SATURDAY, 7 MAY 2016
SUBJECT/S: Launch of 'Getting Results - Gonski funding in Australian Schools'; Labor’s ‘Your Child.Our Future’ plan to fund Australian schools; 2016 Election; Malcolm Turnbull’s Budget for big business over battlers; asylum seekers.
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning, thank you all for coming out today. It's my great pleasure to have Bill Shorten here in the electorate with me.
We all know that we're likely to be going to the polls probably on the 2nd July, and on that day in schools right around Australia you'll see P&C's holding cake stalls, raffles and other fundraising activities. That's fantastic; it's great to see parents and community organisations involved in fundraising for local schools. But they shouldn't be fundraising for the basics; they should be fundraising for the extras.
That's why school education funding is so important. In my school - in my area, the Gonski school education funding has made a huge difference in the recent years that it's been available. And if it's taken away my schools will lose about $120 million.
In my area, Ultimo Public School has a lot of kids newly arrived in Australia and they're using the Gonski money to help with English as a second language teaching. Another school in my area, Glebe Public School has hired a speech pathologist to help kids who've got difficulties in speaking gain the confidence that they need to fully participate in their learning.
We are really thrilled to be here in Surry Hills today launching a very important report and it's wonderful to have Bill here to do that. Thanks Bill.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks Tanya. This report 'Getting Results - Gonski funding in Australian Schools' is testament to the fact that needs based funding in Australian schools delivers results. The individual attention which every student deserves.
Now Mr Turnbull has a choice, but he has chosen to support $50 billion in tax cuts to Australia's richest companies, and instead cut funding to schools.
Only Labor can be trusted to fully implement Gonski needs-based funding for every child, in every school, in every post code to get a great education. Australian parents expect nothing less. Happy to take any questions people might have.
JOURNALIST: We're looking at an eight week campaign likely, are you ready for that?
SHORTEN: Labor's ready. Labor's ready because we've got positive plans for the future of Australia. Education, defending Medicare. Making sure that it's your Medicare card and not your credit card which determines the quality of the health care that you get. We want to make sure that there's real action on climate change, in particular by focusing on renewable energy. We believe in a fair taxation system and that will also mean that first home buyers can compete on a level playing field with people who are subsidised by taxpayers to buy their tenth investment property. We're ready for this election because we're going to put people first.
JOURNALIST: Eight weeks is a long time. How will you sustain momentum?
SHORTEN: Because we've got really good ideas. I am really looking forward to having a debate about the future of this country based upon who's got the best policies. To be honest, I think I'm like many Australians when Mr Turnbull rolled Mr Abbott, I thought that my personal job would be harder, but I thought that we would get to a better level of government under the Liberals with Mr Turnbull. He's proven to be a massive disappointment. He is a seriously out of touch Prime Minister, with seriously out of touch policies.
I think radio listeners, Australians were stunned during the course of this week to hear Mr Turnbull's advice to first home buyers, just get a rich parent and ask them to shell out. I think Australians were really disturbed to see Mr Turnbull play political games, pretend that he could give a business tax cut to multinationals and then not fess up, not fess us to how much that would cost the Budget, when in fact Treasury has now said that the Government new this number weeks ago.
By contrast, Labor's taken an alternative approach as the alternative government. We have rejected being a small target opposition. We’ll put our ideas out there, we're going to treat genuinely the Australian people as smart. We're going to trust them to tell them how much an idea costs, how we think this fits into the future. We're fundamentally committed to laying down the markers for Australia's future. Jobs, education, health care, the environment. Making sure that our young people get the best start in life. Real action in terms of tax reform.
We are really ready and we look forward to the challenge of the next eight weeks, putting our ideas forward. I understand that we start this election as the underdog, but I lead a united team who spent the last 1,000 days preparing good policies, which will put people first.
JOURNALIST: Are you really the underdog, the latest polls show you neck and neck with the Government. Does that give you hope?
SHORTEN: I have hope in Labor's policies speaking to the lives that Australians are leading. I have hope that we can have real action on climate change. I've got hope that every school, every child will get every opportunity regardless of what post code they live in because we can have needs-based funding, fully-funded. I have made a decision that in a beauty parade giving multinationals a $50 billion tax cut or properly funding our schools, I choose schools. I have hope that in a beauty parade between giving someone who earns $1 million in income annually as opposed to providing proper funding for our health care system, I choose the hospitals, I choose bulk billing, I choose Medicare. I've got a lot of hope that as we advance our policies, Australians will see that we have the positive plans for the future.
JOURNALIST: Just on health care that you mentioned. When will we see you hospitals funding plan (inaudible)?
SHORTEN: Well before the election, but I can tell you some of the markers and pointers to what we're thinking in terms of hospitals. One, we don't want to see bulk-billing attacked in the manner in which it is. I'm deeply disturbed that this out of touch Government thinks that somehow you help sick people by increasing the cost of going to get a blood test. We will also make clear that we think that the - and I said this in my Budget Reply speech on Thursday night, I'm deeply disturbed that this Government is attacking and undermining the funding base of our GP's. GP's don't ask a lot from this Government, they're too busy seeing the patients of Australia. But it isn't right in my opinion that this Government continues to build there form of Budget repair by asking GP's to have to pressure their patients to pay more to go and see the doctor.
I can also say this about hospitals; the Government's $2.9 billion offer is too low. It's too low when I think about patients who are waiting on elective surgery lists to have knee reconstructions or hip replacements. It's too low when I think about the waiting times in emergency wards. We'll work with the states, we'll work with doctors and nurses and consumers to make sure that we maintain a first world health care system in this country. Perhaps if there's time for one or two more questions.
JOURNALIST: What do you think of reports Norfolk Island could be offered as an alternative option for a detention centre.
SHORTEN: Oh listen, this Government just needs to actually get on with resolving the indefinite detention. Labor is completely committed and I'm want to take the opportunity of your question to send a message to people smugglers or any criminals seeking to exploit vulnerable people seeking to come to Australia by boat from Indonesia. Doesn't matter after this election who wins, we'll both be right on your case.
But that shouldn't be an excuse to allow indefinite detention because this Government's been too lazy and too negligent to negotiate regional resettlement arrangements. I don't believe that the choice has to be either you let people risk a dangerous journey by sea, exploited by criminals, with mass drownings, or indefinite detention. There has to be a better way, that'll be the Labor way if we're elected on July 2.
JOURNALIST: You spoke beforehand about being a united team, has Labor done enough to convince voters it's learnt from the mistakes of the Rudd/Gillard era?
SHORTEN: Well I think the evidence is in, isn't it. I think fair minded observers would acknowledge that in this term of Opposition, Labor's been the most coherent, the most united and we have learnt fundamentally that what Australians want are positive polices, not infighting.
Let's be clear after July 2, whether or not the Liberal Party win or lose the election, one prediction which I'm sure everyone would agree, is that the Liberal Party is ready to have a civil war in their own ranks. You've got Mr Abbott popping up, you've got Mr Turnbull popping up. They just want to get the election out of the way so that they can get on with fighting each other. I just say to Australians, if we know they're going to have that fight, let's all make them have it from opposition not from government because Australians need better.
By contrast we're outlining our positive policies. We are laying down the markers for the future. We believe that this country can have a well-funded school system, that we can have a strong public sector TAFE, that working class and middle class kids can go to university and they don't need to pay for $100,000 degrees. We believe that young people bidding for their first home shouldn't have the unfair competition of property investor speculators being subsidised by the taxpayer to buy their tenth investment property. I believe this nation is ready for real action on climate change, I believe this nation wants to see a greater priority for Australian jobs and advanced manufacturing. We are absolutely ready, and we will put our positive case to Australians every day between now and July 2. Thank you very much.