Bill's Transcripts

Doorstop: Melbourne - Marriage equality; Labor’s ‘Your Child. Our Future’ plan; 2016 Election.






SUBJECT/S: Marriage equality; Labor’s ‘Your Child. Our Future’ plan; 2016 Election.


BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good afternoon everyone. It's fantastic to be here with Chloe and my family today, showing my family's support for marriage equality in Australia. It's a great crowd and when you get the chance to talk to the people here, everyone here just knows that marriage equality should just happen. People can't understand why a powerful minority are so hung up about marriage equality. In fact, talking to people, it seems to me that the only people who don't want marriage equality to happen now are Tony Abbott and more disappointingly now, Malcolm Turnbull. Australia is ready for marriage equality now. People don't understand why there has to be a $160 million of taxpayer money wasted to hold an opinion poll merely because 100 Liberal MPs can't make up their mind on marriage equality.


Everyone knows that the people who want to delay marriage equality - and support the plebiscite - are the opponents of marriage equality. I think it is really important and I have got my fingers crossed that Malcolm Turnbull turns up today - we've heard a few rumours that he might, he has certainly been in Melbourne over the weekend.  What we want on marriage equality is the old Malcolm Turnbull, not the new Malcolm Turnbull. What we want is Malcolm Turnbull, the conviction politician not Malcolm Turnbull, who appears that the only fight he was willing to have was to get Tony Abbott's job. I will be promising people today at this rally that if a Shorten Labor Government is elected, within 100 days we will put legislation in the Parliament for marriage equality and all MPs can vote according to their choice. Labor will get the job done quickly, we will have true equality in this country and we will save the taxpayers $160 million of taxpayers’ money. We are very pleased to be a part of today's march - the people have already spoken on many occasions. Let's make marriage equality a reality now and I think that's what Australians want to see from Malcolm Turnbull, as well as from the Labor party.


Happy to take questions.


JOURNALIST: Are you confident there are enough votes in Parliament -


SHORTEN: I'm sorry, you'll have to speak up - it's very noisy here.


JOURNALIST: Are you confident there's the numbers in Parliament to pass marriage equality?


SHORTEN: I believe that if legislation was presented this week in Parliament the numbers would be there if there is a conscience vote in the Liberal party. I think about 95 per cent of Labor MPs would vote for marriage equality. And certainly when you talk to Liberal MPs privately without the sort of ‘Tony Abbott heavies’ standing around them, I believe there is a working majority of Liberal and Labor, Green and non-aligned MPs who would support marriage equality. Australians have to ask themselves why are we having a plebiscite at some point to come in the future which is going to cost $160 million. The plebiscite idea was incited by Tony Abbott and some of his MPs to kick marriage equality into the long grass of the future. The people who are very anti-marriage equality are very excited with a plebiscite - they don't want to see a conscience vote in Parliament. I am confident that if Malcolm Turnbull, the new Malcolm Turnbull actually did what the old Malcolm Turnbull said we could have marriage equality by the end of February in this country.


JOURNALIST: Just on another topic, have you had a conversation with South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill about funding your education plan?


SHORTEN: About 72 hours ago, I was pleased to announce the most significant improvement in schools and education funding in this country in two generations. Labor's education plan, which is called You Child. Our Future, is a plan designed to make sure that every child in every school can gets every opportunity to compete for the jobs of the future. We've seen that Australian school rankings, the results of our kids, have been slipping in recent years. I want Australian schools to be best in Asia. I want parents to know  that a Labor Government will prioritise spending scarce taxpayers’ dollars on every child, their children. Malcolm Turnbull and his Liberals want to cut the funding to every school in Australia.


So I’ve spoken to the South Australian Premier - I have explained to him that Labor, unusually for an opposition, has fully funded its proposals. And, to repeat again for benefit for people, we would have a tobacco excise increase and we would also make sure that we made multinationals pay their fair share of taxation. We would clamp down on the excessive and unsustainable superannuation tax concessions and we would stop wasteful government funding, including paying big polluters to keep polluting with Tony Abbott's emissions reduction fund and we also don't see the need to go down the path of the National Party with some sort of Baby Bonus 2.0. All of that would save much more than we would spend on schools in the next ten years. I have to finish this answer with this, and I know that Jay and millions of parents as well agree, why do the Liberal Party of Australia see education as a cost, not an investment? Why do they count every cent which gets spent on the children of Australians rather than look at the investment so that these kids, our kids, your kids can get the best start in life? One more question.


JOURNALIST: How do you feel about the prospect of presidential style election campaign? Obviously, yourself verses Mr Turnbull - how do you feel about that?


SHORTEN: I am excited and energised for having an election this year. Because at last, we will be able to present to Australians a real choice for the future of this country. The last two and a half years have not been Australia's most exciting time despite what Mr Turnbull says. We have got over a million people who are under employed. We have got over 800,000 people on the disability support pension. Poverty in Australia is at a 75 year high. We have got multinationals running rings around our tax laws. We have got terrible cuts to healthcare and hospitals. We've got terrible cuts to schools and education. We have got rampant privatisation being advocated for our universities which will stop working class and middle class kids getting to uni. I really believe it should be your Medicare card not your credit card which determines the level of healthcare in this country. I am looking forward to fighting him on all these issues and of course, Labor will not relent on climate change and having real policies.


I hope everyone has a lovely march today. This is the community coming out and saying to Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott - let's just get on with marriage equality, what are you so hung up about?


JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, the Prime Minister has answered your call and just rocked up [sic].


SHORTEN: Well there you go, that's fantastic, good-o  and lets have the vote this week, this month - let's not spend $160 million of taxpayers’ money. Let's actually let the MPs get on and do their day job.


Thanks everyone.