Doorstop – Labor’s National Preschool and Kindy Program, a Voice to Parliament for First Nation’s peoples

Thursday, 04 April 2019

Doorstop, Canberra

SUBJECTS: Labor’s National Preschool and Kindy Program, Social Media laws, Labor’s commitment to a Voice in Parliament for our First Nation’s Peoples

AMANDA RISHWORTH, SHADOW MINISTER FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT: The government’s Budget has a cruel hoax in it for Australian families. That is the fact that it refuses to put in long term funding for four year old kindergarten and has no funding for three year old kindergarten. Now, their government has come up with a lot of excuses about why it can’t fund it but the truth of the matter is, they are not committed to Australian Children and their families. If they were, they would listen to the experts, they would listen to the pleas of families, of providers, of representatives from the sector and fund four year old kindy and extend it to three year old kindy. But they haven’t. This Budget has had only one roll over of funding with excuses such as participation rates that have been rejected by the states and territories. Really what this government has shown is where their priorities lie and where their priorities lie is not with Australian families and children but with the top end of town. This is a clear difference now, going into the election between what Labor stands for which is permanent funding for our four year old kindies, for extending it to three year old kindies and importantly giving children the best start to life and families the support they need. Compare this to the Liberals who have begrudgingly done a one year role over, no certainty, no permanency and no commitment into the future.

JOURNALIST: How much would the Labor policy cost to roll that out to three year olds?

RISHWORTH: We have costed it at $1.75 billion for both four year olds and three year olds, that is over the forward estimates and we have locked this money in permanently. Our preschool policy is fully costed, fully funded and quite frankly the Liberal Party has let Australian children down and Australian families down by not putting this in the Budget.

JOURNALIST: Can I just ask on the social media laws: there is concerns that these are being rushed through. Do you think there has been adequate consultation on these laws to crack down on social media?

RISHWORTH: It is my understanding- these are important laws that are in response to what happened in Christchurch and I think anyone that saw what happened in Christchurch and how it was fed into social media was disgusting. I was quite shocked about- not only the fact that it was on social media but I was shocked about how long it took to take it down. I think people are rightly concerned and the public are rightly concerned and don’t want to see a situation like that happen again. In terms of going forward, I am sure there will be a lot of discussion around these laws and committees will look at this going forward. Quite frankly I think we do need to act, there is very, very- a lot of concern out there in the public about what happened at Christchurch and the way that Facebook and other media outlets responded. I think it is only right that we do respond in a timely manner.

JOURNALIST: Do you think we should be rushing it through this week though? These are big laws, they could change the I.T.- sort of tech sector here who wants to come here and operate here. Should we really be pushing it through this week?

RISHWORTH: Obviously this is the last week of parliament, it is disappointing we didn’t have more weeks of parliament to actually consider legislation. The Liberal Party went on somewhat of a sabbatical when it comes to parliamentary sitting weeks previously. But, we are here where we are now, we are about to go into an election and I think people are rightly concerned and would like to see action on this. That doesn’t say that the consultation would not continue and look at how in the future these laws have an impact but quite frankly I think the Australia people are expecting action and I think many, many people like myself were shocked about the lack of timeliness to take that footage down.

JOURNALIST: The government has included in the Budget some money to invest in a model for an Indigenous Advisory Body which is- Malcolm Turnbull did reject. Is that something the Labor Party would support?

RISHWORTH: We have got a very, very clear policy when it comes to listening to Aboriginal and Torres-Strait Islander people and that is to instigate the Voice. That is our policy. We believe that the Uluru Statement from the heart really chartered a way forward and what the government did is completely reject that. I am not sure what they are actually proposing but what they should do is listen to that Uluru Statement from the heart and actually make sure that they are listening with Indigenous People- our First Nations People and actually enact the Voice. That is Labor’s policy. Our policy is to do just that. Our policy wants to make sure that we have constitutional recognition for our First Australians and that the Voice is a voice to parliament so they do get representation to the highest levels.

ENDS

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