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Transcript 19185

Transcript of Joint Doorstop Interview

Photo of Gillard, Julia

Gillard, Julia

Period of Service: 24/06/2010 to 27/06/2013

More information about Gillard, Julia on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 27/03/2013

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 19185

Perth

PM: We've talked today to school kids who here are getting Certificate I qualifications - that is actual recognised trade qualifications in areas like bricklaying.

The first certificate that you can get that they can then show an employer to show that they've had some experience in that area of work.

We've met in here today young people who are studying for a Certificate II in the automotive area. That means that they can show that certificate to an employer to show that they've got basic skills as a motor mechanic.

More impressive than that, as they get that Certificate II they are doing work, actually with local employers, and many of the young people we've talked to today are getting a promise of an apprenticeship out of that.

So emerging from high school with a Certificate II, with a relationship with an employer, with an apprenticeship that will then flow.

We've met one young man today who said to us that if it hadn't been for this program, he would have left school. The only reason he is still here in school is because this program is available.

That's the power of having trades education embedded into our high schools. That's why we are funding trade training centres for high schools around the country.

We're making available round after round more money so that high schools can create a state-of-the-art trade training centre, or do what so many have chosen to do which is come together in partnership with other local high schools so that they can have a bigger facility.

This means that for kids who are in vocational education they aren't studying in some dusty classroom with old tools from 40 years ago, they are getting to work in an environment that mimics modern workplaces using modern equipment.

We want to make sure all of this learning is captured and credentialed, which is why we have been pursuing an idea about a national cadetship program so that around the country in every high school you would able to emerge with qualifications that you can show to employers.

In the years of high school you would be able to show that you'd gone through the basic approaches to trades education, that you had some familiarity with the concept of what it's like to work in a trade.

And then, like here, in the upper years of high school, you could emerge with a certificate in our trades system.

This national trade cadetship program will start in the early years of high school next year, and in the upper years of high school the year after.

We've been working on it for some time and it hasn't been easy. It's required agreements with state and territory governments. But we do think it's one way of making sure that our kids have all the options and choices they need for the future.

I'm here in Western Australia to attend a Community Cabinet meeting tonight, which will be at a high school; where community members will have the opportunity to raise with me the things that matter to them.

But whilst I've been here I've been visiting schools because I understand that there is nothing more important to our future as a country - our strength and prosperity - than what we are doing to improve the quality of children's education.

And I'm very pleased to see we've made a difference here.

I'll hand over now to Minister Smith for some comments.

MINISTER SMITH: Thanks very much Prime Minister. I'm very pleased to welcome the Prime Minister this morning to my electorate and to join with the school community to welcome her to Morley Senior High School.

This is a high school where you can see the benefits of Commonwealth investment in two respects. We've seen - didn't go on a tour of it today - in this school through the Building the Education Revolution we've seen the science block refurbished at an investment of $2 million.

And here you see the trades training centre which is done in collaboration with one of our other local high schools just down the road: Hampton Senior High School.

The first time I came to the school to discuss the trades training centre was in 2006 when I was Shadow Minister for Education and we had launched our trades training centre policy.

And when we came to office in 2007 it was the Prime Minister as Education Minister who implemented that policy program and we see the benefits here.

So this morning you can see how Commonwealth interests, Commonwealth investment can help transform a school's facilities.

Morley Senior High School has been a great school for over 40 years. But the investment we've seen over the last half a dozen years - particularly the opportunity that you see behind you - has transformed opportunities for young boys and girls at this school.

And when we spoke to a number of the boys who are here at the trades training centre in the automotive area, a number of them said they had already been offered and accepted apprenticeships and that's a great thing - improving a pathway for secure employment for young local children.

PM: And thank you very much to Gay our school principal here. She had the generosity to say that our capital investment in this school had transformed it. Thank you very much. And thank you to you for hosting this visit and all the hard work you and your team do in this school.

We're happy to take questions.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, on refugees, is it the Government's intention to put more families on bridging visas and [inaudible]?

PM: No decision has been taken on that. What we do at the moment is we do release on bridging visas some asylum seekers, particularly single asylum seekers. And I want to make clear why we've taken some fairly tough decisions about the conditions under which they're released.

They are not able to access a job. That's for a very good reason. The clearest advice to us is that if people had work rights that could act as an incentive factor to get on a boat.

Obviously many of these people are coming from countries where Australian wages and Australian conditions look like an attraction factor.

So that's why people aren't able to work, and people are given the most basic of benefits - absolutely the most basic of benefits - the lowest benefit available in our social security system. And that too is done deliberately because we don't want the degree of support to in any way be used as a people smuggler to spruik the benefits of getting on a boat.

JOURNALIST: Is that why you haven't made up your mind on families, because you don't want to condemn whole families to living in poverty?

PM: Look, simply no decision has been taken.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]?

PM: We have transferred people to Manus Island in PNG and we'll keep working with the Government of PNG to transfer others. Each transfer is the subject of a specific agreement with PNG.

But we'll continue to make use of that facility.

JOURNALIST: Paris Aristotle has warned that unless there's a comprehensive regional solution to people smuggling more people will die at sea. He says the Malaysia solution must be implemented as part of that. Do you agree?

PM: Well Paris Aristotle is absolutely right. But the problem we confront here with implementing the agreement with Malaysia is of course that the Opposition has taken the view that it would prefer to be negative, and it would prefer to see more boats.

As I said yesterday, if we could implement the Malaysia agreement we would do it very rapidly. We have been prevented from doing that by the negative approach taken by the Opposition.

JOURNALIST: [Inaudible] an explosion in boat numbers once the monsoonal swell season passes?

PM: We don't want to see boats on our horizon and we do everything we can to deter people from getting on boats.

We detect and disrupt people smuggling ventures working with partners around the region - like Indonesia. We have offshore processing now in Manus Island and Nauru.

JOURNALIST: [Inaudible]?

PM: Well I'll answer your question but let's get context here. We got the best possible advice from significant Australians like the former Chief of the Defence Force, Angus Houston, a refugee advocate, Paris Aristotle, and a foreign policy expert, Michael L'Estrange.

Have we implemented their recommendations as far as we can with the Opposition's negative outlook and we would implement all of them if the Opposition wasn't standing in our way.

At the same time we've engaged in very rapid returns of large numbers of people to Sri Lanka, more people returned in a shorter period than was done under the Howard Government. So every measure we can take is being taken.

Now in terms of predictions about future arrivals, I don't do that. Obviously we work as we prepare the budget papers with proper agencies to get proper predications for the future.

But what I can certainly say is this; we would be in a position to deal better with the possibility of more boats if the Opposition stopped playing its negative political game.

The Opposition has decided it would prefer to see more boats.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, in respect to the previous question though, is there a problem with Manus Island at the moment?

PM: We'll continue working on Manus Island, transfer by transfer. I'd refer you to the answers that Minister O'Connor gave to these assertions in Parliament just last week.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, you made some comments about 457 visas on radio this morning. Is WA [inaudible] training locals as well employing people on 457 visas?

PM: The rules have to be the same rules right around the nation and in every part of the nation Australian jobs have to come first. That's what Australians expect, that job opportunities in their nation - whether it's in Western Australia or anyway else - are first made available to Australians.

Of course there are times when there are real skill shortages, very highly specialised skills, where we do need temporary workers from overseas.

But as I've indicated very clearly, I've become very concerned that the 457 visa program has grown in a way which means we are not seeing Australians put first and we are cracking down on it to ensure that at every point Australians are first in queue for Australian jobs.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, WA Premier Colin Barnett is relying on federal funding for a number of election promises. Will you be providing that funding and is it irresponsible for the Premier to make that promise?

PM: Well he can't. Premier Barnett cannot make any promise relating to federal funds. We have proper processes, proper assessment processes, including Infrastructure Australia.

We work things through well. That has meant that here in Western Australia we've delivered more infrastructure money than ever before. We have rapidly increased the amount of infrastructure money we've put in per head of population in WA.

That's a very meaningful statistic because WA's population has been growing and we've put in so much new money that the amount of infrastructure money per head continues to grow even as the population grows.

So we very much focused on the infrastructure needs of Western Australia, but we do that in a proper way through rigorous assessments for projects like the Gateway project to the airport.

Premier Barnett is not in a position to promise federal funds.

JOURNALIST: He wants $3 billion from you, if it's such a tight budget is he likely to get it?

PM: Premier Barnett would have to go through proper assessment processes. Now I can't tell you what the outcome of those proper rigorous assessment processes would be. He needs to put forward his proposals.

We, of course, have already in the budget budgeted for our Nation Building 2 program which comes on top of our Nation Building 1 program, which made available more money for infrastructure than has ever flown before in the nation.

JOURNALIST: The Premier might end up pointing the finger at the Federal Government for promises that he made based on funding from you.

PM: Well no one is silly enough to fall for that.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, you said this morning that Tony Abbot was running a scare campaign on superannuation. Wouldn't it be the best way to rebuff that campaign to release your plans for the superannuation system?

PM: Let's have a good look at superannuation. The only proposal for cutting back people's superannuation benefits and entitlements on the table today is Mr Abbott's plan to slug low income earners and to make them worse off. That's the only proposal on the table.

What people can always be reassured of, as the political party that created superannuation, superannuation will always be best nurtured in Labor's hands.

We're on a journey from 9 per cent to 12 per cent in superannuation, increasing the superannuation benefits of working Australians because of the actions of this Labor Government.

Neglected over many long years under the former Government. A positive action taken to increase superannuation by this Government, whereas today the only proposal on the table to superannuation cutbacks comes from the Leader of the Opposition.

JOURNALIST: Will you cut tax concessions?

PM: What I said on radio today - and I believe I was answering these questions yesterday as well - we will always take the right decisions to nurture superannuation, to get working people a decent retirement, and to ensure the system is sustainable.

JOURNALIST: But is it time for you to put your plans on the table like Mr Abbott?

PM: Well I've just indicated to you very clearly the considerations that drive us - what's good for working people, what gives them a decent retirement, what makes the system sustainable.

JOURNALIST: [Inaudible]?

PM: Not on this trip. I've had the opportunity to travel there on a number of other occasions and of course I will again. I have met during the course of this trip people that have accompanied me on some of those journeys.

For example, I met with the CEO of Chevron and I've had the opportunity to go to Barrow Island twice to look at the Gorgon project so I'm not able to on this visit but I've certainly been before and of course I'll go in the future.

JOURNALIST: Not-for-profit groups are saying they're increasing providing assistance to asylum seekers [inaudible]. It is fair that they're forced to help?

PM: As I indicated before we've taken a series of tough decisions here but we don't want to see any factor about the treatment of asylum seekers in the community that could be misused, mis-spun by people smugglers encourage people to get on boats as we've seen during the course of this week people lose their lives on boats.

In terms of the treatment of the charitable not-for-profit sector under this Government, we've worked in a very good partnership with them. When we came to Government the only way a charity or a church could get federal government funds was if they signed up to a gag clause which prevented them publically ever raising their voice against the Howard Government.

We thought that was offensive and we got rid of it.

We've worked comprehensively with the not-for-profit sector. Not only through providing resources to them but treating them with a genuine sense of dignity and respect and that's how we'll continue in the future.

Thank you very much.

Transcript 19185