Doorstop Interview - 6 March 2016

SUBJECT/S: Families facing spiralling child care costs under the Government; Malcolm Turnbull delaying marriage equality with a plebiscite


KATE ELLIS, SHADOW MINISTER FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD: As reported today, new data has shown that child care out-of-pocket costs have increased for families on every single different income level under this Government. Now this was a Government that went to the last election promising that they would help families make child care more affordable, and what we have seen is that this is yet another case of the Turnbull Government saying one thing and doing absolutely nothing. 


Australian families out there are struggling, struggling with the ever increasing out-of-pocket costs for Australian child care, and they cannot afford to have this Government who sits back and does nothing except talk. Families need real support and they need real action from the Government right now.


JOURNALIST: Is Labor going to move amendments to the child care package?


KATE ELLIS: Well, we certainly would welcome the debate coming on, on the child care package. From the reports we see at the moment, the Government has absolutely no intention of even bringing their legislation up for debate. But there are still too many unanswered questions. Just last week, we saw the release of new modelling which shows how many thousands of families will actually be worse off under the Government's proposals. It is an extraordinary thing for the Government to spend an additional $3 billion and yet make families worse off, not better off. Last week's modelling showed that up to one in four families on under $65,000 a year would be substantially worse off under the Government's proposals. So yes, we certainly do not intend to give those proposals any sort of rubber stamp, but what we do want is the Government to actually come forward and answer our questions about it.


JOURNALIST: What sort of reforms would Labor like to see?


KATE ELLIS: Well we'd like to see some genuine reforms which would make child care more affordable for Australian families, not just for the Australian Government. It's really important to note that even in the Government's proposed legislation, they are doing absolutely nothing to cap the child care fees that Australian families are paying, all they are looking at doing is capping Government assistance. We'd like to see reforms which would actually make child care more accessible, more affordable and of course, of high quality.


JOURNALIST: Are you concerned about some of the loopholes in the system such as university students being given a child care contribution when they are not studying?


KATE ELLIS: We want to see that every single taxpayer dollar is well- directed and is going to the families that need support the most, but as I said, there are just far, far too many unanswered questions about the Government's package of reforms, and what we do know is that this Government will go an entire term without having done a single thing to help Australian families with their child care fees.


JOURNALIST: Just on another matter, are you pleased to hear that a same-sex marriage plebiscite will be held this year?


KATE ELLIS: Well I think that the idea of a plebiscite is wrong, and I think it is dangerous and I think it's divisive. I wish that Malcolm Turnbull would just stand up to the right wing of his party and adopt the position that he has said previously he has, and that is there should be a vote in the Australian Parliament. I am deeply concerned about how divisive a plebiscite on marriage equality will be, and I think that it is a very very bad move that will damage thousands of Australians.


JOURNALIST: But if it comes to pass, will you be campaigning for same sex-marriage?


KATE ELLIS: Absolutely, I've made clear my position and I think that the Parliament should just get it done now so we can move on to other issues.