12 June 2019





SUBJECTS: Education and jobs; John Setka.

GED KEARNEY MP, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR SKILLS: Good morning everyone, I'm Ged Kearney, I'm the Member for Cooper, and I'm very proud to also hold the Shadow Assistant portfolio for Skills because this wonderful organisation, the Northern College for the Arts and Technology is in Cooper and it's a great example of trade schools that prepare our young people for the skills of the future. It doesn't only train them in technology and you can see all the wonderful things around here to do with electronics, with mechanics, with engineering, with automotive industry skills, but, it also has a wonderful stream for technology of music and for people who would like to have a future in building musical instruments, repairing musical instruments and there is actually a great synergy there. So, I am very proud of NCAT. I'd like to thank Raffaela Galati-Brown, the principal, for having us today. She has always been a great supporter. But I am also very proud to have Tanya Plibersek with us today. Tanya has been a wonderful supporter of the skills and trades programs in Australia and it is something that is incredibly important to invest in and I am very pleased to be able to work with Tanya in this area. So over to you Tanya.

TANYA PLIBERSEK MP, SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING: Thank you Ged. Well first of all, I'd also like to thank Raffaela for welcoming us to this fantastic educational institution and to say to Ged Kearney what a pleasure it is to be working with her in the area of training and also with Graham Perrett in the area of schools. Visiting institutions like this, visiting schools and colleges is so inspiring. I love meeting the teaching staff, I love meeting the students and I love being reminded that Australia does best when we have a strong economy and a fair society. When we make sure our businesses are doing well and businesses that are doing well share some of that wealth with their employees by creating jobs and providing good pay and conditions and when as a society we invest in the services that change lives - in health, in aged care, in disability support and particularly, in education. Because, education is the key to prosperity, for individuals and for our nation.

We know that as a party of working people, Labor's focus will always be on making sure that people have a job, a good quality job with decent pay and conditions and that education, absolutely, goes hand-in-hand with job creation and with highly skilled, well paid work. We want to make sure that our young people, absolutely, are trained in those traditional areas we will always need - plumbers and electricians and hairdressers and chefs. But as our economy changes in Australia and around the world, we see the need for emerging skills, like the ones we have been learning about this morning. We know that young Australians want the opportunity that a good, secure job brings and their parents and their grandparents are worried about the future that they see for young Australians. Because the simple truth is that the Morrison government, the Turnbull government, the Abbott government have failed young Australians when it comes to giving them a world-class education. We know that today, for example, there are more than 150,000 fewer apprentices and trainees than when Labor left office. So while we still have youth unemployment at unacceptably high levels, while we still have skills shortages in many parts of our economy, we are actually cutting support for apprentices and trainees. We are failing a generation of young people because we are under-investing in skills and education.

Labor believes that a job is the most important thing we can provide for every Australian, and that a great education goes hand-in-hand with job creation and sustaining employment in this country. So my call to the Morrison government is to make sure that we have the best education in the world for young Australians, because anything else is not good enough.

Thank you, any questions?

JOURNALIST:Should John Setka stand down from his position at the CFMEU?

PLIBERSEK: Well the Labor Party has made it very clear that Mr Setka's comments are completely unacceptable to us. The National Executive - Mr Setka has been suspended from the Australian Labor Party, and the National Executive are looking at further steps. I think the matter of his role with the union is one that will be ultimately determined by Mr Setka and the union.But what I would say, as a union member myself, is I wouldn't want the leader of my union making the sort of comments Mr Setka has made about Rosie Batty, who is a great Australian, who has made such a huge contribution to changing the way that we address domestic violence in this country.

JOURNALIST: Did Anthony Albanese move quickly enough in asking Mr Setka to be expelled from the Labor Party?

PLIBERSEK: Well the first I had heard of these comments was just a few days ago, and I assume that Anthony Albanese is in the same position. He has moved very swiftly and very decisively to ask the National Executive to remove Mr Setka from the Labor Party because these values don't represent Labor values, they don't represent the values of our Party, and I don't think they represent the values of mainstream Australia.

JOURNALIST: And what kind of message does it send if he doesn't resign?

PLIBERSEK: Well what I can say is, as a union member myself, I would be very unhappy with any representative of my union making comments like this about domestic violence. I would find it completely unacceptable. What we can do as the Labor Party is make it clear that his comments are unacceptable to the Labor Party, they don't accord with Labor values, and that he'll be removed from the Labor Party.

JOURNALIST: This is isn't the first time that he's faced public scrutiny. What do you think it is about these comments that have led to calls for his expulsion from the Party?

PLIBERSEK: Well, Rosie Batty is a great Australian, she's been Australian of the Year as you know. And I think, aside from the public recognition of Rosie Batty's work, I think so many Australians have looked at a woman who has taken the very worst thing that any of us could possibly imagine and actually created something good for the Australian community in taking action against domestic violence. We look at her and the way that she has taken her unimaginable loss and actually done something for others. And we say that it is just beyond the pale to attack someone like Rosie Batty. It's completely unacceptable.