FRIDAY, 6 MAY 2016
SUBJECT/S: Budget Reply; Malcolm Turnbull’s Budget for big business over battlers.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning. Last night, in the address in reply, I outlined Labor's positive plans for Australia; jobs, health care, education, real action on renewable energy and climate change, fair taxation, encouraging greater housing affordability, the equal treatment of women. Last night, I outlined a positive plan which is fully funded which is in big contrast to Mr Turnbull. This Budget, and indeed this election, is about choices. Mr Turnbull's chosen to back in the big end of town, large corporations with tax cuts, providing tax cuts also for high net-worth individuals - on the same token, we see people, everyday people on average wages receiving absolutely no relief and still facing the same swinging cuts in schools, hospital funding, pensions that Mr Abbott was pursuing, Mr Turnbull simply picked up and repeated.
I am happy to take a couple questions.
JOURNALIST: We are likely to see Treasury officials today outline the final cost, the 10 year cost, of the company tax cuts. $48 billion is the figure we've heard this morning. What do you make of that?
SHORTEN: Mr Turnbull told a blatant political lie yesterday when he said the Treasury hadn't worked out the cost of that item. The Prime Minister of Australia looked down the barrel of the camera and he lied to Australians about whether or not Treasury had costed his expensive plan to give tax cuts to multinationals. Less than 24 hours later, Treasury is now producing costings which Mr Turnbull said did not exist yesterday. That is absolutely, absolutely very poor conduct by Mr Turnbull.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, last night you said you would protect Medicare. What does that mean? It is already legislated and you would be in Government, so why would you need to do that [inaudible]?
SHORTEN: What Australians want is they want to see the best quality healthcare system in the world. They want to make sure that in Australia, we have a Medicare system where it is your Medicare card, not your credit card that determines the quality of your healthcare. We will would, within the first 100 days, amend legislation to state the objective of keeping Medicare in public hands. In perpetuity.
JOURNALIST: So it's just an aspiration, that's it? You're legislating an aspiration?
SHORTEN: No, what we are doing is we're standing up for Medicare. We are not interested in Mr Turnbull $5 million secret task force to look at privatising parts of the Medicare system. We are determined, we are determined to keep putting pressure on this Government to maintain bulk-billing for pathology and diagnostic imaging services. We are appalled that Mr Turnbull is making GPs, the front-line of our healthcare system in Australia, that they are basically forcing GPs to introduce a co-payment, or a GP Tax by the backdoor. Medicare is a community standard. It's the standard in many ways by which Australia judges itself. Only Labor, be it objectives in legislation, be it in our practical actions working with GPs, be it in practical actions of supporting bulk-billing, be it in our trenchant opposition of the privatisation of any part of Medicare, only Labor can be trusted with Medicare and the health of Australians.