PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
WEDNESDAY, 6 FEBRUARY 2018
SUBJECT/S: $12 million for Ovarian Cancer Australia; Adani; Turnbull’s tax handout to the top end of town; Senator Molan.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning, everybody. We've just got time for a couple, two or three questions.
But before I do, I'd just like to talk about Labor's announcement to tackle the scourge of ovarian cancer. Nearly 1,000 women every year die from ovarian cancer. And all too often it is because we fail to diagnose the symptoms too early.
Labor has proposed today that if we are elected, after the next election, we will fund $12 million, which is what Ovarian Cancer Australia - the experts - is saying is necessary, to not only help fund research for a cure but to allow families to trace back genes which are a sign as to whether or not there is a heightened risk of ovarian cancer.
Australia is a rich country, and when Australians look to Canberra for the taxes they pay, I don't think there is a single Australian who would think it unreasonable that, in amongst all the taxes paid by working people, that we can find the equivalent of $1 for every working Australian in a year, $1, to pay towards helping cure ovarian cancer and have earlier detection so that more women live longer lives full of quality and meaning.
Happy to take any questions.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, are you for or against the Adani coal mine?
SHORTEN: When it comes to the Adani coal mine, I think that the Government now needs to investigate the allegations which were raised that samples were falsified.
More generally, I think there is increasing scepticism as to whether or not the mine will go ahead. It would appear that Adani hasn't managed to convince a single Australian bank to help finance this operation.
There's also been reports from people who operate in coal mining elsewhere, that they are concerned that this mine would jeopardise the job security of existing coal miners.
I also believe that we need to make sure that all scientific approvals have been diligently researched.
This is our position and I think it's a sensible position.
JOURNALIST: When will you reach a final position, when will you announce, well I think you're going to announce –
SHORTEN: I think the question of deadlines should really go back to Adani. Did you know, Phil, that they, time after time, keep saying that they're going to have this project up and running and they miss a deadline? I'm beginning to wonder if the people of North Queensland are being led on with this promise of fake jobs and they're never going to materialise.
What we need from the Government of Australia, are plans to help create jobs in regional Queensland which are sustainable and real. Not just a project which constantly keeps moving along and deadlines keep getting missed.
JOURNALIST: Adani has all its approvals done, state and federal, and Matt Canavan said – and you had a fairly ambiguous position on this for last few years and months, you haven't really stated a position – Matt Canavan has said for you to just come out with this level of opposition this late in the piece presents a sovereign risk. What's your response to that?
SHORTEN: Well, first of all, I don't agree with the underlying assumption of what you've said. Labor has always said if the deal stacks up, commercially and environmentally – that has been our position.
Now, I actually think that the more you look at it, the fact that the banks won't back it in, the fact that there's always seems to be new environmental issues – that's the problem.
And in terms of ambiguous position, what we saw from the Government is they're not actually going to provide funding. That's actually been Labor's position. So I think the Government – and I think Mr Turnbull needs to make clear, does he support the mine? We're making our position clear.
Perhaps one or two more questions.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, what do you think of this idea of big business, the business community reaching a compact with the Government whereby they get a tax cut, they return some of it in terms of wage rises?
SHORTEN: Oh, pigs might fly. Sorry. The idea that when you see a large company getting tax windfalls from their friends in the Turnbull Government, that they're miraculously going to share this largesse with the workers of Australia. I'm sorry but that fairy-tale doesn't add up -
JOURNALIST: So their word –
SHORTEN: Sorry, let me answer your question. That fairy-tale doesn't have a happy ending. The Government wants to say that I'm anti-business. I'm not anti-business. But I am pro-worker.
Sorry, Mark? I'll give Mark a crack.
JOURNALIST: Isn't it time to put an end to all of this citizenship palaver and just send those people with questions up to the High Court, irrespective of whether the Government does it or not, just for you to do the right thing?
SHORTEN: We'll do the right thing but Mr Turnbull has to compromise. If you want to talk about doing the right thing, clearly there is doubt over some Coalition MPs. I just believe in one rule for all.
JOURNALIST: Do you think Senator Molan should apologise for posting videos from Britain First?
SHORTEN: I think Senator Molan needs to clearly repudiate the views which were shared. I think it was probably unwise to share these videos. They are repugnant. I think it's up to Senator Molan to repudiate the views which he shared, and I think to make sure that it doesn't happen again.
Alright. Thanks, everybody. See you later.