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 PERTH
WEDNESDAY, 4 JULY 2018
SUBJECTS: University cuts; Sexism in workplaces.
PATRICK GORMAN, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR PERTH: It's been fantastic to tour Edith Cowan Mount Lawley this morning with Tanya Plibersek, the Deputy Leader of the Australian Labor Party. We've seen amazing work and broadcast and film been done by the students here, and of course we're here because Labor is very concerned about the cap that has been placed on university places by the Turnbull Liberal Government. Labor's commitment to abolish the cap on university places will mean that here in the electorate of Perth, about 1,400 more students will have the opportunity to study at a fantastic, world-class university like Edith Cowan Mount Lawley. To talk more about Labor's commitment to higher education and Labor's commitment to the students who deserve these opportunities, it's my pleasure to introduce Labor's Deputy Leader, Tanya Plibersek.
TANYA PLIBERSEK MP, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thank you. It is fantastic to be here with Patrick Gorman, who's Labor's candidate for the seat of Perth, and it's wonderful to be able to visit Edith Cowan University. We've been touring the great facilities that they have here for film and television and radio, and we've met with the inspiring staff and very highly motivated students. Of course, what Labor wants is for every Australian who's prepared to work hard and invest their time in a university education to be able to have a place at university. That's why we initially uncapped student places at university. And that's why we were so disappointed that just before Christmas, the Government announced a new cap on university places, an effective cut of $2.2 billion from our universities. That means a university like Edith Cowan will lose around $49 million in coming years. It means that thousands of young Australians who would otherwise qualify will miss out on a place at university. Now we know one of the most important investments that individuals can make in themselves is to study hard, get a great education, go to TAFE or university, invest in their own career. But as a nation, we prosper when we do that too. By investing in our people we become a more prosperous, more successful nation. And it is an incredibly short sighted Government that's prepared to cut from universities, from TAFE, from schools, so they can give the big banks a tax cut. Now it's $2.2 billion cut from universities, around $3 billion cut from TAFE, training and apprenticeships, and $17 billion cut from our schools. Isn't it a sad and telling coincidence that the $17 billion cut from our schools is the same figure, $17 billion, which will be given to the big banks as tax cuts in coming years. What a short sighted Government to do that to our national prosperity and to our young people. Thanks. Any questions?
JOURNALIST: What do you make of Senator David Leyonhjelm's comments about your Parliamentary colleagues?
PLIBERSEK: Look I think Senator Leyonhjelm's comments are completely unacceptable. They're not just unacceptable in the Australian Parliament, they're unacceptable in any workplace. No woman in any workplace in Australia should have to put up with that sort of language or those sorts of comments. Completely unacceptable. And I think the thing that really troubles me about this is that we should have learned better by now. I mean, our Prime Minister Julia Gillard put up with extraordinary sorts of sexist commentary when she was the Prime Minister. I thought as a nation we had reflected on that. Just yesterday, Steven Marshall, the South Australian Premier, made derogatory comments about the Deputy Labor Leader Susan Close in South Australia. The Prime Minister is in South Australia today. I hope he calls out Steven Marshall on those derogatory comments. It is so disappointing that again and again and look, frankly, Michaelia Cash talking about Bill Shorten's female staff. It's not always the men that are behaving badly. We need to get beyond this in the Parliament, get beyond this sort of language, these sorts of comments, but that's true of every workplace in Australia. This isn't acceptable anywhere, and the sooner the dinosaurs like David Leyonhjelm realise that and understand it the better.
JOURNALIST: Do you think the Senator should resign?
PLIBERSEK: It's pointless telling him that he should resign. I think he is enjoying the notoriety. Nobody ever knew who David Leyonhjelm was before he insulted Senator Hanson-Young in this terrible way. I think he's thriving on the notoriety that he's gained in recent days.
JOURNALIST: Do you think there needs to be a Senator's code of conduct?
PLIBERSEK: Do you know, honestly, if common decency and common sense don't tell you that it is the wrong thing to do, to say this sort of stuff, I really don't think a code of conduct is going to make the difference. People ought to look within themselves and think about whether this would be acceptable in their family, at their dining table, if their mother was listening, if their daughter was listening. Maybe that would give him a better insight into why this is unacceptable behaviour than some code of conduct which I'm pretty confident, he'd feel very proud that he was ignoring.