SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

PETER MALINAUSKAS

SA LABOR LEADER

NADIA CLANCY

LABOR CANDIDATE FOR BOOTHBY

TRANSCRIPT

20 April 2019

DOORSTOP – BRIGHTON

TOPICS: AMA REPORT CARD, BARNABY JOYCE, MURRAY-DARLING BASIN, PENALTY RATES, SA LIBERALS' PUBLIC TRANSPORT CUTS, SCOTT MORRISON'S HEALTH CUTS

E&OE - PROOF ONLY

NADIA CLANCY, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR BOOTHBY: I’m Nadia Clancy, Labor’s candidate for the Federal seat of Boothby and I’m really happy to have Penny Wong and Peter Malinauskas with me here today at beautiful Brighton Beach.

Easter is a really special time for a lot of people and I’m grateful to all of those hard workers who are working over this long weekend. Over 11,000 people in Boothby – that’s one in six workers – are working this weekend and I want all of those workers to be properly paid. The Liberals don’t want that but it is what will happen under a Labor Government.

SENATOR PENNY WONG, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE: Thanks very much for being here. Most of us are enjoying a bit of a break over Easter but there are a lot of workers who aren’t. Workers who are working on Good Friday and through the Easter weekend and beyond. Those people in South Australia are going to be up to $350 worse off as a result of Scott Morrison cutting penalty rates. The fact is Scott Morrison and the Liberals love to cut. They are cutters. They cut schools. They cut hospitals. And they cut people’s penalty rates.

Really Nicolle Flint, the local member, should be explaining to the 11,000 workers in her electorate who are worse off, she should be explaining to the 11,000 workers and their families why she voted eight times to cut their penalty rates. Labor has been very clear if we are elected, a Shorten Labor Government will fix this. We will make sure workers get paid their penalty rates. This isn’t some optional extra. This isn’t a luxury. This is what many low paid workers rely on to put food on the table and meet essential needs. But as I said, Nicolle Flint, Scott Morrison – why did you vote eight times to cut penalty rates for working Australians?

PETER MALINAUSKAS, SA LABOR LEADER: Well good morning, it’s great to be here with Nadia Clancy and Penny Wong, two women who understand the value and importance of penalty rates to working people to be able to enjoy a decent standard of living.

What is concerning about this penalty rate cut is it speaks to a pattern of behaviour on the conservative side of politics. We have got the State Liberal Party who are going out of their way to make retail workers go to work on the Easter long weekend and then we have got the Federal Liberal Party at the same time taking away the very penalty rates those workers rely upon.

It is a completely absurd situation that in a first world country we don’t recognise the fact that those people who give up their public holidays to serve the community don’t get the penalty rates they should be entitled to. It is an absolute disgrace the Federal Liberal Party has decided to cut the penalty rates of so many workers within our community. It is just what the Liberal Party do, it’s what they do – they cut.

And it all comes at the same time as we have seen the State Liberals announce another round of cuts to public transport. The idea that Steven Marshall now expects people to catch two or three different public transport services when they used to be able to rely upon one to get to their destination speaks to the cutting nature of the Liberals. The Federal Liberals are cutting penalty rates, schools and hospitals. The State Liberals are cutting public transport and Service SA centres. That is what Liberals do – they cut whereas Labor is committed to investing in our community, investing in our society and as part of that, of course, working people should be getting access to higher rates of pay when they serve our community on special days of the year like the Easter long weekend.

JOURNALIST: If I can ask in regards to the bus cuts Peter, is it just a given that these cuts will happen? It’s a tender process. It’s been eight years in the making and now what do you expect?

MALINAUSKAS: I’m glad you asked that because it provides an opportunity to provide some chronological context of what is eventuating here.

It started in last year’s state budget when Steven Marshall announced a $46 million cut to public transport services. Now you can’t take $46 million out of South Australian public transport without dramatically cutting services. We saw 1170 services cut earlier this year and late last year and now what we are seeing as part of the tender process is the State Government trying to realise the full amount of the $46 million worth of cuts and as part of that they are going to cut services and make people catch two or even three public transport services when they used to be able to rely upon one to get to their destination.

Now if you cut services to make people change from buses to trams or trains you’re going to result in driving down of public transport patronage. That is what they going to do. It’s a bad outcome for the community but it’s also a bad outcome for our environment. Everywhere else around the nation, everywhere else around the developed world, governments are investing more in public transport but here in South Australia we have got the Liberals cutting public transport. It simply doesn’t make any sense.

JOURNALIST: The Government says patronage on buses is decreasing year on year and this is a chance to change that and encourage people to catch transport. What do you say about that?

MALINAUSKAS: If you want to encourage more people to use public transport you have got to invest in the service not cut it. It is simply crazy to suggest that the Liberals’ answer to increasing public transport patronage is to cut services and then to expect people to swap between trams, trains and buses. It simply doesn’t make sense.

JOURNALIST: The Government is dodging questions about an $80 million water buyback in New South Wales that was overseen by Barnaby Joyce. How concerning is this?

WONG: Well this is deeply concerning and South Australians I think know what Barnaby Joyce is like. South Australians have watched him over the years try to do anything he can to undermine the improvement of the health of the River Murray. The way he is always about upstream interests and frankly on this question Barnaby Joyce has got many questions to answer.

For those of you who watched you have seen the questions that have been asked. It comes down to this: Barnaby Joyce spent $80 million of taxpayers’ money on water that experts say wasn’t worth anything. On water that experts say wasn’t going to help the River. He’s got questions to answer about that. Scott Morrison does need to tell South Australians and Australians why $80 million of taxpayers’ money was spent in the way that it was.

JOURNALIST: Also on another matter – health. The AMA’s latest Health Report Card calls on both major parties to invest in health. They are saying hospitals are overstretched for funding. Will Labor’s $2.8 billion investment be enough?

WONG: We welcome the AMA’s report. We welcome the recognition that cuts to hospitals hurt. Scott Morrison stands up in front of cameras and tells people that he cares about health. Well, put your money where your mouth is. The reality is that the cuts that Scott Morrison and the Liberals have made to our hospital system are hurting Australians. They have caused longer waiting times in our public hospitals.

We have committed to putting back every cent that the Liberals have been cutting over a number of years and I can say one thing to you – you always know Labor will put health and schools before the top end of town.

JOURNALIST: Will that $2.8 billion that you have pledged be enough?

WONG: I think it will do a lot more than the cuts that Scott Morrison has implemented. You always have to work with the health sector to get the best outcome but that is a big investment and it is an investment that we that we are able to make because we put better schools and better hospitals above tax loopholes and tax breaks for the top end of town.

Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra.