very clearly as to how that can be achieved. It’s actually up to Malcolm Turnbull, it’s up to Malcolm Turnbull as the Government of the day, as the Prime Minister of the day to match Labor’s promise of getting to a 70 cent equivalent floor, he could do that tomorrow and he's not doing it.

JOURNALIST 1: But you don’t think, you think he should do it before the Productivity Commission comes out?

HAMMOND: I think he should do it right now. He could do it right now; he could match our policy framework right now and do something about addressing the disparity once and for all. We've shown the way as to how it can be done, Malcolm Turnbull just needs to follow through for once in relation to the GST issue and deliver something. He's not delivered a thing.

JOURNALIST 2:  Other issues, the father’s day ad (Inaudible)

HAMMOND: Look i haven't see the ad so i can't comment on the particulars of what is in the advertisement but what i can say is that it's precisely the concern that we have in the community of having to go down the path of a postal survey simply to achieve marriage equality. The whole problem with the approach of a postal survey is that it simply gives licence to those in the community that would seek to divide us and seek to insight hatred on a topic in which, all we simply seek are for couple to be treated equal.

JOURNALIST 2: (Inaudible)

HAMMOND: Well I’m not sure that political correctness is the issue i think the issue is the fact that what we've done or what Malcolm Turnbull has done is given a platform for those who seek to insight division in our community in relation to Marriage equality. It's quite simple, what we could have done is simply amend the marriage act to make marriage equality a relative but we are where we are. So the message that we have is that we are standing with those peoples of that community, the LGBTQI community to make sure they are not alone in relation to this debate.

JOURNALIST 2: So you think the debate could be handled better?

HAMMOND: I think the debate quite frankly doesn't need to happen at all if we do our jobs, which is a free vote in the Parliament for marriage equality.

JOURNALIST 2: (Inaudible)

HAMMOND: Well look i haven't seen the ad so it’s hard to say but look i think there's a big difference i think we are up for a robust conversation about issues that matter, what i think we don’t need quite frankly are any sorts of platforms which create an opportunity for bigots and those to insight hate speech, it just doesn’t need to happen at all.

JOURNALIST 2: Australians energy watchdog (Inaudible)   

HAMMOND: Look, we are always up for, the Labor party is always up for a conversation in relation to reducing energy costs but make no mistake the big ticket item in which all the experts say will have a meaningful effect of doing something about energy prices is to adopt a clean energy target. We are up for it; the federal Labor party is up for it, it’s Malcolm Turnbull and the conservative right-wing of his party who run from it at a million miles. In the absence of a clean energy target we risk continuing spiralling power prices that are out of control, we simply just need to get on with the job.

JOURNALIST 2: (Inaudible)

HAMMOND: Again where we have the greatest opportunity to do something meaningful about reducing energy prices is adopting a clean energy target. We're up for it, we're ready to discuss it, we're ready to sit down and make it work and it’s up to Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott and all those in the conservative right-wing of his party to adopt the same approach so we can do something once and for all for those out there who are suffering under crippling power prices.

JOURNALIST 2: (Inaudible)

HAMMOND: Look, i think anything that is likely to reduce the incidences of flu and certainly those vulnerable in our community from succumbing to the flu needs to be investigated. You know for the moment our hearts and thoughts go out to the families of those loved ones who have passed and I’m sure all of these issues will be thoroughly investigated in due course and we will wait for the results of that investigation.