ANDREW LEIGH MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMPETITION
MEMBER FOR FRASER
LABOR CANDIDATE FOR MELBOURNE
VICTORIAN PARLIAMENT HOUSE
TUESDAY, 22 MARCH 2016
SUBJECT/S: Marriage equality, Labor’s positive plans for an egalitarian Melbourne
SOPHIE ISMAIL, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR MELBOURNE: It's an absolute pleasure to be here today in Melbourne with the Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Competition Andrew Leigh who has done a lot of very important work on inequality and who is here is here to talk to us today about marriage equality and the damaging plebiscite.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks very much Sophie. Sophie is a great Labor candidate for the seat of Melbourne who is working extremely hard to make sure that we improve the fairness of our society for Melbournians and for all Australians. Now that Adam Bandt has been the Member for Melbourne for nearly six years, many Melbournians who care about equality will be asking themselves "What has Adam Bandt actually done to create a fairer Melbourne?"
Labor has long been passionate about inequality. Through Jenny Macklin's recent report Growing Together and through Bill Shorten's many statements on inequality, we have highlighted Labor's positive ideas for building a fairer Australia. We are committed to making sure that our schools and our hospitals are appropriately funded; that our tax system is fair and that we pare back some of the unfair and unsustainable tax concessions. We want to make sure young Australians find their way into the housing market. We want to make sure that we have got penalty rates that recognise that working unsociable hours should be fairly compensated.
Over the last generation, earnings have risen three times as fast at the top of the distribution than at the bottom. Labor is committed to policies that will see better growth and more egalitarianism. Labor doesn't want to see over $100 million wasted on a needless marriage equality plebiscite. If a Labor Government is elected, hopefully with Sophie Ismail as the Member for Melbourne, then we will see marriage equality come to a parliamentary vote in the first 100 days. Rather than wasting money on Direct Action, bringing back the Baby Bonus, or a pointless marriage equality plebiscite, Labor will be committed to making sure that we are improving egalitarianism and making sure that we get better outcomes for the people of Melbourne. Rather than backroom Green-Liberal deals that keep the Coalition in office, Labor recognises that we need to make sure that the seat of Melbourne is represented by an effective and progressive member.
The Greens talk a lot about egalitarianism but when you look at what they have actually achieved, it’s sadly lacking. If you care about egalitarianism, you don't need turtlenecks and Tories, you need a Labor government.
ISMAIL: There is plenty of evidence to suggest that this marriage plebiscite is going to do more harm than good. As we know, LGBTI people are twice as likely as suffer from anxiety, and three times as likely to suffer from depression. 60 per cent of LGBTI young people have suffered verbal abuse and almost 20 per cent have suffered physical abuse. We do not need this damaging and divisive plebiscite. I don't want to see me and my partner, or any other member of the LGBTI community put through an unnecessary, costly and divisive debate. We just need to get it done and there is one way to do it. There is one way to save Safe Schools Coalition, there's one way to ensure that we have marriage equality in this country, and that is to vote for the Australian Labor Party. Number 1.
LEIGH: Thanks everyone.