THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
SATURDAY 23 JUNE 2018
SUBJECTS: Malcolm's Turnbull's tax cuts for the wealthy and big business; Labor’s united team; Possible Trump visit to Australia.
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks very much for coming out this afternoon. I wanted to make a few comments about the week that was and the week that's coming. This week and the week that was, we saw Malcolm Turnbull give himself a $7,000 a year tax cut and give a nurse 10 bucks a week. It just shows how wrong his priorities are and how wrong the priorities of the Liberals are when the Prime Minister's giving himself a $7,000 tax cut and he can only find 10 bucks a week for a nurse. If people want to see how much better off they would be under Labor's bigger, better, fairer tax cuts, all they need to do is Google 'bigger, better tax cuts' and 'Labor' and they'll be able to find out how much better off they personally would be under Labor's proposals. Everybody earning up to $125,000 a year would be better off. Many people will get almost double the tax cut than they get under the Liberals, because we believe in directing the biggest tax cuts to those who need them most, the people at the low and middle income levels, to make that they're able to make ends meet.
Next week, we're going to see another set of wrong priorities from this Government. We'll see a Government giving a $17 billion tax cut to the big banks if they get their proposal through, at a time when we're watching week after week of disclosure from the Banking Royal Commission about the poor behaviour of the big banks. It makes absolutely no sense to give this tax cut at a time when we're seeing the banks in particular behaving very badly. So one week, tax cuts to the top end of town, when it comes to personal income tax. The following week, tax cuts for the big end of town when it comes to corporate tax cuts.
Labor in contrast continues to focussed on what matters, the people and policies that will make Australia stronger - stronger health, education, infrastructure, climate change and environment, and yes also stronger tax policies that are better for our nation. Any questions?
JOURNALIST: Is Bill Shorten's leadership under pressure?
PLIBERSEK: No. Not at all. We are completely focussed on what matters and they are the policies that will make our nation great. In fact, just yesterday Bill and I were in the seat of Longman. We also went out to the Moreton Bay area where the University of the Sunshine Coast is proposing a new Moreton Bay campus which will eventually see 10,000 or more students able to study in the Moreton Bay region instead of having to travel all the way to Brisbane for their university education. Moreton Bay has some of the lowest university attendance levels in the country, so what we've said during the Longman by-election is that we'll invest millions more in local schools, We'll give hundreds of upfront fee-free TAFE places in the electorate of Longman and 100,000 right across the country, and yesterday's announcement about a university campus in the Moreton Bay area, which would serve the electorates of Petrie, Dickson and Longman and the people who live in the Moreton Bay region, was very well received. That's what we're focussed on - positive policies. We're a united, disciplined team.
JOURNALIST: What do you think of Anthony Albanese's speech?
PLIBERSEK: I haven't read it.
JOURNALIST: You haven't read it?
PLIBERSEK: No I haven't.
JOURNALIST: Have you read the papers about it?
PLIBERSEK: I read the papers every day but I haven't read the speech.
JOURNALIST: He appeared to be campaigning for leadership in his speech. Why is that?
PLIBERSEK: I'm not sure that you can take that interpretation from it. I mean, we all have a positive vision for Australia. We are working very hard on policy development at the moment. You've seen more comprehensive policy from this Labor Opposition than you've seen from any opposition in my political memory. We've got policies out there on health, on education, environment and climate change, infrastructure, taxation - right across the board we have a detailed offering for the Australian people. We know Prime Minister Turnbull's got the wrong policies and the wrong priorities. We've got the right policies and the right priorities and we've got a very detailed way of showing that.
JOURNALIST: Who do you think would make a better leader though of the Labor Party, Albanese or Shorten?
PLIBERSEK: Bill Shorten is a fantastic leader of the Labor Party. We've never been stronger and more united than we are under Bill's leadership. We've got fantastic policy out there. We've got fantastic people including our terrific candidates in the by-elections that are coming up. We're going very well. I've got to say, unlike the Liberal Party, my colleagues know that Australians will mark them down for being focussed on themselves. Last weekend, we saw a Liberal Party conference with ideas like privatising the ABC and just this week you heard from Tony Abbott and the rebel backbenchers about how they are going to smash up the National Energy Guarantee. In contrast, we are a united and disciplined party.
JOURNALIST: How helpful is what Albo's said in the light of upcoming by-election?
PLIBERSEK: Like I say I haven't read the speech but I think people understand that we've got a vision for the country. All of us join the Labor Party because we are interested in policy debate. I think it is very clear though to my colleagues that a party that focusses on itself, as the Liberal Party is doing at the moment, really does let down the people who put their faith in that party.
JOURNALIST: Have you made a point not to read the speech? It's just an interesting...
PLIBERSEK: No. I was in Longman yesterday, I had a work function last night, I went to the gym this morning, I did the grocery shopping. I'll get around to it, don't worry.
JOURNALIST: Do you not care what he has to say?
PLIBERSEK: I've known him for a long time, I'm pretty clear on what he's probably got to say and it's probably what he says every day. Are there any other questions?
JOURNALIST: There are reports of a Trump visit today. Are you concerned about protesters at all?
PLIBERSEK: As long as people are respectful in airing their views, that's fine, We live in a democracy. People have a right to express their views.
JOURNALIST: Would the Labor Party welcome a visit from Donald Trump?
PLIBERSEK: We have a very strong relationship with the United States. It's a very important relationship for our national security. That doesn't mean we should be unquestioning allies. We obviously need to be very clear with the United States that we value the relationship but that we will always make foreign policy decisions based on our own national interests.
JOURNALIST: Do you think there should be a more bi-partisan relationship between the major parties?
PLIBERSEK: We should be bi-partisan when we agree and we should look for agreement, but if the Government's got the wrong priorities, as they very clearly have with their personal income tax cuts skewed to upper income earners, and their company tax cuts that will give $17 billion to the big banks, then no, we're not going to be bi-partisan on that. We have a bigger, better, fairer tax cut for working Australians. We've got fairer company tax policies that will support investment and job growth without wrecking the national budget. This Government is fiscally irresponsible, it won't say how it's going to pay for its tax cuts. We can only assume it will be with further cuts to health and education, and what's worse, the tax cuts are so profoundly unfair, that say, in the personal income tax cuts, the whole of stage 3 goes to the top 20 percent of earners. $42 billion goes to the top 20 percent of earners. How can we be bi-partisan with policy that is so fundamentally flawed? How can we be bi-partisan on giving politicians a $7,000 a year tax cut, and a nurse 10 bucks a week?
JOURNALIST: Are you happy with Shorten's leadership at the moment?
PLIBERSEK: Yes of course I am. He's doing a great job. We continue to put out fantastic policies. we're campaigning very well, our team is united, we're not introspective like the Liberals, you saw that at their National Convention last weekend and you saw it again this week, just this week, coming out of their party room with complaints about the National Energy Guarantee and threats to cross the floor. We couldn't have a stronger contrast than the united, disciplined team and the strong policies that Labor continues to release. Thanks everyone.