FRIDAY, 29 MARCH 2019
SUBJECTS: New Zealand memorial service
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: I spoke to Australian Muslims who are over here, who lost family - that's what's touched me. The murder of 50 people, it's got repercussions, there are Australians who have lost loved ones, and perhaps I hadn't stopped to think about that before I actually met people from Melbourne, and elsewhere who had family who were murdered here.
I think the other thing which I really feel very strongly about, is not only the murder of 50 innocent worshippers, but it was an Australian who did this. And that has been a common comment I've heard from a lot of Australians. This is not, that's not - Australians are ashamed that this person was an Australian. And so, New Zealand is our nearest friend, that's why we're here.
JOURNALIST: You began your day with a visit to the Al Noor Mosque, one of the two mosques targeted in the attack, you left a floral tribute as you know, thousands of people have done throughout the past fortnight. What did it mean to visit that site this morning where dozens of innocent worshippers were killed?
SHORTEN: The mosque is set opposite a park, it's in a quiet area. People should be able to live in quiet neighbourhoods and worship their god without a deranged terrorist killing them. What struck me is that it's a very peaceful area. When we think of this sort of violence, we think perhaps of battle scenes in the Middle East, we don't think it's possible - and New Zealand is very similar to Australia. So to see that sort of violence and hate in a suburban, quiet, tree lined street - it's horrible. You just, what must those people be thinking when they were just at Friday lunchtime at church.
JOURNALIST: Just finally the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has earned widespread praise from across the globe for the way she responded, her leadership, the way she comforted the family members of the victims in the day after the attack. You were there at the service, you saw the way that New Zealanders responded to Jacinda Ardern's presence, the standing ovation. How have you found the way that the Kiwi Prime Minister has handled the aftermath of this tragedy?
SHORTEN: I've known Jacinda for a number of years, I think she's doing an outstanding job. For those of us in public life, and when you watch someone put in such a significant global performance like Jacinda, you sort of say, you hope that we in Australia could step up in the way that she has stepped up. New Zealand are rightly proud of Jacinda Ardern's response, and I think she is the right person for the times here in New Zealand, and I think there's a lot of goodwill towards her. It's a reminder to us in Australia, that when we let the better angels of our natures and political debate, when we try and bring people together, it leaves everyone feeling better about ourselves as Australians.