THURSDAY, 3 SEPTEMBER 2015
SUBJECT/S: Labor’s plan to support Canning residents in addressing ice; Labor’s plan to reverse Tony Abbott’s cuts to legal services; Canning by election; ChAFTA.
GARY ADSETT: The election campaign trail continues, Bill Shorten, the Labor Federal Opposition Leader is in town, he's on the line now. Thanks very much for your time Mr Shorten.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning Gary, sorry if it's a bit noisy in the background I'm in the Dome Cafe in Armadale as we speak.
ADSETT: Noisy but pleasant I'm sure.
ADSETT: Alright, let's get started, you're here in relation to a methamphetamine pledge, obviously people are - look I know that it's a big issue down there, people are talking about this meth scourge but politicians seem to be realising now that they've got to throw money at it.
SHORTEN: Well it's a big problem, down in Canning the proportion of people in Canning who are addicted to ice is greater than the national average and I was just talking to a couple of good people in the mall just before we came on line, and you know, they were at their local church the other night 4 cars get broken into while everyone's in the church. This is symptomatic of the bigger problem, there's been assaults - over 500 assaults in the year to June, 130 car thefts from the year to June, home burglaries, so it is important to tackle ice, and it's a dreadful pressures on the family of addicts as you probably know.
ADSETT: Yeah, what's your plan then? Where are you going to put the money during this election campaign?
SHORTEN: Okay, well the challenge is to make the place safer, so we're going to propose that there'd be more money spent on closed circuit TV in Armadale and Mandurah, and that does have a deterrent, let's you catch the crooks. But it's not just an issue that you can arrest your way out of, I think if you spoke to any police commissioner in Australia, and I speak to quite a lot of the police, they say that poor old police are being swamped, so you need to have also rehabilitation and treatment facilities. If you speak to a family who has a member who's got this addiction, it's getting people treated and unhooking them. So we're proposing to give Palmerston Association and the Hope Community Services $2.7 million of guaranteed funding to 2019, because that then means that there's more there to help people get unhooked off this, you know, dreadful, dreadful substance.
ADSETT: The issue as - I was speaking to some people here in WA and particularly Palmerston, is that they might have someone that comes to them and says, you know, I've got a meth habit, I'm trying to break it and then Palmerston say well two to three months before we can do anything for you. By then, they're back on the street and doing it all over again. It doesn't help.
SHORTEN: That's right it's not just a police issue it's a health issue and that's not being soft on the matter, it's just saying that if you're going to get people back on the train towards normal life and being able to contribute constructively, families need help. The other thing we're going to be doing is proposing - so there's the closed circuit TV cameras, there's the rehabilitation and treatment, these are both areas for the Federal Government appropriately can be involved in - but also domestic violence, family violence, ice-fuelled family violence is a real scourge so we're proposing to give $270,000 to the Peel Community Legal Centre so we can help women in particular who are the victims of family violence to be able to get some control back in their lives, especially when it's just all beyond their capacity to try and do anything without help of a legal service.
ADSETT: Do you concede that perhaps on both sides of politics, that this was not foreseen? Look I know for example in WA we had an Ice Summit seven years ago Mr Shorten, and you know, to be honest, there was some promises made but not enough done.
SHORTEN: Well I do think that governments sometimes talk the big game and then haven't followed through on the actions. For me be it ice or be it family violence there's a role to help the police, and the state governments are probably best placed to do that, but there is a role also to help with the treatment and if you like the prevention and the cure as well as just the law and order. We have made it clear that we would reverse about $2.5 million worth of cuts that Mr Abbott’s team has made to rehabilitation drug avoidance services here in Canning, and I am also very supportive of what the Labor Opposition Leader in Western Australia, Mark McGowan has committed to by opening the Armadale Police station 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
ADSETT: Can I just throw you at the China Free Trade Agreement? Are you getting isolated? Day by day, are you more and more isolated by more Labor leaders speaking out in favour of this agreement?
SHORTEN: I will never be isolated when I am standing on the side of Australian jobs. I am on the right track here and some people just want ignore the concerns of the trade agreement, then I think they are doing Australians a disservice. Let me be really straight; I think improving trade relations with China is a good idea. Full stop. What I am concerned about is the fine print. No every deal, not every contract is automatically a good contract. Just because a trade treaty exists, doesn’t just by the nature of existing make it a good thing. What we have to see is the detail.
Labor is going to be proposing three sets of sensible changes. The big problem with politics in Australia at the moment is we have to stand up for Aussie jobs, we have to stand up for Aussie jobs and what we have also got to do is get down to negotiating. Not one side of politics is right 100 per cent of the time; Liberal and Labor. We’ve got three very sensible measures which simply go towards strengthening the agreement and making sure Aussie jobs come first. I know I’ve giving a long answer there, but I do not feel isolated when I am standing up for Australian jobs, I reckon I am on the side of the angels.
ADSETT: Alight, you don't reckon the ACTU ads perhaps went too far, those ads that we're seeing so much of here?
SHORTEN: First of all I do think that the ads were raising legitimate questions. Here's the basic proposition without boring people to tears. It is proposed that for projects under this agreement as it currently stands, for projects over $150 million, there's no requirement to test for jobs for Australians first. Now I don't agree with that. I think there should be a requirement that if there's going to be investment in this country, first crack at the jobs goes to Australians. So we've got to work that through with the Government, but it is quite bewildering that somehow Mr Abbott and his Liberals are attacking me for standing up for Australian jobs when we're going to make sensible suggestions which will probably make Mr Abbott's agreement better than it currently is. The other thing is, in a time where you've got 800,000 people unemployed, we saw the national economic numbers for the accounts come out yesterday, and they were disappointing to put it kindly, growth is not very good at all. What we're proposing is that if people come and set occupations, electricians, carpenters, plumbers, that where there is existing rules about skills and accreditation that the people coming in saying they can do this work, the plumbing and electrical work meet Australian standards of accreditation. This is not revolutionary stuff, this is not rocket science, and it’s about Australians, Australian jobs.
ADSETT: Alright, I know you're on a tight schedule I do appreciate your time this morning.
SHORTEN: That's very good. Thank you very much, cheers.
ADSETT: That's Bill Shorten, Federal Opposition Leader there just on a couple of things, obviously in town the make a pledge on meth and how to deal with it. I tell you what, $2.7 million for Palmerston Association I know would be greatly received given the conversation I had only a couple of weeks ago with the CEO there.
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