TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
LABOR CANDIDATE FOR GILMORE
TUESDAY, 16 APRIL 2019
SUBJECTS: Labor’s positive policies for the South Coast, Scott Morrison’s lack of leadership; Candidate for Chisholm comments; Labor’s better tax plan; Scott Morrison dividing Australians; Veterans Affairs.
FIONA PHILLIPS, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR GILMORE: Well hello everyone and welcome to beautiful Pyree - the Pyree Hall, the home of the Pyree Literary Institute. This is an area where I have grown up on a local dairy farm and still here today. I'd like to welcome - I've got Tanya Plibersek and rather a large team here that have arrived on the big red bus to come to the big red shed and launch our campaign. So we're really excited about that. We have Tanya Plibersek, we have Kristina Keneally, Sharon Bird, Stephen Jones and Tim Ayres, and of course, all of our wonderful supporters. I couldn't be prouder to be Labor's candidate for Gilmore where I'm absolutely fighting for a fairer go for people in Gilmore - so I'll hand over to Tanya.
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks so much, Fiona. It's such a pleasure to be here on the beautiful South coast, the Shoalhaven area to support your campaign launch today. I mean, it's funny to call it a campaign launch in a way because I know how hard you've been campaigning now for years, but it's wonderful to gather here with all of these great branch members and community members to make the most of this beautiful day and talk about the choices that the people of the Shoalhaven and South Coast have before them as this election approaches. Of course elections are all about choices and the choice at this next election is a very stark one. The choice at the next election is between a Labor Party that believes in investing in schools and hospitals, and a Liberal party that's all about cuts and chaos. We've got a choice before us - to have better schools and hospitals - or bigger tax loopholes for the top end of town. In fact, we see new modelling today that shows that the Government would have to cut spending by $40 billion a year to deliver on the tax cuts they've promised the top end of town, wealthy Australians and big businesses. Really? Look around you and see whether this community can stand those sorts of cuts. We've already seen cuts on the South Coast and Shoalhaven. Cuts to schools and cuts to hospitals. We've seen cuts to aged care and disability services. We've seen cuts that affect the quality of life of working Australians.
In contrast, Labor has a plan to invest in schools and hospitals. We've already committed to $25 million investment in the Eurobodalla Hospital. More than $21 million extra school funding in the first three years of a Labor Government if Labor is elected. And when it comes to tax cuts, we're about the same or bigger tax cuts for 10 million Australians - including, most particularly, Australians on lower incomes that get a better deal under Labor - tax cuts almost 30 per cent higher than they would get under the Liberals. The election is about choices, about better investment in schools and hospitals versus bigger tax cuts for the top end of town. But it's also about character. We've got Fiona Phillips here. A local, she's lived almost her whole life here. She grew up on a dairy farm just down the road. She spent her working life, working for the benefit of this local community and campaigning to do things like save the local swimming pool. In contrast, you've got a Liberal candidate that's been parachuted in by Prime Minister Scott Morrison who thinks he can campaign on South Coast issues from that well-known South Coast venue, Roseville, North Shore, Sydney. You've got Fiona Phillips who has proven by her commitment to the local area where her heart lies and you've got a Prime Minister who wasn't prepared to step in to save Ann Sudmalis, who said she was bullied out of this seat, was only prepared to step in when it came to parachuting some guy from the North Shore of Sydney. I mean, this really is Scott Morrison all over and it's the Liberal party all over. Have you got any questions?
JOURNALIST: What do you make of the Government's attack on Labor's tax plans?
PLIBERSEK: Well, it's just laughable, isn't it? I mean, we've got a Government that is so desperate they will say and do anything. We know that Labor's tax plan is the same or bigger tax cuts for 10 million Australians. For 3.6 million Australians on lower incomes, it's a significantly larger tax cut - about 30 per cent bigger tax cut for those on lower incomes. In contrast, we hear today that for the Government to do what it says it's going to do, well first of all you're going to have to vote for Scott Morrison two more times and, you know, that's a stretch of the imagination, isn't it? Particularly given Tony Abbott's out there today saying that he's ready to be drafted back into the leadership. So the tax cuts that the Liberals are proposing are off in the never never and what is worse, they're going to have to cut $40 billion of government spending to pay for it. Now where are these secret spending cuts going to hit? Are they going to cut even deeper when it comes to schools? Are they going to cut even deeper when it comes to health funding? Are they going to cut even deeper when it comes to aged care, or disability support services, or TAFE, or universities? Where are those $40 billion of cuts going to hit and who will be hurt? That's the question that Scott Morrison needs to answer today.
JOURNALIST: What about the dividend policy? Are you concerned that could be biting here in Gilmore?
PLIBERSEK: No, not at all. This is a policy that affects about 4 per cent of Australians, generally on much higher incomes. What the people on the South Coast and Shoalhaven are talking to us about, what they're talking to Fiona about is making sure that their schools are properly funded. Making sure there's a hospital to go to if they're sick. Making sure there's aged care and home care packages as they age. Making sure that their children get the opportunity of going to pre-school. Making sure that if they've got a disability or a family member has got a disability that the National Disability Insurance Scheme is properly funded, remembering that this government cut $1.6 billion last year from the National Disability Insurance Scheme, meaning that 77,000 Australians who were eligible for funding didn't get it because the roll out of the NDIS has been so compromised - well, let's just say so stuffed up by this government that people who should have got disability packages last year year didn't get them. Honestly, the distractions that the Liberals are running up, hoping to distract people from their cuts and chaos, are rolling out thick and fast day after day at this campaign - but we're on the road, we're out talking to people. We know the issues that get raised with us. It's making sure that schools and hospitals are properly funded, not tax loopholes for the top end of town.
JOURNALIST: Tanya, will Labor be renewing funding for the local Parkinson's nurse here?
PLIBERSEK: That's a question that I'll leave for the locals but I can tell you that breast care nurses, prostate care nurses, diabetes nurses, a range of community based nursing positions were established under Labor and funded under Labor. We believe that health care is best delivered as close to the local community as possible and that means primary health care being available in the community. What we know from this government is that they've cut about $2.9 million from local health funding. Health will always be better funded under a Labor government because we don't need to cut health spending to pay for tax loopholes for the top end of town.
JOURNALIST: What do you make of the comments made by the Liberal candidate for Chisholm about LGBTI issues being rubbish and do you think Scott Morrison's condemnation of that was strong enough?
PLIBERSEK: Well I think the comments are very disappointing and I think they don't reflect the voters of Chisholm at all. That's a seat that has a very strong, progressive element that rejects discrimination, it rejects racial discrimination and gender or sexuality based discrimination, so I think the voters of Chisholm will look very poorly on those comments. And I think it's - I mean, this is all about Scott Morrison and his inability to show leadership. He's not prepared to show leadership and say to his candidate for Chisholm "Come on, you're out of line maybe you should apologise". He's not prepared to say to Peter Dutton when he accuses a woman of using her disability to gain sympathy, a woman who's lost a leg protecting a child from a runaway car, he refuses to pull Peter Dutton into line for those disgusting comments that have really reverberated around Australia, and frankly, he's refused to pull Tony Abbott into line when Tony Abbott was using race and immigration to complain about house prices and jobs. This is a complete lack of leadership from Scott Morrison. I don't know whether it's because he's too gutless to take these people on, or whether he actually agrees with what they've been saying. He certainly didn't say he's disagreed with any of these comments.
JOURNALIST: Just on local infrastructure, Tanya, last week we heard Mr Shorten in town announcing that the Opposition would match the spend on the Princes Highway, which is obviously vitally important here -
PLIBERSEK: I think he said match or better -
JOURNALIST: Yeah, match or better, and bring forward dates. Have you got any further details on those-?
PLIBERSEK: No, I'll leave the further details to Bill when he next visits, or our infrastructure spokesperson, Anthony Albanese, who loves a road project and loves announcing the details of them. I think I'd get in big trouble if I started getting in the way of that.
JOURNALIST: Another local industry, defence, here on the South Coast is vitally important. Do you think matching 2 per cent of GDP forward, do you think matching the Coalition's bid, is enough? Is that adequate, the 2 per cent of GDP?
PLIBERSEK: Well we certainly have said that we would match that 2 per cent of GDP target, and I think it is a very important target. These are important job creators in local communities. But they are also important for us to protect and defend the country that we love. I'd also add that as well as supporting local jobs in defence industries, Labor also has a plan to roll out local Department of Human Services jobs, to make sure that we have other local jobs in this community, a wide range of local jobs. We've announced infrastructure projects right across Australia that support local jobs. And just think about what we've learnt today from this modelling - independent modelling, not Labor party modelling, independent modelling - that talks about the fact you'd need to cut government spending by $40 billion a year to pay for tax cuts. What does that mean for jobs in this country? When you are talking $40 billion, that's twice what the Government spends on school education every year. Imagine how many teachers lose their jobs, if the cuts hit health, how many nurses, doctors, radiologists, occupational therapists lose their jobs under the scale of health cuts that we're talking about? If the cuts hit aged care, or disability care, the number of jobs that are lost with the scale of cuts being that large. That's where we need to be looking to the Government for answers today. If they're going to cut $40 billion a year of spending, of government spending, where will those cuts hit? How many jobs will be lost?
JOURNALIST: Tanya, in the early 2000s, you made a speech about Israel. Do you stand by what you said?
PLIBERSEK: So in 2019, here in Gilmore today, we're really going to be talking about that, are we? I have made a clear along time ago that those comments were injudicious. But I really think the people should be asking themselves: why are the Liberals dredging this stuff up, right now, today, during an election campaign? This comes on top of Scott Morrison being prepared to use the Middle East, during the Wentworth by-election, to try and get a few votes in the Wentworth by-election. Truly, we are in Australia, in 2019, and we've got the Liberals trying to bring Middle East politics into the Australian election campaign - not to unite Australians, not to make us stronger together, but to divide Australians. Is that really the action of a Prime Minister? Is that really the action of a government that deserves re-election? I think this effort to divide Australians, to drive disagreement, on the basis of Middle Eastern politics during an Australian election campaign is poor form. Very poor form.
JOURNALIST: Is Veterans’ Affairs something that's on Labor's Agenda? The Liberals are holding a forum this afternoon and the Nationals tomorrow.
PLIBERSEK: Absolutely it is. We've got a fantastic Shadow Minister in Amanda Rishworth and she's got some terrific policies and I'm sure that she'll be very happy to share them with you.
Thanks very much everyone. Thank you all.