Australian Coat of Arms

Member for Blaxland

Shadow Minister for Trade and Investment

Shadow Minister for Resources and Northern Australia 

Doorstop Interview

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
DOORSTOP INTERVIEW
SYDNEY
THURSDAY, 3 JANUARY 2019
 
SUBJECTS: Trade, Prakash citizenship, negative gearing.
 
CLARE:A couple of things I want to talk about today. First in my own Portfolio of Trade. You can tell how desperate this hopeless government is that they've decided to start the new year with a dodgy scare campaign on trade. An area that is usually bipartisan. An area where the Liberal Party and the Labor Party usually work together. 
 
Remember it's the Labor Party that in government cut tariffs that opened up the Australian economy and helped to raise the living standards of ordinary Australians. It's the Labor Party that's worked cooperatively with this government on recent trade agreements to get them put in place. We didn't agree with everything in those agreements, but we've worked cooperatively with the government. 
 
Now on that point we don't think that the government should be putting clauses into trade agreements, which remove the requirement for employers to first put an ad in the newspaper and check if there's an Aussie that can do a job before they offer the job to a foreign worker. We think before you bring in a carpenter, or an electrician, or a plumber from overseas first you should at least have to put an ad in the newspaper to see if there’s a local person that can do the job. That’s not protectionism, that’s just common sense. Unfortunately this government has used trade agreements to take that requirement out. We think that's the wrong approach. And we'll change that if we win the next election.



But I think it's just a little bit rich of this government to try and set up a scare campaign on trade – when think about it – over the last few months, what’s been the big issue in trade, apart from what's happening in the US and Brexit, here in Australia? It's been the stuff up by this Liberal Government of relations with Indonesia over where we should put the Australian Embassy in Israel - whether it should be in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem - which has delayed and potentially derailed the Indonesian free trade agreement. I think it's up to this government to fix their own house and sort out their own mess before they start coming at us. 
 
Secondly on the Peter Dutton stuff up. We've just heard this morning from the Fijian Prime Minister that this Prakesh terrorist is not a Fijian. There’s a story in the paper today that Peter Dutton says he's got legal advice that this bloke is a Fijian. Well if he is release the advice. Peter Dutton’s refusing to release that advice.


We've got a story in the paper saying that he refused to tell the Fijians that he was going to make this decision before he made it and now we find out from the Fijian Prime Minister that apparently this bloke's not even a Fijian.


It all looks like another Peter Dutton stuff up. And I've got to tell you it seems pretty interesting that this stuff up happened in August at the same time that Peter Dutton was trying to knock off Malcom Turnbull he should have been putting more effort into knocking off this terrorist. But he didn’t and as a result it looks like he stuffed up this process. 


I don't want to see this bloke as an Australian citizen. I'd rather see him as a citizen of the afterworld. But Peter Dutton’s the Minister here and he's got a responsibility to make the decisions according to the law, to make sure he gets them right and it looks from what the Fijian Prime Minister's just said this morning, that Peter Dutton’s stuffed up. 
 
Happy to take some questions.
 
JOURNALIST: Thinking about how property prices are at the moment, Labor pushed hard for the Royal Commission and now banks have tightened their lending, is that a fair reaction from the banks?
 
CLARE: Well I think all Australians wanted a Royal Commission into the banks, except the Liberal Party. The Liberal Party voted against the Royal Commission 26 times. They did everything they possibly could to stop this Royal Commission happening. We want banks to lend to first home buyers. We want first homebuyers to be able to get into the market. Get a foot in the door to buy their first home. We also want banks to act responsibly. We want proper regulations to make sure that they do. Hopefully we’ll get some good recommendations out of the Banking Royal Commission to make sure that happens.
 
JOURNALIST:Is tighter lending being responsible?
 
CLARE:That's part of it. But it's also making sure that we've got the tax system operating in a fair way so that first time buyers have the same opportunities to get into the market as investors. At the moment you get tax incentives or assistance from the Federal Government to buy your fifth or sixth home. You don't get that if you’re a first home buyer. We think that’s just plainly unfair.
 
JOURNALIST:talking about the tax incentives do you think they might be adding fuel to the fire with the current situation.
 
CLARE:No I don’t. I think if you have a look at the data that’s just come out it show’s that only one in 10 loans over the last twelve months have been loans to people borrowing for negative gearing purposes. So what that show’s is that many of those investors have started…
 
JOURNALIST:Do we need those investors in the market for other people who might need…
 
CLARE:We want people to invest in property. Under our reforms people will be able to invest in property. If you want to negatively gear we want you to invest in new property. Instead of having people buy an existing home.  Because if you build another block of units or if you build a new home then that's adding to the amount of housing available for all Australians. That's how we use the tax system to build more housing stock but also make it fairer for first home buyers.
JOURNALIST:So some say the clamp down on lending has gone too far and now it's very hard to get a loan and this could be hurting confidence in the market. So some suggest that freeing up more lending and the banks. So what's Labor's policy stance in regards to freeing up liquidity?
 
CLARE:Well we want banks to loan to first homebuyers. The Treasurer talked about that, and talked about those changes in the story in the papers today. What he hasn't done though is tell us whether the Treasury did any modelling on the APRA reforms that were put into place last year, and if they did do any modelling, then they should release that modelling.
 
JOURNALIST: So do you think Labor is in favour of freeing up more liquidity and bank lending?
 
CLARE:I can only stress again the point I’ve made. We want banks to lend. We want banks to lend to first home buyers. We want first home buyers to be able to get a foot in the door to get their first place. All of us that are lucky enough to have a mortgage know how hard it was to get that first home. Or only home in my case. So we want that to happen, but we also want the banks to act responsibly. No one wants a repeat of some of the traumatic, terrible, almost corrupt things that we’ve seen come out of the Banking Royal Commission. None of that would have been revealed if the Liberals had their way. They voted 26 times to stop all of this information getting out in to the public. We’ve got to make sure that we fix that so it never happens again. That's why the Royal Commission and its report that will be out very shortly is so important.

JOURNALIST: As regards to the Core Logic property figures you mentioned, it shows that prices have tumbled sharply, it’s biggest fall since the GFC. Again, this might be hurting confidence in the market. So will Labor take this into account, perhaps maybe changing its negative gearing policy in any way like delaying its implementation?
 
CLARE: No we’re not making changes to that and as I said, we want banks to lend, but we want them to lend responsibly.
JOURNALIST:[unintelligible]
 
CLARE: No, no. What I said is we don't want this bloke to be an Australian citizen. We agree with the government that wants to get rid of his citizenship. I don't want him to be an Australian citizen, I'd rather him be a citizen of the afterworld. I think most Australians would be glad to see the back of this bloke. The sooner the better.

JOURNALIST: So when will Labor implement its policy on negative gearing if elected? To clamp down on it.
 
CLARE:  Well again Chris Bowen has been very specific about that, about implementing it. Within the first 12 months of a Labor Government.
JOURNALIST: That might be a bit tricky with the Senate…
 
CLARE: Let's not get ahead of ourselves. This is this is an election year. It’s going to be a very tough election. Despite what people think, I think it’s going to be a very tight election as well. The Labor Party has only ever won three elections, since World War 2 from Opposition. First Whitlam, then Hawke, then Rudd. This is going to be very hard, and very tough for us to win the next election.


But I think the Australian people have had a gut full of the chaos, the division, the civil war – just the plain old political bastardry – that's happening inside the Liberal Party day after day. You saw only a couple of days ago with Dutton putting the hatchet back into Malcolm Turnbull again. This story that we see today about this terrorist and the potential bungling of removing his citizenship just shows again that Peter Dutton was more interested back in August in trying to put the knife into Malcolm Turnbull than he was on making sure that he crossed his t’s and dotted his i’s when it came to removing the citizenship of this terrorist.
 
JOURNALIST:Did this so called terrorist arrive when Labor was in power?
 
CLARE:I think you’re talking about a different case here. It’s in another newspaper. This is a person who was born in Australia. This is a person who I think everybody would be glad to see the back of. The sooner the better. 
 
ENDS
 
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