Bill's Speeches



And yet again another fantastic rollout. It's getting bigger and bigger every year within Opposition - the release of our Women's Budget Statement. 

I want to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land upon which we meet, I pay my respects to their elders both past and present. 

I also want to make another statement to begin with this morning.

If and when we win the next election the Women's Budget Statement won't be held in the Opposition rooms - we'll make it a centerpiece of handing down the budget, as it should be. 

I think that the Government truly believes that they can con the Australian people for $10 bucks a week. 

This budget is a shocker for low and middle-income Australians but let me be very clear, it contains very little progress for Australian women and in many ways, as Tanya has outlined, it is a step back for the women of Australia. 

You know, there's sort of the early warning signs as you listen to the budget. 

You wonder how many times the current Treasurer would even refer to Australian women.

Now you might be tempted to think maybe half a dozen times, five, four, three, two times. Maybe even just once. 

He didn't even refer to the women of Australia directly.

And of course, though that is the warning sign, the symptoms for the cuts which are hidden in this sneaky, tricky budget. 

For instance, women’s refuge and homelessness services - no guarantees of funding from the first of July. 

How out of touch do you have to be to think that you can buy the conscience of the Australian people for $10 a week and make them think that they don't care about cuts to refuges and homelessness?

The difference couldn't be starker in 2018 between Labor and Liberal. 

We believe that the Australian people prioritise homelessness and women's refuge services over a meagre, miserly $10 a week. Am I right?

And then we see other changes not in the front of the speech but in the fine print.

100,000 families approximately worse off because of changes to Family Tax Benefit Part A.  279,000 families worse off because of the Child Care Subsidy.

But what I think highlights the out of touch nature of the current occupants of the Government benches is the $30 million they take from Australian women every year.

The Tampon Tax was a bad idea to begin with, and if the Howard Government, I suspect, had had as many women in their Cabinet as we would, they would never have done the tax. It's a bad law which has lasted far too long on the tax books of Australia. 

Think about what $30 million this Government will spend it on. 

They'll find $30 million to give to Foxtel, to be fair they can't find it for the ABC.

It's about the same price as a median and a half cost of a house in Point Piper. 

It just, it really does amaze me, I genuinely thought that when we saw the leadership of Tanya and Jenny Macklin and Catherine King and Chris Bowen and others saying let's scrap this tax, I genuinely thought, as this Government does on nearly everything else we say that they would copy us. 

They would then say it was their idea of course.

But on this one they are such a bunch of arrogant, out of touch blokes in generally their 50s and 60s - they have no view about this issue. And to me it just highlights in a small way the big gulf of difference between Labor and the Conservatives about the equal treatment of women in our Australia. 

I have to say, one of the things which keeps Labor honest about the equal treatment of women is the fact that nearly half of our Parliamentary Party are women. 

And if we can get another 100,000 or 150,000 votes at the next election, half plus of our caucus will be women so we need a little bit of a hand to get there.

And when you look at this Women's Budget Statement, and the leadership that we've shown for the best part of five years, there are very straightforward explanations and it starts with my Deputy Leader, Tanya Plibersek, and the job she's doing. 

We've got our Leader of Labor in the Senate, Senator Penny Wong - we are managing Australia's Foreign Affairs approach in the future. 

But it goes beyond that. We've got Catherine King in health, we've got Julie Collins in Aged Care, we have Jenny Macklin in Social Services, we have got Amanda Rishworth in Childcare and Veterans Affairs. 

They're all in the Shadow Cabinet, it'll be Question Time before I can list the accomplishments of every one of our women Parliamentary team.

But you should also be reassured that from our economic leadership team of Chris Bowen and Jim Chalmers, there are no arguments about the equal treatment of women and it's this point that I want to finish on. 

The future of this country is not preordained, sure we get a lot of luck and we are a fortunate country but the future that this country makes for itself it's the luck we drive in the way that we treat our fellow Australians. 

This Government desperately wants you to believe that for $10 a week, it's a fair budget. It most certainly is not a fair budget. 

But even more deeply than that, no vision of Australia, no guarantee of prosperity, of fairness, of the fair go all round can be complete without the equal treatment of women in our society.

When we close the gender pay gap, when domestic violence becomes a memory, when we have equal opportunities in the leadership of this nation, the boardrooms of this nation, when we ensure that women from all backgrounds, our first Australians right through to our migrants, right through to women who live in the bush. When we can be assured in this country at long last that gender is not a predictor of disadvantage or unfairness, when we are truly a nation which sees women treated equally as men. 

In the unpaid tasks at home to the paid tasks in the workplace, in every postcode in our nation when women are treated equally to men, if our movement, our mighty movement never accomplished anything else other than the equal treatment of women - we will be the richest, most successful and fairest country in the world. 

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