FRIDAY, 22 JUNE 2018
SUBJECTS: Labor’s $20 million commitment for Moreton Bay uni campus; income tax cuts; Labor’s bigger, better, fairer tax cuts; One Nation selling out Queensland on GST; Jacinda Ardern.
SUSAN LAMB, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR LONGMAN: Welcome everybody, welcome to the Moreton Bay region, home to 438,000 people, it's a place we call home, it's a place we love. But the reality is that for far too long the future for students in the Moreton Bay region has been compromised, it's been compromised simply by the availability of a university right here in their back yard. But most recently too we've had a further compromised position by the Turnbull Government cutting $2.2 billion from university funding. Well today I'm here with the other champions of the Moreton Bay region, the candidate for Petrie, Corinne Mulholland, and the candidate for Dickson, Ali France, together here to announce a wonderful commitment from Labor around local jobs and of course around having a world class university right here in Moreton Bay on our doorstep. And I'm really pleased to have both Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek here today to make this wonderful announcement for our families, our students and their future in the Moreton Bay region. Welcome Tanya and Bill.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good afternoon everybody, it's fantastic to be here at the site of the old Petrie mill, announcing a great future for the University of the Sunshine Coast, but more importantly great news for the young people of the Moreton Bay region. Labor is pleased to announce that we will invest $50 million in a super-laboratory which will be constructed behind me, which will provide marvellous opportunities for a region of Australia, the northern suburbs of Brisbane, who haven't been getting their fair share of access to university. I'm also pleased that not only are we announcing $50 million for a super-laboratory, a marvellous seven storey building, but this will deliver 1500 construction jobs. What we'll also be doing, is because of Labor's fair policy to uncap access to university places, this means that the University of the Sunshine Coast will probably receive in the vincinity of an extra $70 million to provide university places for at least 3500 students. The reason why Labor is doing this is because we want to give our young people the best chance in life.
My wife Chloe who is accompanying me today, she and I want the best for our kids, but we actually, and Labor wants the best for everyone's kids. And we think that access to quality education is fundamental to giving the kids the best future. It's why we are reversing the cuts to schools throughout Queensland. It's why we are standing up for apprenticeships right through the Queensland TAFE, and it is why we're going to invest in providing thousands of extra places for young Queenslanders to be able to go to university. I'd now like to invite Tanya Plibersek to talk more about our exciting announcement, and our future for giving young people in the north and the northern suburbs of Brisbane and the Moreton Bay area the best chance in life.
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks Bill. It's great to be here with my friend and colleague Susan Lamb, the candidate for Longman, with Corinne Mulholland and Ali France and also with local mayor Alan Sutherland because today is a really exciting day. This is a $120 million announcement, a $50 million new super laboratory for the University of the Sunshine Coast Moreton Bay campus, and $70 million for extra university places. That's designed to pay for the first thousands of students that will be on this campus but, as Bill has pointed out, Labor's policy is uncapped university places so every young person who works hard, who wants to go to university, there will be a place there for them. Labor values education. What we've said is that this Moreton Bay region will receive millions of dollars extra in school funding from Labor. We will reverse every dollar of the $17 billion cut by the Turnbull Government from our schools. We've said the Moreton Bay region will receive hundreds of extra fee-free TAFE places if Labor is elected. And today we are making this vital announcement for the University of the Sunshine Coast Moreton Bay campus.
It means that under Labor, kids will get a better school education and they'll have the opportunity to go to TAFE or university when they finish school. We know this Moreton Bay region is a great place to live and to work and we want it to be a better place to study too, because when you look around Australia, this area has one of the lowest rates of kids going on to university of any part of Australia, and it's not because the kids here aren't clever, it's not because they don't want to go to TAFE or university, it's because they have to travel so far to get a university education, that it is a barrier for a lot of them.
So this new campus will mean thousands of students will be able to come from the Moreton Bay region and because it is right next door to the train station, they will be coming from Caboolture and as far away as perhaps Brisbane instead of travelling from this region into Brisbane, perhaps they'll be travelling the other way. We want to give those young people the opportunity of doing the jobs of the future because we know in years to come, most of the new jobs that are being created will need a TAFE education or university education after school. We want to give kids locally that opportunity.
Labor will always invest in education. If you want a candidate that cares about education, you have to vote for Susan Lamb. The Liberals in Canberra have cut education funding. Susan stands against that. The LNP, when they were last in government here in Queensland, they cut education funding. Susan's opponent was part of Campbell Newman's government that took the scissors to education funding here in Queensland. If you don't want to see that repeated, you have to vote Labor. Because it's only Labor that invests in schools, in unis, in TAFE, in better health services, making sure that people get penalty rates and decent pay increases. And it's only Labor that supports millions of Australians getting a bigger tax cut. This week, Malcolm Turnbull voted himself a $7,000 a year tax cut, and a $10 a week tax cut for most of the people that live in the electorate of Longman. It's not fair, it's not just, and now you can hear from some of our other speakers.
SHORTEN: Perhaps we might ask the Mayor Allan Sutherland who has been a leading proponent of this project along with Susan Lamb, to talk a bit about the vision for this marvellous part of Australia.
MAYOR SUTHERLAND: Thanks very much. Well this announcement today is all about uncapping the aspirations of thousands of kids in Moreton Bay. For too long now the students of Moreton Bay just haven't had the opportunity, in fact the statistic that's well hidden is we have the worst attendance rate of universities of any region our size in Australia, 13 per cent. We have half of the average participation rate of universities here in Moreton Bay. And as I said before it's not because our kids aren't bright enough, it is because they haven't got the opportunity and they haven't got the opportunity through no fault of their own. So this university is about giving hope to all of the kids in Moreton Bay that they may have the education that many other Australians achieve right throughout this great nation. I'd like to thank everybody that's been involved in helping put this campus together and as you can see behind us, that is the start of the future of the university in this region that will uncap the aspirations of many thousands of kids in Moreton Bay.
SHORTEN: Thank you very much. Are there questions?
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, are you still confident that you're going to win Longman?
SHORTEN: Well I think Susan can also answer this question. I believe we've got the best candidate running in Longman, and I think we've got the best policies for the people who live in Longman. You know, a lot of people think about politics, it's just people; politics is just all played out in Canberra. But Susan has got her feet on the ground here. She has worked so hard for today's announcement, it's breathtaking. She and Corinne have worked very hard with Ali to draw our attention - Tanya and my attention to the work of the council and the university. This is what you want, you want someone who has got an aspiration for kids, working class kids in Longman, not an aspiration to give millionaires a tax cut. Susan is the candidate who is going to help restore the funding to the Caboolture Hospital. Susan is the candidate who wants to see apprenticeships being available again, and not just a thing of the past. Susan is the candidate who wants to make sure that people can afford to go and see the doctor when they're sick and it's not dependent upon their credit card. Susan is the candidate who wants to put funding back into our schools. So it's a tough battle, but we've got the best candidate with the best policies, so we're very competitive.
JOURNALIST: The Prime Minister says there was no deal done with One Nation to secure its support for the income tax plan. Do you believe the Prime Minister or is he lying?
SHORTEN: I think these days it's very hard to tell the One Nation party apart from the LNP. I understand that One Nation this year has voted just about 100 per cent of time with the government. So whether or not Mr Turnbull has managed to con One Nation into voting for tax cuts for millionaires, only One Nation can answer if they even got anything in return for that. But we're going to a deeper issue here about the legislation which has just passed in tax scales. I have a couple of observations. Labor values the aspiration to see kids being able to go to university, the government values the aspiration to give tax cuts to surgeons and to barristers and to bankers. It's all about priorities. But I also have to say that an element which Mr Turnbull hasn't given a guarantee on is, he cannot predict - and no responsible government could predict with any certainty the economic circumstances that Australia will be in, in seven years’ time. I mean this government to be fair can't even get their forecasts on wages right for one year to the next. I mean fundamentally these tax cuts in seven years’ time are a massive political joke. And I think it's long overdue for Mr Turnbull to front up and say does he guarantee that he can predict what the Australian economy will look like in seven years. And I’d say to the media and the commentators, you need to ask the Prime Minister this question. Can he guarantee that he knows what the economy will be like in seven years’ time, because if he can't guarantee that, how on earth can he guarantee these tax scales?
JOURNALIST: Can you guarantee what the economy will be like in seven years’ time?
SHORTEN: I'm not handing away $140 billion am I?
JOURNALIST: But can you guarantee what it will look like?
SHORTEN: I don't think any responsible government can make complete forecasts about seven years’ time, that's one of the reasons why Labor thinks these tax cuts in seven years’ time are a complete joke. It really doesn't actually require a PHD in logic to understand if none of us can guarantee what the economy looks like in seven years’ time. If you've got a government with its poor record of budget forecasts from year to year, how on earth does Mr Turnbull expect people to believe, and how could a responsible government more importantly, expect anyone to believe these tax cuts, and these tax scales can be honoured. You can't know what final numbers are going to be in seven years’ time, yet this government has locked us in to $140 billion on the national credit card. And it's not just that, next week Mr Turnbull wants everyone to come to Canberra, to vote for massive corporate tax cuts. It wasn't so long ago, about three or four months ago, that the government said they needed to increase the Medicare Levy because they couldn't pay for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Somewhat miraculously in the last three months this government wants to give $140 billion away in tax scales, predominantly to the top end, wants to give $80 billion away. This government is now awash with cash. The reality is, this government will say anything in order to get through the next election, the problem is that they can't guarantee the promises they're making.
JOURNALIST: Just also, Pauline Hanson has said in Western Australia that she supports the call for a better GST deal for WA. Has she betrayed Queensland in your opinion?
SHORTEN: Goodness me, Pauline Hanson I understood was the Senator for Queensland, but now she looks like she wants to be the Senator for Western Australia. The reality is that people who are just promising that you can rob one state and give it to another state do no one any favours. The best way to make sure that states get their fair share is to properly manage the budget, instead of giving $80 billion away, $17 billion to the big banks. At the end of the day what Australians want to know is what's going to happen in the near future, are we going to - can we properly fund our schools, can we properly fund our hospitals. They don't want to see promises being made on the never-never in seven years’ time and they certainly don't want to see Queensland suffering a hit in terms of its revenue, just so that Senator Hanson can chase a few votes in Western Australia.
JOURNALIST: Labor has responded with its own phase one tax cuts, are you looking at something for phase two?
SHORTEN: Well for 70 per cent of Australians our bigger, better, fairer tax cut is actually bigger, better and fairer. There's no doubt about that, 10 million Australians. I know people get sick of the to and fro between us and the government. They say can't they just agree on the same set of facts? Well the facts which are unarguable are this, if you're an age care worker, if you're one of the civil construction workers here, if you're one of the excavator drivers we've met, if you're one of the child care workers in the local area, the reality is that Labor will provide, because of our sensible economic reforms, nearly $1000 tax refund every year going forwards. That means within the next four years if Labor wins the next election something like 1.9 million Queenslanders will be about $3000 better off.
Now that's real money and that's within the four years, that's sort of pretty predictable and that can be demonstrated how we pay for that. So I'm disappointed that Queenslanders have been short changed by the government but I think it's a deeper challenge in Australia. It is a question of your morality. Mr Turnbull's morality is - and he believes it, to be fair, that if you look after the top end of town, the big multinationals, the big corporations, he genuinely believes if you do that then that'll look after everyone else. I have a different set of values. I think if we can build this $50 million super laboratory seven storeys high, 15,000 construction jobs, then a region of Australia which has a very low participation rate in going to university, then all those young kids can get ahead. I mean imagine all the other jobs that'll get attracted to this precinct once we've got we've got the university. Universities are job multipliers, so there's ongoing jobs beyond construction. But I think fundamentally it's all about values, I would rather see scarce taxpayer dollars - important tax payer dollars being spent on giving literally thousands of kids a better chance to go to university or to TAFE, to make sure they're properly funded at school, than I want to hand all my money to the top end of town.
JOURNALIST: So just back to the heart of the question, will Labor outline anymore income tax plans in the lead up to the next election?
SHORTEN: Well we've outlined our policies for the next election and for our first term. What we will do if we get elected in our first term is work upon further tax policies, if we get a second term. But what I'm not going to do is sell people a dodgy promise, a dodgy cheque which can't be cashed for seven years and in all likelihood Mr Turnbull won't be around to have to pay for his forecasts and his promises. So I think what people believe is what they see in front of them. Our policy unequivocal - 10 million Aussies, if you earn up to $125,000 you're going to get almost double what the government has given you. If we get elected in our first term it means that for the construction workers we've spoken to here, perhaps they've got a partner who works in the healthcare system, they'll be about $6,000 better off in the first three years of a Labor government, and then in the first term we'll work on further policies. But I return to that point I made earlier. No responsible government can guarantee the economic circumstances that Australia will confront in seven years. So no responsible government would be writing $140 billion cheques on the national credit card, would be writing $80 billion commitments on the national credit card, seven years out. That is irresponsible, frankly, it's a political joke.
JOURNALIST: I believe though while you're in Brisbane you'll be meeting with Annastacia Palaszczuk. Do you think it's important for the state Labor Government to actually articulate how it plans to pay down the state’s debt which is forecast to grow to $83 billion by 2023. Do you think it should be a priority of the Palaszczuk Government?
SHORTEN: I'm running for Prime Minister, I'm not running for Premier of Queensland and by the way, I think you've got a Premier who's doing a very good job. When you look at her record of real achievement of schools and hospitals, in job creation in the regions of Queensland. I think she's doing a tip-top job. I am looking forward to meeting with her, we've got policies which people like Susan Lamb, running for Longman have contributed to, and we'll be listening to Anastacia's views. I mean the reality is the way you get things done in this country and indeed in life, in business, in anything is you sit down and you listen to people, you don't lecture them. I come to Queensland, I'm here to listen and to learn and to see what we can do to help 1.9 million Queenslanders get a fair dinkum tax refund and how we can help tens of thousands of kids in Longman and Petrie and Dickson and the northern suburbs of Brisbane to get a proper chance, to get a chance to go to university.
JOURNALIST: Just on Jacinda Ardern.
SHORTEN: Oh yes.
JOURNALIST: Have you spoken to the New Zealand Prime Minister since she gave birth yesterday?
SHORTEN: I haven't yet. Chloe and I have sent her a congratulatory message. I think Jacinda Ardern is a role model for young women, not just in New Zealand but right across the world. So we congratulate her and Clarke, and I think it's fantastic news. She really is doing a great job.