Bill's Transcripts

Doorstop: Perth





SUBJECT/S: Cuts to health and hospitals; Abbott Government abandons Australian jobs; Jobs for Liberal mates; Qantas; Second Sydney Airport.

It’s fantastic to be in Western Australia with some of my collogues, Alannah MacTiernan and Gary Gray talking about the great future that Perth and Western Australia can have. But it’s really disturbing to see reports today that since the Abbott Government got elected hospital waiting lists are blowing out because the Abbott Government, who promised they wouldn't cut health, have changed the way funding is done. The doctors' association has had to blow the whistle and say that hospital waiting lists are getting worse under the Abbott Government. The Abbott Government's got to keep its election promise which the Prime Minister said again yesterday in parliament. No cuts to health, Tony Abbott, means no cuts to health. Blowing out waiting lists because of changes of the Abbott Government is bad news for sick people and its bad news for our health system. Happy to take any questions.

JOURNALIST: You said in your speech that the role of Government is to put downward pressure on unemployment, now the Government says it has a plan for jobs but Labor’s getting in the way of that? What’s your response to that?

SHORTEN: You need to go and send out a search party to find the Abbott Government's plan on jobs. Since the Abbott Government’s been elected, since Tony Abbott became Prime Minister, one job has been lost every three minutes in Australia. That doesn't look like a plan, that looks like a problem. 63,000 fulltime jobs have gone since Tony Abbott got elected. It's not good enough for Mr Abbott to play Leader of the Opposition and blame Labor. He's now got to start acting like a Prime Minister with a proper plan for jobs in Australia, fulltime jobs, good paying jobs. The Abbott Government needs to get on and do its day job of fighting for other people's jobs rather than just their own.

JOURNALIST: You need to be cutting green tape as well. Do you accept that scrapping the carbon tax would help address the unemployment issue?

SHORTEN: Labor would vote for the repeal of the carbon tax so long as there was real action on climate change. Climate change is real and unless the Abbott Government's got a serious plan on climate change, it's only going to make things worse. Labor would repeal the carbon price so long as there was real action on climate change. Unfortunately the Abbott Government hasn't got a plan for climate change. If you want to do something on jobs, why not back up Australian industry? Since the Abbott Government got elected Holden’s gone, Toyota's gone, 1,000 car component small businesses will go. Tens of thousands of jobs will go. Forge mining services, 1300 people have all lost their jobs, not due to what Mr Abbott says but because we’ve got a Government who just doesn't know how to fight for Australian jobs.

JOURNALIST: Just a question for our Sydney colleagues, would you support a second airport at Sydney and if so at Badgerys Creek?

SHORTEN: Well, there's no doubt that Sydney needs a second airport. Labor has long argued that Sydney needs a second airport. I think so long as they've got the propositions around not being 24 hours, so long as they could generate new jobs, you'd certainly have to consider Badgerys Creek as a very live option.

JOURNALIST: Could we just get your view on Nick Minchin being appointed as Consul-General to New York?

SHORTEN: The Abbott Government couldn't save 50,000 car workers' jobs but they'll bend over backwards to give a job to a mate. This shows the priorities of the Abbott Government. One former Liberal politician gets a job, the Abbott Government regards that a good week in parliament. Tens of thousands of people lose their job, the Abbott Government says there's nothing they can do. The Abbott Government will fight for Liberal politicians, they just won’t fight for ordinary people.

JOURNALIST: Are you disappointed for Steve Bracks?

SHORTEN: Well, the Abbott Government's just ripped up the rule book. When you have people appointed by previous Governments you normally have that honoured but the Abbott Government's never seen a people issue they can't turn into a political issue. I am more disappointed for tens of thousands of auto workers who've lost their jobs or are going to lose their jobs. All the Abbott Government can do is engage in appointing one of their mates to a plumb position and yet tens of thousands of people lose their jobs. The Abbott Government's got the wrong priorities. They'll fight for their own jobs and for their mates, they just won't fight for anyone else's jobs.

JOURNALIST: Would you support legislation to remove the foreign ownership restrictions? The Treasurer said that’s it’s in the national interest.

SHORTEN: I believe it’s in the national interest to have a majority Australian owned airline. Plenty of countries around the world manage to keep their economy afloat and have a majority national owned airline. We would work with the Abbott Government on the future of Qantas because we are very interested and committed and passionate about defending Aussie jobs but the Abbott Government's got to stop playing hide and seek with their policies. Why don’t they, in the interests of Australia, sit down with the Labor Opposition and work through what we can agree on rather than simply doing back grounding and leaks and not telling anyone what's gone on about anything. Thanks very much, everyone, great to be in Perth.