Monday, 12 February 2018
SUBJECTS: Families worse off under the Turnbull Government’s child care changes, Barnaby Joyce, Closing the Gap, Australia’s relationship with China
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT, AMANDA RISHWORTH: Reports again have demonstrated today the government’s childcare package will leave middle and low income families worse off. Despite the government continually telling us that the only families that will be worse off are higher income families, the data released today show that the number of those families that will get zero subsidy on $66,000 are equal to those on $350,000- that is the numbers. We know the majority of families that will be worse off as a result of the government’s child care package are going to be low and middle income earners. What the government fails to do is recognise the importance of early education, these children that may miss out on early education as a result of this government cutting families support for child care. It is unacceptable that the government keeps going around telling people it is only high income earners when indeed the figures from their own department do not bear that out. We would like to see the government recognise that there will be many low and middle income families that will be worse off as a result of the government’s changes and do something about it.
JOURNALIST: The Royal Commission into the banking industry starts today, are you confident that will bring justice for victims?
RISHWORTH: We as Labor have obviously been calling on the government to have this Royal Commission to ensure that those that have been subject to unethical practices by the banks do get a voice. It is so critically important to shine a light and I really do hope that the Royal Commission- and I am sure it will- will allow these victims to have a voice but importantly make recommendations so we don’t see others in the future have to be subject to the same sorts of practices.
JOURNALIST: Just quickly, on Barnaby Joyce; do you think there has been a misuse of taxpayer funds when it comes to him and his relationship with former staffer, Vikki Campion?
RISHWORTH: In terms of Barnaby’s private life that is absolutely a matter for Barnaby Joyce and I am not going to comment on that. Obviously reports in the papers have suggested that there could be questions to answer and they are questions that the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister have to answer. I am not going to speculate any further, certainly there is continuing reports and questions and that is a matter for the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister. I think to give confidence to our system those questions need to be answered.
JOURNALIST: Those questions are coming from the media but are they also coming from Labor? Does Labor think that there has been- that there is a case that there has been- misuse of taxpayer funds?
RISHWORTH: I am not able to comment on that, I don’t know of the details. What I do know is there are questions swirling around, they get reported in the paper every day and I think it is incumbent on the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister to answer those questions and reassure Australians that nothing improper has gone on.
JOURNALIST: Just on Closing the Gap as well; three of the seven targets in the last year have been found to be on track. Do you think that is sufficient progress? And, what more might need to be done, do you think?
RISHWORTH: I would like to of course see all of the targets on track. As the Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education and Development I am pleased to see early childhood education goal is on track but of course we need to keep doing much better to achieve these closing the gap goals. It is critically important that we put our effort into actually ensuring that our First Australians do have equal life expectancy, equal opportunity in this country but importantly that they are heard and that I think is a critical point that we need to keep working with aboriginal people- our First People- to actually ensure that does occur .
JOURNALIST: Just finally from me; Kevin Rudd has criticised Malcolm Turnbull and his handling of Australia’s relationship with China, he has said it is absolutely all over the place, incoherent and inconsistent. I was just wondering if you had any thoughts or is that a criticism-concern that you share; how this government has handled that relationship.
RISHWORTH: Of course we need to make sure that we have a strong relationship with China, they are a very important player in the world. Of course at the same time we strengthen our relationships across the globe…
RISHWORTH: …I would encourage the government to ensure that they are constantly making sure they are looking after our country, our national interest and right across the globe that is their number one priority. Thanks.