Home » Australian Prime Minister Press Conference – Canberra 10 May

Australian Prime Minister Press Conference – Canberra 10 May

Good morning, everybody. My name is Kieran Perkins. I’m the CEO of the Australian Sports Commission, and I have to say, this is an absolutely extraordinary day for us. This announcement this morning is the largest investment into the Australian Institute of Sports since inception, and certainly as we think about the pathway onto our home games in Brisbane 32, we know that this is going to put all of our sporting community onto the front foot to make sure that we have a wonderful and successful games. I can’t thank the Prime Minister and Ministers enough for this. It is absolutely extraordinary for us, and we look forward to what comes next. But it’s my honour to introduce the Prime Minister.

ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: Well, thanks very much, Kieran, and thanks so much for what you do here as the CEO of the Australian Sports Commission. This is an exciting announcement. It’s an announcement that ensures the future of this magnificent facility based here in the National Capital. It follows a proper review, which followed, quite frankly, under investment over the years in this facility. We need first class facilities that reflect the first-class sports people that we have in this country. In the lead up to the Brisbane Olympics 2032, it’s vital that we put in a significant national effort to ensure an outstanding result. Sport is important for Australians. It’s important for Australians who play it in order to keep a healthy lifestyle, but it’s also important in providing positive role models going forward, but also the pleasure that it gives to those of us who are Olympians in our mind perhaps, but that’s the only place that that was ever going to happen. These wonderful Olympians and Paralympian’s who’ve joined us here today are wonderful athletes. They inspire us as a nation, and our nation is putting back with today’s announcement. Almost $250 million into this facility, in addition $10 million to assist the ACT government with planning to provide a master plan for this Bruce precinct is a vital support. This will allow an upgrade of these facilities, but also accommodation for athletes as well. We looked at where the appropriate venue should be, and the appropriate venue is here in our national capital. This follows the investment that we’ve had in our other national institutions such as the National Art Gallery, the National Museum, and other facilities here that are so important for what is, of course, Australia’s largest inland city here in Canberra. So this will also inspire our youngest Australians who come through. One of the things that this facility does is to provide a part of the circuit when students come to Canberra to visit their national capital. They visit Parliament House, they visit the National Museum, they visit Questacon, they visit the Arboretum, but they also visit the Australian Institute of Sport and get access to the sort of timing of facilities which is really exciting for them. That encourages them to think about what they will do. At a time when every single parent on the side of a netball court, or a footy oval, or other sporting facilities, or after school, is having a single conversation in this country that’s common. It is, how do we get our kids to spend less time on their devices and more time out in the open air, engaging in healthy activity, engaging in team sport where you learn to win, you learn to lose, you learn cooperation as well. Engaging in individual sporting pursuits where you try to beat not just other people’s times, but importantly as well you try to beat your own best time as well, and be the best that you can be. This is not just about sport, it’s about who we are as a nation, which is why this is a valuable investment in our nation going forward. I’m very proud that we’ve been able to ensure that this, it’s not quite $250 million, $249.1 I think it is, to be precise, million dollar investment will make an enormous difference. And I’ll hand over to our fantastic Minister for Sport, who’s such a passionate advocate for the sporting community here in Australia.

ANIKA WELLS, MINISTER FOR SPORT AND AGED CARE: Thank you, PM. Can I begin by acknowledging firstly, the incredible career of Matilda’s icon Lydia Williams, who announced last night her retirement. We will miss her very dearly and hope to see her in Paris. Can I also acknowledge Georgia Godwin, who is known and loved to many here at the AIS, one of Australia’s great gymnasts, who told us yesterday that injury will now preclude her from going to Paris, and that’s really heartbreaking for Georgia, and we want to send her our thoughts. And I think you can see that everything I do as your federal Sports Minister is athlete led, and that is at the heart of the $249 million announcement today to secure high performance facilities that allow our brilliant athletes to be the best version of themselves. The Australian Sports Commission’s own research tells us that eight years out, from the Games, and for us that means Brisbane 2032 it’s a really important time to invest. And that’s why we’ve taken as the Albanese government, the decision to invest $249 million, almost $250 million in new high-quality accommodation for our athletes, the dome that will allow athletes to train all year round, para-accessible and new high-performance facilities, new high-performance testing, that will also welcome in our new millennial sports like skateboarding or breakdancing or rock climbing. These things are really important to give our athletes every opportunity to be their best and to give Australia the success that we all love to cheer them on when they attempt to do it. So this builds on, I think, really significant investment in the people in sport that the Albanese government has been focused on since we came to office. This builds on a $200 million Play Our Way Program that seeks to overcome the systemic problems facing girls when they enter sport and boost our participation. It adds to the $20 million Paris Preparation Fund that sees our athletes qualifying and getting to a games in a cost of living crisis the world over. And now $250 million so that from playground to podium, from these performance pathways to Paris, and ultimately we hope, from our backyards to Brisbane 2032. We are doing everything to give our Aussie athletes the chance to go for gold.

KATY GALLAGHER, MINISTER FOR FINANCE, THE PUBLICE SERVICE AND WOMEN: Thanks Anika, and it’s great to be here. I just want to be a bit of a local Canberran today and just say this is such good news for Canberra, and I acknowledge my fellow representatives here from Canberra, Andrew, Dave, Alicia and of course Yvette, our colleague from the ACT government. You know, we’ve all been, we live here, this is our home, and so we’ve all seen the investment that’s been needed in the AIS, and it’s just fantastic to be part of a government that’s done the work and taken the decisions to reinvest and make this facility the best that it can be. Because it is something that as Canberrans we all use, and we’re so pleased for the athletes, for the staff that work here. I think one of the first meetings I had with Kieran, you know, rest assured, we have some very strong lobbying from the leadership of the Sports Commission as well. They’ve, I think, been advocating for this for nearly a decade, and so it’s really pleasing that we’ve been able to find that space. I’d also like to acknowledge Catherine King, who can’t be here today, but as the Minister for Infrastructure who worked with Anika and others on the review to make sure we, you know, got the decision before the budget Cabinet to take this. And finally, I just want to acknowledge what it is to have a Prime Minister who cares about Canberra. I mean, it makes a difference to this town to have someone who lives here, who believes in the role of the national capital and who has spent, you know, his time as Prime Minister, investing in this city not only because it’s a great place and he loves Canberra, but also because it’s the nation’s capital and the investment that we’ll make in the AIS will, you know, represent our proud role, our dual role as a city, but also as the nation’s capital. And thank you, PM, for believing in it, and for living here, and for caring about what goes on here.

YVETTE BERRY, ACTING CHIEF MINISTER OF THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY: Thanks very much everyone. On behalf of the ACT government, I am absolutely thrilled to be here today to be part of this celebration of the Australian Institute of Sport through this significant investment by the Australian Government. Late last year when the Australian government held a review into the AIS, and whether it would stay here or move up to Brisbane, I brought together a group of sports people, sports clubs, community groups, as well as businesses, to put to the ACT government words that what the facility meant to them that we could put into our submission into the review. And I’m really pleased to see that the review contains almost word for word, some of the comments that were made from the sports people and others that attended that roundtable last year. So I want to acknowledge all of those people who put their voices into our submission, and really happy to say to all of them now that the Australian Government heard us, and they’ve now not only allowed for the AIS to stay here in the ACT, its home, but also has made this significant contribution. And of course this facility has been part of the Canberra footprint for many years now, since the 1981. All of us who live in Canberra have grown up with this facility. We’ve watched elite athletes grow, we’ve watched sport going back to even our own A-League team, or before the A-League, the Canberra Arrows. This place has a lot of meaning for the ACT, so this investment will mean incredible benefits for the ACT community. As far as economics, we will have jobs created through the construction jobs created through the people who work here, and importantly, a first class facility for our elite athletes who are training for the Olympics right now in facilities that unfortunately have been left to rot and decay. So this investment really shows the Australian government cares about the Australian Capital Territory, cares about the people who live here and importantly, cares about the athletes who are representing us on the world stage. I did want to talk briefly about the $10 million that the Australian Government’s offered the ACT to work in conjunction with the Australian government on a precinct plan for the AIS, an education, health and sports precinct. This is the ideal place for that work to happen, and we’ve already been having a number of conversations with Kieran Perkins about what’s possible for this place. We’ve heard people talk about the stadium, and I know that there are people here in the in the press who will be very interested in conversations about what’s next for the ACT and the potential for a stadium. We’ve had investment in the arena here, which we’re hoping to see open within the next month, fingers crossed, so that the ACT community and others can use that for sport and other entertainment and conferences. So we’re seeing investment that not been seen in this place, certainly in my lifetime here in the ACT, and I’m not going to tell you how old I am. But thank you once again, to the Australian government, to Katy, to Anika, and to Catherine, and everybody else who’s been involved in this project. This is great news for Canberra, and we’re really grateful. And we can’t wait to see the money spent. Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER: Thanks very much, Yvette. We’re happy to take questions, difficult ones will be flicked to Kieran Perkins.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, you’re investing in the ACT significantly, as has been stated. And earlier this week they’re talking about light rail infrastructure, the AIS, some other things that have been noted here today is the stadium, perhaps done in the future, stretching the friendship a little bit too far?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, today’s announcement is a big one, and I think we’ll focus on that. We’ll always consider proposals on their merits. What we know is that we’ve got the order right, and this needs to be done in order to set us up for the future. As Yvette has said, in many ways this facility has been allowed to decay and not be as good as it should be. By making this announcement today, we position ourselves to be in a really positive frame in the lead up to 2032 where we will host, for the third time, the Olympics that will be so important in Brisbane. This facility is a national asset, and you can’t allow a national asset to just not be kept up to speed. This national asset will now be of enormous quality, and will be something that we can be proud of. And that will benefit not just Canberra, but will benefit the entire nation.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, the High Court is making a decision on the ASF17 case today. How will your government deal with a loss if that is the outcome? And what’s your message for the Senate in terms of passing your deportation laws?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, my message to the Senate is, get on with it. My message is that my government have had to deal with decisions of the court. We have a separation of powers in this country between the judiciary and the political system. That’s a good thing in a democracy. It’s one of the foundations of our democracy, and we have dealt, had to deal with the decision in NZYQ. It is not something that we supported. It’s something indeed, that we made submissions to the court to oppose. But when courts make a decision, governments, whoever is in government, has to comply with the law. We have been doing that, but we’ve been doing it in a way in which we’ve examined what further strengthening can be made. That’s why we had the legislation introduced into the parliament. What’s extraordinary is that the coalition voted for it in the House of Representatives on the Tuesday, and voted against it on the Wednesday and kicked the can down the road. There’s been no explanation of any justification of why. And the coalition, along with the, in this case, a coalition of the Greens, the Liberals and the Nationals coming together to oppose what is sensible legislation to simply allow for people who have no right to be here in Australia. These are not people who have been found to be refugees, indeed, the opposite is the case. Should not be just allowed to stay here. If you have that, then that is not appropriate. The Coalition say they support it in principle, why have they delayed it? They’ll have an opportunity to vote for it.

JOURNALIST:Inaudible is still going to have your support. Is it still necessary for the legislation, should the government be successful in the High Court today?

PRIME MINISTER: We think this legislation is appropriate, and that’s why we introduced it.

JOURNALIST: Do you think you will win?

PRIME MINISTER: That’s why we introduced it. Because governments need to have the capacity for people who have no right to stay in Australia. They’ve exhausted their legal processes. They’ve been found not to have any right to stay here. They shouldn’t be just allowed to self-nominate in staying here.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, on the pro-Palestine protest at campuses, do you think the chants have been anti-Semitic?

PRIME MINISTER: That’s a very broad statement. I think one of the things that we need to do is to stop the broad statements such as that. You haven’t said what the statements are. You haven’t said what the statements are, you haven’t said –

JOURNALIST: From the river to the sea –

PRIME MINISTER: The reason why, ‘From the river to the sea’ is not appropriate, whether it be, and it’s been used from time to time over the years, to describe either Palestine or Israel as one state. We support a two state solution. The solution in the Middle East is for Israel to continue to be able to be a successful state that it is living within secure and stable borders and able to have prosperity for its citizens. But it’s also for Palestinians to have the right to live in peace and security with prosperity as well. That is why my government support what is a long term bipartisan position of a two state solution. I think with some of the reduction to simple slogans without any understanding of history, is not appropriate. Is not appropriate, I’ve said that very clearly. That what we need to do is, and I understand this is a debate that has been going on for a long period of time, and it involves a lot of people who feel very strongly. What overwhelmingly Australians want, though, is for conflict to not be brought here. What Australians want is for there to be a dial down in some of the messaging that has occurred here in Australia. That is in everyone’s interest. Respect for everyone. Anti-Semitism has no place in Australia. Islamophobia has no place in Australia. We’re a country that needs to respect each other and need to be prepared to engage in respectful debate where there are differences. Be prepared to respect the fact that people have a right to disagree. But to do so in a manner that is respectful. That’s not too much to ask for.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, on a two state solution, this morning Foreign Minister, Penny Wong did say that Australia would recognise Palestine as a two state, Inaudible, contribute progress to a two state solution. Why has the government shifted that language, not standing by the position that you mentioned earlier?

PRIME MINISTER: Where’s the shift?

JOURNALIST: I mean you’re saying –

PRIME MINISTER: Where’s the shift, government –

JOURNALIST: Inaudible. Negotiated with Israel. It’s different language.

PRIME MINISTER: Sorry, but governments in Australia have supported a two state solution for a long period of time. The government of Ben Chifley played a role way back in 1948 in the creation state of Israel that was established, of course, under UN proposals at that time. It was the creation of two states, at that time. There’s been bipartisan position for a two state solution for a long period of time. That is my government’s position.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, your government is going to be holding an inquiry into the social media giants. Firstly, who do you want to see at those inquiries, and what are the outcomes you want to get from that?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, I think this isn’t just a matter of what government wants, it’s what Australians want. Australians understand that social media plays an important role in people’s lives, but with social media comes the need for social license and a social responsibility. And across a range of issues, whether it be the issue of domestic violence, whether it be radicalisation of our young people, across a range of areas something that keeps popping up over and over again is the role of social media, which can be very positive, but can also have a negative influence, which is there. And I think that this will be an important inquiry for people and the community to engage in the debate about what is the role of social media. How do we make sure that social media’s benefits continue whilst the potential for harmful impacts are minimised.

JOURNALIST: On your Future Gas Policy, some of your backbenchers aren’t exactly thrilled by this announcement. What do you say to them that they were blindsided? And is the government united on this policy?

PRIME MINISTER: The government is united on achieving Net Zero by 2050. And what we’re also united on isn’t coming up with just slogans and that is a statement, but ensuring there’s a pathway to get there. And for that pathway to get there to Net Zero, including eighty-two per cent renewables by 2030, what you need is the firming capacity of gas will play a role in that. We know that that’s the case. You can’t get to Net Zero through wishful thinking. You need to get to Net Zero by making sure that you have that pathway there. And for example, Rio Tinto have just signed the biggest deal for renewables that’s been signed by any company in Australia’s history, up there in central Queensland. What they say is that they need the firming capacity of gas to play a role in them being able to transition. Gas plays an important role in that transition to Net Zero. Renewables is where the cheapest form of new energy, it’s where my government is committed to ensuring that we get there to Net Zero by 2050. But we know that gas has a role to play in that transition because of the firming capacity that it provides.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, do you want to see Elon Musk in Parliament House before the Committee?

PRIME MINISTER: I don’t run parliamentary committees. I await the parliamentary committee to conduct its business. The parliamentary committee is something that’s supported by our Communications Minister, Michelle Rowland. She’s doing a great job in ensuring that one of the things that we have to do is to hold some of these companies to account. They have changed the way that our lives operate, and there’s a great deal of benefit from the immediacy that can come through social media. But we need to also look at what is the impact of that, what is the social license that’s required?

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, just back to the AIS quickly. You mentioned that this is the biggest since the eighties in investment. Is this a sign of ongoing investment in the AIS and the facilities here? And the ACT government has asked you to pay for fifty per cent of a stadium. What’s your response to that?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, I’m surprised that any state or territory government only ever asks for fifty per cent at times I think you’re wrong, I think what every state and territory government wants is for the Commonwealth government to pay for one hundred per cent of everything, of everything that happens everywhere.

JOURNALIST: It is the capital, will you pay –

PRIME MINISTER: And there’s nothing news in that, so Yvette’s being quite conservative – do you want fifty, sixty, or eighty?

ACTING CHIEF MINISTER BERRY: We will take whatever you can give us.

PRIME MINISTER: You see, that’s the way it happens. So this is a significant announcement today. This is a quarter of a billion dollars into this facility. This is an enormous investment. We haven’t done a bit of it, we’ve done exactly what’s required to uplift this and it’s really welcome investment. Thanks very much.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, the Treasurer is saying, ‘Let’s have more babies’. But what more can the government do to help certain families to afford having more children?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, what you’ll see in next week’s Budget is a government that’s committed to three things. The first is cost of living relief, in order to make a difference. The second is, how do we shape that cost of living relief? We do it in a way that continues to put moderation when it comes to inflation. And that’s why the measures that we, in past budgets, have put in place, our Cheaper Child Care Plan, the way that we designed our Energy Price Relief Plan, our fee free TAFE, our other measures that were put in place will make a difference to cost of living, but also have put that downward pressure on inflation that has seen inflation moderate so that its annual figure is actually less today than was predicted in MYEFO it would be by the end of this financial year. So they’re two of the measures. The third of course is, how do we build our future economy? We build our future economy by having a future made in Australia. That, in part, is how we deal with the transition to a clean energy economy. Using the fact that we will have clean, cheap, renewable energy has the potential, including green hydrogen to power advanced manufacturing in this country. We have an opportunity to create green steel, green aluminium. The international economy is changing. We are well positioned because of what we have under the ground, but also what we have in the sky. We have all of the minerals, critical minerals, including copper, vanadium, nickel, lithium, that will power the global economy in this century. We need to harness that, not just export it offshore, wait for value to be added and then import it back. We need to harness it to use it closer to where production of, or extraction and then use occurs as well. That’s the benefit of the opportunity that we have because of the shift in the energy mix to areas like green hydrogen. Green hydrogen needs to be used closer to where it is produced. That is the economic and comparative advantage that we have in this country. That’s our future going forward as well. And in addition of course, when it comes to cost of living, the biggest measure next week is a tax cut for every Australian taxpayer, all 13.6 million of them, not just some. Something that, when we announced that change, the deputy leader of the Liberal Party said that they would fight it and reverse it. The Leader of the Opposition called for us to hold an election, one would assume therefore, that he will go to the next election promising to reverse the tax cuts that will go into the pockets of every single Australian taxpayer on July 1. That’s the commitment that my government has. At the same time as we turned last time around, a $78 billion deficit into a $22 billion surplus. Running responsible fiscal policy, working with monetary policy, is what you will see in next week’s Budget. At the same time providing space to make the investments that we need. Investments like this is an example of something that was just kicked down the road. But it’s not just investments like this that were kicked down the road, there are so many programs like Community Welfare Programs in Central Australia, that simply would have run out of funds on June 30 last year. This is an Opposition that continue to not come up with any serious alternative policies. The only policy that they’ve come up with is nuclear reactors placed around Australia, and they won’t say who will pay for them, how much it’ll cost, or where they’ll go. Well next Tuesday night, Jim Chalmers will hand down the Labor budget, the third Labor budget. It will include this investment. On Thursday night, it’s up to Peter Dutton to stop the nonsense, stop the rhetoric and slogans, stop just saying no to everything. Come up with an alternative budget with fully costed policies, including on his plan supported by all the nuclear reactionaries on his back bench, rather than renewables. That is the task for Peter Dutton next Thursday night. When I was Opposition Leader, we came up with our Cheaper Child Care Plan, our Rewiring the Nation Plan, our Housing Australia Future Plan, our Future Made in Australia Plan, including our National Rail Manufacturing Plan. We came up with our aged care reforms, we came up with serious policies that we costed and released the costing of those policies when we did our budget replies. That’s the test for Peter Dutton. To stop just coasting away and doing one interview with a friendly interviewer every Thursday morning, but actually to be accountable, accountable to the Australian public if anyone is going to take him seriously at all as the leader of the alternative government. Thank you very much.

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