THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
LABOR CANDIDATE FOR SWAN
MONDAY 5 NOVEMBER 2018
SUBJECTS: Labor's Fair Go for Schools; Support for our veterans; China; Industrial relations; Scott Morrison in Queensland.
HANNAH BEAZLEY, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR SWAN: Hi I'm Hannah Beazley, I'm Labor's candidate for Swan. I'm very excited to be here today with Tanya Plibersek, our Deputy Leader and Shadow Minister for Education, here at Como Secondary College, this beautiful campus that used to be a pine plantation to announce some record funding here in WA and in particular for right here at Como Secondary College.
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks so much Hannah. It's such a pleasure to be here with our candidate for Swan, Hannah Beazley, at this wonderful school, Como Secondary College. We've just met with the principal and some of the students and heard about their work and how much they enjoy their school here. I'm very proud of the fact that if Labor is elected at the next federal election, WA will receive record funding for its schools from a Federal Labor Government. The difference that this would make over the next three school years alone is more than half a billion dollars here in the west. It means that the electorate of Swan would be about $19.5 million better off under a Federal Labor Government in the first three years alone and it means this school would be about $1.4 million better off in the first three years of a Labor Government. Now of course, schools right across Western Australia would be better off and parents can check for themselves just how much better off their school would be by looking at the Fair Go for Schools website that Labor has set up. That shows the funding improvement for every public school in Western Australia. Labor has said all along that the $17 billion cut by the Federal Liberal Government has to be restored. We stood Catholic and independent schools when they had their funding cut. We demanded the restoration of funding and Scott Morrison has restored the funding to Catholic and independent schools. But Labor also has said that for parents to have genuine choice we have to properly fund our public schools, so it's only Labor that will properly fund public schools like this one and this school, as I said, will be about $1.4 million better off in the first three years of a Labor Government and what that means is more one on one attention, more help with the basics, more help catching up if you're struggling in the classroom, it means more extension for kids who are gifted and talented, it means more subject choices, more variety, it means more continuing professional development for teachers. What we are going to do is empower school communities to decide how that money can best be spent in their schools, making sure that excellent principals like the one we met today can put extra resources into helping kids who are struggling with their maths, like the children that we met in the classroom today. We want maximum school autonomy for those decisions about how to spend the extra resources and most importantly we say there needs to be extra school funding. There's a lot of Liberals around who will tell you that money doesn't matter, that school funding doesn't matter. Of course it matters. Parents wouldn't work so hard raising funding for their schools with the sausage sizzles, and the trivia nights, and the school fetes and the cakes stalls if money didn't matter. Parents know that money matters and they can check for themselves how much better off their school would be by checking on our website.
Thanks, any questions?
JOURNALIST: Just with regard, more at a state level there was (inaudible) being worked through by the McGowan Government that reached into regional education so will this funding reach that far into WA's regions?
PLIBERSEK: Look we're very determined to work with the McGowan Government, they're doing an excellent job in cleaning up the mess they were left by the previous Liberal Government. They're fixing the WA economy, they're focused on WA jobs and of course they're very happy to co-operate with us on making sure that schools are properly funded. From early childhood we know that Labor wants to extend 15 hours of free pre-school education to three years olds as well as four year olds, making sure that particularly the most disadvantaged children don't miss out on the opportunity of a pre-school education. We want to work with the McGowan Government on making sure all of our schools are properly funded. We want to work with the McGowan Government to repair the damage that has been done to TAFE by the current Federal Liberal Government as well as the cuts made by previous Liberal governments here in the west and we want to work together to restore about $200 million in university funding that the Federal Liberal Government has cut as well. So what you really need for a strong education system in the west, from early childhood education right through schools, TAFE and university, is to see a Labor Government here at the state level and a Federal Labor Government too.
JOURNALIST: So this announcement today including the school of Como (inaudible)?
PLIBERSEK: Oh, of course. Every single school in Western Australia is better off if Federal Labor is elected. We are talking about half a billion dollars of extra school funding in the first three years of a Federal Labor Government if we are elected. Every single school is better off under a Federal Labor Government and parents can check just how much better off their school will be by looking at our Fair Go for Schools website.
JOURNALIST: So there's a (inaudible)?
PLIBERSEK: Absolutely. You can check. We've got figures up there for public schools. We can't yet provide the figures for Catholic and independent schools because the Federal government won't share the funding formula that they are using for Catholic and independent schools, but for thousands of public schools around Australia, every parent, every teacher, every principal, every person who's interested can type in the name of the school or the postcode or the suburb that the school is in and have a look at how much better off their school will be.
JOURNALIST: Just to clarify, the (inaudible) formula that was used to decide that, was it based on the numbers at the school or certain priorities that were identified?
PLIBERSEK: The formula reflects the number of students obviously, but it also reflects the need of the school. So you might have two schools that have a similar number of students, but if one school has greater need that means it's a smaller school, it's more remote, it has more Indigenous kids, more kids who struggle with English or more children with a disability, that school will receive greater funding. So the funding is directed in the first instance to where it's most needed.
JOURNALIST: Just on other issues of the day if that's OK? So Virgin Australia has made some announcements around its veterans’ policy. Are you supportive of these? Are they acceptable? Do they go too far?
PLIBERSEK: Look I think it's up to every individual business how they acknowledge the contribution of our service personnel, and I think it is very important that we as a nation show how grateful we are to the men and women who risk their lives defending our country. I think it's quite proper that we do that as a nation. What I would say though is that it's important to show that in a very fundamental and sincere way and that means giving our service personnel the appropriate support while they are still serving, and after they've left the service. That means appropriate government support as well as measures like this from business. There is another point I'd make as well, is that there are other professions that risk their lives. We've got paramedics, ambulance personnel, nurses and doctors working in casualty, fire fighters that rush into burning flames, not away from them like the rest of us do, and we should also acknowledge their contribution - child protection workers that turn up to a house where they know there might be a violent perpetrator and they go in there to make sure the kids are OK. There are other professions that also put their lives on the line and put their safety at risk and we need to acknowledge those professions too. But of course I'm always supportive when our service personnel are acknowledged. They do a fine job for our country.
JOURNALIST: If we consider that a (inaudible) plane (inaudible) they are going to be acknowledged over the system, so when you mention other people who do risk their lives in that public sector way, do you think that could be a bit uncomfortable, almost potentially, especially if maybe that veteran is not comfortable with that process?
PLIBERSEK: Look I think it's up to individual businesses if they want to make offers like this, that's a matter for them. It's up to individual service personnel, or retired service personnel how they take up those offers. I am not going to pass commentary about that. I think we are grateful to our serving men and women for the job they do for our nation, of course we are.
JOURNALIST: You mentioned that the focus needs to be on the, sort of, their support and the DVA, so do think veterans who are struggling potentially to get their claims processed by the DVA will welcome this, and see that sort of acknowledgement?
PLIBERSEK: I think that's really the point I'm making. This sort of acknowledgement from businesses is no substitute for properly caring for our veterans when they return, making sure that their health needs are met, that they are able to find work, that that work reflects the capabilities that they have gained in their serving careers. And I think veterans are sending a very strong message that they don't always feel properly supported on their return to Australia. We need to make sure that we are doing a proper job in doing that. This isn't a replacement for that proper support.
JOURNALIST: Victorian Labor has pledged to join China's 'One Belt One Road' initiative. Are Federal Labor and State Labor opposed on that particular issue?
PLIBERSEK: We haven't seen the details of what the Victorian Government has announced so I’ll wait and have a look at specifically what they are proposing. And is very important that Australia continues to have a strong economic relationship with China - one of our very most important economic partners today.
JOURNALIST: But if you were to win Government would Labor be signing up to the initiative?
PLIBERSEK: Well we need to have a strong relationship with China, and I'm not going to make foreign policy announcements today. We need to have a good and strong relationship and Labor has shown through our decades since formally recognising China that we seek that good and strong relationship. But Australian foreign policy always has to have Australian interests top of mind.
JOURNALIST: Do you think it’s important to be on the same page as (inaudible) on important foreign issues like that with the state Labor counterparts?
PLIBERSEK: As a nation the federal government makes foreign policy and I am sure that all of the states recognise as we do at a federal level, that having a good, strong economic relationship with China our very substantial important trading partner is good for the nation.
JOURNALIST: Alan Joyce says re-introducing industry-wide bargaining will cripple and threaten jobs and national prosperity? (inaudible), so it your (inaudible)
PLIBERSEK: We recognise the role that businesses, all businesses, big and small, have in supporting employment in Australia, and we want to make sure that conditions are right for us to see jobs growth. But we also want to make sure that when companies are profitable, and we have seen very good profit growth in recent years, when companies are profitable that they share some of that success with their workforce. At the moment we see strong growth in profits, but historic low wages growth. We've seen cuts to penalty rates affecting about 700,000 Australians, including many here in the west, and we have seen a Government that's opposed increases to the minimum wage as well supporting cuts to penalty rates. We want to make sure not just that businesses are profitable but that the people who make them profitable, their workforce, share in those benefits.
JOURNALIST: Just one more quick one. The Prime Minister touring Queensland today, does that mean the election campaign has officially started today?
PLIBERSEK: I think the election campaign started some time ago. From the Prime Minister’s point of view, from Scott Morrison's point of view, his campaign started with his plotting to overthrow Malcolm Turnbull.