His­toric visit to south­ern Sun­shine Coast

Sunshine Coast Daily - Caloundra Weekly - - FRONT PAGE - Scott Sawyer [email protected]­

HE SNUCK in the back door but Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull quickly took cen­tre stage at Caloundra RSL in an his­toric visit to the heart of the south­ern Sun­shine Coast last night.

Hun­dreds of peo­ple packed the venue to hear from the PM, as he ad­dressed the masses be­fore field­ing ques­tions from at­ten­dees.

Me­dia were in­vited in but weren’t al­lowed to put ques­tions to Mr Turn­bull.

En­ergy prices were a strong fo­cus of the ques­tions from the crowd, along with same-sex mar­riage, af­ter lo­cal MPs Ted O’Brien (Fair­fax) and An­drew Wal­lace (Fisher) wel­comed their leader.

Mr Turn­bull said his gov­ern­ment was in­vest­ing within its means, vow­ing to re­turn the bud­get to sur­plus by 2020/21.

Mr Wal­lace and Mr O’Brien spoke of the sig­nif­i­cant money be­ing spent in the re­gion at present, with Mr O’Brien vow­ing they were “just warm­ing up”.

Fresh from a pri­vate func­tion af­ter his ar­rival, Mr Turn­bull was wel­comed with warm ap­plause by a crowd dot­ted with fa­mil­iar faces from both state and lo­cal gov­ern­ment.

He spoke of the mea­sures be­ing taken to fa­cil­i­tate busi­ness via the re­duc­tion of com­pany tax rates, as well as mea­sures be­ing taken to re­coup fund­ing, in­clud­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of the big bank levy.

“We didn’t take any joy in do­ing that,” Mr Turn­bull said.

“We’re get­ting a lot done. We’re mak­ing the 45th Par­lia­ment work.”

He said re­spect­ful ne­go­ti­a­tion had been the key to pass­ing leg­is­la­tion within the Se­nate.

Re­fer­ring to his op­po­nent, Op­po­si­tion Leader Bill Shorten as Black­out Bill on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions, Mr Turn­bull tack­led the is­sue of en­ergy prices.

He spoke of the mis­take of previous La­bor gov­ern­ments and of the need for backup and stor­age for the elec­tric­ity grid, spruik­ing the Snowy Hy­dro 2.0 project.

Mr Turn­bull said the gas short­age on the east coast was an­other sig­nif­i­cant prob­lem, one he’d had to tackle with re­stric­tions on gas ex­ports, an un­usual ap­proach he ad­mit­ted for a Lib­eral Prime Min­is­ter.

“Those chick­ens have come home to roost now,” he said, say­ing he’d had to re­strict ex­ports to pro­tect lo­cal jobs and busi­nesses.

“It’s a com­plex is­sue, elec­tric­ity.”

He re­peat­edly af­firmed his po­si­tion in favour of same-sex mar­riage in the face of mul­ti­ple ques­tions on the topic, in­clud­ing one colourful ex­change with a man from Michigan who ref­er­enced the US state’s leg­is­la­tion of sex po­si­tions.


VISIT: Mal­colm Turn­bull MP at the Caloundra RSL with Ted O'Brien MP and An­drew Wal­lace MP.

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