Bill's Transcripts

Doorstop: Brisbane - Attacks on Medicare; Queensland Election

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

REMARKS TO THE MEDIA

MILTON, BRISBANE

TUESDAY, 20 JANUARY 2015

 

SUBJECTS/S: Attacks on Medicare; Queensland Election; Cost of Living; Bulk-Billing; GP Tax

 

BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning everyone, it’s great to be in Milton with Labor’s Steven Miles, our candidate for Mount Coot-tha, which is a 6 per cent seat which Labor has to win if it’s to do well in this election. Again, it’s great to be up in Queensland, I think this is my ninth day of visiting Queensland talking with people about state and federal issues, and this will be my 24th seat I have visited during the campaign. But what is interesting is that Tony Abbott is back at work, Tony Abbott has run out of excuses as to why he can’t visit Queensland. At the last state election, Tony Abbott was over the Queensland election like a rash, he was everywhere to be seen. This election, he’s nowhere to be seen. It has now moved beyond a joke that the Prime Minister of this country won’t visit one of the largest states in Australia for nearly a month because he is afraid of losing votes for his state colleagues.

 

Queenslanders want answers, they want answers: will Tony Abbott support a GST on fresh food, will Tony Abbott keep trying to attack Medicare by getting rid of bulk billing and put new taxes on going to the doctor? Will Tony Abbot go ahead with cuts to hospitals worth $10 billion in the future as he is flagging his Budget, and will Tony Abbott go ahead with $6 billion worth of cuts to schools? There are questions to answer in this election, and Tony Abbott will not attend Queensland, it is simply not good enough.

 

It would appear that Tony Abbott has been back at work for a day, but he already looks like he needs a holiday. He needs to come to see Queenslanders and explain to them his policies and what they mean for Queenslanders. I’d be pleased to introduce Steven Miles, Labor’s candidate in the bellwether region of Mount Coot-tha to talk a bit further about the election.

 

STEVEN MILES, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR MOUNT COOT-THA: Well look, it’s pretty hard doorknocking in this Queensland summer heat, but what people are telling me is that they’re really concerned about jobs and our economy, about healthcare, about funding for our schools, and about the reef and our environment, and they are the issues that Labor will be talking about between now and election day.

 

QUESTION: Why do you think Tony Abbott is so scared to show his face here in Queensland?

 

SHORTEN: I think Tony Abbott finds it too hot in Queensland, and I’m not talking about the weather. It is clear that $6000 cuts to families, GP taxes for the sick, doubling and tripling the cost of going to university and in some cases creating $100,000 degrees, the real cuts to the defence forces. These are real problems which are hurting Queenslanders, and Tony Abbott doesn’t want to answer questions – which he should as Prime Minister.

 

QUESTION: Why do you think Campbell Newman hasn’t stood up to Tony Abbott?

 

SHORTEN: The real test of a Premier is whether or not they will stand up for their state against their own political party in Canberra. It’s clear that Campbell Newman loves to use the word strong, but he’s a pussy cat when it comes to fighting with Tony Abbott. The GP tax and the $20 extra that people are going to have to pay to go to the doctor clearly demonstrate - Campbell Newman was saying nothing about it until Labor made it an issue, and then you can see Campbell Newman and Tony Abbott reluctantly giving up, for the time being, their attack on Medicare. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Campbell Newman or Tony Abbott, they’re both cut from the same cloth. They won’t stand up for Medicare, they won’t stand up for hospitals, they won’t stand up for schools.

 

QUESTION: [inaudible]

 

SHORTEN: Joe Hockey’s out of touch. The Government have hidden him over the summer, but he’s burst into January full of energy. But his comment that we’re going to live to 150 and that should justify his 2014 Budget was truly his Sarah Palin moment. How out of touch is Joe Hockey? There are a lot of people in their late 50s and 60s wandering whether they’ll have enough money to support themselves in their 70s. Now Joe Hockey saying that a baby somewhere in the world is going to live to be 150 and that justifies his cuts.

 

Joe Hockey obviously has been reading some science books over summer and decided that’s going to be his latest Budget strategy, but arguing that people are going to live to 150 will enrage average Australians. They’re worried whether they’ll have enough money to support themselves when they’re 75, not 150. And Joe Hockey is the one who is cutting the pension, they are freezing superannuation. This is a Government who are so out of touch that it’s a worry about their strategies for the next Budget let alone the last Budget.

 

QUESTION: Just one last question Bill. Obviously the latest polls are being quite encouraging [inaudible]

 

SHORTEN: Labor at the last state election got 10 per cent of the parliamentary seats in Parliament. Anastasia Palaszczuk and her team, candidates like Steven Miles, have done a mighty job to put Labor back into contention. The arithmetic is against Labor, but Labor is fighting hard every day. I come to Queensland not because I’m sure that Labor will win, but because leaders turn up when the going gets tough, and you have the courage of your convictions. I think, in part, the election so far reflects the willingness of Labor – state and nationally – to go and argue its case, whereas we have got Tony Abbott who’s too afraid to leave Sydney to talk to Queenslanders about his policies. I think people would have more respect for the LNP if their national Prime Minister would argue the case.

 

ENDS

 

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