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Transcript of doorstop interview: Parliament House: 16 June 2014: The Abbott Government's Unfair Budget; Climate Change; HILDA Report; Liberal Party Division



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THE HON BILL SHORTEN MP

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG

E&OE TRANSCRIPT DOORSTOP INTERVIEW

PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA

MONDAY, 16 JUNE 2014

SUBJECT/S: The Abbott Government’s Unfair Budget; Climate Change; HILDA Report; Liberal Party Division

BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: [inaudible] Speaking up for some of Parliament House’s lowest paid workers. It is a travesty that the Federal Abbott Government is proposing to cut the conditions of low paid cleaners at Parliament House. Is there no group of low and middle income paid Australians that the Abbott Government doesn’t want to kick in the guts? These cleaners do a great job, there are guidelines that spell out they should receive reasonable conditions, and the Federal Government is going down every nook, every cranny to do over Australians. Today we promised the cleaners here that we will stand up for them as we stand up for all ordinary Australians from everything from their working conditions through to standing up against cost of living pressures and standing up for pensioners. I’m looking forward to the next two weeks, putting again the case that Australia needs a fair budget, not the unfair Abbott-Hockey Budget which we’re currently putting up with. Happy to take questions, but I do have to go to Question Time.

JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, the HILDA Report shows today that Australians are less reliant on welfare then we’ve been lead to believe. That’s a good thing isn’t?

SHORTEN: Well it shows, the Melbourne University HILDA Report, shows today it’s the last nail in the coffin of Joe Hockey’s budget emergency. On one hand we’ve had for a month the spectacle of Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey huffing and puffing about a budget emergency that Australians need to be more a nation of lifters, not of leaners. This Melbourne University report shows what all Australians already know. Don’t lecture us Joe Hockey about working hard, Australians are already hard at work. The number of people at working age relying on direct payments has been

falling over the last decade. There is no case been made out by the Abbott Government to justify their broken promises, their lies before the election and their unfair cuts of working Australians’.

JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, will Labor be taking an Emissions Trading Scheme as its climate change policy to the 2016 election?

SHORTEN: Labor fundamentally believes in the science of climate change. We know that Tony Abbott’s policy is just a giant multi-billion dollar lemon of an idea. We do believe in an emissions trading system, we will work through our policies before the next election, but Labor won’t shirk the task of having an emissions trading system because we believe in climate change. It does make you wonder what on earth Tony Abbott and President Obama spoke about on their talks on climate change, considering that this Prime Minister famously said that climate change science is crap.

JOURNALIST: What do you make of Senator Cory Bernardi and Senator Ian MacDonald refusing to vote for the deficit levy?

SHORTEN: Well the deficit levy is a broken promise by the Liberal Government to Australians. Again we see signs of disarray within the Liberal ranks. They have got division. But for Labor, our priority is standing up for middle and working class Australians. We are determined to oppose their new GP taxes, the Medicare co-payment. We will stand up for pensioners and against real cuts to the pension. We will stand up against the petrol tax, and we will stand up for kids from modest backgrounds who have the dream of going to university. We will stand up for family payments.

JOURNALIST: Why do you think though they are wanting to vote against it, while Labor is voting in support of this measure?

SHORTEN: Oh well, the division of the Liberal Party is there for all to see. I just wish that these dissenting Senators would stand up for low paid people with the same vigour that they’re standing up for Australia’s top one per cent.

JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, why should cleaners in government buildings be getting special conditions… [inaudible]?

SHORTEN: I think on a day where we’ve seen that the nine top Australian’s have as much household wealth as the bottom 20 per cent of Australians’, it is not unreasonable to expect that we treat the people who are the lowest paid in the Parliament with at least a modest safety net of conditions. How on earth the Liberal Party - you know they talk about class warfare- they’re in open warfare with their own cleaners? They’re in open warfare with people who drive a car, and they’re in open warfare with people who need to take their kids to see a doctor. This is a government who never misses an opportunity to miss the opportunity to stand up for real Australians.

JOURNALIST: The Tax Office put out its hit list today. Less concentrating on companies, more on individual’s usage of things like mobile phones. Do you think this is a good idea?

SHORTEN: Well, poor old Tax Office has been kicked pillar to post by this Government. This Government, since it’s got in power in the last nine months, has taken away a billion dollars of Tax Office resources to make sure that corporate Australia is paying its fair share of taxes. The real issue here is we’ve got an unfair Budget, which is requiring that the lowest paid most vulnerable Australians who go to work every day are doing the heavy lifting in this economy. An Abbott Government Minister, after the next three years will be paying no extra tax, but a single mum, going to work, raising her kids on $60,000 will be several thousand dollars poorer in three to four years’ time. This is a Government with the wrong priorities and Labor’s going to hold them to account this week and next week. We know the Abbott Government does not want to talk about the Budget and its unfair policies, but they’ve got another thing coming to them. Labor is going to hold them to account. Thanks everyone, see you in Question Time.

ENDS