THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
SUNDAY 26 AUGUST 2018
SUBJECTS: Liberal Party civil war; Labor’s plan for a fair go for Australia; Scott Morrison’s cuts to schools.
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks very much for coming out this morning. I’ve noticed in the last few hours the Government talking about fixing the schools funding crisis. It seems by fixing the crisis what they mean is settling matters with Catholic schools. Of course, Labor has already committed to restoring all of the funding cut from Catholic schools. But let’s not forget 85 per cent of the billions cut from schools has actually been cut from the public school sector. This Government is in the unique position of having united all three sectors, public schools, Catholic schools and Independent schools, against their funding model. This Government, while Scott Morrison was Treasurer cut $17 billion from schools and there is no resolution to this schools funding crisis until all of that $17 billion is returned to our schools. That’s what Labor is committed to doing, making sure that public schools and Catholic schools and Independent schools see their funding restored. If the Government is up for restoring the $17 billion, at the same time they ought to restore the more than $3 billion cut from TAFE, training and apprenticeships which means that there’s well over 100,000 fewer apprentices today than when the Liberals came to office. They should restore the billions cut from our universities, including $2.2 billion just before Christmas, that’s already affecting university campuses right around Australia. This Government, with Scott Morrison as Treasurer, has presided over cuts to schools, cuts to hospitals, cuts to pensions, cuts to penalty rates - there are people working today, Sunday, for less than they did last year and less than they did the year before because of funding cuts that Scott Morrison has backed. We say, let the people decide. Let the people decide whether they want a government that has cut school funding, cut pensions, cut hospital funding and delivered tax cuts to the big end of town, or whether they want a Labor government that’s committed to properly investing in our schools, in our hospitals and making sure that tax cuts benefit low and middle income earners. Just turning to tax cuts for a moment, Scott Morrison is the architect of the trickle-down economics, the one point economic plan that Malcolm Turnbull had. Scott Morrison is the architect of giving $17 billion to the big banks while cutting $17 billion from our schools. Scott Morrison has continued to defend the policy of giving tax cuts to the big end of town. He couldn’t get it through the Senate, it doesn’t mean that that’s not what he wants to do. Don’t forget too that Scott Morrison is the Treasurer who gave someone on a million dollars a year a $28,000 tax cut while someone on $90,000 a year or less get about 13 bucks a week, so remember those figures. If you’re on a million dollars a year under Scott Morrison as Treasurer you got a $28,000 tax cut, if you’re on $90,000 a year or less you get $13 a week. Labor, in contrast, has a tax policy that gives almost twice as big a tax cut to people on low and middle incomes. Millions of Australians better off under Labor’s income tax cut policy, but of course we’re focused on low and middle income earners. When it comes to company tax cuts, again Scott Morrison is the guy who has been arguing that we have to give tax cuts at the top end of town. He was even, as late as last week, saying we couldn’t get it through the Senate but it’s still good policy, so you know what he really wants to do: cut hospitals, cut schools, to give a tax cut to the big banks. Any questions?
JOURNALIST: Labor had their own leadership issues over the past decade, what advice would you give to Scott Morrison and the Liberal Party about moving on after the leadership spill?
PLIBERSEK: Well Labor has been united and focused for the last five years. Labor has been focused on making sure people have a great job with decent pay and conditions, that we properly fund our schools, our hospitals, that we solve the energy crisis with lower prices and lower pollution, that’s what Labor’s been focused on. In contrast the Liberals have been a rabble. They’ve replaced a popular Prime Minister with a less popular Prime Minister who was actually the third choice of the Liberal Party. Malcolm Turnbull got more votes than Scott Morrison, then Peter Dutton got more votes than Scott Morrison. Scott Morrison is the Treasurer that has made this Government so unpopular. My advice to them is start focusing on policies to make people’s lives better instead of focusing on yourselves and the big end of town.
JOURNALIST: Tanya, what do you think will happen on September 10 when Parliament resumes and when do you think the next election will be?
PLIBERSEK: Well first of all I think it’s very important now to let the Australian people decide. The Australian people have looked on over the last week and realised that this Liberal Party is deeply divided, it cannot continue to govern with the deep divisions that we’ve seen and they’ve realised that this Liberal Party is focused on itself and the big end of town. This is a Liberal Party that would rather give a $17 billion tax cut to the big banks than properly fund our schools and hospitals. So if Parliament resumes Labor will continue to focus on the issues rather than the personalities, but we say right now to Scott Morrison let the people decide. There’s been too much chaos, too much confusion, too much division, too much sucking up to the big end of town and not looking after ordinary Australians, let the people decide between a government that wants to cut hospital and school funding and cut taxes at the big end of town, or a Labor government that would focus on jobs with decent pay and conditions and properly funding our hospitals and schools.
JOURNALIST: On tax cuts, what’s Labor’s policy on the income tax cuts for the wealthiest people going forward up to beyond the seven years, worth more than $100 billion. Will you be scrapping them if you’re the next government?
PLIBERSEK: Labor said at the time of the last Budget in Bill Shorten’s Budget Reply that we would give almost twice the tax cut to millions of Australians on low and middle incomes. But no we’re not going to cut taxes at the top end, we believe that it is irresponsible to cut taxes for people on millions of dollars a year while at the same time we’re cutting funding to hospitals and schools. We believe that tax cuts should go to low and middle income earners - bigger tax cuts for them because they’ll spend that extra money in keeping our economy strong, keeping confidence in our economy. We don’t think someone on a million bucks a year needs and extra $28,000 to make ends meet. We also have said when it comes to business tax cuts that we want to keep the tax cut working in the Australian economy. We’ve got our Australian Investment Guarantee for Australian businesses to make sure that when we cut taxes through the Australian Investment Guarantee that money supports economic activity in Australia, it’s not just boosting the income of overseas shareholders like the Government’s big business tax cut was designed to do. Thank you.