Bill's Transcripts

Doorstop: Yeppoon - Tony Abbott’s plans for $100,000 degrees; Tony Abbott’s broken promise on university funding

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
DOORSTOP INTERVIEW
YEPPOON
WEDNESDAY, 21 JANUARY 2015

SUBJECT/S: Tony Abbott’s plans for $100,000 degrees; Tony Abbott’s broken promise on university funding; Queensland state election; Tony Abbott in witness protection; Tony Abbott’s broken promise on the Renewable Energy Target.

BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning everyone. It’s fantastic to be here in Yeppoon, in the electorate of Keppel with Labor’s standout candidate Brittany Lauga. This is the 27th electorate I’ve visited in the Queensland election. It’s been a fantastic opportunity for me to travel around all parts of Queensland to hear the issues that matter to Queenslanders at a time when Queenslanders are more engaged with politics in the lead up to January the 31st. What’s clear though walking around the streets of Yeppoon or Rockhampton or indeed Gladstone as I was yesterday, is that Australians and Queenslanders are concerned about where this country is going both at the state and national level. When it comes to the key issues, the quality of our healthcare, hospitals, waiting lists, access to doctors, the quality of our education system, our schools, our TAFE and our universities and of course the all-important issue of jobs is on peoples’ minds.

This morning I had a wonderful conversation with a family who were supporting their daughter, in fifth year law school in Brisbane and they’re really concerned and upset at what’s going on in higher education and their concerns were not eased by this morning reports that the Abbott Government and the hapless Minister for Education Christopher Pyne are engaged in another round of dysfunction, chaos and kite flying. Ever since this Government got elected, the Abbott Government, they’ve been determined to increase the price of going to university, decrease the number of opportunities for kids from modest backgrounds to go to universities. This is not reform. The Labor I lead believes that access to education shouldn’t depend upon the wealth of your parents, it should depend on how hard you work at school and the merit of your case, not based on the wealth of your parents.

So we call upon the Abbott Government: stop messing with the higher education system in Australia, go back to square one. We do not have time in this country - especially when you’re seeing a downturn in the mining industry, the need for greater diversification for the investment in people - this nation does not have time for the extreme ideological games of the Abbott Government. We do not want under any set of circumstances $100,000 degrees. We do not believe that students should be paying two times and three times as much to go to university. The Abbott Government needs to work with the Opposition, work with students, work with parents, work with higher education. Let’s work together to work out the future of higher education rather than simply try and confect a crisis which sees students paying more to go to university, much more to go to university, and fewer opportunities for kids from ordinary, everyday Australian backgrounds.

I might ask Brittany to make a few comments about the election and the issues she’s seeing. I’d be happy to take questions.

BRITTANY LAUGA, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR KEPPEL: Good morning. I’m delighted to be here today with our Federal Labor Leader Bill Shorten here in Yeppoon, talking to people out on the streets about the issues that matter most to them in this election. Now I can tell you after 14 months of knocking on doors, on talking to people every day, the things that matter most to the people that I speak to are jobs, health and education. And I’m delighted to have Bill here today, our Federal Labor leader, to say that jobs, health and education is important to Labor at a state and a federal level.

People are concerned about the amount of time that their children in the classrooms are spending with teachers. People are concerned about whether when they go to hospital when they’re sick that they’re going to be treated. People are concerned about the quality of education that their children are receiving. I’m delighted to have Bill here today and I’m sure that he’d be happy to take your questions.

SHORTEN: Thanks Brittany, are there any questions?

JOURNALIST: Would you support uni fee deregulation if the government abandoned the 20 per cent funding cut for universities?

SHORTEN: Yet again this dysfunctional Abbott Government is starting 2015 the way they started 2014. We’ve got mixed messages, we’ve got kite flying, we’ve got thought bubbles. We’ve got the left hand not knowing what the right hand’s doing and in the meantime students and parents are left in the dark. Our principle on higher education is very straight forward: we want to see the opportunity for more kids to go to university, for more adults to go to university and we want to see prices go down, not up. Reform is not seeing prices go up and opportunities for people to go into higher education go down. We believe that the Government should go back to square one because we’ve wasted nearly a year and a half, over 500 days on this frolic of the Abbott Government making higher education more expensive for kids from ordinary backgrounds.

JOURNALIST: But would you support deregulation without the 20 per cent funding cut?

SHORTEN: Again, you’re asking me do I support the Abbott Government's flying kites. My answer to this is unequivocal and it’s clear: Labor believes what reform is, is lowering the cost to go university and providing opportunities for more people to better themselves through higher education and TAFE training. The Abbott Government reforms do not pass this test.

JOURNALIST: Do you support a root and branch inquiry of the higher education sector?

SHORTEN: We’re certainly open to working through an independent process to look at the future of higher education. Labor did that when they were last in power but what I think we definitely need is for the Minister for Education and Tony Abbott to stop acting like they’re the experts and everyone else is silly. What we believe is that reform is not costing more to go to university and making it harder for more people to have the opportunity to go to university or get TAFE training.

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

DOORSTOP INTERVIEW
YEPPOON


WEDNESDAY, 21 JANUARY 2015

 

SUBJECT/S: Tony Abbott’s plans for $100,000 degrees; Tony Abbott’s broken promise on university funding; Queensland state election; Tony Abbott in witness protection; Tony Abbott’s broken promise on the Renewable Energy Target.

 

BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning everyone. It’s fantastic to be here in Yeppoon, in the electorate of Keppel with Labor’s standout candidate Brittany Lauga. This is the 27th electorate I’ve visited in the Queensland election. It’s been a fantastic opportunity for me to travel around all parts of Queensland to hear the issues that matter to Queenslanders at a time when Queenslanders are more engaged with politics in the lead up to January the 31st. What’s clear though walking around the streets of Yeppoon or Rockhampton or indeed Gladstone as I was yesterday, is that Australians and Queenslanders are concerned about where this country is going both at the state and national level. When it comes to the key issues, the quality of our healthcare, hospitals, waiting lists, access to doctors, the quality of our education system, our schools, our TAFE and our universities and of course the all-important issue of jobs is on peoples’ minds.

 

This morning I had a wonderful conversation with a family who were supporting their daughter, in fifth year law school in Brisbane and they’re really concerned and upset at what’s going on in higher education and their concerns were not eased by this morning reports that the Abbott Government and the hapless Minister for Education Christopher Pyne are engaged in another round of dysfunction, chaos and kite flying. Ever since this Government got elected, the Abbott Government, they’ve been determined to increase the price of going to university, decrease the number of opportunities for kids from modest backgrounds to go to universities. This is not reform. The Labor I lead believes that access to education shouldn’t depend upon the wealth of your parents, it should depend on how hard you work at school and the merit of your case, not based on the wealth of your parents.

 

So we call upon the Abbott Government: stop messing with the higher education system in Australia, go back to square one. We do not have time in this country - especially when you’re seeing a downturn in the mining industry, the need for greater diversification for the investment in people - this nation does not have time for the extreme ideological games of the Abbott Government. We do not want under any set of circumstances $100,000 degrees. We do not believe that students should be paying two times and three times as much to go to university. The Abbott Government needs to work with the Opposition, work with students, work with parents, work with higher education. Let’s work together to work out the future of higher education rather than simply try and confect a crisis which sees students paying more to go to university, much more to go to university, and fewer opportunities for kids from ordinary, everyday Australian backgrounds.

 

I might ask Brittany to make a few comments about the election and the issues she’s seeing. I’d be happy to take questions.

 

BRITTANY LAUGA, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR KEPPEL: Good morning. I’m delighted to be here today with our Federal Labor Leader Bill Shorten here in Yeppoon, talking to people out on the streets about the issues that matter most to them in this election. Now I can tell you after 14 months of knocking on doors, on talking to people every day, the things that matter most to the people that I speak to are jobs, health and education. And I’m delighted to have Bill here today, our Federal Labor leader, to say that jobs, health and education is important to Labor at a state and a federal level.

 

People are concerned about the amount of time that their children in the classrooms are spending with teachers. People are concerned about whether when they go to hospital when they’re sick that they’re going to be treated. People are concerned about the quality of education that their children are receiving. I’m delighted to have Bill here today and I’m sure that he’d be happy to take your questions.

 

SHORTEN: Thanks Brittany, are there any questions?

 

JOURNALIST: Would you support uni fee deregulation if the government abandoned the 20 per cent funding cut for universities?

 

SHORTEN: Yet again this dysfunctional Abbott Government is starting 2015 the way they started 2014. We’ve got mixed messages, we’ve got kite flying, we’ve got thought bubbles. We’ve got the left hand not knowing what the right hand’s doing and in the meantime students and parents are left in the dark. Our principle on higher education is very straight forward: we want to see the opportunity for more kids to go to university, for more adults to go to university and we want to see prices go down, not up. Reform is not seeing prices go up and opportunities for people to go into higher education go down. We believe that the Government should go back to square one because we’ve wasted nearly a year and a half, over 500 days on this frolic of the Abbott Government making higher education more expensive for kids from ordinary backgrounds.

 

JOURNALIST: But would you support deregulation without the 20 per cent funding cut?

 

SHORTEN: Again, you’re asking me do I support the Abbott Government's flying kites. My answer to this is unequivocal and it’s clear: Labor believes what reform is, is lowering the cost to go university and providing opportunities for more people to better themselves through higher education and TAFE training. The Abbott Government reforms do not pass this test.

 

JOURNALIST: Do you support a root and branch inquiry of the higher education sector?

 

SHORTEN: We’re certainly open to working through an independent process to look at the future of higher education. Labor did that when they were last in power but what I think we definitely need is for the Minister for Education and Tony Abbott to stop acting like they’re the experts and everyone else is silly. What we believe is that reform is not costing more to go to university and making it harder for more people to have the opportunity to go to university or get TAFE training.

 

JOURNALIST: How will a Labor Government create jobs for Central Queensland as that’s a big issue here?

 

SHORTEN: Well the first thing I think to do is to help talk about creating jobs is that Tony Abbott needs to visit Queensland. We’ve now arrived at a situation where Tony Abbott is more likely to visit Greenland than Queensland, that’s not a job strategy for Central Queensland. What we see is that mining is coming off the boil. We believe, and I think it’s great we’ve got such an outstanding candidate like Brittany with a background in town planning and regional planning, that we need to diversify. Rockhampton, Yeppoon, this area of Capricornia has a remarkable opportunities from the meat works right through to education, diversification’s the key. But what is at the core of the future of this district and indeed, and dare I say it Queensland and Australia, is to invest in people.

 

Labor believes in growth, we believe in productivity, we believe in being smart and modern with a strong safety net. You’re not going to create jobs when you’re cutting hospital beds, when you’re defunding schools, when you’re making it harder for people to go to the doctor. What the Abbott Government doesn’t get, and indeed the Newman Government, is that they understand the price of everything and the value of nothing. When you just simply have a fire sale of assets, how do you do that when everyone knows that you have already pre-allocated the money from the asset sales to promises? This Newman fellow, he’s doing it all the wrong way round. What we need is invest in people, so the strategy for Central Queensland, and of course Brittany, I welcome her views on this too, it’s all about people. Diversify, invest, it’s all about education and that’s what this Government from higher education right through to schools, LNP, the Liberals they just don’t get it – they’re into cutting, slashing and sacking.

 

Brittany, do you have anything to say about diversification and jobs here?

 

LAUGA: Absolutely, this region as a whole – this region, our Central Queensland region has so many opportunities. We’re right here today on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef. I’ve visited the university, the meatworks; the diversity in this economy is amazing. We need to seize these opportunities, make sure we’re making smart decisions, thinking about the future. Where are the jobs of tomorrow coming? Not the jobs of yesterday. Let’s look at what we’ve got to use here in this region and use advantage of that, and that’s why we need a strong voice standing up for us saying let’s look into the future and let’s work for the jobs for tomorrow.

 

JOURNALIST: Where will you look Brittany for jobs?

 

LAUGA: Everywhere - where can we find more jobs? Goodness, that’s a great question. Let’s talk, let’s have a conversation – where are we going, what are we doing in this region, what can we use, where are the opportunities – let’s have that conversation and let’s work together to make sure that we can actually look for new jobs and new opportunities into  the future.

 

JOURNALIST: So the Queensland Resource’s Council, they’re saying that the ALP’s mining policies will cost jobs in Central Queensland, in the Galilee Basin, what do you make of those comments?

 

SHORTEN: Well we’ll just say to some of those commentators is this: mining is coming off the boil, oil commodities are down – that’s the biggest challenge in mining at the moment. We see though across mining towns across Queensland and also coastal towns where many fly-in, fly-out workers are, we see empty houses, we see people moving. What we have to do is make sure we have an economy resilient enough, as mining prices go down; people have the skills to be able to transfer into new opportunities. It all comes down to education, not just our young people, but education of adults, and that’s why making sure that we rescue the TAFE system is so important. But I’ll just make another point about jobs in Central Queensland: Brittany can get the Federal Leader of the Labor Party up here to talk about Yeppoon and Rockhampton; the LNP can’t get Abbott here. That’s a challenge. What you need is representatives who stand up.

 

There’s been a lot of play about State and Federal issues. This is a State Election, but Queenslanders are more sophisticated than simply saying it’s Campbell Newman or Tony Abbott. They’re interested in the issues; it’s not about the personalities. It’s about education, health, it’s about jobs. If you are discouraging sick people from going to the doctor, you have an impact upon the productivity of business. If you are not training enough people in the trades, you have an impact upon the opportunities and trade sectors when they expand to employ locals.

 

These are the challenges and Tony Abbott needs to come to Queensland, not hide from Queensland.

 

JOURNALIST: What’s happening with negotiations over the Renewable Energy Target?

 

SHORTEN: In terms of the Renewable Energy Target, the Abbott Government has been shameful in the way they have undermined confidence in this industry, which employs thousands of people and attracts billions of dollars in investment. The Abbott Government before the election said that they would be bipartisan with Labor. When they came in, they’ve done what they’ve done in so many other areas, they’ve ripped up their promises, they’ve lied, and now they’ve caused mass chaos and a flight of investment from Australia. What we say to the Abbott Government is: let’s work together on Renewable Energy, Labor’s got propositions on the table to help protect the trade exposed energy intensive industries, but other than that, let’s create certainty in the market.

 

The problem is the Abbott Government doesn’t get Climate Change. You couldn’t trust the LNP or the Abbott Government with the Barrier Reef, because the Abbott Government’s got a policy for climate sceptics, not for people who believe in Climate science. Last year, the warmest year on record, hottest year on record, what’s the Abbott Government spoken about that this year? They’ve trying to ignore these inconvenient truths. If you believe in maintaining a sustainable environment, we need a renewable energy industry, we need renewable energy investment, and that helps keep downward pressure on power prices which is important for the cost of living. The Abbott Government is dangerously derelict when it comes to protecting future generations by creating renewable energy and having sustainable policies on climate.

 

No further questions? Thanks everyone for being here.

 

ENDS

 

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