Budget, child care places, Job Network, tax cuts, industrial relations – Doorstop Interview, ABC Child Care Centre, Bracken Ridge

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Budget, child care places, Job Network, tax cuts, industrial relations – Doorstop Interview, ABC Child Care Centre, Bracken Ridge

Doorstop Interview

ABC Child Care Centre

290 Bracken Ridge Road

Bracken Ridge, Brisbane

Monday, 16 May 2005

10.40 am

SUBJECTS: Budget increase in child care places, Job Network, Labor’s

opposition to tax cuts, industrial relations


One of the main features of the Budget which we brought down on Tuesday night

was an increase in child care places, an extra 84,000 outside school hours places,

increased family day care, increased other child care places and of course long-day

child care places like the centre here where parents will qualify for a child

care rebate in respect of child care. Over the last two Budgets there has been

a bigger build up in Australian history in child care places. That is to help

parents that want to get into the workforce, with unemployment at 28 year lows,

it is a better time than it has been for 28 years for parents to join the workforce.

And a big part of the Budget is ensuring that those child care places are available,

particularly for kids after school and outside school hours and ensuring that

through the child care rebate and the child care benefit at long day care centres

like the centre we are at today, parents have the opportunity to get quality

child care whilst they are participating in work. Building the Australian economy

will involve getting as many people as possible into the workforce and ensuring

that they have adequate child care services to match that responsibility and

that is why we are here today to look at some of the quality child care centres

which are available today.


How will the before and after places eventuate?


Well, we announced another 84,000 in the Budget, they will be allocated between

electorates, we are here in the wonderful electorate of Petrie today with Teresa

Gambaro who told me I think, 850 places were allocated out of last years 40,000

build up. So, those 84,000 will be allocated around Australia in all of the

areas and the regions and the capital cities to ensure that parents have opportunity

to quality child care and can participate in the Australian workforce.


(inaudible) parents?




It would be given to parents…


The outside school hours is actually allocated at schools where the schools

put on programmes before school and after school so that parents who are

participating in the workforce can drop kids off on the way to work, the

kids will be in school during the day, they can pick them up after work

so that mum or dad who may be working a longer day than school hours, can

be assured that the children are being looked after before school and after



There was a report on AM this morning about cuts to the Jobs Network

and Centrelink, why is that necessary with the Budget surplus as it is?


Well, Job Network is a system where by private providers are paid money

when they are able to match people for jobs. The number of jobs in Australia

is greater than it has ever been before, ever, and the unemployment rate

is lower than it has been for 28 years. So, if you are in the business of

matching people into jobs, the business has been getting easier rather than

harder and it is important that the taxpayer, who after all is paying for

these services, gets the best value for money and in a buoyant labour market

with more jobs available than ever before, you would expect that the costs

of getting people into work would be lower rather than higher.


Treasurer, Labor claims that you have the power to introduce tax cuts on

July 1st whether they vote them down or not, do you agree with



Let me make this point. On Tuesday night I announced a tax cut for every

Australian. Before that tax cut can take effect, legislation has to pass

the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Government doesn’t

have a majority in the Senate so those tax cuts can only be legislated before

1 July if the Labor Party ceases its useless blocking activity.


But on July 1 you can legislate and it has been done before where things

have been introduced and then the legislation is passed later.


Let me go through it. Every Australian can have a tax cut on 1 July if

the Senate passes that legislation and Labor gives up its useless blocking

activity designed to prevent Australians getting their tax cuts. If Labor

continues to block those tax cuts, then the new Senate which does not convene

until August, mid-August, I am sure, will pass those tax cuts. But this

useless blocking activity will come to nothing. I say to the Labor Party,

let Australians have their tax cuts and let them have it on 1 July.


So you don’t agree you have got the power to introduce them on the

1st of July whether they vote them down or not?


No, you can only cut tax if a law passes the House of Representatives and

the Senate. Taxes are collected by law, laws are made by the House of Representatives

and the Senate. If you can’t get that law through before the 1st

of July, the tax cut will not be legislated by 1 July. That is why I say

to Labor, give up this useless activity, trying to delay Australians their

tax cuts. The last stand of a desperate party, with its last majority blocking

in the Senate, there is no need for it, let’s get on and let’s

give every Australian the tax cut they deserve.


Is there any room to move on negotiating on the tax cuts?


The Government has announced the tax cuts and they will be legislated.

They will either be legislated by the existing Senate before 30 June, or

they will be legislated by the new Senate after 30 June. That is why I say,

Labor can’t defeat this tax cut. Labor wants higher taxes but it will

not succeed, it cannot defeat these tax cuts. All it can do is delay them

and the delays would cause mass confusion and why should people have to

wait for their tax cut. They deserve it on 1 July, they should get it on

1 July.


Is there any way they can have it on 1 July and then you legislate in August?


Well you see, you are going to have massive confusion if this legislation,

which is due to take effect on 1 July isn’t passed on 1 July. That

is why I say this, there is an easy way and there is a hard way. The easy

way is for Labor to give up its useless blocking activity.


But it would be possible, you are saying now?


No, no, there is an easy way of them getting tax cuts and there is a hard

way. The easy way is if Labor gives up its useless blocking activity. The

hard way is if Labor manages to block it until 1 July and then the new Senate

has to deal with it after that.


(inaudible) on the radio talked about the working class, (inaudible) anybody

who is an employee is part of the working class, are you the working class?


Yes well, my definition of the working class is anybody who derives their

income from labour is part of the working class and since I derive my income

in that way, draw your own conclusion. Yes, I believe that people who work,

who are employees are part of that cohort. The people who don’t derive

their income from work generally derive it from investments, unfortunately

not all of us are able to derive our income in that way.


So you are a member of the working class?


Look, you want my definition of the working class, anyone who works is

a member of the working class, right, anyone who works. This idea that you

only work if you are engaged in manual labour, most Australians aren’t

engaged in manual labour, but they work, they are workers and they deserve

tax cuts.


Are you here doing a bit of a Prime Ministerial type campaign, Mr Costello,

you have been with children, playing with children, that is what the Prime

Minister does, isn’t it?


Well, I am here to talk about what is in the Budget and the Budget is good

for families, it is good for child care. And I want to say to you, our Future

Fund which is designed to fund the future of Australians will be helping

children like this. These are the future Australians who are going to benefit

from the Future Fund. If we fund the future of Australians, these children

will be the taxpayers supporting the aged in 40 years time, old people like

us, they will have a lot of the liabilities taken off their backs. Last



With the industrial relations changes can you guarantee that existing wage

levels won’t be diminished when that package goes through?


Industrial Relations changes are designed to increase wages, not to increase

them on an unsustainable basis but to increase them on the back of higher

productivity. If we have a better industrial relations system and a more

productive economy we can pay ourselves more and it won’t be inflationary…


So no-one will be paid less even on the minimum wage?


…and that is what industrial relations reform will do, thank you.