Bill's Transcripts

Radio Interview: Perth's Nova 93.7FM





SUBJECT/S: WA Senate election; Australian jobs; manufacturing in Australia; favourite TV shows and movies; newspapers.  


PRESENTER: April 5th is the big date for our re-do of the Senate election.


PRESENTER: Now remember when years ago Kevin Rudd came into our studio and he asked us for a bowl of Weetbix, he didn’t bring us anything. He didn’t bring us anything. He took Weetbix away from us.


PRESENTER: And these days the Leader of the Labor Party delivers coffee to us! Bill Shorten, welcome.


BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: That’s the difference between Opposition and Government. We need friends.




PRESENTER: We love our votes being bought, there’s no problem with that. It feels pretty good here in WA at the moment because all the attention’s here. Everybody wants to make sure this Senate ballot goes the right way at the moment, and we’re happy for everyone to throw things at us for us to vote. What have you got, apart from coffees, anything else?




PRESENTER: Because it’s pretty interesting, what we’re in at the moment, isn’t it? It’s like we’ve seen how that version has gone –




PRESENTER: And now we can decide if that was any good, and make a change if we want to.


SHORTEN: Well you’ve got to – it’s never happened in Australian history, it’s brand new territory. No one’s ever had to do this before. So everyone’s sort of going downhill on the tricycle with their feet off the pedals, just making it up as you go along. It’s not actually making it up as we go along, its –




PRESENTER: Very planned, strategic.


PRESENTER: But it is almost like an opinion poll on the Government’s first few months in office, isn’t it, really?


SHORTEN: Yeah, we think so.


PRESENTER: Yeah, you’re hoping so?


SHORTEN: Yeah, I mean, I know that there’s people dropping kids off, listening to the show – and congratulations on your ratings, a source of some celebration, the show’s going very well.


PRESENTER: Oh, thanks.


PRESENTER: Oh, Bill, stop it!




SHORTEN: It’s a persuasion game. But Western Australia is a great place, it’s got great opportunities but perhaps things aren’t going so well in some areas that have been previously, so it’s not just an opinion poll on the Abbott Government. It’s also a chance to make sure that you have strong representatives who when they go to the Senate, which is meant to be the states’ house, to keep the House of Representatives honest, having strong people who will say ‘hey, this is not in the interests of my state’ or ‘this is.’


PRESENTER: When you’re in Opposition, Bill, it seems like – and this went for Tony Abbott when he was in Opposition before – if it is a sunny day and the Prime Minister comes out and says ‘hey 27 degrees, everyone’s having a great time’, as Opposition Leader you come out and go ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about, it is stormy, clouds are everywhere, it’s raining’.


PRESENTER: No, as Opposition Leader you go ‘no, god, think of the skin cancer risk’, right?


SHORTEN: No, it’s not our job to be always unhappy. That the forecast tomorrow may be raining is a point we should make –




SHORTEN: No, we’re happy if there’s sunny days. I mean to be a bit different to Tony Abbott, I’m a new Opposition Leader, people are still getting to know me. Not everything the Government does is wrong. Not everything in life involves a black and white answer. Sometimes life’s a bit more complicated than that. Most people are just trying to, you know, get the kids to school on time, get to work, pay the bills, make sure that their mum and dad are going okay as they get older. So not everything is a source of being negative about, we’ve got to be positive as well as negative. Of course, if you’re always positive about everything in the Opposition, no one ever talks to us.




PRESENTER: We spoke to Tony yesterday about industry here in Australia at the moment. We see SPC going through dramas, we see Qantas going through dramas –


PRESENTER: Car manufacturing.


PRESENTER: Car manufacturing stopping here in WA. And basically he – without really answering the question – told us how lucky we are to live here in Australia. But our point was, as Australia progresses in the future you’d think we’re getting stronger and stronger, but it seems we’re losing less and less. What do you have to say about that?


SHORTEN: We are – I agree with him a bit – we are lucky to live in Australia.


PRESENTER: We are lucky, yeah.


SHORTEN: But that’s sort of not splitting the atom to say that. What I think though is that each generation has got to make their own luck. And the idea that we just become a crop or a rock, you know, and all we ever do is do farming or mining – and they’re very important – but we don’t have any advanced industries in manufacturing, I think that’s a mistake.




SHORTEN: So I’ve been genuinely a bit surprised in the last six months, how the Abbott Government doesn’t seem to want to fight for Australian jobs. They always tell us ‘well that’s the way of the world’ when something goes overseas. It’s not the way of the world, the rest of the world is fighting for their share of the jobs. We need to do the same.


PRESENTER: So do we need to invest in other stuff like technologies, which we’ve mentioned, because manufacturing in particular is going to be very difficult, as you said –


PRESENTER: It’s hard to compete with China.


PRESENTER: And if you’re running a business, you’re going to go, ‘well you know what, I can get it built over here for 20 bucks rather than 150’.

SHORTEN: Yeah, I don’t think it’s an either or. You’re right, if you’re just producing low-end products which can be done cheaper overseas, well ultimately you’ll have to get out of the game. But if you can make things which are smart, where you add value to what you’re making, I was at the Komatsu, sort of warehouse, dealership, factory, where they’ve got massive trucks. The trucks are built elsewhere but then there’s changes made and modifications made in Australia for Australian mining conditions and for Australian safety standards. You’ve got a whole lot of clever young diesel mechanics and fitters who are going to work at mines and also at the Komatsu plant. So you can add things.


I was talking to the head of Austal Shipping last night, and what they do is, there are some things which they make overseas, some of the components and modules, but then what they do is they put them together here in the ships and they do value add. So I think if you’re smart, you can produce high-end products which people want to buy. Just making things which anyone can buy anywhere in the world is probably not where we’re going to go, but if you can make things which people want to buy which you can sell at a decent price, well that’s the secret to –


PRESENTER: So it’s finding those industries, focusing on those industries that could be the way of the future.
PRESENTER: Yeah I like that. 
SHORTEN: It’s just being smart –



SHORTEN: The country can either get smarter or poorer. Well what I’m interested in is that we have research and development and science, you know Western Australia has got a lot of investment in science in recent years. The rest of the world will want to come here if we’re investing in science and research, because we’re a very liveable city.


PRESENTER: Yeah sure. I like that.

PRESENTER: Bring it on.  

PRESENTER: I want to know you more as a person. So, let’s unwrap the riddle which is Bill Shorten!


SHORTEN: Okay, it’s a shame it’s radio, because if it was TV they could have seen me just grimace.




PRESENTER: Let’s talk TV, I mean people are gagging for Game of Thrones and things like that, or what are you loving on TV at the moment? Is there something you’re into?
SHORTEN: Well I’m waiting for the next series of Game of Thrones.


PRESENTER: You’re into it?
SHORTEN: Yeah, yeah. Don’t me ask who would you be in it. But I like Tyrion –


PRESENTER: Yeah, yep. And the Khaleesi, c’mon.
SHORTEN: Well Tyrion, I’d want to sit next to Tyrion on an aeroplane, because you know, he’d know how to get off it, he’s a very clever man. Next good show I’d like to see, well I saw, I get to see a lot of shows on aeroplanes because I spend my life wedged on aeroplanes. I went to see 300 at the cinema.


PRESENTER: Oh the sequel?
SHORTEN: Yeah the sequel, I saw that. That was – it was very violent actually, I shouldn’t have taken my teenage child there.




PRESENTER: Don’t worry, Shaun let his kids watch Kick Ass!
SHORTEN: Yeah that was a mistake.


PRESENTER: Yeah, it’s got a lot of swearing. Well I like that movie thing, we’ve got on Facebook at the moment about whether you read the paper from the front or back. Are you from the front to the back or the back to the front?


PRESENTER: Or is there a section you go to immediately?
SHORTEN: Well now I’ve become Opposition Leader I get such free advice from journalists, I don’t always rush to the newspapers.




PRESENTER: Do you suddenly just go straight to the political cartoon to see whether they’ve –
SHORTEN: Oh I did go to the political cartoon today in the West Oz, that was funny, I was caricatured in it, I had to laugh at myself. I probably, when it goes to the newspaper now, I read it more online. In my experience, if it’s a good story no one ever tells me, if it’s a bad story I generally find out by about half past five in the morning.




SHORTEN: There’s nothing like a well-meaning friend who says, ‘are you okay?’ I’ve woken up, I haven’t been in a car crash.


PRESENTER: Well look, we love the fact that you came into visit us today.


PRESENTER: Yeah we appreciate your time.


SHORTEN: It’s a real pleasure.


PRESENTER: Happy to have you any time. The Federal Leader of the Opposition, and the man who would quite like to be Prime Minister one day presumably, Bill Shorten, thanks for coming in.
SHORTEN: Yeah thanks, it was great fun, cheerio.