Bill's Transcripts

Sunrise Interview with Samantha Armytage






SUBJECT / S: Tony Abbott’s Budget of Broken Promises and Twisted Priorities, GST, Dancing.   

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten joins us now from Canberra. Mr Shorten good morning to you.



HOST: Was there anything in the Budget the Government got right?


SHORTEN: Well, I think most of the Budget unfortunately has been a massive broken promise, built on a lie. There are some small things in the Budget that we think are okay. We won't be negative about everything but on the fundamentals, new taxes, making it harder to go to the doctor, cuts to pensions, Labor stands for a more generous Australia which doesn't divide Australia but unites them.


HOST: Okay, it was a very tough budget. You've spoken out strongly in particular about, against the $7 Medicare co-payment, the hike in fuel exercises, the change to the pension age. But you will need help in the Senate to block those. Do you have the support of Clive Palmer who we notice was asleep in the house yesterday and the Greens on any of these issues?


SHORTEN: We haven't had direct discussions with other minor parties but I know that the people who support what we are doing are pensioners, are people on lower and middle incomes, are people who have got to put fuel in their car this morning after they’ve stopped watching Sunrise and have to take the kids to school or go to work themselves. Before the last election, Mr Abbott said that there would be no new taxes, no cuts to pensions, that Medicare would be safe. Now what’s happened is that for low income families and for the middle class of Australia, they’re finding out that their family payments are being chopped, they’re finding out they have to pay taxes to go to the doctors.


On this Medicare point, I promise, Sam, through you to Australian people, that Labor will fight to defend Medicare. We already pay for our healthcare through our taxes. We shouldn't pay a second tax to go to the doctor. I don't want a single parent not taking their child who may have chronic asthma or someone who has diabetes or an older Australian with osteoporosis, saying well I will put off going to the doctor because I can't afford to pay this extra tax. There’s a smarter way to do business in Australia I believe.


HOST: Okay, although debt was heading towards $600 billion. We can all agree, some hard decisions did have to be made. How would you claw back the national debt?


SHORTEN: You've got to make sure that in the medium term, the Budget is on a path where your revenue is greater than your outlays but let's not kid ourselves that there was some massive budget emergency. People mightn't be aware but Australia's only one of 10 out of over 200 countries in the world, so we are in the top 10 out of 200 countries in the world, with a triple A credit rating, from all three international credit rating agencies. So you’re right, we’ve always got to make sure that in the medium term that we are getting our finances right. But I don't think you do this by wrong priorities. If we wanted to save some money, perhaps we should scrap the $22 billion, gold plated paid parental scheme which will give millionaires $50,000 extra but people who are pensioners, stand to have their rate of growth of their pension restricted by the Abbott Government and indeed, what’s the point of cutting families on $100,000 from family payments they desperately need. It's not the smart or fair way to run Australia in my opinion.


HOST: Would you support a GST increase?


SHORTEN: Well we have seen emerging over the last 24 hours, the complete sense of shock around Australia. This government –


HOST: Would you support a GST increase, though, Mr Shorten?

SHORTEN: No we don’t, we don’t. I’ll be very quick and explain why. What happens is that the Federal Government has said we are going to take $80 billion out of hospitals and schools which the states run in Australia. What they’re doing is they’re effectively blackmailing the states into demanding an increase in the GST. This is a terrible development. All that the Federal Government has done in its budget is it’s saying that we won't pay for certain things but the taxpayer’s still going to have to pay the State Government to pay for those same services. It's a problem.


HOST: We have to wrap it up there, but Joe Hockey did dance to ‘Best Day of my Life’ before he delivered the Budget the other night. Will you be dancing tonight? And if so what will be the theme song?


SHORTEN: No, I hate to disappoint you but I won't be dancing to ‘Best Day of my Life’. I am not a particularly good dancer anyway though.


HOST: Join the club there.


SHORTEN: Don't vote for me on my dancing. That's for sure.


HOST: We’ll let you off on that one. Bill Shorten thanks for your time this morning.


SHORTEN: Thank you.