Bill's Transcripts

TRANSCRIPT - PRESS CLUB ADDRESS Q&A - TUESDAY, 30 JANUARY 2018

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
PRESS CLUB ADDRESS
CANBERRA
TUESDAY, 30 JANUARY 2018

SUBJECTS: National Integrity Commission; cost of living; asylum seekers; citizenship; private health insurance.

JOURNALIST: Thank you, for your speech, Mr Shorten. If I could ask about the National Integrity Commission. The Public Service Commission, I saw in the Senate Inquiry said that if we were to set something up like this it would be probably expensive, perhaps unnecessary and it would be far from certain whether it was going to find any more corruption than the current public agencies already do now. Now you said there are gaps and there are inconsistencies in the current system. Could you tell me what those gaps and inconsistencies are?

SHORTEN: Alright, just to go to the first part of your question. I'm sure that when state anti-corruption bodies were created, there would have been a Public Service Commission submitting to the State Parliament before that there's no need to look here. I think though that we have seen over time that the state anti-corruption bodies have indeed found some problems and indeed, I think are serving an educative role and lifting the general standard of ethics. And I think it's now time for the Commonwealth to do that. I do believe that we need to have a National Integrity Commission. Whilst we've got a range of agencies who do some of the functions, it's clear when you study it that there are inconsistencies and there are gaps and I think a National Integrity Commission as we design it can look at where we can include any of those functions currently performed by other bodies. But I have got no doubt that Australian people do want to see us step up.

And as I said earlier, I have no knowledge of any corruption, if I did I'd report it but the point about it is that we do need to actually set up a body which restores faith by people in the system. Now reality is a third of Australia are not interested in the major parties at the moment and if you ask more Australians, they think politics is just all about being in it for yourself and not for the people. What we need to do is show that we're willing to make tough decisions, to restore a bit of faith. I don't think if the Government back this and I back this, that it is going to change the outcome of the election but that's not why I'm doing it. We've got to rebuild faith in our institutions. So I've got no doubt that as we work through the design principles, as we consult, I think most Australians are going to support what I've outlined today and I invite the Government to do the same.

JOURNALIST: Phoebe Bowden from Network Ten. You say that 2017 was a particularly bad year for federal politics and that people have lost trust. What do you see as the most damaging recent example from Federal Labor for the public perception? 

SHORTEN: I think it's a collective responsibility but I do think the citizenship debate made us all look like we just focused on ourselves and not on the needs of ordinary people.

JOURNALIST: Tom Iggulden from the 7.30 program at the ABC, Mr Shorten thank you for your speech. I wanted to bring you to your comments that the wages system isn't working for working people and try and bring you to a specific example of that. Do you think that the aborted train drivers' strike in Sydney should have gone ahead? Do you agree with Sally McManus, that it didn't go ahead was a sign of a broken system and what would you do to fix that broken system?

SHORTEN: As you know I think that what drives the train drivers' dispute, and I haven’t followed it closely, is that the New South Wales system is relying upon overtime to be able to get its trains to run. I think any system which relies upon overtime as a core business model is a problem. I think the real problem in the New South Wales train dispute is that the New South Wales Government hasn't trained enough train drivers.

In terms of the arbitration and resolution of the dispute, that'll work through. The broader issue I'm saying about the system not working is that traditionally we've been brought up on a classical economic theory which says that as job markets tighten, wages go up - that's not happening. And I think it's, you know even conservative economists who perhaps traditionally wouldn't be ones who'd support seeing wages move, are actually forming an unusual coalition with unions and others who say actually what is holding the economy back is a lack of confidence.

But I want to say that the lack of confidence is, it's too many people getting left behind. You know, when you see power bills - I went through them, power bills increasing at multiple times the level of wages, that's a problem. Where you see out-of-pocket healthcare costs increasing at a far greater rate than wages, that's a problem. When you see the back to school costs of education that is a problem, going higher than wages. Where you see a whole range of issues, cost of living, from energy to healthcare, housing prices - and our wages' system is not delivering. There is a disconnect. 

Do you know in the last 10 years productivity has risen about 20 percent but real wages 6 percent. The deal is that Australians work hard, they generate productivity but then they get the fair distribution of the growth and productivity. That nexus is broken. And to be fair to some employers, they've got some pretty sharp lawyers. They say, you pay your workers, maybe, you know contractors - there's an Esso dispute down at Longford in Victoria. What's happened there is that you can use a labour hire company in WA, sign up three or four workers to a much lower set of conditions than applies to six companies and 200 maintenance contractors in Gippsland and then the company says well, that's the new agreement. 

So all of a sudden 200 workers who work in rigs and all sorts of conditions are faced with take it or leave it contracts for work practices they have already negotiated. The system is not working and my real fear, Tom, is that if we don't do something about a living wage, we don't reverse the cuts to penalty rates, if we don't do something about the gender pay gap, or we don't fix up the bargaining system, we're going to create two Australia’s. 

We are going to create a left-behind society. And the people in that left-behind society, they are already feeling it. The kid who drops out of university because he can't juggle the second job and go to university. The family who's on a waiting list for public housing but has to wait 20 years - left behind. The older worker left behind because of the discrimination in the workforce against older people. You can look at example after example after example and what we're seeing is a left-behind society.

And Labor is not going to leave people behind and that's why the wages' system, front and centre, it is one of the imputs into cost of living and the capacity to cope with it.

JOURNALIST: Would you say that it's a fair point to say that the Fair Work Commission has removed the right to strike and do you think that's something that needs to be fixed?

SHORTEN: I think the ability to bargain is important and in bargaining, of course, people have always had the right to take legally-protected industrial action. But for me, if you like, the question about the strike is the wrong way around. The problem is we have got companies terminating agreements. Business doesn't want to bargain anymore. I always understood that if we moved away from central wage fixation and a reliance on the awards system to bargaining, that was the deal, workers negotiate productivity. But now what happens at the end of every agreement is even though the workers have traded off conditions to get pay rises, they're presented with a pay cut unless they trade off more conditions. So it's not - it's like paying for your house every three years, it's not fair and I think we can do better.

JOURNALIST: Hi Mr Shorten, Phil Coorey from the AFR. Just on the wages and cost of living stuff you've talked about bargaining, private health insurance and the minimum wage. Can we deduce from that, on enterprise bargaining that you will remove some of the powers of employers using legislation to remove their ability to terminate agreements and so forth and what are you getting at on the minimum wage? Are you going to change the way that is set? Are you going to put limits, limits on how that's going to be done so it will be increased? And on private health insurance, you identified a problem but you didn't say what you might do. Are you talking about a moratorium on increases or linking them to CPI? Could we just get a bit more detail, please.

SHORTEN: Well, let me answer those three or four questions. The first one about the bargaining. We have said and we've previously said and I think it's right, that the ability of companies to unilaterally terminate agreements and say to workers, who might be on $60,000 or $70,000 or $80,000 a year, that unless you take a wage cut we will put you back on the award which is, you know could be $25,000 or $30,000 that is unfair. So we don't think that should be allowed.

I think existing agreements should stay in place till they're renegotiated by mutual agreement. In terms of the awards' system, I think the IR experts call it the bite - the difference between the median wage and the minimum wage. And that bite, the gap is getting bigger and so at the same time as we see more people going onto the awards, the distance between the minimum wage and median wage is growing. 

And no clearer example of that than women workers.  A lot of the new jobs that are being created through the NDIS, a lot of those jobs are in irregular work, contract work, casual work and of course, it's a feminised industry. So what's happening is that you are seeing the jobs growth happening at the low end of the market where wages are not increasing and you're seeing people squeezed. So I do think that we need to have a look, not just at the minimum wage but what is the living wage?

If you go through 2017 those list of items I went through, your health costs are up - no question about that - the freeze has had its effect. The private health insurers well they're on their own, they're having a party and then you've got the energy prices, they're up. Have a look at your water bill and your gas bill, that's up. Have a look at the income tax increase that Mr Turnbull is trying to increase - you know, another half a percent out of your tax, up to $87,000. There's a lot happening. So we need to revisit the living wage. But that takes work, it takes consultation and that is what I'm committing to do this year. 

In terms of private health insurance, there's a number of options which are potentially on the table and we're working through them. But I put private health insurance, the big end, the big multinationals, the big profitable companies on notice - business as usual doesn't work. If you are getting a $6 billion subsidy from the taxpayer yet you're making record profits, yet the prices are going up and the exclusions are going up, well that's a problem.

Now that's not - they are not the sole player in the system, it's very complex but I'm committed to consultation, working through the issues. But private health insurance, I want to save it. You're not going to save it by increasing the prices the way they are - they've gone up for families a thousand bucks since the Liberals have got in. 

Whilst you know, maybe Mr Hunt was well intentioned, he said, oh it's only a 4 per cent increase this year - where do the Government think people find the money for? You know we now have a left-behind society where some people when they get their electricity bill pay that on the credit card because they don't have the cash to pay it and then of course then they're caught in the trap of paying 20 per cent interest. That's a left behind society and we've got to do something about cost of living. 

JOURNALIST: And briefly, if the private health insurance doesn't fix itself would you withdraw the government subsidy or threaten that?

SHORTEN: Listen, you're, that's getting well ahead of me there. I want to talk to the private health insurers but business as usual is not cutting it. If you ever want to go to a barbecue and talk to a stranger, have a whinge about your private health insurance bill, you'll make a friend straight away. 

JOURNALIST: Great party. Network Seven.

SHORTEN: It's Canberra. 

JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, Tim Lester from the Seven Network. Anthony Albanese has suggested twin referendums on Australia Day - Indigenous recognition and the Republic. Can you endorse Mr Albanese's formula here today and if you can't, what would you do as Prime Minister to meet the expectations that’s emerged about changing Australia Day, the date of Australia Day?

SHORTEN: I think it's an interesting idea and both Albo, Noel Pearson, a range of people have been commenting about what we should do on Australia Day. But I think the more substantial point which he made and which I've made previously is we should have an Australian head of state. 

Really, you know, Australia's been around and modern Australia has been around for, since 200 plus years. It's time for us to have our own head of state. So I think that is a priority for Australia and I have appointed an Assistant Shadow Minister to help champion that. But the other thing which I also, fundamentally believe and I am indebted to our Indigenous MPs in the Labor team who I think have given me, who I know, have given me great guidance on this, is first and foremost, we should have recognition of our First Australians in the Constitution. 

I thought Malcolm was intemperate when he just ruled out of hand that the Uluru Declaration, the Statement from the Heart. I don't think it was necessarily what people were expecting as the proposed model after all the consultations but why do we in Parliament, get the right just to tell first Australians what they're allowed to put to us?

So I do think a voice has got a basis and it won't be a third chamber of Parliament as some of the scaremongers and the knuckle draggers said. The idea of consulting people before we make decisions which empower them I don't think that's radical. I actually thought it was quite a conservative proposition. 

So they're my two priorities - the voice, and then the Australian head of state. In terms of Australia Day, I'm sure there's plenty of more interesting discussions to come on that matter. What I won't do, though, again I thought Malcolm was perhaps ill-advised to sneer at the people who want a debate changing the day. It's a free country, we're allowed to express our views. There are legitimate alternatives and on that basis, we will keep looking at that issue too.

JOURNALIST: The Australian.

JOURNALIST: Hello, Greg Brown from the Australian. I'd like to ask you about negative gearing. Given the property boom is ending, largely due to a number of factors but due to a tightening of mortgage lending and there are expectations of price declines this year, particularly in inner city apartment markets. Does this show that your policy has become redundant as prices are going to moderate anyway. And does the policy become more politically tricky coming up to the next election in an environment where people are going to see the values of their houses decline and they may even be struggling to sell them?

SHORTEN: Well like most Australians, I spent my summer not thinking too much about the day-to-day of politics. I took the opportunity, we're very lucky in Australia over summer, that you can have that opportunity and think about the long-term and that's what I've done and started to explain to you. 

But one issue which did penetrate my consciousness as you're sitting on the beach, was the revelation the Treasury had looked at our policy on negative gearing and found out the Government had been just a tad naughty in the way they characterised it. 

It's a good policy, we're sticking to it. It will help I think ease some of the price pressures on housing so we will stick to it. I think the longer term question is why is the Government so determined to give priority to investment speculators over people trying to find their first home? I would suggest to you that whilst there are points in what you say about housing prices going down, or apartments, or in some regions, go and speak to families at the next Saturday of auctions and see if they reckon that prices are really going down. 

So I do think there's still a problem with first homeownership in this country. Only Labor has a plan to support first homeowners getting an equal go. It's all about this left-behind society. I can promise you, and I'm sure many of you in this room and many people watching this across Australia know, families, couples, who've saved up, they think they're in with a chance to make that bid, only to come 20 and 30 per cent below what the house goes for. 

We do have a first home problem in some of our big cities and Labor is the only party with a fair dinkum, albeit politically difficult proposition as you flagged, to help first homeowners get an equal go because I don't want people who don't have rich parents who can't help them buy their first home left behind.

JOURNALIST: Michelle Grattan from The Conversation. Can I return to that issue which so dominated us last year, the citizenship issue. It does seem that the High Court is not going to deal with the case of David Feeney for some little time, which would push the expected by-election into midyear which wouldn't be very convenient for you. Do you expect Mr Feeney to pre-empt the court and quit in the next week and have you advised him to do so?

SHORTEN: David did the right thing by referring himself to the High Court when he couldn't discover papers to demonstrate that he'd done what he said he'd done. I think he has the right to prepare his case in the manner in which he chooses to and I'm letting him do that.

JOURNALIST: Hello Mr Shorten. Katherine Murphy from Guardian Australia. I hate to quote your own speech to you, but I will just for a moment. You've said to us today that any political party with an ounce of character will go to the people at the next election with a proper recognition of the economic and environmental reality of climate change and a proper demonstration that we have the courage to do what has to be done, even if that might be politically difficult. 

Now, this morning in The Guardian we've quoted a range of experts who say that environmental protection is the hardest to secure now than it’s been since the Franklin campaign of the 1980s. The Adani campaign in Queensland is the biggest civil society campaign we've seen since the Franklin - what would an incoming Labor Government do to stop this project?

SHORTEN: I've said about the Adani project that it has to stack up commercially and environmentally. I was very fortunate to be able to visit the reef last week and talk to some of the experts and also talk to landholders and environmentalists about the project. I think it's fair to say that the reef is under great stress. Some people say you're not allowed say that because then no one will go to the reef. The reef is still there, people should still go there. But I think the reefs has done so much in the way of jobs, it's arguably our greatest natural asset. I do think that we need to do more to protect the reef, so that's one point - one post I want to put into the ground.

The second thing is, I do get that there is legitimate concern about the Adani project.Some people say that we should be concerned because the banks won't back it. That is a point. Others say that we should be concerned because there's a glut of this coal on the international market. Others say we should be concerned about the project because it might jeopardise the job security of other coal mining regions of Australia. Overs have pointed to me the concern about the Great Artesian Basin and the lack of clarity about whether or not the open cut processes of Adani will in fact, interfere with the Great Artesian Basin. There's concerns about the reef. There's also the more general proposition which I respect and that is at the heart of the point of my speech and I'm flattered you read it out to me. 

You can't be serious about climate change and energy and have a bet every which way. So we're certainly looking at the Adani matter very closely. If it doesn't stack up commercially or if it doesn't stack up environmentally it will absolutely not receive our support 

JOURNALIST: Do you have a time frame on that? 

SHORTEN: It's under way.

JOURNALIST: Date?

SHORTEN: Which date do you want? 

JOURNALIST: The one where you conclude on it. 

SHORTEN: We're looking at it. I tell you what, we will conclude it well before the next election.

JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, Sarah Martin from The West. I want to ask you about Labor's position on the company tax cuts. You were steadfastly opposed to the $65 billion package, but $30 billion of that is already locked in and legislated. Can you confirm today that you will go to the next election with a policy to reverse those $30 billion in tax cuts and if not, is it not misleading to continue to campaign against the entire $65 billion package?

SHORTEN: Well, we've made it perfectly clear for well over a year that we support the tax cut for businesses up to $2 million. So I'd be very happy if we could be very clear on that. We've supported that ever since it was said. And for the record that's 87 per cent of businesses. 

But the case has not been made by this Government to give companies with very large turnovers tax relief. The fact of the matters is that many of these companies, the profits will be returned to foreign shareholders. The fact of the matter is that there is no guarantee - and we haven't seen it happen because there's been corporate tax cut reductions - they have not been handed to workers in increased wages otherwise we wouldn't have the wage stagnation we've got.

So we will finalise our policy in response to that after this Budget. We certainly see the case for under $2 million. We certainly have not seen the case made for unfunded tax cuts, for lots of large companies. I mean put it this way - if you take billions of dollars out of the national ATM, that's foregone income, that has two effects. One effect it has is that you increase the debt or you've got to cut services further. If you increase the debt, it means that the remaining budget has to service higher interest payments or you just cut billions and billions of dollars further from our universities, from our pensioners, from our schools, from our hospitals. The case is not made out. 

The other thing that the Government love to say about corporate tax cuts is Labor has previously supported corporate tax cuts, but only when you have new revenue to replace it. There's three alternatives to this Government to fund this corporate tax cut - new taxes, higher interest payments on the deficit or cutting services. They have not answered that question.

JOURNALIST: Thank you, Mr Shorten. Mark Kenny from The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. Can I take you back to the national anti-corruption body that you've announced as a commitment too today - get a few details on that I guess. What's your thinking behind the fixed maximum five year term for the commissioner and deputies? What would be the remit? How broad would be the remit of this body? Would it for example, be able to, for example last year would it have been able to be used to do the Parliament-wide audit of MPs in relation to citizenship matters? Would it have been able to look at say, the helicopter flight of a certain person who was Speaker in the past, would look at the pecuniary interests, say the receipt of a bottle of Grange, as was a big story in the NSW ICAC. Is that the kind of thing it would be able to do? 

SHORTEN: You asked a series of questions, what was the very first one, the term of appointment? In forming the design principles which we've adopted, I'm indebted to Transparency International, I'm indebted to a range of senior judges and people who've been involved in state corruption commissions. After discussion with them and of course with my Shadow Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus, we formed a view this position is so powerful that one term is enough, and they agree. So the design principle is one which we worked out in consultation, talking to not only my own people but the Australian Institute, Transparency International and other reformers who have been calling on this. 

In terms of expenses and all of those matters, we have now set up a Parliamentary Expenses Authority. I believe that for expense matters in the first instance, that is where they will go. 

The remit of the National Integrity Commission is this. We want to make sure the administration of the Commonwealth is impartial and free from untoward influence. So what we're proposing is it would cover the judiciary, it would cover the Commonwealth public service, it would cover businesses and people who transact with the Commonwealth and it would even cover the Governor-General. So it would have a broad remit. We will, and we have got a discussion paper and a series of fact guides which, if you haven't got, we will distribute to you very soon, today and we will sit down with people. And I also say to the Government, I know that the Deputy Prime Minister ruled it out on Sunday, we are happy to work with them. It doesn't have to be a Labor-Liberal Punch and Judy show.

Specifically for instance the appointment of the commissioner will be done by the Parliament, it wouldn't be a Liberal appointee or a Labor appointee, but a Parliament appointee. I think that is an important development too.

JOURNALIST: David Speers from Sky News. Thank you for your speech. I certainly look forward to seeing the fact sheet on what you've announced today. Can I go to a specific question that may or may not be in that fact sheet. Would this integrity commission look at political donations and how that may influence what a politician does or says? Would it look, for example, at the Sam Dastyari case of last year? Can I also just clarify something you said earlier too on private health insurance,  are you looking at winding back the private health insurance rebate? 

SHORTEN: OK, let go to the first, the NIC stuff first. Specifically, on the Dastyari matter, I'm not going to play national integrity commissioner. What we would do, is we want to see donations reform, in addition, we think that foreign donations to political parties should be stopped - my party's already stopped that. We think there should be transparency of donations over $1,000. I don't see the National Integrity Commission as the only reform. I think that we do need to reform our donation system in addition.

The National Integrity Commissions’ remit would be to look at systemic and serious corruption, so it would depend on the facts of the matter. 

JOURNALIST: In terms of private health insurance?

SHORTEN: In terms of private health insurance, I think the first thing we want to do - let's not put the cart before the horse, is I think the fees increased too much. I think premium rises are too high. I think that's the issue. We see people dropping out of private health insurance. I think there needs to be better monitoring of exclusions. This has to be done with the industry as well as talking about the industry. I'm sure that we can get a better deal. I'm not convinced though in the last five years this Government, when it's had a 25 per cent 26 per cent increase in premiums can arguably say mission accomplished. It is a major cost of living burden on top of the Medicare freeze. The fact of the is under the Liberals, it just costs more to go to see a doctor, it costs more to go and get a consultation with a specialist and those increases have been increasing faster than wages. 

Today for me, it's all about making sure that the economy and growth, not only that we have it, but that we don't have a left-behind society where we have people who, you know pensioners who put off taking their blood-thinning medication and their prescriptions because they simply can't afford to. This is the real world which too many of our Australians are forced to live in because of cost of living pressures. We will be champions of people who are suffering cost of living pressures and we will have arguments with vested interest in the top end of town because someone has to do it on behalf of the people who are doing it hard.

JOURNALIST: Marija Zivic from SBS, thank you very much for your address. Some leaked cabinet documents today show that Scott Morrison, while he was Immigration Minister, tried to delay permanent protection visas for asylum seekers. The Prime Minister has defended that this morning. Given that under your leadership Labor's immigration policies have inched closer to those of the Coalition, would you defend that too?

SHORTEN: I don't know all the facts of the case. When you say inched closer, let me make it very clear, because sometimes the Government tries to mischaracterise Labor's position. We want to stop the people smugglers. Whenever the Government says Labor won't do that, they are giving a signal to the people smugglers to test our system. I wish for once they would think about the national interest and people's safety rather than trying to turn it into a partisan issue. 

More generally, I will have to examine what was said in those cabinet papers. I've been preparing for this today.

JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, Claire Bickers from News Corp. Similar to that issue, there was a report this morning that 25 asylum seekers left Indonesia on a boat bound for Australia. That was late last week. There was Rohingya Afghan refugees on board. An ANU expert has already predicted this could be the start of a fresh wave of asylum seekers headed for Australia. If you become Prime Minister, what will you do to counter this?

SHORTEN: We will certainly continue the boat turn-back policy where it's safe to do so, as the current Government does. We will do everything we can to discourage people smugglers. But let's also go to perhaps the part of the question which is unasked but a lot of Australians ask me in the street - that does not mean therefore we should have indefinite detention for people on Manus and Nauru. I don't accept it's a binary. Indefinite detention or smugglers, I don't think that's right. 

In terms of stopping people smugglers we will take the advice of our security experts, and our border security experts and we maintain absolute commitment to defeating and stopping the people smugglers. Because when they persuade and lure people onto the boats, they are not only making money and trying to exploit people, but are exposing people to drowning and death, so that's why we don't want them in business full stop.

JOURNALIST: Collin Brinsden AAP. Labor's been ahead in the polls seemingly forever. Yet despite the concerns of wages, electricity prices etc the Liberals are always seen as the better managers of the economy. What has Labor got to do to change that perception?

SHORTEN: I think if you ask people who is better at managing the economy in the interests of working and middle-class people, I think people look at Labor pretty positively. The battleground for Australians is cost of living. There is growth. We don't argue with that. We're pleased with it. There are jobs growing, we're pleased with that. I'm not going to be mealy-mouthed or negative about that, it's excellent. 

But what isn't happening is I don't believe the benefits of growth are being distributed equally in our society. We've seen productivity go up, I think I quoted that number in an earlier answer, 20 per cent yet real wages 6 per cent. Corporate profits went up 20 per cent last year and yet wages went up 2 per cent. There is a disconnect. We are in danger of creating two societies, a left-behind society. 

You're left behind if you have to give up your uni place because you're juggling two jobs and you can't afford to do it all. You're left behind if you are on a public housing waiting list and it goes for years and years and years. You are left behind if you can't afford to buy your first house because you're 20-30 per cent shy of the ultimate settlement price.

You're left behind if you are in your middle years and one of your loved parents has got dementia and there is a hundred thousand person waiting list.

You're left behind if you are in a region, a country town and your hospital hasn't had any capital works or any modern equipment. 

You are left behind if you are in your 50s and 60s, you've worked hard your whole life, you have been dislocated by manufacturing change and you can't get another job. 

So this country is not working equally. 

You're left behind if you're a woman working in a feminised industry and you effectively work your first two months every year for free because men in male-dominated industries have got a 20 per cent wage advantage over women working in feminised industries are working at a 20 per cent disadvantage to mail equivalents. 

My concern is we are creating two Australia’s, that we're leaving people behind and the problems are real. 

Business as usual doesn't cut it and my concern is that Australians have given up. Many of them think both political parties are just in it for ourselves and they want to know who stands up for them. They don't need me to tell them that their health costs are too high. They don't need me to tell them that taking kids to the doctor is more expensive than it was five years ago. They don't need me to tell them that their income tax is going to go up, they don't me to tell them that their power bills are up.

I don't need to tell young people, don't worry about the Great Barrier Reef that we're not going to do anything to mitigate the effects of climate change, don't worry about it, it will be a problem for you in the future. This country can work better. It is not about Liberal and Labor it's about can this country, can we be better? 

Today I've outlined some of the priorities and the approach we're taking this year. It is a bit of a change from last year. We want to be better in the way we conduct ourselves. 

We are proposing a National Integrity Commission because we think we can be better, we want to be better in the policies we talk about and the solutions we offer. We're going to talk to the Australian people. That's our work for this year.

And I think we can all be better. Thank you.

ENDS


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