Bill's Transcripts

TV: Weekend Sunshine - Labor’s plan to fund health & education – and balance the Budget; Liberal Party’s chaos and division.






SUBJECT/S: Labor’s plan to fund health & education – and balance the Budget; Liberal Party’s chaos and division.


ANDREW O’KEEFE: And Opposition Leader Bill Shorten joins us live now. Thank you so much for joining us.




O’KEEFE: So, Bill, let's just start with the poll first. That is the significant issue in the paper this morning. You know they're quoting members of your own party and one of whom says – ‘no one thinks that Bill can win. The only question is how far backwards we go’. I mean, how do you respond to that?


SHORTEN: No one wants the Labor Party to give up the next election and I certainly won't. We're going to fight the next election on who's got the best policies for Australian jobs, for healthcare and for education, who's going to take real action on renewable energy and who's going to have a fair tax system. I'm very confident that Labor will be very competitive and that's what Australians want to see - a genuine competition based around who's got the best plan for the future.


O’KEEFE: Bill, apart from the negative gearing issue, which I know is going to become a major policy platform for you, you have been talking about these issues for a long time, but it seems you had a lot of difficulty getting traction against the Government; even during the depth of the deeply unpopular Abbott Prime Ministership. People just don't seem to be listening. What's the problem?


SHORTEN: Andrew, you know, I'm not going to rewrite history. But let's not forget - Tony Abbott's gone; Joe Hockey is gone; Bronwyn Bishop is gone. In fact, in the last six months, this government's lost 14 ministers. In no small part, that's because we're a strong opposition. In 2014, everyone said that the Budget that those people were going to bring down with all its cuts was going to get through and we defeated it. In the last six months Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison have been flirting with increasing the GST to 15 per cent. I knew from day one that was a bad idea. I think the scoreboard shows that we have been having more wins than losses on behalf of the Australian people.


O’KEEFE: But the question then becomes - and just from a strategic point of view -


SHORTEN: I think that's a fair description of what has happened, Andrew.


O’KEEFE: Even after all that carnage in the Government, leaders brought down, Treasurers lost, major reshuffles on the front benches, they still remain the preferred government. Why is it so? Why is Labor not making inroads?


SHORTEN: Well, I don't accept that we haven't made inroads. That description, the carnage, the chaos, the Prime Minister is gone, that wouldn't happen if you had anything other than a strong Opposition. We tick the boxes for being a strong Opposition, but you're quite right, this is an election year. People are going to switch more on to politics this year, between elections people sort of take some interest in politics. When you're Opposition, you got to hold the other guys to account. This year we get to talk about our positive ideas and people start listening. This is the year where we demonstrate that we are an alternative government. We're the only political party in the field who have got a plan to reduce government spending, who have got a plan to properly fund our schools and our hospitals, we're the only people putting forward the defence of Medicare.


O’KEEFE: On the point of raising more revenue, which is going to be very important to funding many of your election promises. I mean, negative gearing, it's a very brave move to go out on this one. It's a complex issue. There are no clearly defined winners and losers, it seems it's spread across the board. How are you going to make sure your communication on this with the Australian electorate actually wins you votes than scare people away?


SHORTEN: I want to revive the great Australian dream of young people able to enter the housing market, of single people being able to get a deposit for a house. Home ownership is one of the big issues in Australia. Now for 30 years people have said that negative gearing is a bit of a challenge. What I want to make sure is we got a plan for housing affordability. No one who negatively gears loses anything. But if Labor was elected on the 1st of July 2017, so in the future, we would make negative gearing available for new housing, but not for existing housing stock. Let me repeat: for all the people who have invested under the current tax laws, there'll be no change. So in other words if you bought a house under the current rules that's fine you can keep deducting. But I think it is important when you look at the suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne and Brisbane - we have a real plan for housing affordability. There'll be some of your viewers today who are parents or grandparents who might have been looking at housing prices yesterday and they say, how on earth will their kids enter the housing market? Only my Labor team has got a plan to get the kids into the housing market.


O’KEEFE: I think everyone would agree with that. It's going to be a very tough fight explaining how the - winding back negative gearing is going to help in that regard. But you know you’ve got a number of months to do it. Bill Shorten, thank you very much for joining us this morning.


SHORTEN: Thanks.