THURSDAY 7 JUNE 2018                          

SUBJECTS: Education cuts; Longman by-election; Health cuts; Income tax cuts; Gender effect of Government policies; One Nation; Cuts to pensioners.

SUSAN LAMB, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR LONGMAN: Well good morning everybody and welcome to Dakabin State School, a school that has been home to me and my family for a lot of years. Can I start by of course acknowledging the wonderful school community that's here at Dakabin, from our teacher aides and our school cleaners to our grounds person, of course, the admin staff and the amazing teachers and the P&C. This is a school community that has been actually central to the booming area of the Moreton Bay region for some time. It's a school of around 600 students, growing in numbers of course with the development of the area. It's a school that is so important for students with a disability, we had around 30 per cent of students here with a disability, that deserve the very best education that we can give them. I've got Tanya here with me today and I'm going to ask her to say a few words in a moment. But what we know, is that schools like Dakabin State School - schools like Dakabin here - that I know as a teacher aide here for nearly 10 years, as a parent for much longer than that - all of my four boys went through here - is this school deserves money invested in our children and in their education for their future. It does not deserve over $400,000 to be ripped out of it for the sake of giving to banks and big businesses. Tanya, can I invite you to say a few words? Welcome to Dakabin State School.

TANYA PLIBERSEK MP, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks very much, it's such a pleasure to be here in the seat of Longman with our candidate Susan Lamb. Susan has made such a fantastic contribution in her first term in Canberra and I'm going to be here right by her side making sure that she comes back to represent the people of Longman in Canberra because she is a fighter. We're here today at Dakabin State School and as Susan has pointed out her boys went this school, she worked at this school as a teacher's aide so she knows what this local community needs, she knows what this local school needs and what it certainly doesn't need is $460,000 worth of cuts. That's the difference in 2018 and 2019 alone for this school. This school sees cuts, as I say, of about $460,000, the seat of Longman sees cuts of about $18 million to its schools over the years 2018 and 2019 and it is close to half a billion dollars of cuts from Queensland state schools over that period because this government, the Turnbull Government, refuses to properly fund our schools. Over the next decade, the Turnbull Government wants to cut about $17 billion from schools. Now government is all about choices, isn't it? This government chooses to cut $17 billion from our schools at the same time as it can manage to find $17 billion for the banks' share of the big business tax cut. Now Susan can tell you how much more important it is to properly fund our schools than to give the banks, making record profits, another tax cut. Malcolm Turnbull, of course, will always prioritise giving banks a tax cut - once a banker always a banker - over properly funding our schools; so necessary not just for the individual kids here but also for our future wealth and prosperity as a nation. I believe Malcolm Turnbull is actually in Longman today, he's talking to pensioners. He might try explaining to the 2,000 pensioners in Longman who have either completely lost their pensions or seen a cut to their pension why he thinks it's more important to give bank executives a tax cut, to give someone on a million bucks a year a $16,000 a year tax cut than to give pensioners a hand. He might want to explain to the pensioners today why he thinks that people should work until they are 70 before they can receive the pension. He might want to explain why he thinks he can't afford $14 a fortnight for the clean energy supplement for pensioners but he can afford $80 billion worth of big business tax cuts over the decade. Any questions?

JOURNALIST: Just on Longman, in terms of the latest Reachtel poll, it found the Coalition is leading 52 to 48, why do you think Labor is behind in this?

PLIBERSEK: This is one of the most marginal seats in the country and we've been so lucky to have Susan, such as hard fighter, fighting here during this election campaign and during her whole time as local member, standing up for the local community. We've got an opponent, Susan's opponent, who was a part of Campbell Newman's Government that supported cuts to schools and cuts to hospitals, sacking teachers, sacking nurses. In fact, Susan's opponent supported the selling off of a local school oval. I think when the people of Longman are reminded of the difference between someone like Susan who will fight every day for her local community, for greater investment in schools and hospitals, and the things that make life decent - decent penalty rates and wages - then they'll know who to choose.

JOURNALIST: Just on hospitals, the Coalition is accusing you of running another 'Mediscare' campaign over Caboolture Hospital. Is this the case that voters will fall for the same trick twice?

PLIBERSEK: People know who to trust with healthcare. I mean, you've got a Government, Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister, trying to convince people that what he is doing measures up to Labor's funding in hospitals. It never has and it never will. You've got a Government that continues to freeze rebates on specialists' appointments so people are seeing larger and larger out of pocket expenses. So cuts to hospitals, larger out of pocket expenses - people know who to trust with their health care.

JOURNALIST:  Just on the Senate Committee, the Treasury Deputy Secretary told the Committee yesterday that they don't do a gender analysis of tax cuts because the system is gender neutral. Should Labor just support phase 3 of the Coalition’s plan in the Senate?

PLIBERSEK: We support phase 1. We can give tax cuts to people from the 1st of July, people on low and middle incomes would get a tax cut from Labor on the 1st of July if the Government separated out the first stage of their tax cuts. And guess what? Next year, from the 1st of July, they'd get a bigger tax cut if we followed Labor's plan, a substantially larger tax cut. Everybody up to $125,000 a year would be substantially better off under Labor's tax cut proposals. But I'm not going to apologise for wanting to look twice at tax cuts for people on very high incomes. Are we really saying, as this Government does, that someone on $1 million of income a year needs a $16,000 tax cut? Are we really saying that is the most important priority for the Budget at the moment? We are very much in favour of tax cuts for low and middle income earners, for bigger tax cuts for low and middle income earners, but when it comes to tax cuts in seven years' time, in the never-never, for very high income earners, of course we're not going to sign up to that, sight unseen.

I also think it's very interesting that you've got a Treasurer who says the tax system is [gender] neutral. We know that we have a gender pay gap in Australia. We know that women are retiring with substantially lower superannuation balances than men and we've got a Government that says that this is all gender neutral, nothing to see here. We've got a Government that had members last week arguing that there should be a cut to the GST on super yachts but they refuse to back a cut to the GST on tampons. We've got a Government that says tampons should attract the GST, but Viagra should not. That doesn't look gender neutral to me and perhaps if they had a few more women on the Coalition front bench they'd realise that these policies are not gender neutral.

JOURNALIST: Does it worry you that One Nation's performance in Longman might be critical in determining the outcome of the Longman seat?

PLIBERSEK: I'll tell you what. The people of Longman should not put their faith in Pauline Hanson's One Nation because a vote for Pauline Hanson's One Nation is equivalent to a vote for Malcolm Turnbull. We know that One Nation continues to vote overwhelmingly with the Government on issues that really hurt the people of Longman. Issues like cutting family benefits, like cutting the pension, like cutting other benefits, like Pauline Hanson's continued support for cuts to penalty rates. This really hurts people who rely on penalty rates for their weekend work to make ends meet with the family budget. Also, I'd ask people think about whether they want stability or chaos. You've got the Liberal National Party - it's a soap opera; One Nation's a soap opera. The only party that has unity and stability is the Labor Party.

JOURNALIST: Just a quick question for Susan. I was talking to you yesterday about your campaign in Longman, the fact that Malcolm Turnbull is in the electorate today. What message would you have for the pensioners he is meeting with today?

LAMB: Malcolm Turnbull's got an opportunity today to really listen to the pensioners in Longman. Listen to their stories about how 2,000 pensioners, what their life is like now that his Government cut the pension for over 2,000 pensioners, either in part or in full. What I'd like from Malcolm Turnbull today is to hear how a cut to the Energy Supplement would affect pensioners in Longman, and I'd like Malcolm Turnbull today to hear from people who are about to retire about his plan, what they think about his plan to make them work until they are 70. That's what I hope Malcolm Turnbull hears today, because what he'll hear is people don't support his plan to work 'til 70. People don't support a cut to the Energy Supplement and people do not support $80 billion going to banks and multinational companies.