Source: Australian Labor Party (ALP)


SUBJECT/S: Labor’s Queensland Jobs Not Cuts bus tour; Labor’s National Hydrogen Plan; Liberal candidate for Gilmore, Clive Palmer, Morrison’s replica vessel

ZAC BEERS, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR FLYNN: Okay, thanks everyone for coming along. It’s great to be hear in Gladstone today and I want to welcome a number of special guests to our region. Today we’ve got Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk here with us along with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and a big crew from the Labor team. We’ve got Jason Clare, Brendan O’Connor, Pat Conroy. I’d also like to acknowledge Glenn Butcher the state member who’s here with us today and Matt Burnett, Gladstone’s Mayor. 
Look today we’ve got a fantastic announcement about the future of energy and the future of jobs in this region. Today Labor’s announcing a massive commitment to the hydrogen industry, an industry that will grow into the future and create thousands of jobs for people right across Australia provided we get in front of it and that’s what today is all about.
Today is about putting our stake in the ground and saying Gladstone will be the hub for hydrogen into the future, Gladstone will be where we make hydrogen, where we export hydrogen and where we power the world. Today’s announcement is about delivering important investment into critical infrastructure like the Hydrogen Innovation Hub which will be based here in Gladstone to make sure that we research the technology to get the commercialisation right in partnership with industry, to make certain that when hydrogen gets off the ground, it gets off the ground in Gladstone and in a big way. Because we understand that in this region jobs are vital and it’s important that we diversify our economy and make sure that we’re powering the future. Today’s announcement will do just that and I’ll hand to Bill to talk a little bit more about what we’re announcing today.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Great candidate, Zac Beers. I acknowledge the presence of my federal Labor colleagues and of course Australia’s favourite Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. I’d like to thank our hosts here at Northern Oil Recycling. This is a really exciting announcement today. 
Today Federal Labor is saying it’s about time that Australia entered the hydrogen race. We have a vision for Australia in the future which is one where hydrogen is one of our energy sources and one of our great exports. It’s the equivalent dare I say of LNG 2.0 and we want to make Queensland and Gladstone ground zero for hydrogen technology in this nation. 
Our policy today is about jobs, jobs, jobs, secure jobs, in Gladstone, in Queensland and indeed across Australia. Our vision for hydrogen as an emerging source of energy means that we will commit if elected, over a billion dollars to fund research, equity, to make sure that our projects in Australia can scale up. Hydrogen is an emerging and exciting source of energy across the world. By 2020 Japan has already set a target that they want to have 40,000 electric vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells. South Korea too and Hyundai are making similar commitments right now. It’s estimated by experts there’ll be two billion electric vehicles by 2045. Two billion. Half of these vehicles will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells. 
Australia is at a crossroads, you know it’s even the well-known local identity and head of the Gladstone Ports Corporation Leo Zussino on one of my many visits here to Gladstone, alerted me to the possibilities of Gladstone being a hub for energy and hydrogen energy. But when you think about the future, we need to prepare for it and Australia is it that crossroads.
Do we just business as usual? Wait till some other country has a good idea, some other country decides to develop it and research it, some other country decides to pioneer and manufacturing new energy sources and we just remain yet again some sort of distant quarry. Well that’s not the vision I have for a modern Australia. 
This industry is estimated that when it’s going, generate ten billion dollars a year, 16,000 jobs. I want Australia and Queensland to be at the front of the hydrogen revolution not behind it. I want us to catch the wave of the future and invest in technology which the whole world desperately wants. It’s very exciting, what we see at this very facility is the use of the best Australian science, Australian entrepreneurialism. Our policy today of a National Hydrogen Strategy I think demonstrates the sort of government we will be. We will identify a benefit for the Australian people, we will take a long term lasting position. And we’ll also be courageous in the fact that we’ll back it in. 
I’ve got no doubt that there’ll be some who will say we should ignore hydrogen until someone else has the good idea. Well that’s not my view of Australia. This country needs to grasp its opportunities. We need to add value. This is worth billions of dollars and even more than that, it’s jobs, jobs, jobs, secure jobs for Queenslanders and for Australians. 
Now it’s my great pleasure to hand over to one of the most innovative leaders in Australian politics, Annastacia Palaszczuk to talk further about this exciting vision for Queensland, for Australia using the hydrogen revolution.
ANNASTACIA PALASZCZUK, PREMIER OF QUEENSLAND: Thanks Bill and thanks for coming to Gladstone today. From the outset can I say when you are talking about long term secure jobs you need to be pursuing the industries of the future. It was a Labor Government that actually talked about the LNG industry and we delivered an LNG industry for Queensland. Hydrogen is the next big industry, for not just Queensland but Australia. It means long term secure jobs. As Premier and Trade Minister, I’ve travelled to South Korea and Japan, I’ve met with the leading experts when it comes to advancing this new technology. Hydrogen is it. Hydrogen is something that Germany, South Korea and Japan are actively pursuing. When I was in South Korea, I was able to drive the hydrogen car. These cars are the future of what’s coming. And we can either ignore it or we can become part of this secure future. So this is a great announcement today from Bill Shorten. And what I get from Bill is the great vision to be able to work with Queensland to deliver these long term secure jobs. 
As we know, Queensland is a very decentralised state and our regions are absolutely crucial. This will play a key role in developing jobs here in Gladstone and up and down the coast. Already, the Tokyo Minister for the Olympics has said to me that they looking at powering vessels in time for the Tokyo Olympics and they want Queensland and Australia to be part of that hydrogen future. So as we know, we did it with LNG and we can definitely do it with hydrogen. So Bill thank you very much for coming to Queensland and I look forward to working with you now and many days into the future. 
SHORTEN: I and my Federal team are happy to take questions, I should acknowledge the work that Assistant Shadow Minister Pat Conroy has done on this work too. Open for questions.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, what do you make of Matt Canavan’s comments this morning that this is just a distraction from your abandonment of Central Queensland’s coal industry?
SHORTEN: Poor old government ministers at the moment. Why is it that when there’s a good idea, they immediately react with the lowest common denominator of attacking it. Hydrogen is an energy source of the future. I would have thought if you were a Queensland Senator you’d be backing Queensland rather than standing in the path of Queensland and Australia’s progress. If we miss the hydrogen wave then future generations of Australians won’t thank us. This summer, one of the problems which people identified to me about Australian politics is, they say where’s the vision. What’s the over the horizon thinking? I’m completely bullish and positive about our national hydrogen announcement. It’s an emerging source of energy. Industrial powerhouses like Japan are gearing their whole economy to hydrogen. This is not science fiction. Maybe 10 and 20 and 30 years ago it would have just been called a pipe dream. But the problem is that Mr Canavan is not reading the latest scientific journals. He’s not following what’s happening overseas. We have got a marvellous opportunity to invest in jobs, to invest in the future of Australia through investing in hydrogen and technology. When the Government ministers come out and bag Labor’s vision for the future, it speaks volumes for their lack of respect for Australian science, their lack of respect for Australian entrepreneurialism and the biggest problem underwriting that is we have a Government who has run out of ideas. They want to write Australia small, they want to say that the future’s too hard and pull up the drawbridge, let’s not worry about it, let’s wait and watch the world go past us. Well I’m not prepared to do that. Queensland and Annastacia Palaszczuk have put Queensland in a very positive position. The investors behind this company have backed in their dream and their view about the future by investing their own money in this business. What Australians desperately need, blue collar workers, designers, white collar workers, entrepreneurs, small businesses, communities such as Gladstone, you need a government in Canberra who’s got some courage. So as I said in my opening, I’ve got no doubt that the knockers will emerge, say hydrogen is too hard, we shouldn’t worry about the future. We, I promise Australians will be a different sort of government. We’ll listen to the best science, we’ll listen to the smartest business people, we’ll back in Australian ingenuity, we’ll work with the council, the local community and we’ll work with the Queensland Government. So Mr Canavan can throw all the bricks he wants. I’m not waiting for the LNP to join the 21st century, we’re getting on with business.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten how concerned are you about the revised growth forecasts from the IMF and from China and what can you say to reassure Australians who were worried that a Shorten Government might not be the best government to manage an economy in some global, in the midst of global trouble?
SHORTEN: Well actually Australians didn’t need the IMF to tell them that our economy is fairly mediocre at the moment. There’s some bright spots, but for too many Australians our economy isn’t delivering the dividends. Most Australians actually like our plan. Our plan for better hospitals, not bigger tax loopholes. Our plan for better schools, not profits automatically for big banks. Our plans for a better deal for pensioners not simply more and richer billionaires. 
This economy is not working the way it should right now after five and a half years of Coalition mismanagement. Australian families are spending more of their household incomes just to make ends meet. We’ve got an economy where everything is going up except people’s wages. I can assure you for ten million working Aussies – people in insecure employment, people who haven’t had a pay rise for years – they already know that things aren’t going the way they should, and we can reassure Australians we’ve got a plan to lift wages. We’ve got a plan to give fair dinkum tax relief to ten million working Aussies. We’ll make sure that when you get sick you can afford to see the doctor and you can get quality health care. I promise working Australians I’ll make sure your kids get a quality apprenticeship, they’ll get a quality education. If they want to find an apprenticeship we’ll help them find one. 
I can say to older Australians who feel left behind by this government because, if they’re on the aged care waiting list, we will reduce those waiting lists. The trick to making our economy robust in a global environment, is to make sure that you bring people with you. 
If most Australians, if all Australians can get a fair go, if they can get access to opportunity, that is the best insurance Australia has for global shocks.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, what do you make of Clive Palmer taking his business in New Zealand and does it lead credence to Tony Abbott’s suggestion that people should vote for a major party, any major party over an independent? 
SHORTEN: So I made a promise to myself in the New Year, a New Year’s resolution about Clive Palmer. Until he pays the workers what he owes them, until he pays the creditors what he owes them, until he repays the taxpayers what he owes them, I don’t talk about Clive Palmer.
With Clive Palmer I’ve learned the hard way. Always identify what his self-interest is before you take anything else seriously about what he says. So that’s seriously enough about Clive Palmer we’ve got better things to talk about.
But going to Mr Abbott’s point, I very rarely find myself agreeing with Tony Abbott but he’s right. Don’t vote independent, vote Labor.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten can I ask you just about the two separate issues. First one –  how quickly would this come on stream and to be actually in a position to export hydrogen and would those jobs be ongoing jobs? What sort of jobs would they be? And on a completely separate issue, is spending several million dollars having the replica Endeavour circumnavigate Australia a good way of commemorating Captain Cook, who didn’t do it?
JOURNALIST: What I’ll do is, I might give Pat a run on the issues about the implementation. Suffice to say, if we get elected, we’ll get down to work day one. I promise Australians that when we get in, we’re not going to review everything and then come back at the end of three years and say “well we’ve checked everything out.”
We’re going to be an active government. We can roll out our mandate from day one, but let me get Pat to talk further about the mechanics of what we’re doing, our equity proposition, our research proposition, and our financing proposition to help businesses scale up in this exciting, dynamic, new frontier of energy and jobs in Australia.
PAT CONROY: Thanks Bill. So on when can we start exporting hydrogen, Southern Oils behind us have announced that they’re planning in the next couple of years to be exporting hydrogen. So the opportunity is right now, and it’s only going to get bigger. By 2022 the global market  will be worth $215 billion dollars, and it’ll just scale up and and scale up and scale up. 
So our plan is about supporting this industry from  RND, through $90 million from ARENA, taking concessional equity where it makes sense, through $40 million for the innovation fund to a billion dollars to help scale up the industry through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
And on what sort of jobs they are, they’re from research and development, to scientists, to engineers, to storing the hydrogen after you’ve produced it, to transporting it overseas and ships the equivalent of the LNG carriers right now. So this is the equivalent of the LNG industry coming back for a second time and it’s very exciting opportunity for Australia. 
We’re in direct competition with countries like Norway and Qatar that are investing serious dollars right now and that’s why we need to leapfrog them.
SHORTEN: Thanks Pat. On Mr Morrison’s replica vessel, let me just say I appreciate that Captain Cook’s landing on the Australian Queensland coastline is a matter of great importance to the people in Cooktown, indeed to the people of 1770 and Agnes Water. I know that for example the Queensland Government of Premier Palaszczuk put forward a quarter of a million dollars to help with some of these commemorations. So that’s good and it’s a replica vessel trip around Australia, that sounds very nice in 2020/21. Good. 
But let me also be clear. I’m here today announcing the future for Australia – a national hydrogen policy, 16,000 jobs, $10 billion dollars worth of investment.
Now I think we’ve got to respect our history and what happened in 1770 but I’m also interested in what happens in Australia in 2070. We’re planning for the future here today. The best scientific minds in Australia tell us that hydrogen is an exciting new source of energy. The smartest business people in Australia say that we can, if the government gives support, plan for the long term and invest in jobs in Gladstone, Queensland and Australia.
I take an interest in making sure that I can offer future generations of Australians the best planning a government can do now. If Japan is investing a lot of its industrial investment in hydrogen and hydrogen fuel cells to power motor vehicles, I’m interested. I’m interested.
I don’t want Australia to miss another opportunity. I don’t want us to see another wave of change. We’ve wasted 10 years on climate change because this country can’t get its act together at the national level. I know that Australians are sick and tired of a lack of vision in Australian politics – well, we’re giving them vision. We’re giving them vision today in national hydrogen policy.
I also just make the point that Mr Morrison’s had a lot to say about Australia Day. It’s part of a conservative rite of passage that you talk about your views on Australia Day. Well one thing I think about Australia Day is it should represent Australian values, and there is no stronger Australian value than fairness. And it is not fair when everything is going up in Australia except people’s wages. It is not fair when households are struggling to pay for the return to school costs and dipping into household savings because there’s no wages movement. It is not fair in Australia, if you’ve got parents who are waiting to get aged care support, or your child can’t get an apprenticeship, or your kids have got to leave regional Queensland to go to Brisbane to get a job. So if we’re going to talk about Australia Day, in my opinion nothing can be fairer than having a fair dinkum wages policy and a fair dinkum platform which looks after the health and education of Australians not just some of the things which the Conservatives delight in talking about.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten what are your thoughts on Warren Mundine running for the Liberal seat of Gilmore? 
SHORTEN: Well, he was unsuccessful in the Labor Party, so, it’s a free country you can run for whatever party’ll have you. But I do make this point about the seat of Gilmore. The Liberal Party replaced a woman with a man, and a man and wants support nuclear reactors into Australia, including Jervis Bay. I just don’t think they get how everyday Australians think. 
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, I’ve got a question about –
SHORTEN: I did say – perhaps a local question?
JOURNALIST: With the $3 million innovation hub for hydrogen and how can you guarantee that this policy will secure local jobs?
SHORTEN: Well, I’ll get Pat to supplement this. But on the innovation hub for Gladstone, you know I’ve been favourably impressed in my frequent visits to Gladstone, that the Gladstone community is a community who doesn’t wait for things to happen, that they drive their future. When I was a union rep I came up here and saw the construction of new facilities. This is much more than a one trick town. The Mayor is here, Glenn is here, Zac is here, these are local boys bred and raised. 
I understand that the history of Gladstone has been to invest in new and emerging industries. So you know what? Gladstone has done the hard work. They deserve an innovation centre, a Centre of Excellence. 
Gladstone is also very fortunate that they’ve got such a dynamic Premier as Premier Palaszczuk. She doesn’t wait for every other state to work out what’s going on and then get their permission. She just goes for it for Queensland. Queenslanders are smart, they back themselves, we are backing the smarts of Queensland by putting the innovation centre not in Canberra, but in Gladstone. You know congratulations again to Leo and the crew down in the Ports Corporation who have done a fair bit of work and indeed Zac Beers who’s always at us to make sure that whatever we have planned for Australia, remember there’s Gladstone, it’s the port way to the world. 
Thanks everybody. See you soon.

MIL OSI Australia


Source: Australian Labor Party (ALP)

SUBJECT/S: Labor’s Queensland Jobs Not Cuts bus tour; Labor’s plans for Bundaberg Hospital and healthcare in Queensland.

ZAC BEERS, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR FLYNN: Good afternoon. Look, it’s great to be in Bundaberg today. I’m here with Bill Shorten, Labor’s leader, Catherine King, Labor’s Shadow Health Minister, and Richard Pascoe, Labor’s fantastic candidate for Hinkler. It’s great to be in Bundaberg today, making a significant announcement about investment in community mental health services in this part of the world. It’s great to be here with Bill and Catherine, making it clear that only a Labor government will invest in health services to make sure that communities like Bundaberg, and the broader region around Bundaberg, get the investment in services that they need. We’ve got a great announcement here today, and I’ll let Bill and Catherine talk about the detail, but one thing is clear: a Labor government will make the necessary investment in health services in this region, to make sure that the people who live in this part of the world get access to the care that they need, particularly closer to home, right here in Bundaberg. I’ll hand it over to Bill to walk us through the announcement.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks, Zac, or as I affectionately call him, Mr. Flynn. Zac Beers, Labor’s Candidate in Flynn, and of course, Richard Pascoe, representing Labor in the seat of Hinkler. Today, I’m accompanied by Catherine King, who will take you through most of the detail of what I’m about to announce. But I’m really pleased that on our Queensland Jobs Not Cuts bus tour, we had the chance to see, firsthand, the fantastic work that they’re doing here in Wide Bay and Bundaberg Hospital. One thing we do know, and we’ve consulted extensively with local health experts in the local community, is that the Bundaberg and Wide Bay area is crying out for more community mental health resources. Mental health still suffers a big stigma in the community, and in regional Australia they don’t get their fair share of community health resources right now. So, I’m really pleased to announce that after significant consultation and work by our shadow ministers, talking to the locals and, of course, Senator Anthony Chisholm, who’s here, I’m in a position to be able to announce that, if Labor was elected at the next election, we would provide $15.7 million for a new community mental health facility in Bundaberg. This is long overdue resources, and it’s certainly going to help, I think, the medical and health services in the Wide Bay area provide the sort of care which every Queenslander deserves, every Australian deserves. Labor’s vision for health in this country is it’s your Medicare card, not your credit card, which determines your access to quality health care. Mental health is just as important as any other part of the health field. We want to make sure that, in regional Queensland, people don’t face the massive travel times to get care, which they currently do in the Wide Bay region. The Wide Bay region is marked by a whole lot of socioeconomic indicators, which essentially boil down to the fact that they need more medical resources in this district. I’d now like to pass over to Catherine to talk further about Labor’s exciting announcement for community mental health facilities for Bundaberg and the surrounding region.
CATHERINE KING, SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH: Thanks, Bill. It’s terrific to be here with Zac, Richard, and also Anthony, who represents us up here as part of the Senate team. This is a terrific announcement for Bundaberg Hospital. We’ve just had a brief tour of the hospital, talked to some of the staff, both in their clinical team as well as in the workforce recruitment team, and they do a fantastic job. But what we know is that hospitals do need resources. The Turnbull, sorry, I meant to say Turnbull Government, then the Morrison Government – I get confused on a day-to-day basis, as well, about that. The Morrison Government has cut, over the term of the existing hospital agreements, some $3 million from this hospital. That means that there are less outpatient visits, less emergency department, people can be seen, and that really does make a difference. But what Labor wants to do is invest in this hospital. The $15.7 million announcement that we have made today will go towards ensuring better mental health capacity here in the community. We know that many people who suffer from mental health challenges often end up in our emergency departments. We know that they often do need acute services, and some of the funding will go towards increasing acute beds for mental health patients. But more importantly, what it’s going to do is make sure that we’re able to care for people in the community, so that they don’t end up in the emergency department here at a very, very, busy hospital, and that they’re able to receive the care in their community. I particularly want to acknowledge Richard’s advocacy for this project. He cares passionately about this hospital, passionately about this community, and I want to thank him for bringing this project to us. Also, briefly, I want to mention an announcement we made today about Cairns Hospital. $60 million to support the Cairns University Hospital, really taking that hospital into becoming a tertiary hospital, working to ensure that they are able to retain and recruit the health workforce that they need in that part of this fantastic state. It’s a terrific announcement. I’m heading up to make some further announcements in Cairns tomorrow, but it is an announcement that we’re very proud to have supported in Cairns, and know that our local candidates, whether it be Zac, whether it be Richard, whether it be Elida up in Cairns, really are championing the state of Queensland.
SHORTEN: Thanks, Catherine. Now, I might just, because we had the opportunity to talk to some of our national friends at Maryborough, as we made our exciting announcement on procurement, invite the local journalists or the local media to take over.
JOURNALIST: The mental health of locals here is important, but this facility, this hospital is 100 years old, so the State Government’s currently looking at a business plan to see if it’s viable to get a new hospital. We already know that the hospital is needed, so is the Federal Government, the Labor Government, if elected, going to do anything about that, to help our State Government to pay for a new hospital?
SHORTEN: Thanks for that. We had a fantastic briefing from the Wide Bay Health Services area leadership, and they certainly made a very strong case for the need to put extra resources. Now, as you correctly identify, the decision falls with the State Government of Queensland, but we were talking about, for instance, where would be the site of our new mental health building that we’re contributing. What I understand is that the Wide Bay health area is going to have their business case done by about April, but they certainly made it clear that, Wide Bay, just because it’s not in a big city, shouldn’t be assumed to be a rich or everyone’s doing really well here. There are significant pockets of disadvantage, and there are significantly unfair health outcomes in this region, from obesity right through to so many other services. The point which Wide Bay health officials made to us clearly in our briefing before was that people spend a lot of money traveling to get health care out of the region. Now, people are happy to pay the money, on one level – their health is important. But it’s an inefficient waste of literally $100 million a year, they told us. So we get that this hospital is built in a flood area, and anyone who can remember the 2013 flood here saw how it’s precarious, so therefore, there’s no doubt that change needs to happen. The good news for the Queensland Government and Wide Bay Health is that only a Labor Government, nationally, can be trusted not to cut health care and hospital funding. Catherine, before, said that the current LNP administration lead by whoever, today or yesterday or last week. They’ve cut $3 million from the Bundaberg Hospital. Now, we saw the fantastic staff and all of us were lucky enough to meet with some of them today. This is a staff who have had to rebuild the reputation of this hospital from some pretty tough circumstances. Anyone walking around sees that this a hospital with old bones; that, certainly, the facilities need to upgrade. So, Federal Labor would be a very good ally of Queenslanders, because we will find scarce money in the budget to work to work to improve health funding in this state, rather than provide better tax loopholes for big multinationals and people who already very well off.
JOURNALIST: These announcements that you’ve made throughout the state including in our region today, will they be honoured if you do form government but the local members aren’t elected?
SHORTEN: Yes. What we’re promising is what we’re going to do. I have to say, I think, I know people get frustrated with day-to-day politics, but where in Wide Bay, if you look at the political pundits would say that the electorate of Hinkler, is probably well-known for voting more LNP than not for many years. But when I come to Bundaberg, I don’t see LNP written on the map here, and I don’t see Labor written. When I talk to health care workers or parents or patients, I don’t see an LNP voter or a Labor voter, I see Queenslanders. This is a fantastic area. There’s a lot of good news in this town. There’s a lot of good news in this region, from agribusiness right through to education and health and all sorts of services. But I am absolutely 100 per cent committed to making sure that your postcode is not a predictor of your health. We will honour our promises, because we think that the health of every Australian, wherever they live, matters.
JOURNALIST: The LNP is saying that, if you vote them in again, their national health fund will give $8 billion to Queensland Health and more. It’s not as much as the $15 million you’re promising for the mental health facility here. What do you say about that?
SHORTEN: Well, I guess, the LNP’s now had – I’ll get Catherine to supplement this, because she’s a wizard on these issues – the LNP has had six years now. This is my sixth January as Opposition Leader. If things are going to be so much greater under them, they’ve had six years to prove it, but in that time, we’ve seen the freeze on the Medicare patient rebate. We’ve seen private health insurance premiums go up and up and up, where it’s practically becoming a luxury item. The fact of the matter is there have been cuts to hospital funding. The LNP have had, now, six years to prove if they’re fair dinkum on health. Labor has made tough economic decisions. We are winding back unsustainable tax concessions that mainly benefit the top end, so that we can create room in a scarce budget to provide proper health care. But I might get Catherine to talk a bit more about some of the cuts they’ve done in the health system, and why, really, time’s up for the LNP, because they’ve had six years, and they just haven’t done what they said they would do.
KING: The LNP has been incredibly damaging to health across the country. We’ve had cuts to our public hospitals, including cuts to funding that was designed to improve waiting times for emergency departments and elective surgery. Millions of dollars cut from those programs. But we’ve also had cuts to public dental programs. Some of the most vulnerable people in our community trying to get assistance with dentures are not able to get assistance, because of the cuts of this government to the national partnership agreement on public dental. Cuts to prevention. You’d think if any one spend in health would be important, it’s actually programs to help us lose weight, to stop smoking, to cut down on alcohol. They cut funding to those. The Medicare freeze has cut $3 billion out of the patient’s rebate. That’s $3 billion dollars less for people able to access services for Medicare, or for doctors to be able to provide those services. All of that matters, because at the end of that, are people who are suddenly finding themselves having to pay more and more for their health care, whether it’s seeing a doctor, or whether it’s being able to access dental care, or whether they’re trying to get access to public hospital services and outpatients. That’s what the LNP has done, and they don’t deserve to be re-elected here.
SHORTEN: Alright. No more questions?
JOURNALIST: Yeah. I just have a quick question for Cairns. The Morrison Government has pledged $60 million to make the Cairns Hospital a university training hospital. Is this a commitment your government will follow through if elected?
SHORTEN: Catherine’s going to go up and make further announcements tomorrow, but we’ve announced we will provide $60 million. $10 million to help with the purchase of the land, and $50 million for the construction of the new university hospital. The Government is coincidentally looking at our itinerary, and they’re trying to rush in 24 hours earlier to make an announcement. Can I just say, that’s fine? That’s the way the system should work. We don’t mind setting the pace for good health care in this country. We don’t mind if the Government borrows our ideas and implements them, that’s fine. But I can promise Queensland just one thing: when it comes to health care, we’re going to prioritize your health care over bigger banks and better tax concessions for multinationals. We will always be a better bet in health care, nationally, because we think that the health of Queenslanders is more important than the bottom line of tax-dodging multinationals seeking to send Australian money overseas, when they should pay taxes in Australia.
JOURNALIST: The rollout of the cashless debit card starts in Hinkler next week. If elected, what are you going to do? Are you going to roll it back, or is it going to continue as currently planned?
SHORTEN: If elected, it is our intention to roll it back. It mightn’t be possible to unscramble all the parts of the egg, if they’ve got some costs on IT or some costs on Canberra bureaucrats to help administer the system. We can’t necessarily save all the money that they’ve spent, but it is our intention to roll it back.
JOURNALIST: Wouldn’t rolling it back cost a lot of money, and why do you think that’s necessary to do?
SHORTEN: Well, this government’s proposing to spend $13.5 million dollars to save some money. It doesn’t stack up. They prematurely rushed it, in terms of not waiting to see the full review of how it would work. I think, and the experts tell me, there are much better ways to use important taxpayer money to help people engage and get back into work and deal with challenges of addiction than this particular system. But as I recognize, if the government spends some money before we get to the next election, there’s nothing I can do about that. But we will work with the community to roll it back and come up with better solutions, which actually help people who are down on their luck at the bottom of the cycle and lift them back up and get them back into work. Thanks, everybody. I’ll see some of you tonight I hope.

MIL OSI Australia


Source: Australian Labor Party (ALP)

A Shorten Labor Government will deliver better emergency care for the people of Cairns by investing in a major redevelopment of the Cairns Hospital Emergency Department.

A recent review of the hospital called for a number of high priority improvements to the emergency department while a more substantial expansion is planned.
Labor will invest $15 million to deliver these improvements as part of our Fair Go Action Plan to protect Medicare and fix our hospitals.
This commitment comes on top of our promise to put $60 million towards a new dedicated training facility at Cairns Hospital, which will help attract and retain health workers in Far North Queensland.

The new facility will help address the critical health workforce shortage that risks undermining the quality of health care in this region.
But that is a longer-term project.
The Emergency Department redevelopment is something we can deliver in the next 12 to 24 months – delivering tangible health benefits to this community.
The redevelopment will improve safety for patients and staff alike and bring down wait times.
It will include:

  • An increase in adult short stay capacity from 8 to 16 adult beds
  • A 4-bed pediatric short stay unit
  • Improvements to resuscitation bays and trauma treatment spaces
  • Front of house improvements to provide dedicated space for ambulance offload
  • And better telehealth facilities.

Population growth has made Cairns Hospital Emergency Department one of the busiest in Queensland, with activity going up by 4 per cent each year. In 2017-18 the number of presentations exceeded 70,000 for the first time.
That’s why we have to invest now in this hospital.
Labor believes Australian should get the best quality health care whenever they need it – no matter if you live in downtown Brisbane or Far North Queensland.
That’s why the last federal Labor Government invested $12m in Cairns Hospital through our Health and Hospitals Fund.
The Liberals on the other hand just cut and cut and cut from health. As Treasurer, Scott Morrison cut from health and hospitals in every Budget he authored.
His government has cut $7.2 million from Cairns Hospital under the current 2017 to 2020 funding agreement.
That’s equivalent to 20 nurses, or 11,000 emergency department visits, or 17,500 outpatient appointments. And it’s part of a $160m cut to Queensland hospitals and a $715m cut nationwide.
Now Morrison is trying to lock in those cuts for another five years – a dud deal that the Queensland Labor Government is resisting.
Labor will reverse the Liberal cuts with our $2.8 billion Better Hospitals Fund, which we will use to fund projects like this one.
Only Labor can be trusted to fix Queensland’s hospitals.

MIL OSI Australia


Source: Australian Labor Party (ALP)

A Shorten Labor Government will unlock productivity and jobs growth in Central Queensland by investing $800 million to build the Rockhampton Ring Road in partnership with the State Labor Government.

This is a transformative project which will support around 780 direct jobs during its delivery, ease congestion on the Bruce Highway, and make Rockhampton as even better place to live, work and raise a family.
The Ring Road will run from the Yeppen Roundabout, along the western side of the airport to a third bridge crossing before reconnecting with the existing highway at Parkhurst – see attached map.
It will take thousands of trucks a day out of the CBD and off suburban streets, both speeding up the movement of freight along the east coast as well as improving safety for local residents.
Importantly, investments such as this are a critical component of a serious decentralisation policy because they provide regional centres with the infrastructure and services they need to grow and prosper.
This commitment follows yesterday’s announcement that a Shorten Labor Government will boost local jobs by ensuring more government contracts and major projects such as the Ring Road are delivered by local businesses employing local workers.
It was the former Federal Labor Government that first began investigating the planning for the Rockhampton Ring Road when we commissioned the Fitzroy River Floodplain and Road Planning Study in June 2009.
The study, completed in 2011, backed the project.
But after nearly two full terms as the LNP MP for Capricornia Michelle Landry has been unable to advance the Ring Road.
A Shorten Labor Government will deliver the project, not just talk about it.
When it comes to the Bruce Highway, the LNP’s record is one of cuts and broken promises.
Indeed, according to figures released by its own Infrastructure Department, the Morrison LNP Government will slash Federal investment in the highway over the next three years by $700 million if it wins the coming election.
Federal Labor’s commitment to the Rockhampton Ring Road builds on our strong track record of delivering for Central Queensland the last time we were in office. This including the major Yeppen Floodplain project which upgraded the Bruce Highway to prevent Rockhampton being cut off from the south, even during a one in 100-year flooding event.

MIL OSI Australia


Source: Australian Labor Party (ALP)

A Shorten Labor Government will deliver a $1 billion National Hydrogen Plan to create new blue-collar jobs, support new businesses and supercharge Australia’s renewable energy industry.

Hydrogen is an emerging industry that has huge potential to deliver significant economic, employment, energy and environmental benefits for Australia.
Hydrogen gas is an energy source that can be produced through the process of electrolysis using renewable energy, meaning it can leverage Australia’s world-class renewable energy to make much cleaner hydrogen competitively.
Developing a hydrogen industry will deliver new opportunities for manufacturing, transport and electricity generation.  
As the global demand for hydrogen surges to an expected $215 billion market by 2022, Australia is uniquely placed to benefit from the development of this new, job-generating industry.
Analysis by ACIL Allen projects that hydrogen exports alone could be worth $10 billion in 20 years, and create 16,000 new blue-collar jobs – mainly in regional areas. 
Most of the benefits of hydrogen development will be in regional Australia. For example, the deep sea water ports of Gladstone and Newcastle are well placed to support a hydrogen export industry.
While benefiting the nation as a whole, regional Queensland will be the big winner from Labor’s plan.
Labor is taking a hands-on approach to supporting the new jobs and industries Queensland needs for the future.
We want regional Queenslanders to have good, secure blue-collar jobs for the future in existing and new industries.  
Hydrogen can be the next great energy industry for Australia – and Labor has a plan to make it happen.
Labor’s six-point plan for hydrogen will:
1. Allocate $1 billion of funding from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to support clean hydrogen development, from Labor’s commitment to double CEFC’s capital by $10 billion.
2. Invest up to $90 million of unallocated funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to support research, demonstration and pre-commercial deployment of hydrogen technologies.
3. Establish a $10 million ARENA funding round for hydrogen refuelling infrastructure around the nation, from within ARENA’s unallocated funding.
4. Invest $40 million of unallocated funding from the CEFC Clean Energy Innovation Fund to target hydrogen technologies and businesses that have passed the research and development stage.
5. Implement regulatory reforms that will help the industry develop and prosper, including reforms to support the use of existing gas pipelines for hydrogen, reforms to support the shipping of hydrogen, reforms to better support the storage of CO2 from blue and brown hydrogen production, as well as other reforms to support hydrogen use and production.
6. Establish the National Hydrogen Innovation Hub in Gladstone with an initial investment of $3 million. This will kick-start early commercialisation of hydrogen technologies, provide a hub for investment and research agencies, and provide opportunities to leverage LNG infrastructure to support hydrogen exports.
A Shorten Labor Government will make Gladstone the hydrogen capital of Australia.
Hydrogen means more investment in Australia, more exports from Australia, and more blue-collar jobs for Australia.
Australia has everything to gain from the global transition to more renewable energy. But to secure the new industries and jobs it will deliver, we need a government that has a plan to foster and grow the industries of the future.
That is exactly what Labor’s National Hydrogen Plan will deliver.
Further information on Labor’s National Hydrogen Plan can be found here.

MIL OSI Australia


Source: Australian Labor Party (ALP)

A Shorten Labor Government will boost local jobs by ensuring more government contracts and major projects are delivered by local businesses, bringing significant economic benefit to communities in Queensland and around Australia.

Under a Labor Government’s Local Projects, Local Jobs plan, more government investment will be spent on local businesses and local jobs – not multinationals that don’t care about locals and don’t pay tax in Australia.
The Federal Government spends $50 billion every year on goods and services – how the government spends that money, how it contracts and who it contracts matters.
Billions more are spent on infrastructure, energy and resource projects around Australia. Locals are locked out of work as multinationals bring in their own suppliers.
Labor believes that if local small and medium businesses can do the job competitively, then the job should be done locally.
If bidders on large government contracts can’t show how they’ll support competitive local business and local jobs, then they shouldn’t be getting contracts. It’s simple – no local jobs, no contract.
Local companies – those based in the town, city and region where the government is spending funds, should get better access to contracts so they can employ local people.
While value for money for the taxpayer will continue to be paramount, a Shorten Labor Government will put greater emphasis on buying local, employing locals and supporting economic activity in our regions. This is consistent with our international agreements.
Labor’s three-point plan for Local Projects, Local Jobs includes:

Better access to government contracts for local businesses

  • Labor will require government departments work with local firms to ensure they can benefit from government contracts, and properly consider the economic benefit that local businesses provide. Value for money will be the key criteria.
  • For projects over $10 million Labor will require bidders to develop a Plan for Local Jobs to support jobs in the regions that projects are undertaken.
  • Successful bidders will be required to nominate an on-the-ground contact to engage with local small and medium businesses to raise awareness of upcoming tender and subcontracting opportunities.
  • Companies will also have to undertake local labour-market testing for any new employees required for the project, to ensure temporary work visa holders are not undercutting local wages.
  • Officials will be required to consider relevant financial and non-financial costs and benefits of the procurement, including commitment to local or regional markets and a more competitive supplier base.

Supporting local business at home and abroad

  • Labor will ensure that more public and large private projects will be required to put plans in place to give Australian firms a chance to win work on major projects.
  • On public projects these plans will be required to be considered as part of the project development and tender – not after a contract has been granted.
  • Projects over $250 million will have to ensure that local firms are provided with a fair opportunity to win work and not be excluded. These projects will be required to put an Australian Industry Participation plan in place, opening up access to new opportunities including in mining, rail, road and energy.
  • Labor will back local businesses by working with industry groups to make our businesses stronger, and able to win contracts at home and abroad. We will appoint supplier advocates in key sectors like rail and steel to open up new opportunities for jobs. Labor will work with a revamped enterprise connect, industry capability network and have strong anti-dumping measures to keep Australian firms strong.
  • Just like our international athletes compete with the support of the Australian government, our local businesses should be able to rely on the same support.

More local apprentices and boosting local TAFEs

  • The Liberals have cut TAFE and apprenticeships – we have 130,000 fewer apprentices and trainees since the Liberals came to office.
  • Labor will require one in 10 workers on major projects to be apprentices from the local area to ensure we are giving young locals the chance to learn the skills they need for a job, and help older workers retrain for new jobs.
  • This commitment is in addition to Labor’s existing commitments on TAFE – including scrapping upfront fees for 100,000 TAFE students, and establishing the $100 million Building TAFE for the Future Fund for necessary upgrades and improvements to Australia’s TAFEs.

This announcement is all about supporting local businesses and local jobs. Labor understands the power of government procurement and major projects to deliver economic benefits for communities outside the major capital cities.
As part of our plan for Local Jobs, Local Projects a Shorten Labor government will deliver for our regions, and deliver jobs for Australians.

MIL OSI Australia


Source: Australian Labor Party (ALP)

A Shorten Labor Government will help attract and retain health workers in Far North Queensland – and create local jobs – by investing in a new dedicated training facility at Cairns Hospital.

 This $60 million investment is part of Labor’s Fair Go Action Plan to protect Medicare and fix our hospitals.
Far North Queensland is facing a critical health workforce shortage that risks compromising the care Cairns residents are entitled to.
This shortage is exacerbated by the lack of a dedicated facility to train and develop doctors, nurses and allied health providers in Cairns. This makes it harder to attract health workers for their training, or retain them as they seek to develop over their careers.
Labor’s commitment to invest in a new Cairns University Hospital follows the ‘Cairns Convoy to Canberra’ last year, when we were briefed on the vision to transform Cairns Hospital into a new tertiary facility.
Our funding will include $10 million towards the purchase of the required land as well as $50 million to fully fund the James Cook University’s Tropical Enterprise Centre within a new Cairns University Hospital precinct.  
This is a project that will further diversify the Cairns local economy to support more good, local, secure jobs.
It also has the potential to open up a new world of international education, leveraging off strong growth in the local tourism sector to attract more medical students from the Asia-Pacific region.
When finished, the state-of-the-art facility will host:

  • Clinical training and development – helping to attract and retain health workers in both primary and acute care to Far North Queensland
  • Research – into regional priorities such as ATSI health, tropical medicine and equity of access
  • Innovation – such as a proposed project to deliver services closer to home through telehealth

The Centre will create hundreds of jobs during both the construction and operational phases and free up space at Cairns Hospital by moving all education and research functions to the new Centre.
This will allow Cairns Hospital to expand its clinical space within the existing footprint.
Labor’s Candidate for Leichhardt, Elida Faith, has been relentless in advocating for this project and this major commitment would not have happened without her work.
Labor believes Australian should get the best quality health care whenever they need it – no matter if you live in downtown Brisbane or Far North Queensland.
That’s why the last federal Labor Government invested $12m in Cairns Hospital through our Health and Hospitals Fund.
The Liberals on the other hand just cut and cut and cut from health. As Treasurer, Scott Morrison cut from health and hospitals in every Budget he authored.
His government has cut $7.2 million from Cairns Hospital under the current 2017 to 2020 funding agreement.
That’s equivalent to 20 nurses, or 11,000 emergency department visits, or 17,500 outpatient appointments. And it’s part of a $160m cut to Queensland hospitals and a $715m cut nationwide.
Now Morrison is trying to lock in those cuts for another five years – a dud deal that the Queensland Labor Government is resisting.
Labor will reverse the Liberal cuts with our $2.8 billion Better Hospitals Fund, which we will use to kickstart the construction of this exciting new project.
Only Labor can be trusted to fix Queensland’s hospitals.

MIL OSI Australia


Source: Australian Labor Party (ALP)

SUBJECT/S: Swim Smart – Labor’s plan to keep our kids safe in the water; Jobs Not Cuts bus tour; Kelly O’Dwyer; female representation in the Parliament; Barnaby Joyce; chaos and division in the Coalition

DANIEL PARSELL, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR FISHER: Good morning everyone. My name is Daniel Parsell – I am the local member – local candidate for Fisher, rather, and I am here with the Leader of the Labor Party, Bill Shorten, Deputy Leader, Tanya Plibersek and the member for Kingsford-Smith, Matt Thistlethwaite. This is a great opportunity for them to be here. They’re here to support Queensland on their Bill bus tour and we thank them all for coming along. And I am here with Bill to announce a new policy – so I’ll hand over to Bill.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks, Daniel. Hello, everyone. We will keep this fairly brief because of course, you’d probably rather than be in water than just standing in front of it talking politics. 
But I am really pleased today with Tanya Plibersek and Matt Thistlethwaite to be announcing that if Labor is elected, we are going to invest $46 million dollars in the next three years to make sure that Australian children get a better chance to learn to swim and water safety. 
Chloe grew up on this coast on her the holidays. She learned to do her nippers and her training here, and she’s no different to millions of other Australians. We love the beach, but gee it’s important that we make sure that our kids learn to swim. 
It’s a real tragedy that even this year alone in the summer, 65 people have drowned. Not just at the beaches, but on the rivers and in the dams. We need to be better and smarter at teaching people to swim. 

Anyone who’s got a friend who’s an adult who never learned to swim when they were a kid knows that they’ve missed out and those adults don’t feel as confident around the water. 
As a parent, I want all my children to learn to swim and I’ve helped teach them to swim. I want to make sure that every Australian child at least has that opportunity. So we want to work with the states, we want to work with the surf lifesaving clubs to make sure that Aussie kids learn to swim, to make sure that they learn about water safety. We think this is a great investment in our kids. $46 million – it’s a significant amount of money but it’s not too much. We think that if Aussie kids can learn to swim in bigger numbers, then we think that’s an investment in the future. It’s an investment not only in their social confidence but indeed in their safety. So we’re very positive about this announcement today. 
Happy to take any questions people might have. 
JOURNALIST: (Inaudible)
SHORTEN: Well, first of all you’re quite right – Queensland and Annastacia Palaszczuk has done a good job in terms of rolling out a learn to swim campaign, and I acknowledge the work of the Courier Mail in campaigning on this. But it is too hit and miss in Australia. One in five Australian kids are finishing school with no knowledge of how to swim and that’s not good enough. We want to work with state governments, we want to work with Catholic and independent schools, and we want to work with the surf lifesaving movement. 
But Matt Thistlethwaite and Tanya have done a fair bit of work on this policy, so why don’t I get them to perhaps expand why we think this is filling a gap, making sure that Australian kids learn to swim. Matt?

Firstly, I’d like to thank all of the stakeholders who helped us put this policy together. We’ve got representatives from Queensland Surf Lifesaving here today. We met in every state and territory across the country over the last 12 months, holding roundtables on this very important issue. And those stakeholders – including AUSTSWIM, including Royal Lifesaving, including Surf Lifesaving Australia – told us that the great lack in Australia at the moment is that we don’t have a national approach to teaching swimming and water safety. And many kids are falling through the gaps. 

In fact, the swimming and water safety education that a child gets these days is unfortunately dependent on two things: where they live and their parents’ income. And in a nation like Australia, where being at the beach enjoying the water, is part of our culture and our national identity, it’s simply not good enough that some children are missing out. And this announcement that we’re making today of $46 million over the forward estimates will ensure that we can work with the state and territory governments to plug those gaps.

And I do want to congratulate the Palaszczuk Government because historically in Queensland they haven’t had aN across the board approach to swimming and water safety, but this government is now investing an additional $4 million in schools across the state to roll out a program, and our money will help supplement and boost that program to make sure that we get more kids into swimming and water safety, and they develop that very important and vital life skill. 

JOURNALIST: How will that $46 million be divided up between the states?

THISTLETHWAITE: So the policy is based on costings that have been looked at by the Parliamentary Budget Office, the $46 million. It’s based on a program of $55 per-student, which is roughly half the cost of what it takes to get a child through to a year four level of proficiency under the national swimming and water safety guidelines. And that policy will ensure that it’s a matter of the Commonwealth partnering with the states to ensure that more kids get access to that vitally important training program, which is the competency benchmark that’s been put forward by the national swimming and water safety council.
JOURNALIST: (inaudible)

SHORTEN: Not at all. But if you want to talk about swimming, there’s few places I can think better in Australia than coming to the Sunshine Coast. 
Now, we’re doing our bus tour – our Jobs Not Cuts bus tour of Queensland. We’ve started in Logan – in Beenleigh, and I’ve been to Chermside, to the hospital there, and North Lakes shopping centre. During the weekend, I was very fortunate to be on the Sunshine Coast. My wife, Chloe, as I said, grew up on the Sunshine Coast in her holidays learning to swim. I have to say the water temperature in Queensland, it’s unarguable. It’s about seven degrees warmer than Bass Strait, where I was – down the Great Ocean Road where my little daughter did Nippers this summer. It’s quite unusual for a Victorian to see people not all in wetsuits at the beach. So Queensland’s a special place. But this program is something for all of Australia.
Really, I think we can over complicate politics in Australia. I think you’d be hard put to find a single parent in Australia who doesn’t think that making sure that kids getting swimming lessons isn’t a good idea. You know, we’re trying to do it in the most cost effective way, but I want Aussie kids to learn how to swim. A lot of good people are doing a lot of work. I want to acknowledge Laurie Lawrence’s influence in terms of educating us about the importance of swimming lessons, Surf Lifesaving. But I think the Government nationally needs to step up. 
JOURNALIST: (Inaudible)
[Helicopter flies over] 
SHORTEN: I heard the propeller, not much of what you said, sorry. 
JOURNALIST: (Inaudible)

SHORTEN: Well this is my 6th January as Opposition Leader. My united team’s been working on policies. I think the old way of doing politics, where you rush out some expenditure promises just at the last minute in the official five weeks of an election campaign, I think that insults the intelligence of Australians. Wherever I travelled this summer, and the same has been even as late as this morning on the beaches here, people come up to me and they say, listen, we don’t have to agree with everything that you say, but will you be stable? People are over this instability in politics where politicians fight amongst themselves and don’t talk about the people.
Now, jobs are important. Education, health care is important. Getting the banks to face a royal commission is important. But swimming lessons is just another piece of example of the work we’re doing. So a good opposition puts out ideas all the time, so that’s what we’re doing today, because I think the Australian people should examine not just what we say about our opponents but what we want to do for the country. 
If what we do today can save the life of any Australian child or Australian adult, then this is a very good investment. 

JOURNALIST: What are your thoughts on Kelly O’Dwyer’s resignation? 

SHORTEN: First of all, I’m a dad. I know what it’s like to be away from my three kids. Matt, as a father of four, Tanya’s raised three kids along with her husband through 18 years of politics, so I understand the strains. But I also get that our Defence Force personnel are away at long periods of time from their families. In fact, millions of Australians, working families, have strains. So I respect her decision. 
I’m going to ask Tanya to supplement the answer to your question. But losing a cabinet minister, no matter what the reason, I think it’s very legitimate in this case,  just heightens again, I think, the instability. And I wonder if there’s going to be more people from the current government, for whatever good reason, just saying they’ve had enough and pulling the ripcord and getting off the government aeroplane. But I might get Tanya to talk about the policy issues.
I think you make a really important point when you say that millions of Australians are facing juggling the balance between work and family. There are people in all sorts of jobs and Bill’s mentioned our defence personnel. 
You know, I go down to Garden Island when we’re welcoming our Navy personnel back. They’ve often been on three or four or six month trips around the Gulf area perhaps, and they’re coming home to tiny children, and dads coming home to their tiny children, waiting for them there on the wharf at Garden Island. It’s tough to be away from your kids. We experience it as parliamentarians, but many professions experience this. And so the first thing I guess I’d say is of course I understand Kelly’s decision. 
As Bill said, I’ve raised three children. My oldest is about to turn 18. All of them were born after I was elected to Parliament. I know that it is heartbreaking to miss out on some of those milestones. But we do it because we have a commitment to the country, to making this country a better country for our kids. We are always torn between those two things, of wanting to be there every minute for our children, and wanting to give them a better world, a better country to grow up in. So it is a struggle and I respect the decision that Kelly’s made.

What I would say is that the parliamentary environment has changed a lot in the time that I’ve been there. You know, we’ve got people like Bill, who’ve got a young family, like Matt who’s got four beautiful children, who really want to be there for their kids as well. And having almost 50 per cent women in the Labor Caucus has made a huge difference to. Having active and engaged fathers and having more women has meant that we do try and respect people’s desire to balance their work and family commitments but it’s still hard as a parliamentarian. I remember Michelle Rowland in the last federal election – or the 2013 federal election campaign – doing railway stations every morning, kissing her six month old baby goodbye at 4.00am and walking out the door to do railway stations every morning. It’s a tough life, and we do it because we want to leave a better country for our kids. 

I think one of the differences that the Liberal Party could make to make it easier to retain people like Kelly O’Dwyer in the frontbench is increase the number of women in their parliamentary party, because when you get a critical mass, it does change the culture. 
We started, in 1994, the Liberals and Labor started at around about 14 per cent female representation in both of our parties. The difference since then is we set targets to increase our female representation and we’re at almost 50 per cent now, and the Liberals are stuck at about one in five of their parliamentary representatives being female. If you don’t set targets, if you don’t make it a priority, then nothing changes. 
And I don’t think it’s fair to put all the pressure on people like Kelly O’Dwyer to fix the problem. I’d like to see what Scott Morrison proposes to do to increase female representation in the Liberal Party. 
JOURNALIST: Just while you’re there and on female representation, what do you think the biggest barriers are to women entering and staying in politics?

PLIBERSEK: Well I think the biggest barrier is the willingness of a political organisation that they’re part of to make room for them. 

I mean we had to have a fight in the Labor Party in 1994 to set our 30 per cent target for winnable seats. It was a fight, nobody gave us that target – the women and supportive men in the Labor Party fought for it and won it. And we achieved it. We achieved it ahead of schedule. We increased the target to 40 per cent. We’ve increased it to 50 per cent, and we’ll get there six years ahead of schedule because our organisation, the Australian Labor Party, has made that a priority. 
I think the biggest barrier to women going into politics is the culture of the party that they’ve joined.

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible)

SHORTEN: Well I just don’t want to talk about politicians. I want to talk about parents, working parents right across Australia in a whole lot of occupations – the media right through to factories, right through to office work, right through the health and education systems. What will lessen the strain on families and women participating meaningfully at work, is pay women the same as men, provide well-funded childcare and also, change the culture. 

Tanya’s right. The Labor Party – and we make no apology for it – we’ve decided that we want to be a party who’s about 50-50 men and women in Parliament. We think we should reflect the Australian population. 
But it’s not just about politicians. We’re proposing to fund universal pre-school for all three and four year-olds. That’s going to save families thousands of dollars. Very hard for a woman to return to work – say the father’s already at work and the woman’s returning to work – if you’re spending all the money you earn to return to work on childcare so you can go to work. It’s a vicious cycle. So we want to fund childcare. It’s a disaster in Australia that the cost of childcare under the Liberal Government’s gone up 20 per cent. So do I think it’s good if they replace Kelly O’Dwyer with another woman? Yes. But they sort of don’t get that’s the symptom, not the problem. 
The real problem for millions of Australian families, millions of Australian women is they’re not paid the same as the blokes, childcare is ridiculously expensive and growing out of control. It’s not just about one politician in the leafy suburbs of the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne. It’s about how do we make sure that women and men get a fair go. It’s childcare, it’s pay, it’s the cost of living, and that’s how I think we can help all women participate more fairly. 

But it’s also the culture. It’s making sure that when you create workplaces that you have women role models. That’s why I am so lucky to have both Tanya Plibersek and Penny Wong in the leadership of the Labor Party. Queensland Labor’s led by Annastacia Palaszczuk. I think that also sends a very healthy message to young girls: get involved. 

JOURNALIST: What do you make of the news Barnaby Joyce is having another baby with Vicki Campion?
SHORTEN: I congratulate Barnaby and his family. That’s entirely a personal matter for them. I congratulate them. Whenever a child is to be born, it’s good news. 

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible)
SHORTEN: Listen, I wish them well. I’m not going to comment on that, and if anyone’s out there complaining about Barnaby Joyce, it just sounds like more instability in the Coalition. I don’t make any judgement about their personal circumstances. I don’t think a lot of Australians do. 
But what we see, it doesn’t matter where it is in the current government, they just don’t like each other. They really need some time in opposition so they can get over themselves and get back to worrying about the Australian people. I mean, this week we had the former Minister for Pacific Islands, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells criticising her boss, the Liberal Prime Minister. We see this sort of backbiting about Barnaby Joyce. We see more and more Liberals, for whatever reason, jumping ship. 
This is a government who really, in my opinion, needs to hear the message of the electorate: time for stability. If you can’t work amongst yourselves, how on earth can you govern the nation?
JOURNALIST: Do you think we will see Julie Bishop leave any time soon?

SHORTEN: Well Julie Bishop’s a capable woman and I’m sure there’s a lot she can do in the private sector. The fact that no West Australian Liberal MP voted for their most popular West Australian Liberal MP speaks volumes of the backbiting and the division. You know, it’s up to her, but it wouldn’t surprise me if she’s got better things to do with her time than deal with a whole lot of people who don’t appreciate her. Well, I for one am not going to blame her, but that’s up to her. 

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible)

SHORTEN: Ms O’Dwyer has made it clear she’s got her personal reasons for leaving and we respect that. We’ve had a good discussion at this press conference about the structural barriers, so I’m not going to try and extrapolate from her circumstances. 
The big point about her going is that she is the only Liberal woman, just about, in the Victorian Liberal Party in the House of Reps. They lost Julia Banks – a very capable woman who’s now an independent. When Kelly O’Dwyer goes, it’s quite likely they’re just going to be blokes in the Liberal Party from Victoria. If you like, it’s not her going which is the issue – that’s her business. It’s the fact that once she goes, what other women are they going to put on the frontbench? 
Is that good? We’ve covered everything? Thanks everybody, cheers.


MIL OSI Australia


Source: Australian Labor Party (ALP)

SUBJECT/S: Swim Smart – Labor’s plan to keep our kids safe in the water; Jobs Not Cuts bus tour; Federal election; Clive Palmer.

BASIL ZEMPILAS, HOST: Every primary school student will have access to swimming lessons under a major policy announcement being made today by Labor. It follows a summer drowning toll which has shocked lifesavers around Australia, 65 deaths since the start of December. In the same period last summer, there’d been 44 drownings.
EDWINA BARTHOLOMEW, HOST: And Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten joins us now from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. Good morning to you, Mr Shorten. We’ve seen so many drownings at beaches and also inland waterways, it’s important to note. So does your announcement today cover every child everywhere in Australia?
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Our aim is to make sure that every child in Australia gets the chance to learn swimming lessons. Now states are doing quite a bit already, but as you said in your preamble to this discussion, it has been a shocking toll this summer. I think one of the best things that as a nation we can give our children is confidence in the water, and that involves swimming lessons. So it is not the national government, if I get elected, taking over this – the state are doing it, but it is very patchwork. And isn’t it great when kids learn to swim?
This summer I took my youngest – our nine year-old, we went down to the Bass Strait, which is about seven degrees colder water than where I am up on the Sunshine Coast. But she did nippers, and it teaches them confidence in the water. I could not have been prouder. And I must say, this summer in particular has opened my eyes up to the work that the volunteers and surf lifesaving clubs do, giving kids water confidence. But I think it is time for the national government to use a modest amount of taxpayer money to make sure that every child can finish primary school, having had the chance to do swimming lessons. It is going to save lives. 
Also, as you might appreciate – you might have friends who are adults who don’t swim. Kids who don’t get the chance to learn to swim when they’re young, it sort of punishes adults for a whole long time, so I think it is a good social measure as well. 
ZEMPILAS: $46 million – let’s hope it saves some lives, 65 deaths since the start of December, way too many. You’re on a bus tour at moment, Mr Shorten, of south-east Queensland. The Prime Minister recently went on a bus tour. Are you going to finish your tour?
SHORTEN: Yes ours is a nine day tour, although because it overlapped with the weekend, I’ve had a day on the Sunshine Coast. I’m here at Moffat Beach – it’s in the People’s Republic of Caloundra. I know that Queenslanders are rightly proud of the Sunshine Coast, but having spent summer in Bass Strait where there are more wetsuits than bathers – listen, the temperature here is just stunning, and my wife comes from here so she’s been at me for a long time – 
BARTHOLOMEW: It certainly is a lovely spot.
SHORTEN: So I’ve had a day off the bus and I’ll go back on the bus on Monday.
BARTHOLOMEW: The Prime Minister is also in Queensland at the moment. It seems like Queenslanders will be the big beneficiaries of election campaign cash-splash, and also be used for a lot of photo opportunities over the coming months it seems, Mr Shorten. Tell us, what electorates are you really targeting there, because you do have a good chance of winning some of these marginal seats that you’re travelling through over the next 16 towns that you will be visiting.
SHORTEN: Well this is my sixth January as Opposition Leader and what I’m hearing all over Australia, not just Queensland, is people are sick of the instability. So when you say what am I targeting, I don’t look at Queensland as LNP or Labor, I just look at them as Queenslanders. I want to make sure that kids get a good education and well-funded schools, that when you’re sick you can afford to see the doctor, that the pensioners get a better deal, that there are jobs in regional Queensland. So our policies are aimed at all Australians, and I think people are just looking for stability. Do you know that over summer, one of the comments I got from people who say they are die-hard Liberals, they just want one person to be Prime Minister for the next three years. So stability is the big message I’m getting, and I can offer that after six years as Opposition Leader.
ZEMPILAS: Clive Palmer has been copping some criticism for sending out mass text messages. Will the ALP be doing that in the lead up to the next election?
SHORTEN: Well, I think that part of the reason why Clive Palmer is copping some criticism is that he used to run a nickel plant or business interest associated with it in Townsville. And that nickel plant went into insolvency and workers were left with unpaid wages and entitlements – the taxpayers had to step into the shoes of Palmer and pay the workers their entitlements. So I think what’s annoying people, other than the electronic spam nature of these communications, is that it would appear a lot of people think that Mr Palmer owes his workers tens of millions of dollars, and the taxpayers – and they say, if you have got enough money to put your billboards up or annoy me with your unwarranted text messages, how about you just repay the taxpayer first? And I think once he does that people might take him more seriously.
BARTHOLOMEW: So that’s a promise not to spam our phones during the election is it, Mr Shorten? No messages from Bill?
SHORTEN: We will only ever give you facts – important facts. 
BARTHOLOMEW: I think that might be the likelihood of receiving one. 
SHORTEN: But I tell you one thing Edwina, I’ll tell you one thing we won’t do: we won’t be spending as a company director, money chasing votes when they need to go to repay the taxpayers and the workers what they are owed to begin with. It’s about priorities.
ZEMPILAS: I say this with respect this morning, Mr Shorten, back on the bus. Thanks for making the announcement with us this morning about the school swimming program.
SHORTEN: Have a lovely morning guys. The swimming program is really important, it’s good policy.
BARTHOLOMEW: It certainly is. 1,600ks to cover so he has got a long way to go. 

MIL OSI Australia


Source: Australian Labor Party (ALP)

SUBJECTS: Labor’s investment in an MRI licence for Prince Charles Hospital; Queensland Jobs Not Cuts Bus Tour; Climate change; Aged Care Royal Commission; Negative gearing

ANIKA WELLS, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR LILLEY: Welcome everybody it’s great to see you all here in the electorate of Lilley. It is my honour to welcome the Bill Bus to the seat, for the Queensland Jobs Not Cuts Tour, today stopping at Prince Charles Hopsital. I have Ali France, our Labor Candidate for Dickson with me, obviously our Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, our Shadow Minister for Health, Catherine King and Wayne Swan, the current Member for Lilley. Today’s announcement is a very welcome one for northside families. The Prince Charles perhaps is best known throughout the entire of the great southeast as the people who sell the strawberry sundaes at the Ekka each year and that money raises funds for much needed medical research which helps to try and tackle some of Australia’s most debilitating chronic conditions. So, we locals love our hospital here and while we prefer to love it from afar, the truth is that we never know when our time will come to be driven up that hill and in the front doors. So my family knows that path well, I was hospitalised several times after the birth of my daughter. So for what it’s worth, ward 2B has a very refreshing view over the pergola. But I was lucky, because I was able to be assessed very quickly and my out of pocket costs were the medicines I needed to take home with me. People who need an MRI scan often aren’t that lucky, so today’s announcement is a very welcome one because it will help reduce operating costs, offer more scans and reduce wait list times. So northside families are looking to their Government to try and make things a little bit easier, reducing the costs and wait on MRI scans help make something very important just a little bit easier so I’ll hand over to our Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to tell you more.

BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks Anika and good morning everybody. It’s great to be at the Prince Charles Hospital on Brisbane’s northside. It’s day two of my Jobs Not Cuts Bus Tour of Queensland and we’re here today talking about an issue which may not be the only issue for this election but for the Labor Party, there is no more important issue, health care for Australians, affordable healthcare for Australians, quality healthcare for Australians. And we over-complicate politics sometimes and there’s no doubt in my mind as I enter my sixth January as Opposition Leader, that healthcare is a number one issue for Australians. And at this hospital, it’s quite an amazing world-class facility. Wayne Swan, the outgoing Member for Lilley was explaining to me that this is an iconic hospital, it has a world-class heart facility. And it is a hospital which gives the community peace of mind, it’s part of the massive growth of the northside of Brisbane, but it’s a hospital which now needs new investment. New investment in providing access to the best technology and ensuring that healthcare is affordable. 

Today I’m really pleased to announce that we will provide a fully rebateable Medicare licence for an MRI machine at this hospital. What that effectively means is that Australians and that people living on the northside who need MRI services, diagnostic services, are able to get the imaging here and not have the out of pocket costs they currently experience. Out of pocket costs could be $400 or $500 and in some cases up to $900. We don’t want to go down the American path where how much money you have determines the quality of your healthcare. Instead Labor wants to make choices. We make a choice to properly fund our health system in Australia. We make a choice that in growing communities such as the very fast and large growing northside of Brisbane, they should have access to affordable medical technology. MRI technology is now a fundamental tool for so much of what doctors do when they treat Australians who are ill.
So this is a good announcement. We’re able to afford to extend our Medicare rebateable licences to MRI machines all around Australia in areas of great need because we’ve made tough choices. For us, politics is about better hospitals not bigger profits for banks and that’s what we’re going to do today. I’d now like to invite Catherine King our Shadow Health Minister to talk further about why this is good news and important news for people who live in the northside of Brisbane.
CATHERINE KING, SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH: Thanks, Bill it’s lovely to be here with Anika and with Ali, our fantastic candidates for the north here. This announcement today is an important one for Prince Charles Hospital. As Wayne Swan has explained to me, this hospital has really grown as the population and community has grown. It’s known widely across Queensland for its great work with heart functions but of course now it is the general hospital for this area. And as that has occurred, the MRI licences here, the partial MRI licences that are here are no longer adequate to serve the population of this area. This announcement today means that for general patients and for outpatients in particular that it will make MRIs affordable for this community. MRIs are a very common diagnostic tool and under the Liberal Party, we have seen very little action when it comes to MRIs. When Labor was last in Government, we funded over 200 MRI licences during our term in Government. This Government has been very late to the party and I’m very proud that they have now followed our lead but unfortunately have not announced any MRIs for this hospital here so this announcement will make a substantial difference. Labor’s investment in MRI of course also comes on the back of this Liberal Government’s cuts to this hospital, over $7 million over the last three years alone, cuts to this hospital. And that has an impact. It has an impact on the hospital’s capacity to see people in the emergency department to take outpatient visits. Labor wants to invest in our hospitals, we want to see MRIs, diagnostic imaging more affordable for people but we don’t want to see anymore Liberal cuts.
SHORTEN: Thanks very much, Catherine. Are there any questions on this or any other matters?
JOURNALIST: Just in regards to the Aged Care Royal Commission, do you think that this Royal Commission is perhaps more worthy than other ones we’ve seen that may have been more politically driven?
SHORTEN: I think that in Australia, that people who require aged care support have not been getting a good deal for a number of years. So I’m a supporter of this Royal Commission, in fact, when I raised the possibility of having the Royal Commission and discussion on a political talkshow and talking in one of my town hall meetings, the current Government and the current minister rushed out and they said that because I was contemplating a Royal Commission into aged care, the current Government and current minister accused me of elder abuse. I in turn said they’re covering up. So I think this Royal Commission is the right decision. But you don’t need a Royal Commission to know that when you cut $1.2 billion out of aged care, you’re going to create potential time bombs and disasters. You don’t need a Royal Commission to know that under the last five years of Liberal administration in Australia, aged care has gone backwards. I might invite Catherine King to talk a bit further about aged care and also some of the issues why this current Government just really has dropped the ball on Australia’s older people in the last five years.
KING: We certainly support the Royal Commission and obviously it has got its first day of hearings today and Julie Collins, the Shadow Minister for Aged Care I think will be doing a stand up and talking about some of the news that has hit the media today. But what we’ve seen over the last five years is $1.2 billion cut out of the aged care system and one of the most, I think dangerous and ridiculous decisions that the Government made, was to cut the dementia supplement. That dementia supplement went to directly to every single residential aged care to actually help them work with patients with dementia who do have more complex needs. The Government is announcing today that it’s going to crack down on physical and chemical restraint, that’s a good thing. But they have known for five years that this is a substantial issue in our aged care facilities. They have known that aged care facilities, managing dementia patients is increasingly challenging as we see more and more people being diagnosed with dementia. Frankly, what we are going to hear from this Royal Commission are going to be some very harrowing stories. But what we actually need is not cuts to services, we actually need to put resources into residential aged care so we’re actually looking after the people who are most vulnerable in their later years.
SHORTEN: Thanks, Catherine.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, Clive Palmer has promised to outspend Labor and the Liberals. How many seats do you think he can take?
SHORTEN: First of all I’d just ask Mr Palmer to pay the workers what he owes them and pay the taxpayers what he owes them. Once he’s done that I am happy to take questions on Clive Palmer. In terms of the election, it’s a tough election, Labor has only won from Opposition nationally three times since the second World War. But, I think we’ve got a couple of advantages, we are united, we have been doing the policy work and we know that the economy is not working in the interests of every day Australians so we’ve got a Fair Go Plan which I’ll be talking to Queenslanders about. This summer wherever I travelled, people would say to meeverything is going up Bill, except our wages. So what we need is a Fair Go Plan which looks after working and middleclass Queenslanders and working and middleclass Australians. Only Labor has got tax refunds for working and middleclass people in the order of nearly $1,000 each person each year, for each person earning up to $90,000 a year. Only Labor has got a plan to help keep the cost of private health insurance down. Only Labor has got a plan for renewable energy which will lead to lower power bills for Australians. So it’s going to be a tough election but we’ve got a united team, I’ve got a more talented team, look at my remarkable candidates on the northside for example, Anika and Ali, they’re strong candidate. So we’ve got a good team, we’re united, our policies I think are talking to what’s really happening out there in the community. I really would prefer to be announcing MRI licences so that people can see their out of pocket costs reduced for basic healthcare in this country rather than defending giving tax concessions and tax loopholes to the top end of town.
JOURNALIST: Is the Fijian Prime Minister right to criticise Australia on climate policy?
SHORTEN: Yeah that was quite remarkable wasn’t it. Listen, when Mr Morrison goes overseas he represents Australia so I want him to do well. But it’s a bit embarrassing that he had to go to Fiji to be told that he’s doing nothing on climate change, when in fact millions of Australians could have told him that in Australia. We have no climate change policy. I mean, the Fijians have got YouTube and the internet, and they’ve just looked up the pictures of Mr Morrison brandishing coal like some lucky charm in Parliament in Question Time, turning it into show-and-tell time for primary school students. Like, we’ve got a Prime Minister who thinks that a lump of coal is an energy plan. Coal is part of our energy mix going forward, of course it is. But the rest of the world, millions of Australians, I, Labor, know that the current Government are not interested in climate change. They can’t even agree if it’s caused by human activity or not. So, Mr Morrison didn’t need to buy an airplane ticket to go to Fiji to be told, but the whole world and Australia knows that the Liberal Government have got no climate change policy.
JOURNALIST: Can I ask you to clarify something we discussed yesterday. The sequencing on the measures, in your first term of government, would be referendum on constitutional recognition, then plebiscite on the Republic?
JOURNALIST: Derryn Hinch has used a social media platform to tweet out details of a case that the police wanted to keep quiet. Do you condemn that?
SHORTEN: Well, first of all, I want to go to the tragedy and the crime which has happened, which has triggered the question you’re asking. A young Israeli woman in Australia savagely and brutally murdered. I’m a parent. I’ve got teenage children who, you know, use the public transport in Melbourne. This is not the Australia or the Melbourne that I grew up in. It is shocking. I want to say to parents whose young people come to Australia, this is shocking but this is not Australia. So, my feelings for the grief of this family, are just very strong. I want to reassure them that our police are amongst the best in the world. They will successfully catch, and our legal system will punish the wrongdoer. That is what I also want to say to people coming to Australia, and I want to say to parents in Australia; I do think that people who are in positions of power and influence shouldn’t put out information automatically when the police have got a different strategy to catch and convict the wrongdoers. I don’t want to give what Senator Hinch has done any more oxygen than that. For me, this is about a shocking and senseless murder. For me, it’s about the loss of a family. And the idea that your child could be lost on the other side of the world makes them particularly powerless. But I do want to assure people that our police are as good as anywhere in the world, and I, for one, am a politician who will let the police do their job and not get in the way.
JOURNALIST: How do you respond to the claim your speeches have been anti-business and class warfare?
SHORTEN: Who’s claiming that? It’s just rubbish. Oh, do you mean –
JOURNALIST: There is an article today suggesting that your speeches have been anti-business (inaudible) so what’s your response to that?
SHORTEN: There’s a serious issue, but I do have a sense of humour too. Some days, when I watch some of the conservative business papers condemn me, the only thing different in the newspaper is the date at the top of the newspaper banner really. I don’t take that too seriously. The real issue which we’re talking about is that I am outraged that we’re going to have no Australian ships left on the Australian coastline. You know, I do think that, as an island nation, Australian companies should be using their product on Australian shores when they ship it, in Australian ships, or at least crewed by Australian crews. Iron boats have been covering materials in the steel and iron industry, sending it around our coastline for a hundred years. I’m a student of history. This is a convenient fact which corporate Australia love to forget now, but nearly 270 ships were sunk off the Australian coastline in the Second World War. At the start of the Second World War, because we had privatised our shipping industries and sold it all off, we didn’t have enough Australian ships to carry our troops to the Middle East, or to carry supplies to Australia. We didn’t have enough seafarers, ships’ engineers and the like. History always repeats. And what we have here is amnesia from corporate Australia, who thinks that the almighty dollar is the only thing that matters. Have a look at ecological disasters caused by ships of shame. That is ships registered in third world countries or in tax havens. Why does corporate Australia, the big end of town think that the next quarter’s profits are more important than our environment, more important than Australian jobs, and more important than Australian national security? If we form a government, I make this pledge to Australia: we are determined to get more ships registered in Australia and more Australian seafarers working along the Australian coastline. For me, this is not a matter of class-war. It’s a matter of being an independent nation, controlling our transport costs, making sure that we protect our environment, and making sure that as an island nation we have ships. You know, in the good times, maybe it doesn’t matter to corporate Australia. But in the bad times, we’ll wish we had more Aussie seafarers.
JOURNALIST: Has Labor come any closer to establishing the timing its negative gearing policy?
SHORTEN: We will do it after the election in consultation, the Shadow Treasurer will have more to say about it. One important point about the timing of our negative gearing policy is this – it’s not retrospective. In other words, if you’ve invested under the current tax laws, the current tax laws will stay in place for your investment. I periodically see some of the hysterical commentary from the Government. You know, they’re trying to blame us for poor housing prices now. They’re the Government, we’re not. Our policy is not in, their policies are in and housing prices have been crashing. But what we must make very clear is that, if you’ve invested under the current tax laws, they’re the rules that will apply going forward. Our changes to negative gearing are prospective – the other point I want to make is not so much a timing point but it’s just a matter of fact. To me, running a government in Australia is about choices. I would rather find the money to pay for healthcare in this country than to give a tax windfall to a property investor purchasing their seventh house. It’s really a question of fairness. And of course the other point about fairness is do we want to be a nation who has the best tax loopholes in the world, or has the best hospitals in the world? Do we want to be a nation which allows a property investor to get a tax payment for their tenth investment property or make sure that a young person can get a job in Queensland. Do we want to be a nation who says to first home buyers, “we won’t help you, but if you’ve got several million dollars and you want to buy your fifth house, we’re your friends.” Mr Morrison and his Government are the friends of the top end of town, the tax loopholes, the friends of the multinationals, they’re the friends of the people who can opt out of the tax system. We just want to see everyone get a fair go.
JOURNALIST: Aren’t you worried that given the soft housing market, the removal of this and not just the up-front effect but obviously the ongoing effects that it could reduce house prices and so on could have a very bad effect on the Australian housing market and economy?
SHORTEN: No, it won’t. Let’s be clear about that. Ours is a fairness measure. I haven’t heard anyone explain to me how it is fair that a property investor can get their taxpayers to subsidise that person for their seventh house, but a first home buyer, well, they get no help at all. That’s just not fair. But if you want to look at what’s affecting house prices now, why can’t the Government be honest with the Australian people? It’s because the banks aren’t lending as much money. The banks are not lending as much money – that’s what’s causing the issue. Now, the regulators have put in place policies which are discouraging the banks from lending money. Who do the regulators report to? They report to the current Government. The current Government is pulling a sort of pea and thimble trick, where they want you to look over here at Labor’s future policies so as to take your attention from the fact that under the current Government this economy is not working properly. It’s not just in housing; childcare costs have gone up 20 per cent under this Government. Speak to any parents who are out there buying the books and uniforms and equipment for their kids returning to school, the costs have gone up.
If you want to see how this economy is not working properly speak to 10 million Australians who have barely had a wage rise in the last couple of years. This economy is dangerously weighted or not appropriately weighted in the interests of everyday people. If you make several billion dollars in Australia, you don’t pay as much tax, you can opt out of the system. If you’re a multinational, you don’t pay tax here. This economy is not working in the interests of everyday Australians. What we’re doing is making serious economic reforms which will allow us to properly fund the best education system in the world, the best healthcare system in the world, and the best aged care system in the world, and will allow us to make sure that we get wages moving again in this country by, for example, restoring penalty rates, which have been arbitrarily cut.
JOURNALIST: Realistically, though, given the election timing  if you did win, you wouldn’t be looking to introduce that until 2021 then given your consultation period?
SHORTEN: I’ll talk with our Shadow Treasurer and we’ll have more to say about that. Whatever changes we introduce will be the result of consultation, and they will be prospective.
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, sorry there was a story yesterday about Animals Australia offering a monetary rewards for footage of animal cruelty. What do you think about these methods of obtaining video footage? 
SHORTEN: Well as I understand the media occasionally pay for stories, it’s not my role to always judge how information gets out there. For me what worries me is the images we see. Covering up cruelty to animals doesn’t make cruelty to animals less cruel.
JOURNALIST: (inaudible) on climate change what do we risk with our relationship in the Pacific?
SHORTEN: Well they are not going to take us seriously. I imagine the Pacific is very grateful for conservative politicians coming over and giving them lectures about doing nothing on climate change and then saying we want to be your friend. It’s pretty embarrassing really isn’t it? The Prime Minister of Australia who has sneered at climate change policies, whose government got rid of a Prime Minister who wanted to take baby steps on climate change , flies over Fiji and gets a lecture about not doing enough on climate change. It’s not just the rest of the world not taking us seriously on climate  change, the Australian people are fed up. Do you know 2 million Australian households put solar on their roofs, yet they’ve got a government in Canberra that’s so far behind them, it means their energy prices keep going up because of the lack of policy certainty. Labor’s got a climate change and energy policy. We’re interested in reviving the Government’s national energy guarantee, we think that was the basic framework – we didn’t like everything about it but we were prepared to work with it because we need bipartisanship in energy policy. The current Treasurer was the architect of the national energy guarantee, and he’s given up on it. This Government can’t take action on climate change, because if they do the right-wing of their party will get rid of anyone who does. So if you want real action on climate change and lower power prices vote Labor at the next election.
JOURNALIST: Just on recognition, so we’re clear. Because there will be a first term plebiscite on the republic and the referendum on recognition would come before that, that’s a first term referendum on recognition?
SHORTEN: Yes. My answer hasn’t changed.
JOURNALIST: Would Labor consider funding the Independent Public Schools Program in Queensland after the Federal Government pulled funding in 2017?
SHORTEN: I’m not familiar with which particular program that is, if you’re referring to specific policy I’ll follow up. But our general approach to education is this, I want to give our kids the best education system in the world. We will fund schools according to need. The vast bulk of that means that government schools get funding, but we will also fund non-government schools according to need. What we won’t do is cut education funding like this current government. The other point I make about education which is good news for all Queenslanders, especially people looking at childcare this year and the costs of that – is that Labor is going to roll-out in our first term, universal preschool for 3 and 4 year-olds. If we give those kids those two years of structured learning, that just means that exponentially when they go primary school and secondary school, they’re going to do so much better. Labor is the party of education. Now if you excuse me I’ve got a bus to catch on my Jobs Not Cuts tour. Thank you very much.  

MIL OSI Australia