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Remarks [speech] to Labor caucus, Canberra



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THE HON. BILL SHORTEN MP LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS AND ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS

MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG

REMARKS TO LABOR CAUCUS

PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA

TUESDAY, 28 MARCH 2017

***CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY***

Good morning everyone.

Obviously the most serious matter today for all Australians is of course Cyclone Debbie making landfall in North Queensland.

I know every member of parliament and of the Labor team is thinking of Queensland, and North Queensland in particular today.

I have spoken to our colleague, Cathy O'Toole, the Member for Herbert, representing Townsville.

She's up there. She's made it clear that local government, the state, the RAAF, the Navy and the Army are doing a mighty job, that everyone is preparing best they can.

She appreciates the good wishes of everyone here.

We just hope everyone comes through this safely in the coming hours and days.

Before I go onto matters of domestic politics, it has been of some considerable discussion, the upcoming ratification of the extradition treaty with China.

I just want to update people of developments overnight.

Shadow Cabinet met last night, it was our recommendation to Caucus later this morning that we not ratify the treaty.

I spoke with Malcolm Turnbull this morning and advised him of this.

He has subsequently advised me that they're withdrawing the treaty from ratification.

Now, we have also entered the last sitting fortnight before the Budget and it has certainly shown how stark the difference is.

Really, when it boils down to the debate in this country at the moment, we've got a Prime Minister with a plan for big business and millionaires and a plan to do nothing to stop the penalty rate cuts of hundreds of thousands of workers.

We've got a Prime Minister whose economic vision for this country is:

- to give big business and big banks a $50 billion tax handout - to get rid of the deficit levy on millionaires and give them a $17,000 tax cut on 1 July even though we still have a deficit - in fact, tripled.

But by the same token:

- he is voting on cuts to family payments, as we saw last week. - And of course, he is doing nothing to protect the penalty rates of hundreds of thousands of workers.

That they are giving a tax cut to multinationals when there are record corporate profits, and giving a pay cut to workers when wages growth is at record lows, shows you how out of touch this incompetent and arrogant government is.

And every day, the Government goes on and they persist with these foolish corporate tax cuts which won't deliver investment but rather deliver profits, which won't deliver jobs but divert valuable needed funds away from families who need them - we will persist with this campaign on penalty rates.

The Government wants us to stop talking about the cuts to penalty rates.

We will not stop talking about the cuts to penalty rates any day between now and the election, unless the Government votes for Labor's legislation to stop cuts to penalty rates.

It's a clear message we'll be sending this week in Parliament, and next week when we're out in the electorates talking to people, when we are out on a listening tour of Queensland and New South Wales with the bus.

The clear message that we'll be sending to people, and we are going to do it this week, next week, right up to the Budget and beyond, is to working and middle class families in this country: We will stand with you. We've got your back.

We will not give up this fight until we are successful.

Thank you.

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