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Transcript - Parliament House Doors

14 Sep 2016


15 September 2016




TIM HAMMOND: What we’ve seen already today is, despite the fact that we were preached to by Malcolm Turnbull, on a supposed 10-year economic narrative – the cornerstone of their election pitch being company tax cuts over 10 years – hasn’t even lasted ten weeks since the election, hasn’t lasted two weeks of Parliament. It’s a further example about how we see a Coalition Government that is hopelessly divided and a Prime Minister who is being dictated to by a conservative backbench in terms of marching to the beat of their drum and Tony Abbott’s drum.


JOURNALIST: So if the Bill is split though is that going to increase the chances of Labor supporting some of these measures?


HAMMOND: We have made our position in relation to company tax cuts for small business very clear: our position has always been that a small business is exactly that – a small business. We have never been in the game of paying a $7 billion tax cut to the Big Four banks. That is not a benefit for small business.


JOURNALIST: The reason it is going to be split though is because they don’t have enough support in the Senate so wouldn’t it be better to give them the support in the Senate so they can deliver on their mandate to deliver on their promise to the Australian people?


HAMMOND: What would be better, in my view, in relation to what the Coalition could be doing is agreeing to Labor’s position which has been entirely consistent over the course of the campaign and since the campaign to back in company tax cuts for what is properly a small business, to help mums and dads who are just trying to get ahead.


JOURNALIST: [inaudible]


HAMMOND: We need to see what the details are in whatever this new proposal is. The real issue here is there is an entirely inconsistent approach from what was put to the Australian people in the course of the election campaign. No one knows what is going on in the context of the Coalition’s economic narrative, least of all Malcolm Turnbull.


JOURNALIST: Tim how would your electorate have responded to Pauline Hanson’s speech last night? Do you think there would be people who would agree with her?


HAMMOND: You know it’s interesting that while Senator Hanson was making her speech I was listening to speeches of my colleagues in the House of Representatives chamber. The themes of those speeches were tolerance and not intolerance, celebrating diversity and not condemning diversity. I am very sure that the people I represent in Western Australia and in Perth would be very upset and disheartened by the narrow view that Senator Hanson has taken in relation to her remarks about division within our community.


JOURNALIST: Is she part of the problem or is she just a symptom of that?


HAMMOND: Senator Hanson has an enormous responsibility from the position that she holds to actually promote ideas that fundamentally underpin both Australian way of life and also the ideals of quite frankly Bill Shorten and the Australian Labor Party – that is to celebrate community, to celebrate tolerance, and to celebrate diversity. That should be her role, opening the conversation and not closing it to a way in which Australians feel unjustifiably scared.


JOURNALIST: A lot of MPs have said that Pauline Hanson has the right to freedom of speech and [inaudible] but in your view does that freedom come with responsibility not to divide the country?


HAMMOND: It is an enormous responsibility that she has, we all have. And our responsibility is actually to lead. What we are not seeing here in any level in both Government and also in Ms Hanson’s remarks is any real leadership about taking the conversation to a place where diversity in Australia can be celebrated. That’s what we need to focus on and that’s her responsibility.


JOURNALIST: Do you think that John Howard is right, that it would be wrong to repeat the mistake of 20 years ago and marginalise Pauline Hanson and her supporters?

HAMMOND: Well it’s very interesting that John Howard’s remarks on an awful lots of things have come back into vogue. Let’s not forget that it was also John Howard who last fixed the Marriage Act by simply amending legislation as opposed to what we are currently being put through which is an unnecessary conversation about, again, another issue of potential division which is an unnecessary plebiscite.


JOURNALIST: You didn’t answer the question though.


HAMMOND: My view is that there is an approach to be taken in relation to Senator Hanson’s remarks and that approach is to have a sensible conversation about what we want Australia to look like. What we don’t want Australia to look like is a society where we promote fear as opposed to freedom, where we promote intolerance as opposed to tolerance.


Thanks very much, have a good day.



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