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26 July 2021

MONDAY, 26 JULY 2021
SUBJECTS: Lockdown protests in Sydney and Melbourne turn violent; Sydney’s potential lockdown extension; need for the return of JobKeeper; Aussie Olympic triumphs and discovering new sports.

ALLISON LANGDON, HOST: Thanks for joining us this morning. New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian called it utterly disgusting. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews illegal, unsafe and selfish, they were just two of the furious responses to the reckless maskless mobs who took to the streets in Sydney and Melbourne at the weekend. It was an absolute disgrace, what we saw on Saturday. For more, we're joined by Shadow Minister for Government Services Bill Shorten and Triple M's Gus Worland. Nice to talk to both of you this morning. Bill, the result of those marches, we could be all locked up longer.

BILL SHORTEN, MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG: Oh listen, I couldn't believe those scenes, frankly. These people must be from another planet. They're self-indulgent morons. Marching against COVID lockdown is a bit like burning books for literacy. Like, it's just the exact opposite of what you're trying to achieve. I mean, I'm hearing the rumour that some of the people marching are getting government payments. And I mean, imagine if they get sick and go to hospital, they'll have their hand out for Medicare. And that's unbelievable, these people, they are just - words fail me.

LANGDON: You know what really got me looking at that vision on Saturday, Gus, is the people who decided to take their kids along knowing, of course, it's an illegal protest and that there would be violence.

GUS WORLAND, TRIPLE M: Yeah, parents of the year, really, really doing a great job there, aren't they? And I mean, I just finished on radio on Triple M and Wendell Sailor and I were just having a sandwich upstairs and we go, what's happening down there? And George Street was just like, flooded with people. What could this possibly be about? And then the violence against the horses, the violence against the police officers on top of all the non-mask wearing, as well as the shouting and the screaming, doing absolutely everything wrong. And I'm so glad that the police are hunting these people down one by one and make sure that they get fined. And secondly, we don't have another one of these because that's what these idiots do, don't they? They sort of go, oh, we've got a little bit of fame, we've got a little bit of this and that. We've got all this promotion about what we're talking about. So, let's go and do it again. So, let's make sure that we chop it off at the head, so we never have this problem again because we're going to be in lockdown longer aren't we? Guaranteed because of what happened on Saturday.

LANGDON: Well, they're now talking potentially mid-September in Sydney and all of this. I mean, Gus, how do you feel about that?

WORLAND: Well, I'm in lockdown right now, I've got children here who haven't been to university yet, my son hasn't been university. He's in his third year. I've got my daughter doing her HSC. Her trials have just been scrapped. And she's sitting here going, I can't do anything, Dad. And she's watching these idiots on the TV doing what they're doing. So at the end of the day, people like this are selfish. They don't care about anyone else. Most of them were probably just going along because you know what everyone else was going along. So, yeah, real Australians. And you know that lady that in her 30s that passed away just yesterday, that's a real, real shock to everyone to realise this is not something that's just going to take out oldies, as people describe them. This is a real variant, this Delta variant. And we've got to do what we're told. We've got to start listening to the medical experts.

LANGDON: We were just having a look at a photo of that young woman there now. So, it's thirty-eight-year-old Adriana Midori Takara. So, she's studying in Sydney, dreaming of becoming an Australian citizen, now the youngest person in the country to die from the virus. It breaks your heart, doesn't it, Bill?

SHORTEN: Yeah, and that's the real point about it. I mean, if these protesters have in some way triggered a super spreader event, there will be hell to pay. It is a disaster. And I just can't believe that some people are so reckless. I mean, it's not just their own lives they're messing with. It's everybody else. There's 14 million of us locked down in Australia and you've got a few thousand people who think somehow, they're better than the rest of us. And what happens to the rest of us doesn't matter. We're not doing this because we like it. The way to get out of lockdowns is to vaccinate. It's not to get out on the street and spread the disease.

LANGDON: And look, just speaking to a lot of businesses over the past couple of days, there are too many people who fall through the cracks in this help being available. Bill. I mean, what is on offer at the moment? It's not enough. What would you do if you're in government?

SHORTEN: We'd have JobKeeper without the rorts. The reality is, I mean, you don't need to pay it to billionaires who are just going to bank and make bigger profits. But there's a lot of small businesses in particular, and this morning, I just want to speak to all the family businesses, the people running the gyms, the people running the food businesses where the perishable food had to be thrown out, the people in the Alpine with the ski resorts where they just - they need this season and it's not happening. Mr Morrison actually should know what to do because we did it last year. I think the problem is that Mr Morrison declared ‘mission accomplished’ prematurely. I think the Federal Government needs to climb off their high horse and just say, all right, we're back where we were and so we need JobKeeper without the rorts. The other thing we need to do is we need to look after some of the people who've just lost their jobs entirely. But, you know, they're falling between the cracks.

LANGDON: I mean, I spoke to a business over the weekend who say, why don't you bring back JobKeeper, then say if you take this, we're going to audit you in a couple of years’ time. That's going to make sure people do the right thing. Gus, do you have an idea of why they won't bring back JobKeeper?

WORLAND: I'm not sure why, but I don't think we can afford not to. I really can't. I mean, I get maybe a thousand messages a day, Ally, by people who are just general average good Aussie people who don't know when they're going to pay their mortgage properly again, they've already gone to the bank and ask for support and a little bit of pressure off. They're worried about all sorts of stuff, just putting food on the table, paying electricity bills, paying energy bills, because we're going through a bit of a cold snap at the moment. They're not turning on their heaters because they're worried about what the bills are going to be. This is real-life situations. I've got a thousand a day on my messenger, which is sort of an email set up to my Facebook. They're not friends of mine. That is people that think that I might be able to help them. So, imagine what Bill's getting. Imagine what everyone else is getting at the moment. So, we can't afford not to do this. The mental strain, the mental fitness of people at the moment, people going through anxiety, depression, the suicide rates, all of that sort of stuff needs to be taken into consideration now. Right now. We cannot afford to leave these Australians left holding the can through no fault of their own.

SHORTEN: One hundred per cent, Gus.

LANGDON: Yeah, I mean, we're a long way getting out of this way. And I tell you what, in these dark times, we need a bit of light in our lives, don't we? And our women's 4x100 metre relay team, they delivered a golden boost, didn’t they? It was a stunning triumph. I mean, Bill, your thoughts on this?

SHORTEN: Yeah, my daughter Clementine, this is her first - she's now eleven, it's the first time she's really got into the Olympics. We were lucky enough to watch it live yesterday. They were just magnificent, watching those four Australian women, the best in the world, Olympic record, celebrate. I was just so proud to be Australian at that moment. It was the absolute good news. Although, mind you, I did see some of the skater footage, you know, the skater dudes later on. And I didn't realise you could take your iPhone when you're doing like an Olympic event. And the commentator said, oh, there's you know, Yuto Horigome or whatever from Japan, and the dude's on his phone. And the Aussie girls wanted to win. I do love the skater dudes, they’re more chill than an iceberg, 

LANGDON: How do you feel about skateboarding as an Olympic sport, Gus?

WORLAND: Yeah, I must admit, I looked at it, yesterday and thought you know… but I'm fifty three nearly and my kids were like, oh, this is really cool and you know watching it on the app, on a phone, whilst I was watching the big TV and stuff so, this is the new way to watch the Olympics. I suppose we've got a bit of breakdancing happening in France as well in a couple of years’ time. But how good was it yesterday, the girls to win when your favourites and you're so heavily favoured was the key. And those girls are just the perfect role models for us. And of course, we go back and, you know, today we've got another three opportunities to do it again. And that's going to give us all a lift in lockdown, there's no doubt about it.

LANGDON: Yeah, they eat pressure for breakfast. And just before we go, just give us that version of breakdancing that you just did again, Gus. The nation needs to see that. Ooh, yeah… I don't know what that is., Okay, I don't know if Gus has watched much breakdancing,

SHORTEN: You're going to be in the Masters Games for break dancing. Oh, man, I'm going to I'm going to be your water boy, and we're going to go to Paris.

LANGDON: Brilliant, wouldn’t that be nice?

WORLAND: Sounds good mate, let’s go.

LANGDON: Nice to join you both this morning. Thanks, guys. Enjoy your week.