TIM HAMMOND MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSUMER AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER ASSISTING FOR RESOURCES
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR PERTH
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
THURSDAY, 1 JUNE 2017
SUBJECTS: Budget fairness; Healthy Harold; Paris agreement; citizenship changes; Barnaby Joyce’s grammar; foreign aid; Tony Abbott.
TIM HAMMOND, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSUMER AFFAIRS: Good morning. What a beautiful morning for it. You will all be pleased to know the feeling has been restored in my hands having just skipped out of basketball this morning – Ed Husic will hopefully talk to me again at some stage soon.
Look, as we wrap up a fortnight of sitting here in Canberra, and as we prepare to head back to our electorates – and for me that’s my home town of Perth in Western Australia – well what do we have here? Well, sadly what we have is nothing new from this Government, confirming throughout the course of this fortnight, that we see a Government that is much more interested in backing-in millionaires and multinationals than they are prepared to do any heavy lifting to protect and make sure that those in the middle class of our country actually have a better way of life.
We’ve seen the Government hold firm on the bank levy. We’ve seen the Government hold firm in relation to its unfair Medicare levy. And we’ve seen the Government do absolutely nothing – to the contrary, voting six times to ensure that our education system is the subject of a $22 billion cut.
What we see as early as this morning – as the trucks roll through – what we see is that independent modelling has confirmed what Labor has suggested all along: that is, our proposed measures in our Budget Reply, in relation to the Medicare levy, not only will protect middle class Australia, but also help add $4.5 billion to the Budget bottom line. That is true fairness, and that is fairness in action. That is not focus-group-fairness, which is all we’ve seen from Malcolm Turnbull and his Liberal Government.
It beggars belief, really, at the end of this fortnight, poor old Healthy Harold the giraffe is not guaranteed of a future, and Australians would have every right to think that the only puppet here due to go was Malcolm Turnbull. But it looks like Healthy Harold is on the block. So we’re hoping he comes back. Malcolm Turnbull – I don’t know what to say for him. All I know is that when I’m back in Perth I’ll be doing my best for my constituents in my electorate.
JOURNALIST: What would the significance be of Donald Trump announcing the US withdrawal from the Paris agreements?
HAMMOND: Firstly, any announcement remains to be seen from the US, and we need to monitor that very carefully. Australia as a country has made it very clear that we take the Paris treaty and protocols very seriously. We just simply need to see what announcements come out from the US and act accordingly.
JOURNALIST: In terms of proposed changes to citizenship laws, what proposals that we’ve heard about do you take issue with?
HAMMOND: The real key here is what proposals we’ve heard about. There’s been a lot of white noise from Peter Dutton in relation to proposed changes to citizenship tests, but we’ve yet to see any detail. We’ve yet to see any legislation. We’ve yet to see any regulation as to what these proposed changes would actually look like. It’s only really when you see the finer detail of these things can one then assess and then take it to the Party Room.
And can I just say, in terms of this notion of the requirement for proper English grammar – I’ll tell you what, if an adherence to proper grammar was a requirement for success in this country, Barnaby Joyce would never be allowed to answer a question in Question Time. So let’s just wait and see what happens in terms of the legislation and the detail.
JOURNALIST: Just a question on foreign aid. It’s at an historic low in Australia, and it’s going to have to ensure further indexation freeze just from this current Budget. Should it be increased? What’s your position?
HAMMOND: What we get back to here is the fundamental issue of what is fair. What we’ve seen time and time again from this Government and this Budget is this notion of desperately latching onto this word without really understanding what it actually means. History has told us that it’s really only the Labor Party that understands what fairness really means and understands what it means to ensure we protect those who are vulnerable in our community. And that goes for abroad as well as at home.
JOURNALIST: What do you think of Tony Abbott’s suggestion that Australia needs special terror courts for Australian jihadis returning from conflict zones?
HAMMOND: What it confirms is what we’ve known all along, and that is the real Government here is not Malcolm Turnbull and not his small team; it is increasingly the conservative Right of the party, listening very carefully to what it is Tony Abbott has to say.
Thanks very much. Have a good day.