Bill's Transcripts

Doorstop: Sydney - Tony Abbott’s royal commission; Labor protecting Australian workers






SUBJECT/S: Tony Abbott’s royal commission; Labor protecting Australian workers


BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: I said before the royal commission, Tony Abbott’s royal commission that I would relish the opportunity to put my record of standing-up for workers in Australia, up against Tony Abbott's any day of the week. What happened in the royal commission is that I answered hundreds of questions, hundreds of questions on my record of standing-up for Australian workers and Tony Abbott's royal commission, and indeed I answered enough questions until the commission finished earlier than expected today.


Happy to take a couple of questions.


JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten can I just ask you about this issue of perceived conflict of interest, do you think there is there is any conflict of interest that has been unveiled over the last two days?


SHORTEN: Not at all. There was no evidence demonstrated of any conflict. The truth of the matter is that every day I was a union rep I was standing-up for our members and of course where we could we would cooperate with employers for the best interests of our workers, no conflict of interest whatsoever.


JOURNALIST: Why do you think your credibility was questioned?


SHORTEN: Well, the Royal Commissioner, Mr Haydon, he’s got a job to do but what I did is I answered hundreds of questions, in fact I answered questions until the Commission finished today, earlier they're than expected. He has a job to do, I get that, it's Tony Abbott's royal commission, but I am more than satisfied with the opportunity to put forward the case for Labor and the case for standing-up for workers.


JOURNALIST: Do you think Commissioner Heydon over step the mark in his comments to you?


SHORTEN: Mr Haydon’s got job to do, I think we all understand that. As far as I was concerned I was willing to cooperate, willing to talk about my record of standing-up for Australian workers when it comes to better pay, better conditions, better safety, better job security.


JOURNALIST: What do you say to those who you think should resign? One of those being Bob Hogg.


SHORTEN: Well Mr Hogg’s advice I put somewhere between Mr Abbott’s and Senator Abetz and probably even Christopher Pyne’s.


JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten can you guarantee that when you were AWU secretary that there were no members that were counted as members that weren’t actually voluntary signing up as members?


SHORTEN: I always made sure, and stood for the policy that our members were in the union, and that they were signed up and we knew who they were, absolutely.


JOURNALIST: Do you have the credibility to lead the Labor Party and put yourself forward as the alternative Prime Minister?


SHORTEN: Absolutely. As I said in my opening statement, I relish the opportunity to talk about my record of standing-up for workers, for making sure that people got the best pay and conditions possible that we could negotiate. I put my record up against that of Mr Abbott's any day of the week. What we saw in the royal commission is they were asking questions about a particular clause and a particular agreement. This was at the same time when Mr Abbott and his cohorts were taking away the conditions of all Australians workers. I’d back Labor against Mr Abbott and his Liberals any day when it comes to standing-up for workers.


JOURNALIST: How were the last two days? Was it uncomfortable sitting in there, in the royal commission?


SHORTEN: Well I think it's part of the rite of passage for a Labor leader that in Mr Abbott's Government you get called before a royal commission. But I was willing to do as I did, was cooperate and answer questions and I certainly relish the opportunity to talk about my record.


JOURNALIST: Did it feel like a witch-hunt?


SHORTEN: I'll leave it for others to judge. Mr Abbott's royal commission into unions but I seek to offer myself as the alternative Prime Minister of Australia. I'm prepared to have my record of standing-up for Australians, put on display, and before this next election we'll be asking the same of Mr Abbott and his Liberals. What will he do to promote the interests of working Australians, and I tell you what based on his record, based on what his government’s doing right now, the future isn't promising with Mr Abbott standing-up for working Australians. Thanks very much everyone, see you soon.