Leaders head way out west to push youth jobs

Leaders head way out west to push youth jobs

SBS World News Radio: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Labor leader Bill Shorten have taken the federal election campaign to Perth.

Youth unemployment and national security were on the PM's agenda, while Mr Shorten announced a $62 million apprenticeship plan.

And both leaders weighed in on constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians.

Mr Turnbull started the day in the Liberal-held Perth seat of Cowan, spruiking the government's plans for small business tax cuts and its work experience program, PaTH, at a youth forum.

The coalition announced in the May budget it would offer companies incentives to take on interns for up to 12 weeks, while the interns would pocket $200 a fortnight on top of their income support payments.

Mr Turnbull told the youth forum creating a strong economy will create more jobs, particularly for young people.

"That's the key, that is absolutely the key for everything to determine the opportunity for these young people to realise their dreams and seize these opportunities. And we are able to hear from them, their experience, their internships, and how consistent that is with our PaTH program (which is) such an important part of our budget."

Also in Perth Opposition leader Bill Shorten outlined Labor's plan to improve skills and apprenticeships.

Labor's Apprentice Ready program will offer a 20-week pre-apprenticeship TAFE course for trades on the national skills needs list, targeting youth who've been unemployed for more than six months.

Mr Shorten says along with 10,000 pre-apprenticeship places, the pilot program will also provide 5,000 places to help mature-aged workers turn work experience into qualifications.

"Do you know in the last three years under the Liberal government there's been 120,000 apprenticeships lost? I don't think that most Australians realise that we are in danger of losing our apprentice system in Australia. There is a crisis. Now more than ever we need to back in apprenticeships. Under the Liberals they simply don't care about apprenticeships. Under Labor we do care about apprenticeships and we are willing to show leadership."

Both leaders traded blows over constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says Australia needs to start talking about a possible treaty once Aboriginal people are recognised in the constitution.

But Mr Turnbull says talk of a treaty with Indigenous Australians could damage public support for constitutional recognition.

"Now, to introduce another element, a treaty - the terms of which is unknown - adds a level of uncertainty that puts at risk the constitutional recognition process. Mr Shorten should have more discipline on ensuring we maintain support for constitutional recognition rather than introducing other concepts which will, in my view, undermine the prospects of getting the very high level of public support you need for the constitutional recognition of our first Australians."

Meanwhile, polling commissioned by the Greens in early June suggests Assistant Treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer's safe Liberal seat in Melbourne could be at risk in the election.

The polling shows their candidate in Higgins, Jason Ball, is on a primary vote of 24.1 per cent, and if he picks up preferences from Labor it could be enough to topple Ms O'Dwyer.

The Greens say they're still hoping to pull off an upset and unseat Labor in the Victorian seats of Wills and Batman.

"We're feeling very positive about our chances in Batman. We've got a great candidate in Wills who I think will give us a real show sneaking over the line in that seat. And of course of in Melbourne Ports, where we know Michael Danby continues to say he will preference the Liberal Party rather than the Greens, potentially delivering government to Malcolm Turnbull rather than working cooperatively with the Greens. There is a huge backlash about the fact that we have got the Labor party cosying up to the Liberal Party, effectively protecting their duopoly."

Independent senator Nick Xenophon says the major parties in South Australia are colluding to deny his candidates victories in local seats.

Nick Xenophon's Team, NXT, is running candidates in electorates including Mayo, Sturt and Grey and is poised to take three Senate seats.

But in the Lower House preferences will play a key role, with Senator Xenophon fearing Labor and the Liberals are doing a deal to stop his candidates.

"It seems that the major parties are having a bet each way as to who they will be supporting. They would rather votes go to their mortal enemies rather than to a party at the political centre. So that's a real worry. It's very clever but very cynical as well."


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