SATURDAY, 30 APRIL 2016
SUBJECT/S: Labor’s positive plans for Australia; Budget; Infrastructure; Penalty Rates; Kidman & Co
PETA MURPHY, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR DUNKLEY: My name is Peta Murphy. I am the Labor candidate for Dunkley and it is terrific to have Bill Shorten down here again. It's a wonderful opportunity for locals to be able to hear about Labor's positive policies and to be able to speak to Bill, ask questions about what matters and hear the important answers. Thank you very much for being here yet again.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good afternoon everybody. I've got 250 people waiting so I'll be able to take a few questions but not too many.
This is my 25th town hall meeting. All over Australia I've had the privilege of listening to thousands and thousands of Australians talk about what they want to see at the next election and more importantly, the next 10 years. Labor has got positive plans for decent jobs, defending Medicare, where it's your Medicare card not your credit card that determines the level of healthcare you get, properly funded schools, TAFE and universities, real action on climate change by prioritising in particular renewable energy, and a fair taxation system which keeps alive the dream that our young ones will be able to buy their first home and will compete on a level playing field with property speculators rather than what currently happens. Labor has got positive plans, by contrast Mr Turnbull and Mr Morrison, they're engaging in last minute proposals for their Budget. What this Government needs to remember is that a Government who picks the pockets of Australians every day for three years and then hopes that at the last minutes to throw a few dollars at Australians just so all is forgiven, Australians are onto that trick and it is not going to work.
We're happy to take questions before I go in and take questions from the public.
JOURNALIST: Just your reaction to the announcement about the income tax changes?
SHORTEN: Well, Mr Turnbull hopes that people will forget that his Government has been picking the pockets of Australians every day for three years. Now, at the last minute, the day before an election, hopes to throw a few dollars and that everything will be forgotten and forgiven. It doesn't work that way and it won't happen for this Government.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, the Liberal candidate for Dunkley said he wanted money into transport infrastructure, such as trains from Frankston, Frankston South back to Baxter and Mornington. Will you be willing to fund the infrastructure if you win this election?
SHORTEN: Only Labor has got proposal to support public transport, not only in the Frankston and the southern suburbs, but right throughout Melbourne. For the last three years, Mr Abbott and his Liberals team, now Mr Turnbull, have not invested in public transport. Anyone who knows the southern suburbs of Melbourne, and I do, I've lived in Melbourne all of my life, appreciates that if we want to have less congested roads than we have got to have better trains. The candidate for Dunkley, Peta Murphy has been lobbying heavily, and we will have more to say in coming days, about the electrification between Baxter and Frankston. Labor is very interested in the plans of the State Government for the rebuilding and regeneration of the station in Frankston. We see good opportunity there, not only to improve public transport, not only to provide alternative to traffic congestion, but to also create more jobs in the Dunkley electorate.
JOURNALIST: Just on penalty rates, why is Brendan O'Connor promising to intervene in the FairWork Commission's deliberations and make a further submission to the commission?
SHORTEN: Because I asked him too. The fact of the matter is that Labor is the only Party you can trust to protect penalty rates. We've put in a submission to the review of penalty rates, supporting the retention of our penalty rates system. The Liberal Government has endorsed the Productivity Commission's recommendations to take the wrecking ball to people's penalty rates. 4.5 million of our fellow Australians rely upon penalty rates when they work the unsociable hours, they do the work that at times allows our community to have the quality of life that it enjoys from emergency services, right through the health system, right through to retail and hospitality. What we have said is that after the election, but before the review is concluded, if we are elected, my Government will intervene in the penalty rates case to make it very clear that the Government of Australia supports low-paid workers and that we will be supporting the proposition of retaining our penalty rates structure.
Last question if there is one.
JOURNALIST: Just your thoughts on the Kidman cattle station situation?
SHORTEN: Well this Government is sending so many mixed messages to people in Asia about whether or not we want foreign investment, it is bewildering. The truth of the matter is the Government was totally asleep at the wheel when they leased out the Port of Darwin forever in a day to Chinese interests without proper due diligence. Now on the Kidman, they have ricocheted back the other way. Does anyone seriously believe, that this Liberal Government would have given it a second thought to Kidman property if it weren't looking down the barrel of an election? This is a Government for whom politics always trumps policy.
For me, what I am interested in is jobs. I am interested in public transport creating jobs in this area. I am interested in renewable energy creating jobs throughout Australia. I am interested in making sure when people go to work, they get paid penalty rates. I am interested in properly funding our hospitals and schools and supporting the jobs of our teachers and our nurses and our doctors. Labor has a consistent set of policies. This Government only makes decisions when they are under the pressure of an election. The day after this election, if Mr Turnbull is re-elected, the 15 per cent GST will be back on the table. His view that the Federal Government, in an ideal world, shouldn't be funding public schools at the state level will be back on the table. His view that he stated only a month ago that he thought states should have the power to levy a second round of income taxes on Australians, will be back on the table. What Mr Turnbull is hoping to do, with his Budget and his proposed income tax cuts, is after spending three years, every day of cutting services to Australians, he is hoping he can splash the cash, a few dollars here, a few dollars there, that people will forget all of the last bad three years. Well, it doesn't work that way. Australians are on to Mr Turnbull and Liberal promises at the last minute. It's not good enough.
Thanks everyone, I'll see you in the town hall.