CHANNEL 9, TODAY SHOW
WEDNESDAY, 29 JUNE 2016
SUBJECT/S: Labor’s positive plans for Budget repair that is fair; Marriage equality; Labor’s positive plan for Medicare; Burt the psychic crocodile
KARL STEFANOVIC (HOST): The Leader himself, Bill Shorten, joins us now this morning. Bill good morning to you.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning, Karl.
STEFANOVIC: Nice to see you. The polls say you can't win now. Is it over?
SHORTEN: Not at all. Labor can win this election because we've got the best positive policies. We'll defend Medicare, we'll look after the schools, we'll make sure we prioritise Australian jobs.
STEFANOVIC: What does your internal polling saying? Have you got a chance?
SHORTEN: Labor absolutely has a chance, full stop. We've got a chance because our issues are beginning to bite with the electorate.
STEFANOVIC: Things like the Eddie Obeid conviction yesterday, does that help or hinder?
SHORTEN: People like Eddie Obied are a disgrace to politics generally. There is no place for people like him in politics.
STEFANOVIC: You took the Prime Minister to task at the Press Club yesterday and what you said was the biggest gaffe of the campaign, let's have a look at that.
SHORTEN: And today Malcolm Turnbull's mask finally slipped, it will go down as the defining moment in this campaign, the gaffe that marked the end of the Prime Minister's credibility. He has said, “what political parties say they will support and oppose at one time is not necessarily what they will do”. Tony Abbott famously told us don't listen to what I say get it in writing. Mr Turnbull simply said, don't bother, it's a lie.
STEFANOVIC: OK so you know now that he was talking about Labor at the time, do you regret those comments?
SHORTEN: Not at all. What he actually said is “the other point I'd make is what political parties”, parties plural, “say they will support and oppose at one time is not ultimate.” What he was saying is he wasn't just speaking about the Labor Party. He was outlining his political philosophy. He said what political parties. This bloke is saying that he doesn't want to be held to the promises, that's why we don't believe him on defending Medicare.
STEFANOVIC: He was talking about Labor though?
SHORTEN: No he actually says what political parties say. He was outlining his political philosophy. This is a bloke who will say and do anything. And the problem is that puts in jeopardy the strength of our Medicare system and funding for schools for example.
STEFANOVIC: So you don't regret saying that was the biggest gaffe of the campaign?
SHORTEN: Not at all. I think Mr Turnbull revealed the way he views the world. What he says before an election is merely a device in order to get power and he doesn't feel bound to keep his promises.
STEFANOVIC: OK let's talk about economic credibility. It has been a big week with Brexit obviously. Isn't getting the budget into surplus the measure of credibility?
SHORTEN: We're getting back to balance at the same time as the Liberals. But what we won't do is smash household budgets. What happened in Brexit is a whole lot of people who feel alienated and marginalised and forgotten by government, said to government, “we're not going the way you want us to do”. The point about it is, in Australia if we properly fund our schools, if we make sure that sick people can afford to see the doctor I believe we're keeping the stability of our society together, unlike Mr Turnbull who's ruthless cuts will smash the system.
STEFANOVIC: How old were you when Labor last delivered a surplus?
SHORTEN: I guess I was an adult.
STEFANOVIC: Do you know how old you were?
SHORTEN: I would have been in my 20's. But the point about that is, Karl, how long has it been since the Liberal Party delivered a surplus under this Government? They came to Government in 2013, they said they would deliver surpluses. Now they're not guaranteeing to deliver a surplus until the 2020's.
STEFANOVIC: You were 22, you're 49 now. That was an awful long time ago.
SHORTEN: When was the last time you saw the Liberal Party deliver a surplus?
STEFANOVIC: We just want to talk about Labor though.
SHORTEN: Well it's actually a two horse race. What we can say under our economic policies is that we will get the surplus to balance the same time as they will. But we won't smash family payments for families who earn less than $100,000. We'll make sure that some of the parents that are watching the show today that they can afford to go to work and pay for the childcare and get properly reimbursed.
STEFANOVIC: You'd just finished uni.
SHORTEN: I'd have to say, remember Mr Abbott and Mr Turnbull said they would get to surplus? They haven't done it. They had three years to do it. They promised in 2013 they would and again in 2016. They're now not promising to do it in the next term of government.
STEFANOVIC: The last Coalition surplus was certainly a shorter time ago than the last Labor.
SHORTEN: You and I both know that what Mr Howard had was a mining boom. The mining boom has eased and what we've seen is this Government doesn't have a plan for transition.
STEFANOVIC: The point is, why would anyone believe either party and why would anyone you that you'll return the budget to surplus in 10 years?
SHORTEN: Because we've made sensible changes. We are going to make mulitnationals pay their fair share. What we are not going to do is take $50 billion and give it to the largest companies in Australia. That is irresponsible especially at the time when we need stability.
STEFANOVIC: If you deliver the budget in 10 years to surplus that will be close to half a century before Labor has delivered a surplus in this country. How is that economically credible?
SHORTEN: First of all, we are making the same promise that the Liberals are making and we don't have to do it my wrecking Medicare and not funding our schools. The big economic case for the Turnbull Government is to say vote for Malcolm Turnbull and large corporations will get $50 billion.
STEFANOVIC: You will guarantee a surplus in 10 years.
SHORTEN: We’re saying we will get to balance in four.
STEFANOVIC: You guarantee a surplus in 10?
SHORTEN: That is every year we improve the bottom line of the budget. Absolutely stand by our costing.
STEFANOVIC: A guarantee of surplus in ten years, yes or no?
SHORTEN: We have said yes.
STEFANOVIC: OK good. I know that you have changed your mind on a plebiscite for gay marriage, is the Medicare scare campaign not working for you?
SHORTEN: Not at all. The issue here is that the Government has got plans which are going to harm Medicare. Very quickly, they are going to freeze the GP rebates which means the doctors can't offer bulk billing, they're going to increase the price of prescription medicine and they're also going get rid of bulk billing incentives for X-ray and blood tests. In terms of the plebiscite -
STEFANOVIC: You have changed your mind on the plebiscite?
SHORTEN: No, what has happened is that since 2013 I think that the community attitude has moved on. Secondly, we saw the experience In Ireland of the referendum in 2015 and we saw a lot of hateful things said in the 'no' case. Why don't we just get Parliament to get on and do their job rather than kicking it off to a $160 million taxpayer funded -
STEFANOVIC: You have said before these are the quotes, in 2013 and you have said before and justify that. This is what it says, 'personally speaking I'm completely relaxed about having some form of plebiscite'. You also said, 'in terms of a plebiscite I would rather the people of Australia could make their view clear on this than leaving this issue to 150 MPs'. My question to you this morning is why wait until three days out from an election? It is completely suss.
SHORTEN: Not at all. I think it is crazy that we don't have marriage equality now.
STEFANOVIC: Why not bring it up two months ago, three months ago, four months ago, why three days out from an election to change your mind?
SHORTEN: Karl, fair is fair. I put the legislation into Parliament in July last year to have marriage equality dealt with in the Parliament. I have been consistent. Community attitudes have moved on and most Australians are probably still confused why we are arguing about the matter. If you have a publicly funded opinion poll created by Tony Abbott, all you're going to do is let a whole lot of people say a whole lot of nasty things about each other when we can just do it ourselves.
STEFANOVIC: I don't know why did it took you so long? Why didn't you do it at the start of the campaign you would have got more purchase with it?
SHORTEN: Well actually we've been talking about it from last year. Politics didn't start at the start of the campaign. We have been doing a lot of good work on it.
STEFANOVIC: You changed your mind yesterday on the plebiscite though?
SHORTEN: Not at all.
STEFANOVIC: OK. I am going to give you 30 second now to give our pitch to Today Show viewers about why you should be Prime Minister come Saturday night, Sunday morning?
SHORTEN: Labor has positive plans for the future. We'll prioritise Australian jobs, apprenticeships and TAFE. We'll make sure that we fully fund our schools so that every child in every school no matter what the circumstances gets the best start in life. And of course we will defend Medicare and properly fund it, so it is your Medicare card not your credit card which determines the level of health that you get in this country.
STEFANOVIC: Finally on a much lighter note, depending on how you view these things. Burt the psychic crocodile in the Northern Territory news has picked the winner of the election on Saturday night. And he has picked Malcolm Turnbull. There he is there, Burt the psychic croc in a snap poll in the Northern Territory News says, how do you feel about that?
SHORTEN: I read the report and it said that Burt has chosen Malcolm. There's an electorate called Burt in Western Australia and I thought that we were ahead there. So when I found out it was just a very large oversized crocodile I felt quite relieved it wasn't the electors of Burt.
STEFANOVIC: Good to see you, best of luck on Saturday.
SHORTEN: Sure, thank you for your coverage. I appreciate it.
STEFANOVIC: Thank you