By Tanya Plibersek

11 May 2021



TUESDAY, 11 MAY 2021

SUBJECT: MorrisonKeeper Budget.

JOURNALIST: Well Tanya, from what we've seen of the Budget so far in terms of job creation, what do you make of it? 

TANYA PLIBERSEK, SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION, SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN: It's a MorrisonKeeper Budget. We'll see cash splashed around in an effort to fix the problems that the government has created for itself. Aged care is a great example. The Prime Minister, when he was Treasurer, cut billions of dollars from aged care, and now he is going to try and fix that, the problem that he was warned about at the time. This will be a very political budget. And like everything this Prime Minister does, you have to see the gap between promise and delivery. I mean, this Prime Minister is great and grabbing a headline, and then it's “Ts and Cs may apply”. He is the classic ad-man Prime Minister. One example is, last year, of course, the Budget promised close to half a million extra jobs from the JobMaker program. What did we get? About a thousand. There is a massive gap between what this Government promises and what it delivers.

JOURNALIST: The Government's had its own issues with issues around women this year, but in years gone by as well. There seems to be money going to domestic violence services but also what the Government is calling "women's economic security measures". Is the Government trying to fix a political problem by throwing cash at it?

PLIBERSEK: Everything in this Budget is about the Government trying to solve a political problem of its own making. If you look at what's happened for Australian women since 2013, this Government has supported cuts to pay, cuts to conditions, cuts to childcare, cuts to schools, cuts to TAFE, cuts to Medicare, and of course, cuts to the services that help women and children who are fleeing domestic violence escape safely. Just weeks ago, this Government was suggesting that women should drain their own superannuation accounts to fund their own escape from domestic violence. This really is a Budget where I urge people to read the fine print.

JOURNALIST: What do you make of the fact that the Minister for Women, Marise Payne, isn't  in fact in Canberra for this women-centric Budget?

PLIBERSEK: I don't know why she's not here, so I'm not going to comment.

JOURNALIST: And what would you say would be the real test for the Government when it comes to this Budget? What would you be looking for in terms of giving it somewhat of a tick?

PLIBERSEK: I'd like to see a Budget that does what it says on the packet. So if this Budget is genuinely supposed to help women and children escaping domestic violence, let's properly fund legal services. Let's properly fund emergency accommodation. Let's make housing more affordable. Housing has never been less affordable to buy or rent. People who work in emergency accommodation have told me they haven't seen it worse for 30 or even 40 years. They're desperate to find people, women and kids who are escaping domestic violence a place, a roof over their heads. They are turning away half of people that contact them for help. It is- things are desperate. So let's not have a Budget that's all headline and flashy advertising, and no follow-through, no delivery. I have to say, also, that women's economic security and independence starts with proper pay, and respect at work. And this is a Government that has supported cuts to pay, for weekend penalty rates in industries largely dominated by women. They are a Government that has allowed more women than men to completely drain, or almost completely drain their superannuation, so they retire into poverty in old age – when we know that older single women are the fastest growing group of people moving in homelessness. You can't spend eight years doing everything to undermine women at work and then turn around and say "oh it's going to be a Budget for women's economic security".