Bill's Transcripts

Interview: MIX FM - Western Australian economy, COAG






SUBJECT/S: Western Australian economy, COAG, visit to Hofmann Engineering, Family violence, GST.


HOST: Today’s COAG meeting of the state and territory leaders will be as bitchy as the Year 9 girls on the school oval at lunch time. There’s so much to talk about other than the GST, but that will come up, but we’ll talk about that and other things with the Federal Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, who joins us. Bill, good morning, and welcome back to our city.


BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning guys, great to be here.


HOST: It is a great city, it’s a great state, but it’s not as great as it used to be. We used to have a lot more money, and the income we sort of established ourselves on, the keynote of iron ore is not there anymore, is it?


SHORTEN: No, there are big changes going on, in Australia but in particular Western Australia, the mining boom is easing up, we’re transitioning away from mining. And when I say that, I don’t mean that mining’s not going to play a big role in the future, we’ve got big volume of production of minerals, but the prices have eased up because demand in China and elsewhere has eased up, and it means that a lot of the things that were certain for the few years are now less certain.


HOST: Why has the demand eased, like China don’t – they don’t want our things anymore? [laughs]


HOST: Well, we’ve only got one thing, we’ve got iron ore.


HOST: At one stage they wanted all the things, and now they don’t.


SHORTEN: No, I think China still loves us. But the issue is that, China’s developing. They’re moving away from an industrial, steel making, build up the basics of their economy to a more middle class society. So frankly, they probably want less of our iron ore, but they’re interested in how we can tackle pollution; they’re interested in our healthcare systems; they’re interested in better quality whitegoods. They’re becoming a more wealthy society.


HOST: More sophisticated.


SHORTEN: Their priorities are changing in terms of the inputs they need into their economy.


HOST: Those leaders though, that I talk about from the states and territories, they’re not happy with Mr Barnett at the moment, here’s a little bit of the reaction with what’s going on.


JAY WEATHERILL AUDIO: We keep coming to these meetings talking about Western Australia, well he’s not going to hijack the agenda this time.


COLIN BARNETT AUDIO: This sort of catcalling between states has been immature, unAustralian, unnecessary.


HOST: But Bill, you have to be on your game when you’re saying anything, don’t you? You have to be very careful, especially if you’re drawing an analogy between money and GST funding coming to WA and you say “we were very quick to put our hands in our pockets for fires in other states”.


SHORTEN: Yes, I think people should be given a bit of license to say what they think rather than just the canned script, but there are things which I believe are beyond the pale. I worked on the reconstruction in Victoria after Black Saturday and that was a bridge too far; that was an overreach. I think from our leaders we need more temperate observations, surely in his book of metaphors or examples he could’ve come up with something which wasn’t as extreme, and that has legitimately caused upset. And it’s not that people are being politically correct, or being wimps, or you know, can’t take a joke. The truth of the matter is that fire was a terrible disaster, and all of Australia helped, and I don’t think anyone at any stage thought they were helping on the basis of some financial argument.


HOST: Require payback, or something.




HOST: Well, we had Tony Abbott say the same thing to Indonesia recently and we need to learn off the back of those. You can’t say, “here’s something to help you, but we’re gonna bring it up against you for the rest of our lives.”


SHORTEN: When Tony Abbott was sort of saying Indonesia should remember who helped them in the tsunami, I remember that a quarter of a million people drowned. And you know, those sorts of things, those events, our humanity’s got to come to the top – not as some later transactional business. But I don’t live in a glass house and throw rocks, I get that it’s possible to overreach. But I think when it comes to the bushfire comment, or the tsunami, and saying somehow that we expect a direct contractual payback for an act of humanity, well that’s definitely an overreach.


HOST: Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is with us, and just before we go to a break, we’re gonna get you to stick around. You’re in the paper today, now you’re in a hi-vis vest – is that a Harrods – did you get that from Harrods?


HOST: [laughs]


HOST: It looks like a, it’s got some kind of insignia there, did you get it from England? What is going on?


SHORTEN: No, it’s called Hofmanns, they’re an engineering company.


HOST: Hoffmans! Well it looked like Harrods to me and I thought, “oh my God, he’s classy this dude”.


HOST: [laughs]


SHORTEN: Yeah, I don’t think they’ve ever made a classy, politician-friendly hi-vis vest.


HOST: [laughs]


SHORTEN: You almost feel like warning workers: look out, politician walking around in a hi-vis vest, isn’t it time for smoko quick? [laughs]


HOST: Nah, it’s a good photo mate.


HOST: Yeah. We’re gonna continue our chat here and we’ll get a bit of traffic to help you through, but as Shane-o mentioned the Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is with us.




HOST: Clairsy, Shane and Kimba at MIX 94.5, 23 after 8. Just for Bill Shorten there, the Federal Opposition Leader is with us, and we thought we’d throw a bit of Icehouse into the mix. Kimba?


HOST: Hello! OK, I was thinking maybe you were gonna – we are talking to Bill Shorten. Federal Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek has called for a bipartisan approach to better protect vulnerable women, because this is such an issue – particularly with Stephanie Scott, this being a story in the news lately, it’s just so tragic. But for young women under the age of 45, the most likely cause of death or injury is domestic violence. How can that even – it blows my mind.


HOST: It shouldn’t be a stat.


HOST: It’s an epidemic, it’s disgusting. I’ve got this audio here from Tanya.


TANYA PLIBERSEK AUDIO 1: Tara Costigan is not the only – is far from the only Australia woman our legal system, our Governments, our society have failed.


TANYA PLIBERSEK AUDIO 2: We need to have strong legal responses, strongly enforced, and we need attitudinal change throughout our community.


HOST: Now, Bill, I’d love to get your thoughts because there were 84 women killed in 2014 from domestic violence. 31 women killed already this year. What can we do? What can be done in this situation?


SHORTEN: Family violence is an obscenity. It’s the most difficult of issues to imagine why someone who says they love someone would then be violent to them. It’s a real twisting of love. It is a giant issue, you’re right. The numbers are chilling and it isn’t just a matter of saying it’s a women’s issue. It isn’t just a matter of saying it’s a police issue. The police can’t arrest their way out of this issue.




SHORTEN: What we need to do is to understand what drives family violence, and fundamentally it is the unequal treatment of women in our society. So it means that at the very sharp end, we’ve got to make sure that when women go through the legal system there’s someone there with them, that they’re not on their own.


HOST: Yeah.


SHORTEN: Because what happens is, you get almost like a postcode lottery in the legal system. You might go to one magistrate’s court and the magistrate is very switched on. But you might go to another one and they just don’t have any comprehension of what they’re dealing with or how to deal with it. And that then becomes an injury upon an injury. You’ve got to make sure that the police have the resources. But beyond those immediate legal responses, it then gets into the bigger issues in terms of it should be a national political matter, not just a state issue. Labor has said that if we were elected we would bring together everyone who’s worked on this question – survivors, experts. But what we’ve also said is, we will do that if we get elected, but we have also invited Tony Abbott to do it with us now. We don’t need to wait for the next election.


HOST: We can’t wait for another election. We can’t.


HOST: So it would have to be a bipartisan situation, right?


SHORTEN: Yes. When we deal with it, it has to be bipartisan. When we deal with it, we’re not going to fix it until we explain to the next generation of little boys growing up that it’s unacceptable –


HOST: Yeah.


SHORTEN: - and that involves them treating women equally in all facets of life.


HOST: An education process for men -


HOST: Good point. Very good point.


HOST: Absolutely.


HOST: - and boys. And after seeing so much news lately, and hearing those words last night when you were urging the PM, changing to the financial situation, urging the PM to offer more money for Western Australian assistance, you can say that all you like while you’re in this state mate, that’s all good. [laughs]


HOST: Yeah I know. That’s the front page of the paper, you’ve got page four and five –


HOST: Well done, Bill!


HOST – it’s about the GST, and Bill says we should get a one off payment of $300 million to Western Australia. My only question, because I’m a hard hitting journalist –


HOSTS: [laughs]


HOST: - did you win Oz Lotto on Tuesday? [laughs]


SHORTEN: No, but the truth of the matter is that Western Australia is caught up in a, or West Australians are caught up in problems out of their control. You’ve got the collapse in the iron ore price. You’ve also got Tony Abbott cutting $10 billion from hospitals and schools in Western Australia over the next 10 years. You’ve got the debate about ‘is the state government managing the finances properly?’ But the point about all of that is that, whatever has been the cause of the particular predicament, you’ve got Western Australia moving from mining to non-mining, big changes right now. And so rather than watching this – I think this would be a Comedy Channel show if it wasn’t so serious, you know, everyone squaring off against each other at the state level – I think Tony Abbott should just step up. If we’re going to use Commonwealth resources in future budgets to help build infrastructure in Perth and Western Australia, let’s do it now. Let’s bring it forward so that people can see there’s a bit of confidence, there are jobs, there’s opportunities for small business. Now’s the time just for leadership, and you can have all the political point scoring later, and if Tony Abbott comes up with something like that today, we’ll be the first to say, “way to go.”


HOST: Terrific, mate.


HOST: Way to end!


HOST: Bill Shorten, you’re welcome to come back any time, especially when you’re buying coffees like last time or pastries like today. All the best!


SHORTEN: [laughs]


HOST: Sweet, mate!


SHORTEN: Thanks, guys.


HOST: Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten with us.