SUBJECTS: Labor’s investment in Caboolture TAFE; TAFE funding; Mark Latham; Pauline Hanson; Longman by-election; Governments cuts to Caboolture hospital.

SUSAN LAMB, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR LONGMAN: Welcome everybody, welcome to Caboolture TAFE. For years and years, students in this area have faced some really serious issues when it comes to the mismanagement of the Liberal Government when it comes to TAFE. Under Malcolm Turnbull, $600 million dollars’ worth of cuts to TAFE and training. And of course with Malcolm Turnbull we've had Trevor Ruthenberg, who as a member of Campbell Newman's LNP Government, was responsible for TAFE closures all over Queensland; cuts to staffing, we saw increases in course fees and of course we saw an increase of private providers praying on really vulnerable people. Well we're here today at Caboolture TAFE to make an announcement, we've got an announcement that will go directly to the heart of what Labor believes, which is that TAFE is critical -  it is an essential part of training for students in this area. Today we're here to make an announcement of a $1.5 million hospital training ward for students in the area coming into nursing and healthcare, or of course, moving into health and nursing. We're about to see the roll out of the NDIS for the region. We know that means hundreds of jobs for nurses and healthcare workers. We know that an announcement like this ensures that our local people get these local jobs and get the very best facilities to do the training for these jobs. Of course I'm very pleased to have the Shadow Minister for Skills, TAFE and Apprenticeships, Doug Cameron here with us today. Of course the Deputy Leader Tanya Plibersek, also the Shadow Minister for Education with me here today to make this announcement and I invite Tanya now to talk to us a little more about this funding, about this commitment to TAFE. We know that only Labor backs TAFE. We know that Labor is the party that funds TAFE and not banks. Tanya.

TANYA PLIBERSEK MP, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks Susan. It's terrific to be here with Susan, with Doug Cameron and others to make this really important announcement. This is a $1.5 million investment in Caboolture TAFE that will provide a fantastic new facility for nursing and other health students, to have the simulated experience of working in a hospital ward. We know that there is state of the art stimulation equipment out there that can be so very beneficial to people when they are doing their training. It means that, of course, students aren't let loose, on real human patients in their early stages of their training which is a great comfort to everyone. It gives them the opportunity to work in a very realistic life-like environment, under, actually, quite high pressure as well, because of these very life-like simulation experiences. This is the sort of investment that we can make in TAFE because we're not spending $17 billion dollars giving the big banks a tax cut. We believe that investing in healthcare, in education, in schools, in TAFE, in universities, in roads and public transport, in bigger tax cuts for ordinary, working people, is more important than giving the banks a $17 billion tax cut, particularly when we see the sort of behaviour we've seen during the Banking Royal Commission. Now, of course, Susan's opponent doesn't feel the same way. When Susan's opponent was part of Campbell Newman's Government, he was part of a Government that cut funding to schools, cut funding to TAFE, cut funding to hospitals, cut funding to health facilities, and sacked thousands of workers, thousands of TAFE teachers, thousands of nurses, and doctors, and other healthcare professionals right across the State of Queensland. Why on earth would anyone give him the chance to do that again? I might ask Doug to talk a bit more about the announcement.

SENATOR DOUG CAMERON, SHADOW MINISTER FOR SKILLS, TAFE AND APPRENTICESHIPS: Well thanks Tanya and Susan. This is a great announcement because this is a growing area in the Brisbane area and in Queensland itself. The issue of health, the issue of disabilities, the issue of aged-care is an area that Labor is decidedly keen to make sure that we invest in. These are the issues that are so important for communities around the country; and generally in TAFE we've indicated that we're going to invest $100 million across the TAFE system because the TAFE system is the trusted system. The TAFE system is the system that can deliver and we are ensuring that that investment builds on the needs of the community and goes to the issues that are important for our communities. Nothing can be more important than health. Nothing can be more important than looking after those aged residents in this community. So Labor understands the key issues and this facility that's being built here, will bring state of the art technology. It will allow young people coming from around this district to get proper training at TAFE, and it will allow other people moving from one job in one industry to this industry to actually get access to the highest quality of technology that's available. This is a state of the art facility, $1.5 million joint investment by the State Government and the Shorten Labor Government. We understand the needs of the community. We know exactly what the community needs and that is such a big difference from the Coalition and from the cuts that we've seen from Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott over this period of time.   

PLIBERSEK: You want to say a few words about TAFE?

SCOTT (TAFE TEACHER): Hi, my name's Scott. I was a teacher under the Newman Government in TAFE. All the cuts, my colleagues losing their jobs, students having no TAFE to go to, TAFE's closing down, we're under threat of our jobs every day, TAFE's were getting diced up and sold off. Trevor Ruthenberg and the Newman Government were going to sell TAFE and sell it off to the private providers. Labor is the only party that has backed TAFE and provided funding for our teachers and our students.

PLIBERSEK: Ok, any questions?

JOURNALIST: Just quickly, how do you respond to Mark Latham's criticism of Bill Shorten?

PLIBERSEK: Honestly, who cares what Mark Latham thinks.

JOURNALIST: He nearly became a Labor Prime Minister.

PLIBERSEK: Well, he was Labor leader. I think he was pretty far from becoming Prime Minister, in fact he depressed the Labor vote when he was Labor leader. In any case, we're not focused on him today, what we're focused on is proper investment in TAFE. I mean we've got a fantastic announcement here of $1.5 million in brand new facilities that will support the jobs of the future for local students and as Susan said, what we've seen from the Liberals in Canberra is the most recent lot of cuts, it was $270 million, before that $600 million. I think the total we are at already Doug is about $3 billion cut from TAFE training and apprenticeships and vocational education more generally. We are the only party that would invest $100 million in rebuilding TAFE as Doug has said, 100,000 fee free places, [10,000] places for pre-apprentices, [20,000] places for mature ages apprentices.  We are the only party that will rebuild TAFE, that's our focus. 

JOURNALIST: Are you worried about the robo-calls though, given that the minor parties will pay a big role?

PLIBERSEK: Honestly if Mark Latham does to Pauline Hanson's vote, what he did to Labor’s vote, I am not at all worried, and I really think that at this time people are taking a good hard look at Pauline Hanson and they’re recognising, they’re realising that a vote for Pauline Hanson is the same as a vote for Malcolm Turnbull. This year she has voted effectively 100 per cent of the time with the Turnbull Government, honestly you may as well vote LNP if you are voting One Nation because there is no difference. If Malcolm Turnbull is on the nose in Queensland, and we know he is, then Pauline Hanson should be on the nose too because they are one and the same. They are swapping preferences, Pauline Hanson votes with the LNP every chance she gets, just remember this, Pauline Hanson when she is in Queensland she says: "Oh I will stand up for pensioners". When she goes to Canberra she votes with Malcolm Turnbull to cut pensions. When she’s in Queensland she says, "Oh I'll stand up for Queensland families". When she goes to Canberra she votes to cut family benefits and she voted to give herself a $7,000 a year tax cut, while giving $10 a week tax cut to an ordinary working Queenslander. $7000 for herself, and ten bucks a week for an ordinary working Queenslander. Every chance she gets whether it’s voting against pensioners, whether it’s voting against families, voting herself a tax cut and a much tinier tax cut for working Queenslanders. When she is asked about penalty rates, she’s the first one to say that penalty rates should be cut. Pauline Hanson does not stand for the people that she pretends to stand up for, she only ever does the bidding of the LNP. 

JOURNALIST: Given that, given as Doug said the issues that matter here are education, aged care and health, why is this such a hard slog, then? Why are people still turning to the minor parties?

PLIBERSEK: Well Susan won the seat of Longman from the LNP, this has been an LNP seat for most of the last few decades, it has always been a tough seat for Labor. But we are confident that we have the best candidate, we are confident that we have the best policies and we are fighting every single day to make that clear to the people of Longman. 

JOURNALIST: Did the preference cards play out as you thought they would, given the One Nation and the Liberal Party have both put each other as seven? 

PLIBERSEK: Honestly, I mean there is no surprise in the world that they’re helping each other, there is no surprise. Malcolm Turnbull's delighted to have Pauline Hanson around because she votes with him, every single time. And you know, Pauline Hanson would rather see a tax cut for big business and a tax cut for wealthy individuals, than help the working people she pretends to represent. She votes against working people every chance she gets. 

JOURNALIST: The thing, a criticism that Labor’s campaign about the hospital cut at Caboolture is wrong, and that it wasn’t particularly articulated where the cuts were coming from, are you going to be releasing the details of exactly where that funding cut has come from?

PLIBERSEK: We absolutely stand by our figures and I think you only have to look at Malcolm Turnbull's hysterical reaction to see that these figures have really hit home. If he doesn't want to be blamed for hospital cuts, he should stop cutting funding to hospitals. 

JOURNALIST: How confident are you at winning Longman?

PLIBERSEK: We are very confident that we have got the best candidate and we’ve got the best policies, it’s a very marginal seat and that's why we are working so hard.