SUBJECTS: Labor’s commitment to the Working Women’s Centre in Adelaide; Labor’s positive plans for health, education, and jobs; Nick Xenophon political party.
KATE ELLIS, SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION: It's absolutely fantastic to be here to welcome our Deputy Leader, Tanya Plibersek to Adelaide, as well as Senator for South Australia, Anne McEwen. We're here at the Working Women's Centre, an organisation that we know has worked day in day out for year after year to help South Australian women when they find themselves in a predicament and particularly when they've been unfairly treated in the workplace. They do tremendous work here and we are incredibly proud to support them. Anne McEwen has been a very, very long-term supporter of the work that they do here and, as youthful as she looks, she's been looking after them and working with them for many years and we're incredibly proud to welcome our Deputy Leader, Tanya here today to confirm that we will continue to support the Working Women's Centre with the ele ction of a Labor Government. I'm going to hand over to Anne to say a little bit more about the organisation before Tanya speaks.
ANNE MCEWEN, SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Thanks very much Kate and I'm thrilled to be here with my Parliamentary colleagues, Tanya Plibersek, of course the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Kate Ellis, the Member for Adelaide. The Working Women's Centre has a fantastic history of supporting women particularly vulnerable women in the workplace, migrant women, women who work in non-unionised industries and women who really need assistance. They've got a history of over thirty years of doing that and I'm really thrilled that as part of our Women's Policy launch on Saturday that Bill Shorten was able to commit to funding an on-going funding extension for the Working Women's Centre here in South Australia and also the Working Women's Centres in Brisbane and in Darwin. It's a wonderful announcement and just shows that Labor really is committed to gender equa lity, to supporting women in the workplace and we'll put our money where our mouth is in that regard.
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thank you, it's wonderful to be here with my colleagues, Senator Anne McEwen and Shadow Minister, Kate Ellis, who is of course the local Member for where we are right now and candidate for Adelaide as well. It is really thrilling to be able to confirm that this Working Women's Centre and two others will have their funding continued if Labor is elected on the 2nd of July. The Working Women's Centre does such valuable work and it's been really heartening to hear the stories of the women that they've helped. Earlier today, I was at Flinders Medical Centre and again it was really wonderful to see the work being done at Flinders Medical Centre.
Today, wasn't my first visit to Flinders Medical Centre. I've been there a number of times in the past and I've seen the terrific care that the staff of Flinders Medical Centre want to give to the patients, every patient that comes to that fantastic hospital. But what we know is that the Liberals have massively cut health funding to South Australia and it will only be the election of a Labor Government on the 2nd of July that will see an extra $140 million or so, spent on the South Australian hospital system over the next four years. We know that money would make a huge difference to terrific facilities like Flinders Medical Centre, but all of the hospitals across South Australia. But the health system’s not just about hospitals, on the weekend we also announced an extra $100 million to focus on front-line care, GP level primary care so that the family doctor has a greater role in keeping p eople healthy and out of hospital.
We know the best way we can reduce pressures in our health system is to keep people healthy and out of hospital in the first place. You've also got a Labor Party that is absolutely committed to resisting the Liberals attempt to push up the price of medicines, push up the price of blood tests, push up the price of diagnostic imaging. So for a really good health system it's important to have a Labor Government on the 2nd of July. That goes for jobs in South Australia as well. Labor has always been the party of advanced manufacturing, the strong steel sector, of exports, food and beverages exports, of medical technologies in South Australia. It's always been Labor that has pushed for a strong, advanced manufacturing sector, steel industry and growth in jobs for South Australians and you can see that by our commitment to the public transport and other infrastructure projects in the state as well. And when it comes to education it's only Labor that will do needs-based funding so all our schools benefit. It's only Labor that will properly invest in vocational education and apprenticeships and it's only Labor that will stop $100,000 university degrees. I guess that's why, of course, we're saying that people should give their first preference vote to Labor in this Federal Election. We want a Labor Government, not Malcolm Turnbull re-elected.
South Australia's a bit of a special case because the rise of the Nick Xenophon Party has made politics so much more unpredictable in South Australia. I guess I would say it's absolutely certain that Nick Xenophon himself will be re-elected to the Australian Senate, I don't have any doubt that Nick Xenophon will be returned to the Senate. The question is, who he brings with him and the real concern I think for many South Australians is that Nick Xenophon has a bunch of candidates that are so unusual in their views and so unpredictable that they are barred by their party constitution from speaking up about the issues that they care about. You've got a number two on the Senate ticket who has extensive commentary on the public record about his opposition to penalty rates and proper penalty rates for South Australian workers. You've got another candidate who's got very unusual views about the uses of ac upuncture to cure fertility and you really only have to look at Nick Xenophon's support for Ann Bressington in the State Parliament back in the day when you've got someone there who was saying that putting fluoride in the water was about mind control. This is a very ragtag bunch of crackpots that may be elected on the back of Nick Xenophon's popularity, they might ride his coat-tails into the Senate or the House of Representatives and the question for South Australians is do these people represent mainstream South Australian views, do they represent the views of most South Australians? Well, we don't know because they’re not allowed to talk to the media. The second question is; how will Nick Xenophon manage them? We've seen what's happened with the Palmer United Party, the Katter Party and so on. What really worries me is that Nick Xenophon will spend so much of his time trying to prevent break-outs from his own party, f rom his own candidates that he won't actually be able to do what he's done in the past - focus on working for South Australians. I think people should really be very cautious about electing people that they don't know about, who aren't allowed to talk to the media, whose views aren't clear, who've said controversial things in the past, who don't really represent the mainstream views of most South Australians.
JOURNALIST: But just on that, given, in light of your views on Nick Xenophon candidates, has Labor done a deal with the Liberals to cut him out of preferences?
PLIBERSEK: No, you would see we're already in a voting period now, pre-poll voting has opened and we've offered, split tickets, we've offered people the option, we want people to vote number one Labor, if they want to vote number two Nick Xenophon this is the how-to-vote to follow. If you turn it over you want to vote number two Liberal, that's how you vote number two Liberal. Our focus is on getting enough number one votes, first preferences to win seats in South Australia so that we can form government. It would be terrific if we could have agreed with the Xenophon Party about penalty rates for example, better investment in health and education, a strong industrial relation system, driving new jobs and jobs growth in South Australia. We have tried to talk about these issues with the Party and we haven't been successful in being able to come to an arrangem ent with them.
JOURNALIST: But the Liberal Party's running a split ticket as well, is the fact that you are both running a similar preference scheme - that sort of indicates a deal wouldn't you say?
PLIBERSEK: No, it indicates the fact that we want Australians to make their own mind up, we want South Australians to be able to choose if they want to vote one Labor that's terrific and we've shown them how to allocate their second preferences depending on what they want to do with their second preferences.
JOURNALIST: But isn't that Labor, I guess, talking down the Nick Xenophon candidates sort of cutting off your nose to spite your face - he's got potential to take seats away from Liberal candidates?
PLIBERSEK: I guess it depends how much you value the proper functioning of our Parliament and how much you value democracy itself. We're pretty confident that, well, we're very confident that Nick Xenophon himself will get up. What would be disturbing is if a whole lot of people whose views are unpredictable at best ride his popularity into the Parliament and particularly they then get a balance of power position in our Federal Parliament, either in the House of Representatives or in the Senate, based on views that most South Australians wouldn't be familiar with and might not agree with - that's an issue of real concern.
JOURNALIST: So does that mean you'd rather see Jamie Briggs and Christopher Pyne back in Parliament than a Nick Xenophon candidate?
PLIBERSEK: I really don't want to see either of them back in Parliament, I'd really like to see Labor candidates winning those seats and that's our focus, our focus is on reminding Australians that it is only Labor that has a plan for jobs in South Australia, it is only Labor that has a plan to invest in health and education for South Australians, it's only Labor that can deliver real action on climate change, it's only Labor that will have a strong vocational education sector, a strong higher education sector. It's only Labor that will deliver on marriage equality and it's only Labor that will deliver a strong economy and a fair society for South Australians.