Bill's Transcripts

Doorstop: Sydney - Turnbull Liberals' cuts to Medicare; Regional resettlement

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

DOORSTOP

SYDNEY

SATURDAY, 20 FEBRUARY 2016

 

SUBJECT/S: Turnbull Liberals' cuts to Medicare; Regional resettlement; Labor’s plan to balance the Budget and fund schools and hospitals; Malcolm Turnbull’s Government in chaos.

 

BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good afternoon everybody.

 

Today I am pleased to be attending a rally defending Medicare against the Turnbull Liberal Government. Medicare is one of the great developments of Australia in the last 30 years. It is the community standard for healthcare, for Australian health because it provides universal access to all Australians. When your children are up late at night with a nagging cough or something worse, it's Medicare which means that you can go and see a GP even if you have just lost your job or you're working hard and your pay packet is due tomorrow and you don't have enough money. Medicare allows all Australians regardless of where they live or their circumstances to be able to get first class medical care.

 

That is why Labor is determined to make sure that the Liberals' plans for Medicare at the next election fail. We do not believe it is right that a woman seeking an important breast scan for cancer, a mammogram, should pay about $85. We don't think it is right that a young couple excitedly expecting their first child should have to pay nearly $200 for a ultrasound. We don't think it is right that our fellow Australians who are diagnosed with skin cancer, battling that big fight, might have to pay up to $1000 for a PET scan.
Labor believes that it should be your Medicare card not your credit card which determines the level of health care in this country. Labor will fight for Medicare, we will not compromise, we will not support any of the Turnbull Government cuts that are on the table to Medicare. We will make Medicare one of the big five issues at the next Federal election.

 

Happy to take questions on Medicare and any other matters.

 

JOURNALIST: On immigration, do you support the Government's efforts to secure third party countries to take Asylum Seekers?

 

SHORTEN: Absolutely, Labor does. We do support doing something about the situation on Manus and Nauru. Labor does support regional processing but it has been shameful under the current Liberal Government that processing times have blown out to almost 450 days. I think that the Turnbull Liberal Government hasn't done enough to sit down with other nations in the region to provide a solution for the people who are in detention in Manus and Nauru. Labor will provide all the support possible because we want to see this situation resolved.

 

JOURNALIST: Do you think countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines have adequate health resources, other resources to take in these asylum seekers and give them a good life?

 

SHORTEN: These are developing societies. They're very important and it just makes me wish that the Liberal Opposition back when Labor proposed an arrangement with Malaysia to help regional processing, hadn't along with the Greens party, rejected a Malaysian solution which would have seen some of the long waiting times we are seeing now, avoided.  I wish that the Liberals in Opposition were as constructive as Labor is prepared to be - it might have avoided some of the many deaths and fatalities we saw at sea.

 

JOURNALIST: So you will work with the Government on getting this policy through? You'll support them all the way?

 

SHORTEN: When it comes to getting children and people out of indefinite detention, Labor is up for the battle to make sure that this happens.

 

JOURNALIST: If the negotiations are successful, how do you think Australia will be perceived internationally?

 

SHORTEN: Well the first thing for me is what are we doing in terms of living up to our own standards and core beliefs. Australians want to make sure that people are not exploited by people smugglers, that they are not enticed onto unsafe boats and drown at sea. But equally, Australians, and I believe many Australians, don't want to see people start get indefinite detention and where people are indirectly in the care of Australia we should be should be setting the highest standards possible. That's why we believe in the Government getting its skates on and having proper negotiations to have regional resettlement. We would also encourage the Federal Government to get over its hangups about the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and work through the UN as well as direct country to country negotiations.

 

JOURNALIST: Will negative gearing - Bill Shorten (sic) said yesterday that your policy is calculated to reduce the value of your home. What's your response to that?

 

SHORTEN: To be technically accurate, I think it was Malcolm Turnbull not me who said that. Malcolm Turnbull is just wrong. He was wrong in fact. Malcolm Turnbull and his Government are unraveling because 160 days ago he justified rolling Tony Abbott, that he would offer 'new economic leadership'. 160 days on, we are no clearer to knowing what Mr Turnbull and Mr Morrison would do to help everyday Australians.
Now, we have come up with a clear and sensible proposal to help limit negative gearing in the future for existing houses. But let me make it really clear, it is not going to affect property prices - that is an unworthy scare campaign for Mr Turnbull who vowed to be different to Tony Abbott. Now Malcolm Turnbull is channeling his inner Tony Abbott.

 

Let's be really clear about what we are saying. One, that if you have existing negative gearing arrangements, they will be maintained and there will be negative gearing available for new housing stock in the future. Two, we will want to level the playing field so that first home owners can compete equality with investors so they can fulfill the great Australian dream of buying a home. Third, our policy will generate tens of thousands of jobs in the future and four, we're taking up the serious, responsible work of repairing the Budget and making sure we can fund our schools and hospitals.

 

Malcolm Turnbull seems to think the great Australian dream is helping investors receive a tax subsidy to buy their fifth and sixth house; I know the great Australian dream is for young people to get their first house.

 

JOURNALIST: What does the ANU's modelling say about your negative gearing policy?

 

SHORTEN: Independent commentators, right from Jeff Kennett through to ACOSS through to senior economist and now ANU, have made it clear that our policy will not affect housing prices, that it's a sensible economic policy.

 

We know that the Government attacking us because they have run out of ideas. They actually don't know what they want to do Australia and the economy.

 

Only Labor is offering fully funded policies to make sure that we can grow jobs, that we have got real action for climate change through promoting renewable energy, that we properly fund our education system and our Medicare system and that we have fair taxation in this country. I want our children, the children of Australia to be able to grow up and afford to be able to buy a house not lose out because of some tax break because Malcolm Turnbull backing vested interest over the dreams of everyday Australians.

 

Last question?

 

Indeed it was, cheers.

 

ENDS

 

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