TUESDAY, 14 FEBRUARY 2017
SUBJECT/S: Turnbull Governments unfair cuts; Closing the Gap; US/Australia refugee deal
JOURNALIST: What do you make of Senator Xenophon's decision not to back the Omnibus Bill?
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Fantastic news. The idea that the only way you can fun childcare improvements is to take money off parents of older children is obnoxious and abhorrent. You can't rob Peter to pay Paul. This was a con job which does nothing to help families, when 1.5 million Australian families are seeing a reduction in their family payments, that's out of touch, it doesn't help anyone and their living standards.
JOURNALIST: So where to from here, what would be the best case scenario?
SHORTEN: I think the Government should drop their cuts to family payments. We're not saying that improvements to childcare aren't worth negotiating over. But the number of hours they are proposing is insufficient, they're doing nothing to help Indigenous kids but when you tie the childcare changes to massive cuts to pensioners, reducing their energy supplements, to make young unemployed people wait a lot longer before they get any money at all. To requiring 1.5 million families to see a reduction in their payments, at the same time, what the Government should do, if they want to actually help families, help childcare and help build a bit of confidence back in the community, drop the $50 billion corporate tax cuts. Australia can't afford to give $50 billion in corporate tax cuts when we're damaging pensioners and we're damaging low income families. We've got to make a choice, and Mr Turnbull has to make a choice, do you try and drive the economy and improve the society and the direction of the nation by giving $50 billion in corporate cuts or do you actually stand up for families? Labor stands on the side of families and pensioners and we don't believe this is the right time for $50 billion in corporate tax cuts.
JOURNALIST: Do you agree with Kevin Rudd's assessment that we could be heading towards a second stolen generation with the number of indigenous children [inaudible]
SHORTEN: I have spoken now for a couple of years about the worrying trend that we see aboriginal kids be taken out of homes, that we're seeing young aboriginals far more likely to be put into jail than non-Aboriginal Australians. We've got to have a better justice system and a better system of care where the default position isn't to send people based on their skin colour to jail. It's as simple as that. Your skin colour in this country should not be a predictor to be more likely to end up in jail. It is wrong that an 18 year old Aboriginal man is more likely to go to jail than to go to university and we need to improve our justice system and we do need to, as Kevin has said, make sure we're not slipping into a situation where we start taking so many kids away from their families that just disrupts their whole lives.
JOURNALIST: What do you make of reports that US authorities will be on Manus Island this week starting the resettlement process?
SHORTEN: I sincerely hope that the refugee deal goes ahead. I'm interested to see if the Prime Minister or his office have had any subsequent contact with President Trump or his office. But on this matter, Labor is as committed as the conservatives to making sure that we resolve this situation with so many of those people on Manus and Nauru.