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Transcript 16121

Joint Press Conference with the Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education, Maxine McKew and Local Member, Chris Hayes, Uniting Care Burnside Family Centre Minto, Sydney

Photo of Rudd, Kevin

Rudd, Kevin

Period of Service: 03/12/2007 to 24/06/2010

More information about Rudd, Kevin on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 16/09/2008

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 16121

PM: Well it's good to be here at the Minto family centre, our friends from Burnside and to meet the kids this morning and the mums and those who are working here at this great centre, and also to be here with Maxine McKew our Parliamentary Secretary for Early Childhood Education and of course Chris our local member.

There is great work going on here and it's part and parcel of what we want to build for the nation through the education revolution. And that is - how do we bring all Australians with us and how do we bring all Australian young people with us as well?

One of the measures that we have announced as part of our education revolution is to produce a better funding package for schools in areas of disadvantage across Australia. That's going to be important because so many of our Government schools across the country and other schools need greater investment to enable them to do their job properly.

Second is to make sure that we are reaching out when it comes to literacy and numeracy into the homes of kids who may be having a bit of a hard start in life. And that is where this sort of program comes into play.

What is being done here is really good, but what Maxine and I are talking about today is taking this model one step further through our national program of Home Interaction Programs. It's designed like this so that through partnering with local community organisations we can then reach out into the homes of little ones aged three to five and help them with their reading and their writing and also their counting.

And we intend to do that by partnering with community organisations who then engage tutors, who then go out into the homes. Too often we have a system whereby we wait for kids who need help and their families to arrive at a centre somewhere. It doesn't always work that way. The best thing you can do actually is reach out and take those services into the home and that's what we intend to do with the Australian Government's program for Home Interaction Programs right across the country.

Today - and I will turn to Maxine in a minute on the detail - is that we are announcing 13 of these across the country and it will be part of 50 being rolled out nationwide, helping literally thousands of families.

The purpose is this. We believe that every Australian deserves a decent start in life, we believe the nation needs an education revolution and part of that means bringing along all of our little ones whatever circumstances they grow up in. Home Interaction Programs are part and parcel of doing that and today we are very pleased to be able to confirm another 13 sites across the country including one here in south western Sydney at Claymore.

Also if I could touch on two other matters before I turn to Maxine to add to my remarks on Home Interactions Program.

In terms of what has just happened in Canberra can I simply say this, I congratulate Mr Turnbull on being elected as the new leader of the Liberal Party of Australia. It's a great honour to be elected as a leader of one of Australia's large political parties and therefore I extend my congratulations to Mr Turnbull and to his family.

I also say to Mr Turnbull, I look forward to working with him on a bipartisan basis on as many national challenges as possible. And this is really important. One of those national challenges for the future for Australia will be our move towards a republic. And therefore given Mr Turnbull's historical track record on the republic, I look forward to working with him on both the timetable and the way in which we advance the cause of the republic in Australia.

Mr Turnbull has long been a supporter of the republic and we know for a fact that you are only going to achieve that sort of change in Australia on a bipartisan basis with both sides of politics agreeing. So the invitation is out there for Mr Turnbull to work with us on that. The invitation's out there for him to work with us on as many matters in the national interest as possible and I congratulate him again.

The last thing I would turn to of course is the question of these trials which have just been resolved in Melbourne. Can I simply say this on the question of terrorism; this Government will continue to take a hard line on terrorism. The outcome of these cases in Victoria demonstrate that we have a continued challenge on our hands. The Government will continue to adopt a resolute approach to dealing with this challenge within Australia. Australia still faces risks when it comes to the terrorist threat and our law enforcement agencies will continue to be vigilant.

But I say this loud and clear that these convictions represent a clear message to those contemplating any act of political violence. We in Australia not only will not tolerate it but the full force of the law will be brought to bear as well.

Before we turn to questions I've got to ask Max to add to what we are talking about here with Home Interaction Programs.

MCKEW: Thanks Kevin. I welcome the roll out today of the Home Interaction Program because I think at its core it's this and it's what we see in the Burnside centre here. It's about building resilience in children and in families.

We know that children have a happy healthy experience in their early primary years in the home where their parents also have a positive attitude to learning. And if I could just relate this to what we saw last week with the roll out of the national testing results in literacy across the country.

The children who would have struggled to get to the appropriate band level would have come from families, if you like, where there's probably not a positive attitude to learning , perhaps where parents didn't much like their own school experiences. But we know we don't want that imparted to their children because they're going to struggle too. So at the core of the Home Interaction Program and I know from conversations with Jane and Linda and other peoples at Burnside, it's about working with families in a very particular targeted way and the HIP program does that.

It identifies home tutors in particular communities; often a parent who will work with a number of families with particular education resources, so that it's a positive experience for both the community worker, for the parent and for the child. And it is all about making sure that child has a happy healthy transition to school.

Thank you

PM: Over to you folks

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, is 45-41 a good enough majority for the Liberal party to leave Malcolm Turnbull alone?

PM: Well that's a matter for the Liberal party. I congratulated Mr Turnbull on becoming leader of the Liberal party. It's an honour to lead a political party in Australia, it's a tough road but I look forward to working with him on a bipartisan basis on challenges for the future including the transformation of Australia into a republic.

JOURNALIST: Is he a better choice for them than Dr Nelson?

PM: It's a matter for the Liberal party and I am sure they will continue to have robust internal debates about their future. But I congratulate Mr Turnbull on his win.

JOURNALIST: Do you expect them to get a bounce in the polls following this?

PM: Oh look I can say every Government in Australia including the one that I lead has got to be on its mettle and I fully expect that with the change of leadership and all of the attention which that will bring to bear, of course the Liberals will get a surge out there in the opinion polls, that's just a normal thing.

But the responsibility of Government is to deal with the practical challenges of the nation and we're here in Western Sydney today talking about a very big practical challenge and that is how do we build a first class education system for the 21st century which brings all of our kids along with us. And that means, as Maxine has just said, building resilience in our kids who are often finding it a bit tough out there, and starting at the earliest years of life.

JOURNALIST: Does this settle the issue of Mr Costello's potential leadership?

PM: Matter for the Liberal party and matter for Mr Costello, Mr Nelson, Mr Turnbull - they can sort all of that out for themselves. But I congratulate Mr Turnbull on his win.

JOURNALIST: On the Medicare levy, on the surcharge is there any room to move to court some of the other members of the Senate?

PM: Our attitude is very clear on this, here we are in Western Sydney, there is a big challenge in terms of cost of living and part of that cost of living is directly affected by how we treat this Medicare levy surcharge.

Now when the Liberals brought down this rule back in 1996 where they said that anyone earning $50,000 a year was a high income earner, and they haven't changed that in 12 years. And we have sought to change that. And can I say I think that's the right thing to do for people who are suffering cost of living challenges out there.

And I'd appeal to the Liberal party - both on this and on the luxury car tax - do the responsible thing in the Senate. Make sure that the Government's surplus is kept intact because in this time of global economic uncertainty the Government needs a strong financial buffer to deal with the uncertainties which lie ahead.

We've seen overnight developments in the United States on the global economy, on Lehmans, we've seen developments in relation to Merrill Lynch, we've seen developments in relation to AIG. And can I say on the top of what's happened to other institutions in the United States, the mortgage lenders, we are in a period of significant crisis in global financial markets. This has continued for some time, it will continue for some time again. Therefore in Australia the overwhelming challenge is to maintain strong responsible economic management.

This is core business for the nation and part of responsible economic management means maintaining a strong budget surplus, because we need that buffer for the future. That's the Government's policy and I would appeal to the Liberals to support that as well.

JOURNALIST: Mr Rudd what do you say to people today who are worried about what effect this might have on their super funds?

PM: Well can I say that we are in a period of global financial crisis, this has been running now since August of last year and it's become more intense. In Australia we are in a strong set of circumstances, the Government has a responsible policy of economic management to see Australia through these challenging global economic times. Already those who have superannuation investments have suffered as a consequence of the fall on global stock markets. That has already occurred and continues to occur.

The challenge for Australia is to see this nation through the current challenges which are coming from abroad and part and parcel of that means ensuring that we preserve our budget surplus for the future because we need that buffer for future investment.

The other part of the Government's economic strategy is this, it's a strategy of nation building. We believe that at a time like this - and it applies to Sydney and right across Australia - that the national Government must take the lead in building the nation's long term infrastructure, Our roads, our rail, our ports, our high speed broadband. A strategy of nation building led by a $76 billion nation building fund which we have now through the national government is critical also to see Australia through the challenges of the current time.

Responsible economic management, anchored in a strong budget surplus and a policy of nation building.

But you know long term getting this education revolution absolutely right and necessary because if we don't the young people who will form our workforce in 20 years time won't have the skills necessary to compete.

JOURNALIST: Can I get you to return to Mr Turnbull once more? What do you think about the bloke?

PM: I just congratulate him on his winning the Liberal party leadership and I congratulate him because I have been in politics myself for a while, it is tough and I congratulate him on his win and I look forward to working with him on a bipartisan basis on the big challenges for Australia, and that includes longer term how we deal with the question of the republic.

Transcript 16121