WEDNESDAY, 23 AUGUST 2017
SUBJECT/S: Turnbull’s drug testing trial for Logan; Commonwealth Bank class action
JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE: Thanks for coming out to Logan this morning to talk about these drug trials that have just been announced for our community. I know that you've got an appointment with the three stooges down at Beenleigh shortly, so I'll just make a few points.
This announcement today is more about bagging our community and chasing a cheap headline than it is about genuinely getting people off welfare and into work. This program has been tried elsewhere and it has failed dismally. When you have health experts like the AMA, like St Vincent's Health, like the Royal Australasian College of Physicians all saying that this won't work and that it could actually be counter-productive, you know that you've got a stinker of an idea. We have our share of challenges in this community, but pushing vulnerable people to the brink will only make homelessness, unemployment and crime in this community worse, not better.
Malcolm Turnbull is so spectacularly out of touch that he wants to waste money on a failed program like this instead of genuinely investing in jobs in our local community. If he cared about jobs in this community, he wouldn't be cutting apprenticeships; he wouldn't have dragged his feet on the M1 freeway; he wouldn't be giving us a second-rate NBN, which is damaging businesses in this community, preventing them from creating the jobs that we need; he wouldn't be creating uncertainty in the renewable energy industry, which locally wants to employ lots of our people.
A lot of people in our community feel, with some justification, that the federal LNP only ever show up in Logan to denigrate it. You have Turnbull and his ministers, they pop in, they run the place down and then they piss off back to Point Piper. If they genuinely cared about getting people off welfare and into work, they would spend more time on local jobs and less time on these sorts of stunts, which do nothing but run our community down and chase cheap headlines instead of doing what we really need in this community, which is to have a Federal Government that cares about employment and cares about getting people off welfare and into work.
JOURNALIST: Surely this is targeting people who are not trying on welfare to get off welfare? And, if people are caught testing positive to drugs, then they go on treatment programs. How does that not help them?
CHALMERS: Wherever this has been tried around the world, including with our neighbours in New Zealand, it's failed. It's failed to get people off welfare and into work. It's failed to attack the problem that we do have in communities around the country with drug use. If you're serious about drug use, if you're serious about getting people into work, when you look at the evidence from these failed programs around the world you conclude, as we have, that they don't work. You have medical experts, like the AMA, like St Vincent's Health, like the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, all united as one, saying that this could be counterproductive. Even if you support the objective that the Government has, the experts have delivered their verdict and they say it won't work.
JOURNALIST: Do you think that they've just picked Logan not based on stats? Are they picking on Logan? Is that what you're essentially saying?
CHALMERS: Well they have form in that regard. Turnbull and his ministers, they generally pop in, run down Logan City and then they piss off back to Point Piper, as I said. They've been doing that repeatedly. I grew up in this community. I was born here. I've lived almost all of my life here, and that's been the LNP's form in Logan City. They only come here to bag it. They're not genuinely interested like I am and like Labor is in getting people off welfare and into work. If they were genuinely interested, they'd spend more time caring about local jobs and less time chasing cheap headlines at the expense of our community.
CHALMERS: Well Australians are understandably filthy with the Commonwealth Bank and they're taking that into their own hands with this class action. It should come as no surprise to anybody that Australians are taking matters into their own hands when they have a Prime Minister in Malcolm Turnbull who is so elitist and so out of touch that he is running a protection racket for big banks like the Commonwealth Bank. The difference between Labor and the Turnbull Government is Malcolm Turnbull wants to give the Commonwealth Bank a multi-billion dollar tax cut; Labor wants to give the Commonwealth Bank and the big banks a Royal Commission, so that we can get to the bottom of these issues. It's no surprise that the Australian people are on Labor's side, because we are on their side. They are filthy with the Commonwealth Bank. This class action is the inevitable consequence of a Prime Minister who has deserted the Australian people when it comes to standing up for them in the financial system.