Transcript - NAIF (May 2017) [Parliament House Doorstop]



SUBJECT/S: NAIF, Gonski education funding, One Nation

WAYNE SWAN: Last night I spoke in the Parliament about the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility and pointed out that it is nothing more than a National Party slush fund - a $5 billion dollar to a National Party slush fund, without all of the checks and balances that usually come with a government finance corporation. 

Its unprecedented how that amount of money allocated to a government corporation without the Minister for Finance being there supervising its activities.

Minister Canavan has unprecedented powers over the supervision of the money and its allocation and he has unprecedented powers over the board. 

You know I think it was Kerry Packer once who said that there's only ever one Alan Bond well I think that Mr Adani knows that there's only ever one Matt Canavan.

Basically there are no checks and balances at all over this fund, which means that Mr Canavan can do whatever he wants with the money. As we know the Deputy Prime Minister and other National Party Ministers have been travelling the country telling everybody that money is going to be allocated from this so called independent fund, independence isn't there, like it is in the EFIC, like it is for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, it's just not there. 

If it's going to fund the Adani project that project should stand or fall on its own merits and shouldn't be the beneficiary of funds which are not adequately supervised and of which there is not independent control and most particularly no supervision of the finance department which is if you like the final check for the people of Australia to be sure that our taxpayer funds are spent correctly.

JOUNALIST: Just quickly on the school's funding the Brisbane Archdiocese has come out last night and said that they support the school funding reforms, that it won’t see school fees coming up [inaudible].

SWAN: Not really to begin with the Government's claims that their package is following the Gonski model are rubbish. The truth is the Gonski model is about total resource standard delivered by Federal Governments, State Governments and the private school sector in the case of  private schools there is no Gonski model in what the government is offering. That’s strike one.

Strike two it's very clear that sections of the Catholic sector are very very unhappy, I believe  on a justified basis with these arrangements so the Brisbane Archdiocese may say that but many others are pointing to grave deficiencies in this funding model not just for the Catholic sector but more broadly.

JOURNALIST: Are you happy with the level of this education debate between yourselves and the Coalition government is there any merit to Andrew Wilkie's argument it that it's sanctimonious clap trap?

SWAN: Well certainly it is for the Government. It is simply rubbish, absolute rubbish to claim that they are implementing a Gonski needs based model. The Gonski needs based model depended upon the Federal Government meeting its obligations, the State Governments meeting their obligations, the private sector meeting their obligations.

There is no arrangement for State Governments to meet their obligations. The Federal Government funding over time is insufficient when combined with the lack of any obligation of the State Governments. So it's not a Gonski model in the first place but of course the Prime Minister is happy to try and create the impression that as it is with the NDIS that he has a program which is a program of integrity when it is simply not.

JOURNALIST: Just quickly there's been a debate the past few days on what sort of form a constitutionally recognised voice for indigenous people in the Parliament would look like. Do you have any idea what sort of form?

SWAN: I'm not going to weigh into that debate at this stage; I'll read what's come out of the meetings on the weekend.

JOURNALIST: Another recording has come out on Pauline Hanson, caught on tape essentially expressing concerns that the funding arrangements with planes were being reported in the media [inaudible]

Does One Nation have some pretty serious questions to answer on this?

SWAN: They certainly do, revelations about internal operations of One Nation reflect very poorly on Pauline Hanson and her party.

JOURNALIST: Do you think James Ashby's position is sustainable?

SWAN: Well that’s a political decision but there are clearly possible breaches of the law and the electoral act involving him and they should take their normal course.