Press Conference - Parliament House

  • Minister for Employment
  • Minister for Women
  • Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service
  • Senator for Western Australia

Subjects: Investigation of CFMEU officials, Newspoll, negative gearing, election policies.  



MINISTER CASH: There are a number of CFMEU officials facing court action around Australia. What we have seen today is another 13 CFMEU officials, including Michael O’Connor, the head of the CFMEU - proceedings have now been instituted against them in relation to blockades at the Barangaroo site in Sydney. Yet again what this should say to the Australian people, but in particular to Labor, the Greens and the Senate crossbenchers who continue to refuse to support the restoration of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, the laws are clearly not sufficient enough to act as a deterrent. We need to do something about those laws and the Coalition has an answer to that and that is the restoration of the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

JOURNALIST: Are you prepared to go to a double dissolution on this issue?

MINISTER CASH: I have made it very clear that in the event that this fails to pass the Senate - and I think that would be a great shame given again what we have seen today - we will take it to the Australian people, even if that is at the general election and seek a mandate. This is a Government that is committed to ensuring that the people in the building and construction sector can go to work on a daily basis like each and every one of us here, in an environment that is free from bullying, free from fear, and free from thuggery and intimidation. And we will not rest until that occurs.

JOURNALIST: Can the Government afford to take it to a double dissolution or a general election given you have seen a 6 per cent drop in the two party preferred popularity in the latest Newspoll?

MINISTER CASH: This is an election year, we all know that. At this point in time the Prime Minister has said he expects an election later on this year. In an election year, polls always tighten. Elections are hard fought in Australia and no one should ever be complacent. We know what we need to do as the government. We need to ensure that Australians are aware of our plans - I think they are - what you are not going to get from us is policy on the run. You are not going to get from us the high-taxing, high-spending options of the Bill Shorten Labor party. What you will get from us are policies that have been clearly and methodically thought through and go to our core commitment, which is to grow Australia, to back Australians and to create jobs.  

JOURNALIST: [inaudible] lack of holding back and not doing policy on the run, and holding back on tax reform, may have had an impact and may have brought on this result in the polls?

MINISTER CASH: As I said it is an election year and the polls always tighten. The budget will be brought down on May 10th and the Treasurer will lay out our economic plan in detail. In terms of where we are going with our economic planning we have made it very clear, it is a clear choice between a high-taxing, high-spending Labor party, true to form every single time. Or a Coalition government that is carefully considering all of its options, that knows what its end goal is - how do we grow our economy. How do we ensure that we have a taxation system that backs Australians to do their very best and within my own portfolio of employment, how do we create an environment so that businesses can grow, prosper and create more jobs for the Australian people.

JOURNALIST: How do you explain the negative gearing support in this poll. Particular on negative gearing it looks like Labor has quite a lot of voter support according to the poll for its changes to negative gearing.

MINISTER CASH: At the end of the day look at what Labor is proposing. Over the forward estimates they have proposed a policy that is going to add approximately $600 million to the bottom line. That doesn’t even pay a month in terms of the interest we are paying because of the debt that the former Labor government racked up. It is also a direct attack on the mums and dads in Australia who are just trying to get ahead. Why you would announce a policy that raises next to no money over the forward estimates but at the same time, it taxes mums and dads of Australia and will also have that perverse outcome of decreasing house values is absolutely beyond me. But again what it does show is this- when you announce a policy without giving it sufficient consideration, this is what the outcome is. We will announce policies in due course and we have made it very clear what our end goal is. Grow Australia, grow the economy, back Australians and create jobs. Our policies will be release in a timely fashion and they will be after a methodical and considered process.

JOURNALIST: Minister, your colleague Peter Dutton said getting into the housing market is one of the ways that Australians can get ahead. Isn’t it true that some of the excesses in negative gearing rule out more Australians to get ahead by buying into the housing market to buy their first home?

MINISTER CASH: We have said that we will look at all policy options, negative gearing being one of them. But you don’t take a sledgehammer to a policy, you take a scalpel and if there are excesses, we will look at them. But as I said our policy intent is clear. You are not going to get a high-taxing, high-spending Government like Bill Shorten and Labor. You will get a Government that is fiscally responsible and knows what its end goal is – to back Australia and back Australians, because that is what the Australian people want.

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