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The Hon Peter Dutton MP
Minister for Defence
Defence Media: firstname.lastname@example.org
1 April 2022
We're joined by Defence Minister Peter Dutton, who is in Brisbane, and Deputy Opposition Leader Richard Marles in Canberra. Nice to see you both this Friday morning. Richard, some big promises last night. How are you going to pay for it?
Well, it is a very big commitment in relation to aged care, but it needs to be Ally. I mean, we've been talking a lot – you've been talking a lot, actually, on this show rightly over the last few years – about the real problems that there have been in aged care.
And when you think about, you know, the interim report of the royal commission which was titled with just one word – and that's "Neglect" – it as I say everything about the fact that dignity, which is the one thing we would all hope is provided in aged care and in our final years, is not being provided by this government.
So we'll have all our policy – this policy is costed. We'll have all our policies and our costings put out before the election, but this is very much one of the biggest commitments we'll be making in the lead-up to the next election. It needs to be a priority, and we simply have to do something about aged care.
Look, I think people are going to want to know, you know, where the money's going to come from, is this going to mean higher taxes?
But also one of the promises that was made was that there would be a nurse on site at every aged-care home 24 hours a day. I mean we've already got a shortage of nurses in this country. Where are you going to find them?
Well first, it's not going to mean higher taxes. As I say, we will be putting all our costings out before the next election. But this needs to be a priority.
This government has failed to provide dignity to people in their final years and that's what we need to have within our aged-care system. And yes, we've got to be making sure that we are training nurses so that there are the adequate number of people to be there.
But it's unacceptable to have a situation where there isn't a registered nurse in every residential aged-care setting and that's what we're saying should happen. Nurses should be paid more, there should be more contact hours, people should be provided with better food. These are just the basics to make sure that in their final years people have dignity, and dignity is what this government has failed to provide.
Peter, it will win votes.
Morning Ally. Well look, it was nothing more than a thought bubble last night, as you've just seen from Richard. They don't know how much it's going to cost, they don't know where the staff are going to come from; they certainly don't know how they're going to pay for it.
As Jim Chalmers, the alternative treasurer, said during the week they're “flexible” when it comes to taxation. Which means that you won't know before the election what they're going to tax, what tax will go up. But I promise you this – under a Labor government they will tax more and it will be your family and your business that get hit.
In terms of aged care, in 2012-13 when Labor was last in government they spent about $13 billion a year on aged care. This year we'll spend just over $30 billion. And a lot more to be done; yes, but you can only do that if you manage the economy, manage the budget well.
We've gone through probably the biggest shock to our economy since the Great Depression and our country's been through an enormous amount over the last couple of years, but we've got unemployment down to four per cent – the equal lowest in 48 years – and we've been able to, I think, turn the budget around in a remarkable way that we haven't seen in 70 years – we're growing stronger than almost any other country in the world.
So I don't know why you'd want to put that at risk with this thought bubble that Anthony Albanese sort of floated out last night. He mentioned himself 50 times – I suppose that doesn't cost anything – but it's not talking about the matters that are facing our country at the moment.
Look, I think people have sort of watched what's happened over the last week and I think people believe there's not a whole lot of difference in what Labor and the Coalition are offering going into this election. And so a lot believe this is going to be an election based on character. It's something that Labor is certainly pushing for and want. Peter, do you have a problem when those within your own party don't really like the Prime Minister?
Well Ally, just to disagree with you on the first part: there's a huge difference between the two parties. As I said, Anthony Albanese mentioned himself 50 times last night, but never mentioned the reality of what's happening in the Indo-Pacific with China, with the Solomon Islands, with general national security and that's a huge concern given what we're seeing in Europe.
And in terms of the economy; Labor would have been a disaster over the last three years had Bill Shorten been elected three years ago. Anthony Albanese saying that he has a want to be like Bob Hawke or John Howard – it's a complete make-up and a nonsense.
He's the most left-leaning leader of the Labor Party since Gough Whitlam, and his character against Scott Morrison's I'll take any day of the week as a contest that we'll win hands down.
Richard, your response to that one?
Well you just know that when Peter is talking about Scott Morrison's character, he ain't telling the truth. You know deep in Peter's heart there is all the distrust of Scott Morrison that we all feel.
The fact of the matter is that Scott Morrison does have a credibility problem, he does have a character issue. This is a Prime Minister who has a very uncomfortable relationship with the truth and we've seen that time and time again.
But, can I just say, in terms of all the policies that we've put out; they have been fully costed. That is what we've done in relation to the aged-care policy. It's a two and a half billion dollar commitment; we’re not shying away from that. And – but it's completely costed.
There is a very significant difference – character is going to be one of them as well. Anthony Albanese is one of the most experienced people in Australian politics at this moment in time to deal with all the difficulties that we've seen in terms of Australia's strategic circumstances. You actually need someone who's got the experience and who knows what they're going to do.
Well Pete, it's nice that Richard thinks or believes that you've got a heart, you know. It's been so nasty, politics, the last couple of weeks.
He does have a heart. No, he does have a heart; I've seen it.
We've all seen it, haven't we?
He says a lot of nice things about me Ally. And you know, I mean, mostly he's right, I suppose, but he's a good man. I disagree with what he just said a second ago in relation to Scott. But he's excited about the election campaign starting…
But, look, Peter, I don't know if the Prime Minister helped himself by saying like he said the morning after budget that people struggling with rent should just buy a house. I mean that wasn't a comment that helped him at all.
But Ally, again, look at comment – and he corrected this nonsense being peddled by the Labor Party yesterday – what he said was there's rental assistance available from the commonwealth to help people. Money pours out the doors each year to help people who need help with rent and then he went on to say, "And by the way, we're putting a record amount of money into helping people get into their homes, to buy a home. Over 170,000 young people got into homes, first home buyers, because of the assistance of the government over the last year." That's what he said. So when you look at that in context, it's a perfectly rational thing to say.
But I actually think, Ally, there's a bit of a tipping point in the community as I move around where this sort of pile on to Scott Morrison at every turn is a bit overdone, it's a bit manufactured. It's certainly self-serving, and you'll hear a lot more of it from the Labor Party- but it's not actually factually true.
Well look, I just want to finish on this one, too, Pete, because a mate of mine is getting married on May 14. Am I going to be able to go?
Come on. You've got to tell us. It's time.
Well I don't know when the election….
Well Ally, I thought you'd be handing out for me at a polling booth somewhere, maybe on the 7th or the 14th or the 21st of May.
So why don't you do my seat in the morning and then you can do Richard's in the afternoon. I mean how much more fun could your Saturday be? So…
Oh man, that's depressing.
Oh man, that's the right answer.
I think you should go to the wedding and have a drink for us either way.
All right. Sounds good. Lovely to talk to you both this morning, thank you.
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