Sky News Alan Jones – child care

Thursday, 15 October 2020

ALAN JONES, HOST: Welcome to you both. I don’t want to dwell on this issue but a comment on the Berejiklian affair. We’ll go to South Australia’s Amanda first.

AMANDA RISHWORTH, SHADOW MINISTER FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT: It’s a pretty messy situation and of course we’ve seen a lot of speculation. For Gladys Berejiklian her private life is her private life, and I wouldn’t want to go speculating about that. But there’s clearly a process to go through here and there will be evidence, and hopefully that will be tested properly. The process just needs to take its course.

JONES: Okay I agree. Amanda Stoker?

AMANDA STOKER, LIBERAL SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND: I think it’s important to note while the admissions made today by Mr Maguire are apparently quite damming, the evidence seems to corroborate and support everything that’s been said by Premier Berejiklian so far, demonstrating that she’s been honest with the public and honest with the ICAC hearing. It’s also really important I think that we don’t allow this process to distract from the very good job she is doing, I would say best in the country of all the State Premiers, of keeping the economy as open as is possible and allowing as much freedom as is possible in the context of COVID-19.

JONES: Let me ask you this, the Liberal Party have always claimed the higher ground on corruption, and they’ve taunted Labor about corrupt ghosts of the past. Amanda Rishworth, what does this mean do you think for the Liberal Party?

RISHWORTH: Look I think they’ve had their fair share of accusations as well. But obviously as the process goes on there’ll be a question in the public mind about whether there can still be trust in politics, and I think that’s a really worrying situation when people are questioning trust. I’m not going to make this a partisan thing, but I think as politicians we have to absolutely uphold the public’s trust and there’s an obligation on all of us to do that.

JONES: Good on you, well done, great answer. Amanda Stoker for a long time the Labor brand has been identified with dodgy deals and corruption. Is this Maguire Berejiklian stuff an electoral gift to Labor?

STOKER: Well we’ve got until 2023 to see how that plays out in New South Wales, there’s a fair way to go until we’re facing that. But more electorally relevant is to look at the more recent and front of mind for me at least being in Queensland, is the conduct of the Queensland Labor Party. Where we’ve had Labor here doing deals to change the electoral funding laws, to exclude the people who don’t support them, while making it possible for unions to donate ever-more. Rigging sign laws so their people can have plenty of signs, but those who are more conservative can’t. They’ve changed the advertising laws so that they can divert public taxpayer funding to applying to their election well hopefully for them re-election campaign. And they’ve been doing it all while refusing to have a Budget. That’s dodgy if I’ve ever seen it.

JONES: I just want to ask you both, this Maguire fella fancy bringing Chinese Communist Party members into the New South Wales State Parliament, reportedly charging them to meet Barry O’Farrell, from the United Front a network controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. Just a quick one from you both Amanda Rishworth

RISHWORTH: Well I think foreign influence is something we must tackle as a country and as a Parliament. And that’s why I think foreign donations need to be banned in this country, they should be banned and that’s critically important. But we’ve got to look at other foreign influences and make sure that we have a squeaky clean electoral system.

JONES: 100 per cent correct. I know what Amanda thinks so I won’t bother to ask. I wanted to ask about Anthony Albanese wanting to increase the subsidy per dollar that families spend on child care from 85 cents to 90 cents, and households earning below $530,000 would receive a subsidy. What do you say to people with no children who may well be subsidising the career ambitions of well off parents, Amanda Stoker?

STOKER: I think most people in the community can get behind the idea that providing some help for child care for single parents or lower socio economic households is a valuable thing to do. But when we’re talking about households that have incomes of $400,000 and over, it really is a bit of a joke. It’s not right to be providing enormous subsides in those circumstances, and when we have evidence that the Morrison Government’s current scheme the Child Care Subsidy is getting the balance right between helping those families who truly need it to be able to earn a living, and making sure that those who can pay their own way, there’s no demonstrated need for this proposal.

JONES: Well let’s go to Amanda because she’s qualified in this area too. I’m sure this is well and right for children in single parent or lower socio economic households, but surely in a household of $400,000 as Amanda says, this is just glorified child minding?

RISHWORTH: It’s not at all. KPMG and the Grattan Institute have recently both released reports. What Labor is doing is we are removing a disincentive for women to go to work, at the moment what those two studies show is for a woman to go back to work on the fourth or fifth day, depending on their income, they actually have to in some cases pay to go to work, or they get five cents in the dollar when they turn up to work. So what these reports have said is if you remove those disincentives, you actually grow the economy, and that’s better for everyone.

JONES: Amanda the greatest the greatest growth in female employment in this country was in the 70s when there was none of this stuff.

RISHWORTH: Well if you have a look at the OECD figures we trail well below full time work for women, the OECD in average is 37 per cent, we are trailing at about 23 per cent.

JONES: You’re both mothers, I’ve read books on all this stuff, isn’t the best child care in the home? Amanda Stoker can I just grab a comment from you on that.

STOKER: Alan can I say this first about what Amanda has put before you tonight, and that is to say just before COVID-19 hit, we have record womens workforce participation in this country, and we had it without this absurd policy proposed by Albanese. But it is true to say that a lot of studies show that the best start for children is in the home, and quite frankly the policies we have in place in my view personally should provide real choice and real options for all families. So those that are prepared to make the sacrifice necessary for one parent to stay at home get some support in doing so, particularly if they’re at the lower end of the income scale.

JONES: Labor Amanda we’ve we run out of time, but I’ll just make one point to you Amanda, and thank you for your time tonight and the clarity of your thinking. I must just say if you happen to be a mum or dad and you stay at home to look after your kids you get nothing. But look we’ve run out of time and I will resume this discussion next week, and Amanda I hope we can talk to you again. Thank you for your time.

ENDS

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