AUSTRALIA POLITICS: Shorten, Turnbull Focus Now On Jobs

Politicoscope
By Politicoscope January 31, 2017 12:34

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AUSTRALIA POLITICS: Shorten, Turnbull Focus Now On Jobs

Bill Shorten has outlined his three-point plan to restore the Australian public’s faith in politics, saying people are sick of “schoolyard” bickering. After the expenses scandal over summer and the rise of Donald Trump, the Opposition leader says restoring faith in politics will be one of his key priorities for 2017.

In a fiery year-launching speech to the National Press Club today, Mr Shorten said he would push to tighten the expense system for politicians. Labor would also aim to clamp down on foreign donations to political parties and launch a Senate inquiry into the creation of a National Integrity Commission.

“There is one certainty in 2017, people are disengaged from politics and distrustful of politicians,” Mr Shorten said.

“Too many Australians think the political system is broken and more than a few don’t trust us to fix it. We need to lift our game.”

The Labor leader also outlined the difference between his leadership style and that of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Mr Shorten said he had spent his life fighting for working people, while his opposite number was a paid advocate who could speak well.
“I wonder, even now, if he still measures himself by the flowery elegance of his arguments,” he said.

Jobs, Medicare, opportunities for young Australians, real action on climate change and overhauling the work visa system were other top priorities, Mr Shorten said.

Medicare, foreign workers and Tafe will all be priorities in 2017 but the federal Opposition’s main focus will be employment.

“In 2017, my team and I have three major economic priorities, jobs, jobs and jobs,” Mr Shorten told the National Press Club today.

The Labor leader signalled apprenticeships as a priority and overhauling the 457 visa system for skilled migrants.

He also confirmed the party would not support the Turnbull Government’s corporate tax cuts, a key plank of the government’s plan to repair the budget.

“It is all priorities – our priorities are people, our priorities are jobs,” Mr Shorten said.

“We think if you look after the working-class, middle class of this country, the work looks after itself.”

FOCUS ON JOBS
Mr Shorten’s comments come amid indications Australian jobs are set to be the political football of 2017.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Mr Shorten will both outline their plans for boosting employment in major speeches this week.

Mr Turnbull is gearing up to make his case for company tax cuts to in a major speech to the National Press Club tomorrow, Fairfax media reports.

Meanwhile, Mr Shorten today outlined an Australia-first jobs policy he intends to pursue across the year.

The Turnbull Government has spruiked its company tax cuts – which would reduce the corporate tax rate from 30 per cent to 25 per cent for all companies over 10 years – as an incentive for businesses to employ more staff.

Fairfax Media reports the government will put the legislation to a vote in the upper house before the end of March to secure the cuts before the May budget.

Mr Turnbull faces a battle to get the full cuts through the Senate, with key crossbencher Nick Xenophon still reluctant to support anything more than the first phase of the cuts – a 27.5 per cent rate for all companies with a turnover of up to $10 million.

Labor and the Greens oppose the cuts, while One Nation and Senator David Leyonhjelm have indicated their support.

Mr Shorten pushed for more job opportunities for young Australians ahead of foreign workers in his speech today.

The Labor leader outlined the party’s policy to secure one in every 10 jobs on major infrastructure projects for an Australian apprentice.

“Too many work visas are being used as a low-cost substitute for employing an Australian — not to address a genuine shortage,” he said.

“We cannot allow our country to become an unskilled enclave in a modernising Asia.”

Mr Turnbull savaged the Opposition’s “latest protectionist tactic” in an interview with Sky News this morning.

“If Bill Shorten’s going to talk about 457 visas at the Press Club, he should turn up in sack cloth and ashes as a penitent confessing to his sins,” Mr Turnbull said.

“Nobody issued more 457 visas than Bill Shorten, he is the Olympic champion of 457 visas.”

Mr Turnbull said the Labor Party’s jobs policy was guaranteed to undermine employment in Australia.

“They have a series of job-destroying, high-taxing, high-borrowing policies that undermine incentive, undermine enterprise,” he said.
“And their latest protectionist tactic – that is absolutely guaranteed to destroy jobs.”

SHORTEN’S ‘AUSTRALIANS-FIRST’ WAR CRY
More Aussie youths will be assured jobs as apprentices on major infrastructure projects, under a plan from Labor.

And TAFE diplomas will be afforded more respect in an effort to end the “Hunger Games” between vocational education providers and universities, Mr Shorten told the National Press Club in Canberra today.

The Labor leader vowed to put Australians first when it comes to jobs.

Mr Shorten said if elected his Labor government will ensure one in every 10 jobs on a priority infrastructure project will go to an Australian apprentice.

“In the context of the last election — that means at least 2600 apprenticeship places,” he said.

The Opposition Leader also reiterated Labor’s stance to deny work visas to overseas employees when an equally-skilled Australian is available.

“Too many work visas are being used as a low-cost substitute for employing an Australian — not to address a genuine shortage,” he said.

“We cannot allow our country to become an unskilled enclave in a modernising Asia.”

Mr Shorten said if Australia is to outpace the rest of Asia on jobs and skills that vocational education needs to be respected and invested in.

“No more Hunger Games between TAFE and university,” he said

“Winning in Asia on our terms – as a high-skill, fair-wage nation – means putting vocational education back at the centre of our system.

“That starts with saving TAFE – and it finishes with the world’s best National Training Agenda.”

– News

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Politicoscope
By Politicoscope January 31, 2017 12:34