THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
SKY NEWS AM AGENDA WITH KIERAN GILBERT
WEDNESDAY 19 SEPTEMBER 2018
SUBJECTS: Labor's plan to boost women's superannuation savings; TPP; The Government’s funding cuts to schools.
KIERAN GILBERT, PRESENTER: We are going to go live now to the Deputy Labor Leader Tanya Plibersek, who joins us from our Parliament House studio in Canberra. Tanya Plibersek, thanks very much for your time. The Opposition, the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to detail a bit later this new policy you are confirming today, which is aimed at boosting women's retirement savings. Can you tell us the reasons for it and what exactly are you doing there?
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Well women retire with about 40 per cent less super than men on average and that's more than $100,000 difference in their retirement income. One of the main reasons for this is time out of the workforce caring for young families. So today we are announcing that when someone is on paid paternal leave, paid maternity leave, or Dad and partner pay, the Commonwealth would pay their superannuation. We are also announcing another very important policy. You would know Kieran, that if you are earning less than $450 a month you don't get super on that income. But more and more we see that people are working two or three or four jobs to make up one income, so we want to make sure that we are paying super on those smaller incomes so that people are not disadvantaged long term, and we’re making a few other smaller changes as well. Overall our objective is to reduce this retirement income gap because we see too many women in particular retiring in poverty.
GILBERT: Well certainly single women-.
PLIBERSEK: That's right.
GILBERT: -the numbers a quite disturbing aren't they in terms of the percentage of single women over the age of 60 who do live in poverty?
PLIBERSEK: Absolutely, and people who work in the homelessness area would say that the fastest growing group of people moving into homelessness are single older women. That is completely unacceptable. We absolutely need to tackle this poverty in old age, and so the changes we are making would mean, taking average wages and so on, if you are a woman with two kids you can expect to be about $24,000 a year better off in your retirement - sorry $24,000 better off in your retirement - and if you've got three kids its more than $30,000 better off in your retirement. That's a significant change. Of course we need to deal with other issues as well like the pay gap at work, throughout working women's lives where they earn about 27 per cent less than a bloke during their working lives. But these measures today are a very important step towards reducing this retirement income gap.
GILBERT: We have got, on another matter, a rare leak from the Labor Party today in the Herald Sun Newspaper, I've got a copy of these minutes as well and a majority of the MP's, a slight majority but certainty a majority opposed backing the TPP within this particular caucus meeting, considering that trade deal and some of the language was very critical. Susan Templeman says it’s not a good deal, Cathy O'Toole says workers are being done over. Ged Kearney says its weak and aspirational at best, no enforcement levels for labour standards. What do you say, first of all to the concerns there among your colleagues but then the fact that it’s been leaked?
PLIBERSEK: I don't think it's any secret that Labor has serious concerns about this TPP deal. I mean, we've been on the record publicly saying that we don't support Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanisms that allow private companies to sue governments that are acting in the national interest. We've said we've got serious concerns about what the Government's giving away in terms of labour market testing. We've been very up front about that. What we also believe is that-
GILBERT: Well why are you backing it?
PLIBERSEK: Because we believe that the market access this gives, not just to our agricultural sector but to very important economic sectors like steel, it is important and it is beneficial and we believe that, just as Jacinda Ardern has fixed a number of problems from New Zealand's perspective in these trade deals on coming to government, that if we are elected we can fix these labour market testing provisions and the ISDS clauses from government.
GILBERT: You've got Doug Cameron saying that this will cause problems for the working class in Queensland and western Sydney, as I say, if these concerns are so deeply held, it must have been a close-run thing as to whether or not you were going to back it or not?
PLIBERSEK: There was a clear majority of the Caucus that supported voting for the deal, but with the acknowledgement that we have some work to do in fixing the clearly identified problems from our perspective should we win government. I mean it does give us, our manufacturers as well as our agricultural sector, important market access. We are a trading nation. Jobs rely on exports too, and it is important that we continue to pursue those trading relationships in our neighbourhood and across the Pacific. But that doesn't mean we ought to just accept anything the Government bowls up in terms of giving away labour market testing and giving away those Investor State Dispute Settlement criticisms that we have.
GILBERT: Now onto the deal, it looks like it's very close to being reached, obviously not finalised hence the delay to the COAG meeting to December, but the deal with the Catholics, four billion dollars additional funding again being reported today, front page of The Australian, that confirms that leak, that the Herald Sun reported a few weeks ago, four billion dollars extra to that sector to resolve that conflict.
PLIBERSEK: All right, two things. It's September and schools don't know what their budgets will be for next year. That is an extraordinary failure from this Government. Secondly, 85 per cent of the cuts that this Government has made to schools in the first two years alone come from public schools. I would be delighted if this Government fixes the cuts that they've made from the Catholic sector, but not the Catholics alone. This has to be a comprehensive funding deal that restores the cuts to Catholic schools, the cuts to public schools which are the worst-affected sector, and the cuts to independent schools. I don't think it would be acceptable to anyone who has been following this debate that one sector has their funding restored while public schools, that receive the biggest cut, don't get their funding restored.
GILBERT: Tanya Plibersek, I appreciate your time, we're out of time this morning, we'll talk to you soon.