Bill's Transcripts

Doorstop: Melbourne - Neale Daniher; Motor neuron disease






SUBJECT/S: Neale Daniher; Motor neuron disease; Abbott Government cabinet chaos and division; National security; Gillian Triggs; Tony Abbott’s royal commission; Tampon tax; Housing affordability.


BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Today Collingwood and Melbourne play their annual Queens Birthday weekend footy match, but today supporters of both clubs will be thinking about something even more important, that is motor neuron disease. Neale Daniher, as has always been his trademark has showed real leadership. He’s made a most moving YouTube clip, it goes for a minute and 20 seconds but for people who don’t know about motor neuron disease it’s the best minute 20 you’re going to spend this year. Any person, any human who watches this speech by Neale Daniher explaining to explaining to the players of the teams which he’s help lead in the past, cannot fail to be moved. Motor neuron disease costs 2,000 lives each year, 2,000 people have it, two people die each day, two people contract it each day. There is no known cure for it yet but today fans of both clubs on a beautiful Queens Birthday Monday long weekend have come out to say they want to tackle motor neuron disease and when it comes to matters like this, who you barrack for doesn’t matter, we’re all on the same side beating motor neuron disease and I want to thank Neale Daniher for the most remarkable clip and that speech.


Happy to take questions.


JOURNALIST: Amanda Vanstone says that Tony Abbott’s either sneaky or lazy in his dealings with Cabinet, do you agree?


SHORTEN:  Well its official, there’s a civil war going on in the Liberal Party today. If it’s not Amanda Vanstone bagging Tony Abbott it’s Malcolm Turnbull. If it’s not Julie Bishop fighting with Scott Morrison it’s this ongoing disunity. Australian’s deserve better, a government who can’t govern themselves, a government who leaks national security matters to gain political advantage against their rivals - that’s a government that Australians can’t trust.


JOURNALIST: Do you think the Abbott Government is bullying Gillian Triggs?


SHORTEN: This is a government of bullies. Now you don’t have to agree with everything that the President of the Commission says but that doesn’t mean that you’ve got a licence or a warrant to go out and start saying that the person should resign. I believe the Government did everything they could for the Bali Nine, I really do. But watching Peter Dutton and this Government of bullies attack Gillian Triggs because they don’t like watch she says, that’s just not on. It’s not the Australian way to pick on the messenger, merely because they’re telling us news that you don’t want to hear.


JOURNALIST: There are suggestions today that Australia could end up detaining people who can’t be stripped of their citizenship, is that a likely outcome from the citizenship changes?


SHORTEN: It’s about time the government presented their legislation to the Australian people to see what’s going on. It’s clearly caused a great deal of controversy within the Government. Labor and Liberal are both in this together when it comes to fighting terrorism and we all want to make sure that Australians are safe. I think the Government should introduce its legislation so that we can have informed debate. What Australians want is the Government focused on Australian’s working for them, not just having this internal political argument. We need to see what laws the Government is proposing so that we constructively and consistently promote the security of all Australians.


JOURNALIST: Will Labor support the move to strip citizenship of dual nationals?


SHORTEN: It’s already the case that if an Australian dual national fights for another country against Australia that you would lose your citizenship. We’re open to having a look at the sensible extension in terms of dual nationals in principle but we need to see the detail. The Government talks about national security, we just need to see the details of what is being proposed. I think that what’s all Australians rightfully expect from their Parliament; considered, sensible discussion, forget the slogans, let’s get on with the detail, do the hard work to protect Australians.


JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, following the revelations at the royal commission into union governance last week, does Cesar Melham still have your backing?


SHORTEN: Well, Labor has zero tolerance for corruption in the union movement or indeed from employers in the workplace more generally. I’ve made clear as I’ve said in the past I won’t be providing a running commentary on every bit of evidence offered at the royal commission. But just to underline as I’ve said on many occasions, Labor has zero tolerance for corruption in the workplace whether or not it’s an employer or a union rep.


JOURNALIST: Was the practice of collecting service fees in place when you were the head of the AWU?

SHORTEN: Well I’ve spent my adult life representing workers and I stand on my record representing workers. In terms of the actual royal commission, I’m not going to provide a running commentary. What I would also, again, reiterate is Labor’s view is that we believe in honest workplaces, we don’t want to see corruption, be that employer or union representative, full stop.


JOURNALIST: Is the 457 visa system being rorted by employers who either want cheaper or more experienced labour?


SHORTEN: Labor’s very concerned that under the Abbott Government that temporary guest worker visas, where people come here to work temporarily from other countries, is undermining conditions and wages of Australian jobs. We are concerned that there are stories of reports of rorts and abuses of the 457 visa system do require a much stronger hand of compliance than this Government’s doing. This Government’s got to stand up for Australian jobs and Australian workers.


JOURNALIST: Do you think that most state governments want the GST on tampons to be removed?


SHORTEN: I think there’s an unusual opportunity in Australian taxation history. States are going to get more money because of the tax which will go on Netflix and Labor’s supporting that. We think there’s a double standard where mens health products don’t pay a GST yet womens do. So when it comes to tampons and other women’s health sanitary products, we think there is a case here for the GST to be dropped on that. Why should women be treated any differently to men?


JOURNALIST: Do you think there are any other health care products that should maybe be exempted from the GST?


SHORTEN: Well this has been the big debate so far. We’ve now seen costings come forward that it would costs the states and the Federal Government $75 million to drop the tampon tax and they would get $350 million for the Netflix tax. So to me that seems a good deal around. The states and Commonwealth will get the GST on Netflix which is appropriate. But what we also want to see is women not being, their health products, not being treated differently to mens healthcare products. Final question if there is one.


JOURNALIST: Will Labor support the Greens move to abolish negative gearing?


SHORTEN: Housing affordability is a big issue in this country. I and the Labor Party are on the record saying that we’re concerned that young people are getting locked out of the housing market. In order to tackle that issue we think there’s a lot of focus that needs to be on the supply side. Negative gearing changes are not the focus of the Labor Party but there is an issue of housing affordability and we saw the remarkable scenes in the last 24 hours where the Assistant Treasurer of Australia has contradicted the chief economic advisor about overheated housing prices in some parts of Australia. The Government just needs to tell Australians what’s their plan to help Australians, especially younger Australians, get into the housing market.


Thanks everyone, have a nice day.