THE HON BILL SHORTEN MP
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG
RETIREMENT OF SENATOR BOB CARR
Today, I want to thank Senator Bob Carr for his service as Foreign Minister and his tremendous contribution to the Australian Labor Party.
There are few people who have dedicated such time and commitment to public life and the labour movement as Bob Carr.
Joining the ALP more than 40 years ago as a 15-year-old student, he has served both State and Federal Parliaments with exceptional distinction.
Senator Carr’s list of achievements in public life are extraordinary.
During his time as Foreign Minister in the Labor Government, Australia was elected to the United Nations Security Council.
Senator Carr was also instrumental in building closer ties with China and more recently, played an important role in responding to the ongoing conflict in Syria.
Senator Carr was the longest continuously serving Premier in New South Wales history – serving in the position for ten years – before retiring from NSW politics in 2005. During that time, he implemented the findings of the Wood Royal Commission, invested hugely in state infrastructure, developed leading drug reforms and led the government that oversaw the staging of the hugely successful Sydney 2000 Olympics.
He also worked as a journalist and is a prolific writer, avid reader and aficionado of American political history.
Indeed, Senator Carr’s contribution to public life could be best described by Abraham Lincoln -
These men ask for just the same thing, fairness, and fairness only. This, so far as in my power, they, and all others, shall have.
Senator Carr leaves Federal Parliament with our thanks and the best wishes of the Australian Labor Party for him and his wife Helena.
WEDNESDAY, 23 OCTOBER 2013
Media Contact: 02 6277 4312
The National Disability Insurance Scheme is a reform in the great Labor tradition of Medicare and superannuation which will deliver benefits to all Australians for the future.
However, we can do better to include Australians on the disability pension or with a permanent workplace injury who get an inferior deal in our society.
Too many people with an impairment, a mental illness or a permanent workplace injury are put in the too hard basket – Australians who simply want a second chance to participate more in our community.
This is not about punitive measures nor attacking benefits but a view that people should not be left behind and discarded.
The previous Labor government lifted the Disability Support Pension, but we should support disability pensioners to have more say in their lives through the satisfaction of meaningful participation.
This approach requires bipartisan work with state governments and all stakeholders including medical professionals and the business community.
We need to unlock the latent capacity in every Australian to participate meaningfully in work.
The Rudd and Gillard governments delivered meaningful reforms to the DSP. But we should not rest there.
I believe there are many people on the Disability Support Pension or with a permanent workplace injury who want to work and who have the ability to work if they are properly supported.
I believe a national rehabilitation strategy must be explored to ensure that every Australian, including those on the DSP, benefit from the dignity and satisfaction of work. Too often when someone acquires an impairment, develops an age related illness or suffers a workplace injury that interrupts their employment our focus is on the income support alone and not the support that is necessary to assist people to return back to the workplace.
I have seen first-hand the damage done to workers, their families, co-workers and businesses when a person is injured at work. That damage is magnified when an injured worker is not supported to return to work.
If elected Labor Leader I would develop a national rehabilitation strategy which focuses on getting injured workers and Australians on the DSP back into safe, meaningful work.
The Australian Labor Party has a long and proud tradition of fighting to improve workplace health and safety, protecting injured workers rights and supporting injured workers back to work.
Labor recognises supporting injured workers back to work, in a safe and meaningful job is part of a good society and part of our Labor tradition.
People with a permanent injury and their family experience significant financial challenges, often due to a reduction in wages, lower or no ongoing workers compensation, medical costs and a restricted opportunity for future work.
Being away from their workplace isolates injured workers, who are often caught in an adversarial system between insurance companies and government systems.
The national rehabilitation strategy could include working with the treating medical practitioners and their peak groups to, for instance, develop medical guidelines in consultation with the medical profession to emphasise rehabilitation and return to work for injured workers or people with an impairment or mental illness.
The strategy could also incorporate Return to Work Brokers to better manage return to work for injured workers, keep costs low for employers and to make sure insurance companies support an injured worker’s return to meaningful, paid employment.
Return to Work Brokers could work between doctors, insurers, employers and the injured employee and their representatives to:
· Identify existing or new training and employment opportunities for people with a long term workers compensation claims
· Identify what support is required to retrain, reskill and identify new employment opportunities if a worker cannot return to their previous job
· Improve standards required of insurers who manage workers compensation claims to support better outcomes for injured workers
Work related injury and illness were estimated to cost Australia $60.6 billion in 2008-2009 which represents 4.8 per cent of GDP. (Source: Safe Work Australia Key Work Health and Safety statistics, Australia 2012 and Safe Work Australia WA National Return to Work Survey 2012-2013)
MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew Porter 0419 474 392
The Rudd Labor Government today announced $64.7 million for 58 new Trade Training Centres that will benefit 71 schools in New South Wales.
This investment is part of our positive plan to ensure all Australian students are given every opportunity to secure high skill, high wage jobs beyond the China mining investment boom.
It is part of a national announcement led by the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd which will see thousands of students in 225 schools across Australia benefit from new training opportunities in 137 new Trade Training Centres.
Federal Labor will continue to invest in new Trade Training Centres if re-elected to ensure young Australians gain the skills they need to compete for the jobs of tomorrow.
Trade Training Centres in schools will address skill shortages in traditional trades and emerging industries by equipping schools with the state-of-the-art industry standard facilities they need.
The Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Minister for Education Bill Shorten today announced the outcome of Round Five Phase One, the next instalment of Federal Labor’s $2.5 billion, 10 year Trade Training Centres in Schools program.
The funding announced today will ensure that students at 71 secondary schools around NSW can learn skills such as, carpentry and joinery, metal fabrication, agriculture and horticulture at one of the 137 new Trade Training Centres.
These new Trade Training Centres are concrete evidence of Federal Labor’s determination to ensure every young Australian can get the skills they need to succeed, no matter what field they want to build a career in.
The Trade Training Centres in Schools program goes beyond building facilities and encourages schools to work with local businesses.
This investment is a win for businesses because Trades Training Centres help ensure students get the skills which local employers need.
Schools are encouraged to work with local employers who can support the schools with expertise, equipment and provide on the job placements, school based apprenticeships and traineeships for students.
Federal Labor has now announced funding of over $1.4 billion for more than 510 Trade Training Centres benefitting more than 1,290 secondary schools across Australia. Over 60 per cent of these schools are located in regional Australia.
Of previously announced Trade Training Centre projects, over 70 per cent have already been built – this is a great achievement considering the first funding round only opened in March 2008.
The Trade Training Centres in Schools program is targeted at increasing Year 12 or equivalent attainment and improving student career options particularly in skills shortage areas. Eligible low socio-economic secondary schools have been prioritised in funding allocations.
In addition to the $209.8 million announced today, Federal Labor will provide a further $200 million under Round Five (Phase Two) of the Trade Training Centres in Schools Program.
Funding for this program is already included in the budget.
The full list of successful new Trades Training Centres is available at: http://tinyurl.com/ttcisp-2013
14 AUGUST 2013
Communications Unit: T 03 8625 5111 www.alp.org.au
Authorised by G. Wright, Australian Labor, 5/9 Sydney Avenue, Barton, ACT, 2600
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is this morning scheduled to visit St Andrew’s Christian College, Wantirna South.
St Andrew’s is an Independent School that will benefit from the Labor Government’s Better Schools Plan.
St Andrew’s would see its funding increase of $2500 per student in the 2019 school year compared to the 2013 school year, an increase of 42.6% from 2013.
This investment could go towards more support and improvements like:
- Literacy and numeracy specialists to work one-on-one with students who need extra help
- Learning and support staff such as educational psychologists, speech pathologists or social workers
- Classroom modifications and new assistive technology for students with disability
- Class sets of textbooks to lift the financial burden from parents
- More high quality vocational education and training opportunities for students
The Labor Government believes there is nothing more important than investing in the education of all Australian children.
Mr Abbott needs to explain to the parents, teachers and students at St Andrew’s why he doesn’t think this vital investment is worthwhile.
MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew Porter 0419474392
Victorian Liberal Treasurer Michael O’Brien has confirmed that unfair individual contracts would be back with a bullet under a federal Liberal government.
Mr O’Brien clearly didn’t get the Tony Abbott small target memo on workplace relations for this election.
According to the Australian Financial Review today, he nominated the re-introduction of individual contracts as an immediate step that should be taken by whichever side wins the Federal Election.
Mr O’Brien said “…it was a retrograde step to see them abolished” and “[t]here are some other issues that from a Victorian point of view we do need to see coming out of this election campaign. One of them is industrial relations reform… We do want to make sure we can get real industrial relations reform.”
- Liberal Treasurer Michael O’Brien Melbourne 6 August 2013
The Victorian Treasurer has confirmed what Australians already know: Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party cannot be trusted on workplace relations.
At their core, Liberals believe in unfair individual contracts that rip away wages and conditions from employees.
Irrespective of what they say before election day, an Abbott government would change workplace relations laws and bring back unfair individual contracts.
The Liberals didn’t tell the Australian people about WorkChoices before the 2004 election.
And they don’t want to tell people about their plan to bring back unfair individual contracts before September 7.
In 2008 Tony Abbott said WorkChoices was “good for wages, it was good for jobs, and it was good for workers. And let’s never forget that.”
In 2009 Tony Abbott said “workplace reform was one of the greatest achievements of the Howard Government.”
Under WorkChoices, millions of Australian workers lost basic protections and suffered real losses to their take home pay.
Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party cannot be trusted with the wages and conditions of hard working Australians.
The only way to protect rights and entitlements at work is to re-elect a Rudd Labor Government.
Minister for Education Bill Shorten joined local MP Darren Cheeseman at Grovedale Secondary College today to talk about how the Rudd Labor Government’s Better Schools Plan will benefit students and the local economy in Geelong.
The Better Schools Plan will deliver the tools and resources we know lead to better student learning outcomes, including more one-on-one attention based on the individual needs of each child.
There are around 21,000 students in 71 schools in the electorate of Corangamite which will receive more than $100 million extra public funding in the 2019 school year compared to 2013 under the Better Schools Plan – a 50 per cent increase over six years.
On average each school in the electorate of Corangamite will be around $1.5 million better off in 2019 compared to 2013.
Grovedale College could benefit from around $4.8 million more in the 2019 school year compared to 2013, a 51 per cent increase per student.
Funding for this commitment is already included in the budget.
This investment could go towards:
- Literacy and numeracy specialists to work one-on-one with students who need extra help.
- Learning and support staff such as educational psychologists, speech pathologists or social workers.
- Classroom modifications and new assistive technology for students with disability.
- Class sets of textbooks to lift the financial burden from parents.
- More high quality vocational education and training opportunities for students.
This new funding builds on Federal Labor’s record in delivering better schools in the local area. In the electorate of Corangamite there was more than $100 million approved for 142 Building the Education Revolution projects including the building or upgrading of 34 classrooms, 18 libraries, 19 multipurpose halls and one language centre.
Grovedale Secondary College received almost $2 million for a new language centre under the BER.
In addition, Grovedale Secondary College received 439 computers to achieve a 1:1 student to computer ratio for students in Years 9-12 from the National Secondary School Computer Fund.
The Better Schools Plan will give every student in every Australian school the opportunity to reach their full potential and compete with the rest of the world, including those in Corangamite.
After reaching an historic agreement with the Victorian Government, almost 80 per cent of Australian students are now set to benefit from the Rudd Labor Government’s Better Schools Plan.
Minister for Education and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten today announced the appointment of six Expert Panel Members for the Fair Work Commission
The Expert Panel Members and will participate in the annual minimum wage review and the assessment of funds to receive default superannuation contributions.
“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Ms Vicki Allen, Mr Arthur Apted and Mr Stephen Gibbs as Expert Panel Members with high level experience and expertise in the financial services and superannuation fields,” Minister Shorten said.
“I am also pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Sue Richardson, Mr Tim Harcourt, and Mr Anthony Cole as Expert Panel Members with expertise to participate in the conduct of the annual minimum wage review.”
Ms Allen is currently the Chair of Mirvac Capital Partners Ltd’s Operations and Stronger Super Committee, and Chair of Bridge Housing Limited and its Human Resources and Nominations Committee. She is also a Director for Motor Trades Association of Australia Superannuation Fund Pty Ltd.
Mr Apted established the Sustainable Agriculture Fund and Australian Farms Fund Management Pty Ltd in 2006, which primarily dealt with investment fund targeting. Prior to this, he was a consultant for Atchison Consultants, providing specialist property investment advice to fund managers and was a Manager for the Industry Superannuation Property Trust.
Mr Gibbs currently holds directorships for Hastings Funds Management Ltd and Ecosystems Investment Management Pty Ltd. He is also the Chair for Australian Ethical Investments. He was formerly the CEO of the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees and of ARIA (now part of the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation).
Professor Richardson was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2011 and was previously a part-time member of the former Minimum Wage Panel, a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, and a Member of the National Sustainability Council.
Mr Harcourt is currently a J.W. Nevile Fellow in Economics at UNSW. Prior to this, he was the Chief Economist for the Australian Trade Commission.
Mr Cole is currently a member of the Board of the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation, a member of the Advisory Board for the NT Treasury Corporation and a Director of Australian Ethical Investors. He is also the Chairman for the Tasman Transparency Group.
“Each of the new panel members brings diverse and broad experience to their roles,” Minister Shorten said.
“I am confident these appointments will further enhance the experience, integrity and balance of the Fair Work Commission.”
The appointments follow an independent, merit-based selection process conducted by senior representatives of the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and the Australian Public Service Commission in consultation with the Shadow Minister for Workplace Relations and the States and Territories.
Full biographies are attached below.
MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew Porter 0419 474 39
Superannuation Expert Panel Members
Ms Allen has completed a Bachelor of Business from the UTS, an MBA from the University of Melbourne, and a Diploma of Financial Services. Ms Allen is currently the Chair of Mirvac Capital Partners Limited’s Operations and Stronger Super Committee, Bridge Housing Limited, and Chairman of Human Resources and Nominations Committee. She is also a Director for Motor Trades Association of Australia Superannuation Fund Pty Ltd. Most recently, Ms Allen has been the Chief Operating Officer for The Trust Company, which is involved with managed investment schemes. She has also been the Business Leader and General/Project Manager for the National Australia Bank, as well as a Fund Manager for Westfield Limited.
Mr Apted has completed a Bachelor of Economics from Monash University and a MBA from the University of Melbourne. He also has completed a Diploma of Financial Services, a Certificate of Superannuation and a Graduate Diploma of Applied Finance. Since 2006, he established the Sustainable Agriculture Fund and Australian Farms Fund Management Pty Ltd, which primarily dealt with investment fund targeting. Prior to this, he was a consultant for Atchison Consultants, providing specialist property investment advice to fund managers and was a Manager for the Industry Superannuation Property Trust. Between 1977-1985 Mr Apted worked as an Industrial and Research officer for the Australian Railways Union and for three years he was the Senior (and then Principal) Project Officer for Wages Policy for the Victorian Department of Labour. For eight years, he also served as a Ministerial Advisor to the Victorian Minister for Labour, the Honourable Neil Pope. Finally, between 1990-1998, he was the Industrial Officer (and then Senior Industrial Officer) for the ACTU, specialising in financial services and superannuation, as well as the Fund Secretary (CEO) and Director for the Australian Government Employee’s Superannuation Trust and the Executive Director in Investments for the Superannuation Trust of Australia.
Mr Gibbs has completed a Bachelor of Economics and a Master of Business Administration from Monash University. He currently holds directorships for Hastings Funds Management Limited and Ecosystems Investment Management Pty Ltd. He is also the Chair for Australian Ethical Investments. With respect to his employment history, Mr Gibbs has held the positions of Director and Government & Industry Liaison for the Investor Group on Climate Change, as well as Senior Adviser for Merrill Lynch. Mr Gibbs has had specific experience pertaining to superannuation, when he worked as Chief Executive Officer for Australian Reward Investment Alliance and an Executive Officer for the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees.
Minimum Wage Review Expert Panel Members
Professor Richardson was awarded a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) from the University of Melbourne in 1968 and a PhD from La Trobe University in 1978. She was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2011. Professor Richardson is currently a part-time Member of Fair Work Commission (Minimum Wage Panel), a Fellow for the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, and a Member of the National Sustainability Council. She has previously been a part time Commissioner of the Essential Services Commission of South Australia. Professor Richardson has also held a number of academic positions in economics, including Senior Lecturer and Reader for the Department of Economics at the University of Adelaide and Professor and Director for the National Institute of Labour Studies at Flinders University.
Anthony (Tony) Cole
Mr Cole is currently a member of the Board of the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation, a member of the Advisory Board for the NT Treasury Corporation and a Director of Australian Ethical Investors. He is also the Chairman for the Tasman Transparency Group. Prior to this, Mr Cole was the Head of Management in the Australian Investment Consulting Department for Mercer, as well as an Executive Director of LIFA. Mr Cole has also worked for the Government, where he was the Chairman of the Industry Commission, Secretary to the Treasury and Secretary of the Department of Health and Community Services.
Mr Harcourt has completed a Bachelor of Economics (Honours) from the University of Adelaide, Master of Arts from the University of Minnesota, and the Harvard Trade Union Program from Harvard University. Mr Harcourt is currently a J.W. Nevile Fellow in Economics for UNSW. Prior to this, he was the Chief Economist for the Australian Trade Commission. Mr Harcourt has also held the positions of Advocate for the ACTU, Corporate Adviser for Pacific Dunlop, and Associate for the now Australian Industrial Relations Commission. Mr Harcourt is a member of several boards, including the Global Economic Issues Advisory Group and Trade Negotiations Advisory Group, and has a sold a best-selling book on economics.
The Minister for Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten, and the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Anthony Albanese, today welcomed Telstra’s announcement that work on pit remediation for the NBN would recommence on 19 August.
“Telstra has worked constructively with the Government and other stakeholders to put in place a comprehensive program to address the issues posed by the existence of asbestos in parts of its network.”
“Everyone has the right to go to work and come home safely,” said Minister Shorten.
The independent Asbestos Taskforce, established by the Australian Government in June, has agreed on a range of measures to ensure all of Telstra’s work crews are appropriately trained and monitored, and follow correct work safety practices.
The Taskforce is headed by Geoff Fary (Chair, Asbestos Management Review) and its membership includes representatives from Telstra, NBN Co., the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA), Comcare, industry unions, asbestos community support groups and work, health and safety experts.
“Asbestos is a cruel, indiscriminate killer and because of its widespread use over much of the 20th century and remains a persistent threat to Australians,” Mr Shorten said.
“There can be no short cuts when it comes to asbestos,” Mr Albanese said.
“This is a positive development for those sub-contractors who have been awaiting Telstra’s resumption of remediation work.”
If residents or businesses wish to report suspected asbestos containing material, please call the national asbestos hotline on 1800 888 468.
MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew Porter (Shorten) 0419 474 392
Adam Sims (Albanese) 0408 258 457
Minister for Workplace Relations Bill Shorten today announced the appointment of a CEO to head up the new Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA), and the appointment of the 10 members of the ASEA Council.
Mr Peter Tighe has been appointed as CEO of the Agency for a period of five years.
“The Rudd Government is committed to a national plan of action to eliminate asbestos exposure,” Minister Shorten said.
“The ASEA began operations on 1 July 2013 and marks a crucial step in Australia becoming the first nation to progress towards the ultimate elimination of asbestos-related diseases.”
“As CEO, Mr Tighe will work with governments and stakeholders to implement the national plan for asbestos eradication, handling and awareness.
“Asbestos is a cruel, indiscriminate killer that remains a persistent threat to Australians. The identification and safe removal of asbestos is an absolute priority for the Rudd Government.”
Mr Tighe recently was National Secretary of the Communications, Electrical, Plumbing Union, a position he held since 1995. He was also National Secretary of the Electrical Trades Union and Executive Member of the Australian Council of Trade Unions from 1991 to 2013. He is Chair of E-Oz Energy Skills Australia, E-Profiling Pty Ltd and the National Electrical and Electronic Industry Training Council and a trustee/board member of CBUS Superannuation. Mr Tighe has extensive experience in workplace health and safety issues and in tackling the hazards of asbestos containing materials.
Mr Tighe will report to the Minister and consult with the ASEA Council, consisting of Commonwealth, state, territory and local government representatives and other expert members.
This position is a statutory appointment and was made following a merit based selection process.
Mr Geoff Fary has been appointed as Chair of the ASEA Council. Mr Fary was Chair of the Australian Asbestos Management Review conducted between 2010 and 2012.
The other members of the Council are Dr Ian Gardner representing the Commonwealth and Mr Peter Dunphy, Mr Mark McCabe, Mr Lex McCulloch and Dr Robert Walters as the members representing state, territory and local government; Mr Michael Borowick as the member representing the interests of workers; Ms Tracey Browne as the member representing the interests of employers; and Mr Barry Robson and Ms Tanya Segelov.
“The Council members have been appointed based on their expertise in asbestos management and public health fields and following consultation with state and territory governments, stakeholders and asbestos support and advocacy groups ,” Minister Shorten said.
“I am confident the appointments I am announcing today will enable ASEA to drive the important work of eliminating asbestos exposure in this country. I believe working together we can eradicate this killer once and for all.”
More information is available at: www.asbestossafety.gov.au.
If residents or businesses wish to report suspected asbestos containing material, please call the national asbestos hotline on 1800 888 468.
MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew Porter 0419 474 392
Members of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Council:
Mr Geoff Fary was Chair of the Australian Asbestos Management Review between 2010 and 2012. Prior to this he was Assistant Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions for 3 years. Mr Fary has also held positions as Executive Director of the Association of Professional Engineers Scientists and Managers, Australia (APESMA) and National Vice President of the Industrial Relations Society, Australia. His former board memberships and directorships include Australian Employee Buyout Centre, APESMA Lawyers Pty Ltd, Victorian Government Purchasing Board, Safe Work Australia, Defence Reserves Support National Council and Commissioner for the Australian Safety and Compensation Commission.
Dr Ian Gardner has been a Senior Physician in Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the Department of Defence since 2010. Between 1998 and 2010 he was a Consultant Occupational Physician in private practice and prior to that held positions including Program Director, Health Safety and Environment Management at IBM Asia Pacific, Occupational Physician, Alcoa of Australia and Medical Superintendent at Clermont District Hospital. Dr Gardner is Chairman of the Health Review Board of the New South Wales (NSW) Public Service Commission and a Councillor of the Specialist Medical Review Council. His former board memberships include the Workers Compensation and Occupational Health and Safety Council of NSW and HealthQuest, NSW. Dr Gardner holds a Master of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from University of Queensland and Master of Public Health from University of Sydney.
Mr Peter Dunphy has been Director of Operations, Work Health and Safety Division of WorkCover NSW since 2011. Prior to this he held various senior management positions in WorkCover NSW including Director, Specialist Services Group, senior technical and policy roles, Acting Manager, Scientific Services Branch, Scientific Advisor and Coordinator of the Asbestos Regulation Unit. His board memberships include Chair of Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities Working Group, the Asbestos Education Committee and the Demolition and Asbestos Consultative Committee.
Mr Mark McCabe is Work Safety Commissioner and Senior Director of WorkSafe ACT. His previous positions have included Manager, Workplace Injury Performance, ACT Chief Minister’s Department, Project Manager, ACT Safety First Project, New South Wales State Manager and then General Manager of Comcare. He is Chair or the Asbestos Regulators Forum and a member and former Chair of the ACT Work Safety Council. Mr McCabe is an Honorary Fellow of the Safety Institute of Australia.
Mr Lex McCulloch has been Commissioner and Executive Director, WorkSafe Western Australia (WA) since 2011. Prior to this he was Assistant Commissioner, Youth Justice Services, WA. His previous positions include Deputy Commissioner, Offender Management and Professional Development, Youth Justice Services, WA, Acting Director General, Department of Indigenous Affairs, WA and Acting Chief Executive Officer, Pilbara Development Commission. He is a member of the Commission for Occupational Health and Safety.
Dr Robert Walters is a General Medical Practitioner, Member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and Colonel in the Royal Australian Army Medical Corps. He is also medico-legal advisor and case manager, Medical Indemnity Protection Society and a workers’ compensation medical advisor to a number of insurance companies. Dr Walters has been General Practice Consultant to the Surgeon General, Australian Defence Force (ADF) since 1995 and prior to that held positions in the ADF as a Senior Medical Officer, Director of Medical Services (Tasmania Region) and Military Compensation Adviser for Tasmania. His board memberships include Chair, Ministerial Asbestos Steering Committee, Member, Workcover Tasmania Board, and Chair of the General Practice Consultative Group, ADF. Former board memberships include National Advisory Council on Mental Health, National E-Health Transition Authority, National Advisory Council on Suicide Prevention, ACCC Health Services Advisory Council, and Australian Pharmaceutical Advisory Council.
Mr Michael Borowick has been Assistant Secretary, Australian Council of Trade Unions since 2010. Prior to this held various elected and other positions in the Australian Workers’ Union and its predecessor organisations. Mr Borowick is a member of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission, National Workplace Relations Consultative, Safe Work Australia, Defence Industry Innovation Board, Defence Reserves Support Council and is a Director of Trade Union Friends of Israel Ltd.
Ms Tracey Browne has been Manager, National Safety and Workers Compensation Policy and Membership Services, Australian Industry Group (AI Group) since 2007. Between 2006 and 2007 she was AI Group’s National Program Manager, Small Business Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Advisers Program and from 2001 to 2007 she was a their Principal Adviser, Workers Compensation and OHS. Her former positions also include Group Manager, Health Safety & Environment, Bendix Mintex Pty Ltd, Coordinator, Occupational Health & Safety/Personnel, ACI Glass Packaging and Senior Consultant, Occupational Health & Safety, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.
Mr Barry Robson has been President of the Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia since 2003 and was a delegate between 1995 and 2003. From 1995 to 2003 he was also Assistant Secretary, Maritime Union of Australia and prior to that a Councillor of Blacktown City Council, NSW.
Ms Tanya Segelov has been a Partner at Turner Freeman Lawyers since 2000 and is an expert in asbestos and legal issues. Between 1993 and 2000 she held positions as a Clerk, Solicitor and then Associate for Turner Freeman Lawyers. Ms Segelov is a member of the Asbestos Management Review Panel.
AEU VICTORIAN BRANCH OFFICE
SATURDAY 3 AUGUST
Subject/s: Better Schools Plan, Election
BILL SHORTEN: Good morning everyone. It’s great to be here at the Teachers’ Union Delegates meeting, talking to teachers about why the Better Schools Plan of Federal Labor is such a good idea for government schools in Victoria.
There’s no doubt in my mind that tens of thousands of Victorian school teachers, hundreds of thousands of parents of Victorian children who go to Victorian government schools want to see the Victorian Government strike an arrangement with the Federal Government. There’s clearly complete disbelief amongst Victorian teachers that the fake conversion to prioritising education for a federal government, people just don’t believe Tony Abbott means what he says in terms of school funding.
So the challenge is here for Premier Napthine. Your teachers, your parents in Victoria want to see you strike an arrangement and there’s complete rejection about the sincerity and authenticity. People do not believe Liberal Federal policies on education. They’ve trashed them for three years. They don’t believe that one day changes three years of bagging out Labor’s great reforms to help every individual child and schools. Happy to take questions.
REPORTER: How close are Victoria to signing on to the Better Schools program?
BILL SHORTEN: Well effectively the deal was done last night. It was with great surprise that senior Commonwealth officials were told at nine o’clock last night that the Victorian Government couldn’t make a decision. I’ve spoken to Premier Napthine today. I rang him last night.
We’ve said that, what on earth is the reason to delay till Tuesday striking a deal on Victorian schools other than people playing politics? The Prime Minister of Australia indicated he was available to meet Premier Napthine this morning. I have indicated to Premier Napthine that the Victorian Government officials have worked well with the Commonwealth.
We’ve sorted out the money, the money is not an object any more. We’ve sorted out concerns about the Victorian Government worried about some sort of Canberra takeover of schools. We’ve given them all the assurances that one could need. Now we’re told that the Victorian Government doesn’t work weekends. This is not good for Victorian schools. It’s a shame to miss out on a deal.
Anyway, Premier Napthine has said that he wants to do a deal, he told me that on the phone today. We’re available for the phone call. Our Prime Minister of Australia was ready to provide extra resources unambiguously to Victorian schools, helping Victorian school parents and school kids.
REPORTER: Mr Shorten, is the Prime Minister going to the Governor General’s office tomorrow or Monday to call an election?
BILL SHORTEN: I don’t know.
REPORTER: Does Victoria still have time to strike a deal over the weekend?
BILL SHORTEN: Yes. Do you know today there’s thousands of Victorians going to work? We can, we’ve got the internet, we’ve written to the Victorian Government. We have dealt reasonably with every issue that they’ve got to raise and to be fair, up until late last night I thought the Victorian Government were really interested in a deal. I don’t know what’s happened.
Premier Napthine indicated that he’s got commitments in his electorate this weekend. I’ve indicated that we’re available to meet. We’ve got the telephone, it’s been invented, we’ve got the internet, we’ve got the National Broadband Network. Anyway, listen, politics has reared its head. The Victorian Government, I think the Victorian Government negotiators last night were surprised that all of a sudden there had been a halt applied to very productive negotiations.
I’ll just say one thing to Premier Napthine. The Prime Minister of Australia and myself work weekends. We are happy to meet with you. We have resolved every issue you’ve raised. I can only conclude that somehow Premier Napthine, by delaying the education deal, is trying to delay the election. I don’t know what it’s about.
Let’s forget the politics Premier Napthine. Let’s put the kids of Victoria first, as you have been doing at these negotiations. Let’s just get it done. We’ve had proper process, you know the Coalition say they now back these schemes. I don’t believe them but I can’t see any reason to delay.
Victorian school children, their teachers and their parents deserve leadership. Victoria’s kids are like Australian kids – they’re brave, they’re confident, they’re optimistic. They put trust in the adults to be the leaders that we should be. I think we should now show the sort of leadership that Victoria’s school children expect of Victoria’s politicians.
REPORTER: Do you think Tony Abbott’s policy shift has removed the incentive, if you like, for the holdout states to sign on? I mean in one sense, could Victoria say well why do we need to sign on with Labor when the Coalition have given us everything we want?
BILL SHORTEN: Oh, good question. No one seriously believes that the Liberal Party’s comments on education in the last 24 hours are anything other than poll group – polling and focus group driven panic. The Coalition has bagged, for three years, everything we’re doing in education.
As late as Thursday, the Shadow Minister was calling it all a con. Last week every school principal in Australia got a letter saying don’t believe Labor. Tthen on Thursday or Friday, road to Damascus, new conversion. Like I would be more likely to believe that Eddie McGuire is barracking for Carlton Football Club than I would that Tony Abbott’s now barracking for education.
So I hope that Premier Napthine hasn’t been conned by Tony Abbott’s bogus conversion. All about the polls, all about panic. Because everyone knows that if you care about education you vote Labor.
REPORTER: Is this Victorian delay embarrassing for the Federal Government?
BILL SHORTEN: No, it’s embarrassing for Victoria. But again, what I say to the Victorian Government is because you’ve been in the same meetings I’ve been in, you know, as your senior officials know, as people in the loop about this whole process, that we are all capable of doing this arrangement. Anyone who’s been party to these negotiations in the last four weeks know that politics has reared its ugly head at five minutes to midnight.
No one actually believes that Tony Abbott will fund education the way we do. No parent – parents want certainty. Parents want to know who’s going to look after my kids when they’re at school? Only Labor looks after your kids at school.
REPORTER: What will Labor do in 2014 with the states that haven’t signed on, if you get into government?
BILL SHORTEN: Well it’s up to those states. Those states that have thumbed their nose at us, we believe in education, the door is always open for states who have rejected Labor’s approach to come back and talk to us.
REPORTER: Given you said you were confident of a deal over the weekend, now Dr Napthine says he can’t meet until Tuesday and you’re out here begging him to come back today. Surely that’s embarrassing?
BILL SHORTEN: I’m not begging. I think he should be embarrassed. I just want to make sure – if a deal isn’t struck, I tell you what, there’s one villain in the piece and it’ll be the Victorian Government for not negotiating over the weekend. You’re all working on the weekend. The news happens on the weekend.
What world do the Victorian Government live in that life happens between nine o’clock Monday and five o’clock Friday? Talk about manana, you know, see you tomorrow. I think that – and I make no apology and if someone wants to interpret it as weak me saying we want to do a deal, so what?
It is not weak to want to have a better education for your kids. It is not weak to want to fund your schools better. It is not weak to want to see individual children get the resources. What is weak is not being able to turn up and negotiate on a Saturday and Sunday.
REPORTER: In terms of dollars, in terms of dollars, how much money do Victorian students stand to lose if Victoria doesn’t sign up?
BILL SHORTEN: Oh realistically, if the Victorian Government doesn’t sign up they stand to lose something in the order of – out of the Victorian component, $500,000 a year extra per child I would say, across six years. Be something more like $1,800 per child. Imagine those resources going to kids because of Victoria.
So the Victorian Government, you know what I hope they’re not doing is trying to get a holiday on making a contribution. The big difference between conservative and Labor education policy is we want to put in extra money but we want the state governments to prioritise education.
Tony Abbott is giving the green light to state governments to get out of the business of funding education.
REPORTER: Do you have any idea on the date for the Federal election?
BILL SHORTEN: No.
REPORTER: Are you ready to go?
BILL SHORTEN: Now, this press conference?
BILL SHORTEN: Sorry.
REPORTER: Are you – would you like to see the campaign proper begin? So you can get this all (inaudible)
BILL SHORTEN: Oh, my interest is getting a deal on schools. I will be sick in the stomach if the Victorian Government, for whatever reason, say that life moves too fast for them, they can’t do a deal. That would be – I’m a parent, I know thousands of other parents, I know those teachers in there. Only Labor offers certainty.
The best certainty, regardless of the election outcome, for the Victorian Government, is to do a deal with us. Because Tony Abbott said he’s going to honour any deal. I don’t believe him, maybe the Victorian Government does. But if the Victorian Government doesn’t do a deal well then they’re just left high and dry by Tony Abbott.
FEMALE REPORTER: (inaudible)
BILL SHORTEN: Oh, well first of all maybe we might even see what the Opposition policies cost. They’ve got a $70 billion black hole. They’ve just whacked $10 billion on the tab through their faux back, you know, U-turn, upside down cake they’re making of education.
You know, on Thursday they didn’t like it, on Friday they do. But on Friday they added an extra $10 billion. The conservatives are making promises as if money, taxpayer money is Monopoly money. This is not the way the world works.
Labor has got a costed plan to return to surplus. Our opponents don’t have the costings on anything.
REPORTER: Would these negotiations be as urgent if the Prime Minister didn’t want to call the election before Monday?
BILL SHORTEN: Oh let’s be clear. There’s a deal there to be done. The deal’s done, ladies and gentlemen. The money’s right. The amendments to the legislation are right. The Coalition in Victoria have obviously just exerted pressure on Premier Napthine to pick Tony Abbott over school kids in Victoria.
I hope I’m wrong. I will happily eat my words if Denis Napthine’s available to meet over the weekend. But I’m afraid that I might be right.
REPORTER: So nothing to do with the election date?
BILL SHORTEN: Oh well I hope that Premier Napthine is not letting the – trying to delay an election if that was what the – his logic. What he needs to do is say, alright Bill, we’ve done all of the meetings. We actually agree on everything. I won’t stuff around. I’ll just get on and look after the kids in Victoria. Thanks very much everyone.
Media contact: Jessica Lindell 0408 642 804.