Bill's Transcripts

Doorstop: Melbourne

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

DOORSTOP INTERVIEW

FRIDAY, 21 MARCH 2014

MELBOURNE

 

SUBJECT/S: National Day of Action Against Bullying; Bully Zero Australia Foundation; Political Donations; Arthur Sinodinos; Manus Island; GP Tax

BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: [inaudible] anti bullying day, Oscar Yildiz at the Essendon Football Club. Oscar’s the CEO of the Bully Zero Foundation which is dedicated to providing parents with the resources to assist their children about the scourge of bullying and to provide assistance to victims of bullying so that they don’t have to deal with these problems on its own. Bullying nationally costs Australian workplaces between $6 billion and $36 billion dollars. Bullying for parents for their children is a giant issue as well. Before the rise of the internet parents at least were comfortable and confident that when their children were at home they were safe from some of the problems growing up such as bullying. But now with the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat all of a sudden our children are not safe from the scourge of cyberbullying. We heard today a very powerful speech from a mother whose child felt the only way they could cope with the relentless and vicious [inaudible] was to take his own life. Bullying, cyberbullying is a real problem in the Australian community and we are very fortunate that we have charitable foundations, such as the Bully Zero Foundation, supported by such sponsors like the Essendon Football Club, doing their bit to help parents who increasingly find it difficult to know what to do and where to go for help as Australian children reach for the internet and their technology and all of the good things that come from that and all of the bad things like cyberbullying. I might ask my friend Oscar to say a few words and then take questions on other matters.
OSCAR YILDIZ, CEO OF BULLY ZERO FOUNDATION: We’re absolutely honoured to have the Opposition Leader here today to launch what really is the National Day of Action Against Bullying which was established in 2011 and this week we certainly have engaged in a number of initiatives I guess to create a lot of awareness around what really is becoming a serious social issue and were finding that there’s one in three people at the moment that have been cyberbullied and 70 per cent of people at the moment are in fact engaged in their social media to the extent where they just can’t let go and today is really about Australians taking a step back and detoxing and perhaps leaving their mobile phone and iPad and iPod and all other social forms of media for 48 hours to raise some funds to their school, to their workplace, to their community group or their sporting association or club and with that, those funds, we will then go in and deliver some cyber safety workshops.

 

We also acknowledge that in fact it was Bill Shorten that, in through his advocacy, created the Fair Work Commission to deal with bullying issues and work places now via the Fair Work Commission can in fact raise their concerns and have a response in 14 days and no longer people need to suffer in silence and they have been. There are some people out there that just don’t know what to do and the Fair Work Commission has been absolutely instrumental in being able to deal with some of these issues and respond in a very responsive way. Schools in fact at the moment are a lot more aware of cyberbullying and they are certainly engaging in a range of programs and we are involved in some of those, so look we want Australians today to wear orange, to acknowledge the day and I guess just hug your kids because there’s a lot of families out there, in fact almost 300 of them this year that won’t be able to hug their children as a result of the scourge of cyberbullying and were saying by 2020 this is going to be a serious social issue in fact it will be the biggest social issue facing Australians. On that note I once again want to thank Bill Shorten and his government to ensure that there is now a voice and I want to thank him for yet again supporting the Foundation and were here for the long haul, we’ve been around for a year and I think we’ve done some fantastic things in the last year and we will continue to do that and one of those is our 24 hotline which anyone can call from anywhere in Australia to voice their concerns.

JOURNALIST: And Oscar can I just ask you, apart from obviously raising money, what would be the benefit of people to go on a digital detox for 48 hours?

YILDIZ: I guess just to see what life was really like, you know, whether its cooking for mum, whether it’s going for a run, whether it’s actually going outside and kicking the football and, you know, growing up, born and raised in Melbourne I grew up playing, you know, cricket for nearly nine hours in a day and kicking the football after school. You don’t see that and when you do see some kids on the street kicking the football you think hang on, what’s going on here, something’s serious has happened, no it hasn’t. We want people to just disengage for 48 hours and do the things you’ve been wanting to do and people don’t realise that in 48 hours over the weekend you don’t have a lot of time to do the things you want to so go and visit your mum, go and visit your brother, go and say hello to your uncle. Maybe clean the bloody garage that’s been waiting to be cleaned, all those to do lists you’ve got. All those unread books, all those unsent emails you’ve got, excuse me, not the emails, what am I saying. I’m saying unread books I should say and unread letters, does anyone actually write a letter anymore? We need to I guess, attend to some of the things we haven’t been able to do probably in the last 15-20 years, life has changed and we want people to go back to some of those things they’ve missed out on and taken for granted.

JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten do you reckon you could go on a digital detox for 48 hours?

SHORTEN: I’d love to try to go on a digital detox for 48 hours. Modern Australians don’t need to have their phone by their bed every night. Teenagers, but not just teenagers, Australian adults don’t, they carry their smart phone around with them more closely then they even carry their wallet these days. Australia will not have a bad day if Australians turn off their social media and just sit down and have a conversation with their family. Go out and breathe some air, walk around, play some sport, go and see a band or listen to a concert, go to the park with your family. A 48-hour digital detox will do more for the mental health of Australians than a lot of other options we’ve got in our busy, crowded lives. Taking some time out for yourself and your family is a superb idea. A digital detox is great mental health for all Australians.

 

JOURNALIST: But in your position, can you do that?

 

SHORTEN: Well, yeah I reckon I could go 24 hours. What I’ve discovered is the world is still there 24 hours later, most problems are still there to be fixed 24 hours later. I sometimes think Australia’s politicians spend 24 hours thinking when they get asked a question, and not immediately reacting. Perhaps we’d see better politics in Australia too.

 

JOURNALIST: Bill just on those matters, did you know Kevin Rudd was given a $200,000 donation from an overseas company?

 

SHORTEN: No.

 

JOURNALIST: Will Labor pay it back?

 

SHORTEN: That’s a matter for the Queensland branch. If there’s been an infringement of the law they have to.

 

JOURNALIST: What’s your view on it, though?

 

SHORTEN: Well, it is a matter for the administration of the party. But there are clear laws in Australia, and the laws have got to be adhered to, full stop. No excuses, no exceptions.

 

JOURNALIST: You’d expect it to be paid back, then?

 

SHORTEN: If there’s been an infringement of the law then yes, of course, there’s no choice. You’ve got to do what the law says.

 

JOURNALIST: Should the Prime Minister visit Manus Island?

 

SHORTEN: The Prime Minister’s itinerary is a matter for the Prime Minister. Labor negotiated an important regional resettlement arrangement with Papa New Guinea. Our relationship with Papa New Guinea is at the cornerstone of our ability to beat people smugglers. I think that the Abbott Government probably in the last six months hasn’t done enough to build the relationship with Papa New Guinea. I’m pleased that the Prime Minister and the senior representatives are now there. The regional resettlement of which Papa New Guinea’s a key part of the plan to defeat people smugglers. That’s a cornerstone and I think that the Federal Government should give it every effort to make sure that relationship’s working.

 

JOURNALIST: Obviously the Griffith matter is a matter for the Queensland branch –

 

SHORTEN: Yes.

 

JOURNALIST: Are you confident that all donations to Federal Labor are above board?

 

SHORTEN: I’m confident of everything I know about, and certainly the law is the law and it has got to be adhered to. I think that when you talk about donations though, the story of the week is Australian Water Holdings. The story of the week is Liberal sponsors getting Australian Water Holdings to get money from Sydney Water and pass it through to the Liberal Party. We are seeing tens thousands of dollars being handed back by the Liberal Party in this matter which has been dealt with in ICAC. I think the other big issue this week of course is Tony Abbott, our Prime Minister, has refused to say what he has discussed with Senator Sinodinos. Tony Abbott, our Prime Minister, has refused to say when he has had these discussions with Senator Sinodinos. Mr Abbott, our Prime Minister’s refusal to reveal any details of any discussions that he’s had with Senator Sinodinos raises the clear suspicion that he’s not willing to tell Australians the full story of what’s gone on here.

 

JOURNALIST: How can you obviously be chasing Senator Sinodinos and the Australian Water Holdings matter when, you know, that’s an issue of morality when the Queensland Labor donations are still hanging around?

 

SHORTEN: ICAC’s a jurisdiction which doesn’t just deal with morality, I think you’ll find there are some pretty serious issues to be dealt with there. In terms of the Queensland matter, the administration of the Party in Queensland and the money they get is up to them, but I absolutely expect them to adhere to the law and to do so promptly, now that the matter has been brought to everyone’s attention.

 

JOURNALIST: Has the Prime Minister been giving the PNG arrangement enough attention?

 

SHORTEN: I don’t know if the Prime Minister has been giving enough time to the PNG arrangement. He’s there now which is a good thing. The PNG arrangement on Manus Island is the cornerstone of defeating people smugglers. The cooperation of the PNG Government is fundamental to the success of Australia’s policies. If the PNG Government is fundamental to the success of Australia’s policies, then I would have thought that a smart government would be prioritising our relationship with PNG.

 

JOURNALIST: In terms of bulk billing, do you think bulk billed GP visits should be means-tested?

 

SHORTEN: I think introducing some new tax on people who go to the GP is an attack on the cost of living. For what – even more than that, it’s the Americanisation of the Australia public health system. Medicare and the Australian public health system is one of the best in the world, we all know that. But what we also know is that in Australia, unlike America, you go to the doctor based on your health needs, not the size of your wallet. We don’t want to have an American style health system where the health care you get depends on how much money you have.

 

JOURNALIST: Sorry just back on Griffith, do you feel that there’s a need for an audit of Labor books nationally given what’s happened up there?

 

SHORTEN: I think that the law is adhered to and if there has been any infraction of that then the relevant party officials should deal with that forthwith.

 

JOURNALIST: No need for a check of the books nationally though?

 

SHORTEN: I think you’ll find that there’s a lot of checking that goes on all the time. As I say, the story this week, let us be really clear, is the startling revelations out of ICAC. It is the standing aside of a confidante and a close ministerial colleague of the Prime Minister, and is the Prime Minister’s refusal to say what he knows of discussions revealed though talking to Senator Sinodinos. He hasn’t told us when he’s had these discussions with Senator Sinodinos. There is no doubt the Prime Minister’s refusal to answer nearly 30 questions in Parliament about this matter raises the clear suspicion that the Prime Minister is not revealing all of what he knows to the Australian people. Thanks everyone, have a nice day.

 

ENDS

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