Transcript - ABC AM Interview
- Minister for Education. Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
- Minister for Social Inclusion
- Deputy Prime Minister
E&OE TRANSCRIPTRADIO INTERVIEW8AM MONDAY 23 NOVEMBER 2009ABC AM PROGRAM
ISSUES: Youth Allowance; Pay Equity
TONY EASTLEY:The Government will also try this week to get changes to the Youth Allowance through the senate. The Government has rejected most of the amendments put forward by the Opposition so far and is putting the Bill back before the Upper House. The Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Julia Gillard is speaking with the chief political correspondent, Lyndal Curtis.
JULIA GILLARD: Christopher Pyne on behalf of the Opposition has made it perfectly clear that all he’s interested in is playing politics with this matter.
LYNDAL CURTIS:But have you sought to talk to him?
JULIA GILLARD:There’s really no point in talking about a billion dollars in unfunded amendments. That’s what the Coalition has moved. I mean it should strike people as amazingly hypocritical that Mr Turnbull can wander round talking about debt and deficit and at the same time, his Shadow Minister for Education can move amendments that would cost more than a billion dollars without identifying more than a billion dollars of matching savings. And Mr Pyne’s amendments basically perpetuate the system that’s failed country kids.
LYNDAL CURTIS:But there are other non-government parties in the Senate. You could get the legislation if you got the Greens and Senators Fielding and Xenophon to agree. Have you been talking to them to try and get around the Opposition?
JULIA GILLARD: Look, certainly I’m happy tot talk to senators generally to try and get an arrangement here that makes some sense. But talking to senators, I’m being very clear about the following: this is a Government that takes being prudent in spending government money seriously. So we’re not prepared to agree to unfunded amendments. So that’s number one. And number two, we are not prepared to agree to amendments that are inequitable and rip country kids off.
LYNDAL CURTIS: If you’re not agreeing to Opposition amendments and you haven’t yet talked to other non-government Senate parties, are you expecting then a different outcome this week in the Senate?
JULIA GILLARD:I’ve certainly been talking to senators who want to have a sensible conversation, understanding that those two things are the Government’s bottom line.
LYNDAL CURTIS:But are there other amendments made by those other non-government parties that you think you may be able to agree to?
JULIA GILLARD: We’ve already accepted two Greens amendments as a show of good faith. We are obviously prepared to talk seriously with senators who are prepared to talk to us, thinking about the students instead of thinking about the politics.
LYNDAL CURTIS:Just finally, a Parliamentary Committee will recommend this week action on women’s pay to try and close the gender differences between pays. Do you think that action is required?
JULIA GILLARD:I’ll certainly be very eager to study this report once it’s tabled in the Parliament. I have publicly indicated my concern about pay equity issues. It seems to me just axiomatic that women who are doing jobs of comparable worth to men should be getting pay rates comparable to men and we’ve got a persistent gender gap in pay and we’ve got a persistent problem with women not being properly represented in corporate Australia, on the boards of companies and as CEOs. So I think as a nation, we’ve got to lift our game. I’ll be keen to have a look at this report and study its insights and I’ll also be keen to talk to the business community, the unions and others about the best way forward following this report.