26 March 2019




BEN McGREGOR, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR CLARK: Thank you everyone for turning up today. It is a fantastic opportunity to announce with Senator Penny Wong and Senator Carol Brown and I’m also really keen to hear from the TCA stakeholders today. We’ve got some great people sitting here – Russell [Young – President, Hobart Football Club] and also, next to us, the Deputy Mayor Helen Burnet.

I’m really pleased that we have worked together with all the stakeholders to come up with a really fantastic option and a really fantastic outcome for the TCA Ground. So I’m going to hand over to Penny to talk about the details. Thank you guys.

SENATOR PENNY WONG, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE: Thanks very much. It’s great to be here on what I’m told is a sunny Hobart day (laughter) – that’s what Carol told me – and fantastic to be here with Russell, and Helen from the Council and the stakeholders from the various clubs and of course our fantastic candidate Ben McGregor.

As I understand it this ground has been here since the 1880s which makes it a fantastic heritage ground. It’s obviously a very important part of Hobart and Tasmanian history. A fantastic legacy – I saw some of the signs up down there with many of the premierships over the decades, a wonderful part of you history, but it’s in need of a bit of an upgrade you might say. Certainly the Council has done a lot of good work and did issue a master plan with stakeholders in 2013. $4.9 million required to get this ground up, and the facilities up, to the required standard.

Now the Council has done its part, it’s put money in over the last few years and what I am happy to announce today is that if elected a Federal Labor Government will invest $3.35 million into upgrading this facility. That’s as a direct result of the work that’s been done by the people around me, by Ben, by Carol Brown – my Senate colleague – by the stakeholders and by the Council.

Now there’s quite a lot of work that needs to be done. First and foremost we actually need some facilities for the women who use this ground. There are women’s sporting clubs who use this ground and who have only got one set of change rooms, one set of facilities, but there are also upgrades which are required.

So I’m very pleased to announce that and I want to congratulate everyone who’s been involved in doing this work because we come here as a party of government that wants to form government after the next election. We have tried to work with candidates and communities around Australia on the local infrastructure they need and it is been fantastic here to see, again, the way in which Tasmanians work together to put forward an option for the community, prepared to put some of their own money in, to contribute. But they need help from a Federal Government prepared to step up and if elected a Shorten Labor Government will invest $3.35 million in this wonderful facility to make it even better

COUNCILOR HELEN BURNET, HOBART CITY COUNCIL DEPUTY LORD MAYOR: Today it’s very welcome to hear this announcement from Senator Wong and thank you for coming to Tasmania to make this announcement.

We at the City of Hobart have worked really hard to improve this ground, this iconic ground, the TCA Ground. It is the heart of football and cricket in our Hobart municipality and we worked well with the community groups to ensure that we’ve had improvements already, but looking to lay out that master plan and finish what we have already started.

The proposal will go out to further community consultation if it comes to be that Labor is elected and this is delivered. But this will be, no doubt, a really important part of making sure that we can have better facilities, not only for the existing clubs, but also to ensure that we get much better facilities for women in sport as well.

The Hobart City Band will be the recipients of much better facilities now with much more professional facilities. Not only that it will be an iconic place as a function centre as well, potentially, with amazing views back down to the mountain and across this ground.

So I really welcome this sort of commitment. I’m very pleased that the City of Hobart has worked so well with the clubs and community groups to make sure that we have got to this point and have a shovel-ready project that’s suitable for funding. Thank you

WONG: I have two issues I want to raise from some of the national papers, national stories. The first is on One Nation. We see today a story which demonstrates that Pauline Hanson’s disgraced chief of staff has gone to the United States to solicit millions of dollars from the American gun lobby in order to support One Nation and in order to water down Australia’s gun laws.

It’s a pretty extraordinary act but my question is this: Scott Morrison what more do you need? What more do you need to make a decision as a leader to put this extremist party and others like them last? Not only is this a party which is founded on promoting hate and prejudice, it is now clear it is a party which also wants to water down John Howard’s gun laws, laws which were put in place after a tragedy that Tasmanians only too well remember. What more do you need Scott Morrison to act like a leader?

The other issue I want to raise is – and I’m a long way from home – but it’s actually about water. Obviously a very important issue – and Bill was here not long ago announcing further funding for irrigation to help Tasmania continue to increase its agricultural output – but I want to talk about the Murray-Darling Basin.

What we have seen today is Barnaby Joyce at it again. Barnaby Joyce complaining about Adelaide getting too much water and saying that the Murray-Darling Plan gives too much water to Adelaide. Well this is a bloke with form. This is the bloke who has previously said South Australians should move to where the water is and one thing you can always count on is that Barnaby Joyce and the Coalition will put their upstream political mates ahead of Adelaide. So I really have a question for Nicolle Flint in the seat of Boothby: what are you going to do? Are you going to stand up now and stand up for South Australia or are you just going to go quiet and allow Barnaby to continue to put upstream political mates ahead of Adelaide?

JOURNALIST: Back to the One Nation issue, One Nation has called Al Jazeera foreign agents…

WONG: Oh right….

JOURNALIST: ..they have raised the issue with ASIO saying that they are interfering in the Federal Election. How do you respond to that?

WONG: What do they say about going to another country to ask for millions of dollars to water down Australia’s laws? Is that foreign interference too? We believe that foreign donations from all countries should be banned because Australians should decide who should be donated to, not any foreign nation or foreign entity.

So I think that is a massive distraction. They’re embarrassed and they’re trying to distract attention from the fact that they have got a disgraced chief of staff going along to the gun lobby in the US to ask for millions of dollars to water down our gun laws.

JOURNALIST: Do you think they have a point though?

WONG: What is the point? I think the point is you have got somebody asking for money from the gun lobby in the United States to water down Australia’s laws. I again go back to what I said. One Nation can create as many distractions as they like. I think that story speaks for itself. But really the issue here is Scott Morrison. We know what One Nation is like. We know what they are like. They are not going to change. The question is will Scott Morrison do the right thing?

JOURNALIST: This morning David Littleproud said that your push for a Living Wage will cost jobs. How would you like to respond to that?

WONG: The first thing is I was interested to see Mr Littleproud here in Tasmania backing a Nationals candidate for the seat of Lyons. It’s good to see that the chaos and division inside the Coalition is continuing. I suspect it is not very good for Tasmanians to see the parties of the Coalition fighting with each other.

This is Mr Littleproud and the Coalition trying to justify their argument and their argument is Australians who work full time aren’t entitled to a Living Wage. I just think Australians know that a lot of people are doing it tough. There are people in this country who work full time and can’t live off what they work for. It’s a very responsible package Bill Shorten has put forward and it’s a package that recognises what’s happened to wages in these last few years under this Coalition Government. Everyone knows everything has been going up except their wages.

JOURNALIST: Today the issue of lockout laws has been raised on Tasmania’s waterfront. Is that something Labor supports in Tasmania?

SENATOR CAROL BROWN, SENATOR FOR TASMANIA: I heard the report about that this morning. I haven’t had the opportunity to talk to my state colleagues and that is something I intend to do. But of course the violence that has been reported around the waterfront and in other places as well is very concerning and of course we will look at that closely once we see the detail of that announcement.

I did want to mention there was the report in today’s paper about the Qantas call centre. I would like to say in regard to that, that report is quite concerning and we would say to Qantas they need to guarantee the ongoing viability of that call centre. We have to remember that call centre is the only call centre in Australia that operates for Qantas. So we call on Qantas to guarantee the ongoing viability and also the State Government to find out from Qantas what is actually going on and provide some more details because there is little detail in the story today.

Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra.