THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
ACTING SHADOW MINISTER FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
LABOR CANDIDATE FOR BRADDON
TUESDAY, 12 JUNE 2018
SUBJECTS: Tax policy; Braddon by-election; Women’s issues; Foreign interference laws; SAS allegations; Aged care system.
JUSTINE KEAY, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR BRADDON: Well thank you very much for coming. I'm Justine Keay the Labor candidate for the upcoming by election and here we've got Donna and Tracey, both are workers here in Devonport, Senator Anne Urquhart, Labor Senator for Tasmania and also Tanya Plibersek, the Deputy Leader. We've been chatting today about the impacts of budgets and decisions of government, particularly on women and I'm very proud to be part of a Labor team that looks at gender - a gender lens in decision-making - in budgets and everything that we do with legislation. That's the way it should be because we have found out that the Government tends not to look at it in that way, which is really disappointing for women. What I can say is that Labor's bigger and better tax plan for personal income tax cuts will benefit about 39,000 workers here in the north west, which is three out of four workers, will be much better off under Labor, that's for low and middle income earners, which are of course women as well. So it's really pleasing that we have Tanya here today and Donna and Tracey to talk about the implications of the Government's decisions and how that impacts women and what Labor can do to make it fairer for women in our workforce. I'll hand you over to Tanya.
TANYA PLIBERSEK MP, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks Justine. It's great to be here with Justine Keay, with Senator Anne Urquhart and of course with Donna and Tracey. We're talking today mostly about tax cuts and how hard it is to make ends meet. Now Donna and Tracey are great mums, they're struggling to put food on the table and a roof over their kids' heads, even doing a little bit of grandparent caring as well, which is so necessary in today's world. But when you see a Government that has cut penalty rates effecting hospitality and retail workers in particular, and then on top of that wants to give the biggest tax cuts to the people who are already doing best in our community, you see how wrong Malcolm Turnbull's priorities are. We've got a government that wants to give $80 billion worth of big business tax cuts to multinational companies, mainly benefiting overseas shareholders, but when it comes to personal income tax cuts, the people at low and middle incomes miss out under Malcolm Turnbull. Labor has a proposal that is bigger and more generous for people on low and middle incomes. It means that everybody up to $125,000 a year income will be better off under Labor's proposal, and in fact most people are almost twice as well off under Labor's tax proposals, getting hundreds of dollars extra a year compared with what the Liberals are proposing.
With Donna and Tracy we've heard how the fact that their wages have been flat-lining for years now under a Turnbull Government, already was making life difficult, our proposal is to give them a bigger, more generous tax cut; we can afford to do that because we're not giving a tax cut to the big end of town. We can also afford not to cut health and education the way the Turnbull Government is doing. So we can afford bigger, more generous tax cuts, we can afford to protect health and education and we can do it because we're not giving tax cuts to the big end of town.
Today we also heard about struggles being fought with superannuation, child support, a whole range of government services that really you feel in a regional community like this. It's only the Turnbull Government being so out of touch that would allow people in Braddon to continue to struggle with the cuts that they've made. The fact that Justine's Liberal opponent said at the beginning of this election campaign "you can judge me on my record" tells you everything you need to know about the Liberals and how out of touch they are. Because it's true, you can judge Justine's opponent on his record. He has got a record of supporting increased GST particularly on fresh food. He has got a record of supporting a $20 co-payment to visit your GP. He has got a record of supporting penalty rate cuts. Contrast that with what Labor stands for: more generous tax cuts for low and middle income earner, protecting penalty rates, making sure that our health and education systems are excellent so that ordinary families can have a decent quality of life. Any questions?
JOURNALIST: Under your tax cuts how much more will low to middle income workers have in their pockets?
PLIBERSEK: Well the best thing you can do is actually jump onto the website and you can calculate exactly what you would get depending on your income level, but hundreds of dollars better off than the Liberals' tax proposals. So someone on $35,000 to $40,000 a year would be about $200 better off under Labor's proposals. Someone on a higher income, so $65,000 a year, would be more than $700 better off under Labor's proposal. So have a look for yourself, put in your own income and judge whether you'll be better off under Labor's bigger, more generous tax proposals. We know that this Government will always look after the big end of town and the fact that Justine's opponent is a former banker who voted six times against the Banking Royal Commission and now wants to give a $17 billion tax cut to the big banks tells you where this Governments' priorities are.
JOURNALIST: So the Liberals have said roughly about $500 on average for low to middle income earners, so you are saying anywhere between $700 and $1,500?
PLIBERSEK: It really depends on people incomes, but anyone on up to $125,000 a year will be better off. Most of them will be better off, they will get almost double the tax cut under Labor. So you will see some families where you have got say an income of two modest incomes, up to about $1,800 a year better off under Labor's proposal.
JOURNALIST: Odds show that this is a tight race, a very tight race in Braddon, traditionally its seen very much as a Labor seat, but that's changed in recent times. Are you confident that Labor will win this seat?
PLIBERSEK: Well Braddon is a very marginal seat and it has swung between the Government and the Opposition again and again. But I am absolutely confident that we have got the best candidate, and with Justine Keay we can win this seat. Justine knows this local community, she was born and bred in the north west, she's raised her family here, she's worked here. She is seventh generation Tasmanian. She knows what this community needs. In contrast, her opponent: well, once a banker, always a banker.
JOURNALIST: You've still got a long way to go in this campaign. Are you pulling out all your policies too early?
PLIBERSEK: No way. We've got so much to offer the people of Australia and the people of Braddon that we are very prepared to campaign here every day talking about Labor's positive vision. Better investment in our hospitals - better investment in our schools; bigger, fairer tax cuts for low and middle income earners - not blowing the budget on big business tax cuts that flow to overseas shareholders.
JOURNALIST: Are Labor hitting the campaign trail this hard in other electorates having by-elections?
PLIBERSEK: Absolutely we are. We are delighted to talk to the Australian public every single day about Labor's positive vision for Australia. We have got more policy out in the electorate than any other opposition in living memory because we are determined to show to the people of Australia that we are ready to govern. We are the Government that Australia deserves. Prepared to invest in health, in education, in bigger, fairer tax cuts for low and middle income earners.
JOURNALIST: Tanya, what are you doing to close the gap on women's super?
PLIBERSEK: We've had a fantastic Senate inquiry: "A husband is not a retirement plan" and great work led by Senator Jenny McAllister. We’re looking at the proposals that have come from that Senate inquiry and other work that's been done. But we think it is very important to deal with the fact that most Australian women are retiring with about half of the superannuation savings of men. So we need to look at the gender pay gap, we need to make sure that we're reducing that gender pay gap, in fact it's gotten bigger under this Government, and we need to make sure that we're dealing with the causes of women retiring with lower superannuation balances than men. That means looking at issues like their pay levels so the reasons that women are having to drop out of the work force, for example Labor has committed to 10 days paid domestic violence leave to make sure that if someone is facing domestic violence, she doesn't have to leave her job in order to attend court, be interviewed by the police, change the kids’ school, change the locks on the house. Issues like this can make a real difference to women's workforce participation.
JOURNALIST: Concerns have been raised about foreign interference in these by-elections. What's your reaction to that and do you feel that those concerns are legitimate?
PLIBERSEK: It's very important and the Australian public deserves to know that we don't have overseas governments trying to influence the outcomes of Australian elections and Labor has been very prepared to work with the Government to ensure that that happens. What's very disappointing is that while Labor's been prepared to work with the Government on anti-espionage laws, the Government continues to accept donations from overseas, political donations. Labor has said, we said about a year and a half ago, that we wouldn't take such donations. We've refused to accept them. The Government continues to accept them. It's pretty hard to understand how the Government can talk about foreign interference but still be prepared to take foreign money for their election campaigns.
JOURNALIST: What are the examples of that foreign money?
PLIBERSEK: I'm not going to go case by case but you know that there are very prominent benefactors from overseas that have been prepared to put substantial amounts of money into election campaigns. We've said that we won't take money from such sources. The Government should do the same.
JOURNALIST: I was going to ask one question on the SAS revelations, if I may? The investigation by Fairfax into the culture in the SAS has raised very serious allegations including extra-judicial killings, murder. What are your reactions to those allegations in the media?
PLIBERSEK: The first thing to say is that Australians are rightly proud of our personnel serving overseas. We know that the work they do is difficult and dangerous, but these allegations are very concerning and they do deserve to be properly aired. Now we have sought a briefing from the Government. I don't think we've yet received that briefing and so we'll be able to comment more fully after we've received that briefing. We have also said that the report that these allegations are detailed in should be made as public as possible, because the allegations I think are deeply troubling for the Australian public but also for the military itself. I know that there are certain personnel who are proud of the work they do who want these allegations cleared.
JOURNALIST: And Tanya do you think there should be a Royal Commission into the aged care system?
PLIBERSEK: There definitely needs to be a close look at the effect of the billions of dollars cut from aged care by this Government. Anyone who's got an older family member that had tried to find a place for them in a nursing home or has had someone be in a nursing home knows that it is a system under pressure. I'm not sure whether a Royal Commission is the right way to go about it but certainly the effect of the very large cuts we've seen does need to be investigated.
JOURNALIST: On voting day, this is an opportunity for you to speak to the people of Braddon. In three words, why should people vote for Labor?
PLIBERSEK: Does it have to be three words because that's not really fair is it?
JOURNALIST: In a short sentence.
PLIBERSEK: Bigger tax cuts, investment in health and education, a local who's committed to a better life for her kids and all those kids growing up on the north west coast today. Thank you.