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
TUESDAY, 26 FEBRUARY 2019
SUBJECTS: Labor’s plans for public school funding in Swan; George Pell; Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse; Government’s funding announcement for Snowy 2.0 project; Tradie pay guarantee; Adani coal mine; WA Branch CFMMEU.
HANNAH BEAZLEY, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR SWAN: Good morning everybody. Thank you for coming out here in the heat, I know what it's like, I'm door knocking in this heat every day so I appreciate that. It is very exciting to, yet again, have our Shadow Spokesperson for Education, Tanya Plibersek, here in WA and I'm very happy that I can speak with Tanya and with our community about the extra almost $19 and a half million dollars for schools here in Swan, as well as almost $1.7 million right here at Belmont City College which is money that I know will be very much appreciated and well used here. So thank you all coming out, thank you to Tanya for coming over yet again and I'll hand you over to Tanya.
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks so much Hannah, It's such a pleasure to be with you and with Cassie Rowe here at Belmont City College. We've had the most wonderful tour, the school leaders have shown us around and the principal, we've had a number of students and teachers here, talking about what a wonderful school this is but the fact that of course it still has unmet needs.
We are very proud of the fact that Labor is committed to investing an extra $1.67 million, almost $1.7 million, in this school, Belmont City College, but that's only part of the $19 and a half million over the first three years of a Labor government, should we be elected, that Swan would be better off by when it comes to education funding. We're talking about, for the state of Western Australia, an extra half billion dollars over the first three years of a Federal Labor government. This is a very sharp contrast to what the Morrison Government is proposing . You've got a government in the Morrison Government that is focusing all of its time and attention on doing special deals for its mates. You've got hundreds of appointments in recent years to things like the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, dozens just on Friday. It seems like the best qualification to get on to one of those $200-300,000 a year jobs on Friday was some connection to the Liberal Party or the National Party of Australia. You've got a Finance Minister that allegedly forgot thousands of dollars’ worth of travel. You've got now an Attorney General that apparently forgot that someone had lent them a bus. It just makes no sense to have a government that is so focused on its mates and cronies and so little focused on the future of our young people.
What Labor is committed to is properly funding our schools, making sure that schools like this give all of their students an opportunity of a first class education. It's all about choices. Do we really want a government that's only focused on itself and its mates? Or do we want a government that's committed to giving Australian school children the very best start in life?
Thanks. Any questions?
JOURNALIST: George Pell (inaudible)?
PLIBERSEK: Well I think Australians have been shocked by many of the findings of the Royal Commission and the fallout from the Royal Commission. And today is a shocking today for many Australians too. I think what it does remind us of is a couple of very important things. The first is that it is truly wonderful to live in a country where no one is above the law. Where any person can seek access to justice and to see that justice done. It's also a really important reminder that the Royal Commission was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for people to tell their stories of childhood sexual abuse [inaudible].The people who gave evidence to the Royal Commission had never told their stories before, they kept this secret for decades. And the Royal Commission has, I hope, changed Australia forever. It's given people the opportunity of telling their own stories, but it's made us, as a nation, face the fact that child abuse was much wider spread than we ever imagined, it was more pervasive, more common. And the consequences, for many people, have not arrived until decades after the abuse has occurred. So, a very interesting day today with this conviction, and an important reminder that no-one is above the law.
JOURNALIST: Do you welcome the Scott Morrison Government's investment in Snowy 2.0?
PLIBERSEK: If it stacks up as an energy project then we're all in favour of it. We need to see the details of the business case, but Labor's always been supportive of greater investment in renewables. I think the really telling thing about Snowy 2.0 is that people who are supporters of renewable energy say that you can't have Snowy 2.0 and new taxpayer-funded coal-fired power stations. So I think the Government does need to pull into line some of its own members that are still spruiking this fantasy that Australia should invest billions of dollars of taxpayers' money into new coal-fired power.
JOURNALIST: Is this one of Malcolm Turnbull's legacies?
PLIBERSEK: Well, we'll see. If it is actually built, I think it'll be a very important contribution, and it shows again, I suppose, that Australians are still scratching their heads about why Malcolm Turnbull was rolled. We’ve (inaudible).
JOURNALIST: Just on the tradie pay guarantee. Are you needlessly increasing red tape (inaudible)?
PLIBERSEK: Well, I guess if you're a tradie who's put in months of work on a project and not been paid because of 'phoenixing' or poor behaviour by a contractor you don’t think this is red tape, you think this is absolutely vital to putting food on the table and making sure that your family’s got a roof over their head.
JOURNALIST: Is there any justification for the Adani coal mine to go ahead, do you think?
PLIBERSEK: Well we have said all along that this is a project that has to stack up environmentally and economically, and all along there has been questions on both of these fronts. You've got an overseas mining giant that has made many inflated claims about the jobs potential of this project, that's why Labor hasn’t waited around for the promised jobs that have never eventuated. That's why Labor has been putting significant resources behind real infrastructure projects - port upgrades, road widening and airport upgrades - so that we can see real jobs for North and Central Queensland, jobs that are created by the construction of big new infrastructure projects, but also jobs that come from increased capacity for tourism and agriculture and other industries in that area.
JOURNALIST: But the CFMEU, you attended their conference today, they have threatened to campaign against Labor candidates in Queensland if Labor doesn't back the mine. What do you say to that?
PLIBERSEK: Well we won’t make any decision based on threats, we never do. We make decisions on the best interests of our country, and we have said all along that no taxpayer funding should go to this project, and that it would have to stack up environmentally and economically, and I have got to say there has been precious little example of that in recent times.
JOURNALIST: On asylum seekers, has Labor been sending out a mixed message on whether asylum seekers should be sent to Christmas Island. Bill Shorten originally said he would be happy to see them sent there, now he has said that they shouldn't be. Which is it?
PLIBERSEK: The only mixed message is coming from Scott Morrison who says he doesn't want the boats to start, but is doing the people smugglers work for them by suggesting that there has been a change to Australia's strong border protection regime. This is a continuation of a scare campaign from a government that has got nothing left in the tank. This is a government that can’t run on its record; cuts to schools, cuts to hospitals, historic low wages growth, historic high under employment, flatlining standards of living, in fact standards of living are even going backwards. It can't run on its record. It can’t run on unity (inaudible) and it can’t run on its vision for the future, because it has no vision for the future, just more of the same. I mean, this recycling of Tony Abbott's failed climate change policies, that saw two and a quarter billion dollars spent to actually see pollution increase in this country. And if they are not going to run on their history, and they are not going to run of the future, and they are not going to run on their discipline and unity, then all they have got is scare campaigns.
JOURNALIST: Can I ask, yes or no, are you are happy for them to medically evacuated to Christmas Island. And can I ask Hannah the same question as well please?
PLIBERSEK: Look, we have been very clear all along, and Bill has been very clear in particular, that if the Government chooses to reopen Christmas Island that is a matter for them. But it is up to the Immigration Minister to explain, first of all, why he's brought hundreds of asylum seekers to mainland Australia but can't continue to do that, and secondly, whether medical treatment that requires people to be evacuated from Manus Island or Nauru, if it's not available on Manus Island or Nauru or even Port Moresby, can be provided on Christmas Island. It's up to the Government to explain that.
JOURNALIST: Sorry Hannah, could I ask you whether you think it's appropriate for asylum seekers to be medically evacuated to Christmas Island?
BEAZLEY: I think that if a medical situation occurs, if there's medical help available on Manus and Nauru then they wouldn't need to be evacuated, and also that the legislation that went through, the medevac bill, is basically codifying what has happened over the last number of years, and we now have 900 asylum seekers in Australia, that has doubled over the last year under this government, getting the appropriate care that was deemed to them here in Australia, and if that care was available on Manus and Nauru then this wouldn't be necessary at all.
PLIBERSEK: Thanks Hannah. The other thing obviously to say is that these people have been on Manus Island and Nauru for close to six years. If this Government had actually found permanent homes, resettled the people who are on Manus Island and Nauru, we wouldn't even be having this discussion. There's an abject failure of this government to find permanent resettlement options for people on Manus Island and Nauru, why they won't accept New Zealand's offer to resettle people from Nauru is absolutely beyond me. Obviously Scott Morrison and others would love to run on a scare campaign in the lead up to the next election. What we are focussed on are the issues that are motivating for voters that we talk to. The fact that they haven't had a pay rise in years. The fact that the cost of everything is going up but their wages are flatlining. The desire to see a quality education for their children. A decent hospital if they get sick. Aged care for their parents if they need it. That's what's coming up in the conversations we are having with people.
JOURNALIST: Liberal preselectors have overlooked four females to choose a male candidate in the seat of Stirling. Is that a missed opportunity for them or is it the right call?
PLIBERSEK: Look I don't know any of the individual candidates, but what I do see is Scott Morrison pretending that he wants to see more women preselected to become Liberal Party candidates and then doing absolutely nothing about it. I mean, Scott Morrison said he wanted a woman in Wentworth. Well he got a woman but not a Liberal. We've seen Scott Morrison saying the he wanted to see a woman in Stirling but he has taken absolutely no action to make it happen. I mean, what kind of insipid support is it that the Prime Minister of Australia says 'Oh yes I'd quite like to see an increased number of women' but every opportunity that comes up doing absolutely nothing to make that happen. He is absolutely impotent when it comes to seeing increased numbers of women in the parliament.
JOURNALIST: I'd also like to ask you about the MUA, you were at their conference this morning? They don't have a great relationship with the state government here at the moment Mark McGowan has banned Christy Cain from his office. They've also put out a sticker which appears to show somebody with a gun shooting scabs. Are you happy to be associated with a union that behaves like this?
PLIBERSEK: Well I never condone or tolerate violence or the threat of violence and I would never accept that sort of sticker, I've never seen the sticker so I can't comment on the sticker that you're talking about but in every circumstance I repudiate and reject the use of violence or the threat of violence.
JOURNALIST: Do you think the MUA needs to repair its relationship with state Labor here, with McGowan's office?
PLIBERSEK: It's honestly not for me to say, I'm sure the state government's perfectly capable of sorting that out.
Thank you very much.