Bill's Transcripts

Doorstop: Canberra

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

DOORSTOP INTERVIEW

CANBERRA

THURSDAY, 5 JUNE 2014

 

SUBJECT / S: Abbott Government’s Budget of Broken Promises; GP Tax, Abbott Government Cut’s to Hospitals; Malcolm Turnbull; Diesel Fuel Rebate; Cuts to Newstart; Indonesia.  

 

KATY GALLAGHER, ACT CHIEF MINISTER: It’s lovely to be here at Canberra Hospital to welcome Bill Shorten, Catherine King and Gai Brodtmann to our local hospital. We’ve been touring the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, which is a new hospital here in Canberra, meeting some of the parents and babies born here. This is an important regional hospital, it services the New South Wales region in the south east, as well as Canberra. We have about 40 per cent of patients come in from the surrounding region. And this health system has just been cut by $47 million starting on the 1st of July this year. That will grow to $240 million over the forward estimates period. These are cuts that we can’t absorb, but we’re certainly not going to cut services that impact on families here in Canberra. So today was an opportunity to show Bill, Catherine and Gai the work that’s being done here, the babies that are being born and the lives that are being saved and explain some of the impacts of what the Federal cuts are going to have, certainly on our Budget, if not our health system, because we are not prepared to savage our health system to recoup those cuts. So it was an important meeting and I thank you very much, Bill, for coming this morning.

BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thank you. Good morning everyone. It is privilege to be here, with Katy Gallagher, Chief Minister of the ACT, visiting this remarkable hospital which is literally bringing new life into the world. We have met parents, we have seen the work of staff, dedicated staff, helping rescue little lives and give a great future for all of Canberra. I am here today with Shadow Minister Catherine King and local hard working member of parliament Gai Brodtmann for this area. We are all very, very, very concerned that this ugly Budget of Tony Abbott will damage the future health care of all Australians. You cannot give quality health care like we see here on a cut price Budget built upon lies and broken promises. Today in fact we have learned that the National Party of Australia can be added to the long list of Australians who have been betrayed by Tony Abbott and his cruel and unfair Budget. The Nationals are clearly the victim of a divided and dysfunctional Government. The reports that the National Party have been lied to add to - Tony Abbott has lied to families, Tony Abbott has lied to pensioners, now Tony Abbott has lied to his own Coalition colleagues, the National Party of Australia. If the National Party have any integrity, they will stand up against this unfair petrol tax which slugs country families even greater than city families because of the vast distances that people in the country have to drive. No-one in Australia can believe anything that Tony Abbott says. I might just is ask my colleague Catherine King to make a couple of comments about the health cuts.

CATHERINE KING, SHADOW HEALH MINISTER: Thanks, Bill and thanks Katy and thanks Gai. It's fantastic to be here at this state-of-the-art hospital, really at the front line of service delivery for this community. What we know in the Budget is that there are $80 billion worth of cuts to health and education, $55 billion confirmed by health department officials to public hospitals. And they have a real impact, a real impact on the lives of people across this country and the capacity of state and territory governments to be able to invest in the health services that people need. Tony Abbott clearly lied before the last election that there would be no cuts to health. Just in a few days’ time on the 1st of July the ACT experiencing a $47 million cut to their public hospital system, and I want to congratulate Katie Gallagher for delivering a Budget that makes sure that health remains a priority because that is what Labor Governments do.

SHORTEN: Happy to take any questions.

JOURNALIST: Treasurer Joe Hockey, Barnaby Joyce and Mathias Cormann say there is no truth to the fuel trickery rumours?

SHORTEN: Well, they would say that, wouldn't they.

JOURNALIST: You have people like Barnaby Joyce, a senior Cabinet Minister, a Nat?

SHORTEN: It's very hard for Barnaby Joyce to admit that he's been conned. And why on earth would Joe Hockey own up to it? The fact of the matter is the ABC didn't create this report out of nothing and the truth of the matter is that when you look at the score card for regional Australia, the score card for regional Australia is a very sad total. When they introduced the GP tax we found out in Senate Estimates no-one in the Government even modelled the impact of the GP tax on regional Australia. Petrol in regional Australia is going to – it’s a big commodity for country families. When you look at the impact on pensioners in the bush and the National Party represent some of the electorates which have the highest proportion of pensioners in Australia, they're the ones getting slugged. Everyone knows, the secret is out, the National Party are the Patsies of the Liberal Party in Australia, they're just being used and this is a rotten, unfair Budget and country Australia stands to lose as much, if not more, than city Australia.

JOURNALIST: Do you think that the Nats and the Libs should split, then? Over this sort of issue?

SHORTEN: I think on petrol tax, and Tony Abbott keeps saying it will cost a certain amount of families, why doesn't he tell us how much it will cost country families? Distances in the bush are greater than for the people in the cities. Only a political party who is out of touch with the bush and the cost of living will pretend a petrol tax is a good for thing for country Australia. In the country they can't get on a tram or train and go everywhere they want to go. Tony Abbott is so out of touch with country Australia, he is taking their votes for granted and taking the National Party for mugs and now some of the rumours are getting out about how much he conned his own allies. But anyway, the rest of Australia could have told the National Party you can't trust Tony Abbott. He lies and he lies, systematically, wilfully and he's misled Australia with an unfair Budget to Aussie families.

JOURNALIST: It does appear, though, that the Greens will support the fuel excise in some form if it includes funding for public transport. It seems as though it will get through anyway?

SHORTEN: It's a rotten idea and if the Liberal Party of Australia wants to form an alliance with the Greens, how does that suit the National Party? Barnaby Joyce, he's a real warrior complaining about the Greens. But as soon as he gets into Government, gets the Government limousine and the trappings of office, he will put his arm around the Greens and start backing them in. Barnaby Joyce and the Nats are not the National Party of the past. We saw John Howard come out and intimate how unfair this Budget was, and we've got a Budget here which is unfair on Aussie families and if Barnaby Joyce wants to just go along for the ride with Tony Abbott, the people in regional Australia will be the big losers. What about regional kids who want to go to university? Everyone knows that the cost of fees are going to go up, everyone knows it will make it harder for country kids to go to university. This National Party has run up the white flag on regional Australia, they're not fighting for country people from petrol, to pensions, to GP tax to access to universities.

JOURNALIST: Is there a case, though, maybe for a geographical, the fuel excise increase to be introduced geographically? Maybe country people don't have to pay it and the city people do?

 

SHORTEN: The National Party don’t fight for the country so your question presumes that the National Party have got any gumption, that they’ll fight for the bush. The National Party as soon as they won the last election have forgotten the bush. A petrol tax shows you how out of touch Tony Abbott and the National Party are with the needs of everyday families in regional Australian and indeed in metropolitan Australia.

JOURNALIST: Treasury has been arguing for quite some time for the re-indexation of the fuel excise. Isn't this legitimate from that point of view?

 

SHORTEN: What’s legitimate about increasing the cost of living pressure on Australian families? Tony Abbott and his rotten, unfair Budget, you know, we know, everyone knows that this Budget’s gone far too far, it's creating a cruller, meaner unfair Australia. People in regional Australia can count upon the Labor Party to stand up for their cost of living pressures. This is a Government who before the election they said there would be no increase to taxes. Well that was a lie. That was wrong. Now they're increasing a GP tax, they're making it harder for country kids to go to university, they’ve put a petrol tax on and they're cutting the real increases of pensions across Australia. This Government is out of touch, it’s a rotten Budget. I hope that Mr Abbott while he’s overseas, hobnobbing with the great and the powerful, he just needs to remember that this rotten Budget is festering back here. He's got problems back home in Australia and he needs to I think significantly rework his rotten unfair Budget. The Liberal Party of Australia and their allies, the National Party, have lost the argument on fairness in this Budget. This Budget is unfair and Labor is on the side of ordinary Australians who just want to make ends meet.

 

JOURNALIST: What do you make of Malcolm Turnbull's quite aggressive defence of the PM and insistence that there’s no leadership speculation?

 

SHORTEN: Well, I think he doth protest too much, but the issue about internal division within the Liberal Party is a matter for the Liberal Party. I’m more worried about what’s happening to ordinary Australian families. Today we’ve had the privilege of meeting families who have got beautiful little children; they're being supported by remarkable professional and decent health care staff. I don't give a toss about the internals of the Liberal Party but I do care when this unfair Liberal Party led by Tony Abbott are harming the future health care of Australia's kids.

JOURNALIST: Is Malcolm Turnbull doing Labor's work?

SHORTEN: Again, it's clear that there’s some division within the Liberal Party. You’ve got the National Party have they or haven't they been duped by Tony Abbott's gang, you’ve got the internals but, again, I have to say, their disunity is their problem. I’m concerned that they’ve got a Budget which is so bad for Australia that Australians are giving it a thumbs down. This is arguably the worst received Budget in Australian history.

 

JOURNALIST: Would you, on the issue of Indonesia, do you think that the talks between Tony Abbott and President Yudhoyono did work out over night? It seems as though the relationship was fairly warm between both of them?

 

SHORTEN: I sincerely hope that Tony Abbott has repaired the damage that's been done to our relationship with Indonesia. Before Tony Abbott became Prime Minister, the relationship was in very healthy shape. It's got on the critical list, I do sincerely hope on behalf of all Australians that Tony Abbott's been able to do some repair work, get the relationship back to where it was.

 

JOURNALIST: Do you acknowledge that that’s probably the case, that it has been repaired?

 

SHORTEN: I just go on the media reports.

JOURNALIST: Just on Newstart we heard in Estimates yesterday that the contingencies been put aside to help people deal with homelessness that might potentially arise from that. Would that help Labor get over its objections to that policy?

SHORTEN: This is the policy equivalent announcement of saying, of giving every passenger a parachute because they know the plane can't fly or may be in trouble. The issue here is that with Newstart why on earth are you giving more money to homeless shelters when you don't have to put the bad policy in place to begin with? The fact that they’re increasing emergency relief funding, the fact that homelessness agencies are predicting more people having to use their services shows you that this mean and cruel policy, they know it’s not going to work. They’re giving you, how on earth is it they're saving money and say they're helping young Australians find work when they're already proposing to provide extra emergency relief and more pressure on homeless shelters. The attack on people and the creation of a permanent underclass, it won't just stop at the creation of emergency relief funding and more of that, we’ll have more beggars, we’ll have more people sleeping over the grates to get warmth like we see in the cities of North America, there’s no doubt that sooner or later some people are going to get desperate turning to begging and crime and other things. Why on earth is this Government so mean and so keen to divide this country that they want to create a problem which they then will have to spend more money solving? Help Aussies get a job rather than help punish Australian’s for not having a job. Thanks everyone, have a nice day

 

ENDS

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