Bill's Transcripts

Doorstop: Queanbeyan - Labor’s ‘Your child. Our future’ plan for Australian education; Malcolm Turnbull’s Liberals’ 15 per cent GST on everything






SUBJECT/S: Labor’s ‘Your child. Our future’ plan for Australian education; Malcolm Turnbull’s Liberals’ 15 per cent GST on everything; High Court decision; Senate voting reforms.

MIKE KELLY, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR EDEN-MONARO: Welcome ladies and gentleman to beautiful and historic St Gregory's Primary School this morning. I'd like to thank the principal Claire Fraser and Tim Smith for having us here, wonderfully hospitable and I know this school is doing a great job for our local community. I'd also like to welcome here today our Shadow Education Minister, Kate Ellis and of course Bill Shorten, and they're here today because they care about education, unlike Peter Hendy and Malcolm Turnbull, they're prepared to back that care and concern up with proper investment that education really needs.

In particular rural and regional Australia is suffering under the potential damage of ripping out $30 billion will cause in NSW. That means $160 million lost to the schools of Eden-Monaro. Our 27,000 school kids will all loose about $1000 a head through the loss of that investment and we know from the figures that the decline in education in Australia has been most pronounced in regional Australia. In particular, we can't afford to lose the regional loading, the Indigenous school children loading and the disabled children’s loading that has made such a difference already in many of our schools.

Rural and regional Australia needs a defender and Bill Shorten is that man. So I'm delighted with this education policy, all of our parents and teachers in this region were screaming out for it, and I'm delighted to have Bill here today to stand up for us and to talk more about that policy. Thank you Bill.

BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks Mike, and good morning everyone on a lovely, lovely morning in Queanbeyan. It's great to be here at St Gregory's, it's a great school, it's doing great things for the kids. But it's also, I think, really important that we keep talking about the future of our school education system in Australia. There are 83,000 staff who work in Catholic schools across Australia; there are 760,000 children, whose parents have made a decision to send them through the Catholic education system. They want to know that the government of the day has their back. Parents understand the reason why they make such a commitment to the education of their children, is they want their kids to have the best start in life.

And we see across the world Australia's educational rankings are falling backwards. In the last 15 years, the academic and educational results in Australia are slipping behind our competitors around the world. Education is not just a policy for fairness; it's a policy for economic growth. Under Labor's announcement of Your Child. Our Future, we are intending to ensure by 2020, 95 per cent of Australian children complete year 12 education. By 2025, we want to be back up in the top 5 academic education superpowers in the world in terms of our educational outcomes on reading, maths and science.

Labor understands, and it's only Labor who is offering real support for parents. We want every child to get every opportunity in every school in the regions, Indigenous children as well. In fact I will be meeting with Indigenous educators and Indigenous children later today to talk further about Labor's great plans to help Aboriginal kids get an equal go in life. Now I'd like to get Kate Ellis to talk a bit further about the program and we'll be happy to take questions, thanks.

KATE ELLIS, SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION: Thank you very much, Bill, and for Mike Kelly in the great work you do advocating for this community and for the need for all schools and all children in this area to get a great education. I would like to thank particularly principal Claire Fraser and all of her hard-working staff for both having us here today but also for the great job that they do each and every day working to ensure that local children get the best possible start in life. I would also like to acknowledge the National Catholic Education Commission, as well as Catholic School Parents Australia, who have both come out in support of the plan to reverse the Government's $30 billion in cuts and see Labor's Your Child. Our Future policy implemented moving forward. It is time for Malcolm Turnbull to step up to the mark. It is clear that when it comes to school funding, this Government have only one policy, one idea, and that is to rip $30 billion of funding out of our schools. We know that schools need certainty. We know that principals right now are grappling with whether or not they can start new programs, whether they can employ more staff and whether they can expand their school community. The Government has flipped and flopped when it comes to education funding but the one thing is clear, they made a very specific commitment to the Australian public before the last election that they were on a unity ticket. They walked away from that, they broke their promise, they have ripped $30 billion from their schools and the time has come for them to join with Labor in committing to reversing the cuts and making sure that every child and every student can get the education that they need and deserve and that our future economic growth relies upon.

SHORTEN: Thanks, Kate. Are there any questions?


JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, this morning Paul Keating has said a 1 to 2 per cent rise in the GST could be used to fund hospitals. Is that something Labor would support?


SHORTEN: What Paul Keating said is that a 15 per cent GST is fiscal folly. It was classic Keating and he was completely rubbishing the inadequate efforts of Mr Turnbull and Mr Morrison to try and convince Australians to have a 15 per cent price rise on everything. Let us be really, really straight with the Australian people: Labor will oppose an increase in the GST. The case is not made for slugging all Australians 15 per cent for their costs of educating their kids, for the cost of going to see a doctor. Australians don't want to pay 15 per cent on everything at the supermarket. Again, Paul Keating has just again said what Labor has been saying unequivocally. At the next election, if you don't want a 15 per cent GST, vote Labor.


JOURNALIST: He has said there are merits in a more modest increase, perhaps 12 per cent. Does that not derail your campaign for any increase to the GST?


SHORTEN: Ever since Labor has said we are against it, people have been saying that this and that will derail Labor's campaign against the 15 per cent GST. We are on the side of the Australian people. I'm determined to make sure that we have good education funding in this country, good healthcare funding. I just don't believe you have got to slug working people 15 per cent merely because the Turnbull Liberal Government is too lazy to chase down multinationals to pay their fair share, because they are too weak to do something about the unsustainable superannuation tax concessions at the top end, because they are just not willing to take on big tobacco and put a increase in the levy on tobacco excise. Labor has got fully funded plans, we have got fully funded plans for our schools and we don't need to make Australians pay a 15 per cent GST.


JOURNALIST: What are your thoughts specifically on Paul Keating's idea of a one or two per cent increase?


SHORTEN: We will not support an increase in the GST. Labor will stick to its guns. At the next election it will be a choice about GST. The Liberals must come clean on their plans. They must tell Australians what they are actually doing and at the next election, voters can be assured that if they vote Labor, they will not be paying a 15 per cent GST, we will not be extending the GST to fresh food, to medical items, to health, to education items.


JOURNALIST: What's your message to the Government about the 90 children who could face being sent back to Nauru?


SHORTEN: I think Mr Turnbull has to do something about the inordinate delays in terms of processing people who are on Manus and Nauru. It's wrong. The times have blown out under this current Government.


And we’ll have to see what the High Court says and obviously read that decision. But in the meantime, I do think that Mr Turnbull and his immigration spokesperson have got to explain why things are taking so much longer than they should.


JOURNALIST: If the High Court decides that the detention network as it stands is unpalatable and is unlawful, will Labor be prepared to change its stance on offshore detention?


SHORTEN: Let's wait to see what the High Court says.


JOURNALIST: It's a hypothetical though, it  a contentious issue in the party though, would Labor be prepared to change their stance if the High Court rules against the Government?


SHORTEN: Let's see what the High Court says.


JOURNALIST: Back on the GST issue, so you are saying you are not going to increase GST never, ever. Paul Keating has suggested a one or two per cent increase may be helpful. Are you going to stick to Labor never supporting a GST increase in perpetuity, the entire time, if you got elected as Prime Minister?


SHORTEN: A Shorten Labor Government will not increase the GST to 15 per cent. We will not increase the GST, nor will we extend it to fresh food and a range of other items. Governments should not be in the business of putting cost of living pressure on Australian households. What governments need to do is cut wasteful spending, have a look at multinationals, make them pay their fair share. Labor knows how to run this country without putting a 15 per cent tax on everything.


JOURNALIST: Regarding the Senate voting reforms, reports this morning that the Government has been canvassing support from the Federal Opposition. Has the Opposition spoken to the Government about these particular reforms, and is this a sign that we could be seeing an early election?


SHORTEN: Let's talk about the Senate reforms and the early election. In terms of the Senate reforms, the Government has to put its proposals on the table. They have been in power for two-and-a-half years. They don't know whether they are Arthur or Martha on Senate reforms. We’ll wait and see the detail of what they say.


In terms though of this early election, and Mr Turnbull talking about an early election, it seems to me that Mr Turnbull is actually afraid of bringing down a Budget. Labor is ready for an election whenever it is, but what we don't want to see is Mr Turnbull squibbing the task of bringing down his Budget. Mr Turnbull knows the next Budget will be very tough and he has got plans and he's not telling the Australian people. Mr Turnbull knows that he wants to have a 15 per cent GST but he's not coming clean with the Australian people. We're not  afraid of an election. Mr Turnbull is afraid of the Budget.


JOURNALIST: The doctors that have spoken out about conditions on Nauru on the ABC last night. Should they face jail time under the new Border Force Act considering Labor supported those changes?


SHORTEN: No, of course they shouldn’t face jail. We support whistle-blower protections and of course they shouldn’t. Last question thanks


JOURNALIST: Just up on the Senate reforms, there are reports this morning the Government wants to push that through by mid-March. Is that a timetable that Labor would be willing to work with?


SHORTEN: This Government talk a lot but they don't do much. If they have got proposals, put them on the table. And the other thing is if they have got proposals for GST, put them on the table. This is a Government who says one thing and does another. They say they don't want to increase taxes yet they are talking about a 15 per cent GST on everything. This Government needs to come clean on what it's going to do about the Budget. It's got to come clean about what it's going to do on school education and properly fund it and come clean about how they will fund hospitals, they’ve got to come clean about the consequences of their cuts to Medicare, the terrible cuts to the pathology and diagnostic imaging which is going to put up the price of seeing the doctor for many patients. This Government talks a lot but they don't make a lot of decisions. And in the meantime we need to see an economic plan and a Budget. Thanks everyone, see you in Parliament.