Bill's Transcripts

Doorstop: Perth - Labor’s plan to support Canning residents to fight the scourge of ice; Labor’s plan to reverse Tony Abbott’s cuts to legal services

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

DOORSTOP

PERTH

THURSDAY, 3 SEPTEMBER 2015

 

SUBJECT/S: Labor’s plan to support Canning residents to fight the scourge of ice; Labor’s plan to reverse Tony Abbott’s cuts to legal services; ChAFTA; Canning by election; national security

MATTHEW KEOGH, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR CANNING: During this by-election campaign in Canning, I've been talking to people all around the electorate. One of the things that's been raised time and time again down in Mandurah, through Byford and up in Armadale has been crime and community safety. As part of that listening I've been really interested in hearing what people have to say, but I can tell you that you don't get to learn about issues like this in just two weeks. I've spent my entire life, 33 years in Canning, listening to what people want. This has been a serious issue that we need to address and that's why I was very happy that a few weeks ago we were able to announce that a future Labor Government would ensure that Armadale Police Station is going to be open to the public on a 24 hour basis.

Labor is, in this by-election, delivering what it would do in government for the people of Canning. We're not just doing photo ops like Mr Abbott with his candidate.

One of the big parts of dealing with crime though is not just police. We also need to have a holistic solution and that means looking at the causes of crime and it means supporting communities and building communities. The key part of that is drug rehabilitation and support.

Mr Abbott has cut $800 million from the Health Flexible Funds that support critical services like the one we're in today at Hope Community Service. Those funds support prevention and rehabilitation for people that are on drugs and that includes ice, which at the moment is seen as one of the key drivers of crime in this area. People are concerned for their safety because they are continually encountering people that are on ice, yet right now in Western Australia under the Abbott and Barnett Governments, WA has become the ice capital of the nation and that needs to be fixed. We need to be investing in services like this at Hope, like Palmerston which can help get people off drugs, because people who even want to get themselves off drugs, families who want to support their family members that are on ice can't find available beds and support services, and they're the sorts of things we need to be investing in.

Another key area of community safety is domestic violence. Domestic violence is a terrible scourge in our community and one that has to be stopped. We need to support victims of domestic violence, when need to support them in many ways, that includes refuges, but it also includes providing them with the legal services that they need. A critical part of all of that as well is not just funding them but it's funding them in a sustainable way. We need to make sure that we're providing funding not just for 12 months or for 6 months but providing funding for these services for several years into the future so that they can retain staff and provide hope for the people that they are serving in the community, so that they know these services are available on a sustainable basis and that's why I'm really happy to be here today with Bill Shorten who's going to be making some announcements about what a future Labor Government will be doing to help these services that are trying to clean up our streets but, more importantly, help people in their lives in drug rehabilitation and helping the victims of domestic violence and I'll hand over to Bill to say something more about that. Thanks, Bill.

BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks very much, Matt, and good morning, everyone, and of course it's always a great pleasure to be accompanied wherever I go in Western Australia by Western Australia's own Alannah MacTiernan and it's great to have Tony Buti here as well, the hard-working local State Member of Parliament.

Matt Keogh is exactly right, he is identifying one of the big issues in the Canning by-election - a sense of community safety and security for the people who live here. Disturbing numbers of criminal statistics have emerged from the year up to the end of June. It is a challenge with burglaries, with assaults, with car break-ins. One of the causes of this community safety problem is of course methamphetamines. Labor has made it clear that Matt Keogh will, if he gets elected, and Labor will, if he gets elected, be supporting the State Opposition's push to have a 7-day-a-week, 24-hour police station manned at Armidale, but furthermore, today I'm pleased to announce, after advice from Alannah, from Tony, from Matt, that we will contribute a community safety package of $3.2 million.

Now part of that, $200,000, will be for closed-circuit television in Mandurah and Armadale because closed-circuit TV has been proven to be successful in terms of deterring crime. But as we heard from this remarkable service we're at today, Hope Services, it's not just a matter of trying to arrest your way out of the problem. Any seasoned police officer will tell you that the police can't simply arrest their way out of the challenge of drug addictions and substance abuse so that is why Labor is going to reverse the cuts of Mr Abbott and his Liberals, reverse their cuts, and we will put in place $2.7 million worth of rehabilitation treatment for Palmerston and for Hope Services to make sure that families of addicts can get solutions. Any family who's been through the terribly destructive nature of having a family member addicted to this horrible ice or other substance addictions, they need help and treatment.

So a Shorten Labor Government, if elected, will provide $2.7 million of extra support up to 2019 to help break this silly 12-month funding cycle which means it's services such as the great place we're in today are not spending all their time writing grant applications and they can actually form relationships with clients to help defeat the causes of addiction.

Finally, I'm pleased to be announcing we'll provide - and again reversing some of the dreadful cuts made by Mr Abbott and his Liberals - providing $200,000 to the Peel Community Legal Service so that the victims of family violence can actually get the legal support they need to regain control of their lives.

So there we have it, ladies and gentlemen, one of the big issues in the Canning by-election is that the community want to feel safer and they want to have a holistic approach to solving some of the problems, that's exactly what Labor's doing today.

I have to say, though, from the railway station to the bus stop to walking through the mall in Armidale, without a doubt the biggest issue is unemployment and jobs. I've had people come up to me and express their concerns with the China Free Trade Agreement. They can't understand why Mr Abbott hasn't chosen to stand up more strongly for Australian jobs. There is concern about unemployment. There's recognition that with the mining boom slowing that unemployment's a real challenge in Western Australia. So the real issue here, I would submit, is the jobs of the future, jobs for people in Canning and jobs for Western Australians. But it seems that Mr Abbott and his Liberals are just focused on saving Mr Abbott's job. Happy to take any questions.

JOURNALIST: You do seem to be isolated. A lot of other Labor leaders say get on board with the Free Trade Agreement with China but you're digging in. So who do we believe? Who's right and who's wrong? The majority is certainly on the side of - the Labor leaders who seem to support the Free Trade Agreement.

SHORTEN: I'm on the side of Australian jobs. Quite frankly-

JOURNALIST: Are they not?

SHORTEN: I'll answer your first question then I'll answer your second question because it is an important issue you raise. Australian jobs are an obsession of mine. I'm most committed to making sure that we have jobs for Australians. Now, our position is very clear, we think that trying to secure a good trade agreement with China is in the national interest but it has to be a good agreement.

Mr Abbott and his Liberals are so arrogant they think that Australians will just cop any old stuff as good enough. Well near enough's not good enough, Mr Abbott, when it comes to Australian jobs. Labor's got three simple propositions and when did Parliament and politics under Mr Abbott's Liberals become so toxic that Labor can't propose sensible changes and we just get shouted down by some in the media and by the conservatives? Our propositions are very straight forward and we're happy to let the Australian people be the judge of who's right and wrong.

One, we don't accept that for projects over $150 million there should be no requirement to have labour market testing, or put in plain English, if there's a project which is $150 million-plus in Western Australia, say a hotel or a construction development, I want to see Western Australian riggers and dogmen get jobs, I want to see Western Australian carpenters, labourers and mechanics and designers and drafts people get those jobs. Now I think that when you've got 90,000-plus unemployed Western Australians, having an agreement which removes any safety net for labour market testing for projects over $150 million, it's a dud deal.

And there's another change which doesn't go to the actual treaty itself, but if we genuinely had some champions for Australian jobs in Canberra, as opposed to Mr Abbott and his Liberals, I don't see what is wrong with suggesting that if we're going to bring in plumbers who might come and work on your house or electricians who might go into your roof, what we want to make sure of is that their skills, and training and safety knowledge are up to Australian standards. These are sensible changes all about Australian jobs. So in terms of where the debate goes, the Labor Party I lead will make sure that we stand up for Australian jobs and if it's a choice that I have to make between Mr Abbott and his job or fighting for Australian jobs, I'm on the side of ordinary Aussies, full stop.

JOURNALIST: So to clarify, do you want to renegotiate the FTA?

SHORTEN: We want to amend the enabling legislation around the trade agreement. Let's face it, just because Tony Abbott gives Australians a proposition and asks Australians to sign a blank cheque, who in their right mind would simply agree with Mr Abbott when he says, just trust me.

JOURNALIST: Well a bunch of Labor leaders have.

SHORTEN: I think if you actually look at their interviews in depth they haven't actually said what you're saying. I think what they've said is they like the principle of free trade but they also say they prioritise Australian jobs. What I'm doing is actually, unlike day-to-day politics and putting some meat on the bone of our concerns - what is wrong with a project which is $150 million requiring that before you bring in a plane load of people from elsewhere, that you at least see if there's Australians who can do the work? What's wrong with saying that we want our plumbers and our electricians or the people doing our plumbing and electrical work to be trained and accredited to Australian safety standards? These are not difficult issues. There’s a deal here to be done but let's be clear, what sort of Opposition Leader would I be if I simply signed up to every poor deal that Mr Abbott submitted to the Parliament?

JOURNALIST: So what exactly do you want the Government to say in the enabling legislation?

SHORTEN: I just want Mr Abbott to stand up for Australian jobs not just worry about his own job.

JOURNALIST: What would he need to do to win your support?

SHORTEN: Well as you probably know, Mr Abbott hasn't even put the legislation to the Parliament so it's great you're asking me questions and we're happy to answer them but I think Mr Abbott's got some questions to answer. Why is it that above $150 million you're not going to require that a company tests to see if there's Australians who can do the job. Another question Mr Abbott has to answer is what is so wrong with saying that plumbers and electricians coming in from other countries are trained and accredited to Australian standards? These are not complex issues, it's just that Mr Abbott's made a choice. He just hasn't chosen Australian jobs.

JOURNALIST: The Government says provisions for senior executives in this deal are the same as the provisions that existed under Labor, is that correct?

SHORTEN: No, you'll have to go further and just expand that question, what did he actually say?

JOURNALIST: He says in terms of the deals for the senior executives that were specified in terms of Chinese companies and Australian companies he says those provisions are the same that existed when Labor was in power, is that true?

SHORTEN: Well logically it can't be because we didn't have this agreement when Labor was in power. I think there was a story which you may be referring to that the Chile Free Trade Agreement, Mr Abbott and his team are saying ‘that is the same as the China Free Trade Agreement, so if it was good enough then, why not now’. If that's what you are asking me, there's a clear distinction.

Under the Chile Free Trade Agreement, the threshold was much, much higher. The China Free Trade Agreement opens the gates in terms of not requiring labour market testing for occupations which are not just senior occupations to use your test. No the real problem with Mr Abbott's is as usual, he's been in such a rush, that he hasn't checked the fine print, he's come up with a dud deal in terms of protecting Aussie jobs and it's left to Labor yet again to be the custodian of Australian jobs and standards and we will.

JOURNALIST: What are you saying? Are you saying there will be a flood of Chinese workers coming into Australia working on major projects?

 

SHORTEN: I am saying that I want Australians to get the first chance to work on our projects. When did it become so unacceptable to stand up for Australian jobs? There are plenty of households in the Canning electorate where you have got trained construction workers, where you have got people with the sort of skills that can work on projects, they’re unemployed right now. Has anyone noticed unemployment has gone up with Mr Abbott? There are 35,000 extra West Australians in the last two years not working. We have got over 800,000 Aussies out of work. I tell you what, I'm going to fight for these Australians to get the first crack at the jobs. That's the line in the sand and it's a good idea. Frankly, Mr Abbott should just sit down, not shout at us or whip up hysterical arguments saying somehow we are not interested in free trade. I am and we are. We supported the Japan Free Trade Agreement, we supported the Korean Free Trade Agreement. But what I can't do is ignore the fine print. What sort of alternative Prime Minister would I be if I closed my eyes and shut my ears and ignored the reality in front of us? What I would like Mr Abbott to climb off his high horse, start negotiating and put Australian jobs first rather than his own job.

 

JOURNALIST: Joe Hockey says there is no risk of recession in Australia. Does Labor agree?

 

SHORTEN: Listen, at the moment, Joe Hockey’s credibility is at the point that if he said it was raining outside, you would be better to going to check. We have seen quarter after quarter of below trend growth. This is Joe Hockey’s economic record. The deficit has been doubled. Unemployment is up. We see growth down to worrying levels and we also see that real wage increases are tiny compared to what they have been. Mr Hockey and Mr Abbott, the only reason Mr Hockey is still the Treasurer, is because if Mr Abbott gives up Mr Hockey, the next person to go will be Mr Abbott. But the real issue here is Australian jobs.

 

JOURNALIST: Are we heading towards a recession?

 

SHORTEN: I sincerely hope not. I'm not going to talk down the Australian economy because frankly, there are more important things than Mr Abbott and Mr Hockey and their mishandling of the economy. I think that the Australian people are resilient but the real challenge here, and we can't deny it, is that our real growth and our nominal growth are too low. There is something not happening in Australia properly at the moment. I say that the Australian economy is wallowing in mediocrity. What we need is a Government in Canberra focused on the future of Australians. Labor started to articulate plans around infrastructure in the Canning by-election, we have proposed $170 million of overdue roadworks which will generate hundreds of jobs, make this community more liveable and help soak up some of the surplus economic effort which is now not being used because of the mining boom easing up. We need more training for our young people at schools. I'm sick and tired of the cuts that Mr Abbott is making to our schools in this community. And furthermore, we need to get rid of this notion we will charge for $100,000 degrees, we will keep undermining our TAFE system. If you want to get the economy going, you have to look at the long-term levers a Government has at its disposal: infrastructure, skills, training, getting a sense of confidence moving forward. Instead we have Mr Hockey trying to pretend there is no problem in the Australian economy.

 

JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, just to clarify, which specific legislation or acts need to be changed to address the concerns you have over the FTA? Wouldn't that contravene the spirit of the agreement that’s been struck with China?

 

SHORTEN: Are you saying the Parliament is no longer sovereign and we have to agree with everything that Mr Abbott presents? Are we saying it's no longer appropriate for the Australian Parliament to stand up for Australian jobs? There is enabling legislation around the Migration Act which can with simple amendments deal with the concerns we are raising. What Mr Robb and Mr Hockey and Mr Abbott and his Liberals are saying is that there can be no changes. They know full well, if their predictions that there is no problems can simply be dealt with by sensible amendments from us, we wouldn't be having this argument. You know the form guide of Mr Abbott and Mr Hockey. Whenever Labor has an idea, they run screaming in the other direction. They never look at the merit of the idea. This trade agreement is too important to be left solely in the hands of Mr Abbott and his addiction to politics over policy. It's all about Australian jobs. Second last question, thanks.

 

JOURNALIST: Do you think Mr Abbott will still be the Prime Minister if Labor wins the Canning by-election?

 

SHORTEN: Let's try and win the Canning by-election. Everyone knows that the Liberals are desperate to pretend that Mr Abbott is irrelevant to the Canning by-election, but the truth of the matter is that Mr. Abbott and his Liberals who voted to cut our healthcare budget and who voted to cut funding for hospitals. They are the ones who voted to cut pensions. They are the ones desperately trying to introduce $100,000 degrees and are cutting funding to schools. Mr Abbott and his Liberals have been in charge for the last two years and we have seen unemployment go up and up and up. So for me, I don't care who the Liberals pick after the Canning by-election. My problem is that Mr Abbott or any of his potential replacements, none of them seem to have the answers for Australia's future. That's what's important in this by-election.

 

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible) the campaign is running doggo in Canning so that the margin is sufficient so that Abbott can stay the leader. Can I ask Mr Keogh, have you been getting around the electorate? Have you been down to Wagerup to campaign?

 

KEOGH: I haven't yet been down to Wagerup but I've been to Boddington recently just before the campaign started. I've been to Pinjarra, I've been through Mandurah and south of Mandurah, Byford, I went up to the Serpentine-Jarrahdale council meetings, I’ve been up to Kelmscott and Armadale, Parkdale and Karridale Waters. I've been going through the electorate and around the entire electorate and one of the advantages that I think I have in this campaign is that this is an electorate I've traversed many times before in its entirety.

 

JOURNALIST: Not as a candidate, though. Are you putting in an 110 per cent effort?

 

KEOGH: Of course I am. I am getting out there and talking to all of the people on the ground about the issues that are of concern to them. Having grown up here, I'm already aware of a lot of the issues. The things people have been talking about, the things Bill has been talking about today, are the things that the people I went to school with, my friends have been raising with me for years. It is great to be out here now and why I wanted to be a candidate in this campaign is to take those issues that have been a concern up to the national stage.

 

JOURNALIST: You have been to Armadale and Mandurah?

 

ALANNAH MACTIERNAN, SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIA: And you are going to Alcoa tomorrow.

 

KEOGH: We’re going to Alcoa tomorrow. I am focusing on the entire electorate; I am getting around the entire electorate. I grew up in Armadale. I know those issues particularly well. I've got friends that have spent time and grew up in Mandurah. I've been across the entire electorate and that is what I will be doing over the next few weeks. Critically, that is what the people in Canning want. They want to know their issues are going to be addressed, that they will be listened to. That is what Don Randall was good at when he was the Member for Canning. And that’s the approach I am talking and it's on the ground.

 

JOURNALIST: Your opponent and Mr Abbott as well highlight his military service, his national security credentials. You are a lawyer and a former prosecutor. Is law and order what you bring - your specialty you bring to the table? You obviously don't match him on the military service which seems to be impressing everyone.

 

KEOGH: What I think I bring to the table is being a strong advocate for this community, whether it's been as a local lawyer, whether it's been as a prosecutor, whether it’s been working in community organisations and helping the organisations that build our community, that's what I bring to this table. The people of Canning want to know they will get a strong representative for their views in Canberra. My entire professional life has been helping those without a voice and being a Member for Canning, we will be doing that.

 

JOURNALIST: Do you think you are getting the same cut through as Mr Hastie? There are billboards for him across the electorate. There are none really for yourself.

 

KEOGH: I'm not tracking Mr Hastie's campaign. I know he thinks in the last couple of weeks, he has got to know the electorate. I've spent the last 33 years of my life knowing the electorate.

 

JOURNALIST: How many billboards do you have up in the area?

 

KEOGH: I'm not running a count.

 

MACTIERNAN:  I know you are a great advocate of equal opportunity. Our friend from Ten is keen to get a question in.

 

JOURNALIST: Tony Abbott this morning reiterated his preference for increasing the GST while cutting Government spending as long as other taxes do come down. Isn't it inevitable the Labor Party is on the wrong side of this argument?

 

SHORTEN: There is Mr Abbott yet again, another day, another new idea but the question is do any of his ideas actually make sense? Does anything he say correspond with what he said last week or last year? 33 times before the last Federal election, Mr Abbott in return for chasing people's votes, said there will be no change to the GST. Now he is proposing to change the GST. Is that the full extent of Mr Abbott’s and the Liberal party’s creativity for the future of Australia, that their plan is to increase the GST to 15 per cent and put it on to school fees and healthcare costs and fresh food? Mr Abbott and his Liberal team have run out of ideas. Its official.

 

Unemployment is up, they are not interested in defending Australian jobs. Our real growth is down, it's worryingly down. The deficit has doubled. So what does Mr Abbott do? He says my idea for the future is to make everyone pay more money. It's all to do with the by-election. Mr Hockey said, do you remember last week, we had another Hockey thought bubble where he said I'm going to lower income taxes. That sounds good. How? Sorry, Mr Hockey said "I've got a plane to catch" or something. He didn't answer that question did he?. No, Mr Abbott wants to increase the GST and he wants to increase taxes on Australians. That isn't the way to build confidence and help Australians meet the cost of living.

 

JOURNALIST: In that same radio interview, he likened IS to Nazi Germany. Can I get your thoughts on that?

 

SHORTEN: There is no doubt that IS is evil, bad and terrible. I am not sure I would compare it the whole Second World War. But don’t anyone think that, and I agree with Mr Abbott’s sentiment that IS is evil. Beyond that, Labor is in it together with the Liberals in terms of fighting terrorism where it appears and in whatever form it appears.

 

So yes, we agree it is evil and terrible, but I am not go to the Second World War analogies.

 

JOURNALIST: Can we get your thoughts on the claims that Labor is deliberately running dead during this campaign so that Tony Abbott does stay as Prime MInister?

 

SHORTEN: No, I think every day Tony Abbott stays as Prime Minister is not a good day for Australia. I say that because not about the man, but about his policies. He is taking Australia in the wrong direction full stop. Unemployment up, growth down. Cuts to schools, cuts to hospitals, increasing unfairness in our community, the diminution of social capital in our community. I don't think Mr Abbott is doing a good job of running Australia. But the issue about Labor’s campaign; someone asked earlier how many billboards do you have? Labor doesn't have billboards. We have ideas for the future of Canning. We are the only people who have proposed job creating programs for infrastructure. We are the people standing in Armadale talking to Hope Services about how we help families deal with the scourge of ice and substance and drug addiction. Labor is in this election. Judge us by the calibre of our ideas, not on how much money we spend on billboards. We think this by-election is tremendously important. The fact that the Liberals are somehow trying to say that their opponents are running dead is too arrogant for words. We are very serious about this because the problems and the challenges and fighting for the future is too important to be left in the hands of Mr Abbott and his Liberals. If you want to talk about running doggo, why is it that Mr Abbott makes such lightning visits in and out of the place. We know why that is because they are trying to hide Mr Abbott.

 

Thanks everyone, cheers.

 

ENDS

 

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