Bill's Transcripts

PRESS CONFERENCE - SYDNEY - FRIDAY, 29 JUNE 2018

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
PRESS CONFERENCE
SYDNEY
FRIDAY, 29 JUNE 2018
 
SUBJECTS: Company tax cuts.

BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good afternoon, everybody. Today, I have recommended to the Labor Shadow Cabinet, that Labor at the next election commit to not changing the existing legislative tax scale of 27.5 per cent, company tax scale, for companies between $10 million and $50 million turnover. 
 
I have also had the agreement of the Shadow Cabinet today, that we will repeal all other tax scale reductions, corporate - which have either been legislated but not implemented or indeed, as the Government's trying to do, pass through the Senate. 
 
Labor is absolutely committed to making sure that the unfair corporate tax giveaway to the big end of town is stopped at the next election. Labor has always had the policy that we would support a reduction in the company tax scale for companies with up to $2 million turnover. In recent months the economic leadership group of the Shadow Cabinet have been discussing whether or not we extend the threshold to $10 million. The decision was made by our economic team that we could support that, but we would support not changing that tax reduction. It's become clear in recent days after lengthy consultation with business and colleagues, that any proposition to change already implemented tax rates, in other words tax rates which already apply from 1 July this year, before a federal election was creating great uncertainty. So today, I and our colleagues have decided to amend our position, and the message really is to business in Australia, to the 99 per cent of business in Australia, that Labor will make sure that you pay the same or lower tax under a Labor government.

But we do recognise calls in recent days that if a tax reduction has already been implemented, and companies are paying that lower tax rate now, we didn't want to cause confusion and uncertainty to those businesses. So that's where we're advancing. And we can do all of these things because in recent days, we've also found that the cost of this amendment is not as great as we first thought. But furthermore, we fundamentally believe in tax reform in this country. And only Labor can do tax reform in this country, be it for workers or be it for companies, because we've made serious economic reforms. Our commitment to the nation is that if and when we are elected, for 99 per cent of businesses, and for over 10 million working Australians, you will pay the same or less tax than you would under a Liberal Government. 
 
I'd now like to invite my Shadow Treasurer and then Shadow Finance Minister to talk further about this.
 
CHRIS BOWEN, SHADOW TREASURER: Thanks very much, Bill. Labor's announcement today makes it crystal clear that 99.8 per cent of Australian businesses will be better off under a Shorten Labor Government. We can say that because as Bill has said, any tax cuts that have been, not only legislated but implemented, will be respected by an incoming Labor Government. And also because we go to the election promising and we'll deliver the Australian Investment Guaranteewhich the Liberal Party will not, which is available to every single Australian business on the condition that they invest in the Australian economy, unlike the federal government's proposed tax giveaway which is based on the hope and prayer of investment. 
 
Labor's policy strikes the right balance. It respects tax cuts which have been legislated and implemented. We will repeal as Bill said, elements that have already been legislated but not implemented. But any business which has received a tax cut, has factored it in, will continue to receive it under a Labor Government. Now that's a very important commitment. One that the Labor Party takes very seriously. But we're also crystal clear that we will repeal what hasn't been implemented, both what is already being legislated, and if the government is successful in some sort of deal with One Nation which may have already been done over the last 48 hours given the Prime Minister's slippery answers in Question Time yesterday. If they are successful in giving a tax cut to the big banks, to big business, to anybody whether it be $500 million, whatever it is, we will repeal it. 
 
Labor's proposal, Labor's commitment that we're making today saves, compared to the Government's plan, $2 billion over the forward estimates and $62 billion over the decade. Our plan is better designed, better targeted. We believe in fairness in the Labor Party, we believe in economic growth and the combination of our policies deliver both. 
 
Now, I just want to make a few remarks about some of the commentary over recent days in the media, although I don't normally comment on process matters, I just want to say this. No combination of leader and economic team has produced more economic reform, more economic policy than this team; Bill Shorten and his economic team over the last five years - none. Not in Government, not in Opposition. Negative gearing reform, family trusts reform, dividend imputation reform - worked through carefully, collaboratively, methodically between the leader and his economic team. That is just as is the case in this instance. The policy indication that Bill made earlier in the week reflected the thinking at that time of what the Expenditure Review Committee thought could be afforded. We always work these issues through very carefully. 
 
We received further Parliamentary Budget updates in recent days as late as yesterday, which reflect the latest budget numbers and had showed that the cost of moving the threshold from $10 million to $50 million was more manageable than previously estimated. So of course, as that changes, of course we provide as much tax relief as we think is prudent, affordable and reasonable in the circumstances. That's what Bill was reflecting earlier in the week, that's what we're announcing today. 
 
The Labor Party, unlike the Government with the Prime Minister not telling the Treasurer what day the budget is going to be on, and their dysfunction, works these issues through carefully and methodically. And some of the media commentary over the recent days hasn't reflected that reality, and it's a pleasure to be able to work with Bill on this big reform agenda, seeking a mandate to do big and important things, to provide economic growth and fairness and that's what the Labor Party will continue to do.
 
Just before I hand over to Jim, just one other issue briefly. Today is the last working day of June. The Treasurer told us that the Productivity Commission report into GST distribution would be released during June. He made a commitment, it was a promise, it was a clear statement - it wasn't a hint, a clear statement. Well, he's got a few hours left, what is he hiding? Does he not want to tell the people of Perth and Fremantle what is in the report, or does he not want to tell the people of Braddon what is in the report? Get the report out, Treasurer. If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear. Release the report of the Productivity Commission into GST distribution. We've got a clear policy of a Fair Share for WA Fund. The Government lurches from stop-gap measure to stop-gap measure, and they won't even look the Australian people in the eye and tell them what the recommendation for them is. Jim.
 
JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW FINANCE MINISTER: Thanks very much, Chris & Bill. In the Labor Party, we take our decisions collectively and we take responsibility for those decisions collectively. And as Chris just mentioned, the position which was articulated earlier in the week, was not a position pulled out of thin air, it was a position which was being considered and recommended to Bill by the Expenditure Review Committee or the Shadow Expenditure Review Committee of the Shadow Cabinet, of which we are all apart. We take decisions collectively, we take responsibility collectively for those decisions. And the Expenditure Review Committee in the Shadow Cabinet, we ask ourselves what is fair, what is responsible and affordable and what is best for the economy. And that's why our priority is to target tax relief, whether it be personal taxes or company taxes, to target tax relief where it's affordable and responsible and where it can do the most good. And that's why we've made a priority, through our Australian Investment Guaranteegiving tax cuts to  businesses who invest onshore in Australia in Australian jobs. 
 
And the effect of the decision taken today by the Shadow Cabinet is that 99.8 per cent of Australian companies will either pay the same or less tax under a Labor Government than under a Turnbull conservative Government. This has never been about medium-sized companies in Australia. The Government would like you to believe that this contest is about medium-sized companies, it is not. For the Turnbull Government, this has always been and always will be about their priority, which is to give tens of billions of dollars in tax cuts to big foreign multinationals and four big banks. And no matter what secret, dodgy deal that Malcolm Turnbull does with Pauline Hanson, it will remain the case that Malcolm Turnbull's highest priority is a tax cut which Australia can't afford, for the big foreign multinationals and the four big banks which are currently before the Royal Commission.
 
Now Malcolm Turnbull, Scott Morrison, Mathias Cormann, right up and down the line, they have all said that they will take to the election, the entire $85 billion dollar company tax cut. They will take the entire company tax cut for foreign multinationals and the big banks to the election. That means, if the people of Australia want to stop billions of their dollars going to big foreign multinationals and the four big banks, the only way that they can do that is to vote for Bill Shorten and Labor.
 
SHORTEN: Why don't we just start on one side and move around and then we'll do it again.
 
JOURNALIST: I mean, essentially you've been humiliated here and you've been rolled, haven't you,  you stuffed it up?
 
SHORTEN: No, not at all. 
 
JOURNALIST: Do you regret making a captain’s call decision through the week though? 
 
SHORTEN: I don't know if you've just heard what the other two contributors just said but let me address this, as indeed Chris and Jim have. Labor took a policy to the last election of supporting lower business taxes for businesses with a turnover of up to $2 million. In the course of last year and the early part of this year, we discussed - because the Government had actually implemented lower taxes for companies with a threshold up to $10 million, would we support that or would we repeal it? Our Expenditure Review Committee made a decision that we would support companies who have the lower threshold between $2 and $10 million. That's the position which I enunciated, a position of the decision of our Expenditure Review Committee, and that's been confirmed by the very shadow ministers. But of course, in the course of this week - you know, you've always got to listen and I listened very carefully to both other colleagues and listened very carefully to business. And when business was saying, hey, hang on. We get that after an election, if you don't have lower tax rates in then we get that you don't have to feel obligated to that, but they said, Bill, but where the lower tax rate is already in, and the companies are paying it between $10 million and 50 million, will you not create uncertainty and will you clear this, will you remove any confusion. That's what we've done today, because smart politicians don't just lead but they also listen. 
 
And I have to say - because this is a very important issue and there's been a fair bit of mischaracterisation during the week. As Jim said and I thought that was at the heart of the matter, our real objection to handing away massive amounts out of the nation's ATM is to handing it away to big business who don't need a corporate tax cut. The reality is that whilst I don't think that businesses between $10 million and $50 million are small businesses, I accept that they're not massive businesses either. And so rather than sort of, get stuck in to an argument with the Government about tax rates for some businesses, we'll keep our eyes on the main game which is the choices you make. We choose not to give $17 billion to big banks, we choose instead to give it to the education of our children. We choose not to give away tens of billions of dollars to multinationals and to very large companies when we don't properly fund our hospitals. It's all about choices. 
 
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten you said that you’ve listened to your colleagues and to the business community. These cuts were legislated well over a year ago, why didn’t you listen to your colleagues and the business community, and take soundings from them before you announced on Tuesday you’d repeal a reduction?
 
SHORTEN: Well first of all your question assumes that we don't talk to people between then and now, and obviously we do. And that is why previously our Expenditure Review Committee had arrived at a position that once the increase or decrease in the tax rate for companies up to $10 million had been legislated, we sat down and we thought, well okay we need to look at that. Then of course this week we've had more debate - and I've got to say, and I'm not you know, not too arrogant to say but when you've got companies making a point, when you've got colleagues making a point - they said we understand that Labor wants to repeal tax cuts which haven't come in because they're not affordable, and because Labor has got better plans with our Australian Investment Guarantee to help increase the pay back for companies who invest in new technology and equipment. I was susceptible and accept the argument, as did Chris as we brought our recommendation to Shadow Cabinet, that for companies who already have a lower tax rate already in, we thought, well we don’t want to create uncertainty for them. And the other good news is that as we crunched the numbers and the most recent numbers we only got this week, in the last few days from the Independent Parliamentary Budget Office, we realised because of our serious economic reforms we've made, the fact that we are going to wind back negative gearing prospectively in the future, the fact that we are making hard economic reform decisions. We have the ability to make this following promise to Australian businesses. If you are one of 99.8 per cent of Australian businesses which have a turnover of less than $50 million dollars, I'm pleased to say that if and when Labor is elected at the next election, you'll pay the same or less tax under Labor than you currently do.
 
JOURNALIST: Isn’t the sign of a strong leader though that when you stuff up you can just be honest and say, I stuffed it up. Why can’t you in plain language say you stuffed this up?
 
SHORTEN: I’ll tell you the sign of a strong leader, I promise I’ll come back and give you that question, but I’m going to move it around and share it around – Michael was next.
 
JOURNALIST: Will you be releasing this advice that’s just come through in the last few days? Because isn’t it convenient that its suddenly appeared just in time to solve your problem?
 
BOWEN: Well, no in fairness Michael, we always run through the Independent Parliamentary Budget Office with every one of our policies that we announce, every single one. And if we ever mischaracterise a costing the Parliamentary Budget Office will release a statement saying that is not accurate.
 
JOURNALIST: But you’re expecting people to believe that this has just appeared in the last few days -
 
BOWEN: Sorry, I'm answering your question Michael with respect. Now that is the case in every single instance that we release what the Parliamentary Budget Office has told us is the cost. We are doing that today, and as I've indicated to you it's a saving compared to what the Government is proposing of $2 billion over the forward estimates - $1.9 billion over the forward estimates, and  $62 billion over the decade. That's just a statement fact, that's what the Parliamentary Budget Office has told us. I've indicated to you, and obviously we've just seen budget numbers updated just very recently, but obviously costings do move from time to time after every budget update. Whether it be a budget or a mid-year economic forecast, we submit all our policies for re-costing to the Parliamentary Budget Office, and they update it based on the most recent accurate government baseline, as the law requires them to do and that is a fact. So I just remind you this; the Parliamentary Budget Office is required by law to do that and we use the Parliamentary Budget Office for all our policies that require a costing, and then -
 
JOURNALIST: When did you ask –
 
BOWEN: And then we have an independent panel of experts look over the costings, and at the time that Jim and I will release the budget bottom line closer to an election, they will have verified that all the costings had been rigorously and appropriately, and we always have Parliamentary Budget Office costings in, sometimes we don't announce the policy, we look at the -
 
JOURNALIST: When did you ask for Parliamentary Budget Office costings on the company tax cuts that have already been legislated?
 
BOWEN: We have been talking to the Parliamentary Budget Office about the costings on this since at least the Federal Budget. And we often have costings in, they need to be updated after every budget update. Of course this is no different.
 
JOURNALIST: So why not wait for the costings to come back before you announced on Tuesday that you’re going to -
 
BOWEN:  Well I think I think we've answered that question –
 
JOURNALIST: No you haven’t, sorry, you haven’t  –
 
BOWEN: We collectively had thought we could afford to lift the threshold from $2 million to $10 million. Bill was reflecting that collective position on Tuesday, I think it was. Of course as we've indicated we will provide as much tax relief as is prudent and affordable as a careful alternative government. An irresponsible Opposition would have just said we're going to repeal all this from the beginning, and I could draw your attention to multiple press conferences I've held since the budget in particular, but across the period saying we recognize these tax cuts have now been implemented, we are carefully working through our response. I've said that at multiple press conferences, and that was the position. Of course now we've reached the conclusion of that work and we've announced the position we have.
 
SHORTEN: Ladies and gentlemen we will do all of this but , you’re next, and I’ll make sure we come back to you.
 
JOURNALIST: Was the economic team rolled by the Shadow Cabinet?
 
SHORTEN: No
 
JOURNALIST: And where does Labor stand on the $50 million – companies that earn $50 million. What’s the policy of $50 million and above?
 
SHORTEN: Sorry, let me just make it clear. What we're saying today is that where there is a legislated tax reduction to 27.5 per cent for companies who have a turnover of up to $50 million and the fact that that's in place before the next federal election, we will respect that because we don't want to create uncertainty. And what this means on top of our Australian Investment Guarantee, where we're providing an additional 20 per cent accelerated depreciation on investment machinery, is that we now have for 99.8 per cent of Australian businesses, we are now offering equal or better tax circumstances to those businesses.
 
JOURNALIST: Have you apologised to your colleagues for making the wrong call on Tuesday?
 
SHORTEN: Listen, again I don't mind repeating it because there's been some interest. Our Expenditure Review Committee developed a position which I reflected on Tuesday. That was the collective position of our Expenditure Review Committee. But of course since then – you listen and the only politicians who can never amend or don't listen, they’re the arrogant ones, they're the ones who are the problem. So I’m happy to concede I've listened, we've consulted and together we have got a position which now means that for 99.8 per cent of Australian businesses, Labor is a better bet when it comes to the taxation system.
 
JOURNALIST: This is about the by-elections isn’t it, admit that, and which of your colleagues were strongest in saying you can’t do this?
 
SHORTEN: No, this is about actually providing a fairer deal for Australian businesses. Let's be clear here, I think the Australian people are over politicians talking about themselves. What they want to see is policies which speak to the lives of everyday Australians. What we are doing is we have made serious economic reforms - even our harshest critics couldn't deny that we haven't made some tough decisions -

JOURNALIST: Okay, but it was hurting you in the by-elections -

SHORTEN: Sorry, I'm going to do you the courtesy of answering your question. So even our harshest critics couldn't deny that Labor hasn't been prepared to make serious hard decisions. I mean, the fact of the matter is, and I'll use one example; we've said that we want to wind back negative gearing prospectively in the future on existing housing. Everyone has said for 30 years that problem is too hard, that you can't politically run that argument and that you pay an electoral price. Well we actually say the real price being paid is by first home buyers who can't get into the housing market. So we are prepared to make tough economic decisions and what we are doing - and we do this for the following reason. We want to see the national debt reduced; we want to see our schools and hospitals properly funded; we want to see 10 million working Australians get a fair dinkum tax refund; and we want to make sure that Australian businesses, the small and medium sized enterprises get a fair go under Labor. 
 
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten which colleagues, you didn't answer?
 
SHORTEN: No I'm not going to go into that.
 
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten back on my question -
 
SHORTEN: I've got him next - 

JOURNALIST: You promised that you'd come back to my question.

SHORTEN: And do you know what, I will. Go on.
 
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten can you tell us that, do you think small business will really be happy with the fact that they are actually going to get a tax rate decrease to 25 per cent. You're going to freeze it now at 27.5 per cent, so small business are not getting the full tax cut that was promised to them.
 
SHORTEN: That's not our position, but I'll get Chris to clarify that.
 
BOWEN: Australian small business people are parents who want a good quality education for their children. They're citizens who want to know there's a well-funded hospital in their community. They're commuters who want proper infrastructure. Of course their business is important to them and so is their country, and so we say to small business people, we'll work with you, but it's not just about tax, it's about the offering to the Australian people we take to the next election, and we are taking the most comprehensive offering to the Australian people at the next election of any opposition in living memory. And we are - if you just give me a second, and we are being honest about what we can do and what can't and yes, there are tough decisions. We are saying we will respect tax cuts that are implemented. We do not believe that tax cuts of this nature that have not yet been implemented are affordable. Now that is what leadership is about; saying to the Australian people, we can afford this and we can't afford that. Not promising everything to everyone. 

Now Mr Morrison and Mr Turnbull might be comfortable locking in hundreds of billions of dollars of tax cuts whether they be personal or company, without knowing what the economy will be like in 2024 or 2025, they might be comfortable doing that. Well good luck to them, we're not. We are the responsible people when it comes to the Federal Budget, we are the adults in the room when it comes to what's affordable, and I think small business people, to answer your question, will respect that.
 
JOURNALIST: Mr Bowen can you just confirm that on Tuesday, you had the same position as Bill Shorten on what he said?
 
BOWEN: Yes.
 
JOURNALIST: Do you guarantee that the NSW right will support Bill Shorten as Labor leader all the way to the next election?
 
BOWEN: Well, I can guarantee that Bill Shorten has my full support in every instance and will continue to do so, yes. 
 
JOURNALIST: What about the faction?
 
BOWEN: Well - pretty silly. With all due respect, I am sure to answer your question, both collective questions, I am sure my colleagues in NSW, regardless of their factional allegiance, agree with the statement I just made. 
 
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten do you trust Anthony Albanese and what is your message to colleagues who have been snipping and leaking against you to the media this week around Labor unity? 
 
SHORTEN: Well first of all, I have a high regard for Anthony and all my frontbenchers. 
 
JOURNALIST: Do you trust him?
 
SHORTEN: Yes, and to continue to answer your first question, I have a high regard for my colleagues. Let's be clear, under my leadership it is fair to say Labor has done three things. We've united, we've been a strong opposition and we're offering a strong policy alternative for Australia. And that isn't just due to one person, that's due to the whole team, and I am more than happy with the job that Albo's doing in his portfolio and the rest of my colleagues from Tanya Plibersek and the guys here and everyone else.
 
JOURNALIST: Can we also just clarify the advice that -
 
SHORTEN: Sorry, I’ll give you a go.
 
JOURNALIST: I believe he wasn't here today is that right, do you know where he was and what he was doing?
 
SHORTEN:  We had a phone hook-up and a meeting so, in fact all bar one were either on the phone or in the meeting, and I don't really want to go into much more detail but yes, my team was there.
 
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten if you lose Longman and Braddon, shouldn't you go as the leader if that happens? 
 
SHORTEN: We're not going to - first of all I don't accept that the by-elections are lost to Labor, but I'm not going to be so arrogant as to declare victory. Imagine if I stood here and said, oh yeah Labor will win this, win that. That's exactly what people hate about politicians. But what I can tell you about those by-elections is I've got better candidates, I can also tell you about those by-elections, we're going to reverse the cuts to funding in the hospitals, we've got a better schools policy, we've got a better policy in terms of small business and we've got a better policy when it comes to income tax refunds. We've got better policies on infrastructure and I do notice that the Liberal Party is so scared of these by-elections, they didn't even run in two of them. What does that say about them when they don't even want to test the mood of the nation. You've got a government of Australia who now vacates significant parts of Australia because they just treat them as no-go zones because they know the government's not welcome there. 
 
JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, just back on the question. Can you just be up front with the Australian public and say in plain language you've stuffed this up and tell the public what you've learned from this experience? 
 
SHORTEN: First of all I don't accept that when Labor is offering a better policy for small business that that is anything other than a good thing. What I'm not going to do is get sucked into a debate by a government who tries to boast about tax rates in the future which they can't pay for, which they haven't delivered. I'm not going to take second place or play second fiddle to a government who cuts hospitals and cuts schools. Now what I have said today, very clearly is our Expenditure Review Committee had a decision to lift the threshold - to reduce the tax rate for companies between $2 and $10 million, and that's what I stated on Tuesday. But what I've also said is that I've listened to all of the debates since then, spoken to colleagues, spoken to business. I now accept that simply stopping at $10 million would have created more confusion and uncertainty and it's not - it wasn't the main game.  
 
JOURNALIST: So you did get that element wrong, the $10 to $50 you got that wrong?
 
SHORTEN: We've changed it.
 
JOURNALIST: But you got that wrong. Why don't you just say you got it wrong. You got that wrong didn't you?
 
SHORTEN: Listen you can play all the word games you want, but let me be very, very clear. We have changed our position, we have amended our position, because politicians who don't listen, politicians who just simply want to stick on one course of action regardless of all of the facts, I don't think that helps anyone.
 
JOURNALIST: Do you regret making the announcement on Tuesday? 
 
SHORTEN: Oh in terms of speaking then and to where we've got, would it have been better to have got to this position on Tuesday rather than today? Sure. But the fact of the matter is that we've got to it now, so we're going to move on.
 
JOURNALIST: Do you acknowledge that the optics of this don't look good though, announcing one thing and then changing your mind?
 
SHORTEN: I tell you what, the optics of not changing your mind and not listening are worse aren't they?
 
JOURNALIST: Does this mean we sort of have a three tier company tax regime though? We have sort of, 30 per cent, 27.5 and 25 per cent? 
 
BOWEN: Well in short no, not under us, because under us what has been implemented, which means in effect 27.5 per cent we will respect. But we won't take the tax rate to 25 per cent. We don't regard it, as we've said repeatedly, we don't regard it as affordable. We don't regard it as the right priorities for Australia's future. We're being very up front about that as we are right across the board with economic policy, as we've said many times, we do not shy away from difficult positions. We are the alternative government of Australia, we intend to be a very good government of Australia, with Bill Shorten as Prime Minister. And the approach I'll take as Treasurer is the same approach I've taken as Shadow Treasurer, which is to be upfront with our plans to put a very significant effort into policy development and a very comprehensive offering before the Australian people, and that's what we've done, that's what we'll continue to do, and if Mr Turnbull wants to have an election based on tax and economic policy I suggest he hops in the car, drives down to Yarralumla and calls it today because we are ready.
 
JOURNALIST: Just to be very clear the advice that on Tuesday, up until Tuesday said these tax cuts were unaffordable but today on Friday says they are affordable. Did that advice come from the Parliamentary Budget Office or from what you call your independent experts?
 
BOWEN: The Parliamentary Budget Office provides our costings. The Parliamentary Budget Office provides our costing and we have regular requests in to them to update the costings on a rolling basis and that's what we've done.

JOURNALIST: Did you ask for that advice on Tuesday or after Tuesday?
 
BOWEN: No we've had a longstanding dialogue with the Parliamentary Budget Office about these issues and I'd draw your attention to the fact that there's been recent updates in the budget numbers.
 
JOURNALIST: Just a separate issue Mr Shorten, should David Morrison's Australian of the Year title be stripped for pushing a senior officer to the brink of suicide on the back of a scandal that made him famous?
 
SHORTEN: I don't know anything about that, so I'm not going to comment. Perhaps one last question? Oh sorry you haven’t had a go.
 
JOURNALIST: Yes, Mr Shorten I just wanted to say you've already changed your mind now, so can we guarantee you won't change your mind again?
 
SHORTEN: We recognise that what we've done today is to provide certainty so this is the position we're sticking with.
 
JOURNALIST: Do you rule out any further captains calls between now and an election?
 
SHORTEN: Well Michael, I reject that what I said on Tuesday was what you just said it was. I don't know if you've been at the same press conference we've just been at. What is it about what all three of us said that this was an Expenditure Review Committee decision.
 
JOURNALIST: One of your own MPs called it a captains call. Ross Hart called it a captains call in that infamous radio interview.  
 
SHORTEN: I did say last question. I think poor old Ross has got a - you know, that was a pretty tough interview, you've probably read the transcript. He's a good fellow Ross, and he does a good job in Bass, okay. Thanks everybody.

ENDS



Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.