Transcript by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Budget, NDIS, Schoolkids Bonus, Nova Peris, Stolen Generations, Tim Mathieson – Sky News

Program: Sky AM Agenda

E & OE – Proof only

Subject: Budget, NDIS, Schoolkids Bonus, Nova Peris, Stolen Generations, Tim Mathieson

DAVID LIPSON: …… Today in Canberra the Prime Minister will be delivering a major speech to the National Press Club, laying the ground work for the election year ahead. She will flag Budget cuts to fund some of Labor’s key priorities in education and disability reform. I spoke to the Disability Reform Minister, Jenny Macklin, a short time ago.

JENNY MACKLIN: Well, I think it’s important to acknowledge that this is the Prime Minister showing her determination to implement the National Disability Insurance Scheme and of course her desire to see Australia have the best education system for our children in the world. I’m going to the Hunter today to talk with families about the start of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. It’s going to start on the 1st of July for around 10,000 people in the Hunter, and that does really flag that the National Disability Insurance Scheme is real, it’s going to start on the 1st of July and the Prime Minister today will reiterate our Labor Government’s determination to make this real for all Australians with a disability and their families.

DAVID LIPSON: But can the Government give the same guarantee that the Coalition did, not to touch for example, superannuation, to improve the Budget bottom line, for these important reforms?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well I’m sure you don’t expect me to go through the Budget process today, even though you might like me to. You’ll have to wait till the Budget to see the detail. What we have demonstrated in this year’s Budget is our determination to fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme. We already have $1 billion set aside for the first stage of the Disability Insurance Scheme, and that will cover more than 20,000 people in different parts of Australia. By contrast, you’ve got Tony Abbott out there this week running what he’s calling a mini campaign and he doesn’t even have the decency to tell Australian families that he’s going to get rid of the schoolkids bonus, and for an ordinary family with two kids that means $15,000 less over their children’s schooling years. $15,000 that Tony Abbott is going to take off your family, but he’s not telling anybody that this week.

DAVID LIPSON: Okay, no guarantee there. Let’s move on. Nova Peris has secured the top spot for the Senate in the Northern Territory but it came with quite a backlash. Did the Prime Minister underestimate the complexity of Indigenous politics in the top end?

JENNY MACKLIN: I think we all know, any of us who have been involved in pre-selections, I certainly know over many years’ experience, pre-selections are difficult. The Prime Minister was determined to get an Indigenous woman into the Parliament. The Labor Party has never done it before. This Prime Minister has determined that we should have an Aboriginal woman in the Parliament. I’m very pleased that she has, and I know that Nova Peris will do a fantastic job representing the Northern Territory in the Senate. What we want to do is make sure that with Nova, and with our policies to Close the Gap, we continue to do everything we possibly can to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples meet their aspirations for a decent job, a healthy life, and to do everything for their kids.

DAVID LIPSON: Are you worried that Nova Peris will face further smear from inside the Territory?

JENNY MACKLIN: I think Nova will demonstrate both with her personality, she’s an incredibly lively person, someone who’s really, really dedicated to the things she believes in. She’s going to be a great candidate for the Senate in the Northern Territory. She’s of course, been working with young people in particular to spread the message about healthy eating. She’s great with kids when it comes to sport. I think Nova will really be a fantastic advocate for Labor in the Northern Territory.

DAVID LIPSON: Well Trish Crossin, the Senator who got the chop, is calling for financial compensation for members of the Stolen Generation in the Northern Territory. Is that something you would consider?

JENNY MACKLIN: Trish and I have talked about these issues, and if I can just say, I do understand that it is a difficult time for Trish and she’s got a lot of important work to do in the coming months, especially as the Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Recognition. So I look forward to working with her on that matter. But on the issue of the Stolen Generations, this is about to be the fifth anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations, so it’s a very important time, and it does mark our commitment as a Government to support people who are members of the Stolen Generations. We’ve funded the Healing Foundation, we’ve provided additional support to Link-Up which is a very important service helping members of the Stolen Generations to find their families, and most recently of course we’ve announced the Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse, and we’ve specifically in those Terms of Reference, asked the Royal Commission to consider the appropriateness of compensation. So these matters will be considered by the Royal Commission.

DAVID LIPSON: Okay, and just finally, you said last year that sexist remarks were not going to be tolerated by Labor anymore. Well what do you make of Tim Mathieson’s comments about getting a small Asian woman to conduct prostate examinations?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well, as you’ve seen today, he’s apologised for those remarks. He, himself, has said they’re inappropriate. But I think the other important point that he’s made is that we do need to talk as often as we possibly can about the importance of men checking for prostate cancer. If there’s one message I think we’ve all got to take home from this, is that prostate cancer is a serious killer and we’ve got to make sure that men get their check ups.

DAVID LIPSON: Jenny Macklin, thanks for your time this morning.