E&OE - PROOF ONLY
SENATOR PENNY WONG, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE: Today is a great day for South Australia. Today is a great day for the Royal Australian Navy. But most of all today is a great day for those men and women here at ASC and across Australia in the Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance who have worked on this project.
So, the one message I have today to South Australians and to all Australians is: be proud of your shipbuilders, they have done an extraordinary job and today is a day for all of us to be proud of this new addition to the Navy’s capability, towards Australia’s continued national security.
Happy to take questions.
JOURNALIST: Would it have been nice to stand side by side with the Prime Minister today?
WONG: The Prime Minister’s priorities are ultimately a matter for him, but I know that Australians are proud of the work that our shipbuilders do, and I know South Australians particularly are proud of this workforce at the ASC.
We are proud of them and we want them to be able to do what they do best – which is to build the next generation of Australian submarines.
JOURNALIST: Senator, are you commenting today on family cuts [inaudible]
WONG: That’s fine. If there’s nothing more on today’s launch, I do want to make one comment about the reports we see today of the effect of the latest Abbott Budget.
What we know today from the Australian Council of Social Services is what Australians do know, and that is this: at the heart of this budget is unfairness. Just like last year’s Budget was unfair, so too is this year’s Budget from Tony Abbott.
This year’s Budget is as unfair as last year’s Budget and we know that $15 billion will be taken off Australian families over the next four years. That’s Tony Abbott’s unfair gift to Australian families in his budget this year.
JOURNALIST: Has the pain of this year’s Budget been hidden by the focus on child care and small business?
WONG: Well, certainly it’s a budget about Tony Abbott’s job, rather than a budget about Australian families. And he’s tried to offer a few headline grabbing programs, we do know they’re built on unfairness.
We do know that his child care is built on unfair cuts to families and we see today Australia’s peak welfare lobby saying exactly that: this budget is built on unfairness – $15 billion worth of cuts to Australian families over four years.
JOURNALIST: Just lastly, do you share the minister Scott Morrison’s concern in The Australian this morning, that unless urgent action is taken to better integrate asylum seekers, Australia risks creating an underclass of migrants?
WONG: Look, I’ll leave responses to Mr Morrison to the relevant Shadow Minister.
Thanks very much.