TUESDAY, 19 APRIL 2016
SUBJECT/S: Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal; Labor’s positive plans for the future of Australia; July 2 election
JOURNALIST: Michaela Cash has just said a vote for Labor is a vote for the RSRT. Will Labor reinstate the RSRT?
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: We'll have to see what we do but I can guarantee you that a vote for Labor is a vote for better safety on our roads. Owner drivers are the victims of low rates of pay in a very fragmented industry. The evidence shows that owner drivers get payed a lot less than employee drivers. The evidence shows that owner drivers have a system of remuneration which creates greater fatigue, which creates greater risks. 210 people died in heavy vehicle collisions last year. The national fatality rate in the heavy vehicle industry is 12 times the national average. Now, the Government likes to say that remuneration has nothing to do with safety but the evidence shows the exact opposite.
JOURNALIST: But do taxpayer funds - should they be used to pay for election advertising?
SHORTEN: I think that that Government - the Government is so dysfunctional. One, we've now seen drafts of their taxpayer funded ads which is disgraceful. Two, it's clearly been a leak from within the Liberal Party. So, even on day one of the 74 day election period Malcolm Turnbull can't even get that right. But all this proves to me is what Australians have suspected all along, that this is a Government who's not interested in running the government, they’re just interested in being in government. This is the real problem here, that they've taken their eye off the ball of jobs for Australians, properly funding our schools, reducing waiting times for vital elective surgery such as hip replacements and knees and cataracts. This Government needs to focus on the lives of everyday Australians not just on their own jobs.
JOURNALIST: Julie Bishop's gone out and tied you to the record of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, how do you separate your record from that of the Government who was so comprehensively beaten three years ago?
SHORTEN: This is a Government who was clearly much more comfortable being the opposition and in 74 days there's every chance they'll be the opposition again. What Australians want to hear is not the usual political clichés, they want to know what are the choices and the contrasts for them.
Now Labor has already this year, outlined $105 billion of improvements to the Budget bottom line. This - Labor has outlined our commitment to properly funding government and non-government schools. We've outlined our opposition to the abolition and reduction of bulk billing incentives for patients who need valuable care.
By contrast this year, we've seen Mr Turnbull reluctantly give up for the time being on a 15 per cent GST, but we know what he'd really like to do if he got control of the Senate. We've seen him raise the remarkable, ludicrous idea of allowing states the power to levy income taxes or double taxation, just what Australians don't need and we've also seen them propose that in an ideal world Mr Turnbull with one of his trademark thought bubbles which he's become famous for, said really the Commonwealth shouldn't be into the funding of government schools.
This is a Government who is not interested in putting people first, they'll certainly protect the big banks from Royal Commissions, but they've just forgotten about everyday people. Last question thank you.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, can you rule out if Labor wins government using taxpayer funds to spruik Budget measures?
SHORTEN: First of all, this whole Budget process is fundamentally damaged because it's in the prism of the Government calling the election. Mr Turnbull said on nine different occasions that if the Senate rejected his ABCC legislation there would be a double dissolution on July 2. And now the cat’s out of the bag, we see them planning to use taxpayer funds to promote a political propaganda statement which is their Budget and in the meantime, we've seen them give up governing. No, this Government's got to be upfront with people. How are they going to properly fund the hospitals, how are they going to look after and protect Medicare, when are they going to take real action on climate change by focusing on renewable energy, what are they going to do to protect the schools and promote proper funding for schools and TAFE and universities? Labor is ready for the election on July 2, we've got positive plans for the future of Australia because we put people first. Thank you everybody.