PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
MONDAY, 17 OCTOBER 2016
SUBJECT/S: Reelection of the ACT Barr Labor Government; Kimberley Kitching’s Senate appointment; ABCC bill.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Good morning everyone, I'm Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer. A couple of weeks ago we had Malcolm Turnbull launching the Canberra Liberals campaign - planting his flag very firmly on the side of the Canberra Liberals. Over the weekend, we saw the repudiation of that view, with Andrew Barr's Labor Government convincingly re-elected.
What was striking about the platform that the Barr Labor Government ran on was that Old Malcolm would have found a lot to like about it. Old Malcolm would have liked the fact that ACT Labor was committed to renewables, committed to action on same-sex marriage. ACT Labor believes that governments should invest not just in roads but also in rail. Old Malcolm would have liked the fact that ACT Labor is leading the nation in making the transition from stamp duty - a tax on mobility - to a much more efficient land tax base. But New Malcolm decided he would put himself on the side of the Canberra Liberals who were thumped on the weekend and will spend another four years in Opposition.
If Malcolm Turnbull wants to know how he might stretch out the longevity of his Prime Ministership, he could do worse than to look to the example of ACT Labor which has now been re-elected after 15 years in office and which will be in office for 19 years at the next election.
ACT Labor has done that by focusing on long-term reform. Not playing narrow, cheap political games. Malcolm Turnbull's approach has again shown up in the Parliament last week, a Parliament where things were in disarray with the Government for the first time since federation making the historic step of voting for my second reading amendment. It again shows the incompetence at the heart of this Government in clear contrast of the way in which a terrific Labor Government has been managing the ACT right here. Happy to take questions.
JOURNALIST: Should Labor have selected Ms Kitching to fill the Senate spot considering the Government is using unions as a platform to launch an attack on Labor?
LEIGH: I haven't had the pleasure of meeting Ms Kitching, I look forward to doing that when she comes into the party room but I would say that we've now got more Labor women in the Senate than the Coalition have in the House of Representatives. It again increases the share of women in the Parliament and reflects the fact that the Liberal Party is going backwards when it comes to equal representation in the Parliament.
JOURNALIST: Is there any chance at all that Labor will support the Government's ABCC bill?
LEIGH: I think you have to remember at a time when ACOSS has reminded us about the growth of poverty and inequality that unions are one of the best backstops against rising inequality. Unions campaign for dollar pay increases rather than percentage pay increases. For equality across industries and for equality by gender.
Unions didn't just bring in the weekend and the eight hour day, unions have also campaigned for some of the lowest paid workers in Australia and for pay equity among Indigenous Australians, women and minority groups. So an attack on unions is to worsen the gap between rich and poor that's been rising so fast in Australia in which it has seen earnings rise three times as far for the top tenth as the bottom tenth over the last generation.
No other questions? Thanks everyone.
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