THE TODAY SHOW
MONDAY, 30 JULY 2018
SUBJECT/S: By-elections; Labor’s priorities; Malcolm Turnbull’s corporate tax give away to the top end of town.
KARL STEFANOVIC, HOST: Good morning to you Bill.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning Karl.
STEFANOVIC: So they can't kill Bill.
SHORTEN: We're the same aren't we Karl, we are hard to kill.
STEFANOVIC: I don't want to compare myself to you this morning, you are doing very well.
SHORTEN: No, no, no.
STEFANOVIC: Where did that come from?
SHORTEN: See the thing about politics is it's not about the politicians, it's about the people. The people are over us politicians talking about ourselves. They want to know what we are going to do for them. And our proposition on Saturday right around Australia, even in the contest the Liberals didn't turn up to in Western Australia, is that we want to put better hospitals ahead of bigger banks. We think the pensioners should get $14 a fortnight extra to help pay for the power bills, rather that multimillionaires get a tax cut. Our message resonates because it's about the people not about the politicians.
STEFANOVIC: The thing is though, on this Monday morning your leadership was supposed to be dead and buried. You are harder to kill than a cockroach.
SHORTEN: Well, again it's not about me, or you, or the politicians or the top end.
STEFANOVIC: It is a little bit though.
SHORTEN: Well no, that's what some people want to talk about. Mr Turnbull is the one who made it about leadership. The reality is that he needs to drop these tax cuts on the way out of office. He needs to drop them, and then he needs to leave the keys to the Lodge and he needs to go. He has made his whole case to be Prime Minister on the basis of reducing corporate tax rates for big business. I mean, it's a bad idea. But if he can't even sell his own economic ideas, he should hand over to someone who can sell economic ideas they actually believe in.
STEFANOVIC: You must have had some serious doubts last week though, right? You knocked on a lot of doors.
SHORTEN: Well, what I was hearing last week is that people were saying why on earth - for example in Northern Tassie, they've got waiting times even longer than the mainland for elective surgery. The average waiting time in Tasmania for elective surgery that people on the mainland take for granted is 35 days, on the mainland it's 28 days. And when you travel north to Longman, north of Brisbane, the people there are saying our schools need better funding. Do you know, every Catholic Primary School in the electorate wrote to their parents saying that the government is cutting $40 million out of the Brisbane Catholic education system. So it didn't matter where you look in this country, the real problem is that people think everything is going up except for their wages, and Mr Turnbull's only got a plan to look after the top end of town.
STEFANOVIC: But did you have any doubts at all last week? You must have had some.
SHORTEN: I thought we were competitive, but you can't know what's going to happen until you count the vote. That's why I was a bit surprised that some of the media commentators out of Canberra seemed to have already counted the election, and decided what was going to happen. I never, never, never give up, and I think that's the big message here. We will never give up fighting for ordinary Australians rather than the top end of town.
STEFANOVIC: According to the latest Newspoll Malcolm Turnbull is still the preferred Prime Minister and the primary vote hasn't really shifted at all. What do you take out of that?
SHORTEN: Didn't help him on Saturday, did it?
SHORTEN: I mean, that's what really counts. You can talk about polls all you like, I make a practice of never doing it, when they're good, when they're bad or indifferent. What does matter is the actual head to head contests. Mr Turnbull said it was all about him versus me, I said it was all about better hospitals not bigger banks. And when the actual test comes, when people have to vote, you know fill in the numbers on the slip of paper, put it in the box, Labor did better. We did better not because of Mr Turnbull or me, it’s because our ideas about looking after every day Australians. What people want in this country is to make sure they get good quality affordable child care. That their kids can get an apprenticeship, that the pensioners get looked after. I think our message is more about everyday Australians, Mr Turnbull’s is for the lucky few who are already doing very well.
STEFANOVIC: There was so much heat on you though, last week as you say, from the nation's capital and from the press gallery. The speculation was fever pitch. This was the end of your leadership. I mean, what does Anthony Albanese do now?
SHORTEN: He's been a loyal team member, and the point about it is all my team members are loyal. And the other thing here is I didn't believe it was a problem last week and I certainly don't now.
STEFANOVIC: Okay, both parties have cause for concern though, when you look and drill down on those numbers the primary votes were well down for both parties. There is a lot of work for you both to do.
SHORTEN: Well, I do agree, this is why we're not being arrogant about the result. I hear the message from the Australian people. I spoke to literally thousands of people from Western Australia, Queensland, Tassie, they want to hear us talking about them. What I want to say to your viewers this morning is, I get that we over complicate politics too much. What really matters to people is their family and their health. I promise to work between now and the next election on positive policies which help your family get ahead and which look after your health, and when you are sick make sure that the system gets you better.
STEFANOVIC: When you saw those results on the weekend be honest, could you almost smell being Prime Minister?
SHORTEN: No, I'm not getting ahead of myself. The result showed me though, that we're on the right track. I took it as a big sign post towards the next general election, and frankly these results made me realise the responsibility I and my united team have to put people ahead of our usual debates. People are over me and Malcolm Turnbull going cat and dog at each other. What they actually want to see is us talk about them. But I will say this, this morning, Karl. It appears that the Liberals are finally getting the message that their corporate tax cuts for the big end of town are on the nose with everyday people. But if Mr Turnbull drops these corporate tax cuts he needs to go with them. This is his one political economic idea. If you can't back in your own core economic values, get out of the way and let people who have got alternative economic values which they believe in, and give them a chance.
STEFANOVIC: Are you going to be the next PM?
SHORTEN: Well that depends on the people of Australia. But I tell you what, if you want to make sure that you can afford to see a doctor, if you want to make sure that you can go to a hospital and you get the quality care and that there are not cuts, I'm your man.
STEFANOVIC: Bill Shorten, thanks for your time this morning, appreciate it.
SHORTEN: Good morning, cheers.