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Transcript of doorstop: Parliament House, Canberra, 30 November 2005: welfare legislation; Reserve Bank Board appointment.

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Penny Wong Labor Senator for South Australia

Shadow Minister for Employment and Workforce Participation, Corporate Governance and Responsibility

Wednesday 30 November 2005




Subjects: Welfare legislation, Reserve Bank board appointment

WONG: Today the House of Representatives will commence debate on the Government’s incompetent welfare changes. And as you all know, these changes are not about getting people from welfare to work, they are about getting people from welfare to welfare, shifting people from one Centrelink database to another, dumping people onto the dole. We are calling on the Government today to offer a practical welfare to work solution. We are calling on the Government to offer a practical welfare to work solution. We call on the Government to offer a training bonus to people with a disability and sole parents, a training bonus to cover the costs of study, books and travel so that these jobless Australians can get the skills they need to get a job. One of the most incompetent things about the Government’s package is that it has so little support for training. They are in fact removing the existing support for training costs that currently people would receive. So we are saying for the people who are going to be dumped onto the dole, let us offer them some support for training so they can get the skills they need to get a job.

JOURNALIST: Is that what will give your vote?

WONG: We have made it clear that this package, these incompetent changes, are fundamentally flawed. We have made it clear these incompetent changes are fundamentally flawed. The Government’s priority is dumping people on the dole. It is something Labor cannot support. The Labor Caucus determined yesterday that we will not be supporting this

bill. The Government would need to rewrite the bill in order for Labor to support it.

JOURNALIST: It is not in your portfolio, but can I ask you about the Reserve Bank board and the Treasurer, Peter Costello? How do you think is that going to be played out?

WONG: Well, it seems clear these blokes just govern for their mates. The Treasurer has appointed someone to the Reserve Bank who has donated $1.1 million to the Liberal Party. I think Australians will draw their own conclusions from that.