THURSDAY, 6 OCTOBER 2016
SUBJECTS: Ford closure; banking Royal Commission; Senator Brandis misleading Parliament; tender of Triple-0 service.
MARIA VAMVAKINOU, MEMBER FOR CALWELL: Good morning. I'm very pleased to welcome the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten today here in Broadmeadows ahead of the official closure of the Ford Motor Company tomorrow.
Our discussions in the global learning village today have been about the future of the manufacturing industry in Australia, also the future and job prospects of the community here in Broadmeadows and the northern suburbs of Melbourne. Bill thank you for coming out today, and I'd like to introduce Bill.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSTION: Thanks Maria. I think that it's important that I and members of the Labor team are here in Broadmeadows today. We've spent the morning talking about how to protect and maintain the jobs of working and middle class Australians. The people of the northern suburbs of Melbourne have made it clear that their priority is to protect and create jobs for them and their families.
If the protecting and saving of jobs is the number one priority of the people, then it's my number one priority.
Tomorrow, the unimaginable is happening. The last Ford Falcon to be built in Australia will roll off the assembly lines at Broadmeadows. It is the end of over half a century of proud Australian car manufacturing.
This week, there are 20 countries in the world who build cars from scratch. Next week there will only be 19. And those other 19 countries are not congratulating us on waving our car industry goodbye. They're laughing. Because they get to keep their jobs, and we're seeing upwards of 40,000 car manufacturing and auto-components supplier manufacturing jobs simply disappear.
And Mr Turnbull has had nothing to say about protecting blue collar, engineering, metal manufacturing, value adding manufacturing jobs in Australia.
Labor's got some sensible proposals on the table: tax cuts for small business who employ older workers, making sure that we encourage local manufacturing when there is a government, taxpayer-funded contract, making sure that we have local content gets the special attention it should get from the expenditure of Australian taxpayers.
And of course, we are committed to saving the Australian apprenticeship system, to putting our public TAFE back at the top where it once used to be, and cracking down on the local shonky private providers in vocational education.
What Australians have learnt about Malcolm Turnbull is that he will fight to protect the jobs of the CEOs of the big banks, or the founders of start-up companies, he just won't fight for the jobs of working class and middle class Australians.
Labor will stand up and put middle class and working class Australians at the front of the queue when it comes to jobs. And we look forward to working with affected communities to make sure they can rebuild and regroup after the loss of tens of thousands of jobs. Happy to take questions on this or other important matters.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, George Brandis denies he misled Parliament. Has Mark Dreyfus gone too far in calling for him to resign?
SHORTEN: This is a very grave matter, that George Brandis has misled Parliament. The Solicitor-General, the second-most senior law officer of the nation, has said in black and white that he wasn't consulted by the Attorney-General for the new legal services directions.
The Attorney-General has a completely contradictory version of events and he has said in Parliament, no less, that he did consult the Solicitor-General.
When you have the Attorney-General saying one thing and the Solicitor-General saying exactly the opposite, they both can't be correct.
Malcolm Turnbull previously has preached that politicians who mislead Parliament should quit. Will Malcolm Turnbull now practice what he preaches, or is Malcolm Turnbull so weak that he can't discipline a single member of his Government?
There are grave concerns that the Attorney-General has misled Parliament and the scandal will not stop until Mr Turnbull shows some action.
JOURNALIST: Just back on Ford, the company's had a fair bit of taxpayer funding over the years, should they hand back the Broadmeadows site to the community for use and development?
SHORTEN: Well, Ford is going to keep some operations in Australia. It's going to be one of three global hubs for design, and there will still be 1,500 people employed at Ford.
But I think that if there are assets which Ford has, I think it is most important that they sit down and constructively talk with the community, with government, on how we can use these assets, which in part are the product of the investment of Australian taxpayers.
How do we make sure that we've got TAFE to retrain our adult workers? How do we make sure that we use these facilities to get the best interests of this community?
Ford may be leaving the community. The Turnbull Government may not know where Broadmeadows is. But Labor thinks that Broadmeadows deserves better.
JOURNALIST: What are you calling on the Federal Government to do to support these workers?
SHORTEN: I think they need to do more in automotive transition. Some supplier companies, component suppliers, have successfully got themselves into the Ford global supply chain, so that's good.
Other automotive companies, because they've got a great skillset of manufacturing, are now moving into other sectors of manufacturing industry using their skills.
I think that the Turnbull Government needs to do more to help our small and medium-sized manufacturing businesses transition to find new markets.
I think the Turnbull Government needs to prioritise the employment of Aussie apprenticeships on the big infrastructure projects. And I certainly believe that when they're spending scarce and important taxpayer dollars on infrastructure, they should do a lot more to encourage local components being purchased.
In Victoria, the Andrews Government is using a lot of Australian made steel on the level crossings. We need that sort of common sense to be demonstrated by the Turnbull government.
The problem is that when it comes to blue collar workers, engineering, manufacturing, Made in Australia campaigns, the Turnbull Government is missing in action.
Malcolm Turnbull will fight to save the jobs of the top CEOs of the big four banks, he just won't fight to save the jobs of middle class and working class Australians.
JOURNALIST: The Government's looking to put out a tender for the triple-0 service, Telstra's had it for a while, they're looking to modernise it. Do you that's an issue at all?
SHORTEN: Well I think it's a process, 2016, to make sure that Telstra's doing the job properly.
For Labor what matters is making sure we have a triple-0 service which provides safety for Australians. We just want to make sure that the service is working in the interests of Australians.
We are very fortunate with some of the emergency response systems we've got in Australia. For me, what matters is that the triple-0 system is working and when people call it they get a speedy response. That's what matters.
I might just say in closing, I notice again today that the third of the big four banking CEOs, has engaged now in a sort of ritual 'I'm very sorry for all the problems that my bank has caused the customers'.
I think it's pretty telling. Malcolm Turnbull and the big four banks want at the end of this week to go back to business as usual.
You see Government members of Mr Turnbull's whitewash committee asking spoon feed questions to the banking CEOs, and it almost seems like the bank CEOs have written off a script written by Mr Turnbull.
They turn up, they say we're very sorry to all the customers and by the way, at the end of this inquiry I suspect they also want to say we want to get back to business as usual, you've taken up enough of our valuable time.
If all of the bank CEOs are saying sorry for all the things they have done, doesn't that just prove what Labor has been saying, that there is a genuine problem in our banking sector?
If all of these bank see CEOs keep saying we’re sorry, we stuffed up, we've got it wrong, we've caused problems to thousands of our customers, haven't they just made the final argument in favour of a banking Royal Commission?
Why is Mr Turnbull so determined to prevent the scrutiny of the public through a Royal Commission, no less, on our banking sector?
Labor wants a strong banking sector, we want a profitable banking sector, but we want an honest and ethical banking sector which prioritises its customer and the service to customers.
We want a banking sector which understands that charging 18 and 20 per cent on your credit cards, when the cash rate of money is 1.5 per cent, isn't good enough.
We want them to understand that over the last few years tens of thousands of people, many people in their 50s and 60s, many of them in small business, worked hard their whole life, they go down on bank plans to invest, and then they wake up finding out that the money's not there and that they're in financial debt and they have to start again.
Sorry doesn't cut it. Nothing less than a Royal Commission cuts it.
Malcolm Turnbull's got to stop protecting the banks. Listen to the people of Australia, Malcolm. Give the people of Australia what they want, which is a Royal Commission to improve our banking sector.