SA Chinese Weekly Interviews: Penny Wong
It has been said that the main issue of this Federal Election is Growth and Jobs. Could you briefly outline the ALP’s strategies and plans to grow the Economy and to create Jobs for Australians in general and for South Australians in particular?
Federal Labor will back South Australia.
We’ll support Arrium with $100 million in grants and financing, securing more than 3,500 jobs.
We will invest in schools, TAFE and universities to strengthen the skills, talent and capabilities of all Australians.
Fast broadband creates jobs. A Shorten Labor Government will scale up the rollout of fibre-to-the-premises to up to 2 million more homes and businesses across the country.
Labor will cut taxes for small businesses.
We’ll give employers a tax cut if they employ people under 25 or over 55, and those returning to work – groups of Australians who too often struggle to find a job.
A Shorten Labor Government will create a $10 billion infrastructure financing facility to kick-start investment in priority infrastructure projects, which will directly create around 26,000 jobs. We’ll get more apprentices onto Commonwealth projects and create 15,000 places for jobseekers who want to undertake an apprenticeship.
If the ALP wins the coming election, how soon could it get the Budget into surplus?
A Labor Government will repair the budget fairly and return to surplus in 2020-21 – the same commitment as the Liberals.
Overseas students is the biggest service export of South Australia and one of the key exports for the rest of Australia, and in the last 2 years, we see encouraging increases in overseas student numbers in all the States and Territories and one of the main reasons for this, as we understand, is the change in the immigration policy of the Federal Government, which began near the end of the last ALP Government and carried on by the current Coalition Government in streamlining student visa application and in the granting of post study work visa. And of course, the low Australian dollar also helps. What else could the ALP do if it wins the coming Election? Could you outline the things the ALP would do and explain why these would encourage more overseas students to come to study in Australia?
Labor recognises the value of education exports to our economy and society and will work with stakeholders, including providers, to attract more overseas students to South Australia.
Changes in superannuation are a key component of this year’s Federal budget. It is disappointing that promises of no retrospective changes to those in the pension phase were set aside- the budget, among others, introduces a lifetime pension limit of $1.60 million and a lifetime non-concessional limit of $500,000 made on or after 1st July 2007. If ALP becomes the next Federal Government, what changes would it bring to Superannuation?
Labor will crack down on superannuation tax concessions at the top end but, unlike the Liberals, we will not make changes to superannuation without proper consultation first. Labor believes that people who have worked hard and saved under the existing rules should not be penalised.
In your view, how could the territory conflicts in the South China Sea between China and its neighbouring countries be resolved?
How would you reconcile between “the desire to do more trades and businesses with China” and “the desire to influence to improve China’s human right policy”?
South China Sea
As a maritime trading nation, Australia has a direct interest in freedom of navigation and overflight and the maintenance of the international system that protects those rights. Over US$5 trillion in annual global trade and about 60 per cent of Australia’s exports pass through the South China Sea.
Labor does not take a position on the competing territorial claims, but will be active in efforts to lower tensions and resolve disputes in the South China Sea.
Labor believes that the best way to mitigate against heightened regional tensions is to strongly support the international rules-based system and the region’s developing security and economic architecture.
Labor is committed to a strong and growing economic relationship with China.
Labor is disturbed by human rights abuses wherever they occur.
What is your message to the South Australian voters, especially to the Chinese speaking voters?
The decision at this election is about the kind of Australia we want for our children and grandchildren.
Labor is committed to properly funding South Australian schools, universities and hospitals.
Labor will support economic growth through investment in infrastructure and tax cuts for small business.
A Shorten Labor Government will put people first.