19 July 2018

Joint Press Conference, Sydney


Joint press conference with
The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP
Prime Minister

SUBJECTS: Jobs figures; MH17; Archbishop Philip Wilson


Well good afternoon. Today we've seen more compelling evidence that our national economic plan for a stronger economy and more jobs is working.

This month's jobs figures, 50,900 new jobs created in the month of June.

More than 900 people on average have found a job every day over the past year and over the past 12 months, to the end of June, 339,000 jobs have been created. And that in fact, is the strongest financial year jobs growth since 2005.

And this is what happens when you have a stronger economy.

Scott and I and our whole team are determined to ensure that more Australians are able to get a job, to get the opportunity to start a business, to grow a business, to invest in their business, to hire people.

And that's what we've been able to do. We're seeing a real rise in confidence and investment and in jobs growth across the country.

In Tasmania, which has had tough economic times in the past, we've seen strong jobs growth this month; 2,100 jobs created in Tasmania this month.

And in fact in this month, turning to Queensland of course where there is a very important by-election there as there is in Tasmania, in Queensland we've seen around a quarter of all the new jobs have been created in Queensland, both in the month and over the year.

What we're seeing is the consequence of an economic plan that encourages businesses to invest.

That's why we're backing small and medium businesses with tax relief. That's why we're backing hardworking Australians with tax relief. Because we know that if you get stronger economic growth, you have the resources to guarantee all the essential services. Whether it's record spending on health, on infrastructure, on national security, on education.

We're able to do that because of a stronger economy.

So we've got record jobs growth, strong jobs growth across the country, strong economic growth that will be the envy of most of the countries you will be meeting, Scott, at the G-20 shortly when you leave tomorrow. Stronger economic growth than any of the G7 economies has been achieved in Australia.

And, as you know, we have the lowest percentage of Australians of working age on welfare right now in 25 years. And great jobs numbers, great improvement in jobs for young people too. So youth unemployment has come down again. So that's fantastic as well.

So, I just want to compliment you Scott as you work as Treasurer and as you go off to the G20 Finance Ministers' meeting, you'll be bringing a strong story of economic achievement and it has been built on the enterprise and the hard work of millions of Australians.

We've been able to create the policy settings that have enabled Australians to invest, to get ahead, to have a go, and you're seeing that in the very good jobs numbers today.


Thanks Prime Minister, and our plan for a strong economy, as the Prime Minister has just said, is creating more jobs. The jobs growth in this latest month is three times what the median expectations were. Eighty per cent of those jobs were full time jobs, which is a very important point to note.

It's the best result for a financial year we've seen since 2004-05, more than a decade ago. All states added to jobs growth in these most recent numbers and having just returned from Western Australia, as well as Tasmania, to see jobs growth in both of those states performing the way they have is welcome news. And of course the one in four jobs being created in Queensland is also excellent news.

We go back to the May figures, we also saw that 17 out of the 19 industry sectors in the May figures show jobs growth. So we're seeing that right across the majority of the sectors of the economy.

More than a million jobs have been created since the Government was first elected back in 2013.

But importantly around 600,000 jobs, just shy of that, have been created since the last election itself over the last two years and the number of people who are unemployed since the last election has fallen.

That's 15,300 fewer people unemployed today than were at the last election. The participation rate, this is also encouraging.

Not only are more people going out and getting jobs, more people are going out there to get jobs.

And there are, you know, two real heroes in these stories today of these jobs figures; the businesses that created the jobs and offered those jobs and the people who went out there seeking them and got those jobs.

65.7 per cent was the participation rate in June, that was up. That is one of the highest levels in the history of the series. The record is 65.8 per cent. Just to put that in some perspective. Jobs growth was 2.8 per cent through the year.

So whether it's the unemployment rate of 5.4 per cent, the through the year growth rate of jobs growth, all of this is consistent with the Budget's forecasts that were updated again for the 2018-19 Budget and bettered what was put in the 2017-18 Budget.

So we saw an improvement on the forecast for the year just passed as when we first put out the Budget for that year, just over a year ago.

But I've got to say the most pleasing numbers in all of these figures today is the youth unemployment figures. Youth unemployment fell to 11.3 percent. That is the lowest rate since April 2012. With 95,200 young people getting a job in the last financial year, that is the best financial result, financial year result, in 30 years, since 1988-89. That was the year Taylor Swift was born.

So it's been 30 years since we have seen jobs figures for young people as good as what we've seen in this last financial year and I reckon that'd be something for Taylor Swift to sing about.

So these are excellent youth unemployment figures and it's great to see young people getting jobs. Because a young person who's getting onto a job before the age of 24, that is a young person who doesn't look forward to a life on welfare.

It is so important to get young people into jobs in that critical years of 15 to 24. Because we know from statistics in the welfare system that if people are in jobs when they're at 24 they have a much higher likelihood to not go into welfare over the balance of their life.

So they're tremendous figures. We welcome those, 5 per cent growth in those youth unemployment - youth employment figures, I should say. Young people getting jobs is really what this business is all about and that's what our economy is delivering and our plan for a stronger economy is delivering for young people and people right across the country.


Prime Minister, have you spoken to Craig Kelly about his comments and-


Can we deal with the jobs figures first and then we'll - got any questions on those?

No, alright, very good.


Have you spoken to Craig Kelly?




No? And what do you think of his comments?


Well, let me be very clear about what the Government's position is on the downing of MH17.

We hold Russia responsible for the shooting down of that plane, just four years ago.

There was an exhaustive investigation, in which the Australian Federal Police and our other agencies played a very important role, and it is clear that the missile was delivered by a Russian unit – a unit of the Russian army, to Russian backed separatists in eastern Ukraine who of course fired the missile that brought down the aircraft, in which 38 Australians - 38 people who called Australia home - were killed, as were all of the people on the plane.

We hold Russia responsible for that and we call again, as I have called on President Putin personally, to cooperate with the inquiry, with the criminal investigation and prosecution that's underway in the Netherlands.

We are determined to hold those responsible to account for this murderous crime.


Why hasn't Trump held him to account – held Putin to account for this and the State Department hasn't even released a statement on it commemorating the fourth anniversary?


Well, you'll have to address those questions to the United States Administration.


What did you make of Craig Kelly's comments?


Well, I've stated very clearly what the Government's position is. I said immediately after the Helsinki Summit that I certainly did not trust President Putin's statement that Russia was not responsible for the downing of MH17.

We hold Russia responsible for it. The evidence is there. There is ample evidence, it's all been published.

We call on Russia to cooperate with the prosecution that is being conducted in the Netherlands, which we are assisting with, so that those who committed this crime can be held to account.

That's what we need Russia to do.


Craig Kelly has apologised but he's still saying that he was taken out of context, do you accept that?


Look, his remarks do not reflect, obviously, the policy of the Government. They certainly warranted an apology, which I understand he has made.

But I am the Prime Minister and I'm giving you, explaining to you, as the Foreign Minister has done in the last 24 hours, what our position is, which has been consistent.

And we expect Russia to cooperate with that prosecution, and we will continue to do everything we can to bring those who killed the passengers on that plane and the crew to account.

That's what justice cries out for.


Just on the catholic issue, are you prepared to offer catholic Bishops any concessions over confessions, the issue of confession, and did you express any disappointment that Philip Wilson still hasn't resigned?


Well firstly, I will be discussing a range of issues with the Bishops today.

As far as Philip Wilson is concerned, he should have resigned. He should have resigned and the time has come for the Pope to sack him.

If he is not - there are many leaders that have called on him to resign. It's clear that he should resign and I think its time has come now for the ultimate authority in the church to take action and sack him.


Just on schools funding though, you've got some issues there. Can you explain a bit what was discussed and whether or not-


Well the meeting hasn't occurred.

Thank you.