TRANSCRIPT Doorstop – Interview with Steve Stuttle, 4CRB
Wednesday, 22 May 2019
Topics: 2019 Federal Election result
Steve Stuttle: And a very good morning to you on 4CRB. It is talkback time and we are joined in the studio by the federal member for McPherson, returning federal member for McPherson, Karen Andrews. Thanks for joining us Karen.
Karen Andrews: It's a pleasure Steve Stuttle: I’m very thankful that you came in today because when I saw that you were due to come in and it was so close to the result of the election, I thought you might be a little bit busy but very much appreciate you taking the time to come in.
Karen Andrews: Oh absolutely. I love coming into 4CRB, love being on talkback with you. So I'm very happy to be here.
Steve Stuttle: So it is a talkback program. So if you would like to talk to Karen this morning … You might have some congratulations or any questions you'd like to ask now that the Coalition has been returned to government and a great opportunity so early to have a talk with Karen this morning. So let's just talk about how you’re feeling personally after obviously a very busy campaign, um, and you know, your own individual result as well as the government.
Karen Andrews: It certainly was a very hard fought campaign and the Gold Coast where it was clearly hard fought as well, particularly on the southern end of the Gold Coast. The election result on Saturday night was great as far as I was concerned. I couldn't be happier with what the outcome was and it's just been amazing the number of people who’ve actually stopped me in the street, come up and spoken to me and said how happy they are with the outcome. So I think there were a couple of things that were particularly instrumental in making sure that the Morrison Government was returned. Firstly there was a lot of personal support for Scott Morrison. The more people saw of him and got to know him, the more they liked his style. He speaks to everyday Australians, which we refer to as the quiet Australians, those people that go about their work, go about the daily business sort of thing. But they were the ones that spoke very loudly on Saturday night. So, Scott Morrison certainly did very well. He ran a very tight campaign. He was strong. He was confident throughout. So there was that. If we look at the Queensland result, then the Adani coal mine clearly had a big impact in central and northern Queensland. And even the media commentary has recognized that by and large - some more so than others - that there's a big difference when you look at jobs in north Queensland where people rely on the mining and resources sector, be it full direct jobs. So they're directly employed by a mine or they’re working indirectly in a business that supports the mining and the resources sector. The swings in north Queensland were enormous. 10 to 12% swings in central Queensland. We won the seat of Herbert, I think it was about a seven or 8% swing to pick up that seating in Townsville. What people want is a job. And that's what the mining sector promises them. Now in other parts of Australia, the view was that there was a different sort of a messaging that was coming through that people were concerned about the environment. I think that's fair, everyone is concerned that we're doing the right thing for the environment, but the jobs message played out quite differently in central and northern Queensland. We've, we picked out a couple of seats. We picked up the seat of Herbert in Townsville and the seat of Longman on the Sunshine Coast as well. So that was a good result and good results all round in Queensland. So here on the Coast we now have a new member for Moncrieff coming in. That is Angie Bell who I think did a fantastic job in a very short space of time. So she was really only pre-selected at the start of the campaign, but she hit the ground running. She was very well supported by myself, by the other members here on the Coast and particularly by the state members. So she's hit the ground running and I spoke to her subsequent to the election. So Monday night I caught up with Angie and she's ready and raring to go, which is great. Around Australia. I think that there's been a very strong endorsement of the policies that the Coalition took to the election. So it’s definitely back to work for us.
Steve Settle: We'll take your calls. Lots to talk about this morning, but we Rex on the line for you.
Karen Andrews: Hi Rex, how are you?
Karen Andrews: Yeah, we can talk about taxation.
Karen Andrews: Well thank you for that Rex. So let me just make a couple of comments. I'll just comment more broadly on big business. Now everyday Australians would be absolutely at one saying that big businesses need to be paying tax in Australia. So that's a very important thing for all Australians and it’s a very important thing for the government. It's also very important that there's personal income tax relief for Australians as well. Now you spoke about the Singapore model. We don't have that model in Australia, we have quite a different model, but we did promise that there would be significant tax relief to Australians and we will be delivering on that. So we had announced and legislated that there would be a tax offset of $530. That's going to be available from the 1st of July. And of course in the budget we extended that, so that the offset is up to $1,080 for a single and $2,160 for a couple. Now to be able to deliver that parliament needs to be resumed and for that legislation to be passed. That's going to be our number one priority when we return. So that we'll get on with the work in the business of delivering the personal income tax relief to Australians. So we are working on it and I suspect given what you've just said, that you followed the debates about tax quite closely. We put up a range of changes that were not able to be legislated. That was for a number of reasons, but it was clearly a lack of support from the Labor opposition in particular. It was also the Senate that we needed to deal with. Now we're going through the process of finalizing the Senate count and whilst I don’t want to pre-empt the outcome of that because there's still a long way to go in that, but it looks as if there will be a few more Liberal senators in parliament then we had under the former government. So that will make the passage of legislation a little bit easier through. So I guess rest assured that yes, big business has been on our radar and will continue to be on our radar. And secondly, we are legislating tax changes. So personal income tax cuts for Australians.
Karen Andrews: Yes, I understand what you're saying there Rick. So I went through what we've done and what we're about to do and you’re right that is proceeding with the changes that we took to an election and before the election as well. And that what you're talking about is sweeping changes to tax. I can’t pre-empt what’s going to happen as you rightly identified before the ministry hasn't been announced, let alone sworn in. But we are facing a three year term and I'm very confident that the actions under Scott Morrison will be to look at a whole range of issues in a lot of depth and in a lot of detail. And personally I will be happy to talk broadly about tax every opportunity I get.
Karen Andrews: Fair comment. I understand where you’re coming from Rick. I thank you very much for calling in and letting me know your views.
Steve Settle: Here at 4CRB, our talkback program is with the federal member for McPherson Karen Andrews. And we'd have about 10 minutes left… Say Karen, there was a big field of candidates for McPherson but you've actually slightly increased your margin?
Karen Andrews: Yeah. I was very happy with that. But yes, in McPherson for the first time, I believe since the seat was ever established – and that was back in 1949 – there was a field of nine candidates standing. So there was certainly the two majors, but there were a lot of minor parties and one independent stood in the seat of McPherson. So, the result to be as it was, was actually very encouraging because it meant that the people clearly very strongly supported the Liberal National Party and the views that have been put here. Not just for me, but also on the Gold Coast, everyone being returned with an increase in their margin. So I guess that was good, but it's not an opportunity to be complacent because during an election campaign, as you can imagine, you get to speak to more people than you would do on a day to day basis. They come into polling booths and more people will ring up or email in as well. So I get to speak to a lot more people. So I've listened to what they had to say, taken on board what they key issues are going to be. Many of them we've heard before and continue to be issues. I heard consistently about the M1 and I was so pleased that I was able to say to them, well that work is happening now? The widening has started in the Varsity to Mudgeeraba area and it's going to continue all the way through to the border. We'd all like it to be finished tomorrow but that's not going to happen. So we just need to push it as fast as we can.
Steve Settle: What about the majority? Where are we currently with the actual number of seats that you've won?
Karen Andrews: Okay, so we're sitting at around 76 seats confirmed. There's another couple of seats that are expected to come to the Coalition. That means that we will be in a position if that actually happens for us to govern as majority government. So there are four seats that are currently not yet finalized. However, the seats of Bass in northern Tasmania and Macquarie around the Blue Mountains are likely to come to the Liberal Party. Both of those are currently held by Labor. The ALP is likely to retain the seat of Cowan in Western Australia, in Perth and Lilley, which was Wayne Swan’s old seat. So they were both quite marginal and there was a possibility that both of those seats could have come to the Liberal party. It’s still being counted but they’re more likely to stay with Labor. So the Coalition is looking at 78 seats, which does give us the majority but I certainly don't want to pre-empt that because postals are being counted. And a couple of things are really interesting from this election. It appears there was a significant increase across Australia in the number of people who voted early; so went in to pre-poll and there's also been a big increase in the number of postal votes that have come through. So postal votes will take a while to count. And I think the cut off day is still in the future. So they’re still accepting the ballot papers coming through. So it's going to be a little while until we get a final result. And of course where there's a really close count, there will be at least one recount on that as well. So it might be a little while.
Steve Stuttle: Yeah it must be difficult for the candidates because you obviously know that you're going to be able to form a government, but they've still got to wait quite a while to find out whether they've been voted in or not.
Karen Andrews: And I think the most marginal seat at the last election was the seat of Herbert. And it was won by Labor in 2016 by 37 votes. It was that close. So I think you had at least two recounts.
Steve Stuttle: Alright, I’ve got a couple more callers wanting to talk to you. So we'll start with Bob.
Karen Andrews: Hello Bob. How are you?
Karen Andrews Well I'm not sure who's paying for what in that, but let me deal with that one. Well actually let me talk about the Adani coal mine. So there is specific state and federal legislation. So some of the approvals do sit with the state legislation. What happened federally is that the final approval was signed off by the Environment Minister Melissa Price. There's actually two more approvals I believe that will be signed off or is the responsibility of the Department of the Environment to sign off those approvals federally. The rest of the approvals are sitting with the state. Now what I believe. I think there's been a significant wakeup call for State Labor in Queensland. The Premier was out sort of fairly quickly, talking about how important job were. It was disappointing that it took a federal result …
Karen Andrews: Yeah, talk to some people because they'll tell you that jobs are one of the most important things for them. And in northern and central Queensland, you saw the result where people want the jobs and they support the mining sector. And the other thing is that the mining sector pays royalties through to the states and that's what the states use to pay for education and health services amongst many other things. So they're actually slowing down a whole range of things in Queensland. But certainly the jobs issue in central and northern Queensland was important. So I was fairly quick to say that it is a wakeup call for state Labor. They actually need to be listening to the people of Queensland and they need to be sorting out their approvals for that mine.
Karen Andrews: Adani with their Carmichael mine have had to go through a significant and lengthy process and I'm not suggesting that any approvals should be circumvented at all, if there needs to be a proper process there, but it's been a very long period of time and surely the Palaszczuk Labor Government needs to get its act together.
Karen Andrews: They're very good at talking about a whole range of things, but we actually need to get them to do something.
Karen Andrews: Thank you very much for calling in Bob. Bye.
Steve Stuttle: Okay. And now we have Diane on the line.
Karen Andrews: Hello Diane. How are you?
Karen Andrews: Well, Diane, thank you so much for calling in and thank you very, very much for voting for me. Every single vote does count and I can assure you that I will never take this seat for granted. And I appreciate your support and other people in McPherson who voted for me. So thank you.
Steve Stuttle: Okay, we are getting close to the end of the program. A couple of things I just wanted to touch on. I just want to get your view on how the polls got it so wrong. For years and even after when Scott Morrison became the PM - it was like so much ground to make up and yeah, there was no way that the Coalition were going to win and Labor were going to romp it in. How do they get it so wrong?
Karen Andrews: Look, I think there's now a significant cloud over any polling results. Polling got it wrong for the US presidential election, they got it wrong with Brexit, they got it wrong with the NSW Government and they’ve now got it wrong for the Federal election as well. I think there's probably a couple of factors at play. That is that the margin of error. So what, what could be wrong in that probably sits at around about 2%. So there's that factor that needs to be calculated in. And I think the other thing too is that maybe people are getting a little bit more sceptical, a little bit more reluctant to say exactly what they're going to do, so that the polling that's coming through is not accurately reflecting because I've got to say out on the street, I did not sense a mood for change at all. Quite the opposite. And that didn't matter where I went and I visited a number of electorates during the course of the campaign in my role as Minister for Industry, Science and Technology. So there was no strong mood for change. And when people were coming in to vote at pre-poll, it was calm. It was methodical. There was no sense that this was going to be a change of government. And on the day, it was actually reasonably quiet at the polling booths. Part of that was the big pre poll vote, but people were just coming in to cast the ballot. The only concern was that they needed to get it done. There was a bit more of a late rush this year than what we've had in previous elections, but yeah.
Steve Stuttle: And finally the ministry. So, you're currently the minister for Industry, Science and Technology. What's the process now after the election as far as the ministry goes? Do you expect to be part of that again?
Karen Andrews: So I retain my role as the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology until such time as a new ministry is sworn in. So the Prime Minister has the final say, so he determines who’s going to be sitting in cabinet or in a ministerial position. He will be consulting undoubtedly with the Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack and quite possibly other people as well. As I understand he's going through a process now to work out what his ministry is going to look like. And then I guess I just see whether or not I get a phone call.
Steve Sttuttle: Well as a result guest here on 4CRB and a friend of the station, we certainly hope that you'll play a significant part. I'm sure you will no matter what, but very much expecting that you will still be part of the ministry, which would be fabulous. And as always, always an open invitation for any of the ministers or the Prime Minister to join us here whenever they're up on the Gold Coast.
Karen Andrews: Well, thank you very much and I will take that message with me back to Canberra.
Steve Stuttle: One thing I'd like to ask you to finalise, lots of people listening this morning, not everyone would have voted for you of course. You’ve been a guest as Margaret May was before you as the member for McPherson. What would you like to say to everybody listening this morning, regardless of whether they voted for you or not?
Karen Andrews: Well, I am honoured to be re-elected for a fourth term as the member for McPherson and my role is to work hard and support the people of McPherson. So to all the people who live in McPherson, if there's ever anything that I can do to assist you, please give me a call, send me an email or come into the office. I’m here to represent everyone.
Steve Stuttle: Wonderful. And thanks again for coming in today, so soon after the election.
Karen Andrews: It was a pleasure. Thank you very much for having me.