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  • Written by Bill Shorten



If the protecting and saving of jobs is the number one priority of the people, then it's my number one priority.

 

Tomorrow, the unimaginable is happening. The last Ford falcon to be built in Australia will roll off the assembly lines at Broadmeadows. It is the end of over half a century of proud Australian car manufacturing. This week, there are 20 countries in the world who build cars from scratch. Next week there will only be 19. And those other 19 countries are not congratulating us on waving our car industry goodbye. They’re laughing, because they get to keep their jobs and we're seeing upwards of 40,000 car manufacturing and auto-components supplier manufacturing jobs simply disappear.

 

Mr Turnbull has had nothing to say about protecting blue collar, engineering, metal manufacturing, value adding manufacturing jobs in Australia. Labor has got some sensible proposals on the table. Tax cuts for small business who employ older workers, making sure that we encourage local manufacturing when there is a government taxpayer funded contract, making sure that we have local content getting the special attention it should get from the expenditure of Australian taxpayers. Of course we are committed to saving the Australian apprenticeship system to putting our public TAFE back at the top where it once used to be and cracking down on the local, shonky private providers in vocational education.

 

What Australians have learned about Malcolm Turnbull is that he will fight to protect the jobs of the CEOs of the big banks or the founders of start-up companies, he just won't fight for the jobs of working class and middle class Australians. Labor will stand up and put middle class and working class Australian at the front of the que when it comes to jobs and we look forward to working with affected communities to make sure they can rebuild and regroup after the loss of tens of thousands of jobs.

 

Happy to take questions on this or other important matters.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Do you agree that the Attorney General misled Parliament [inaudible]?

 

SHORTEN:

 

This is a very grave matter, that George Brandis has misled Parliament. The Solicitor-General, the second most senior law officer of the nation, has said in black and white that she wasn't consulted by the Attorney-General for the new legal services directions. The Attorney-General has a completely contradictory version of  events and he has said in Parliament no less that he did consult the Solicitor-General. When you have the Attorney-General saying one thing and the Solicitor-General saying exactly the opposite, they both can't be correct.

 

Malcolm Turnbull previously has preached the politicians who mislead Parliament should quit. Will Malcolm Turnbull now practice what he preaches, or is Malcolm Turnbull so weak that he can't discipline a single member of his Government? There are grave concerns that the Attorney-General has misled Parliament and the scandal will not stop until Mr Turnbull shows some action.

 

Back on Ford, the company has had a fair bit of taxpayer funding over the years, should they hand back some of that [inaudible]?

 

SHORTEN:

 

Well, Ford is going to keep some operations in Australia, it's going to be one of three global hubs for design and there will still be 1,500 people employed at Ford. But I think if there are assets that Ford has, I think it's most important that they sit down and constructively talk with community, with government, how we can use these assets which in part are the product of the investment of Australian taxpayers, how do we make sure we have got TAFE to retrain our adult workers.

 

How do we make sure that we use these facilities to get the best interests of this community? Ford may be leaving the community. The Turnbull government may not know where Broadmeadows is but Labor thinks that Broadmeadows deserves better.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

What are you proposing the Government should do about Ford at this point?

 

BILL SHORTEN:

 

I think they need to do more in automotive transition. Some supplier companies, component suppliers have successfully got themselves into the Ford global supply chain, so that is good. Other automotive companies because they've got a great skill set of manufacturing are now moving into other sectors of manufacturing industry, using their skills. I think that the Turnbull Government needs to do more to help our small and medium-sized manufacturing businesses transition to find new markets. I think the Turnbull Government needs to prioritise the employment of Aussie apprentice ships on the big infrastructure projects, and I certainly believe that when the spending is scarce of important taxpayers' money on infrastructure they should do a lot more to encourage local components being purchased. In Victoria, the Andrews government is using a lot of Australian made steel on the level crossings. We need that sort of common sense to be demonstrated by the Turnbull Government. The problem is that when it comes to blue collar workers, engineers, manufacturing, Made in Australia campaigns, the Turnbull Government is missing in action. Malcolm Turnbull will fight to save the jobs of the top CEOs of the big four banks, he just won't fight to save jobs of middle class and working class Australians.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

[Inaudible]

 

BILL SHORTEN:

 

I think it's a process, 2016 to make sure that Telstra is doing the job properly. For Labor what matters is making sure we have a triple-0 service which provides safety for Australians. We just want to make sure that the service is working in the interests of Australians. We are very fortunate with some of the emergency response systems we've got in Australia. For me, what matters is that the triple-0 system is working and when people call it they get a speedy response – that’s what matters.

 

I might just say in closing I notice again today that a third of the big four banking CEOs has engaged now in a sort of ritual ‘I'm very sorry for all the problems that my bank has caused the customers.’ I think it's pretty telling. Malcolm Turnbull and the big four banks want at the end of this week to go back to business as usual. You see government members of Mr Turnbull's white wash committee asking spoon feed questions to the banking CEOs and it almost seems like the bank CEOs have written off a script written by Mr Turnbull. They turn up, they say we're very sorry to all the customers and at the end of this inquiry I suspect they also want to say we want to get back to business as usual, you have taken up enough of our valuable time. If all of the bank CEOs are saying sorry for all the things they have done, doesn't that just prove what Labor has been saying, that there is a genuine problem in our banking sector? If all of these bank see CEOs keep saying we stuffed up, we got it wrong, we have caused problems for our customers, haven't they just made the final argument in favour of a banking royal commission? Why is Mr Turnbull so determined to prevent the scrutiny of the public through a royal commission no less on our banking sector? Labor wants a strong banking sector. We want a profitable banking sector but we want an honest and ethical banking sector which prioritises its customer and the service to customers. We want a banking sector which understands that charging 18 and 20% on your credit cards when the cash rate is 1.5% is not good enough. We want them to understand that over the last few years tens of thousands of people, many people in their 50s and 60s, many of them in small business, they go down on bank plans to invest and then they wake up finding out that the money is not there and that they're in financial debt and they have to start again. Sorry doesn't cut it. Nothing less than a royal commission cuts it. Malcolm Turnbull's got to stop protecting the banks. Listen to the people of Australia, Malcolm, give the people of Australia what they want, which is a royal commission to improve our banking sector.

 

Thanks, everybody.

 

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