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  • Transcript, E&OE
Subjects: Queensland election, Banking Royal Commission, Adani.
27 November 2017

LAURA JAYES: Joining me now is the Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Steven Ciobo out of our Gold Coast studio, thanks for your time. Do you see this as the Adani election? Do you think there are any lessons from that side of things?

STEVEN CIOBO: No, of course, frankly, I don't put a lot of stock in like GetUp!, has to say, GetUp! is nothing more than a Labor Party front organisation. You know, they release information to suit their own political agenda, they contribute very little, frankly, to the national debate and I'm really not interested in what GetUp! has to say because they do nothing more than sprout lines that benefit the Australian Labor Party.

LAURA JAYES: We don't have to believe GetUp! But if we look at some of the results in the South East of Queensland, the swings against the LNP, but also in the regions, doesn't it show that there was concern about taxpayer funds being loaned to a company, such as Adani?

STEVEN CIOBO: Laura, there's one clear message that comes out of the Queensland State Election. That is, a vote for One Nation is a vote for a Labor Government. Full stop. The only message you can take away from the Queensland State Election, the only message that is screaming out from the results, is that every single person who chooses to vote for One Nation, is basically putting their support into a Labor Government. That's the challenge that we've got to deal with as a Coalition, that's the challenge that the state LNP need to deal with, because we cannot see a fracturing of people on the centre-right of politics, support going to One Nation, because all it will do, the only thing that happens from support for One Nation, is you end up with a Labor Government.

LAURA JAYES: But what do you take out of the results from Noosa, for example, this is usually seen as Conservative area but Noosa was lost to an Independent, who was you know, once lost Labor Party pre-selection, even though she was supported by Annastacia Palaszczuk, we look at the Shadow Treasurer in Scott Emerson, who lost his seat to the Greens. I mean, you're not just losing voters on the right flank, are you?

STEVEN CIOBO: Well, we're seeing that, with boundary changes, that obviously has an impact, and that's particularly what impacted on Scott Emerson, I mean the seat went from being a seat that was more likely to favour the LNP, to a seat that was less likely to favour the LNP, because of the change in boundaries. So, you know, I think you can sort of look at the entrails around these results and try to make determinations, or you can look at what is the bigger picture that's coming out of these results. Now, I make the point again, the one clear and obvious message that cannot be disputed is that every time someone votes for One Nation, they are basically giving that support to the Australian Labor Party, and Labor's the beneficiary from it. For us at a federal level, we know that the federal election is going to be fought on different issues to what we saw here in Queensland. This Queensland election was also predicated upon a number of what I would call mini campaigns. Campaigns around the Gold Coast, around Brisbane, around Townsville, Cairns and other parts of regional Queensland.

LAURA JAYES: Okay, sure, but there are some that are saying you know, 'this result on the ground shows that Malcolm Turnbull, at a federal level and the Coalition, more broadly, needs to be more Conservative', do you prescribe to that theory?

STEVEN CIOBO: What we need to do is make sure we continue to demonstrate to all Australians, not just Queensland, but all Australians, why we can't run the risk of a Labor Government. I want to make sure that I'm part of a Government that's very focused on delivering outcomes for Aussies; and that's what we've been doing frankly, and you know, we probably need to become better at making and reinforcing that this is a Government that's creating jobs at a record rate, this is a Government that's reducing the overall tax burden, this is a Government that is solving the national energy problems, this is a Government that's moved very swiftly and decisively to address issues around banking conduct. So we have a number of things that we are achieving. We need to communicate that clearly, and not get distracted by things like the dual-citizenship issue, like same-sex marriage, those kinds of issues.

LAURA JAYES: So Minister, do you really think it's just a basically, this election, there's lessons there at a tactical level. I mean, you know, when it comes down to the campaigning of unions and GetUp!, the Coalition needs to be better at, you know, stopping that and also, you're just saying it's message. So, there's nothing wrong with your policies and George Christensen is absolutely wrong when he says it's Malcolm Turnbull's fault?

STEVEN CIOBO: Well, look, I mean the notion that it's Malcolm Turnbull's fault is ridiculous, clearly, you know, that's an absurd proposition. And as I said, we've got in place a number of policies. The fact that we have job creation, the fact that we have created more than 80% full-time jobs, more than 370,000 jobs this year, the fastest rate of employment growth that Australia has seen for many, many years, that's a big positive. The fact that we're paying down debt, or at least stopping the creation of debt, at a much better rate than Labor was doing, is a big positive.

LAURA JAYES: But Minister no one was talking about debt at this Queensland election campaign. Tim Nicholls wasn't-

STEVEN CIOBO: No, but that's my point Laura, that's my point. No, but this is my point. That's what I'm saying,

LAURA JAYES: Ok, so that's a policy problem then, this is not-

STEVEN CIOBO: The federal election will be on different issues to what the state election was on.

LAURA JAYES: Okay, well, looking at George Christensen and also the Nationals as well today, Barnaby Joyce seems to have left the door open for the Nationals Party Room to be supporting a Banking Commission of Inquiry or a Royal Commission. I know it's been argued in Cabinet,that this is anti-conservative, this is an antithesis of what a Coalition Government should be supporting. Is that your view?

STEVEN CIOBO: Well, what we've said repeatedly Laura, is that a Banking Royal Commission will do nothing except make a lot of money for lawyers. It's gonna take quite a period of time, an absolute minimum you would say 12 months, it's gonna cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, and at the end of that process, what will happen is that there'll be a report with number of recommendations, and those recommendations will say well, 'you should do this, this and this to improve conduct'. My point simply is that as a Government, we've already put in place a whole range of additional activities. We've given extra money and extra teeth to ASIC, we've out in place a whole new regulatory framework for accountability on banking executives. So, what's the point of spending tens of millions of dollars?

LAURA JAYES: Minister, that's great, but your own backbench, if your own backbench aren't convinced, how do you expect the public to be?

STEVEN CIOBO: Well, I can only restate what I'm saying, Laura. There's no magic formula in this. The simple fact is, the choice that the Parliament will have will be a choice to put in place a Royal Commission that's gonna cost tens of millions of dollars of taxpayers' money, take more than 12 months, and then at the end of it, spit out a report with a number of recommendations for action. What I'm saying to you, is that we've already put in place a whole number of new initiatives, including extra powers for the regulator, extra money for enforcement, extra requirements on the conduct of banking executives. So my point simply is this; why would you go through an exercise, waste all that money and all of that time, to end up at the same place that we're at now?

LAURA JAYES: Okay, well we will see you've got some convincing to do, for your Nationals colleagues at least. Minister, we thank you for your time.

STEVEN CIOBO: Good to speak with you.

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