THE HON BILL SHORTEN
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG
THURSDAY, 9 OCTOBER 2014
SUBJECT/S: Joe Hockey’s comments; Tony Abbott’s unfair Budget; Iraq; Hizb ut-Tahrir.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: I am extremely disappointed that Joe Hockey has chosen to make the Iraq intervention a source of political point scoring. Labor's made its position on our intervention in Iraq perfectly clear. We have offered bipartisan support for this important work, but under no circumstances will Labor ever sign up to support this unfair Budget of broken promises and lies which hurts middle income and low income Australians. Labor will never support putting a GP Tax on the sick and the vulnerable. Labor will never support attacking the pension. Labor will never support cutting funding to hospitals and schools. Labor will never support $100,000 degrees and more.
Joe Hockey probably thought he was being clever, creating this political issue. Well it's not. Every time Joe Hockey opens his mouth now, he says something silly. Australians will see through this political game. Under no circumstances should our intervention in Iraq be used as a source to justify hurting Australian people through this unfair Budget and the cuts and raised taxes which flow from it. I would ask the Prime Minister to correct his Treasurer because the Treasurer has made a dreadful statement today which doesn't help us in Iraq or indeed, help rescue his unfair Budget.
Happy to take questions.
JOURNALIST: So how does Labor suggest the deployment should be funded?
SHORTEN: I listened carefully to the words of the Prime Minister this morning on radio. He's made it clear that the Defence budget is very large, that they will find a way to fund it. But if the Government truly has run out of ways to fund this proposition, to fund the intervention in Iraq, why don't they scrap their paid parental leave scheme? Why don't they actually go after the multinationals they've gone soft on? There are plenty of measures that this Government could do if it really is the crisis that Joe Hockey says it is. But Australians know and they heard the Prime Minister this morning. The two issues that our intervention in Iraq and this unfair Budget shouldn't be linked and Joe Hockey should stop playing politics with such important issues.
JOURNALIST: Have you been given any more details about Australia's bombing raids in Iraq overnight?
SHORTEN: No I haven't, but the Government and the Defence Forces have briefed us about the scope of the mission. Again, it's difficult work. My thoughts are with our most professional and skilled Air Forces and Defence Forces and of course their families in Australia.
JOURNALIST: There are also calls for an inquiry into commercial surrogacy in Australia, is that something you would support?
SHORTEN: Well, the most recent reports are indeed very concerning. Former Attorney-General Nicola Roxon commissioned a report on some of these issues two year ago. The current Government has had the reports for 8 months and are now only moving on it. I make this offer to the Government, that Labor is open to a national inquiry in terms of surrogacy rules so that parents who are loving and desperate for children, children most importantly, and indeed surrogates, know what happens with this international matter. It probably is timely for the Government to have an inquiry so that there is greater certainty and that we have one set of rules applying throughout Australia.
JOURNALIST: The Prime Minister has renewed his criticism for Islamic group, Hizb ut-Tahrir after a spokesperson didn’t condemn the actions of Islamic State. Do you join in with the Prime Minister in condemning the actions of this group?
SHORTEN: I don't know about anyone else but I did actually see the interview on ABC between Emma Alberici and the spokesperson for this group. The interview made me angry. It made me angry because Emma Alberici, the interviewer, asked some pretty straightforward questions and I couldn't believe that I didn't hear an immediate repudiation of the violence and the beheadings and some of the dreadful images which we've seen. So I do share with the Prime Minister, his concerns about this and I just want to congratulate Emma Alberici, I thought she persisted with the interview. I know that she works for the ABC, but the interview did make me very angry indeed. I thought there was very straightforward answers to give to these questions and we didn't hear them.
JOURNALIST: Does it concern you there are people expressing these views living here in Australia?
SHORTEN: There are people who say crazy things in Australia, there are people who hold very extreme views. But certainly when you get the chance to show leadership, leadership is what is required. I did think that the failure of the spokesperson last night to condemn dreadful violence and beheadings, it doesn't take a lot to work out which side you're on that. The interview was a very frustrating interview to watch because I think Emma Alberici was asking very straight up and down questions which don’t require any analysis and instantly say of course we condemn that violence. Thanks, everyone.
MEDIA CONTACT: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT – 02 6277 4053
Do you like this post?