SATURDAY, 23 APRIL 2016
SUBJECT/S: Labor’s positive plans; Royal commission into banking and financial services; The Liberals' $1 billion cut to dental services; The Liberals’ pre-Budget games; Pension age.
SUSAN TEMPLEMAN, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR MACQUARIE: It's great to have Bill back in the electorate for the third time this week to speak with some really interested constituents about what Labor has to offer, but I'll hand you over to Bill Shorten.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks Susan. It's great to be here in Macquarie with Susan Templeman. This is my 23rd town hall meeting where anyone can come and ask any question they want, because Labor really wants to put forward and explain its positive policies for the Hawkesbury and the Blue Mountains regions. Labor's got positive policies for jobs, for schools, for healthcare, for a fair taxation system, for real action on renewable energy and climate change, and of course promoting the proper and timely rollout of the NBN. Labor is here today because we've got a positive view for Australia and positive plans. We're a united team and we're looking forward to good, spirited questions and a chance for me to hear the views of the local electorate. Happy to take any questions.
JOURNALIST: Bill Shorten, Ian Narev says that you should concentrate more on jobs and growth and less on the banks.
SHORTEN: Well I think that Mr Narev and the big banks CEOs should spend less time hiding from the Royal Commission and more time stopping the scandals, and looking after their customers. There is an attitude in Australian banking at the top end, which tends to be one of denial. Australia's major banks and their bank leaders are in denial about the loss of trust in banking by Australians. The harder that the big banks and Mr Turnbull fight against the Royal Commission, the harder the Labor Party will fight to get to the bottom of what's really going on in Australia's big banks.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, what's your response to the Government's dental care announcement?
SHORTEN: Oh well, the Federal Government's engaging in its usual pre-Budget games of trying to trick people into thinking they care. Today's announcement about dental care will cut $1 billion from dental care in Australia. And it will add millions of children to the public dental waiting lists. This is a hoax of a plan for dental care. Dental health is so important to the health of Australians going forward. This is the equivalent of cutting Medicare and flooding the emergency wards of Australian hospitals with more patients. The idea that you improve the dental health of children by cutting $1 billion and making all the children of Australia have to go through public waiting lists to get dental care support from the Government, is a dental care hoax.
JOURNALIST: The Government looks like it's wanting to do something on bracket creep in the Budget, particularly those people moving into that 37 cents in the dollar category. Is the Labor Party looking at doing something for them as well?
SHORTEN: The Treasurer has been out denying and not confirming any of the reports today. This looks and acts like another pre-Budget political game from Mr Turnbull. Mr Turnbull's Liberals are the form guides on talking about tax changes and then not going ahead with them for the time being. They really want a 15 per cent GST but are discouraged by public backlash, so they'll wait until after an election if they're successful to reintroduce a 15 per cent GST. Mr Turnbull announced that he wanted to give States the power to levy income taxes so working Australians would face double taxation, and now we see this talk about tax cuts? The only thing that I'm sure about in this Budget is that the wealthiest Australians and the largest multinationals will get tax cuts from Mr Turnbull. The only tax plans that Mr Turnbull and Mr Morrison will confirm, is that if you're a very wealthy Australian or if you're a large corporation, the Liberals want to give you tax cuts and in the meantime, the rest of Australia faces cuts in dental care, schools, hospitals; the pensioners have had a hard time under the Liberal government. I simply don't trust that Malcolm Turnbull has got the interests of everyday Australians when it comes to tax cuts.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, at what age should Australians be eligible for the pension?
SHORTEN: We believe that the changes that the Federal Government are making to lift the pension age to 70 are wrong-headed. The truth of the matter is that older Australians already experience longer periods of unemployment. For many older Australians, haven't had the chance to save for a compulsory superannuation because the scheme hasn't been around their whole working lives. The jobs aren't there for people in their late 60s and early 70s, so we do not support increasing the pension age to 70. Put simply, too many blue-collar Australians, too many working Australians, have worked hard their whole life and now we see the prospect that they're going to have to work even longer. Why is it that Mr Turnbull wants to give tax cuts to large corporations, that he wants to hide the banks from the scrutiny of a Royal Commission, that he won't make multinationals pay their fair share, but he wants a lot of Australians to work till their 70. He's just out of touch. Last question, thank you.
JOURNALIST: There's talk that the Government will release a policy on submarines next week. It seems pretty evident from all the reports, that the Japanese have dropped to third. How do you feel about the way that this has been handled?
SHORTEN: The whole process of building submarines in Australia has been polluted and politicised by the current Liberal Government. What Mr Abbott and Mr Turnbull should have done is just stick to their pre-election promise, their pre-2013 election promise. I don't trust the Liberals when it comes to the building of submarines in Australia because they've spent the last three years being dragged kicking and screaming to building, maintaining and sustaining our submarines in South Australia and Australia, and I think it's remarkable that, yet again, there's another Australian Federal Police investigation into the Government over leaks to do with this submarine process. The submarine process has been polluted and mishandled by the Liberal Government since day one. Thanks everyone. Looking forward to the town hall meeting.