Bill's Transcripts





07 AUGUST 2013





Subjects: Better Schools Plan; Coalition’s company tax rate debacle; Joe Hockey’s plan to increase GST; Corangamite



BILL SHORTEN:     It’s great to be here at Grovedale Secondary College with Darren Cheeseman, Labor’s hardworking Member for Corangamite. Today we’re able to tell Year 12 students and their teachers that if Labor is re-elected on September 7, it’s worth probably $5 million over the next six years for Grovedale Secondary College- by 2019. What this means, effectively, is a 50 per cent increase in Federal Government education spending for this school. It means that students in Year 7, such as some of the students I met with now, over the next six years will get the best access possible to greater resources to help develop them individually. There’s a lot at stake in this election. Certainly, there’s no issue which is more important than jobs and education. Labor stands for a good education, which gives the best chance for the students at Grovedale Secondary College to get a good job in the future.

Happy to take questions.                                       

JOURNALIST:         Bill Shorten, Tony Nicholls with the ABC. What are your thoughts on the Coalition’s company tax cut?

BILL SHORTEN:     Oh my goodness, the Coalition are just all at sea. You know, yesterday, you have Joe Hockey saying that interest rate reductions are bad for people- what planet is the Shadow Treasurer living on? And today they’re saying they want to cut taxes for some companies, yet at the same time they’re going to increase the tax paid by these same companies to pay for Tony Abbott’s clunky, expensive paid parental leave scheme. Put another way, the Coalition are saying that they will reduce the corporate tax rate for Australia’s biggest companies from 30 per cent to 28.5 per cent. But in the same breath, they say they’re going to increase the tax rate for Australia’s largest corporations from 28.5 per cent back up to 30 per cent to pay for their expensive parental leave scheme. And what they don’t specify is when they want to cut company taxes, that means that there’s less money coming in by way of taxes for services. So if you’ve got less money coming in, it just signals that the Coalition want to cut services in education and health, and cut jobs.

JOURNALIST:         Well, they’re talking about boosting the economy and helping companies create jobs, therefore stimulating the economy. Doesn’t that make sense?

BILL SHORTEN:     I’m at a school today, and every school student knows that if you don’t do your homework, you can’t expect a good mark. In this case, the Opposition haven’t done their economic homework. They’re submitting themselves for examination by the Australian people. You can’t give the Coalition a good mark when in fact they won’t spell out where the money’s coming from to pay for their expensive promises. It’s basic. Any Year 7 child can tell you that if you’re taking money out of the system, you’ve got to replace it somewhere. And this is going to come from cutting services, cutting services in education, cutting services in healthcare, and cutting jobs. The Coalition’s recipe for everything is to look after one group of people at the expense of the rest of ordinary Australians.

JOURNALIST:         Mr Shorten, Genevieve Gannon from AAP. You’ve called the Coalition’s paid parental leave scheme clunky and expensive. Is it not something that’s worth spending money on?

BILL SHORTEN:     Well, first of all, you’ve already got a scheme set up by Labor, opposed by the Opposition, which has seen 300,000 parents, mainly women, get for the first time ever in Australian history paid parental leave. 300,000 Australian parents are getting good support from the Federal Government already. Everyone knows that Tony Abbott’s trying to burnish his credentials with the working women of Australia. So what he’s done is come up with a scheme to fill a gap which the Federal Government’s already moved into. What is important here is that when you want to make a promise to people, how do you pay for it. The Coalition has said “oh, we won’t show our costings until the election’s called.” The Coalition has said “we won’t debate the Government until the election’s called.” Now they’re saying, now that the election’s been called, they’ve found another reason to delay showing their numbers. The strategy of the Opposition is to be a small target. They trash talked Labor’s education reforms for three years. Then because they’re doing badly in the opinion polls on this, they’re trying to pretend that they give a concern about education. Now what they’re doing is they’re saying that, “oh, listen, companies of Australia, we want to help you.” Well, the Opposition needs to tell the truth. Where’s the money coming from? Are they going to put more GST on food, on education, on healthcare, or are they just going to cut jobs and cut services? The Coalition has to answer some hard questions. You know, any mug can go out and promise a multi-billion dollar scheme. But the question is how are they paying for it.

JOURNALIST:         Wouldn’t a company tax cut, potentially help decrease the unemployment rate?

BILL SHORTEN:     First of all, the challenge in Australia is to make sure that you’ve got people who are able to pay for their promises. The Coalition is putting things on the never-never. They are making up promises as they go.

JOURNALIST:         But just on the company tax- why don’t companies deserve a break in a very difficult economic time?

BILL SHORTEN:     This Government has supported Australian industry in many different ways. What I know, though, is when it came to voting for a company tax cut in the last Parliament, the Coalition and The Greens joined up to knock it off. Now the Opposition are saying “actually, we’ve discovered this idea, and we want to do something about it.” You can’t promise a tax cut with money you don’t have. That’s it. You cannot promise a tax cut with money you don’t have. And that’s what the Opposition’s doing. The Opposition don’t believe in climate change, yet they’re saying “keep your climate compensation”. The Opposition don’t believe in education reform, yet they’re saying they want to give money to states with no strings attached, and they don’t believe in needs-based funding. The Opposition don’t believe in fair workplace relations, and they pretend that they don’t have policies to undermine the fair go at work and reintroduce statutory individual contracts. On the one hand the Coalition say “oh, yeah, we’ll give you a tax cut, on the other hand, by the way, we’re going to increase taxes.” And when we talk about what the Coalition’s promised, two in every three Australian small businesses is not an incorporated entity. So, two in every three small businesses don’t benefit from what the Coalition’s talking about. Furthermore, most small businesses incorporate for reasons other than company tax rate. So what we have is the 1 per cent of Australian companies in Coalitionland who’ll get 78 per cent of a proposed tax cut, a tax cut which the Coalition can’t even explain how they’re funding. These are funny money promises from an Opposition who will do and say anything to get into government.

JOURNALIST:         Joe Hockey’s made it clear that the Opposition, if they get into government, won’t increase the GST. Why are you scaremongering over the GST, when people can clearly see through it?

BILL SHORTEN:     Sorry, but Joe Hockey assumes that Australian voters have got the memory of a Goldfish. The reality is that in this morning’s Financial Review, it’s clear- the report is clear, from three journalists- that, in fact, he’s said that he is open to considering a case from the states on GST. The Coalition say things one day, and their election strategy is to hope that people overnight forget what they said one day as they airbrush history and pretend that they didn’t say it the next day. The Coalition need to echo the Prime Minister’s comments and rule out [inaudible] a GST. Ordinary Australians with cost of living challenges can’t afford to give a blank cheque to an Opposition who are making reckless promises, can’t afford to give a blank cheque to the Opposition, who say “when we get into government we may work out what we’ll do on the GST.” The Government of Australia, the future of our nation- cost of living is too important to leave to people who make unspecified promises on unspecified dates with no explanation on how they’ll pay for them.

JOURNALIST:         We’re out in the most marginal seat in the country today. How do you feel about Labor’s chances of holding on to Corangamite?

BILL SHORTEN:     Corangamite is an electorate that has got a great future. But to me, what is most important about the future of voters in Corangamite, and voters in Australia, is giving our kids the best start in life. The enthusiasm, the optimism, the confidence of the children in Corangamite in government and non-government schools needs to be matched by leadership from the Australian Government. Only Labor has got the credentials on supporting the best education for our kids. Our kids expect politicians to back them up, as do their families, by having the best education policies for the best start in life. If this is an election fought on education policies, Darren Cheeseman will remain the Member for Corangamite.

JOURNALIST:         Mr Cheeseman?

DARREN CHEESEMAN:    Well look, we’re working extremely hard. We’re working very hard to get into schools and talk to students about education. We’re working very closely with and making sure that we bring Ministers down like Minister Shorten to talk about what the future will hold for Australia with the re-election of a Rudd Government. This is going to be a very close contest here. Every single vote will count. But with Labor’s plans around education, with Labor’s plans   around creating new jobs and new opportunities for people in Geelong, with Labor’s plans to provide support for families, particularly in terms of the cost of education and having strong after care for kids, these are the strong plans that people in Corangamite want to hear. That’s what families want to discuss with us. We’ll be campaigning hard on those issues. And if we campaign hard on those issues, I think we’ve got every chance of winning this seat again.



Communications Unit: T 03 8625 5111



Authorised by G. Wright, Australian Labor, 5/9 Sydney Avenue, Barton, ACT, 2600