FRIDAY, 3 FEBRUARY 2017
SUBJECT/S: Labor’s plan for jobs and apprenticeships; Banking Royal Commission; One Nation; Donald Trump; US refugee settlement deal; Government's Indigenous advancement strategy
CASSIE ROWE, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR BELMONT: Hello I'm Cassie Rowe the Labor candidate for Belmont and it's great to have Bill and Chris here today to talk about apprenticeships in WA and jobs.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks Cassie, it's great to be here talking to apprentices, talking about the future of jobs and apprenticeships in Western Australia and in Australia. I'm here also with Chris Bowen because we're both fundamentally committed to making sure that Western Australia has its fair share of jobs and apprenticeships. There is a crisis at the moment in Western Australia in terms of youth unemployment. It's about 14 per cent - that isn't good enough and the only plans that Colin Barnett and Malcolm Turnbull have for jobs is to import people on temporary visas into Western Australia to do the jobs that our young people should be doing. It is not a strategy for jobs to import the skills, we should be training our own young Australians.
That's why Labor has a plan for jobs and it starts with apprenticeships and training. You can't have a plan for jobs if you don't have a plan for apprenticeships. That's why we want to see on Commonwealth projects where there's taxpayer money, one in 10 people employed would be apprentices. That means that employers can put on apprentices knowing that they're able to keep supporting them and able to pay for them. So it's employ apprentices. It's also putting TAFE and vocational education right back at the centre of everything we do. Properly funding vocational education and also supporting our TAFE. And thirdly, it's about making sure that our 457 and temporary visa scheme, where you bring people from overseas for temporary periods of time is not being rorted, that we shut down the loopholes. So we've got a three point plan for jobs which is about apprenticeships, which is about more support for TAFE, it's about one in 10 employees on big jobs should be apprentices and it's about cracking down on the loopholes. It's a good solid plan, it's a practical plan. It's what parents out there want to hear about giving their young people some hope for the future.
In the same context, I need to just comment on the Small Business Commissioner’s damning new report into the treatment of banks - big banks, of small business. The former Liberal Leader, Kate Carnell, who is now the Small Business Commissioner has had a look at the treatment of the big banks to small business and she says that after 17 different inquiries nothing seems to change the attitude of big banks. Well Labor's got a plan to help small business and protect them from the unconscionable conduct of some of the big banks and some of those in big banking. Our plan is to have a Banking Royal Commission to fundamentally change the culture and approach, to make sure that small business get a fair deal from big business and big banks in particular. Only a Royal Commission with its powers and capacity to investigate matters can be the game changer that we need in Australian banking to look after small business. I do not understand why the Government continues to refuse to put big banks under the microscope, it is very clear that Malcolm Turnbull is the big banks man in Canberra and whilst he's there the banks aren't going to get pulled into line.
Happy to take questions.
JOURNALIST: Banking Royal Commission sounds like something that One Nation would be happy with. Rod Culleton certainly would and we're hearing today that One Nation has been having chats with Labor and Liberal with regards to preferences, what’s your comment on that?
SHORTEN: Well I just want to correct what you said to begin with if you don't mind. The Banking Royal Commission sounds like something Labor is going to do and only Labor can form a Government in this country. If you want to see a Banking Royal Commission, vote Labor, if you want to see the big banks bought to heel, vote Labor. Labor is determined to have a Banking Royal Commission which will once and for all improve the conduct of the big banks. In terms of One Nation and what they say and do, if you want to change the government in Western Australia you can waste your vote on a protest for a third party or you can vote for Mark McGowan and his Labor team including Cassie here in Belmont. If you want to change the government of Western Australia the only way to do it is to vote Labor. So I know that Mark McGowan in the West, he's chasing people's first vote. Our strategy for politics be it at the national level or of Western Australia is to have good, sensible policies which help people in their daily lives, and in order to do that what we're asking people to do is vote one for Labor, full stop.
JOURNALIST: Are you disappointed that that approach to One Nation was made by WA Labor.
SHORTEN: I'm not aware of it. I have to say, when it comes to fighting this election in Western Australia, Mark McGowan's made it clear, he won't privatise Western Power -
SHORTEN: Do you want to repeat your question please?
JOURNALIST: Were you disappointed that WA Labor made that approach to One Nation to woo preference deals?
SHORTEN: Listen, I know WA Labor's strategy is to get as many votes first votes as it can. Mark McGowan has made it clear he won't privatise Western Power, and at the core of his economic plan is to create, maintain and sustain good jobs. That's the core of our view.
I've said at the start of 2017 we have three economic priorities - jobs, jobs and jobs. And the reason why we're here today talking about training is, this nation needs to put TAFE and vocational education right at the centre of its plan for jobs. We need to be making sure that our young people realise they don't just have to go to university, that they can get a good job in the trades.
We are a tradie nation - 1.6 million of our fellow Australians has a trades qualification. I was raised in a house where my dad was a fitter and turner before he became a seafarer and it was always made clear to my brother and I, if you want to go to uni, that's good, or if you want to do a trade, that's good.
We understand in Labor the important power of apprenticeships and we want to put more government grunt behind encouraging apprenticeships, but to do that, if parents are going to encourage their kids to do apprenticeships, there's got to be jobs there, there has got to be support.
Labor's plan is all about jobs and at the centre of that you need to have a national training plan. We should be the best in the world at training our young people and indeed our adults who are seeking to retrain.
The Turnbull Government has no plans for training. Their only economic strategy is to give $50 billion away to large companies who will simply put it in their pocket or remit it overseas, and to give multimillionaires a tax cut. That's not an economic plan, that's trickle-down economics. That's crubs from the rich man's table economics. That's what Malcolm Turnbull is.
JOURNALIST: What do you make of the way that Donald Trump spoke to Malcolm Turnbull?
SHORTEN: I don't think either Trump or Turnbull have covered themselves in glory in the last few days, but I have to say that I think that Mr Trump needs to understand and show greater respect to Australia and the Australian alliance than he seems to be displaying, if the reports are right. This may surprise you, but whilst I'm not a fan of the way Mr Turnbull has been handling matters, on this one I don't - I've got some sympathy for him because quite bluntly, I don't think you can run an American-Australian alliance by Twitter. If the media reports are right, I think Mr Trump needs to show more respect to Malcolm Turnbull and to Australia than it would appear has happened.
JOURNALIST: Your Deputy says she was offended by the treatment of Malcolm Turnbull. Are you?
SHORTEN: I think in this I've said that I'm not a fan of Mr Turnbull obviously on his domestic policies, but as I said in answer to the earlier question, it would appear that Mr Trump needs to show more respect to Australia and the Australian alliance than he is doing if the media reports that we've got are correct. Now, I don't think either of them have covered themselves in glory, but in this case for once, I'm more on Malcolm Turnbull's side because Australians have to stick together.
JOURNALIST: You said you are not a fan of his domestic policies. Is it fair to say that Labor is responsible for the current situation with offshore detention? Do you take responsibility for the part that Labor has played?
SHORTEN: Oh, well, goodness me, the Government has now been in for nearly four years. They've got to stop blaming everyone else for what's going on now. I mean, at a certain point, if the Government finds governing too hard, they should get out of the way and let someone who wants to, to actually govern, but this is not good enough anymore in 2017 to be blaming previous government's back from four, five years ago.
We need to get the refugee deal done, I think that's important. We've given bipartisanship to the Government on their policies. I do wish that the current government when they were in opposition had supported our Malaysia Solution which would have seen people not be in the situation they are now in.
When the Government were in Opposition, they were negative about everything the then government did. Under my leadership, Labor has indicated its support for some of the measure the Government is trying to do. I think that's what Australians want out of politics in 2017 and just as I’ve got sympathy and support for Malcolm Turnbull in the conduct he appears to have received from Donald Trump, I'm not going to approach every issue of the day and say simply, Liberal bad.
What I am going to do is focus on the issues. Now, I don't think they have got a plan for apprenticeships, I don't think they've seemed to have handled everything correctly about their talking to Donald Trump, but nonetheless, what I think annoys Australians, is if they think it's just he said, she said politics, it's all just playground, petty bickering. We have got to step above that and that's why we offer bipartisanship support for the refugee deal so we can resolve these matters.
JOURNALIST: A major report into the Government's Indigenous advancement strategy has just been released and it’s pretty scathing. It says that the strategy was not effectively implemented and that the grants administration processes fell short of the standard required. What do you make of that?
SHORTEN: I think it has been a disaster from the get go, ever since Tony Abbott introduced these policies, it has been a disaster. Our First Australians are worse off since the Coalition Government's been in. And nothing that Mr Turnbull's done seems to have changed anything. Both Abbott and Turnbull have been hopeless on Aboriginal affairs.
JOURNALIST: The Government has announced $10 million over four years to improve program evaluation. Your response to that?
SHORTEN: It's all a bit too little, too late, isn't it? I think they need to go back and talk to Aboriginal people about what they want, but again, what I don't want to see is Abbott and Turnbull having a blame game between them. In this matter they've all been responsible for it.
What I would like to see them do is put their hand up, take responsibility. What they should do is go back and talk to Aboriginal communities, and rather do this top-down approach, do the bottom-up, give people control over their own lives. That's generally what works best for all of us. Thanks, everybody.