SKY NEWS ON THE HOUR 12 NOON
TUESDAY, 4 FEBRUARY 2014
SUBJECT/S: Broadband; SPC Ardmona; Political donations.
CELINA EDMONDS: We’re going to take you live now to Brisbane. The Shadow Communications Minister, Jason Clare, holding a news conference with Labor Candidate for Griffith, Terri Butler.
TERRI BUTLER, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR GRIFFITH: [inaudible] …particularly on the boundary of where people in Griffith have got fibre optic cable. People on the other side of the road to where we are standing have got fibre optic cable. People on our side of the road today do not have fibre optic and they’re going to be relying on copper wire, 40-year-old copper wire and cable TV cable for their internet because the Abbott Government is not going to roll out the NBN as Labor envisaged it. Thanks very much and I’ll invite Jason to speak.
JASON CLARE: Thanks very much Terri. It’s great to be here campaigning with you on the countdown to this weekend, where we are fighting hard to earn the votes of the people of Griffith. There are a lot of issues at stake in this by-election. One of the most important is the NBN because it’s where there is a massive difference between the Labor Party and the Liberal Party.
If you want fast internet speeds, then on the weekend vote Labor. If you don’t want fast internet speeds, if you don’t want fast broadband, then vote for the Liberal Party because that’s what you’ll get. Under the Labor Party we campaigned at the last election and we’ll continue to campaign on this basis. We will deliver optic fibre to every home in Griffith. Under the Government’s plan no one else in Griffith is going to get optic fibre to their homes. They’ll have to rely on the old copper network in the ground and the old COAX cable that’s attached to the telegraph poles.
As Terri said, everyone on this side of the road has already got optic fibre and they’re doing well. Everyone on this side of the road is going to miss out and they’re never going to get it. So the difference between Labor and Liberal is, we will deliver the NBN and we’ll deliver optic fibre to everyone’s home. Under the Liberal Party you won’t get the NBN. A National Broadband Network under the Liberal Party is effectively dead. All you’ll get here in Griffith is the old copper network, the old COAX cables on the telegraph poles to help deliver broadband to you.
The other thing I would say is this, vote for Terri Butler and you’ll get someone who will fight to deliver fibre optic cables to your home in Parliament in Canberra. If you vote for the Liberal Party, if you vote for Bill Glasson, you’ll get somebody who won’t keep up the fight to make sure we deliver the proper NBN here in Griffith.
Before he became a member of the Liberal Party, Bill Glasson said the NBN was fantastic. He said this is the technology that Australia needs. Then he joined the Liberal Party, campaigning now here in the seat of Griffith, he says we don’t need those services. Well that’s wrong. He shouldn’t have changed his mind, he was right in the first place and the people of Griffith deserve the best technology in the world. The people of Australia deserve this technology as well. If the Government is going to spend $40 billion on this, they should spend it here in Griffith as well. Their plan not to spend any of it here in Griffith, or barely any of it in Griffith, is a big mistake and the people of Griffith should vote against them this weekend.
JOURNALIST: How can Labor guarantee that yet the Liberals can’t even offer it?
CLARE: It’s very simple. Labor understands how important superfast broadband is. That’s why we developed the NBN. That’s why our policy is to roll it out right across the country. The Liberal party has a different view. They think that the old copper in the ground is good enough and that’s all people need. I think that’s a short-sighted approach.
We know a hundred years ago when electricity was rolled out right across the country that it led to innovation and demand for more goods and it changed the way we live, it changed the way we work. The NBN will do exactly that here in Australia but it’s got to be done properly. It means delivering optic fibre to the people here in Brisbane, especially the people in Griffith. Not making people rely on the old equipment that’s still in the ground.
JOURNALIST: If it’s available why are the Party not making it available to people to use?
CLARE: I think it’s pretty simple. The Liberal Party doesn’t get it. Tony Abbott has said that he thinks the NBN is just a giant video game. He thinks that it’s just for people to watch things on TV. He doesn’t understand how important it is for the Mater Hospital across the road or for the hotel just across here for the work that they do, or for people that might have a hobby business at home that want to turn it into a fully-fledged business. I don’t think he gets it. He doesn’t understand that broadband is the key to Australia becoming more competitive and more productive in the future.
JOURNALIST: Do you think TPG Telecom should be allowed to bypass the NBN connecting fibre [inaudible]:
CLARE: I don’t think they should. It’s interesting that Malcolm Turnbull is thinking of letting them do that. He said in the newspaper today that he’s going to have a look at that. His position in the past has been that businesses should be able to do this. Now he’s second guessing that approach. He might change his mind. Let’s see what the Government does here. My view is that the NBN should be delivered right across the country and that companies like TPG and Telstra and Optus should be able to provide retail services on that wholesale platform.
JOURNALIST: Just on the issue of unions. The figures released yesterday show the Labor Party relies heavily on union donations. Is that problematic given the recent allegations of union corruption?
CLARE: I’d say this: the Labor Party is the party of working people. Our job is to stand up for working people, fight for their rights and improve their standard of living and their quality of life. That’s what we do. That’s what unions do as well. It’s no secret that the unions donate to the Labor Party. It’s no secret that cigarette companies donate to the Liberal Party. I’m a lot prouder of unions helping to support people like Terri and people like myself get into Parliament to fight for the rights of working people than the Liberal Party and the Liberal Members of Parliament should be about taking money from companies that produce products that kill people. That’s the difference here. I’m very happy and very proud to be a Labor Member of Parliament that stands up for working people.
JOURNALIST: Isn’t that problematic given the allegations of corruption, associating your party [inaudible]:
CLARE: There is no place for corruption and where people have broken the law, the full force of the law should be applied to them. I’ve got a strong track record in fighting organised crime and fighting corruption, wether is implementing the recommendations of the Wood Royal Commission over a decade ago, or when I was a Minister implementing reforms to tackle corruption in the Customs Agency.
What I learnt from that was that using the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Crime Commission and organisations like ACLEI you can tackle corruption and weed it out. Organisations like the Australian Crime Commission could be very helpful here.
Let me just add one more point just before I finish off here. You’ve mentioned unions, you’ve mentioned the Labor Party. People should be very clear that there are only a few things that stand between Tony Abbott and Australian workers having their salaries cut and their entitlements cut. That’s the Labor Party and that’s the union movement.
JOURNALIST: Do you think the Labor Party should reduce the level of control union delegates have at ALP conferences?
CLARE: I think one of the – there has been a lot of talk about reform in the Labor Party, I’m sure that will continue into the future. If there is one reform that we need to focus on in particular I think it’s the roll out of primaries in the way that we select our candidates. Making sure that it’s not just members of the party that pick candidates like myself and Terri but it’s members of the community. Thousands of people who get to select their candidate – it will make us better Members of Parliament, and of all of the things that we need to do in the Party to make us more relevant in the future, that for me is number one.
JOURNALIST: So you’re not concerned about the level of control that union delegates have at the conferences?
CLARE: I think the big reform that needs to take place is in the area of primaries.
JOURNALIST: [inaudible]…you’re broadly backing that Bill Shorten position there on unions, effectively and especially in relation to SPC as well?
BUTLER: Well Andrew, the fact is Sharman Stone has already come out this morning and accused the Abbott Government of lying about the wages and conditions at SPC. This idea that somehow workers on $50,000 a year are responsible for the troubles of SPC is simply wrong. This Government has failed to back Australian jobs. They have failed to back Australian jobs for purely ideological reasons. It’s about time they started action in the national interest instead of trying to pin any trouble on workers earning $50,000 a year.
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