THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
SKY NEWS WITH KIERAN GILBERT
TUESDAY, 19 JUNE 2018
SUBJECTS: Tax policy; Liberal’s tax cuts for big business; Violence against women; Labor's Inquiry into Post-Secondary Education.
KIERAN GILBERT, PRESENTER: Let's return now to local politics. With me is Tanya Plibersek, the Deputy Labor Leader. First of all, has Labor committed to wanting to separate the tax phases, I know the income tax plan is going to go to Parliament this week, you've allowed it through the lower house, the question is: will the Shadow Cabinet now take it to Caucus to split that legislation?
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: You know that I don't talk about what we discuss in Shadow Cabinet and all of this will become apparent after our discussions in Caucus today. But I can tell you what we've already said publicly which is we would vote tomorrow, we'd vote today for the first stage of these tax cuts. We know that historic low wages growth means that people on low and middle incomes need this relief now, we would vote for it tomorrow. We are very, very critical of stage three of the tax cuts. $42 billion - all of it - goes to the top 20 per cent of earners. You'd get a surgeon who's earning five times as much as a nurse gets a tax cut that's 16 times larger. Someone earning a million bucks a year gets a $7,000 tax cut, the average retail worker gets a $10 a week tax cut but he or she is also facing up to a $77 a week cut in their penalty rates, so we think stage three is unfair and we've said that all along. We will make a recommendation that comes from our Shadow Cabinet last night to our Caucus this morning, we'll discuss it, we'll go through all our proper processes and we'll make an announcement later today.
GILBERT: From what you're saying it sounds like the Shadow Cabinet is not for moving on this, that you will maintain that position given how critical you are of stage three of this tax plan which comes into effect in 2024.
PLIBERSEK: It's just highly irresponsible. What kind of government wants to spend $42 billion in seven years’ time - and thinks we're bound to have the money - and we're not prepared to give tax relief to low and middle income earners today.
GILBERT: They say it's about aspiration and they are willing to give it today, aren't they? They're saying July 1.They want it to happen but as part of a broader plan and it's about ensuring aspiration within the economy as well.
PLIBERSEK: Honestly this aspiration term, it mystifies me. As if someone on $40,000 a year isn't going to want to earn $100,000 a year because they're going to pay a bit more tax. They're going to get a lot more income, they're going to pay a bit more tax. I think it's just an excuse and a cover for a Government that is determined to give the biggest tax cuts to people like them, people that they want to look after at the big end of town. How is it fair that a surgeon on five times the income of a nurse gets a 16 times larger tax cut. Is that fair?
GILBERT: As the Prime Minister and Treasurer pointed out yesterday, starting to move into that cohort by the mid-2020s you've got teachers and police officers as well, principals and so on.
PLIBERSEK: Really? And that's why they're doing this? I mean that's just nonsense. Of course we will continue to look at tax reform over the years, as it's affordable, depending on the budget, depending on what's happening with people's incomes but to hold hostage low and middle income earners today for something off in the never-never, that's just politics.
GILBERT: The same can be said for Labor though, because you could change it, if you win the next election you just revoke it.
PLIBERSEK: Well I'm not get into our discussions last night but I can tell you we would vote tomorrow for tax cuts for low and middle income earners. We want bigger tax cuts next year, we want to almost double the tax cut for anyone earning up to $125,000 a year. Millions of Australians would get a bigger tax cut under Labor, but we're not going to direct that money to people who are earning $200,000, $300,000, $400,000, a million dollars a year, we're not going to do that.
GILBERT: To a story of bipartisan position on the response to the death of Eurydice Dixon. It really has, you know, it's moved a lot of people around the country. In Melbourne there were 10,000 people at Princes Park last night.
PLIBERSEK: I'm so heartened to see how many people turned out because this is shocking, it's a terrible, terrible story and it's right that people should be shocked by it. And it's actually a beautiful thing that Eurydice Dixon's family have asked that people also remember that this week there's a young woman missing, presumed dead, in New South Wales, Qi Yu. There was an attempted, well there was an actual abduction and assault on an eleven year old girl in New South Wales, two year old girl in Tennant Creek, and Kieran, I remember in 1988 the abduction of Janine Balding. I remember before that, 1986 the abduction and rape of Anita Cobby. These women stay with us and they stay in our hearts because they change the behaviour of every woman and we need to get this right as a society.
GILBERT: It's horrific and the contributions from the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader yesterday among many around the country which I think really did hit the right tone.
PLIBERSEK: Yeah. There's no question that every decent person feels disgusted by this crime, feels desperately sad for the friends and family of all of the women who have lost their lives to men's violence, and there's no question that every decent Australian wants this to change. To stop.
GILBERT: Yeah absolutely. Well said. Let's finish now on an area of your responsibility, as Education spokesperson as well, you've got the panel today, your first meeting of an expert panel on post-secondary education. This is basically trying to come up with your strategy, if you win the next election, not just for universities but a big focus on TAFE as well. It looks like you've got, from looking at this panel that you've got meeting today - Jennifer Westacott, James Pearson as well - representing the business groups.
PLIBERSEK: Absolutely. We want to work with business and unions, universities and TAFE, to make sure that we've got a post-secondary school system that is fit for purpose. It's National TAFE Day today and I think it's fair to acknowledge that despite all the fantastic dedication and hard work of TAFE teachers this is a sector that is under pressure. We've seen billions of dollars cut from vocational education, training and apprenticeships including in the most recent Budget another quarter of a billion dollars or so from TAFE. We really need a fit for purpose vocational education sector, side by side, just as strong, just as good, as a first-class university system.
GILBERT: But there are some good thing happening in that space, from my understanding of it, there are TAFE systems around the country that work well with higher education -
GILBERT: - sorry I should say, sorry high school systems that are working almost seamlessly right now.
PLIBERSEK: Yeah, terrific. There are some really good examples of good practice but at the moment we haven't got the settings right to see that right across the system. And look, it's been about ten years since we did the last major university review, that was the Bradley Review. We've taken a number of recommendations from that, including uncapping university places, meaning anybody who is prepared to work hard can get a place at uni, but the last really serious TAFE review was forty years ago. It was the Kangan Review which established the modern TAFE system. We know the world of work is changing, the type of jobs people are doing is changing. We need an education system that gives them the skills and knowledge to do those jobs of the future.
GILBERT: Tanya Plibersek I appreciate your time. Thanks.
PLIBERSEK: Thank you.