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Thursday, 24 June 2010
Page: 6582

Ms LIVERMORE (2:08 PM) —Will the Prime Minister outline to the House the importance of maintaining government services? Are there any threats to this?

Ms GILLARD (Prime Minister) —I thank the member for Capricornia for her question, and I thank her for her friendship over all of these years we have been in parliament together. As I said earlier today, I grew up in South Australia. I am the daughter of a hardworking family. My father and my mother worked unbelievably hard to provide a safe and secure household for me and for my sister, Alison. From them I learned the value of hard work. I also learned the importance of government services—the importance of quality schools and the importance of quality health care—to making a life, because as a family were relied on both. Families around the nation rely on both. They need to have a job, they need to have a job with decent working conditions and they need to have those quality services.

As a government, we are committed to ensuring that we take the steps necessary so that Australians have work. That is why, during the global financial crisis, we did what we had to do to keep Australians in work. As a government, we are committed to decent working conditions, and the threat to that is the Leader of the Opposition’s plan to reintroduce Work Choices. As a government, we are committed to lifting the quality of Australian schools. The threat to that is the cutbacks proposed by the Leader of the Opposition to trade training centres, computers in schools and quality teaching. As a government, we are committed to making sure Australians can see a healthcare professional—that they can see a doctor or a nurse—and to do that we are investing in ensuring that this nation has more doctors and more nurses, and we are investing in Australian hospitals. Of course, the threat to that it is the predisposition of the Leader of the Opposition to cut health funding, demonstrated when he was the minister for health.

These are the great issues for Australian working families. These will be the great issues at the forthcoming election, where we as a government will say to Australians that we will provide the services families need, we will protect their jobs and ensure they have decent working conditions.