Bill's Transcripts






TONY EASTLEY: The Federal Government has revealed further budget revenue write-downs worth $7.5 billion

The Superannuation Minister Bill Shorten says he's confident his portfolio won't be subject to further cuts in order to make savings.

Instead, he's focused on the Coalition's plan to dump superannuation tax concessions for low income earners.

The Opposition says the tax cuts can't be honoured because they're paid for by the mining tax, which would be scrapped by an Abbott government.

Mr Shorten says Australian Tax Office figures show the Coalition's policy will hurt hundreds of thousands of shop assistants, waiters, cleaners and receptionists.

He spoke to political reporter Anna Henderson.

BILL SHORTEN: I predict - I make a sporting bet on AM - that Mr Abbott will drop this policy because if he doesn't he has to explain to every check-out assistant in Australia, every cleaner, every night seller, every part-time worker why he wants you to pay more tax.

ANNA HENDERSON: But their argument for doing this is that those payments are linked to the mining tax, which they say isn't getting the revenue that you've projected. So isn't that a simple argument to explain why it's not economically viable for them to keep that measure in place?

BILL SHORTEN: We've always said we'll find the money to do it. The mining tax was one source but it wasn't the only source.

ANNA HENDERSON: Wayne Swan says the "sledgehammer" to budget revenue since the mid-year update is close to $7.5 billion. Can you guarantee further changes will not be made to the superannuation system as a way to find budget savings?

BILL SHORTEN: I've made it incredibly clear that not only do we not see and I don't see the budget as being what drives superannuation. What I see drives superannuation policy is increased life expectancy; is the dream of a comfortable retirement.

We have put on the table de-politicising all superannuation policy in the future.

ANNA HENDERSON: Minister, the Australian Industry Group is preparing to front a Senate committee on your second tranche of changes to the Fair Work Act, and the organisation has identified 157 areas where it says union power is increasing under the act. Do you accept that the proposed changes to the act will hand more power to the unions?

BILL SHORTEN: I believe our changes to the Fair Work Act tackle the scourge of workplace bullying. How on earth the conservatives in Australia say that we should do nothing about workplace bullying, just leaves me scratching my head...

ANNA HENDERSON: Well, that's not what they're saying, with respect Minister. They're saying that on the one hand you are providing a lot of extra assistance to workers, but on the other side of the ledger, you are not providing the extra assistance to those people that run the businesses. Where are the benefits for employers in these legislative changes?

BILL SHORTEN: What assistance do you think we should be providing for employers that they're not currently getting?

ANNA HENDERSON: Well, they're talking about things like addressing the greenfields agreement provisions.

BILL SHORTEN: We want to do something on greenfields agreements. What the Liberal Party and some employers are arguing is that employers should be able to negotiate with themselves for a new wages condition for people - like an employer-only agreement. That was WorkChoices!

Where's the Liberal Party's workplace relations policy? I mean, they are the party of WorkChoices, yet they don't trust Australians to tell them what they're actually thinking.

ANNA HENDERSON: Well, they say it is a matter of weeks until that is released...

BILL SHORTEN: Oh, it's a matter of weeks! I mean that train's been coming so long I'll be collecting the old age pension!

TONY EASTLEY: The Employment and Superannuation Minister Bill Shorten speaking to Anna Henderson.