TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
ABC AM RADIO WITH KIM LANDERS
THURSDAY, 9 MAY 2019
SUBJECTS: Labor’s emissions reduction target; Refugee resettlement in third countries; Labor’s plans for affordable childcare with a better paid workforce; News Limited.
KIM LANDERS, PRESENTER: Well Tanya Plibersek is the Deputy Labor Leader and Shadow Education Minister. Tanya Plibersek, good morning.
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: It's a pleasure to be with you Kim.
LANDERS: All of Labor's policy costings will be out tomorrow. Are we going to find a figure that tells us the cost to the Budget of Labor's 45 per cent emissions reduction target?
PLIBERSEK: Well the cost to the Budget is already clear - it's just over $500 million and that's significantly smaller than the cost to the Budget of the Government's policy which is billions of dollars including $2 billion extra into the emissions reduction fund in the last Budget, that emissions reduction fund that has actually seen pollution increase. So there's a difference between the cost to the Budget and the impact on the economy and I think Scott Morrison's been quite dishonest here because he keeps asking for the impact on the economy. Well our impact on the economy is the same as his. Warwick McKibbin modelled this in 2015, he repeated his assertion just weeks ago that the economy will continue to grow and the impact of Labor's higher ambition for pollution reduction is the same as the Government's because we allow pollution to be reduced-
LANDERS: The economic cost though?
PLIBERSEK: -we allow pollution to be reduced by purchasing offsets from overseas and the Government won't allow that. So the impact on the Budget is the same, the impact on the economy is the same, it's continued growth of over 2 per cent. There will be thousands of extra jobs created by investment in renewables.
LANDERS: But detailed costing of the emissions reduction policy, will that all be in the figures tomorrow?
PLIBERSEK: The impact on the Budget, yes absolutely, because the impact on the Budget, what government pays out for these policies we know that -
LANDERS: What about the cost to business?
PLIBERSEK: Well, the cost to business will depend on how they reduce their pollution. If they use energy efficiency measures, if they buy Australian permits, because we're reinvesting in carbon farming initiatives here because that's good for our local environment, it provides income for farmers and for indigenous communities, that's an absolutely win-win option and we're also allowing offsets to be purchased overseas. That brings down the cost to business and so the cost of implementing our policies and the Government's policies, on the economy, are the same. Warwick McKibbin said so, he said so again recently.
LANDERS: Let's turn to another topic, refugees. Bill Shorten said in last night's debate that he would revisit the offer from New Zealand to resettle some of the refugees on Manus Island and Nauru. New Zealand though is only offering to take about 150 people so what are the-
PLIBERSEK: A year, each year.
LANDERS: So you think that all of the remaining refugees on Manus and Nauru could eventually go to New Zealand or are there other third countries that Labor could approach?
PLIBERSEK: We would continue to work with the United States in the hope that the United States would take the total number that they have offered and perhaps more. We'd work with New Zealand to accept their offer. It is beyond me why the Government has not accepted their offer before this time.
LANDERS: But basically everybody would go to either New Zealand or the United States?
PLIBERSEK: We would work with third countries. You would recall that we had, when last in government, an arrangement with Malaysia that the Liberals teamed up with the Greens to vote against, that would have resettled people in Malaysia with work rights, with education and health care, able to live in the community while they were assessed. So there will be third country options pursued as well. We do have to get people off Manus and Nauru.
LANDERS: On childcare, the Coalition's campaign spokesman, Simon Birmingham, said a boost to the wages of childcare workers would put more than 5,000 small providers, that's people with just one centre, over a payroll tax threshold and that they'd be forced to pay payroll tax for the first time. 87 per cent of small providers, he said, would be hit. What's your response?
PLIBERSEK: Do you know what? There is every excuse under the sun not to pay these, mostly women, more, according to the Government. They say the country can't afford it, they say the Government can't afford it, they say the parents can't afford it -
LANDERS: But is that right? Will it bump them over the payroll tax threshold?
PLIBERSEK: We'll work with the industry to make sure that there isn't an impact.
LANDERS: You don't know?
PLIBERSEK: I'm not going to accept his dodgy modelling that they won't even release. Like this is based on-
LANDERS: What modelling have you done? I mean are there childcare centres that will have to pay payroll tax?
PLIBERSEK: This is based on information that the Government won't release. Let's go back to basics. You're talking about people raising our children on a wage of $22 an hour. Do they deserve a pay rise? Would they be paid as little as this if it was not such a feminised industry? No one believes that. When we were last in government we increased the standards in childcare, in early childhood education and care, to expect people to have higher qualifications. Their wages have not followed. People are paid too little in this industry, we say can parents afford to pay the extra, no they can't, so government has to come to the table.
LANDERS: Kevin Rudd has called for a Royal Commission into what he's described as the abuse of near-monopoly by the Murdoch media in Australian politics and policy. Given the hostilities that Bill Shorten has experienced in the past day, is that something that a Labor Government would take up?
PLIBERSEK: Look, we're not contemplating a Royal Commission but I think it's fair enough to call out the fact that News Limited, you know, News Limited is doing their very best to-
LANDERS: So no retribution from a Labor Government?
PLIBERSEK: Well no, but we're happy to call out what is a pretty obvious bias in the News Limited media, aimed at protecting their business interests. This is a company that between 2013 and 2017 paid no corporate tax in Australia-
LANDERS: So you’d be taking a close look at that?
PLIBERSEK: In 2015, the ATO said this was the number one company to watch in terms of reducing or avoiding tax, and more to the point, Rupert Murdoch gave up his Australian citizenship. He does not have a vote in this election. Millions of Australians do. They should decide for themselves, not based on misinformation from corporate interests protecting their right to pay no tax.
LANDERS: All right, Tanya Plibersek, thank you very much for speaking with AM.
PLIBERSEK: Thank you, Kim.