Bill's Transcripts

Doorstop Interview: Moonee Ponds






SUBJECT/S: Victorian election; Tony Abbott missing in Victoria; Tony Abbott’s GP tax and $100,000 degrees; Tony Abbott’s unfair Budget; Boat turn backs; Release of UN report on Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers


BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Great to be in my state electorate of Essendon, voting for the next member for Essendon, Danny Pearson. And of course all around Victoria, Victorian’s are heading to the polls today to decide what sort of direction they want in Victoria for the next four years. Daniel Andrews has run a strong and positive campaign. He has a plan, and he’s very committed to making Victoria get up and go again. But one of the big issues in this state election of course has been Tony Abbott’s Federal Liberal Government. There’s no doubt that Victorians want to send a message to Tony Abbott: no to his GP tax, no to his $100,000 university degrees, no to his cuts to pensions, no to his petrol tax increases. So what Victorians will want when they deal with Tony Abbott is a Premier who is in their corner, someone who will take their orders from Victorians, not from Tony Abbott. Daniel Andrews is that man and I hope that in a close election today, he will be successful.


JOURNALIST: It is looking very close, and that he might take it out. How confident are you in his leadership to be the Premier of Victoria?


SHORTEN: Well, the real test of any Premier, is when it comes to standing up for their state against a hostile national government, will they do this? The real failure of Denis Napthine is that he takes his orders from Tony Abbott, whereas Daniel Andrews takes his orders from Victorians.


JOURNALIST: Can you take any credit for his success? Does it help to have a Federal Leader that’s from Victoria?


SHORTEN: I think everyone knows that wild horses couldn’t drag Tony Abbott to Victoria, so if Tony Abbott won’t come to Victoria, Victorians will give Tony Abbott a message: drop your GP tax, drop your $100,000 university degrees, drop your unfair Budget.


JOURNALIST: Are you game to predict how many seats Labor will pick up [inaudible]?


SHORTEN: No, I think we have to let the voters determine who wins what. But I know that in the state seat of Essendon, Danny Pearson will make a remarkable contribution in public life if he’s elected today.


JOURNALIST: On some federal matters, what’s your response to Australia turning back a boat load of 37 Sri Lankan asylum seekers and handing them back over to Sri Lankan police. Do you have any fears for their safety?


SHORTEN: Yet again, we see the Federal Government’s immigration boat turn back policies shrouded in secrecy. The whole story of the last year and a quarter of the Abbott Government has been they just don’t trust Australian’s, or bring them into their confidence. So when it comes to what’s happening on the high seas, Australian’s don’t know, and we ask the Government to just be straight with the Australian people.


JOURNALIST: So will Labor endorse the turn back policy going in to the next election?


SHORTEN: We don’t even know what the policy of the Government is; how it’s actually working. So I think the Government needs to treat the Australian people with some respect, and just be straight and upfront with Australians. What’s really going on?


JOURNALIST: You also heard the UN’s comments criticising Australia’s asylum seeker protocol and their concerns about torture.


SHORTEN: Labor believes that refugees coming to Australia, or asylum seekers, people in our care, should be treated in a humane fashion. I think most Australians, all Australians share that view. It is important that we defeat the people smugglers, and Labor’s regional processing policies are a cornerstone of defeating the people smugglers, but it is fundamental to who we are as an Australian people that people in our care and custody are treated humanely.


JOURNALIST: Do you have fear that they may be tortured in circumstances where they’re not being processed properly?


SHORTEN: Well the report’s just been released very recently, I haven’t been able to look at the detail of it. But as a principle, I know that all Australian’s would say that people in our care in custody should be treated safely and humanely.


JOURNALIST: [Inaudible] just as recently as yesterday with Minister Scott Morrison, what’s Labor’s understanding of the memorandum of understanding [inaudible] border protection [inaudible]?


SHORTEN: Again, this is a Government who is addicted to secrecy. And I think what Australian’s want and what Victorian’s want, is they want to see their governments not deepen the trust deficit, but bridge the trust gap between the voters and governments. So it’s most important I think, that this Abbott Government stops keeping everything hidden behind closed doors and is just straight with the Australian people. Thanks.




SHORTEN: Thanks guys. That might be Tony Abbott looking for directions.