Bill's Transcripts

ABC RADIO NATIONAL

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

RADIO INTERVIEW

ABC RADIO NATIONAL, INTERVIEW WITH FRAN KELLY

TUESDAY, 11 FEBURARY 2014

SUBJECT/S: Toyota; Tony Abbott abandoning Australian jobs; Royal Commission.

BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Hi Fran.

FRAN KELLY: Hello, good morning. It’s a busy morning there, it’s the first day of Parliament sitting for this year, thank you very much for your time.

SHORTEN: You’re welcome.

KELLY: Bill Shorten yesterday you made the point, well this was your line of yesterday really, that the Abbott Government has been in office for five months only and its already killed the car industry. But Toyota is not blaming any individual factor for this decision and it’s certainly not blaming the Federal Government is it?

SHORTEN: No, I spoke to Toyota yesterday and I also have read their statements. Toyota’s saying there’s a collection of factors, they’re certainly not blaming the workers which is good, they respect their workforce, they were at pains to say that. But if you read between the lines of what Toyota’s saying, they said unequivocally that there’s an issue around the supply chain and who can supply them, and the reality is that once Holden’s business case was rejected by the Federal Government, then the components suppliers who need the volumes of work from Holden, Toyota, had a large part of their work destroyed by the Holden decision, which meant that they couldn’t supply the volume which I think made Toyota sustainable. The car industry in Australia has died on the Government’s watch, and I do blame them. I don’t blame them for the high dollar, I don’t blame them for our fragmented market, but I do blame them for destroying the critical mass of car components which go into finished motor cars.

KELLY: Well we heard from the employment minister Eric Abetz earlier, he blames you, he blames workers for conditions that were putting pressure on Toyota and he blames Labor and the Greens for not supporting the winding back of the carbon tax, he said that all adds to the high cost of manufacturing.

SHORTEN: What a complete joke, that’s a complete joke. It is very likely that whatever the Government wants to do on climate change they’ll get through the senate in July. Toyota know that. The issue is, and as for Eric Abetz kicking workers when they’re down, well at least he’s true to form. How dare he blame thousands of car workers. Eric Abetz, I don’t know if he’s ever been to a car plant, I don’t know if he’s ever met a car worker, the truth of the matter is that there are 13 countries in the world who makes cars from woe to go including Australia. All of those countries, because they see the value in car producing jobs, provide some form of subsidies. Australia’s was the cheapest in the world. Eric Abetz has bought a white flag and that is his manufacturing policy. He is helping potentially put Victoria into recession, and the fact that the Abbott Government just has these crocodile tears and say oh I regret this and Tony Abbott says car workers are liberated, what, liberated to be on the unemployment queue?

KELLY: Well the Prime Minister says it’s important to remember that, quote, “while some businesses close, others open, some jobs end, other jobs start.” Now I remember Treasurer Wayne Swan at the time making a similar point when Ford and Alcoa and others were talking of closures. He’d cite the number of jobs created in Australia under the Labor Government, said that’s the way the economy works.

SHORTEN: Well no it’s not actually. First of all Alcoa hasn’t shut, so that’s just not correct and I hope they don’t under the Abbott Government, but the point is here, this is not just the idea that a car worker in Altona or in Elizabeth or an SPC cannery worker in the Goulburn Valley can move down the road and become a day trader on the futures exchange market, this is not the way it works. What we are seeing is a tide of jobs going overseas that we won’t get back. We are seeing a contraction of manufacturing. The Liberal Government just don’t give a stuff about manufacturing in Australia.

Do you know in the last five months since they’ve been in we’ve seen 54,000 jobs lost, we’ve seen thousands of direct jobs in manufacturing go. All of this crowd in Canberra, the Abbott Government can do is shrug their shoulders, you know, kick the stone with the toe of their boot and say there’s nothing we can do. What a hopeless bunch, they don’t even fight for jobs in Australia. The car industry is the largest driver of R&D in Australia, bang that’s gone. The thousands of small businesses, weren’t the Abbott Government meant to be the friend of small businesses? They’re not the friend of any small businesses in the components manufacturing. The Abbott Government, look they’ve got this political stunt on a Royal Commission and yet when it comes to something big, a gown up job, their day job, they’re sitting around cooking up plans to try and have a crack at the union movement on the same day that thousands of people find they’ve lost their jobs?

KELLY: Can I go to the Royal Commission now because I know your time is so tight this morning, but Fairfax papers are reporting this morning in reference to the Royal Commission into the union movement, there’s reports this morning you’ve referred  a secret dossier to police containing more allegations of corruption within the CFMEU, can you confirm that?

SHORTEN: Material gets handed into our office and we of course forward it on to the relevant authorities. What’s relevant though is that we refer this stuff to the police. You’ve got, Labor’s proposing a stronger, tougher police response. The other crew just want to have a political witch-hunt which will take years. Police need resources now, if you’ve got a law and order and a crime issue, which the Labor Party completely supports the police tackling, why on earth do you create a Royal Commission at the cost of a 100 million dollars when in fact there’s already an Australian Crime Commission, in existence, which has the same powers.

KELLY: Can I ask you just finally, because this Royal Commission will almost certainly include some Labor politicians being called before it and former politicians including former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, briefly are you preparing yourself for the fact you may be called?

SHORTEN: Everyone should cooperate with the Royal Commission, but I think the real issue here is that if you want to deal with the law and order issues, which is fair enough to deal with, and Labor has no interest at all in seeing anyone, any crooks try and manipulate the union movement or indeed employers, no one’s above the law. What we fundamentally believe is that, support the police, put an AFP taskforce working with the Australian Crime Commission using all police agencies, such was done with the problems in Customs. Instead what you’ve got is the Liberals, the day that thousands of people are losing their day jobs, no doubt high fiving in the Cabinet, oh yeah we’ll try and embarrass the whole union movement, when in fact, you know, there’s big issues in this country, lets deal with the law and order through the police, we’ve got a stronger, tougher response, then the political stunts men in the Government. But on a day where thousands of people are losing their jobs the Abbott Government isn’t really interested in that, they’re just interested in playing games. The problem in Australia is we’ve got two opposition leaders, and no Prime Minister.

KELLY: Bill Shorten, thank you very much for joining us.

SHORTEN: Thank you.

ENDS

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