Doorstop - Logan 21/11/18

November 21, 2018


SUBJECTS: Public school funding; Labor’s investment in Griffith University Centre for Strong Foundations and Regional Innovation Data Lab, Labor’s commitment to the Healthy Harold program; Migration; Liberal Party infighting.

JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE: Thanks everybody for coming to Browns Plains State School this morning. First I'll begin by saying that our community is absolutely heartbroken by the news that we’ve heard overnight that a little four month old girl died yesterday afternoon after presenting at the Logan Hospital on Monday earlier in the week. We'll learn more about what's happened here, but it really is a heartbreaking thing to have happened to a little girl so young, and I know I speak for the whole community when I say that our hearts go out to everyone who loved that little girl.

Today is all about being here with Tanya Plibersek and with David from Life Education. Today is all about how we invest in young children, whether it be in their kindies and preschools, or at their schools; how we invest in them making better choices about nutrition; how we make sure that we can fund and research better services, particularly for our young people. This is how we attack the challenges that we have in communities like this one and right around Australia - by investing properly in young children, to make sure that they can make good decisions, to make sure that they have good kindy and preschool and school education; that we can work together to ensure that we fund the research and the services that kids need here and right around the country. We've been at ChangeFest this morning, a really important conference in Logan today, and we announced today that a Labor Government under Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek will invest $8 million in new research and data and services for young people and their parents here in this community, based in Griffith University Logan Campus. We'll fund a $3 million Regional Innovation Data Lab to better research and share information about attacking challenges that exist in disadvantaged communities, in particular. And we'll invest $5 million in a Griffith Centre for Strong Foundations, which is all about ensuring that we get the first 1000 days of a young Australian's life exactly right.

In the Labor Party, this is our reason for being, investing in young people, making the decisions elsewhere in the Budget to close down the tax loopholes which overwhelmingly benefit people at the top end of town, and investing that money instead in young people and in their chances. Because we understand that if Australia is to be prosperous and successful, we need to invest in our young kids. This community, this electorate of Rankin, is the biggest single beneficiary in Queensland of what Labor is proposing to do with our game-changing investments in kindy and preschool. And when it comes to schools, Rankin will receive $25.8 million in new investment in the first three years of a Labor Government, in schools like this one at Browns Plains Primary School. Now this school will receive an extra $670,000 over those three years. So will Regents Park State School down the road. The high school next door will receive an extra $1.4 million and Yugumbir Primary will receive another $1.2 million as well. Every single kid in every state school in Rankin will be better off because of the announcements and the investments that Labor will make and has made into schools in our community. And we can afford to do this by not giving tax breaks, which are unaffordable, to the top end of town. Instead, we want to redirect that money to where it's really needed - into the young people of this community and communities like it right around Australia.

I want to thank Tanya Plibersek for being here today with friends from right throughout the community and I invite her to say a few words.

TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Well thanks very much, it's wonderful to be here with Jim Chalmers today in his electorate of Rankin of course we started the day with the very sad news of the death a little four month old girl and our hearts really do go out to her family and to her community. It's really truly shocking to hear of this sort of loss of life of a baby so young. But we're today visiting today Browns Plains State School to talk about two very important investments that we're making for young people. The first is needs based funding for all of our schools. Jim's talked about the fact that this school will be about $670,000 better off over the first three school years after a Labor Government is elected, should we be elected next year. We've also today announced extra investments in the Griffith University Logan Campus, a centre that will help young families in the Logan area raise their children up strong, will work with mothers in particular while they’re pregnant, preparing for the birth of their babies and work with young babies in their first 1,000 days because we know how critical those early years are.

We're also, of course, very delighted to be making sure that hundreds of thousands of Australian children continue to have the opportunity of learning from Healthy Harold and Life Education Australia. It was truly inexplicable that Scott Morrison when Treasurer cut funding to Life Education Australia and to Healthy Harold because we know that millions of Australians have benefited over the last 40 years in the valuable lessons provided by Life Education Australia and their mascot, Healthy Harold. Today we've seen how Healthy Harold talks to children about making good food choices, having good nutrition. But Healthy Harold teaches so much more. It’s about nutrition, about exercise, about sun safety. As kids get older, appropriate lessons about making good choices when it comes to drugs and alcohol. We've seen some terrific improvements in recent years in kids' health including reduced rates of smoking for teenagers, reduced rates of illicit drug use amongst teenagers but we continue to have some challenges. We know that young people are still drinking at dangerous levels including binge drinking on occasion at dangerous levels and we see too many young Australians who are overweight or obese, risking lifelong health impacts like diabetes or other so-called lifestyle diseases. So we've still got a lot of work to do to ensure that young Australians get a strong message, a clear message, about the best way that they can have a healthy life throughout their life. Life Education Australia has been doing that for 40 years now and we want to make sure that Life Education Australia can continue to do that, that Healthy Harold can continue to visit schools. So I'm delighted today to be announcing a $2 million commitment over five years to make sure that this important work can continue. You’re going to hear now a few words from David from Life Education Australia to talk about what this will mean.

DAVID BALLHAUSEN, LIFE EDUCATION AUSTRALIA: Thanks Tanya. This news, the news about this commitment is not only been greatly welcomed but it's very much appreciated. We at Life Education, we've got a big job ahead of us, which we embrace, but we need the support of others if we're going to go anywhere close to achieving what we're about. About kids growing up making safer and healthier choices. But the news of a commitment that's been announced today - we can contemplate growing our program, ensuring that more and more children have the benefit of the work that we can make available to them. These are children that might otherwise be vulnerable to drugs and alcohol, to smoking, to bullying, to online safety, to obesity. And it's by working together, like we already do with so many across the community, it's by working together with all levels of government, with business big and small, with philanthropists, with members of the public - it's only by working together like this that we can go close to addressing the challenges in front of us and achieving that really worthy outcome about our kids growing up making safer and healthier choices. Thank you.

PLIBERSEK: Any questions?

JOURNALIST: There's been two young babies found dead in the last couple of days. Has child services done enough in either of those cases?

PLIBERSEK: Well, there have been these two terrible deaths of very young children, a nine month old and a four month old baby in recent days. And I think the whole community is shocked to hear about these deaths. It is important to allow the police time to properly investigate what's happened in both of these circumstances, so I don't think it is appropriate for me to comment about these particular instances. What I would say is that as a community and as a society, we have a responsibility to help prepare parents for the most important job they'll ever do - raising a family. We need to make sure that every child is born into a family that loves and wants that child, and that families get support to be the best parents, the best carers they can possibly be. Let's now let the police do the work that they've got ahead of them, but let's think about the families and communities that have lost these children and do our best as a society to support other families under pressure, to make sure tragedies like this don't happen.

JOURNALIST: Tanya, what can workers and households expect out of Labor's energy policy?

PLIBERSEK: They'll have to wait to see the details of our energy policy, that is the best- 
Inaudible, as music plays. 

PLIBERSEK: That was a wonderful school bell. Thank you. The question was, what can people expect to see from Labor's energy policy. I am not going to do into the details of that. But what I will tell you is we have got a commitment to - reducing pollution, reducing power bills and ensuring certainty in our energy system. We know that renewables are being cheaper all the time, so you will see an emphasis on renewables, and you will see a pathway for Labor to meet its targets when it comes to emissions reduction and energy certainty. 

JOURNALIST: Now there’s reports Warren Mundine is considering running for Liberal. What do you make of that considering he was once President of your Party?

PLIBERSEK: Well it’s a rich and diverse democracy that we live in and of course what I would say about the seat of Gilmore is the reports are that Mr Mundine's considering running, Labor has a fantastic candidate in the seat of Gilmore in Fiona Phillips and if people want to see real change, real action and real delivery for people living in Gilmore they should vote for Fiona Phillips. I don't really know what is happening with Liberal Party preselection down there. All I know is that Ann Sudmalis, who has been the sitting member, has been the victim she says of bullying and harassment that has caused her to leave the Parliament and that the preselection battle down there is very messy. I don't know whether Mr Mundine is considering joining this already very messy Liberal preselection battle. That's up to him. 

JOURNALIST: And what do you make of Tony Abbott's chances in Warringah at the next election?

PLIBERSEK: Well look, Warringah has traditionally been a very safe seat for the Liberal Party and I would be gobsmacked if Mr Abbott actually lost a seat like Warringah. It would be almost as surprising as losing the seat of Wentworth in Sydney. So I don't know, I can’t really comment on the likelihood of him losing the seat other than to say, it's just a mess isn't it? I mean, the Liberal Party of Australia now has a current Prime Minister, a former Prime Minister and another former Prime Minister all at war with each other through social media. I think what Australians really want is less focus on you know the machinations in Warringah and a bit more focus on our health system, the schools our kids are going to, jobs with decent pay and conditions, energy policy that delivers lower pollution and lower prices. These are the things that we will be focusing on as a united and disciplined team under Bill Shorten’s leadership. 

JOURNALIST: And just finally if no one has anything else, the Government says it won’t sign up to the UN Migration Pact because it will compromise boarder security. Would Labor sign up to such an agreement?

PLIBERSEK: Well we would have a look at the agreement in the same way that we look at every proposed international treaty. We would take it through proper Parliamentary processes, where we examine it and if it’s in the national interest we sign it and if it’s not in the national interest we don't sign it. What I think is really extraordinary is Scott Morrison, as Prime Minister, trying to whip up fear and thought bubbles, just like he did before the Wentworth by-election with the nutty plan to move the Australian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in Israel. And these thought bubbles that you keep getting from the Prime Minister are really beneath the dignity of the office. He needs to stop acting like the adverting guy and actually become a Prime Minister.