STATEMENT: Kate Ellis MP, Thursday 9 March 2017

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
 

THE HON JENNY MACKLIN MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND SOCIAL SERVICES
MEMBER FOR JAGAJAGA

 

KATE ELLIS MP 

We thank Kate Ellis for her years of friendship and her public service as the Member for Adelaide over the last thirteen years.

Kate’s genuine warmth and optimism has made the Parliament a brighter and friendlier place. 

In 2007, Kate became the Minister for Youth and the Minister for Sport, at the time she was the youngest person to be appointed an Australian government minister. 

Later Kate became the Minister for Early Childhood Education, Childcare, Youth and the Minister for the Status of Women. 

Kate was a terrific minister who championed education for all. 

In Opposition, Kate strongly defended the Gonski education funding reforms from cuts by the Liberal Government.

She worked with early childhood education providers to ensure that proposed reforms to child care don’t leave low income families worse off.

It has been a privilege to work alongside Kate in recent years in defending low and middle income Australian families from unfair cuts to Family Tax Benefits.

Kate has held the marginal seat of Adelaide for Labor for more than a decade and we’ve seen first-hand her formidable skills as a grassroots campaigner.

We look forward to continuing to work alongside Kate ahead of the next election. 

Having seen the love and devotion for her son Sam, we totally understand and respect her decision to put her family first.

We wish Kate and her family all the best as they prepare for the next chapter of their lives.

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SPEECH: Address to the Universities Australia Conference, Canberra, 2 March 2017

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

ADDRESS TO THE UNIVERSITIES AUSTRALIA CONFERENCE

CANBERRA
THURSDAY, 2 MARCH 2017 

***CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY***

I would like to acknowledge the Ngunnawal people who are the traditional custodians of this land on which we are meeting and pay respect to the Elders of the Ngunnawal Nation both past and present.

I extend this respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in attendance today.

I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate UA and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Consortium (NATSIHEC) on the release of your Indigenous Strategy last night.

Thank you Professor Peter Buckskin, Professor Aileen Moreton-Robinson, Professor Steve Larkin and Dr Leanne Holt for your work on this strategy.

Giving more Indigenous Australians the opportunity to go to university and get a decent, well-paid job is fundamental to breaking the cycle of Indigenous disadvantage and closing the gap.

Thank you to all of you for doing your part.

I would like to acknowledge:

  • Professor Barney Glover, Chair of Universities Australia
  • Professor Margaret Gardner AO, Chair-elect of Universities Australia
  • Belinda Robinson, Chief Executive of Universities Australia
  • Vice-Chancellors
  • University staff
  • Students from across Australia.

I want to congratulate Belinda and the UA team for all their hard work in putting together this significant event.

 

EDUCATION

 

I have had a warm welcome from you all as Shadow Minister

Starting with my first discussion with Vice-Chancellors back in August last year.

I have very much enjoyed the many campus visits I’ve made, and I’m looking forward to many more.

It’s inspiring to see the transformative power of universities at work – transforming the lives of individual students, our communities and regions, and our economy as a whole.

For individual students, we know a university education usually means a lifetime of higher earnings [OECD Education at a Glance Report]. It usually also means exposure to the other things which make life rich – friendship, mobility, creative thinking, and lifelong learning.

And society is richer because you challenge us with new ideas, you shape debates, and you foster creativity.

It’s a tribute to so many of you in this room that we have an international education sector which is the envy of the world. The export value of the sector is a testament to the quality of the education Australian universities offer.

Regional cities are seeing a new generation of urban renewal through the economic benefits of higher education delivery and the infrastructure investment this supports.

Take for example the city of Launceston, one of my favourite cities in Australia - which will be transformed with a $260 million development of their Inveresk campus.

To Launceston, this project means:

  • $965 million in direct and indirect economic impact during construction;
  • 2,760 new jobs; and
  • $362 million in additional ongoing annual economic benefit.

In addition to the economic impact, the campus will also see 16,000 staff and students bringing energy and creativity to an already fantastic city.

Universities are transforming many more of our cities.

Regional cities like Newcastle and Wollongong which were once reliant on heavy industries are being revitalized through the presence of university campuses.

I know you will have Antoine van Agtmael and Fred Bakker, authors of The Smartest Place on Earth - Why Rustbelts are Emerging Hotspots of Global Innovation, presenting this morning. 

Their research on the revival of cities and regions once in decline is fascinating.

The message is very clear – the future doesn’t lie in the rearview mirror. 

If we want to be a leading edge competitive economy, we need to have a vision for that future and drive the creation of new high-tech manufacturing and the decent, well paid jobs that go with it.

And it can’t just be wishful thinking.  We must have new and practical approaches that forge connections and collaboration between universities, governments, companies and industry.

Not the least because the important breakthroughs in technology and innovation will almost certainly “occur at the intersection of various disciplines”.

 

GEN NEXT

 

This is why the theme of this year’s conference, Gen Next is so important.

I remember when it was my generation – Generation X – that was perplexing policy makers with our poor job prospects and the likelihood of a future of insecure work.

And we continue to live in interesting and uncertain times.

Gen Next will have the task of steering us through a new industrial revolution – a technology revolution that many fear will cost jobs – and will make sure that instead we use new technologies to create new industries and new jobs.

It’s fair to say that many people are anxious about the future.

Parents and grandparents wonder what type of work their kids and grandkids will do, and how they will succeed.

Universities are at the frontier of our future success: to ensure that our nation has the skills and knowledge it needs to be competitive and resilient.

As Professor Glover said yesterday:

As institutions for the public good, we exist to pursue the frontiers of knowledge.

Knowledge is ballast against the insecurity many people feel. Knowledge is also essential for policy makers and for governments to govern well.

If we’re very clever, we have the opportunity to deal well with some of the great problems of our time.

Climate change, for example.

Australian universities are facing the challenge head on.

Research at UNSW is just one example. The University’s Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics recently set a new world-record in solar energy efficiency.

Breakthroughs like this can underpin our future prosperity – if we work out how to harness them.

But unless we look more broadly to reform it’s not all bright for Australia’s economic mix.

We have to face the facts.

The construction phase of the mining boom is over and our economy is in transition. Growth is slow. Wages are low. Underemployment is high.

Parts of Australia are suffering more than others and policy makers have a responsibility to include all Australians in our plans for future prosperity.

So, after 25 years of record growth – are we up for this challenge?

Can we transition from the resources boom to a knowledge-based, services economy?

Will we leverage our knowledge, creativity and innovation into new ideas for new products, new services and growing industries?

To do this successfully, we will need:

  • Continuous upgrading of skills for the changing nature of work, and
  • And to boost our nation’s research outcomes to capture greater value of our creativity and innovation.

 

AUSTRALIA’S JOB MARKET

 

The Australian Labor Party supports full employment.

But we know that’s easier said than done.

Australia lost 56,000 full time jobs last year.

Wages are stagnant or falling: down 0.5% in the last quarter of 2016.

Underemployment is at record highs and the gap between rich and poor is the worst it’s been in 75 years.

Over the coming decades, many jobs will go, new ones will emerge and existing occupations will require new skills.

In 2015, CEDA – the Committee for Economic Development of Australia – reported that up to 40% of Australian jobs – more than five million – could be gone in 10 to 15 years.

Most of this will be because of technological change.

It is also said that each year more than a million workers – about a tenth of the workforce – change jobs [CEDA – the Future of Work].

Of these million workers, 600,000 change industry and around 450,000 change occupation.

And it’s not just individual workers – more than half a million businesses will enter or exit the market.

In the decade to 2013-14, Australian manufacturing jobs decreased by around 92,000 while employment in health care and social services increased by 462,000. [CEDA – the Future of Work].

Our economy’s skills-base has and will continue to change significantly.

Unless we have a plan to make it otherwise there is a genuine risk that these new jobs will be of a lower quality than the ones they have replaced.

In a potentially more volatile labour market, will our post-secondary system – both universities and TAFE - adapt to this change?

Governments can’t come up with the answers to these issues alone.

Universities also need to wrestle with these questions.

 

UNIVERSITIES’ ROLE IN MEETING NEW DEMAND FOR SKILLS

 

When the previous Labor Government introduced the demand-driven funding system for undergraduate places, we gave universities a new level of freedom.

This has seen the sector innovate – delivering to more Australians – many of whom are first in family to attend university or from an indigenous or disadvantaged background.

Labor’s demand-driven funding allowed unmet demand from the Howard years to be filled, but the initial spike in demand is now levelling out.

Data from the Department of Education suggests that the demand for university places from school leavers has begun to plateau. [2016 Undergraduate Applications Offers and Acceptance Publication, Department of Education].

But the reform of the demand-driven system is probably at best, only half done.

I envisage a more mature demand-driven system able to increase participation by people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

You know we have more work to do.

That’s why I welcome UA’s commitment to accelerating indigenous student enrolments by 50 per cent above overall growth as part of your Indigenous Strategy.

And that’s why I have been so critical of the Turnbull Government’s decision to slash the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) by 40 per cent with the remainder of the funding ‘under consideration’.

At the core of the demand-driven system has been flexibility.

I want you to have it.

I want our universities to have the funding and regulatory settings that allow you to deliver education which meets people’s life goals and enhances their life experience.

But we have to look at how a mature demand-driven system adapts to the change we’re seeing in the economy and the labour market.

With a tenth of the workforce changing jobs each year, and 40 per cent of current jobs predicted to be gone within 10 to 15 years.

It’s no good educating young Australians for yesterday’s labour market, for jobs which won’t exist.

What new programs of university and vocational education will we need?

Consider a mid-career worker, trying to renew their skills for a new or emerging industry.

What kind of higher education options do they need and will they be on offer?

Will universities recognise previous work experience or TAFE qualifications?

Universities and VET providers will have to increase collaboration with each other and with industry so that there are the right opportunities for high quality work-integrated learning and job placements.

I am also interested in the changing way that people engage with higher education throughout their working lives.

The debate we’ve seen about attainment rates often fails to recognise the way our lives have changed.

Labor absolutely wants to see more students graduating.

We don’t want people dropping out because the course they are studying turns out to be irrelevant, or is not what they want or need.

But we also don’t want to penalise students who are taking a non-traditional approach to acquiring the skills they need.

The evidence tells us that there is value in having successfully completed some higher education – even where students don’t graduate.

A recent study on employment trends in the EU published in the Higher Education Quarterly showed that even a small amount of higher education may improve a learner’s life chances and increase their opportunity for employment.

We should look at how we all – government, industry and universities – are better able to respond to students, who, for a variety of reasons, choose to step in and out of higher education throughout their working lives.

Our system should become more flexible in order to allow students to build their knowledge and skills-base through a greater mix of educational offerings that fit the needs of their careers.

But this doesn’t mean a system where every child gets a prize.

Labor expects accountability in our system:

  • To students.
  • To your local communities
  • And to the Australian tax payer.

A more flexible system must continue to be a high quality one.

 

SKILLS AT THE HEART OF LABOR’S AGENDA

 

Last month, Bill Shorten outlined that jobs and skills will be a major focus for Labor this year and beyond.

He also announced that Labor will be hosting a Skills Summit on 17th March here in Canberra.

I’m very much looking forward to working closely with business representatives, unions and educators – including Universities Australia – at this important Summit.

It’s also right that Bill acknowledged that our colleagues in the TAFE sector are going through a period of sustained stress and anxiety about their future.

The Turnbull Government has ripped away $2.5 billion from skills and training.

An astonishing 128,000 apprenticeships have now disappeared.

Funding for vocational education has gone backwards by 4% in real terms over ten years [Mitchell Institute Expenditure on Education Report 2016].

At the same ten year period, universities have had relative stability – supported by Labor’s policy settings – with funding increases of around 45 per cent.

Universities can’t be aloof from this crisis facing TAFE.

It’s a national issue.

We all know that our economy needs decent, high-quality skills delivered at vocational and higher education levels.

I am determined, as is Bill and the rest of the Labor team, to ensure that universities continue to grow and be strong with predictable and sustainable funding.

But we want to work with the states and territories to ensure that similar stability is afforded to the TAFE and vocational sector.

We also want to ensure that business and unions work collaboratively with educators, and play their part.

 

STRENGTHENING UNIVERSITY RESEARCH

 

As the Shadow Minister responsible for university research, I’m keenly focused on ensuring that policy settings – both current and future – facilitate a robust and growing research portfolio in our universities.

In a mature and strong democracy, we need researchers, thought leaders and ideas generators.

We should not be afraid of agitators or those who challenge the status quo.

The late, great Gough Whitlam said that:

Academic freedom is the first requirement, the essential property of a free society. More than trade, more than strategic interests, more even than common systems of law or social or political structures, free and flourishing universities provide the true foundation of our western kinship, and define the true commonality of the democratic order. [Gough Whitlam at the Harvard Club of Australia, 1973]

It is with the same spirit that I applaud the work of our researchers.

It wasn’t until I had the Medical Research portfolio that I fully appreciated the power of research to improve lives and underpin economic growth.

There is a tendency to see research value in dollar terms of Intellectual Property or patents lodged. That’s important, but the value of research is much greater than that.

Research that develops a less intrusive, less costly way to deliver a medical intervention won’t make money for a drug company, but it can be better for patients and better for the health budget.

Like the work of SPACE project (Single Pill to Avert Cardiovascular Events) led by researchers at the George Institute for Global Health.

These researchers developed a polypill – a fixed dose combining commonly-used blood pressure and cholesterol lowering medication, along with aspirin – which is transforming approaches to treating cardiovascular disease.

Of course we should be doing research like this, for the public benefit alone.

But we also should be doing much better at using our research investment to create new jobs and opportunities.

It is not good enough that Australia’s research collaboration with business is almost at the bottom of the OECD average [Universities Australia]

It is the case that collaboration between industry and universities on research and development is too low for an advanced economy.

Globally, Australia is missing out because of a lack of government-backed research collaboration funds.

If we are to truly take part in developing the global products of the future, Australia must be at the table with the US, the UK and the EU.

It’s important, if not the key, that industry plays a greater role in our overall research effort.

But I know that university research cannot continue to flourish if funding continues to be cut.

That is why Labor strongly opposes the short-sighted decision to abolish the Education Investment Fund - EIF.

EIF was set up to ensure that we have the necessary capital to renew, refurbish and update our university, vocational and research institutions.

But it’s now been abandoned.

I’m sure all of you will have examples of the transformative impact that EIF has had on your campuses and communities.

As part of Labor’s policy development on enhancing our research in universities, I will continue my discussions with the sector, including meeting with the Deputy Vice-Chancellors’ (Research) forum tomorrow.

 

CONCLUSION

 

I am optimistic about our capacity to meet Australia’s future skills and research challenges.

I am determined to work with you to prepare our people for the secure jobs of the future.

Developing skills for a changing workforce through to encouraging new scientific breakthroughs.

Universities are going to be a central part of that, but we need to continue a healthy process of connecting the elements of our education system better, feeding our economy with new discoveries and innovation.

Thank you again for your time today.  I wish you all the very best for the rest of your conference.

 

ENDS

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SPEECH: Opening of Australian Young Labor Conference, Saturday 4 February 2017

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

OPENING OF THE AUSTRALIAN YOUNG LABOR CONFERENCE 


CANBERRA

4 FEBRUARY 2017 

CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY

 

I acknowledge the Ngunnawal people who are the traditional custodians of the land on which we are meeting and pay respects to the elders of the Ngunnawal Nation both past and present.

I extend this respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in attendance today.

It is with great pleasure that I stand before you to open the 2017 Australian Young Labor National Conference.

I congratulate all of you on being elected as delegates from your states or territories to this national conference.

Try and have some fun over the next couple of days.

You should enjoy this chance to test yourself:

- to argue

- to debate 

- and even to socialise.

We in Labor are never afraid of a healthy debate.

If you doubt that for a moment I urge you to come along to Sydney Town Hall and watch the NSW annual conference in full flight.

In Labor, we accept that good people can disagree on matters close to their hearts.

It will be a better conference if you:

- engage genuinely, 

- wrestle intellectually,

- listen closely, 

- encourage the shy ones to speak up, and

- behave with honour and kindness to each other.

Come with open minds.

I know that factions are important to the running of this conference but do not dismiss an idea or thought out of hand because it comes out of the mouth of someone from the other side of the room.

I urge you to take the time now, to look around you at your fellow delegates.

The women and men in this room may go on to great things in our Party.

In this room are future union leaders and Ministers, potential Premiers and even Prime Ministers.

And, of course, the ballast of our party – the true believers, who never hold office, but sustain us in easy times and hard ones.

The fate of our Party and our country will one day lie in your hands.

We need Young Labor to work, now more than ever, as the task before us is a great one.

For we are subject to that ancient - and probably apocryphal - Chinese curse, memorably captured by Robert F. Kennedy in a speech given to the National Union of South African Students in 1966…

…we live in interesting times.

Two fundamental events mean the political certainties that have carried us through recent decades no longer hold.

The first was the invasion of Iraq by a US-led and Australian supported military coalition in 2003…

…a move opposed by Labor at the time.

The fallout from this ill-judged act continues.

The second world-changing event, of course, was the Great Recession of 2008.

This event - and its ongoing repercussions –fundamentally shook the blind belief in unfettered markets which had become orthodoxy for so many.

It is probably too early to say what the events of 2003 and 2008 mean in the long term for our Party, our country and our world.

For example, it would not have been believable had I opened your 2015 conference with a prediction that by the time of your 2017 conference Donald Trump would be in the White House.

While it's becoming harder than ever to predict the future, there are a few trends I wanted to examine with you today:

These are:

- first, the decline in the fortunes of social democratic parties, 

- second, an increase in economic uncertainty and inequality, and 

- third, an increasing changeability in the Australian electorate.

The first trend is particular relevant to our Party. 

It has brought many sister parties of the ALP to their knees.

These parties are our fellow members of the International Progressive Alliance – a global network of labour, social democratic and socialist parties.

Their fate is instructive.

I’ll start in Greece.

The Greek political party PASOK ruled Greece from 1981 through to 2012 interrupted by only two short separate terms in opposition.

As recently as 2009 it won an election with around 44 per cent of the vote.

By 2015 its share of the vote had dropped to five per cent with most of its traditional supporters transferring their allegiance to the left wing Syriza Party.

Spain provides another example.

As does the  decline of the French Socialists and the Social Democratic Party of Germany.

In the UK, the British Labour Party saw a backlash that first benefitted the Liberal Democrats…

…and then saw Labour’s wipe out in Scotland by the anti-austerity SNP…

…followed by a hostile take-over of the Party by Jeremy Corbyn.

In the US, of course, we’ve seen a Democrat administration that rebuilt the US after the GFC, and introduced life changing health reforms, defeated by a candidate who no credible commentator initially thought could even win the Republican primary.

What all these parties have in common is that they are social democratic parties who have faced their own mortality in the face of increasing uncertainty and inequality.

Sometimes the threat has been from the left, sometimes from the right…

….sometimes internal, sometimes external.

But the trend is undeniable and sobering.

And it leads to the second development I wish to explore: increasing economic uncertainty and inequality.

Their impact is different in Australia than in the countries I just mentioned.

We suffered less from the GFC – largely due to the actions of the Labor government – and in particular my good friend Wayne Swan.

And while inequality has grown it has not grown to the extent of some other nations.

But people feel insecure. 

They are worried about their jobs, and what kind of jobs their kids will do. 

The global economy remains in a state of high volatility and technology is disrupting our labour market and the way we work.

Were another economic shock to occur we no longer have the weapons in the arsenal we used in 2008 – either in Australia or abroad - with interest rates in most countries either near zero or negative and public debt significantly higher.

The Turnbull Government has no credible economic plan to deal with any of these issues.

Indeed under their stewardship:

- the economy contracted by half a per cent in the September quarter, 

- there are 35,000 fewer full time jobs, 

- wages growth is at historic lows, 

- underemployment is at historic highs, 

- the deficit has triple, and 

- $100 billion has been added to net debt. 

Inflation is well below a healthy rate and the RBA’s target range.

The AAA rating that Labor won from the three major credit agencies for the first time in history is now at risk….

…threatening to push up borrowing costs, including mortgage repayments.

And inequality is at 75 year highs.

Labor has supported increases to the minimum wage, while the Coalition has argued against those increases and right now many of its members are on record supporting a cut to the penalty rates that low paid workers rely on.

We also delivered the biggest pension increases in Australian history while the Liberals cut income support.

Inequality may not yet be as acute as in the US, for example, but it's growing. 

And that's bad for us all.

The third trend regards the Australian electorate.

We are witnessing a detachment of voters from traditional political allegiances.

Analysis of voting intention and behaviour carried out by the Whitlam Institute in 2013 found that the modern electorate was not so much swinging as fluid. 

By this they meant that Party loyalties have broken down and that votes of large groups may switch rapidly from one party to another based on major incidents or political moments.

This was particularly true of younger voters who form about a third of the electorate and - in the Whitlam Institute’s view – had determined the outcomes of most recent elections.

So what does all this mean for our Party?

I believe a few lessons can be drawn.

First, while we have to be alive to the risk of right wing populism we should not overstate its appeal in this country and we should not for a moment cosy up to this ideology.

We will not win support by going quiet on the things we disagree with.

We must resolutely confront the racism, sexism and religious intolerance of the right.

Pauline Hanson and One Nation do not yet enjoy the same level of support in Australia as say Brexit in the UK or Trump in the US.

We should not conflate her with those phenomena as it affords her a legitimacy that she does not deserve.

Over 95 per cent of Australians did not vote for One Nation at the last election, while about half of all American and British voters selected Donald Trump and Brexit respectively.

Of course, for us to win in the upcoming WA and Queensland state elections, fighting One Nation as well as the Coalition parties will be vital. 

Malcolm Turnbull has gone weak on One Nation preferences. 

We never will.

This leads me to my second point which is that, for the Labor Party, the threat from the extreme left is as real as the threat from the extreme right.

Recent weeks have shown us the Greens political Party are a rabble…

…riven by a factionalism which they refuse to acknowledge and are incapable of resolving.

The threat from the Greens is not that they will form government, but that they fracture the progressive vote and prevent Labor forming government.

Their real threat is to just a few inner city seats and maybe one or two regional seats….

…just enough to keep us out of government in close parliaments like the one we have at the moment.

So my third observation is that we must be prepared to meet the challenge from the left by embracing a sensible progressive agenda.

Again, not by being dragged here or there by others…

… but by defending our progressive record and values.

The fourth lesson is that we have to be up for the tough stuff, but we have to be able to demonstrate the benefits for all.

Labor has always been up for the tough economic reforms. 

We want a strong economy, because a strong economy drives the creation of good jobs. 

And it means we can afford the great social reforms like the NDIS.

But economic reform has to have at its heart the intention to provide a better standard of living for all, not just higher profits for a few.

That means, for example, an approach to privatisation based on merit, efficiency and public benefit - not on ideology.

That means standing up for organised labour.

That means maintaining and enhancing a social safety net and investing in health and education as essentials.

Understanding that these investments are not just for the benefit of individuals, but critical investments in the productivity and future wealth of our nation.

It means taking action on climate change.

These are all steps Labor has taken under the leadership of Bill Shorten.

We took 100 positive policies to the last election, including some that the commentators thought were suicidal:

- a reduction in the capital gains discount on housing and restricting negative gearing to new homes,

- a full commitment to needs based funding in education and implementation of the Gonski model,

- marriage equality for LGBTI Australians, and 

- support for penalty rates.

And we argued – and continued to argue – for a 50 per cent renewable energy target and the introduction of an Emissions Trading Scheme.

We do so because we recognise that action on climate change is urgent and necessary.

In contrast, the Coalition think a $50 billion tax giveaway to multinational companies is reform.

They must be the last adherents of trickle-down economics. 

Like those soldiers lost in the jungle 50 years after the war has ended – no one told them the battle is lost.

So we have already set out a progressive agenda which we took to the last election….

….but we won't rest. 

We will continue to refine our thinking and our arguments over coming years and at our next Party conference.

By 2019 - at the latest - Bill Shorten will be our Prime Minister and Labor will be the Party of government.

We have a Labor platform we can be proud of:

- ambitious and financially sustainable, and

- deliverable through our parliamentary system.

The final thought I want to leave you with today, is that we must examine our structures and processes to ensure that they are truly reflective of the spirt of the times in which we live.

We have to embrace democracy. 

We have to continue to offer a place to people who are frustrated by politics. 

The left wing challengers to social democratic parties I talked about earlier had their genesis in grassroots organising and networked individuals.

We have to reach out to those people and learn from their ability to mobilise - just look at the recent Women’s Marches that shook the globe on Donald Trump’s inauguration.

We must convince the fluid or disaffected voter – the activist angry at the injustice and inequality of their world - that their place is in the Labor Party where they can drive real change, rather than just shout into the void.

This push will need to come from a younger generation of Labor members and supporters - including you in this room.

So – with that – I urge you to embrace the spirit of debate and discussion that is core to our culture.

Be open to new ideas and ways of thinking.

Be prepared to push yourselves and others – to challenge conventions and hierarchies.

In one final plug can I remind you that we’re continuing our campaign to put pressure on the government with our “100% Against $100,000 Degrees” campaign on campus.

As new students arrive on campus it’s a chance to remind them that the Liberals want to saddle students with $100,000 of debt and Labor will fight to stop them. 

It is with great pleasure that I now invite you to commence the 2017 Australian Young Labor national conference. 

ENDS

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TRANSCRIPT: KOFM Newcastle, Wednesday 1 February 2017

THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN

MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

KOFM NEWCASTLE

WEDNESDAY, 1 FEBRUARY 2016

 

SUBJECTS: The Liberals’ $30 billion cuts hurting Australian schools; US immigration ban.

TANYA WILKS, PRESENTER: Tanya Plibersek is in the region today and we just want to have a quick chat to her before we go, to find out what she's doing. Good morning, Tanya. 

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning, Tanya! Hi Steve. 

STEVE G, PRESENTER: You'll never get enough, Tanya, I'm telling you. Now, why the visit?

PLIBERSEK: Well, a couple of reasons. This morning I'm visiting St Mary's Catholic College at Gateshead and that's really to see the great work that they're doing at the school. Pat Conroy, my colleague, their local Member, has told me it's a wonderful school and he wanted me to see what they're doing. And that's an opportunity for me not just to see their great work, but to remind people that over the next two years alone, the Central Coast and Newcastle region will lose $140 million from schools unless the Federal Government commits to fully funding schools and properly funding schools. So we'll be campaigning on school funding as well. And then this afternoon I'm going to Wyong because it's Medicare's 33rd birthday and my colleagues Sharon Claydon, Mike Freelander and Emma McBride will be talking all day to people about their experiences with Medicare - the fact that bulk billing rates are falling, the fact that some GPs and pharmacists are saying that the changes the Government has made is putting Medicare under a great deal of pressure. So we're celebrating Medicare's birthday and also saying we need to protect Medicare for the future.

WILKS: We've been curious ourselves with this whole Donald Trump thing going on, Tanya. How do you feel about Malcolm Turnbull's, I guess lack of chat about it?

STEVE G: Fence sitting, almost?

WILKS: Yeah it feels like that. Would you approach it differently? Would you be more outspoken? Or do you think he's playing it coolly and cleverly because there's a few deals on the table?

PLIBERSEK: Look I think it's really important to say that our friendship with the United States, the American alliance, is very important to Australia's foreign policy. But that doesn't mean we have to be silent if our friend does things that we don't like. And we've seen the German Chancellor, we've seen France, Canada, and the UK all say, for example, that this visa ban on some countries is unacceptable - it's a discriminatory sort of policy that they're very critical of. I think it would be well in-line for Australia to say, "you know, America: great friend, but we don't think you're doing the right thing in this instance". Good friendship allows for that sort of criticism. It's not a counterproductive thing to do, it's a very important thing to do.

STEVE G: Is there a course, Tanya, where politicians can go and learn the line, "I don't need to run a commentary on that"? Is there an actual course where, "here's one you can say and that means you don't have to say anything"?

PLIBERSEK: We practice in the mirror every morning.

WILKS: Look it's great. We would have loved more time with you, but we know you've got to get to St Mary's, so thank you so much for your time, and hopefully we'll see you again in our region soon.

PLIBERSEK: Looking forward to it, thanks very much.

STEVE G: And thanks for coming - haven't seen Malcolm since the election.

ENDS

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TRANSCRIPT: Doorstop, Canberra, Monday 28 November 2016

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
DOORSTOP INTERVIEW
CANBERRA
MONDAY, 28 NOVEMBER 2016

SUBJECTS: Schools' funding

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MEDIA RELEASE: Time for family violence to be treated as a national priority, Thursday 27 October 2016

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THE HON BILL SHORTEN MP
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS
AND ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS
MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG

THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY 

TERRI BUTLER MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR PREVENTING FAMILY VIOLENCE
SHADOW ASSITANT MINISTER FOR UNIVERSITIES
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR EQUALITY
MEMBER FOR GRIFFITH

 

TIME FOR FAMILY VIOLENCE TO BE TREATED AS NATIONAL PRIORITY

 

As the Prime Minister meets with his state and territory counterparts to discuss Australia’s family violence crisis tomorrow, his government needs to start demonstrating that tackling the scourge of family violence is truly a national priority.

It’s not enough to simply say that family violence is a priority – we need to see action and results.  

The Turnbull Government needs to recognise its harsh budget cuts are hindering, not helping, the effort to eliminate family violence from our communities.

These cuts include:

  • $35 million from Community Legal Centres, which provide frontline support services to domestic violence victims.
  • $88 million from the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness – ignoring the reality that domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness.
  • Cuts to the national Family Violence Prevention Legal Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services.

The Government also needs to start doing much better when it comes to implementing its responses to family violence.

Six months ago the Government finally agreed to consider the Productivity Commission’s recommendation to reform law processes so that perpetrators of family violence could not personally cross-examine their victims. However, we haven’t seen any action since then.

Last year the Government announced it would spend $12 million on trialling the use of innovative technology to keep women safe. From that money, only $180,000 has been delivered so far.

Last year the Government also announced it would spend $5 million to expand 1800 RESPECT. But that money never reached the telephone counselling provider – instead it has been spent on diverting victims away from telephone counselling.

Earlier this year a Senate Inquiry and the COAG Advisory Panel recommended that the Government criminalise so-called revenge porn, but no commitment has been made.

The Government committed to spending $5 million on safe smart phones and related resources – but after six months, only half that amount had been provided to Women’s Services Network (WESNET) for that purpose.

And almost six months passed between the Government’s commitment to spending $15 million on establishing specialised domestic violence support units, and the first of those new units beginning to operate.

During the election campaign, George Brandis announced an additional $30 million for legal services, and Michaelia Cash announced an additional $15 million for domestic violence frontline services. But as yet no-one knows how or when that additional funding will be delivered.

The Minister for Women has claimed that paid domestic violence leave would mean fewer jobs for women. As Minister for Employment, she has presided over public service bargaining which sought to strip domestic violence leave from public sector agreements.

The Government has also failed to provide bipartisan support for Labor’s call for domestic violence leave to be a universal workplace right.

Finally, the annual progress report for the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children is three months overdue – with no indication as to when it will be published.

Labor agrees that family violence prevention is national priority. It’s time for the Turnbull Government to demonstrate this, not just say it. 

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TRANSCRIPT: RN Breakfast, Wednesday 23 November 2016

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
RADIO INTERVIEW
ABC RN BREAKFAST
WEDNESDAY 23 NOVEMBER, 2016

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SPEECH: Australian Financial Review Higher Education Conference, Wednesday 16 November 2016

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW HIGHER EDUCATION CONFERENCE

MELBOURNE

 

16 NOVEMBER 2016

 

***CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY***

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MEDIA RELEASE: Now it's time for a free vote, Mr Turnbull, Tuesday 8 Mpvember 2016

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THE HON BILL SHORTEN MP
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS
AND ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS
MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG

THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY 

THE HON MARK DREYFUS  MP
SHADOW ATTORNEY GENERAL
SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY
ACTING SHADOW MINISTER FOR JUSTICE 
MEMBER FOR ISAACS

TERRI BUTLER MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR PREVENTING FAMILY VIOLENCE
SHADOW ASSITANT MINISTER FOR UNIVERSITIES
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR EQUALITY
MEMBER FOR GRIFFITH

 

NOW IT’S TIME FOR A FREE VOTE, MR TURNBULL

 

Last night the Senate voted down Malcolm Turnbull’s $200 million wasteful, hurtful, divisive plebiscite on marriage equality.

When it came down to it, Malcolm Turnbull was too weak to kill off this terrible policy when he inherited it from former Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Labor makes no apologies for helping to block the plebiscite. The LGBTI community didn’t want it, and the Australian community didn’t either.

It was a waste of valuable taxpayer funds, and it was never about the achievement of marriage equality.

It was Tony Abbott’s policy – adopted by Malcolm Turnbull - that was designing to kill marriage equality.

Predictably, the government is now trying to argue that marriage equality is off the agenda for this term of Parliament. They are dreaming.

The prospect of a hateful, divisive plebiscite has mobilised the LGBTI community, and all supporters of equality. They are not going away. Labor will continue to campaign for a free parliamentary vote.

We can have marriage equality right now, if only Mr Turnbull was strong enough to stand up for the principles he supposedly believes in.

The only thing standing in the way of marriage equality is Malcolm Turnbull and the right-wing extremists in his party who are pulling his strings.

Labor will not give up the fight to achieve marriage equality in Australia.

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MEDIA RELEASE: Misleading Ads: "I am very comfortable" says Christopher Pyne, 23 October 2016

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
 

SENATOR THE HON DON FARRELL
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE
SHADOW SPECIAL MINISTER OF STATE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR SPORT
SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTALIA

 

MISLEADING ADS: “I AM VERY COMFORTABLE” SAYS CHRISTOPHER PYNE

 

Christopher Pyne says he is “very comfortable” with his decision to spend $10 million of taxpayers’ money on advertisements about the Liberals’ university reforms, despite the national audit office finding them misleading, and government legal advice warning they might break the law.

When he was Education Minister, Mr Pyne signed off on the advertising which said “the Australian Government will continue to pay around half your undergraduate degree”.

At the time, he was also going around saying this to the media: “So students are going to be asked to pay 50 per cent of the cost of their education…I think that’s a fair deal…a 50-50 split sounds like a fair deal.”

That’s despite modelling from his own department showing that the Liberals’ university reforms would see the average Australian Government contribution for undergraduate degrees drop significantly, from around 60% to as low as 39.5%.

When asked about the misleading, potentially illegal advertisements on the ABC’s Insiders program this morning, Mr Pyne said:

“Sometimes they [the national audit office] get things right and sometimes they get things wrong. I am very comfortable.”

Rather than take responsibility for his deception, Mr Pyne is trying to blame the highly respected Australian National Audit Office. It’s disgraceful.

Mr Pyne must apologise to students, parents, and the Australian public.

Labor calls on the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to explain how and why these misleading, potentially illegal advertisements were approved by the Liberals.

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