THE HON BILL SHORTEN MP LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG

E&OE TRANSCRIPT DOORSTOP WEDNESDAY, 22 JANUARY 2014 BRISBANE SUBJECT/S: Griffith by-election; LNP health cuts; Asylum seekers; Australia’s relationship with Indonesia; Abbott Government’s cuts to payments; ony Abbott airbrushed from Griffith campai!n material; Asbestos; Inflation fi!ures" BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good afternoon, everyone. Great to be at Princess Alexandra Hospital with Labor candidate for Griffith Terri Butler. Great to talk to ! or "! health workers, the people who keep this syste# $oin$% nurses, radio$raphers, orderlies, cleaners, caterin$ staff. &hat we see here is real concern fro# the local people and the local health workforce that the Abbott Govern#ent has 'ust $ot its own unannounced, hidden strate$y to cut healthcare. (n )ueensland the da#a$e done by the L*P and +a#pbell *ew#an, to the health syste#, the 'ob losses, the bed closures, has left a whole lot of )ueenslanders reelin$ with shock. *ow we see the Abbott Govern#ent, supported by their local candidate, fla$$in$ a new GP tax to $o to the doctor. &hat this is about is this is proposed by people who want to take away the universal nature of our health syste#, they want to increase the cost of livin$ for ordinary southsiders, )ueenslanders and Australians to $o to the doctor. The people workin$ in the hospital tell #e they think that if the GP tax co#es in they,ll see a delu$e of people passin$ the GPs, $oin$ strai$ht to the hospitals. That worries the#. They see people optin$ not to take their kids or their older relatives to the doctor because it costs too #uch in the future. (t is now at this by-election that we draw a line in the sand about defendin$ our healthcare syste#. (t is also i#portant that we have local representatives who will speak up on local issues in the national Parlia#ent. And

there.s nothin$ #ore local than #akin$ sure that a #u# can take her sick child to the doctor when they need to, or #akin$ sure that an older relative $ets that constant care that they re/uire in their older years of life. (.d like to hand over to Terri Butler to say a few words about the ca#pai$n so far and this $atherin$ today. TERRI BUTLER, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR GRIFFITH: &e.re here because people are concerned about costs, they.re concerned about the cost of livin$, they.re concerned about the i#pact that the GP tax will have on their cost of livin$ and they.re concerned particularly about cuts to healthcare. Here at the Princess Alexandra Hospital on the southside we.ve seen 0 bed closures under +a#pbell *ew#an. &hen there were cuts to health services, to health fundin$ here under +a#pbell *ew#an, Bill Glasson didn.t stand up for the people who live here. Bill Glasson defended those cuts. As recently as a couple of days a$o he.s lau$hed it off as thou$h it was only a few 'obs that have $one here in Griffith. &ell, that.s not the feedback that we.re $ettin$ on the $round and we.re talkin$ to healthcare workers. People here deserve so#eone who will stand up for the#, who will be a stron$ voice. Bill Glasson,s already shown he will not do that. He will be a rubber sta#p for Tony Abbott and for +a#pbell *ew#an. But ( will be a stron$ voice for this co##unity and ( will be a stron$ voice a$ainst the L*P cuts. Thanks very #uch. SHORTEN: Happy to take /uestions, thank you. JOURNALIST: 1ust on the issue of the asylu# seekers, do you think navy personnel #ay have been involved in #istreat#ent of asylu# seekers2 SHORTEN: (.# very concerned that our relationship with (ndonesia see#s to $o fro# bad to worse under the Abbott Govern#ent. (t.s i#portant to have a stron$ relationship with (ndonesia and indeed, when it co#es to this latest issue, the reports are very concernin$. But ( also want to put on the record that our naval personnel, our service#en and wo#en, do an extre#ely tou$h 'ob. Their extre#ely tou$h 'ob is bein$ #ade even tou$her by the Abbott Govern#ent.s policies. JOURNALIST: 3o you think that navy personnel could have #istreated asylu# seekers thou$h2 SHORTEN: &hat ( think is i#portant is that we keep a stron$ relationship (ndonesia, that we don.t da#a$e the relationship with our nearest nei$hbour by foolish policies. The reports are very concernin$, but ( want to put on the record that our ar#ed forces, in this case our naval personnel, do an extre#ely tou$h 'ob and their tou$h 'ob is bein$ #ade even harder by the policies of the Abbott Govern#ent.

JOURNALIST: 3o you think an investi$ation should be launched until [inaudible] 2 SHORTEN: The ar#ed forces and the appropriate authorities will have their processes, but ( want to #ake clear what ( think is the real issue here. &e should have a stron$ relationship with our nei$hbour (ndonesia. &e are da#a$in$ that relationship, and ( don.t think anyone can seriously dispute that. &e.re puttin$ the Abbott Govern#ent boats policy at the centre of our relationship with (ndonesia. (n ter#s of the reports today, they are concernin$, they are concernin$. But what (.d also say is that our #ilitary personnel, and to their fa#ilies in Australia who are worried about the# as they.re representin$ our national interests on water or overseas, ( say to you too4 Labor respects the extre#ely tou$h 'ob that our naval and #ilitary personnel have to do. But we think their tou$h 'ob is #ade extre#ely hard by the Abbott Govern#ent.s policies, which ( think need to be addressed especially in ter#s of transparency. JOURNALIST: 3o you think the Abbott Govern#ent.s puttin$ our naval personnel in dan$er with their asylu# seeker policies2 SHORTEN: ( think when it co#es to the priorities that need to be dealt with, a stron$ relationship with your nei$hbours is always a sensible idea. Tryin$ to $et on with your nei$hbours and not $o out of your way to cause an ar$u#ent with your nei$hbours is 'ust co##on sense, doesn.t #atter where you are. But what is also i#portant here is that whilst the reports are very concernin$, and they are very concernin$, that we also stand up and reco$nise that our #ilitary personnel have an extre#ely tou$h 'ob and their tou$h 'ob is bein$ #ade even harder by the Abbott Govern#ent.s policies. JOURNALIST: Are you satisfied with the ter#s of reference of the investi$ation into why our naval ships went into (ndonesian waters2 SHORTEN: &ell a$ain, ( think that the Abbott Govern#ent should stop #akin$ secrecy to the Australian public the definin$ basis of our relationship with (ndonesia. &hat ( think.s i#portant is a stron$ and sensible relationship with our nei$hbours. &hat ( also think is i#portant is that we.ve seen our personnel, there.s been all sorts of reports about what they have or haven.t done. ( think they have an extre#ely tou$h 'ob and ( think that the Abbott Govern#ent needs to stop #akin$ policies which #ake their hard 'ob even harder. JOURNALIST: Hu#an 5i$hts &atch has criticised both #a'or parties of accusin$ the# of scare#on$erin$ durin$ the last election ca#pai$n. &ere you tryin$ to appear tou$her than the +oalition 6pposition2 SHORTEN: *o, ( don.t accept the proposition about Labor. ( think the challen$e is that we have a Govern#ent in place who pro#ised to be open and transparent. They said in Brisbane, in the electorate of Griffith on the 7 th of

Au$ust, they said, Tony Abbott said if it.s a $ood week or if it.s a bad week, or if it.s an in-between week, we.ll be up-front with the Australian people. &ell what happened to that broken pro#ise, Tony Abbott2 *ot a lot of up-front, a lot of hidin$, a lot of lack of detail. (t is ridiculous that we can find out #ore about what.s happenin$ with Australian policy throu$h the (ndonesian press than we can throu$h our own Govern#ent and, you know, the rubbish has to stop. And in the #eanti#e our service personnel, who do a tou$h 'ob, are bein$ cau$ht up in these policies which ( don.t think is fair. JOURNALIST: 3o you accept this criticis#, thou$h, by the Hu#an 5i$hts +o##ission2 SHORTEN: ( believe that Labor.s policy which saw re$ional resettle#ent at the centre of it was be$innin$ to show success. (t is a difficult issue. &hat ( don.t accept is that the Abbott Govern#ent.s approach on boats 8 re#e#ber, they were $oin$ to buy boats, now they.re $ivin$ boats away, now they.re hidin$ boats and now they.re hidin$ the 9inister. This is rubbish, it.s silly. (t.s ti#e for the Govern#ent to keep its pro#ises, stop breakin$ its pro#ises and start bein$ a Govern#ent, not an 6pposition in Govern#ent. JOURNALIST: The current +hief :xecutive of 9ission Australia, Toby Hall, says our welfare syste# is broken. 3o you concede that within the 3;P and *ew;tart sche#es that there are chan$es that could be #ade to strea#line the# to #ake the# #ore efficient, or do you believe they are <!!= perfect as is2 SHORTERN: ( believe that the Abbott Govern#ent.s a$enda when it co#es to pensioners, carers, people with disabilities, une#ployed people is a #ean and tricky a$enda. 3oes anyone re#e#ber the Abbott Govern#ent sayin$ before the election that they were $oin$ to take the axe to people on the 3;P or carers2 ( don.t think so. >et a$ain, Tony Abbott, one thin$ before an election, breakin$ his pro#ise and another thin$ after the election. There are thousands of blind people on the 3;P, there are tens of thousands of a#putees, there are tens of thousands of people in wheelchairs. &hy on earth does the Abbott Govern#ent think when they $et into power the only way for Australia to have a bri$ht future is to $o after the #ost vulnerable in our society2 ;o #y answer to your /uestion, the Abbott Govern#ent has the wron$ priorities. Hands off the vulnerable, hands off the poor, hands off the people who don.t have a voice and if you want to start savin$ so#e #oney in the bud$et, cli#b down fro# your hill, cli#b down fro# your box and ad#it that the paid parental leave sche#e is ridiculously overexpensive and that is a colossal waste of taxpayer #oney. JOURNALIST: (s there any roo# for i#prove#ent in the 3;P and *ew;tart2 SHORTEN: &e believe that people with disabilities don.t $et a fair $o in the e#ploy#ent #arket. ( believe that carers don,t $et a fair $o. ( think if you want to help people en$a$e in the benefits of 'obs, have policies which support 'obs,

have policies which encoura$e the e#ploy#ent of people with disabilities. A lot of people on the 3;P are older Australians. The truth of the #atter is there.s too #uch pre'udice, it.s unconscious pre'udice, in our society a$ainst older 'obseekers, especially if you,ve had co#po clai#s. ( think if we want to help people with disability and you want to decrease the nu#ber of people on the disability pension, help find the# work, don,t punish the# for their i#pair#ent. JOURNALIST: They say that the Griffith by-election is $oin$ to be a report card on the Abbott Govern#ent and also +a#pbell *ew#an. 3o you think that Tony Abbott and +a#pbell *ew#an will be appearin$ and ca#pai$nin$ #uch with the local candidate Bill Glasson2 SHORTEN: +a#pbell *ew#an, if he appears in the Griffith by-election it,ll 'ust be an accident, cau$ht in a traffic 'a# $oin$ so#ewhere else. (,ve $ot no doubt Tony Abbott #i$ht #ake a fleetin$ visit. (t is re#arkable that only four and a half #onths after the federal election Tony Abbott.s not even, as reported in the +ourier 9ail, not even on the how-to-vote card. They,re airbrushin$. The Liberal Party and the L*P are tryin$ to pretend, as they talk about a GP tax, as they talk about breakin$ pro#ises, what they.re tryin$ to do is pretend that this by-election has nothin$ to do with national politics. The issues are local in that people in this seat don.t want to see their hospitals overcrowded, they don.t want to see their people bein$ sacked unnecessarily, they want to #ake sure that their cost of livin$ doesn.t skyrocket because of a tax by the Abbott $overn#ent on healthcare. ;o they.re the issues. And (.ve $ot no doubt that the fact that Tony Abbott.s not on the how-to-vote card, the fact that +a#pbell *ew#an will not be si$hted or doin$ a lot of ca#pai$n events with the L*P candidate show you that they know - and their research tells the# - that the harsh cuts in the health syste#, this +o##ission of Audit that the ?ederal Govern#ent.s proposin$ which will $o after health conditions alon$ with others, that.s why they.re tryin$ to pretend this has $ot nothin$ to do with national politics. JOURNALIST: 9r ;horten, 'ust on another issue, you.ve done a lot of work in the past on asbestos re#oval safe practices of asbestos. There.s been several cases of #is#ana$e#ent of Telstra pits here in )ueensland. &ould you like to see Telstra establish a database of which pits do contain asbestos and which don,t2 Because they don,t have any plans to, and should the $overn#ent put in such #easures2 SHORTEN: Asbestos is a silent killer. Asbestos will kill #ore Australians than died in &orld &ar (. (t is a dreadful disease for which that there is no cure. ( believe that in our co##unity where asbestos exists, there should be the ability of the co##unity to know where the asbestos is. (t,s not an easy exercise, ( $et that, and the co##unication pits operated by Telstra have taken decades to accu#ulate, asbestos was only banned in the last couple of decades. But ( do believe that Telstra does have a duty of care to #ake sure that co##unities are not needlessly scared about asbestos, and that where it is #easured we do know

that if those pits are ever interfered with in the future that it will be re#oved safely. ( think it.s a duty of care to our co##unity which co#panies who are aware of asbestos need to stand up and be #easured on. ;o ( do think #ore needs to be done. JOURNALIST: +an ( ask about inflation2 (nflation fi$ures have co#e out today and they.re extre#ely hi$h. 1oe Hockey was critical in 6pposition sayin$ Labor hadn.t done enou$h to curtail cost of livin$. 3o you think he should bear, or the Abbott Govern#ent should bear, so#e culpability for these fi$ures2 SHORTEN: (t.s a new year and the Abbott Govern#ent.s $ot to stop tryin$ to bla#e previous $overn#ents for everythin$ that.s happenin$ under the Abbott Govern#ent watch. +ost of livin$ is a real issue and one thin$.s for sure, if people are feelin$ cost of livin$ pressure, which they are, the answer does not #ake 8 it is not to #ake it #ore expensive to $o to the doctor. The answer is not to #ake it #ore expensive. &hy on earth with inflation $oin$ up and pressure on une#ploy#ent under a +oalition Govern#ent would the Abbott $overn#ent be considerin$ raisin$ the cost of $oin$ to the doctor2 (t defies belief that they could be so out of touch, and it,s certainly a broken pro#ise in that before the election the Abbott Govern#ent never spoke about increasin$ the cost of livin$ and $oin$ to the doctor. JOURNALIST: @inaudibleA SHORTEN: (,ll tell you what,s cocky, 9r Abbott - it,s darin$ Holden to take thousands of 'obs away fro# Australia. (,ll tell you what,s cocky, 9r Abbott 8 it,s proposin$ to increase the cost of livin$ and the cost of healthcare in this country. (,ll tell you what,s cocky, 9r Abbott 8 it,s lyin$ to the Australian people about the cuts you have $ot in store. Thanks everyone, have a lovely afternoon, try and keep cool. #N$% MEDIA CONTACT: LEADERS OFFICE MEDIA UNIT: 02 62 40!"