Bill's Transcripts

DOORSTOP AMWU VEHICLE BUILDERS’ DELEGATE MEETING

Campaign Transcript

 

 

 

TRANSCRIPT OF MINISTER BILL SHORTEN


DOORSTOP


AMWU VEHICLE BUILDERS’ DELEGATE MEETING


8 AUGUST 2013


 


E & O E – PROOF ONLY

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_____________________________________________________________

 

Subjects: Auto industry; Workplace Relations; Eric Abetz’s love of boxing; Peter Beattie

_____________________________________________________________

 

BILL SHORTEN:  It’s good to be talking to vehicle industry delegates about Labor’s ongoing commitment to jobs in the auto industry. These employees have been facing tough times, with the high dollar, with a lot of change in industry. They are productive workers. They are leaders in their industry. And very clearly, the future of the car industry rests upon continued, cooperative workplace relations, which has been a hallmark of the vehicle industry for so many years. Union and company engaged, employees working with employers to get the best outcomes for an industry which has got a lot of challenges in front of it.

 

Happy to take questions.

 

JOURNALIST: Just with the offer that Holden management’s putting up next week- does it, do you think it should be accepted?

 

BILL SHORTEN: At the end of the day that’s a matter for the employees at Holden. I’m pleased that the union and the company have reached this point in their negotiations that they feel there’s a proposition to put to the employees. I know that Australian car workers are the equal of any in the world. I know that Australian employees will do whatever they can to keep their businesses going, but they also want to make sure that they don’t get unfairly treated. I trust in the common sense of Australians to identify what’s in their best job security interests, but certainly, it’s a matter for the employees to vote upon.

 

JOURNALIST: Will the idea of a three year pay rise set a precedent, a wider precedent?

 

BILL SHORTEN: I think the car industry’s in a particular set of circumstances. I can’t think of- you know, the circumstances of Holden are pretty well known. I’m not sure that it reflects every industry and every company in Australia, so I’m not sure that it’s a precedent for much else other than the future of that car company.

 

JOURNALIST: Can you explain Holden’s offer? What do you know about it?

 

BILL SHORTEN: Well, I know that Holden’s not proposing to cut conditions, and any pay rise as I understand it would be a sort of an at-risk component in terms of the performance of the company. This is an issue for the employees to weigh up. They work hard every day. They’re being asked to shoulder some of the burden of the high dollar, shoulder some of the burden of Holden’s global approach. But again, industrial relations is not something that happens in a black box out of sight of the public. This is about employees weighing up what they perceive to be in their self-interest. And I certainly believe that Australian employees are capable of making those decisions. I think the union and the company, though, have done a good job to get to the point where the proposition doesn’t see wholesale cuts to existing conditions.

 

BILL SHORTEN: Well, I know that Holden’s not proposing to cut conditions, and any pay rise as I understand it would be a sort of an at-risk component in terms of the performance of the company. This is an issue for the employees to weigh up. They work hard every day. They’re being asked to shoulder some of the burden of the high dollar, shoulder some of the burden of Holden’s global approach. But again, industrial relations is not something that happens in a black box out of sight of the public. This is about employees weighing up what they perceive to be in their self-interest. And I certainly believe that Australian employees are capable of making those decisions. I think the union and the company, though, have done a good job to get to the point where the proposition doesn’t see wholesale cuts to existing conditions.

 

JOURNALIST: How do you welcome Peter Beattie’s foray into federal politics?

 

BILL SHORTEN: Peter Beattie - it’s great news. There’s no question that he has a strong national profile. Peter Beattie’s announcement that he’s running as a Labor candidate is bad news for Tony Abbott, because it shows that Peter Beattie and a lot of other people believe Labor is competitive, and Peter Beattie coming back to politics is, I think, a vote of confidence in Rudd Labor.

 

JOURNALIST: I spoke to Eric Abetz last night, and he’s saying- on the question of debates- well, I’ve had three debates with Bill Shorten and he’s already, he’s won them all.

 

BILL SHORTEN:  He’s said what?

JOURNALIST:  He’s said he’s had three debates with Bill Shorten, and Eric-

 

BILL SHORTEN: Oh, Eric’s won them all?

 

JOURNALIST: Yeah, that’s right.

 

BILL SHORTEN:  Oh, I see. I like that.

 

JOURNALIST: He’s saying your request for another debate is like Sonny Liston - it’s a boxing analogy - asking for a rematch with Muhammad Ali, that’s the reply from his office. What do you say?

 

BILL SHORTEN: Oh, my goodness me. I think most of the debates Eric Abetz has about workplace relations with me are done when I’m not present. No competition then, he doesn’t have to worry about what’s said. No, what I think is that if Eric Abetz is convinced that he’s got a popular workplace relations policy, why doesn’t he have a debate publicly where the audience can vote on the issues? I’m happy to submit myself and him to a jury of the public and see what they, see who they trust on workplace relations. So, Eric Abetz is the only person I know who’s entered a competition, refereed his own points, umpired his own outcomes, been goal umpire awarding his own goals.

 

I am happy , for instance, for Sky News, for ABC24, to worm a public debate between Eric Abetz and I and let’s let the public decide rather than Eric Abetz decide if he’s a good fellow or not. In terms of his reference to Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston, I’m reminded of what Michael Caton said in that great Australian film The Castle when he heard a remark about- someone read out the price of jousting sticks. I think Michael Caton said tell them they’re joking. Eric Abetz, I’m telling you mate, you’re joking if you think you’ve got a better workplace relations policy.

 

JOURNALIST: Christopher Pyne said today that Kevin Rudd’s relationship with Peter Beattie is quite poor - how do you think, what’s your thoughts on that?

 

BILL SHORTEN: Kevin Rudd and Peter Beattie have both got a better relationship with each other than they do with Christopher Pyne. But if Christopher Pyne is bagging the decision by Peter Beattie to run, then the Liberal Party are out of sorts. This is a quality recruit coming on, and I think this is a gamechanger in the Queensland seat of Forde.

 

JOURNALIST: What sort of leadership potential does Peter Beattie offer if you find yourself in Opposition?

 

BILL SHORTEN:  Peter Beattie is very experienced, and no doubt, if we’re fortunate enough for the Rudd Government to be re-elected, he’ll play a very constructive role in that team.

 

JOURNALIST: And if you find yourself in Opposition?

 

BILL SHORTEN: We’re not countenancing what we do in Opposition. We’re countenancing how we win the next election.

 

Thanks very much everyone.

 

 

 

ENDS

 

8 AUGUST 2013

 

 

MOONEE PONDS


Communications Unit: T 03 8625 5111  
www.alp.org.au

 

 

Authorised by G. Wright, Australian Labor, 5/9 Sydney Avenue, Barton, ACT, 2600