PRESS CONFERENCE, ROYAL PRINCE ALFRED HOSPITAL, SYDNEY

coats-arms.jpg

THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

THE HON CATHERINE KING MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH

MEMBER FOR BALLARAT

 

 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

PRESS CONFERENCE

ROYAL PRINCE ALFRED HOSPITAL, SYDNEY

THURSDAY, 22 MAY 2014

 

SUBJECT / S: The Abbott Government’s Budget of broken promises; Tony Abbott broken promises on health and education; GP Tax; Tony Abbott on ABC radio; university fee increases; Cambodia; Gonski

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY OPPOSITION LEADER:  Thank you for coming here to the Royal Prince Alfred hospital today. This is a fantastic hospital, it has seen a great deal of hundreds of millions of dollars of investment from the previous Labor Government, including the fantastic Chris O’Brien lifehouse cancer centre just up the road here. It is exactly the sort of hospital that will suffer because of the funding cuts in this year’s Federal Budget. This hospital is likely to lose hospital beds. It is likely to see people waiting longer for elective surgery and waiting longer in emergency. But it is not the only hospital in Australia that will feel that. Every hospital in Australia will feel that. Before the election Tony Abbott said as clear as day there will be no cuts to health, no cuts to education, no new taxes, no changes to the pensions. Since the election he has broken every single one of those commitments. We have seen $80 billion dollars cut from the states’ hospitals and schools. $80 billion dollars cut from health and schools in this Budget.  We have seen a whole range of health cuts that Catherine will speak about in a minute, but in terms of education we have not only seen massive cuts to school funding, we have seen the complete abandonment of the Gonski school education funding model. Something that has been severely criticized over night by the architect of the fairer funding system, David Gonski himself. You also see massive cuts to university education with students paying more for a university degree, and a university degree becoming out of reach for many ordinary Australians.

At the same time you see cuts to vocational education and cuts to funding programmes that help kids make the transition from school to TAFE or to university. So right across the board cuts to school funding, cuts to vocational education and cuts to university education. Tony Abbott also promised no new taxes and no increases on taxes. Well he has broken that promise in spades. He is increasing income tax for high income earners. He is increasing petrol tax for every Australian who drives. He is also levying new taxes on a visit to the GP and he is increasing the cost of buying medicines. He is cutting family tax benefit for many, many hundreds of thousands of Australian families who rely on that little bit of extra help from the government to make ends meet. And when it comes to pensions, pensioners are perhaps the hardest hit by Tony Abbott’s budget. Not only are they paying more for health care, not only are they paying more for petrol, but they will actually see a fall in the value of their pensions. We know people will be waiting longer to receive a pension, they will wait till they are 70 before they get a pension, but every pensioner, all of those people who are already receiving the age pension, who have worked hard the whole of their life to earn it are now going to see a reduction in the value of the age pension in coming years. This Budget hits every Australian and it breaks every promise that Tony Abbott made. Catherine do you want to talk a bit more about the health cuts?

CATHERINE KING, SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH: Thanks, it is terrific to be here in Sydney today with Tanya Plibersek, former Minister for Health, who presided over a huge investment in health in this country. A very important investment that has been absolutely trashed by Tony Abbott. What Tony Abbott said before the last election is that there would be no cuts to health, no new taxes.  We know in this Budget, we have seen $80 billion dollars cuts from health and education. That translates to $15 billion dollars in New South Wales alone.  $15 billion dollars which will see bed closures. Which will see more pressure on emergency departments and longer waiting lists for elective surgery. These cuts start in just under 39 days’ time. They are not cuts in the never, never. They are cuts that will start very soon and start to immediately affect public hospitals right the way across this country. We have also seen cuts to public dental, public dental waiting lists will also increase. We have seen cuts to preventative health measures. Measures that were put in place, funding to states and territories to keep people well, to keep them out of hospital.  And of course we have seen the GP tax. The GP tax will cost around about $285 million dollars in out of pocket costs every year for people of New South Wales. That is putting a barrier in the way of people accessing general practitioners.

And the Treasurer Joe Hockey and the Prime Minister can’t even get the details of that policy right. They have made a claim, twice made a claim that people with chronic disease, people with asthma, people with other chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s who are going to see their GP will not pay this GP tax. That is simply another lie from Tony Abbott. People with chronic conditions will be paying $7 dollars every time they go to a GP for their standard consultation. That is what this policy is designed to do, is to make people pay more for accessing a general practitioner. And we know the results of doing that. The results of doing that will be that people will defer important visits to the doctor. Important visits where they may be managing their chronic condition or they may need to access advice about how they can stay well if they find out if their family has a heart condition or cancer within their families. People trying to access immunisation for their children. We know people will delay those visits. And we then know that from all of the international evidence that people will end up much sicker and they end up in emergency  departments. The cruel hoax of this budget is then Tony Abbott wants to put a tax on hospital visits as well. So, all around this Budget means that you will be paying more for the health services that you need and it is picking apart at the seams the fundamental health system we have here, Medicare. Labor will defend Medicare and we will certainly not be supporting Tony Abbott’ imposition of a GP tax every time you go to the doctor.

JOURNALIST: Ms Plibersek what did you make of Tony Abbott’s wink on radio yesterday?

PLIBERSEK: Well look, I think the sad thing is that it just shows that Tony Abbott doesn’t get it. He doesn’t get what struggling Australians are facing, the sort of difficult choices they are making, the sort of sacrifices they are making. I think it shows Tony Abbott is completely out of touch with how hard life is for a lot of people.

JOURNALIST: What about the university protests yesterday? What do you make of them?

PLIBERSEK: Well like I have said before I think university protests should be large and should be peaceful. I am disturbed when I see people being jostled or any violence at a protest. But I am not surprised that university students and parents frankly are very, very concerned about the changes in this Budget. And the changes that are being proposed by Tony Abbott, putting university education out of reach for a whole lot of ordinary families. You have got families with children being born today who will already be worrying about whether they can save enough to send their child to university. The same way parents do in the United States. What you have got designed here is a two-tiered system where wealthy universities will be free to charge whatever they want and wealthy students will be the only ones who will be able to afford to go to them and the rest of the student population will miss out.

They will either make the decision to not to go to university at all because they cannot afford it or they will be going to universities that find it much more difficult to raise funds. We are already seeing universities trying to work out how they are going to cope with a 20 per cent reduction in student funding. That is coming at a time when there will also be students reconsidering whether to go to university at all because they will be copping a debt of hundreds of thousands of dollars when they graduate at the same time as they are trying to start a family, buy a home, doing all the things you do as you start to move into adulthood.

JOURNALIST: A big part of tony Abbott’s election campaign was the fact that Labor didn’t have a mandate for the carbon tax and focusing Julia Gillard’s comments before the election. What do you say to Tony Abbott’s mandate for what he’s doing for health and education?

PLIBERSEK:  Tony Abbott before the election deliberately lied to Australians. If Tony Abbott had said before the election I am going to destroy Medicare, I am going to make it more difficult for people to see a GP and we are going to introduce fees for people to go to public hospitals, Australians wouldn’t have voted for him. And he knew that, so he didn’t take them into his confidence, he told them a deliberate lie about not cutting health funding. He told a deliberate lie to about not cutting education funding because he knows that Australians value quality education, not just for their own children, but for all Australian children. That is why Australians backed the Gonski education reforms.

So he lied about those reforms. He lied about being on a unity ticket with Labor about school education funding and maybe the cruellest lie of all is the lie he told Australian pensioners that their pensions would be safe. That he wouldn’t be going after pensioners. These are people who are already struggling on around $20,000 dollars a year. Tony Abbott wants to pay a millionaire $50,000 to have a baby but he wants to cut the pensions of people living on $20,000 a year or less. He never said that before the election because he knew if he did people wouldn’t have voted for him. People would not have voted for a two tiered user pays, dog eat dog system in health and education and in pensions the way we see in the United States.

JOURNALIST: Have you been surprised amount of opposition particularly from within his own party? Six out of eight state and territory leaders and also a lot of Coalition MPs.

PLIBERSEK:  Well I am not surprised that premiers, including Liberal premiers are saying hands off our hospitals and hand off our schools. What an outrageous thing to do to state governments to say we want to cut our deficit so we are just going to shove all of this spending that we used to share, we are just going to shove it onto you.  I meant it is a completely unreasonable, unbelievable thing to without warning, without discussion without negotiation suddenly just pull out of funding that the Commonwealth has always shared with the states in the past. This isn’t a new thing. For decades Commonwealth and State governments have been sharing responsibility for hospitals and sharing responsibility for schools. And for Tony Abbott to say ‘oh no that was never our job’. It is unreal. He has lost touch with reality to think that he can get away from that.

JOURNALIST: We now know that the Cambodia deal, the Cambodia resettlement deal, will include voluntary resettlement for abled bodied refugees who are able to work and contribute. Isn’t that enough information in the broad sense on whether Labor would support this deal?

PLIBERSEK:  We’ve had very little information about Cambodia. I’ve before expressed my concerns. Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in Asia. It’s a post-conflict country that still has many, many problems of its own. We’ve seen no details of the deal. It’s part of the extraordinary lack of transparency in the immigration system that Scott Morrison’s running. We still don’t have any answers on what happened on Manus Island, the investigation of the death of Reza Berati. So many unanswered questions and the Cambodian deal, we’re learning more from Cambodia about what the Australian Government’s proposing than we’re learning from the Australian Government.

JOURNALIST: David Gonski is pleading for Government to keep funding your Government’s needs based funding model while expressing regret that he did put a $5 billion price tag on those reforms. Isn’t it true that the budget can’t afford that excess?

PLIBERSEK:  No, it’s just nonsense that these education reforms are unaffordable. We can’t afford not to invest in Australia’s children. We can’t afford to leave people behind. We can’t afford to develop a permanent underclass of kids who get a second rate education, who can never afford to go to TAFE or university. We can’t afford to leave our kids behind. We have to invest in education so we can compete internationally and we have to invest in education to get the best and to get the most out of every Australian.

And I’ll tell you something about these school education reforms. They were funded ten years into the future. We laid out in our budget papers how the school education funding would happen and how the national disability insurance scheme would happen. We found during our time in government, $180 billion worth of sensible savings. We found during my time as Health Minister, billions of dollars of savings in the health system that protected patients’ access to healthcare. We found savings by paying less for older, generic medicines so that we could afford to by the brand new medicines that are being invented all the time. We found savings by means testing private health insurance. Both of these things, opposed by Peter Dutton. There are ways of finding savings that don’t hurt patients in healthcare. There are ways of finding savings in the Budget that make sure that every dollar of taxpayers’ dollars is being well and wisely spent, but that’s not what happened in this Budget. This Budget is an attack on the Australian way of life and it’s an attack on Australians, it costs the health system. That means people waiting longer for elective surgery, it means people waiting longer in emergency departments. It means the closure of beds and the sacking of doctors and nurses and other health professionals.

This Budget costs the education system. It means poor kids will get a worse education and that our whole system will be poorer for it. You’re not only losing funding here for kids from disadvantaged backgrounds, you’ll lose funding here for kids for extension classes, for all of the enrichment programs that were proposed in the funding model that would have allowed Principals to say ‘We want to hire a music teacher’ or ‘We want to hire a language teacher’ all of those programs that make education better quality. That’s lost here as well.

The argument that the Australian Budget cannot sustain health and education funding is false. We have three triple A credit ratings from three major credit ratings agencies. Very few countries in the world have that. It was never achieved under the Liberals. We achieved it, Labor achieved that and frankly if you’ve got troubles with your budget as Tony Abbott claims, why would you spend $20 billion on a paid parental leave scheme that gives the biggest advantage to the richest Australians?

JOURNALIST: I’ve got a question for Mrs King, is Labor prepared to negotiate a lower price for the GP payment?

KING: Not at all. Where not prepared to negotiate on a GP tax at all. This is an unfair tax. It is a tax that penalises people going to the doctor. What a stupid policy. Why would you put a barrier in the way to people accessing a part of the system where you want people to go? You want them to go for prevention, you want them to go to manage chronic disease and you want to make sure they are staying well. This is stupid policy and it’s not just Labor saying that. Every single health expert in the country from the Australian Medical Association, Royal Australian College of GPs, Consumers Health Forum and the Public Health Association. They all know this is dumb policy and Tony Abbott should drop it.

JOURNALIST: If the problem is that low income earners can’t actually afford it, why not negotiate to exempt them from it?

KING: Well Tony Abbott has made a decision that everybody will pay a GP tax of $7 every time you go for a visit and he’s provided a very small exemption for a small number of people who are concession card holders after ten visits. What he doesn’t understand is it’s not just concession card holders who will feel this pressure. There are many people on low and middle incomes who in fact will find this very difficult. If you’ve got a family how on earth do you budget for when your kids get sick because that is basically what he’s telling people. You now need to factor into your budget the amount of GP visits you’re going to have each year. What we should be doing in the health system is making sure people have good access to General Practice. That is the basis on which Medicare is developed, making sure you have universal access so that you can go to the GP, the cheapest part of the system, and try to prevent unnecessary hospitalisations. Everybody knows this is dumb policy and it is certainly not something Labor will be negotiating on.

 

JOURNALIST: The Prime Minister and the Treasurer both appeared to make mistakes this week when trying to explain the GP co-payment. Does this show just how difficult it is to break down complicated health policy so that people can actually understand it?

KING: Well it seems to be that only Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey and Peter Dutton, the architects of this policy are seeming now to get stuck on the actual details, they’ve been called on them, they’ve misled people by saying people with chronic disease conditions will not have to pay that tax. They clearly do not understand their own policy, let alone the way in which the health system operates. We know people with chronic disease conditions will pay this tax. Everybody will pay this tax for a standard consultation. That is the way the policy is designed, it is in fact designed to discourage people from going to the doctors and accessing the doctor when they need to in order for the Government to save money.

ENDS

Add your reaction Share

Floods in the Balkans

coats-arms.jpg

THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

MEDIA RELEASE

 

FLOODS IN THE BALKANS

 

THURSDAY, 22 MAY 2014 

The Labor Opposition’s thoughts are with the many people affected by the devastating floods in the Balkans.

It is reported more than 50 people have died and around 500,000 people have been displaced.

The scale of the devastation is enormous.  It is understood around 100,000 homes, 230 schools and 3,500 kilometres of road have been destroyed, and landmines remaining from the recent war have been disturbed.

I call on the Government to offer affected countries all assistance possible.  The Labor Opposition stands ready to support.

 

Add your reaction Share

Abbott to Rip $15 Billion from New South Wales Hospitals

coats-arms.jpg

THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

THE HON CATHERINE KING MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH

MEMBER FOR BALLARAT

 

MEDIA RELEASE

 

ABBOTT TO RIP $15 BILLION FROM NEW SOUTH WALES HOSPITALS

 

Tony Abbott’s first budget will cut more than $15 billion from New South Wales hospitals.

Tony Abbott lied to Australians before the last election. Tony Abbott promised Australians there would be “no cuts to health”.

(TONY ABBOTT, ABC NEWS, 6 SEPTEMBER 2013)

Instead he plans to cut more than $15 billion from New South Wales hospitals.  This will see wards close and doctors and nurses sacked.

This is on top of Tony Abbott’s plans to tax New South Wales patients more than $285 million a year for visits to GPs.

Labor will stand up to Tony Abbott’s $3.5 billion GP tax based on broken promises and a false claim about over servicing by doctors.

The plan for a GP Tax is lazy policy that will damage Australia’s health system, putting additional pressure on emergency departments that are already struggling because of the state Liberal government’s hospital cuts.

Tony Abbott’s first budget also includes almost $400 million cut from adult dental services across Australia and a $368 million cut to the National Partnership Agreement on Preventive Health.

Medicines will cost Australians an extra $1.3 billion in this budget because Tony Abbott wants to put the price of prescriptions up to $42.70 for most Australians and to $6.90 for concessional patients.  Labor will stand up for Australian families and oppose this measure.

Reports last week show the cuts the Abbott government intends to make to the Medicare Benefits Schedule will cost Australians another $1.7 billion in this budget and see specialist visits cost ordinary Australians $100.

In another blatant lie before the last election Tony Abbott promised “we’re not shutting any Medicare Locals”.

(TONY ABBOTT, LEADERS’ DEBATE, 28 AUGUST 2013)

Instead he plans to shut every single Medicare Local in the country, further jeopardising after hours GP services, cutting frontline services, and abandoning preventive health programs.

These are changes that the Vice President of the Australian Medical Association has warned will ‘set back healthcare in Australia by over 50 years’.

Add your reaction Share

Tony Abbott’s Budget Lets Down Ethnic Communities

coats-arms.jpg

THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

MICHELLE ROWLAND MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR CITIZENSHIP AND MULTICULTURALISM

SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS

MEMBER FOR GREENWAY

SENATOR SAM DASTYARI

SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES

 

MEDIA RELEASE

TONY ABBOTT’S BUDGET LETS DOWN ETHNIC COMMUNITIES

 

Today in Sydney we briefed ethnic organisations about the terrible impact of the Abbott Government’s Budget on culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

The key concerns raised at the briefing included cuts to funding for multicultural programs, the SBS, health and education, as well as changes to the pension.

In his Budget, Mr Abbott cut $33 million from ethnic community organisations.  These groups work hard to help build a cohesive and inclusive Australia, often on very modest budgets.

The Abbott Government’s cuts have created great uncertainty in the sector, putting many critical programs and services at risk.

Some organisations that were awarded funding by the previous Labor Government have had it ripped from their hands.

Before the election, Tony Abbott promised no cuts to the SBS.

“…no cuts to the ABC or SBS”

Tony Abbott - SBS News – 6 September 2013

But he’s broken that promise by ripping $8 million out of the SBS in his Budget.

This will seriously affect ethnic communities in Australia as many migrant communities rely heavily on specialist news and language services that are only provided by SBS.

Before the election Tony Abbott also promised he wouldn’t cut health, education, or change the pension.

“…no cuts to health, no cuts to education, no changes to pensions…”

Tony Abbott - ABC News – 6 September 2013

But, in his Budget, he broke every single one of those promises.

Mr Abbott’s Budget cuts $80 billion from hospitals and schools – the biggest in Australian history.

Tony Abbott’s broken promise on changes to pensions is an unprecedented attack on Australia’s pension system, and the millions of people who rely on it.

Tony Abbott will slash the current fair indexation system – which makes sure the pension keeps pace with the cost of living.

Had Tony Abbott’s new indexation system been in place for the last four years, a single pensioner on the maximum rate would be over $1,500 a year worse off than they are today.

The Budget will also increase the pension age to 70 by 2035.

Australians will have to work longer, and their pension will be significantly reduced when they finally do retire.

Australia’s 3.2 million pensioners – already living on a very modest pension of around $20,000 – are going to have their pensions cut, while millionaires will get up to $50,000 to have a baby.

On top of this, all pensioners and state seniors card holders are set to lose valuable concessions for public transport and utilities with the abolition of the National Partnership on Certain Concessions for Pensioners Concession Card and Seniors Card Holders.   

In attendance today were members of the Chinese, Sub-Continent, Vietnamese, Greek, and African communities, all interested in hearing about the effects of the Abbott Government’s Budget of broken promises.

Add your reaction Share

ABC Radio National with Alison Carabine

coats-arms.jpg

THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

ABC RADIO NATIONAL WITH ALISON CARABINE

WEDNESDAY, 21 MAY 2014

 

SUBJECT / S: Student protests; The Abbott Government’s Budget of broken promises Thailand; Cambodia.

ALISON CARABINE: Tanya Plibersek, good morning.

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning, Alison.

CARABINE: Tanya Plibersek, if we could first go to the student protests, the Prime Minister has taken the AFP advice and cancelled his visit today to Deakin University. Is it a pretty sad indictment that the Prime Minister’s safety can’t be guaranteed visiting a university campus in his own country?

PLIBERSEK: Well, I think certainly the scenes we saw a couple of days ago of Julie Bishop and Sophie Mirabella being jostled at protests are not acceptable. I think student protests should be large but they should be peaceful. It’s very clear that students have something to protest about but they have to do it in a way that’s proper and respects our democratic positions. Christopher Pyne said as late as November last year that he wasn’t going to increase university fees. This move to deregulate university fees basically means poor kids won’t get to university and they won’t get to do the courses that will lead them to a successful career with a decent job. It’s a completely clear broken promise. Christopher Pyne could not have been clearer when he said that he was not going to increase university fees. So it’s not just that it’s a broken promise, but the fact that this will take us to a two-tier American style university system where the best courses at the best universities are completely unaffordable to ordinary people.

CARABINE: And Labor will vote against these changes to higher education in the Senate but it was just last year that the Labor Government was trying to cut $2.3 billion worth of funding to the tertiary sector. Isn’t it a bit cute, maybe even hypocritical, for Labor to now be lining up against these changes to higher ed?

PLIBERSEK: Higher education funding expanded massively under the Labor Government, in part because we deregulated university places. We said to universities, you can have as many students as you can cope with. But funding increased, year on year, every year, very substantially. What we sought to do, was take some of that very fast growth and put it into the Gonski school education reforms because we know that the first years of a child’s schooling are critical to their life long success in education. Now, the Gonski school education funding reforms have gone too, so there’s a cut to university funding, a cut to school education funding, a cut to TAFE, a cut to youth programs that connect kids who have less school, back into schooling or into the workforce, and they’re at every stage, there’s a cut to childcare as well. So, from the minute your children leave the cradle to go out into the world, every stage of their education has received a cut in this Budget.

CARABINE: But the cut to higher education won’t occur in the Senate because you’re opposed to it, so too the Greens and we also understand, Clive Palmer. Now, the Government has calculated that Labor is blocking $40 billion worth of savings measures, the Treasurer says unless the Budget is passed pretty much unchanged, every household could face higher interest rates, higher taxes down the track. Did you take that into consideration before deciding to take what is a fairly obstructionist stance in the Senate?

PLIBERSEK: It’s not about obstructing the Budget. This is about standing for to the sort of Australia that we want to live in and that we believe Australians want to live in. We don’t want an American style deregulated university system or worse still, an American style deregulated health system where your credit card counts more than your Medicare card. Australians were not told before the election, in fact they were told the exact opposite, they were told that Tony Abbott was the best friend of Medicare, no cuts to health, no cuts to education, no change to pensions, no new taxes, every one of those promises broken –

CARABINE: But if, if Tony –

PLIBERSEK: No, no, I want to finish this saying this –

CARABINE: Sure.

PLIBERSEK: Because if Tony Abbott is serious about this Budget being a threat to Australia’s Triple-A credit rating, why is he introducing a $20 billion Paid Parental Leave Scheme? $5.5 billion a year –

CARABINE: Which is paid mainly by business.

PLIBERSEK: No, well it’s paid partly by business and partly by taxpayers. And it’s paid partly by cuts to things like pensions, health, education, all of the cuts that this Government is proposing. I’ll tell you something else, Ali, when we were in –

CARABINE: Well, can I just put one thing to you, Tanya Plibersek?

PLIBERSEK: Sure.

CARABINE: You talk about the pre-election promises which have been broken by the Government, Labor is making a big song and dance about that but as Joe Hockey points out, Labor is opposing over $13 billion in savings that the Coalition took to the election, such as the mining and carbon tax repeals, where is the consistency from Labor in that?

PLIBERSEK: Well, because people voted Labor because we said we would oppose those measures. And enough people voted Labor to give us the power –

CARABINE: But more people voted for the Coalition.

PLIBERSEK: Sure. And enough people voted for us to give us the power to keep our promise to the Australian people which is not to allow open slather when it comes to air pollution, that’s what getting rid of the Carbon Pricing Scheme would do, open slather on air pollution. And enough people voted for us to say that when mining companies are extracting minerals from the land that belongs to all of us, if they are very highly profitable then some of that profit should go back to the Australian people to pay for health and to pay for education and to pay for pensions and to pay for the low income super contribution that is also being taken away by this Government and to pay for the school kids’ bonus. And Alison, when we were in Government, the Liberals opposed the very sensible savings that we made in private health insurance. For example, when I was Health Minister, they opposed the means testing of private health insurance, something that they’ve in fact extended in this Budget. They opposed the sensible pricing of older, generic medicines. They voted against paying less for older medicines to put that money into new medicines. I don’t think that they can be pointing the finger on the budget responsibility.

CARABINE: Okay. We’re going to have to move on. Tanya Plibersek, if we could turn to the Foreign Affairs portfolio, I’m not sure if you’ve had a formal briefing on the situation in Thailand, but with the army on the streets having declared martial law, is there any sign of a political consensus in Bangkok?

PLIBERSEK: Well, Alison, I haven’t had a formal briefing from the Department of Foreign Affairs but obviously I am very concerned about what’s happened with the military now. I would hope very much that order is restored quickly but that Thailand is able to draw on its constitution and its democratic values to allow the Thai people to indeed choose their government and that peace and democracy are restored quickly.

CARABINE: And on the negotiations for a refugee resettlement deal with Cambodia, Labor is not ruling out supporting such an arrangement. As we know, Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in the world with a poor human rights record, why would Labor consider Cambodia to be a suitable place for refugees?

PLIBERSEK: Well, we haven’t seen the details of the proposal at all and I certainly share the concerns that you’ve just mentioned. Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in Asia, it’s a country that still has difficulty in feeding its own people, malnutrition for children is still a problem there, the human rights record as you point out, is questionable at the moment, protestors are being shot in the street. So we are gravely concerned about some of the things that are happening in Cambodia and I think really the question for the Government is why they think Cambodia is a better place to send asylum seekers than Malaysia where they, when they were in the Opposition, they blocked Labor’s proposal for Malaysia which would’ve seen people living in the community, able to work, able to send their kids to school, and able to get healthcare.

CARABINE: Yeah but does that mean you would be arguing within the Party room for Labor to oppose any Cambodia resettlement deal?

 

PLIBERSEK: Well, I make my arguments in the party room, Alison, I don’t just go on the radio before I do. All I’m saying is that Cambodia is a country that has many problems of its own and we haven’t seen the proposal –

CARABINE: It sounds like you don’t want it to go ahead, you don’t want Labor to support it.

PLIBERSEK: Well, we haven’t seen the proposal yet, Alison. I don’t know how the Government’s going to guarantee the safety of the people that it sends there. I’d be interested to hear that.

CARABINE: Tanya Plibersek, thanks so much for your time this morning.

PLIBERSEK: Thanks, Alison. See you.

ENDS

Add your reaction Share

Schools to Feel Effects of $30 Billion Cut Immediately

coats-arms.jpg

TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

KATE ELLIS MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD

MEMBER FOR ADELAIDE

 

MEDIA RELEASE 

SCHOOLS TO FEEL EFFECTS OF $30 BILLION CUT IMMEDIATELY

 

TUESDAY, 20 MAY 2014

Teachers, parents, students and schools are bracing themselves for the worst after Tony Abbott announced a $30 billion cut to education in last week’s Budget.

 

Today Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Tanya Plibersek, and Shadow Minister for Education, Kate Ellis, visited Sturt St Community School in Adelaide to talk to students.

“These young students are the ones that will be hit hard by the Abbott Government’s biggest ever cut to education,” Tanya Plibersek said.

“Tony Abbott and his ministers have tried to play down the effects of the cut, saying it won’t hit schools until 2017, but this is simply wrong”.

“Schools need certainty in their funding for planning, for investing in teachers and for growing their school community.”

State Premiers met on Sunday with the same demand Australian schools have – reverse this $30 billion cut.

“Premiers know our schools won’t be able to sustain this massive cut, that it will absolutely devastate them,” Kate Ellis said.

When Tony Abbott promised to be on an “absolute unity ticket” with Labor on school funding, he told schools his change of mind was to “end the uncertainty”.

“All we’ve seen from this Government when it comes to education is lies, backflips and cuts – this is hardly the certainty promised to schools,” Kate Ellis said.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said there’s no such thing as a cut in three years. He said the ratings agencies will be asking State Premiers where the funding will come from now, and they don’t have an answer.

“The only answer is for Tony Abbott to reverse this cut and resolve the huge problem he has caused with his deceit,” Tanya Plibersek said.

 

 

Add your reaction Share

Tony Abbott's Health Cuts Hurt South Australians

coats-arms.jpg

THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

THE HON AMANDA RISHWORTH MP

SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR HEALTH

MEMBER FOR KINGSTON

 

MEDIA RELEASE

TONY ABBOTT’S HEALTH CUTS HURT SOUTH AUSTRALIANS

TUESDAY, 20 MAY 2014

Tony Abbott’s more than $50 billion Budget cut to health will have a devastating impact on services for South Australians.

As a start, Mr Abbott’s Budget has ripped $600 million from the South Australian health system over the next four years.  Because of the Abbott Government, at the end of those four years, South Australia will be the equivalent of 600 hospital beds worse off.

Tony Abbott’s Budget also cut Medicare Locals, slashing services like after hours GPs, counselling, immunisation, and Aboriginal health.  That’s put more than 3000 frontline health jobs at risk.

Today we are visiting staff at the Southern Adelaide-Fleurieu-Kangaroo Island Medicare Local to hear their concerns about the Abbott Government’s cuts.

The Southern Adelaide-Fleurieu-Kangaroo Island Medicare Local has been making a real difference to the health of the local community.  For example, its childhood immunisation program has boosted rates from 88% to above 91%.

Tony Abbott lied to South Australians when he said he wouldn’t cut health.

         Before the election:

“no cuts health”

Tony Abbott, ABC News, 6 September 2013

 

After the election:

More than $50 billion cut to health.

Tony Abbott’s Budget, 13 May 2014

 

Tony Abbott lied to South Australians when he said he wouldn’t cut Medicare Locals.

Before the election:

         “We are not shutting any Medicare Locals”

         Tony Abbott, Leaders’ Debate, 28 August 2013

 

After the election:

Every Medicare Local to close.

Tony Abbott’s Budget, 13 May 2014

Add your reaction Share

Indian Election

coats-arms.jpg

THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

STATEMENT

INDIAN ELECTION

 

MONDAY, 19 MAY 2014

The Federal Opposition congratulates Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party on their success in the Indian general election.

India is the largest democracy in the world and an important partner of Australia.

India is now Australia’s largest source of permanent migration. Our countries share very special bonds forged through strong economic ties and people-to-people links.

The Federal Opposition looks forward to working with Prime Minister-elect Modi into the future.

 

 

Add your reaction Share

Abbott Cuts $560,000 from Services for the Disadvantaged

coats-arms.jpg

THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP

DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

THE HON MICHAEL DANBY MP

SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY TO THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR THE ARTS

MEMBER FOR MELBOURNE PORTS

 

MEDIA RELEASE

ABBOTT CUTS $560,000 FROM SERVICES FOR THE DISADVANTAGED

 

MONDAY, 19 MAY 2014

Tony Abbott's savage Budget has hit South Melbourne hard, with all $560,000 of federal government funding cut from Reclink Australia, an organisation providing sporting and cultural activities for the disadvantaged.

Since 1990 Reclink Australia has supported people suffering from mental health problems, homelessness, substance abuse, disability, language barriers and financial difficulties. Reclink is best known for its fantastically successful Choir of Hard Knocks program. Today we met with Reclink staff and participants attending the Salvo Hawks Training Session at the Peanut Farm Reserve in St Kilda.

The Salvo Hawks were one of the first teams established to play Reclink footy.  The team has had many success stories including helping players find a pathway away from addiction.

Reclink staff spoke about their disappointment with the Budget and their concerns about the future of their services and the people who rely on them.

The Chairman of Reclink Australia told us that unless the organisation can find another $500,000, they were going to have to make some very hard decisions about where programs can continue.

Reclink Australia provides over 100,000 art and sport programs a year, both locally and across the nation.

The programs help the neediest in our community by fostering self-confidence, fighting isolation, developing skills, and establishing connections and friendships.

Reclink Australia makes a huge difference to so many lives. Its vital work deserves long-term support.  The fact it has been completely abandoned by the Government shows how little Mr Abbott cares for the most disadvantaged in our society.

Add your reaction Share

ABC News Radio with Marius Benson

coats-arms.jpg

The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP

Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development

MEMBER FOR SYDNEY

 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

ABC NEWS RADIO WITH MARIUS BENSON

THURSDAY, 15 MAY 2014

 

SUBJECT/S: Tony Abbott’s Budget of Broken Promises and Twisted Priorities.  

MARIUS BENSON: Tanya Plibersek, good morning.

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning, Marius.

BENSON: The shadow ministry met last night.  Have you decided what you are for and what you are against in the Abbott Budget?

PLIBERSEK: Well, there’s a lot of things in this Budget obviously that we are very troubled by. We have had discussions about the measures that we’ll be opposing. They include changes to the pension, the increase in the pension age, and most particularly the change in indexation of the pension so that all pensioners will lose money. We’ll definitely be opposing the petrol excise, it’s very clearly a broken promise and it’s very clearly a hit on the family budget. We will be looking at a number of other measures as well. Some of them obviously we haven’t seen legislation for and we’ll have to look more closely at the legislation, and the, but the petrol, pensions and we’ve been very clear that the $7 fee to go to the doctor – the destruction of Medicare – is something that we cannot tolerate.

BENSON: There are three items there that you’ve said you’re definitely against.  What about the debt levy, the 2 per cent impost on people earning more than $180,000?

PLIBERSEK: Well, when we were first made aware that this was a possibility, the suggestion was that the debt levy would come in at $80,000. And I think the outrage that Australians expressed at that, again, broken promise, Tony Abbott clearly said going to the election, no new taxes, taxes would be lower under them, that there wouldn’t be tax increases, they could tackle the budget deficit without new taxes. I mean he said it in so many different ways and here he was in his first budget proposing that people on $80,000 a year or more would be slugged extra income tax to fix a beat up budget emergency was something that we couldn’t tolerate. At $180,000, well we’ll have to look at that down the track. It is not as critical to us as protecting Medicare, protecting pensioners and protecting ordinary families.

BENSON: So, the debt levy is a maybe?

PLIBERSEK: Well, we’re looking at it.

BENSON: Do you take the threat of an early election seriously? Tony Abbott has warned that, particularly the remark directed at the Senate cross benchers that if there were to be a double dissolution election, they’re unlikely to get back.

PLIBERSEK: Well, I don’t think the way to conduct political debate in this country is threaten people. I think Tony Abbott can do what he likes. I’m sure he’ll have double dissolution triggers if not from this Budget then from other measures. We will continue to oppose his moves to remove the carbon pricing arrangements and replace them with nothing, replace them with no real effort to reduce pollution, reduce air pollution in Australia.

BENSON: He will have the grounds for a double D, but do you think it’s a serious threat? Do you think it’s a likelihood?

PLIBERSEK: Oh, you’d have to ask him. I mean, I’m not very good at picking what Tony Abbott’s going to do because when he said “no cuts to health, no cuts to education, no new taxes, no change to pensions, no cuts to the ABC”, I didn’t think that he could go to his first Budget and break every one of those promises.

BENSON: Would you like to fight an election on this Budget?

PLIBERSEK: I would be very happy to fight an election where Labor was saying we built Medicare and we will protect it. We care about pensioners, three million pensioners across Australia who will lose money from this budget. We want to defend higher education against the Americanisation of our system. We don’t want to see family budgets hit with extra petrol taxes and the possibility of GST increases because of what the Federal Government has said to the states, you know, you’re on your own when it comes to health and education, cutting $80 billion from our hospitals and our schools. I’d be perfectly happy to stake our reputation in response to that.

BENSON: The Government says you have no reputation when it comes to saying governments break promises because, for example, Labor promised surpluses year after year and never delivered them, you’ve broken so many promises you’re in no position to attack the Government, you have no credibility.

PLIBERSEK: We were on track to have a surplus in 2017-2018 and I mean it is like, when you listen to Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott talk about the Australian economy over recent years, it is like the Global Financial Crisis never happened. It’s like Europe is not still just barely recovering. The Australian economy grew by 15 per cent over a period when most other countries went backwards and some are barely back at the size they were before the Global Financial Crisis. We created a million jobs while 30 million jobs were lost around the world. We got three Triple-A credit ratings from the major ratings agencies, the first time the Australian economy had ever achieved that. No Liberal Government, not Peter Costello that they lionise as the best thing since sliced bread, never achieved those Triple-A credit ratings and we did it because we kept the Australian economy strong during the Global Financial Crisis. That meant stimulus spending. I mean it’s fantastic to hear Joe Hockey now saying we need to invest in infrastructure because the mining boom’s coming off. It’s a very curious double standard that in the Global Financial Crisis, the worst economic circumstances in three quarters of a century, the now Government, the Liberals, voted against infrastructure spending but now they’re interested in it to make the economy strong.

BENSON: Can I just jump in there with a quick final question on Kevin Rudd, the Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Scheme in Brisbane. He wants to give evidence and part of that has been redacted, part of the Cabinet minutes have been redacted, at the behest of the Federal Government. You were in the Rudd Ministry, you were a Cabinet Minister in the Gillard Government, are you happy to see Cabinet confidentiality breached, that convention breached and have Cabinet minutes made public?

PLIBERSEK: Look I’m not a QC. I can’t follow the ins and outs of the legal argument, but it seems to me that if someone is called to give evidence you have to allow them to properly defend themselves and it’s a bit rich for the Government which was, has indeed already handed over Cabinet documents to the Royal Commission, to now be saying that’s a problem. Like I say, I’m not an expert on the legal argument but a man’s usually got a right to defend himself.

BENSON: Tanya Plibersek, thank you very much.

PLIBERSEK: Thank you.

ENDS

Add your reaction Share