SATURDAY, 28 JULY 2018
JUSTINE KEAY, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR BRADDON: I’m Justine Keay, I'm the Labor candidate for the Braddon by-election which is on today. Today marks the end of 11 weeks of campaigning for me, for my team.
We've spoken to over 14,000 people on the doors, and over 40,000 people on the phones. It's been a tremendous effort and I can say we've loved every minute of it because we've been able to have some really important conversations with the people of Braddon.
And they've told us that their most important thing that they want to see a Federal Government deliver is more funding for our hospitals, our schools, rebuilding our TAFE.
The hospitals has been the number one issue in this election, and unfortunately my opponent. Brett Whiteley, has not mentioned health once.
He doesn't seem to care that we've got a health crisis in Tasmania, he obviously hasn't spoken to anyone in this electorate who has been waiting far too long for their surgery, far too long to get specialist appointments, just even to get on the outpatients waiting list.
But that's not what we've been hearing - we've been hearing that the people of Braddon want more money into health, and that's what we've delivered - $30 million for Tasmanians to get their elective survey, $4.5 million for the TazReach program, which under Brett Whiteley, they cancelled that money.
That meant that those specialists that were coming to cities like Devonport, are no longer coming.
But we'll make sure that they come back under a Shorten Labor Government.
The new Headspace centre for Devonport, more staff - 50 new staff in Centrelink and of course in Medicare.
These are the priorities of the people of Braddon, the priorities that Labor, under a Bill Shorten Government, will deliver for the people here.
It has been an absolute privilege to have been the Member for Braddon for the last two years. I love this community. I love what they do here and I want to continue to fight for them.
Thank you, Bill, for coming to Nixon Street. I'll be able to cast my vote very soon because I can actually vote unlike my opponent, who can't even vote for himself, so I'm really looking forward to doing that. Thank you.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Hey, good morning, everybody. It's probably the nicest day I've seen down in Devonport during the campaign, so I take that as a very good omen.
First of all, I want to start by congratulating Justine Keay and her campaign in Braddon. She was a very good MP before the by-election and she's become an even better campaigner in the course of the by-election.
But my congratulations aren't just for Justine alone. To Susan Lamb in Longman, gee she's a very strong character, and she's putting forward the case very well.
And I should also congratulate the other candidates running in the other by-election seats, because it seems to me that Mr Turnbull has forgotten there's actually five by-elections.
So to Josh Wilson in Fremantle and Patrick Gorman in Perth, voting will open soon in the West, and I wish them the very best.
And to Reg Coutts, flying the flag for Labor in Mayo, well done Reg.
So Labor is putting forward it's best foot on all of the campaigns.
I accept that when these campaigns started, Labor was the underdog in both Braddon and Longman. But Labor never gives up. Because we know that these by-elections are about better hospitals, not bigger banks.
So we say to voters, and now it's largely up to them to make up up their decisions now, we just say the critical question to ask yourself when you cast your vote in these by-elections, is whether or not you want more of the same? Or do you want to see this government do better? Do you want to see better for our hospitals and schools? Better for our wages? Or do you just want to see more tax cuts for the top end of town?
Everywhere I have gone around Australia, people complain to me, they say everything is going up but their wages.
So we make very clear today that a vote for Justine Keay in Braddon, Susan Lamb in Longman, the other candidates in the other three by-election seats, it is all about better hospitals, not bigger bank profits.
Happy to take a few questions.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, when reflecting on the Braddon campaign, what's the overall mood among voters in your opinion?
SHORTEN: I think sometimes in Canberra and national politics, we overcomplicate it. What the voters in Braddon are making clear to me is it's about families and it's about their health.
They're the most important things. People complain to me that the price of everything is going up except their wages. So when they look at the competing policies, I genuinely believe that we are more in touch with everyday Australians. I genuinely believe that everyday Australians want to see their schools properly funded.
In Tasmania in particular, waiting lists for elective surgery are far greater than the mainland. Things which people on the mainland of Australia take for granted, in Tasmania they don't get the same quality of service.
The same actually goes for Longman. We want to restore funding to Caboolture Hospital. We want to see more care in people's communities rather than having to leave them to get the care they want.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, the history suggests the Opposition should be tracking well ahead in these by-elections, it doesn't appear to be that way. Why do you think?
SHORTEN: I think you would know, being a seasoned political journalist, that we started the campaigns well behind. Labor started these campaigns well behind.
Now it's up to the voters today, I think anyone who tells you now confidently they know what's happening is having a lend of you.
But what I do know is that Justine and Susan, Josh and Patrick and Reg, have worked very hard to carry out message. Our message is very straightforward: better hospitals, not bigger banks.
JOURNALIST: Has Labor been running a Mediscare campaign?
SHORTEN: No. I think what's scary is what the fact the Turnbull Government's damage they are doing to health care in Tasmania.
Why is it fair that the waiting lists in Tasmania are greater and longer than they are for people who are sick on the mainland?
Why is it fair that under the Liberals, the out-of-pocket costs to see a GP have gone up 27 per cent, and the out-of-pocket costs to see a specialist have gone up 43 per cent?
Why is it fair that school funding is being cut compared to what the Liberals promised?
Did you know in Longman in Queensland, too, to pick the other end of Australia, that people have to travel for - in many cases - an hour extra just to get chemotherapy treatment? They have to go into the centre of Brisbane.
We want to make sure that we deliver health care where people live.
So I think that when you look at the facts, if healthcare matters to you, if the health of your family matters to you, Labor is just better. And the reason why we are better than Turnbull and his gang is because we're not giving $17 billion to the big banks.
It's very much a choice. You vote Labor, you vote to put more money into hospitals and healthcare. You vote Liberal, and you vote to give tax cuts to big banks and multinationals. It really depends what you think is important.
Two more questions.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, when we hear from you tonight and tomorrow, will you be taking some personal responsibility for Labor's vote, regardless of the outcome? Will you be resting some of the responsibility on your shoulders?
SHORTEN: Well let's not get ahead of ourselves. Let's see what the voters do. What I do understand in what you're saying, is that in these by-elections, whilst they don't change the government, they send a message to all of us.
One message I'm already hearing loud and clear, and regardless of the result tonight, I'm going to take this message all the way to the next election, is: working Australians are sick and tired of everything going up except their wages. Working Australians are sick and tired of not being able to get the healthcare they need when they need it.
You know, I've been speaking to people in Longman. They've got to travel all day in a maxi taxi to get chemotherapy treatment in Brisbane with a group of other pensioners because it is just too difficult to get it any other way.
Working Australians here in Tasmania tell me that when their kids are diagnosed with illnesses, they have to find the airfare to go to the mainland because they can't get the care here.
So the message I'm already taking, is that when politicians focus on themselves, people hate that. What they really want us to do is focus on families, focus on the needs of everyday Australians.
That's what you'll get with Labor and Justine Keay. Better healthcare, not bigger banks.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, yourself and the Prime Minister have spent the morning in Braddon, I'm assuming you'll be up to Longman this afternoon, does that mean that Longman is more important than Braddon to you both?
SHORTEN: Well, I guess you can't win. If I started in Brisbane you people might say should have started in Tassie.
JOURNALIST: I'm a Tasmanian reporter, what am I supposed to ask?
SHORTEN: No, well I tell you what - I did the Devonport park run this morning. That was probably the single best thing I could have done. Clears the head. 160 runners and the foreshore - just stunning.
I just encourage other Australians - Devonport is like a town which I think Australians sort of think doesn't exist anymore. It's homely. It's friendly. It's got a great community. And the view is something, something very special.
JOURNALIST: Do you think it's closer in Longman and is that why you're both spending -
SHORTEN: No I'm really pleased that I started my day in Devonport because I get to spend with it Justine, I get to spend it with the locals and I got to go for a run as well.
And now I'm looking forward to a democracy sausage.
Perhaps - I said two more - sorry, someone who hasn't asked a question.
JOURNALIST: If Labor doesn't win in either Longman or Braddon, is that a message for voters that your leadership and the party is on the nose.
SHORTEN: It's a message we didn't get enough votes. Beyond that, let's not give up yet. In this election campaign, in the last 11 weeks, there have been forests chopped down to supply the newsprint of newspapers saying Labor's out of the game.
Well, I never give up. And the reason why I never give up - I've got the best candidates, we've got the best policies, and working Australians need better hospitals, not bigger banks.
Very last question.
JOURNALIST: Do you think you can win in Braddon and Longman?
SHORTEN: Yes, I think we can win, but it's up to the voters now. And the question for voters is, do they really want more of the same? More cuts to hospitals, more cuts to schools, more tax cuts for big banks? I don't think so. But we're going to find out.
JOURNALIST: Can I ask Justine a question?
JOURNALIST: Justine, I might just ask you one. This morning the Prime Minister did you either the courtesy of the affront of turning up at your chosen polling booth, and campaigning in front of you, and seemed to get a lot of support. How did that strike you?
KEAY: Well, given that the Prime Minister has only come to this electorate since there's an election on, I think that speaks volumes. He has not shown any interest in Braddon at any other time.
It was quite clear that they bussed in their own voters this morning. This is a litmus booth. This is a booth that's 50/50. It always has been. We have enough people coming in here taking our how-to-votes. It was nice of him to come and join us for a little while, but it would have been nice for the Prime Minister to actually spend a little bit more time in Braddon before the election, and show us the decency and common courtesy that a Prime Minister should for the people in this community.
JOURNALIST: How significant do you think it is, the fact that Mr Shorten has spent so much time in Braddon compared to the Prime Minister?
KEAY: Well, Bill loves coming here. Obviously he loves running here as well. Did the Burnie 10 a couple of years ago. Bill has been here so many more times than the Prime Minister has, even before the by-election.
We have had so many roundtables, town halls before this by-election occurred, and I think that shows the Labor Party is completely in touch with Tasmania.
I’ve actually thought for a while, and I've said this in the Parliament, that I thought Malcolm Turnbull actually forgot where Tasmania was, that he needed a map to find his way here.
JOURNALIST: Did that - sorry.
KEAY: Sorry, no you're right. So, I think this shows the people of Braddon that we are committed to this electorate, the Labor Party, unlike Malcolm Turnbull who only comes in for a fleeting visit when it suits him.
JOURNALIST: Did that feel like an ambush this morning?
KEAY: Not at all. Not at all. It was nice of him to turn up. It was actually the first time I've actually shook hands with the Prime Minister but I had to go to him to do that.
SHORTEN: See you guys.