TRANSCRIPT: PRESS CONFERENCE, SYDNEY - THURSDAY, 28 MARCH 2019

SUBJECTS: National Disability Insurance Scheme; One Nation

LINDA BURNEY, SHADOW MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND SOCIAL SERVICES, SHADOW MINISTER FOR PREVENTING FAMILY VIOLENCE, MEMBER FOR BARTON: Reports today, that the Government is going to use the underspend on NDIS to prop up their budget is a disgrace and it’s disgusting. We know that there has been $6 billion not spent on people with disability by this Government and reports in the media today that there’s going to be a $2.5 billion extra amount to prop up the budget is nothing short of neglect. This Government has dropped the ball on the rollout of the NDIS. Five ministers in five years and the fact that they are going to use this underspend to prop up the budget saying that they’ve got a surplus budget is just a disgrace. It is a disgrace for every Australian, but it is especially a disgrace for people with disability.

How can this Government possibly say that they are going to, and how can this Government possibly use an underspend in the NDIS to crow that they’ve got a budget surplus?

It is not a budget surplus. It is taking away from the most vulnerable people in our community. There have been five ministers in five years. Five years of absolute neglect. People who should be getting a service have not been not getting a service and the Government is cynical enough to use this underspend to prop up the bottom line of a so called budget surplus. There are people in remote communities that cannot get any services. They are not using the full allocation of their NDIS plan.

It is a cynical move by this Government. It is neglect in the first order. It is neglect of the worst kind and to use an underspend of at least $2.5 this year and $6 billion over the five years to prop up a budget surplus is cynical, and it is not appropriate, and people will see through this government for what it stands for: neglecting people with a disability to say that they’ve got a budget surplus is unacceptable to Labor and it’s unacceptable to people with disability, and it should be unacceptable to everyone.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible] – still any preference deal between One Nation and the Liberal Party?

BURNEY: Well the lines that Scott Morrison has finally seen the light and has come out in the last hour or two to say that he’ll put One Nation behind Labor and last is nothing short of cynical politics. It is not because Scott Morrison believes that this is the right thing to do. It is because Scott Morrison has been embarrassed into putting One Nation last. And not only that, he squibbed it in terms of not pulling his Queensland National Party colleagues into line because they will still be able to do whatever they want to do in terms of preference spots.

This is not leadership by Scott Morrison. This is an embarrassing turn-around by Scott Morrison because he had no choice. If he truly believed that One Nation should be last, why didn’t he say it several days ago? Why did it have to be today, and still giving the Nationals in Queensland a leave pass to do what they want? Cynical, unacceptable, political politics. That’s what we’ve seen here today from Scott Morrison.

Thank you.