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Transcript of doorstop interview: Monday 3 March 2003: Parliament House, Canberra: double dissolution election, families.



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Wayne Swan MP Manager of Opposition Business Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services TRANSCRIPT OF DOORSTOP INTERVIEW, PARLIAMENT HOUSE CANBERRA, MONDAY 3 MARCH 2003 E & OE - PROOF ONLY SUBJECT: DOUBLE DISSOLUTION ELECTION, FAMILIES SWAN: This morning the Howard Government is out there crowing about its double dissolution bills up in the Senate - bills that make it easier to sack workers and bills that will put up the price of essential medicines. This says a lot about the priorities of the Howard Government - it always serves the top end of town first, always does and always will. We saw it again yesterday when the Prime Minister was gritting his teeth when asked about paid maternity leave. He simply doesn't believe in it. He doesn't understand the battles for survival going on around the kitchen table - his priorities are elsewhere. He won't do anything about the outrageous payments to executives while at the same time he will oppose the most basic wage rise for all Australian workers. So what we're really seeing here today is what we've had for the last seven years - a government in the pocket of the big end of town and average families losing out. JOURNALIST: Is Labor really seriously worried about a double dissolution given the possibility of a war in Iraq? SWAN: We are not worried at all about a double dissolution where the Government says it wants to make it easier to sack workers, where the Government says it wants to put up the price of essential medicines, where the Government won't do anything about paid maternity leave, where the Government won't fix the debt trap in the family payments system. These are the bread and butter issues that matter around the kitchen table. This Government's got plenty of money for the war room but no money to fix these urgent problems for Australian families and their children. JOURNALIST: Does it concern you that the Reserve Bank Governor is encouraging the Howard Government to press on with industrial reform? SWAN: Well it depends what you mean by industrial reform. What the Howard Government is doing out there is suppressing any wage rises for the lowest paid Australians while at the same time allowing these outrageous payments to failed executives. We're quite happy to have a debate about that double standard because where we stand is with average Australian families, average Australian families who have made this country strong. They've contributed to the strong economic growth. They're not getting a fair share of it - it's going to a few at the top. We're quite happy to debate that in any election. ENDS Mon 03 Mar 03 Web: www.SwanMP.org Contact: Wayne Swan on 0418 795 329 Matt Linden on 02 6277 4225 1