WEDNESDAY, 31 OCTOBER 2018
SUBJECTS: Labor delivering extra funding for every public school;Labor’s plan to crack down on tax avoidance; petrol prices; live exports; children on Nauru; Israeli embassy captain’s call; Sri Lanka; Victorian election
PETER KHALIL MP, FEDERAL LABOR MEMBER FOR WILLS: Good morning everyone, ready to go?
I just want to start by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land and pay my respects to their elders past and present, and I want to thank Brunswick North West Primary School for hosting us here today. Particularly the principal Hannah Reid, all of the teachers, all of the very active parents on the school council, president Fiona Heathcote as well as Belinda and Sam and the other 12, thank you so much for having us here today.
I bet you never thought when I visited you a couple of times and came to your winter magic market and said I’d do more advocacy for your school that I’d bring a cast of thousands. The alternative Prime Minister, Labor leader Bill Shorten, the Shadow Education Minister and Deputy Labor leader, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh and also the Victorian Deputy Premier, James Merlino and Education Minister, and of course Cindy O’Connor, our candidate Brunswick who’s done a wonderful job in advocating as well for her community here in Brunswick.
So thank you very much for having us. I often talk education being the key that opens the door to opportunity and this school provides that opportunity for so many kids, it makes a difference to their lives. And that’s why it’s such a special and important school.
And Hannah has often talked about Brunswick North West Primary as the school on the hill, shining out like a star and we in the Labor Party also have that light on the hill which guides us, it shines out and guides us to provide and implement policies when we’re in government that make a difference to children’s lives, particularly through our commitment to education. And that’s why of course, we are investing in education to give our kids that opportunity that great education. The key to opportunity whatever their postcode, whatever their background and ethnicity, it’s about giving them access to education, to make a difference to their lives and their communities around them. And that’s why Labor federally is committing to $14 billion in funding across Australia for schools and transforming schools for the better.
Of course the Victorian Government and James have been the epitome of that commitment and passion to education and the efforts that they’ve made to transform the schools in Victoria which is already the education state but the commitment to that has been fantastic. So I want to thank all of our guests for coming here today and I want to hand over to Bill to give you a bit more detail. Thank you.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks Peter, it’s great to be here with my Deputy Tanya Plibersek who’s leading our national push to put $14 billion back into public education. Fantastic to be here with James Merlino, Victoria’s Education Minister, Deputy Premier, who is determined to make sure the Matthew Guy doesn’t do to Victorian schools what Scott Morrison is doing – that is cutting schools, instead looking after corporations. Good to be here also with Peter Khalil our local Federal Member and Cindy O’Connor Labor’s standard bearer in the state seat in Brunswick.
You know, politics is about choices and I choose education. I choose better schools over bigger multinationals and today we’re pleased to be announcing that our $14 billion in public education in the next 10 years we’re able to start providing estimates of what that practically means for every public school in Australia.
Brunswick North West Primary School, very good school, parents in my neighbouring electorates send their children here. What we want to see is this school get the resources it deserves to give every child the very best chance in life. They’ve got a great school council, got great teachers, got great general staff but what they need also is a government in Canberra who is as imaginative and as optimistic for the kids’ future as the parents and teachers of this and every public school in Australia.
So I’m pleased that we estimate that if a Labor Government is elected next year nationally, this school will get an extra, we hope about $380,000 dollars over the next three years alone. Tanya is going to talk a bit more about this but what I really like about our education policy is it is fully funded. Our promises to the better education for children of public schools and non-government schools can be backed up because we’ve made the tough economic reform decisions.
We’ve had the courage to say that we need to make multinationals and some very high wealth Australians who use – park their money and tax havens, we’re going to make multinationals and this small group of very wealthy Australians pay their fair share of tax in Australia.
As I said politics is about choices, we’re choosing the kids and the schools and the teachers and the parents over multinationals and tax havens. This government has been lax and lazy when it comes to clamping down on the use of tax havens and multinationals gaming our tax system, treating us as a sort of easy target and parking their money overseas.
It’s got to such a point of absurdity whilst schools like this and many other schools desperately need a few more dollars to provide the quality outcomes, what we instead do with our tax system is if you’re a billionaire and you’re parking your money in a, in a tax haven, not only do you get to fly over and see how your money is going and rub shoulders with Russian oligarchs and arms dealers and drug traffickers, you get to claim a tax deduction for visiting some small island in the Caribbean – we’re going to stop that.
Labor has got the courage to tackle the loopholes, to close the loopholes, to clamp down. The problem with the Morrison Government is all they have to do is look after their mates not the vast bulk of the Australian people. We’re going to be different. I’d now like to hand over to Tanya Plibersek and then James Merlino to talk further about our exciting ideas and Andrew Leigh our Assistant Treasurer.
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thanks so much Bill and I also want to thank the school community that’s been so welcoming to us here today and also acknowledge as well as the others who have been acknowledged, Jo Ryan our colleague, a former principal, no one better to give advice within our Labor caucus than people who’ve actually done the job themselves. And of course, we’re also joined by the Australian Education Union, thank you for being here today.
Look, parents spend so much time thinking about and even worrying about their children’s education. There’s more than one parent who is laid awake at night wondering whether their child was getting the one on one attention they needed.
Whether their child was falling behind in some area, whether they were getting the help they needed to catch up, whether their child who was doing particularly well was being stretched and challenged, whether their child would have to subject choices they wanted, or the opportunity to study areas like coding which will be so necessary for the jobs of the future. As a nation, we need to put as much thought and as much effort into our children’s education as parents do when they’re making their decisions.
That’s why we prioritise funding for schools over more tax breaks for big business and wealthy individuals. Today we’re taking that $14 billion that we’ve already committed to reinvesting in public schools and we’re making it real for parents.
We said all along that we stood with public schools, with Catholic schools, and with independent schools against the Morrison Government’s cuts to those schools. Now the Morrison Government has reversed the cuts to Catholic and Independent schools but they’ve left public schools completely in the lurch. Two and a half million Australian children won’t see an extra cent from the Morrison Government.
We say, we stand with all three sectors and when it comes to public schools that educate the vast majority of Australian children, two and a half million children, we will restore $14 billion of funding to those public schools but if you’re a parent who’s at the Bunnings sausage sizzle this Saturday, or at the cake stall, or preparing for the fete or the trivia night, $14 billion sounds like an unreal amount of money. You wonder how does that make a difference in my school? Well today we’re launching a website which will allow every parent, every teacher, every principal, every interested Australian to see just how much better off their local public school will be in the first three years of a Labor Government If we are elected. If people want to have a look they can look at the ‘Fair Go for Schools’ website and see how much better off this school will be, $380,000 over the first three years. How much better off their own local public school will be.
We know how hard parents and school communities work to fundraise because we know that money makes a difference in schools. The Liberals keep claiming it doesn’t, it’s because they’re cutting school funding. We know that money makes a difference and that’s why school communities work so hard to raise additional funds.
Well we say that as a Commonwealth Government we should be investing those additional funds on behalf of all Australian school children so that every child, in every school, in every part of Australia can get a world class education. More help with the basics, more one on one attention, earlier identification if a child is having trouble and more help to catch up, more extension for kids who are doing really well at school to make sure they continue to be stretched, more subject choice, more continuing professional development for teachers who tell us day after day that they are committed to doing the very best job for the kids in their classroom but they’d like to keep their skills continually updated as well.
This extra funding will make all the difference in classrooms around Australia and I’m so proud to be a part of a Shorten Labor team committed to properly funding every school in every community, thanks.
JAMES MERLINO, DEPUTY PREMIER AND VICTORIAN STATE EDUCATION MINISTER: Well firstly can I can thank Bill and Tanya and the team here today for coming along for what is a terrific launch of a website that will show every single school across Victoria, across the nation, what a Shorten Labor Government will mean for them. And to put it in some perspective for Victorian schools, for the first three years under a Shorten Labor Government, we’re talking about $800 million. That’s more than 2,000 teachers. And Tanya is absolutely right, this makes a difference.
Our sustained investment in Victorian schools over the last four years has meant that this year we have delivered our state’s best ever NAPLAN results. Investing in our schools, investing in our teachers and our principals, makes a difference. This is important.
It was wonderful to have Bill at the launch, our campaign launch on Sunday. It’s wonderful to join with him again today. This is what people want to see – partnership. Partnerships between state and federal. A reelected Andrews Labor government and a Shorten Federal Labor Government will deliver not just partnerships in terms of education funding but partnerships in terms of universal three year old kinder. Partnerships in terms of the suburban rail loop – the biggest infrastructure project in this country.
These are the partnerships that people want to see not Matthew Guy the Leader of the Opposition running away from Scott Morrison the Prime Minister. People want to see partnerships and working together so we can all ensure that our students and our teachers reach their full potential.
The other thing I wanted to mention and to Hannah and Fiona and the school community, to Cindy candidate in Brunswick, Peter the federal local member – there’s been a campaign to improve facilities here at Brunswick North West Primary School. We’ve invested a lot in schools right across the state – $3.8 billion, 70 brand new schools, 1,300 upgrades, but we know that there’s more to do. And that’s why today I’m delighted to announce that a re-elected Andrews Labor Government will invest $6.2 million for a brand new science, technology, environment, language, arts building with a beautiful rooftop terrace garden. It’s going to be a wonderful facility to ensure that we match the excellent teaching learning here at Brunswick North West with the very best facilities. Congratulations.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Promises are only real if you can show how you’re going to pay for them. And one of the ways Labor is going to pay for our important investments in schools, is through cracking down on the abuse of tax havens. Tax havens are used by drug lords and kidnappers, they’re used by extortionists and tax fraudsters. One estimate says that four-fifths of the money in tax havens is there in breach of other countries’ tax laws. The money going to tax havens isn’t a trickle, it’s a flood. One estimate suggests that about two-fifths of multinational profits are now routed through tax havens. And it’s been estimated that Australia’s super rich may have as much as a $100 billion parked in tax havens. This isn’t a brush fire it’s a bush fire.
Labor is committed to cracking down on tax havens, for opposing multinational tax loopholes and improving transparency. And today we’re announcing our tax havens package would go further still. By saying to people who are currently claiming a tax deduction to fly to tax havens, that we’d raise the bar significantly on them claiming those tax havens. The very fact is you shouldn’t be able to claim a tax deduction for dodging your tax. Labor is putting Brunswick ahead of the Bahamas. We are saying that we need to crack down on the rorts and loopholes in tax havens disproportionately used by the super-rich. Our crack down on tax havens will help to fund great schools like this one. And ensure we’re able to put fairness back into the Australian tax system.
SHORTEN: Okay, we covered lots of things there. Before we taken questions, I should just acknowledge that tens of thousands of year 12 Victorian students will have sat their English exam this morning. The next three weeks won’t be easy for those students. They’ve worked hard studied hard. It won’t be easy for their parents either, so good luck.
JOURNALIST: The new tax measures that have been announced today will only raise $42 million. Is it not just another re-announcement of 2016 policy?
SHORTEN: I’ll get Andrew to supplement this answer. First of all our crackdown on multinationals will raise a lot more than that. There are particular measures which we are drawing attention to which will add to the amount of money we have for schools and hospitals. But the battle against tax loopholes, which a very few of the super wealthy can use and large multinationals, is relentless. I’m going to say it straight as it is – for five years a Liberal Government have been lax and lazy when it comes to closing loopholes. They would rather cut funding to schools and hospitals than cut out the loopholes. So we are going to make paying for our promises a hallmark of a future Labor Government and we’ve simply made a choice. We would rather see the great kids at this school receive additional resources than super billionaires being able to fly over and watch their money grow and claiming a tax deduction. We make no apology for that. Mr Morrison says this is class warfare, it’s not. I just believe in a country where everyone should have the same set of rules. And I think it is absurd and long past the time where we shut down the loopholes and people just pay their fair share of tax in Australia but I’ll get Andrew to talk further about the specific initiatives.
LEIGH: I think for schools like this one, $40 million would seem like a pretty significant amount of money, and that’s the measures we’re just announcing today that add to a multibillion dollar package.
Labor has lead the debate on multinational tax avoidance. We’ve supported the modest measures the Morrison and Turnbull and Abbott governments have put in place, but we’ve been surprised that they’ve been willing to side with the tax dodgers, side with those who are using tax havens, to effectively be rubbing shoulders with drug kingpins and extortionists that are the principal users of tax havens. We have to crack down on tax havens. We must crack down on multinational profit shifting and we just haven’t seen the action from the Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison governments that Australians demand.
JOURNALIST: So Andrew, sorry, if you don’t mind, when you’re talking about drug kingpins and extortionists. Have you got anybody in particular in mind?
LEIGH: There’s a famous Mexican drug kingpin who was revealed in the Panama Papers, but those papers reveal a whole range of serious wrongdoers using tax havens. People used to think these were just secrecy jurisdictions, but they’re not just secrecy jurisdictions they’re tax avoidance jurisdictions. They are leaking away hundreds of billions of dollars from the global tax system every year, and that’s money which could be used for great schools like this one.
JOURNALIST: Just on the package overall then, in February when it was announced there was a projection of $4 billion that would be added to the budget in the medium term. Recently, it’s gone down to $3 billion, is there a reason for that discrepancy in the – ?
LEIGH: We are regularly engaging the Parliamentary Budget Office to update our costings based on the latest available data. But we have a multi-billion dollar package which has a range of different elements. Some of those go to transparency. We’ve said that if you’re a listed firm and you’re doing business in a tax haven, you should have to tell your shareholders about it. We said if you’re a government – a firm – that wants a government tender then it should say if you’re doing business in a tax haven. And that individuals who have passports in tax havens should disclose that to the Tax Office. It’s bringing the sunlight in. It’s making sure we’ve got the revenue back into the system. It’s a package grounded in fairness, that will help great schools like this.
SHORTEN: Thanks Andrew. Is there any other questions?
JOURNALIST: Would the Labor Government support removing gender from birth certificates?
SHORTEN: No. I saw that story, it’s nonsense. There’s no plans to do that.
JOURNALIST: Just further on that question. Do you agree, like it says in the ALP final draft of the national policy program that gender should be taken only from birth certificates, not driver’s licenses or passports?
SHORTEN: No, I don’t. And listen, why are some conservatives so obsessed about sexuality of people who are trans. The relative number of people who identify as trans is about 1,200 people in Australia – that’s one in every 200,000. That’s important for them, but I just wonder sometimes why conservatives get so obsessed about other people’s sexuality. We’ve got no plans to change that.
I tell you what we have got a plan to do – properly fund schools. I tell you what we’ve got a plan to do – make multinationals pay their fair share. You know, what really annoys people in Australia is not even having to pay tax but a sense that someone else because they got billions of dollars doesn’t have to pay tax.
It is absurd that you can go and park your money in a tax haven, then you can go over there so you can visit your money, and you get to claim the trip – the holiday – back on tax.
That isn’t what happens to most parents. That isn’t what happens to most Australians. We just want everyone to have to play by the same rules.
JOURNALIST: What’s your reaction the TPP being ratified?
SHORTEN: Fine. We would have done a better deal. We intend to make sure that if we form a government that we don’t just waive through rules which can see people come to Australia and take Australian jobs when Australians should get them. Having said that we took the decision that we didn’t want to stand in the way of our farmers or our higher education sector or our steel manufacturers from getting the benefit of reduced tariffs that they might have to incur going to other countries.
So we’ve taken what’s good about the TPP and we’ll fix it and make it better if we form a government and stand up for Australian working people.
JOURNALIST: Are you going to have a few problems from the unions at national conference over TPP?
SHORTEN: Listen, I think the problem which most Australians have, won’t be us at the National Conference. It’s the fact that real wages growth has basically been stalled since Tony Abbott got elected. It’s remained stalled during the time of Malcolm Turnbull and it’s still stalled under Scott Morrison. The fact of the matter is that in Australia everything is going up except people’s wages, and we are on the same page as a whole lot of people wanting to tackle that.
JOURNALIST: Do you welcome the Government’s solutions to the live exports issues? Are you still committed to phasing out live exports?
SHORTEN: We’ve said that we think –
Leave the press conference – you must go back and stop asking hard questions.
Listen, on animal welfare, we believe that the live sheep export trade should be phased out – we’ve said that. We think after scandal after scandal, the industry simply hasn’t got its act together.
In terms of animal welfare more generally, more needs to be done to protect the welfare of animals in Australia, not less. And I think this most recent report which has emerged, is that this is a government who you know, seem to cut everything, but I think most people would say it is bottom of the barrel to see the protection of the welfare of animals being diminished.
The current Prime Minister has been at the senior decision making levels of the last five years of the Turnbull and Abbott and Morrison Government. I think the community rightly feels disgust with the welfare of animals has been put on the backburner and reduced under this current Liberal Government.
JOURNALIST: Just relating cost of living – petrol prices. What do you think the Government should be doing? Are they doing enough?
SHORTEN: It’s not an issue which Labor will turn its back on. We think it is a serious problem. We’re seeing the petrol prices go through a massive increase at the same time wages are absolutely frozen. I’m not going to pretend that it’s an easy issue to fix. I mean the Government has been in for the last five years, they haven’t got a clue. We’ve got proposals to have tougher penalties on petrol companies where we find them gaming the market which will introduce tougher penalties on the oil companies, on the petrol companies. And we also want to give the ACCC stronger powers to be able to examine the conduct of petrol companies.
But fortunately, I’ve got my Assistant Treasurer here, Andrew Leigh and he’s been doing some work on how we can try and hold petrol companies to account. But I’m not going to pretend it’s simple or easy but after five years of Liberal inaction, we want to have an election so we can get on and start looking after cost of living issues for everyday Aussies. I’ll hand over to Andrew.
LEIGH: It’s a critical question and one of the important things Australians can do is to use the apps that allow them to shop around for the cheapest petrol. That’s not just good for you, it’s good for the whole market because it drives competition within those markets.
But we’ve seen increasingly what it’s called tacit collusion, firms using big data in order to drive up their margins, particularly a problem in the Perth petrol market.
Labor would give the ACCC a market studies power, as Bill Shorten has said – making sure they can go in and investigate when they see problems rather than waiting for a reference from the Government.
And we’ve raised the penalties and anti-competitive conduct significantly, making sure they’re referable to the ill-gotten gains. So if you engage in real collusion and you’re caught by the regulator then the penalties will be tougher still.
We’d boost the ACCC’s litigation budget, making sure that they can take wrongdoers to court. We’ve got to drive those margins down so we drive consumers’ petrol dollars further.
JOURNALIST: Would you look at petrol excise?
LEIGH: I’ll hand over to Bill.
SHORTEN: We think that the key issue here is the petrol companies themselves. Petrol excise, whilst it is significant, it’s a small part of the total price that Australians pay when they go to the fuel bowser.
Now, let’s be clear – we’ve got to give our regulators more power and more budget to do it. Andrew mentioned the third leg of our plan, our plan is to give the regulator more powers, it’s to make sure that there are tougher penalties but we’ve got to give the regulators the ability to enforce it.
What happens is that very big companies in this country just assume that because they’ve got enough money to fight off people in court, they can wear down the Government or citizens just by having deeper pockets in litigation. So we are going to have more to say about litigation policy. We’ve put big multinationals on notice – if you think that just because you’re so big, the rules don’t apply to you – watch this space. We will make sure that government regulators have got the ability to not only have strong laws and have strong penalties but to be able to fight the fight in court so your old plan of just wearing down the average voter by attrition, that will be a thing of the past.
If there are no other questions –
JOURNALIST: There are still about 40 children left on Nauru. Are we going to be seeing them there through the end of the year?
SHORTEN: I hope not. I think that it’s well past time for Mr Morrison to accept the New Zealand deal. When there was the lead up to the Wentworth by-election and getting the kids off was an issue which he had to consider in order to win a by-election, he was making all sorts of promising noises, showed a bit of ankle. As soon as they lost Wentworth, they seem to have taken a harder approach again which is regrettable.
Labor has said we’re up for compromise. We think after five years, there is no sound case for keeping kids there and what we’ve said is that where any child has got a medical condition that the treating medical practitioners says needs to be dealt with, that should be the dominant proposition not any sort of departmental response.
We’ve said to the Government that you proposed measures for people who are sent to America, why not apply that standard to the people who are sent to New Zealand? We’re going to keep the pressure on with the crossbench because I think Australians accept that on one hand, you want to have strong borders but that shouldn’t come at the price of keeping people in indefinite detention for now-five years.
JOURNALIST: Should the Government be making it clear that it will not be moving the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, especially considering the impact it may have on Indonesian elections?
SHORTEN: Mr Morrison has made Australian foreign policy the laughing stock of the globe. Other than Guatemala and Mr. Trump, no one’s moved their embassy to Jerusalem. Now it seems to me that Mr Morrison is trying to have a bet each way, says ‘I only said I was going to talk about the idea, I didn’t really mean it’. Well, that’s not how you do foreign policy. His inexperience is coming through.
And indeed, we had the farcical situation – you can’t call it anything else – Morrison and the others got rid of Mr Turnbull, nine weeks later they sent the guy they said wasn’t good enough to run Australian policy to help implement foreign policy and placate the Indonesians. I want to make this very clear that some people defending Mr Morrison’s decisions said, Australia should make its own decisions – of course it should. But if you have read a few books, if you’ve seen a few articles, if you actually spoke to our foreign affairs experts, our defence experts – indeed, your own cabinet – someone probably would have told Mr Morrison that if you’re going to make a decision of this dimension, understand why no one’s made it for 70 years. There might be a good reason.
And secondly, understand that if you’re going to make this decision, if you’re going to want to turn on its head, 70 years of bipartisanship, not talk to anyone – you should at least let the people who might have a strong view know about it. That’s not asking their permission, but smart governments understand the neighbourhood in which they live and at least, you don’t send a text message or let them read it on the front page of a newspaper. You treat relationships with respect because that’s normally the best way to get respect back – by treating people with respect.
JOURNALIST: Still in the international sphere – Sri Lanka, do you believe what is happening is an illegal coup?
SHORTEN: Say that again, I couldn’t hear you.
JOURNALIST: What is happening in Sri Lanka, are you of the belief that it is an illegal coup?
SHORTEN: An illegal coup? I haven’t been following that matter this morning, I’ll take that on notice.
JOURNALIST: So, are we going to be seeing a lot of you down here coming up to the Victorian election in a few weeks?
SHORTEN: I live in Victoria.
PLIBERSEK: His family will be happy.
SHORTEN: In fact, I actually live close by.
JOURNALIST: Are we going to see a lot of you campaigning with James and his colleagues – James and Cindy and their colleagues I should say?
SHORTEN: I’ll certainly be available to help. I think that the Andrews Government’s got a plan for the state of Victoria. I mean, the Suburban Rail Loop has been the great holy grail of public transport in Melbourne since the 19th century. And now, they’ve put a plan on. And what I like about what Daniel has done, is he is outlining a plan where he can be the Premier who starts it – he knows he’s not going to be the one getting the plaudits when it finally gets finished but he knows that to finish something you’ve got to start it. And the Suburban Rail Loop does make sense to anyone who’s lived in Melbourne. I’ve lived in Melbourne on-off for the last 50 years.
In terms of education, in terms of health care, Mr Andrews has announced a policy for regional Victoria and for our city and our suburbs. And what he’s making very clear is, don’t let Matthew Guy do to Victorian schools and hospitals what Mr Morrison and the Federal Liberals have done to our schools and hospitals – cut them.
I mean put bluntly, Daniel Andrews stands against cuts to essential services and he’ll prioritise the needs of everyday Victorians over that of the big corporations. That’s what I think people are looking for. I think, in closing, about Mr Andrews – he’s someone who has said what he will do and then, he’s done what he would say.
Level crossings – Melbourne’s a very flat city which means that roads and rail intersect in our city even more than just about any other part of Australia. And again, it’s been one of these very difficult issues and in some cases, not only led to delays in traffic and productivity, it’s actually led to fatal loss of life. They’ve now completed 29 level crossing removals. That just means cities moving around. Anyone who lives in Melbourne and indeed the bush who comes to the city, knows that congestion is one of the challenges. In Melbourne, we’ve always been pretty proud of the fact that we don’t have some of the congestion problems perhaps even of Sydney. But the only way you can stay ahead of congestion is by dealing with it. Dan Andrews has proven that his first four years that he’ll get on and doing things – that’s why I think he deserves another chance.
JOURNALIST: Matthew Guy is not the issue around here though, is he? It’s the Greens that you need to worry about in this part of world. How do you fancy your chances of Cindy winning this seat against the Greens in November?
SHORTEN: It’s a very tough fight but Cindy’s the sort of local community advocate who you really want. She’s got a background of being a community advocate. The fact that her and Peter are here and they’re so enmeshed in terms of understanding what are Brunswick North West Primary School wants, should reassure voters that Labor people understand where they come from and they understand that Labor should be the party of community.
Now, I get that the Greens are going to try and cause some disruption in the inner city. At the end of the day, only a Labor Government can deliver the progress which communities want. Be it the Pride Centre which Labor’s invested in in Victoria. Be it making sure that we improve the position of minorities in Victoria. Only a Labor government can do that.
And I have to say that people who think that a protest vote is the way to go – I mean, that’s up to them. But Matthew Guy and the Liberals are the real threat to Victoria’s progress, and what Matthew Guy and the Liberals want is they don’t want to see Labor win seats like Brunswick because that makes their job easier to cause disruption and political mischief.
So, if you like, on balance, the direction the state is going in, if you like the fact that we prioritise schools and hospitals, TAFE and universities, if you like the idea that we have universal preschool for all Victorian three year olds and four year olds, if you like the idea that we’re going to do something about congestion and back in public transport, if you like the idea that in the regions, half a million doctor’s visits extra will be added to the services which regional Victorians are currently have. If you like all of that, then the easiest way to see that happen is to vote for Cindy in Brunswick and to vote Labor across the state.