SUNDAY, 29 JULY 2018
SUBJECT/S: By-election results; Labor’s plan to back schools and hospitals over big banks; Turnbull’s tax handouts to the big end of town; Emma Husar.
SUSAN LAMB, MEMBER ELECT: Well good morning everyone, oh it's afternoon now, isn't it? Goodness, good afternoon. Welcome to Narangba one of the suburbs that is one of the fastest growing suburbs across the region. It's a suburb that I have joined with many others across the electorate yesterday to send Malcolm Turnbull a very, very clear message: stop giving banks a tax handout and start funding our schools and our hospitals.
It is a real honour to once again be given the privilege of representing the people of Longman. It's not an honour or a privilege that I take lightly. I know it comes with a lot of responsibility. And unlike Malcolm Turnbull, it's an honour and a privilege that I take in standing up for our community. While Malcolm Turnbull cuts our health care system, taking $2.9 million from our hospitals, Labor, and me - and I, will stand up for our community. We will invest in a $10 million chemotherapy service at the Caboolture Hospital. We will invest in an acute care clinic on Bribie Island, and of course an MRI license for the region.
While Malcolm Turnbull doesn't stand up for our community and he cuts our education and to our schools, Labor will stand up for our schools, I will stand up for our schools and put $17 billion back into our schools so every child in every school gets the education they deserve. And while Malcolm Turnbull cuts the wages of hard working people across Longman, Labor and I will reinstate the penalty rates of hospitality and retail workers, nearly 11,000 of those people.
I want to thank the Labor leadership of Bill and Tanya for their ongoing support of our community. And I want to thank them for their investment in our community, in standing up and giving us a fair go.
And I want to thank the people of Longman of course for their faith they put in me, and I'd like to ask Bill to say a few words, and thank Bill of course for backing in our community. Thanks Bill.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks Susan. Good afternoon everybody. It's great to be here in what is potentially the last press conference of the 10 week by-election campaign. I just want to congratulate Susan Lamb in Longman, I want to congratulate Justine Keay in Braddon. I also want to congratulate Josh Wilson and Patrick Gorman in the West Australian seats. And I should also probably now put on record my congratulations to Rebekha Sharkie in the seat of Mayo.
I know for the Labor MPs they worked very hard, and this election wasn't despite what the Government said, about personalities and Mr Turnbull versus me. It was about the voters, it was about Australians, it was about the lives they're leading. It was about the fact, I believe, that voters from Queensland to Tasmania to Western Australia, they actually want to see better hospitals not bigger banks. They want to see pensioners prioritised not multinationals taxation, cut. They want to see our schools properly funded. They don't want to see corporations get large tax cuts. This is an election where Labor put forward issues about the lives that people are living, about health care, making sure that we provide proper health services rather than cutting health services across Australia.
So I congratulate our candidates, I congratulate the mighty Labor Party and all the volunteers, the rank and filers of the broader Labor movement who have worked so hard, and I look forward to us hearing the message from the Australian people, which is that they want their politicians to put people first not the politicians. That's certainly what we're going to do as we unfurl our exciting policy agenda for the next general election, whenever that is.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten you campaigned, Ms Lamb as well and the party obviously as well, campaigned very hard and asked people to choose between the banks and choose between hospital funding. Did that win Longman and Braddon? What do you make of the Liberals sort of, claim that's Labor lies, and is this election going to be a blue-print for the next federal election?
SHORTEN: If Malcolm Turnbull thinks that Australians are happy with the health care system that he's helping fund, he is even more out of touch than I could have possibly imagined. For me what this election campaign was about, and I'll get Susan to supplement because she knocked on so many doors. To me it's about women in their 40s who live in the Longman electorate, who along with other people have got to travel to Royal Brisbane Hospital in a maxi taxi at eight o'clock in the morning for the various chemotherapy and radiation services, they don't get home till six o'clock at night.
When you're fighting cancer, that's a big challenge, and any of us who've had family members go through it know it's a very draining process. So when this government can't find the money to put chemotherapy treatment in the local hospital, and instead require people to travel big distances that shows how out of touch they were. And in Tasmania the number of people who came up to me at the polling and said, I've been waiting to have my back surgery done, I've been waiting for my hip replacement, my arthroscopy, it's just taking too long. So if Malcolm Turnbull thinks the health care system is working, just ask the people who are waiting for treatment right now. But I might hand over to Susan.
LAMB: Thanks Bill. Along with this amazing team of volunteers, we door knocked and phone called thousands and thousands of people. And it didn't matter which door you knocked on, or which phone call was answered, people told us what they wanted was a health care system in their community. What they wanted was a chemotherapy service at their hospital. What they wanted was an urgent care clinic. What people told us is they want a school that is well funded. It didn't matter which school that they sent their children to in the community. They wanted to know that their school had the funding that the child needed to succeed. What people also told us, was that they deserve their penalty rates when they worked nights and weekends. They deserved their penalty rates and people were absolutely outraged that a government would rip money out of their pockets, the money that puts a roof over their head and food on the table.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, general election ramifications for Queensland, there are a lot of marginal seats here as you know. Are you encouraged for Queensland for the General election? Does Mr Turnbull get Queensland?
SHORTEN: Well again I think Australians and Queenslanders, they are over the sort of cats and dogs fighting that goes on between the LNP and Labor. What people want out of their politicians is people to stand up for them on their issues. So wherever I travelled in Australia including Queensland, I found a growing appetite amongst everyday Australians to see more fairness and more equality in Australian society.
The fact is, that as you travel around be it Longman or indeed the other electorates around Australia, one of the most common sentiments I heard from people is everything's going up except your wages. When I'd go to the school parents would say, can we get some more support for the education of our kids. And of course, when you talk about aged care for example, people are saying we can't find an aged care place, I've been on that list.
This economy and this nation is being governed in the interests of the few, not all of us. And what Labor will keep saying until the general election is that we want to make sure that we get quality jobs which are well-paid and regular wage rises, properly funded schools and of course very importantly, properly funded hospitals. That'll be our priority and message to the election, and if Mr Turnbull just thinks that's all a fairy tale, if he thinks that everything's fine, and he's just going to keep offering us more of the same, well then I think he'll pay an electoral price for that.
JOURNALIST: On the big business tax cut, it would now seem impossible for the government to pass that. There's no way that Pauline Hanson would throw her support behind it. That must seem like that's a win for you and it must seem an impossibility for the government?
SHORTEN: I've always thought that giving away billions of dollars of taxpayer money back to the big banks and the multinationals was a shocking idea. We've opposed it and we continue to oppose it. But let me also just say this, if Mr Turnbull thinks that it's impossible under the current Senate, that doesn't mean he doesn't want it. It just means he doesn't think he can do it now. Under this Prime Minister the Liberal Party, the LNP, are the Party of big business, and in these by-elections the Labor Party has demonstrated we're the party of everyday Australians.
JOURNALIST: You talk about Labor’s on the ground campaign. Unions also had a lot of volunteers on the ground campaigning. GetUp revealed this morning it made 27,000 calls to Longman voters against the government's company tax cuts. How beneficial were the unions campaigning and GetUp's campaigning for Labor in this election?
SHORTEN: Well, I have no line of sight about third parties, but I did actually in my opening acknowledge the contribution of the rank and file members of the broader labour movement. I do appreciate the support we get, but at the end of the day the reason why Labor won the by-elections is more people voted for us. And I actually think that if the Liberals just want to focus on conspiracy theories or Mediscare or whatever, you know this fellow Turnbull is Australia's number one finger pointer. But maybe what he needs to do is look in the mirror when he does it. The real answer in this by-election isn't just the volunteers who campaign. The real issue is government policies are out of touch with the lives that people live.
Can I just say, some of you are senior Canberra journalists. I think sometimes in Canberra, you know politics happens in a bubble. It is not the real world. What really matters to voters, is how their family is going, and how is their health. If your family is okay and if your health is okay, then you can start to have dreams and aspirations. So if Mr Turnbull wants to go down the burrow of conspiracies and plots and you know, finger point at everyone else, he just doesn't get it. What this nation needs is to make sure that we're a country where it's your Medicare card not your credit card which determines your quality of health. That every school regardless of the postcode is well funded and well resourced. That we can have apprenticeships for our young people, that young kids who want to go to university have got the chance to go to university and not pay a king's ransom. We need a nation where we reduce the aged care waiting lists. We need a nation where the penalty rates are put back and the wages get moving, rather than just power prices and every other price.
I might just share a few questions, I'll come to you, then to you.
JOURNALIST: There were commitments made on both sides of the campaign throughout these 10 weeks, including from the LNP promising drug and alcohol services and an upgrade to Bribie Island Road. Do you expect and will you hold them to those commitments?
SHORTEN: Not only will I keep them, but the new warrior for Longman, the renewed warrior for Longman Susan Lamb will. But I'd expect the LNP to keep their promises. We made our promises on the basis that whoever won, we're committed to them. After the next general election if and when Labor is successful, we'll keep every one of our promises. One point I have to say is the reason why we could offer promises in health care and school funding and looking after people's jobs, is because we're not giving tens of billions of dollars away to big banks and big corporations. Sorry, you were next.
JOURNALIST: If this was just a battle over policy, why was it necessary for Labor to spend as much money just in the last week of this campaign as the LNP did over the entire eight weeks?
SHORTEN: Oh listen, I don't think we've seen the full extent of what the LNP did or didn't spend. I mean they’re a funny old mob, the LNP aren't they. They spent six or eight weeks talking up their books saying how well they were going to do. Now they sort of want to complain and say Labor tried too hard, and we didn't try hard enough. Do you know what really decided the outcome of this election, the people. And the people want politicians who are fair dinkum. And my candidates are more fair dinkum than their candidates, and my policies are more fair dinkum than their policies. And the Liberals can blame everything and everyone else, the reality is Labor's policies are about the lives that people live. Good quality health care, good quality education, good quality jobs.
JOURNALIST: Is it time to prepare for a by-election in Lindsay and when can we expect to see the report into Emma Husar?
SHORTEN: Well first of all some of you may adore by-elections, I don't know. But in all seriousness, going to the more serious matter, it's an independent investigation being conducted by NSW Labor. As I've said I'm going to respect that process and deal with whatever flows from it, once that process is concluded.
JOURNALIST: What is the time frame for that?
SHORTEN: That'll be a matter - its independent. It's a matter for the NSW Branch.
JOURNALIST: Have you received a text of support from Anthony Albanese?
SHORTEN: Listen, my whole team are good. But can I also just go to the issues around some of the debates. The commentariat in this country want the politicians to focus on ourselves. Can I tell you, no way, I'm focused on the people. You guys and the Liberals can talk about all of the issues you want with individuals. I'm going to leave that to you. You're very qualified at that.
JOURNALIST: Is that a no or a yes?
SHORTEN: Just hear me, what I'm going to do is I'm not going to play the game. What really matters to people, and I spoke to thousands of ordinary people. They're not asking me about every in and out of the Liberal and Labor Party. They want to know when will the waiting list for their surgery be reduced. They want to know can we improve the cancer treatment locally. They want to know if their local school will be properly funded. I have parents talking about their kids with disabilities, will the special educational needs of their kids get looked after. I have people talking to me about aged care, be it the people working there saying how can we get a little bit better money, and we have people waiting on aged care lists.
The real world's happening regardless of Canberra. What we did in our campaign is we engaged with the real world, and I think the people gave us a tick. These by-elections, with a very simple question, do people want more of the same or do they want better from their government. I think in large numbers they said we want better from the government, and for Labor, that certainly means we're going to keep focusing on the people, not the sort of silly political games.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten you spoke about dreams and aspirations earlier. How does what happened with this campaign and the issues on the ground change how you will run a federal election campaign?
SHORTEN: I think it's a timely reminder - and you notice here, I'm not, Libs can have their own post-mortem, they can go into denial, whatever, that's their business. They can hear the message or they can put their hands over their ears. No, for me what this reminds me of, it renews my conviction to double down on fighting for fairness, and challenging growing inequality in Australia. It renews my conviction that we need to make sure we prioritise the health of Australians over tax cuts for the big end of town. It renews my conviction that education of our young people and the retraining of our adults, is much more important than tax cuts at the top end. Australians want a political party who is on their side, and we're going to go for that.
JOURNALIST: Was this Mr Shorten, the sweetest victory of all for you just yet, being Opposition Leader?
SHORTEN: Listen I'm not going to - I am not going to be arrogant about what happened. We've got a big job of work to do ahead of us. What I do think is I had the better candidates, I think we had the better policies. I just want to say the voters who have watched Super Saturday, and say I hear you. I understand you're pretty frustrated with the whole system. We'd like to see your wages moving, everything's going up but your wages. We want to see the health care properly - I'd like to see when you're sick you're able to get that surgery done. I'm listening to real people and that has fired me right up to work on our positive policies as we lead towards the next election.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, One Nation increased -
SHORTEN: Sorry I'm going to take one last question because I've got to get on a plane.
JOURNALIST: One Nation increased their vote here despite Pauline Hanson's absence. How concerned are you about the strength of that party?
SHORTEN: Oh I don't underestimate One Nation. But the problem is that 90 per cent of the time when they go to Canberra they vote with the Liberals. So what they are is they're a satellite of the Liberal Party. You think you're protesting against the direction of the nation, and all of a sudden you find that your vote, which you give to One Nation being sort of counterfeited back into the Liberal Party. But Labor did well, I think that's a fair statement, that's not being arrogant, Labor did do well. But what we say to the people who were unhappy with the direction of the nation, is a vote for One Nation ultimately just becomes a recycled vote for the LNP. If you really want to see working people put first, your penalty rates back, wages go up, your schools properly funded, hospitals and Medicare doing better, well then just vote Labor.
SHORTEN: I did say last question.
JOURNALIST: One to Susan. Susan, do you think we'll see big Trev back sometime soon?
LAMB: Sorry, I didn't catch that.
JOURNALIST: Do you think we'll see Big Trev back at the general election, battling you?
LAMB: Who knows where Big Trev will end up. What people can be confident of, is they will see me back here. In fact I woke up this morning went back and did my first community event already this morning, so what people can be confident of is that they will have me back on the streets talking to them in their community about the things that matter. Thanks everybody.
SHORTEN: Thanks everybody.