Doorstop interview, Sydney
Topics: SBS National Languages Competition; High Court rulings and continuing the business of government
Simon Birmingham: Alright. This is a wonderful celebration of learning language, and hopefully something that inspires other young people to try to learn languages and encourages parents to keep their kids [indistinct] children in learning languages, and of course encourages schools in our education system [indistinct] offer the language opportunities [indistinct].
Journalist: How important is it for schoolchildren to learn a second language [indistinct]?
Simon Birmingham: … in terms of their ability to connect with other countries, to engage culturally, socially, business and commerce, diplomatically, security ties; a whole range of different areas are strengthened because of language skills.
Journalist: And what’s the Federal Government doing to promote [indistinct] language in Australia?
Simon Birmingham: The Turnbull Government’s really sought to invest in early years of language learning to create new frameworks using technology for pre-schools to teach different languages, as well as supporting Community Languages Australia in their outreach programs.
Journalist: So, will there be more funding allocated this year?
Simon Birmingham: We’ve boosted and expanded the Early Learning Languages Australia framework for pre-schools, which is providing now additional languages, making around nine or ten languages possible across pre-schools right around the country.
Journalist: And if I can ask on a separate matter, are you worried about the potential… [indistinct] legislation?
Simon Birmingham: I fully expect that the likes of the Labor Party and GetUp will play politics with this situation, but the Turnbull Government will be focused on policy and people above politics. Ultimately, legal challenges will play their course, but the Government believes that we’ve done the right thing at every step in what has been a difficult and challenging process. It’s important in a country like Australia that every Australian citizen has the right to run for Parliament, understands what they need to do to be eligible to run for Parliament, and of course events like this one today shine home, bring home the message that we have to make sure that the advice, the processes are all clear-cut so that Australians, whatever their background can put their hand up to represent our country in the Parliament.
Journalist: Will this completely throw things [indistinct] legislation?
Simon Birmingham: I don’t envisage any problems. We, of course, will see the Labor Party in Parliament, the likes of GetUp or others who will of course seek to play politics, but we’ll keep focussing on the policies to make Australia more competitive, to keep growing jobs, to implement energy policies that make electricity more affordable for Australian households. They’re the things Australians elected us to do, that’s what we’ll keep getting on and doing. Thank you.