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Transcript of doorstop: Salter Oval, Bundaberg: 30 June 2006: Garry Parr, ALP candidate for Hinkler; US Supreme Court ruling on Guantanamo Bay detainees; tax cuts; industrial relations; Telstra; National Day of Action in Bundaberg.
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION THE HON KIM C BEAZLEY MP
TRANSCRIPT OF DOORSTOP, AWU NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION, SALTER OVAL, BUNDABERG, 30 JUNE 2006
E & O E - PROOF ONLY
Subjects: Gary Parr, ALP Candidate for Hinkler; US Supreme Court Ruling on Guantanamo Bay detainees; Tax cuts; Industrial Relations; Telstra; National Day of Action in Bundaberg.
BEAZLEY: I’m here campaigning to elect Gary Parr as Member for Hinkler because if he is elected Member for Hinkler I will get the chance, as Prime Minister, to rip up these industrial relations laws. Here in Bundaberg, as all over Queensland over the last few days, people are coming out and saying that John Howard’s laws are unfair, unbalanced and extreme. And they want balance put back in the system.
There’s another issue out there overnight and that is the US Supreme Court ruled out the type of Military Tribunal that David Hicks was going to be placed before. So, I’ve got some comment to make on that. This is John Howard’s golden opportunity to approach the US Government and make absolutely certain that David Hicks receives a fair, civilian trial. That’s what everybody would expect, the US Justice system - that is what the US Supreme Court is trying to deliver. That is what John Howard should be asking President Bush for in relation to David Hicks’ situation.
The other issue is the fact that there’ll be some small tax cuts for most Australians tomorrow. Ten dollars worth of tax cuts a week is nothing if your overtime rates, your penalty rates, your pay effectively is being slashed. Ten dollars will not make up for the many Australians who over the next two or three years will experience massive, effective pay-cuts. And $10 scarcely makes up, and doesn’t in fact make up for what’s happened to petrol prices and interest rates over the course of the last 12 months. Over to you.
JOURNALIST: So why are you here in Bundaberg?
BEAZLEY: Well I’m here to get Gary Parr elected because if he is elected as Member for Hinkler I will be able to tear up the industrial relations laws. There’s a direct connection between the two. If we can’t get him elected we won’t be in that position. So, it’s enormously important that he wins. And I’ll be telling that to the rally as I speak to it, but it’s just the necessary next step.
JOURNALIST: Is this going to be a major battlefield for you in the next election?
BEAZLEY: Yes it is. Central and Northern Queensland is going to be a major battlefield, and Brisbane too for that matter, all of Queensland. So, you’re going to see a fair bit of me. You already have anyway. I’m often up here.
JOURNALIST: What do you think we need here in Bundaberg? What are your promises to our area?
BEAZLEY: Obviously you need a fair and balanced industrial relations system. The people here are very dependent upon decent outcomes through awards and decent outcomes through the actions of Industrial Commissions. If those outfits are gutted then we’re in a lot of trouble. So, basic income issues are bound up in the industrial relations campaign, at least as much in Bundaberg as anywhere else in the nation. That’s the first thing.
We see examples of that of course in the paper today where people are being invited into and the green maintenance into John Howard’s dog-eat-dog world. Where previously they’re mates, they’ve now turned against each other. That is John Howard’s dog-eat-dog world. So, that’s a major area we’re dealing with.
Also we need to have in our community people being trained in the skills they need. You want to fix health care in a way that has any sense of permanency at all you’ve got to train more doctors and nurses. That is 100 per cent Federal Government responsibility. So, we’ll be talking about that here in Bundaberg.
And the third thing is Telstra and communications. Australians need high speed broadband. You will not get high speed broadband here in Bundaberg or anywhere else in regional Australia unless the promise that I made during my Budget Reply is put in place. And only a Labor Government we’ll do that.
JOURNALIST: I’ve got some stuff for David Hicks unless you want to continue local? What do you think should happen there, now that the Tribunal has been made illegal?
BEAZLEY: What the US Supreme Court has done is present John Howard with a marvellous opportunity. A marvellous opportunity to approach the American Government and say: “look at what the Supreme Court has said”. Here’s your opportunity - place Hicks on trial in a proper civil court”. Now, it’s a complex decision, the US Supreme Court has allowed that but what is clear from it is this: The Tribunal that Howard accepted, and we criticised, and Blair would never accept, has in fact been rendered defunct. And what we need now from Howard is a quick approach to Bush to say: “put this bloke on trial in your civil process”. Everybody trusts US Civil Courts and when you see the sorts of decisions the US Supreme Court has taken you know why we all trust their courts. They’re very independent of Government, they’re very proud of their status as guardians of liberty. So, that’s what we want to see from John Howard.
JOURNALIST: Do you think he should be brought home at all?
BEAZLEY: Well, the US has a view that this fellow has been charged with - has committed crimes of a serious nature. Now, if you commit crimes of a serious nature anywhere overseas, and yes anybody, the US or anyone else you’ve got to pay the price for it. But you’re entitled, if you’re going to pay the price, to a fair trail first. And that’s all we ask for. We don’t ask for any special treatment for David Hicks. We ask for normal treatment for David Hicks.
JOURNALIST: Just last of all back to a local angle for us, what are you encouraging our local workers and protesters here today to do and I guess for our local Member here. What are you encouraging them to do?
BEAZLEY: I would encourage them to fight for a Labor victory at the next here in Hinkler. This is one of the most important groups of workers anywhere in the country because they have a good chance to materially affect the outcome of the election. So, it is very important that they understand, and I’m sure they do, there is now only one way to deal with Howard’s unfair and unjust laws and to restore balance in industrial relations and that’s to vote Labor. So, it’s good to demonstrate that you’re concerned and that you’re worried but at the end of the day you’ve got to work for that outcome.