THURSDAY, 14 JANUARY 2016
SUBJECT/S: Malcolm Turnbull’s 15 per cent GST on everything; NSW ALP; Malcolm Turnbull’s cutting of paid parental leave for 79,000 families, Australian Defence Force
JUSTINE KEAY, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR BRADDON: Good morning everybody, I'm Justine Keay, I'm the federal Labor candidate for the seat of Braddon. It's great to have Bill Shorten the Labor leader here today in Burnie, and I've asked Bill to come down to Burnie today to talk to shoppers about Malcolm Turnbull's 15 per cent GST on everything, which is a bad idea, and something that Labor does not support at all. So thank you again for coming and I'll hand over to Bill.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks Justine, it's great to be here with everyone in Burnie and Senator Anne Urquhart and Justine Keay our candidate in Braddon. The reason why I'm in Tasmania and in Burnie is that Tasmanian families will be amongst the hardest hit if the Liberal plan for a 15 per cent GST on everything goes ahead. Research shows that an everyday Tasmanian family will pay an extra $6200 every year if the Liberal 15 per cent GST is implemented. Now Malcolm Turnbull says that he wants to have a mature debate about taxation, but for the life of me, I do not understand why Malcolm Turnbull's Liberals are soft on multinationals but hard on families. Now Labor's up for the debate about tax reform, but it is not tax reform to make every family in Tasmania pay 15 per cent GST on everything. Julie Bishop and the Liberals say ‘oh Labor shouldn't be negative about a 15 per cent GST idea’ - it's a bad idea, that's why we're against it. It's simply a bad idea to mean that at every check out that Australian families go to, they'll have to pay 15 per cent on all the fresh food and vegies, they'll have to pay 15 per cent every time they go to the grocery store, they'll have to pay 15 per cent on their utilities; their water, their gas, their electricity bills, they'll have to pay 15 per cent at the start of the school year on school uniforms and all the educational costs which are so important to making sure the kids get the best start.
So Labor will have the debate with Malcolm Turnbull's Liberals about the GST, I'll go to any shopping centre in Australia, any supermarket in Australia and put the case why a 15 per cent GST is a bad idea, and Malcolm Turnbull, if he chooses to, can turn up and put the case why a 15 per cent GST is a good idea. I know what Australians think, we are up for the debate and we will certainly oppose every day between now and the next election the Liberal plan for a 15 per cent GST. I'm happy to take questions.
JOURNALIST: Should New South Wales General Secretary Jamie Clements resign?
SHORTEN: I've seen the reports again today, let me state I have no tolerance for workplace harassment in any set of circumstances. This morning, I have contacted the State President of the New South Wales Labor Party, Mark Lennon and asked him to provide a report to my National Secretary George Wright on matters relating to New South Wales and I will wait to see that report.
JOURNALIST: Why does he still have a job?
SHORTEN: First of all, I have zero tolerance for workplace harassment. The New South Wales branch has been handling this matter. It's a party matter. But what I have done today, is I have now asked the New South Wales Party President provide a report to my National Secretary about all these and related matters.
JOURNALIST: Do you think there has been a series of attempts by senior figures to cover that up?
SHORTEN: I have no knowledge of that whatsoever. What I do say is that we have no tolerance for any workplace harassment and I have now stepped in and asked the New South Wales President, Mark Lennon, to provide a report on all these related matters.
JOURNALIST: If it is the sort of behaviour that Labor despises when is happens or emerges anywhere else?
SHORTEN: Well, I decry this behaviour full stop. Always have when I've stood up for workers in workplaces. Always have in our policies and the actions which we take. And again, I say we have no tolerance for workplace harassment and I do expect this matter to be now resolved full stop.
JOURNALIST: Just on the paid parental leave, are you concerned by research from Sydney Uni showing 79,000 mothers could be worse off under the changes?
SHORTEN: Malcolm Turnbull said he'd be different to Tony Abbott. But now under Malcolm Turnbull's Liberal policies, 79,000 new parents are going to lose paid parental leave. This is shocking. And what we've said is that we won't go down the path of these changes and what's even worse, if there could be something worse than 79,000 new parents missing out, is that many of these are in the most low-paid occupations. Malcolm Turnbull said he'd be one thing but is doing something totally different and as a result 79,000 new parents are missing out on some of their paid parental leave.
JOURNALIST: Do you support the Government's decision not to increase Australia's military commitment in Iraq and Syria?
SHORTEN: Let me state the outset that I and Labor have the greatest support for the work that our troops have been doing in Iraq and the Middle East. I have been privileged on a number of occasions to personally visit our troops in the Middle East and I've seen firsthand the important work they're doing, the professional work they're doing, to help keep Australia safe. Now I've seen reports in the media that the United States has asked the Government, Malcolm Turnbull's Government, to increase the contribution. I've seen reports that the Government has declined to do so. Labor has not been advised of the details of the request by the United States. Labor has not been advised of the reasons why the request has been declined and we will seek that briefing. But let me also add, it is very important that our troops and Defence are not used as some sort of battle within the Liberal Party, that this doesn't become a political matter, it should be above politics.
JOURNALIST: Do you think decision could affect Australia's relationship with the US?
SHORTEN: Well, as I've said, we haven't seen the reasons why the decision has been made. And I think, I expect the Government to reignite the bipartisanship which has traditionally existed. So I expect the Government to explain to Labor, because they reasonably expect our support on matters of national security, I expect that to be a two-way street where they explain what the request was and what the reasons. But let me state again, this matter is too important for politics. Defence and our troops in the Middle East should not be used for a political battle inside the Liberal Party.
JOURNALIST: We have seen reports that Jamie Clements has already resigned. Would this be a good outcome?
SHORTEN: I haven't seen those reports. I have said though that I want to see this matter resolved. I have said that I have zero tolerance for workplace harassment and I have stepped in this morning to ask for a report from the New South Wales President Mark Lennon on this and all related matters to be provided to my National Secretary as a matter of urgency.
JOURNALIST: Is this GST tour the start of your election campaign?
SHORTEN: Well this GST tour is about making sure that Australians know that if you want to stop the GST, you vote for Justine in Braddon and Labor across the nation. There is a clear choice. The Liberals want to have some fancy pants debate about the merits of putting a 15 per cent tax on everything. Labor's in touch with every day Australians. We know a bad idea when we see it. We have no support for increasing the GST and we want every day Australians to know that we are on their side and when the Liberals sort of carry on and say Labor's being too hard.
It's a bad idea, they should get out of their ivory towers and go and talk to real people. Small businesses who don't want to see confidence drop in their shops because people feel they've got to close their wallets and purses. Small businesses who want to make sure they can keep employing people rather than having a general depression on the economy and people's desire to spend. They should talk to ordinary Australians, families like Jodie, who I just spoke to, who are raising kids, doing their absolute best, being great mums and dads, wanting to buy their family fresh food. What chance does a battling family have, you've got the fast food industry, meals at a certain price, then you've got fresh food and parents want to make sure their kids eat healthy food. Then you've got these out of touch Liberals who won't do anything about multinationals, won't tackle the superannuation tax concessions of the very wealthy but they want mum and dad to have to pay an extra 15 per cent for fruit and veggies in this country. I tell you what, when people go to the ballot box, they know there is only one party on the side of keeping cost of living down for families, that's the Labor Party. I look forward to seeing you around and catch you soon.
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