TUESDAY, 5 JUNE 2018
SUBJECTS: Labor’s $350,000 investment in the West Park Oval; foreign interference legislation; Barnaby Joyce; Katy Gallagher; town hall meeting; One Nation; by-elections.
JUSTINE KEAY, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR BRADDON: Thank you everyone for coming today. It's great to be here on a slightly chilly morning at West Park in Burnie with representatives from the Dockers Football Club, the Burnie Hurricanes Cricket Club, the Burnie Athletics and Burnie Cycling here for an announcement which I'm really proud of. It's about injecting money into this ground so we can support no only the people that are playing here now but women in sport as well. It's great to have Bill Shorten here with me today really getting behind participation in sport in the North West Coast. This is a magnificent facility that supports sporting clubs, competitions and the wider community here so I'll hand over to Bill to say a few more words, thank you.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning, everybody. It's great to be here at the West Oval in Burnie. This oval has been part of life in Burnie and surrounding areas in Northern Tasmania since 1900. I'm very appreciative to have representatives from the Hurricanes Cricket Club, the Burnie Dockers, the cyclists and of course the athletics - this is home of the Gift every New Year's Day. This oval is a very important part of life in North Western Tasmania. Sport brings families together, it gives people an outlet to participate, it builds communities.
This venue we're at, it has been part of history in Burnie for over a century. They've played five Tasmanian state grand finals here, in the 1930s in the first quarter, a hurricane actually hit the oval and at the end of the match Burnie had 11 players left on the field and the other team had 6 so Burnie just won. I'm not sure there were many people left in the grandstand. And of course in 1967, I was just talking with a representative of the Burnie Dockers, the Wynyard supporters felt so strongly when they were playing North Hobart in the grand final that they ran on and took the goal posts out at the other end. So this oval is part of life in Burnie and part of sporting history but it also should be part of the sporting future and the community future for Burnie and surrounding areas.
That's why I'm really pleased, that if elected, a federal Labor Government will invest $350,000 to support what the council is doing to make sure that we can upgrade the change rooms. As we walked around and did the tour of this magnificent grandstand, it's clearly seen better years. The fact that in the football club here for example, not only do they have eight teams but two of them are women's teams. Women's footy is taking off. But it is very important that on match day that there are appropriate change facilities. When you look at the cricket club, clearly it has got a great history but it also needs to make sure that it's providing facilities that I think are in keeping with the 21st Century. Labor will, courtesy of Justine Keay's hard work, invest $350,000.
This oval has been around for a very long time. Labor wants to make sure that it's got a great future. The volunteers and the professionals that help run these clubs deserve that sort of back up from Government and I think this is a really smart use of a relatively small amount of taxpayer money to really enable and empower this community to continue the great sporting traditions and who knows we will see what happens in future grand finals on this oval. I might just ask one or two of the local representatives just to talk about the value of upgrading this fantastic facility.
STEPHEN DOWLING, PRESIDENT OF BURNIE DOCKERS FOOTBALL CLUB: Thanks, Bill. I'd like to reinforce what Bill has said. The oval is undergoing significant improvement now with a large drainage project done to improve the surface. If we can get improvements to our change rooms to support eight teams which are increasing rapidly now with the advancement of female football. The lights of course, the lights I believe would be 40 years old. They don't provide the lumens that we need to provide night sporting activities. If we can get investment along with an improved score board as far as the football club is concerned I think that would be great for the community.
JOURNALIST: Is $350,000 enough to do what you would like to do?
DOWLING: Well I suppose everyone is after more money but it's certainly a really good start.
SHORTEN: In fact, are there any questions on the announcement on the grand stand, the scoreboard and the lights before we get onto national issues?
JOURNALIST: Another Tasmanian one. Why has the Tasmanian state Labor Party been pushed back? It's not being held early next month anymore, it's being held in another two months. Why has that happened?
SHORTEN: That'd be a matter for the Tasmanian Labor Party.
JOURNALIST: Coming to national matters, Labor is on the brink of reaching an agreement with the Government on foreign interference legislation. What are the sticking points preventing you from having already reached an agreement?
SHORTEN: National security is a most important issue in politics, and we've been able, under my leadership and under both Tony Abbott and now Malcolm Turnbull, to work most of our national security debates through in a constructive fashion. Australians should be assured that when it comes to national security, the major political parties are on the same page. Of course, we want to make sure that the details are right. There is no point in rushing legislation to make Australia safer if there's problems in the laws which undermine the purpose of what we're trying to achieve. So I'm optimistic on the legislation that we're moving in the right direction. If it takes a little bit longer to get right, I think Australians would rather get the national security right rather than rushed.
JOURNALIST: What are you doing to make it get right? What are those sticking points?
SHORTEN: I think we made some 60 proposals in the committee. There's a Joint Parliamentary Committee - without taking you through the whole mechanics of how these laws get made, there's a Joint Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security. They review the draft legislation, there's been a constructive process, I congratulate both the Labor members and the chair Andrew Hastie on working through it. I'm confident that very soon you'll see the ultimate outcome which will be to everyone's satisfaction.
JOURNALIST: Of those 60 recommendations, are there any that are still being debated robustly?
SHORTEN: I understand we're closer to a resolution than further away.
JOURNALIST: What do you think of Qantas' decision to capitulate to China and name Taiwan as a Chinese territory on their website?
SHORTEN: I think that's a pretty complex issue. I'd probably rather that hadn't happened. Having said that, that's a business decision for Qantas, I'm not going to start running their airline for them.
JOURNALIST: Should Barnaby Joyce resign?
SHORTEN: That's a matter for Barnaby Joyce. On the whole Barnaby Joyce matter, I notice there's a lot of recriminations and finger pointing within the Government. My view is that essentially the politics of that situation has been discussed almost to death. I'm not going to add anything to Mr Joyce's circumstances. I'll leave any division that is happening to the ranks of the Government.
JOURNALIST: Do you think the Government would be better off without him?
SHORTEN: I think the Government would be better off if they reversed their hospital funding cuts in North Western Tasmania. I think the Government would be better off if they properly funded our schools. I think the Government would be better off not cutting $14 a fortnight from pensioners for energy bills. As for who they put on their team line up, that's a matter for the Government.
JOURNALIST: Do you have any sympathy for Barnaby Joyce's situation?
SHORTEN: My view about it is that it's a personal matter now. I think that a lot of people are spending a lot of time gossiping about Barnaby Joyce. A lot of people are Monday morning coaching what happened on Saturday in the footy match so to speak and I think we should let he and Vikki Campion get on with their lives actually.
JOURNALIST: How likely is it that Katy Gallagher will seek to regain her seat in Parliament? Has she communicated any intentions to you?
SHORTEN: I think Katy Gallagher has an ongoing contribution to make to the national Parliament. She has fallen foul of Section 44 of the Constitution but having said that so have a lot of people so, therefore, I think she's got an ongoing contribution. I'll tell you someone else who's got an ongoing contribution, it's Justine Keay.
I mean the sort of MP she'll be is reflected by the sensible announcement we're making this morning. $350,000, it is a lot of money at one level but another level when you look at some of the other big decisions governments make its relatively modest.
But I don't know about the rest of you but I was pretty impressed by the calibre of the sports administrators I met, from the cyclists and the athletics club and the footy club and the cricket club. They are just trying to provide good quality sport, recreation for their community.
When you have a look at this aging gem of a grandstand, when you get in underneath it and you see the change rooms, it just occurred to me why has it taken so long for anyone to work out to put $350,000 into the facilities. You asked an earlier question is it enough? I'm sure more would be more useful but when you see how sporting clubs run their affairs you see that $350,000 will go a long way. The overwhelming sensation I got when I was listening to the people who run the footy club and the cricket club, the athletics, the cycling, is this reminds me of sport the way it used to be all over Australia.
Really, there might be a few full timers amongst the various clubs but most of them are just trying to do their very best on a shoestring budget. Places like this make communities like this. So I certainly encourage the Government to look at matching our proposition.
JOURNALIST: Just back to the Labor seat -
SHORTEN: Sorry -
JOURNALIST: Yes so -
SHORTEN: Good morning, how are you?
JOURNALIST: Good thank you. There was a poll on Sunday which had Labor trailing in Braddon. Do you think Justine Keay can win?
SHORTEN: Most certainly I think Justine can win and the reason why I think she can win is because she is talking about the issues which I think affect people in Braddon. Actually, I think they affect people in Tasmania and right across Australia.
A vote for Justine is a vote to reverse the cuts to North Western Regional Hospital. A vote for Justine is to make sure that schools get properly funded. A vote for Justine is to make sure that pensioners get that extra $14 a fortnight just to help with their energy bills. I mean, Justine wants to stand up for middle class and working class people trying to make ends meet. The other fellow who they're running again - you know he voted against a Banking Royal Commission. Mr Turnbull wants to give $17 billion to the big banks in tax expenditure, $17 billion. Imagine what that could do to help provide quality healthcare for Tasmanians. I'm more interested, like Justine, to make sure that people who live on the coast, people who live in North Western Tasmania don't have to go to the mainland to get the specialist attention which other Australians take for granted.
JOURNALIST: Braddon is working class, it should be Labor heartland if anything, especially places like Burnie. Why are you trailing, I mean this should be -
SHORTEN: Well the election hasn't been held so before you write us off, I think we had better just see what happens in the next eight weeks. But you're right, Burnie is a working town that's why I think Labor's policies to provide - if you earn for example $65,000 a year, a vote for Labor means that you're going to get $3000 over the first three years of a Labor Government in a tax refund.
There's choices to be made and voters are going to have choice so I think for a lot of them, they're starting to realise there's a by-election but not everyone is switched on to the day to day politics like you and I. But I think when they add up cost of living pressures, the pressures on the healthcare’s system, the pressures on the schools, they'll realise that the Labor Party is the brand they actually want. It's the brand which means your kids get a quality education if you've got a bright kid in your family they will get the chance to go to university or get an apprenticeship, that when you're sick you can afford to see the doctor. That's who Justine is, she stands up for the people in our community not the top end of town.
JOURNALIST: If you lost a by-election or two Bill would you throw open the leadership?
SHORTEN: No. That answer didn't surprise you.
JOURNALIST: Funding for West Park will that become available in the first year or?
SHORTEN: Straight away.
JOURNALIST: The Liberals have said that funding commitments like this are meaningless since you're not in Government, it's a claim they keep making. What's your response to that?
SHORTEN: Well what they're really saying is Labor's not allowed to make a promise. Because what they're really saying when they say Labor can't say these things is, they think they should just be in a one-horse race. They hate it, the Liberals hate it when Labor actually comes up with a good idea. Because you know what they really think, we wish we had thought of that.
But even more than that, they've got the wrong priorities. See voters in Braddon have got a choice: you can vote for the other fellow, the other candidate and you'd be voting to give $17 billion to ANZ, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank, NAB or you can vote for Justine Keay and you'd be voting to improve the funding at the local hospital. More access to the specialists in your community, not on the mainland. The opportunity for pensioners to get $14 in energy supplement which many of them were not getting a fortnight right now. There are choices in this election and we are right up for that competition.
JOURNALIST: Do you think it sends a bad sign that the State Labor Conference has been delayed until after the by-election?
SHORTEN: No I just think it means that Labor is throwing everything it can to make the effort to have Justine elected.
JOURNALIST: What's your reaction to Senator Fraser Anning joining Bob Katter's Australian Party?
SHORTEN: Poor old Senator Hanson and her One Nation party. We've all seen how the movie ends, we saw the first Pauline Hanson show. What happens is they get elected, a ragtag bunch and then they vote basically for the Liberal Party - I don't think people in Tasmania are aware but Senator Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party vote 90 per cent of the time with the Liberal Party. So when you vote for one of these right-wing fringe parties you're actually just voting Liberal anyway, you're not making a protest.
I don't mind in the surplus of the right wing Senators, who they join doesn't matter ultimately you're going to end up with Malcolm Turnbull and tax cuts for banks.
JOURNALIST: Do you support Rebecca White as Tasmania’s State Labor leader?
SHORTEN: Yes I do.
JOURNALIST: Why is she not here today?
SHORTEN: Because she's doing something else.
JOURNALIST: You were speaking to the public for some time last night what was a story that stuck with you?
SHORTEN: It was a great event last night. What happened just to give the context for those of you who weren't there is that we emailed and telephone called a lot of people. We said if you want to come to a town hall style meeting, so anyone was welcome. There were people there who were Labor supporters undoubtedly but there were plenty of others interested to see what the fuss was about and probably a few who had never voted Labor in their life. But I think that politics has to change, it can't just be done in soundbites on the news, it's got to be done by talking and listening to people.
So the best story I heard last night is a lady called Evelyn, for 49 years she's been dealing with type one diabetes and she was explaining to me her journey of self-treatment from needles to blood tests, to now glucose monitors, blood glucose monitors. She was showing me how this technology was life saving and she was saying, we as a nation need to invest more in this self-monitoring devices which really does give diabetics much greater control over their lives and it also keeps them safe and it improves their quality of life and those who live with them.
That's the story that affected me most. Perhaps on that positive note, I might wind up this press conference. Is there one last question that you had?
JOURNALIST: What are you expecting to come out of Donald Trump's summit with Kim Jong Un in Singapore?
SHORTEN: Well let's walk before we run. I would like to see and I think citizens around the world would like to see the denuclearisation of North Korea and indeed the Korean Peninsula. There have been summits before, they've tended not to go anywhere so it's a good sign when leaders are talking to each other but let's not put all our expectations on one meeting, but it is progress.
Thanks everybody lovely to see you.