Bill's Transcripts


SUBJECT/S: Superannuation; Labor party rules; Public service remuneration; Regional resettlement; Foreign Investment; NBN; Wages growth; Omnibus Bill; Banking royal commission; Mr Turnbull’s same-sex marriage plebiscite

JOURNALIST: Hi Mr Shorten, Phil Coorey from the Fin Review. Thanks for your speech. Just on super, and just at the end of your speech where you announced - you offered Scott Morrison a way through on a couple of things and so forth. I'll just take you back, when you were Minister in charge of this area you proposed some changes to super and at the same time you said that should be it and we should leave super from here onwards in the hands of some independent guardians, and then a couple of years ago Mr Bowen, your Shadow Treasurer, was here, he announced a couple of changes that you took to the election, and then again you proposed not touching super, only every five years and having it overseen independently. Now we've got the Government still trying to finalise its policy, you’re offering more changes to try to get them through. Are we kidding ourselves to think that superannuation is just not going to become a punching bag between now and whenever the economy gets back on a strong footing, we don't need to see it as a source of revenue?

SHORTEN: We certainly think that superannuation policy going forward should be a lot more transparent and a lot more generational in decision making. That's why we like the idea of a Reserve Bank-style of policy making in superannuation which would report to the Parliament its proposed policies and its changes. But there's no doubt that the system of tax concessions is not sustainable in its current form, and initially when we said that I think the Liberals sort of rubbished us. But then to my surprise they came up with some almost Chavez-like measures last Budget. Only four months ago, doesn't time fly?

There's no way Phil, I could have predicted that this Government would embrace the principle of retrospectivity. The last time I think we saw that was in bottom of the harbour tax schemes. The truth of the matter is that they've made such a hash of superannuation. And don't take my word for it. Just take it from every backbencher who briefs you off the record, and some on the record. This retrospectivity has cast the whole system into confusion. Now, I get that a standard response might be to say 'well the people affected by retrospectivity are relatively very well off'. The problem is it destabilises the whole system. Retrospectivity undermines everyone's confidence in superannuation. So Phil, I couldn't have predicted that the Liberal Party of Howard would then turn into the sort of retrospective law makers of Turnbull and Morrison, and really, you know and I know and certainly I occasionally read the editorials in your paper - the David Rowe cartoon is always good - you know, they, your paper is fulminating against retrospectivity. So something's got to give here. We've got to fix this.

They have got themselves into a dreadful hash. What I find amazing is that the Liberal solution is, you know, do they tackle retrospectivity which they - they don't want to admit they're wrong, but then they're proposing that you should have a million dollars. Then you've got Scott Morrison saying he couldn't in all conscience tell his kids he'd agree to have $1 million in terms of - with the favourable treatment. I agree with him on that. But in all conscience, we can't tell people that they've invested under one set of laws, can we, and the goal posts get changed between and people have invested in good faith? So, this is a mess of the Government's making. We'll help fix up their retrospectivity and we've also proposed sensible ways to make sure that our superannuation tax concession scheme is sustainable.

JOURNALIST: Then after this point you would propose that there are no more changes to superannuation and try to entrench that in some way?

SHORTEN: I certainly think that the Government needs to sit down and talk to us about how we have long-term policy making in superannuation and we have, Chris and I, who have worked in the past on a sort of Reserve Bank-style committee, a board of guardians in terms of superannuation elders, who when there's policy changes proposed, they run the ruler over it and then they would then report to the Parliament. That doesn't mean the Government is circumscribed by this group but it does mean that once you've got that sort of long-term policy contribution I think that would make all investors and all superannuants breathe a sigh of relief.


JOURNALIST: Thanks for your address, Mr Shorten. Malcolm Farr from There continues to be an earnest and very civil discussion within your party, which I assume you are aware of, about the mechanism for electing the leader. It's specifically looking at extending the role of the trade union and the party membership - the extra parliamentary membership. Do you support increasing the franchise to those elements in selecting the leader? If so, how do you avoid the Jeremy Corbyn dilemma of the Caucus being out voted by the extra parliamentary groups?

SHORTEN: We seem to have a avoided it twice. I don't see the need, I think our party is good in that we give our rank-and-file a say. When that change was first raised I supported it. I think the system works well, a balance between parliamentary reps and our ranks-and-file members. I say to people interested in getting involved in politics, we will give you a say and no other mainstream party can make that same promise. And our rules, you know, they're not always pretty, but they certainly - people can see how we do our business. What I would say Malcolm is I'm not contemplating any change. What I also say to Australians interested in politics is that our party, I think in a couple of ways has demonstrated its progressive qualifications. We have over 40 per cent of our Caucus who are women. We've done that through embracing a policy of affirmative action. We are going through our rules to 50 per cent by 2025. Now I'd say that's a rule change which says to every Australian woman, we value you. You only have to look at the line-up in the House of Reps, I think the Libs have 13 out of 76. They're going backwards. And whereas we I think have 29 and in our Senate our performance is even better. If you look at my frontbench and full executive, this is the benefit of having progressive rules. I know there are some conservatives who always talk about under their rules that women get promoted by merit. But when merit is defined by a ruling group it gets a little hard to broaden the definition. I think our rules and also the involvement of the rank-and-file in our pre-selections, I think that stands us in good stead, and I'm  terribly pleased with the class of 2016, the diversity of experience they bring. And I'm confident that approach will continue in our party.

HOST: Network Ten. 

JOURNALIST: Thanks Chris, Catalina Florez from Network Ten. Mr Shorten, you spoke of cost of living pressures. In light of Budget repair and being in the nation's capital, what do you make of reports today that top public servants have had pay rises of 70 per cent, especially given the average wage growth is stagnant? Should there be a cap on pay rises and should they be performance-based?

SHORTEN: There's an independent tribunal that sets the rates, but when I saw that table I thought, goodness me. That's massive. So I think there is legitimate community concern. The processes are set independently but when I looked at some of those pay rises I think my reaction was the same as perhaps yours and millions of Australians that, with respect to the professionalism - those increases, I don't know how they can be easily explained.

HOST: Do you cap it? Do you stop it in some way?

SHORTEN: I think there's an independent process, I like having an independent process. But certainly - and I don't want to second guess that and all the evidence they had - but there's something going on there which I think sits uneasily with the Australian people when they saw those rises. The real issue here is also not just those people. The real issue is we have stagnant wages growth in this country. The real issue is that productivity has flat lined. The real issue is that we don't have sufficient economic growth in this country. The story of the mining boom was basically we have a long run 2 per cent average of GDP which is mining Capex. We got lucky. The world wanted our commodities, so for those six years - 2006 to 2012 - boom, 8 per cent. That was the equivalent of putting in $150 billion extra to the national ATM. Since 2012 the long range has asserted itself and whilst I acknowledge it has added to our volumes which has strengthened, helped us buttress some of the economic wave since then, we have got to do something to fire up growth again in this country. We can't just rely on the monetary policy of the Reserve Bank. Glenn Stevens said as much in his significant farewell address.

And another thing is when you have the banks muffling monetary policy. The Reserve Bank of Australia lowered the formal interest rate to get the economy stimulated. Now the banks say they need to defray some of their costs to capital. That is mitigating the effectiveness of monetary policy, one of the few levers we have got to stimulate the economy. That is why today I have spoken about the missing link - it's public infrastructure. Now, we outlined some of our policies and we are going to have more talk about in this term of government. But one of the levers we have got is to actually stimulate public infrastructure and we have got to work with the States, we have to work with the private sector and there has to be generational decisions. Monetary policy in a low-investment return, low-interest rate return, that's not going to stimulate wages. You need to have public growth. The other thing I spelled out here briefly is of course China. China is a giant centrifugal economic force. We can't afford to miss it. So you know, there is China. Of course we have NBN, we've got skills. These are the levers we've got. So when we talk about public servant wages at the top end, part of the reason why that seems so high other than the absolute numbers and the percentage increases is because of everyone else.

This is now not the time to start cutting the safety net either of penalty rates. This is now not the time to force the minimum wage down. I say to some of the conservatives in Mr Turnbull's party who talk about getting rid of penalty rates as if that is the panacea – cutting people on $40,000 and $50,000, their working wage, cutting those wages, that won't help stimulate growth. All across the world we are seeing a return to the notion that if you have decent wages growth, matched with productivity and those other levers I am talking about, that is what we need to stimulate the wages of the country. There has to be a growth agenda here. My friend, Mr Turnbull, spoke about jobs and growth. Have any of you heard it since?

HOST: The West Australian. 


JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, Andrew Probyn from the West Australian. I just want to tease out your thoughts on one of these measures that's been listed in that wonderfully named omnibus bill. It's the clean energy supplement. Now, they've listed it as something that Labor has supported in principle. But can you talk to us about how you are going to manage this, given that if you do support it you could have two tiers of welfare recipient, potentially for up to 30, 40 years? And you have also talked about how you are going to have a review of the Newstart allowance and its adequacy. Are you going to support it? If not, what are you going to amend about it given that you have issued some form of support?


SHORTEN: Thanks Andrew. As we have said we are absolutely committed to Budget repair. We were before the election and we remain absolutely committed. But our friends in the Liberals are just sort of issuing some sort of declaration and asking us to sign a blank cheque. Tell them they're dreaming. We want to see the detail of it. Now you raised some very important issues which don't often get an airing in the national discourse, which is the future of Newstart. Our plan was that if we got elected we would review it because we think it's inadequate. I think we are going to have to have a look at it even from opposition now because I do think it's inadequate as it goes forward. In terms of the details of all of those measures on the omnibus bill, we need to see the detail of the legislation. Today I have demonstrated I think that we are willing to put our bona fides forward about Budget repair. We actually get the fiscal repair is an important function so that the economy can do all the other things we need it to do. We have also got to make sure is that the effects are as intended and they don't have negative unintended consequences.


JOURNALIST: Does it kill the bill?


SHORTEN: Listen, these guys - they don't give us the detail. Many of you have negotiated in your private lives and other commitments you're involved. Have you ever heard of someone negotiating by getting a megaphone and saying 'just trust us and just do this or that'. That is not a negotiation. These guys are acting like they still have a 90-seat margin in the House of Representatives. They don't. He acts like he got some massive mandate. They have a one-seat majority. We will be constructive, have no doubt about that, but what we are going to do is stick to our values on the way through. So we will be constructive, we are committed to Budget repair and we will keep doing that. Today, who has heard of an opposition eight weeks after an election spelling out the best part of $100 billion of improvements to the bottom line, over 10 years? Spelling out the best part of $9 billion over the forwards? We are ripping up the rule book. We are going to be constructive. But we're not just going to wait for gold leafed invitations from the Liberals to say ‘please attend our whatever bill’. We want to see the detail. That is what we were elected to do.


HOST: The Australian.


JOURNALIST: Thanks, Chris. Thanks, Mr Shorten. David Crowe from the Australian. Thanks for your speech and thanks for the descriptor of ‘Chavez-like’ for the Liberal Government. A question on the banking royal commission, back in April when you spoke to Neil Mitchell you were asked about whether your five points about the commission included remuneration structures and executive pay and you said 'I am not sure that was the specific thing I was getting at'. Yet in August, just a week or two ago, you said that one of the first steps to reforming banking with the royal commission was an examination of the payment structures for senior executives. I mention those two remarks because I wonder whether you can acknowledge the frustration among observers about what exactly your royal commission is meant to be achieving. Isn't it time that you actually spelt out the terms of reference for it? And is it - are you actually willing to canvas and put on the table structural change to the banking system and the banking companies?


SHORTEN: David, I am not sure when we talk about frustration of Australians it's with us and our principles that we look at or the conduct of banks, David. I think frustration is the fact that there is multiple billions of dollars in bank bottom lines and yet they're still getting charged for paper statements. The ATM withdrawals, whenever the official interest rate changes or goes down, credit card rates are stubbornly sticky. I think that is what frustrates people, mate. That is what is really happening.


In terms of us, we are committed to the principles of which we have outlined for a royal commission and for instance I have some of them here with me. How widespread instances of illegal and unethical behaviour are within Australia's financial services system, that is a good topic, how Australia's financial institutions treating their duty of care to their customers - I think people are interested in the answer to that, how the cultural, ethical and business structures of Australian financial institutions affect the behaviour of these institutions, and let me go to that. Whilst remuneration in my interview with Mitchell wasn't explicit, when you look at that cultural, ethical and business structures of Australian financial services institutions, let's just bell the cat here. You have got increasingly the big bonuses for the top end of executives in banking. They get paid by improvements to the bottom line, or a significant portion of their bonus is the bottom line. How does that impact upon decisions to lower credit card interest rates? We have got to work out - and I outlined before you have independent monetary policy, how does it help the decision of the Reserve Bank to stimulate the economy by lowering the official rate if that doesn't pass through?


These are the challenges. We also said that we want to see Australia's regulators really equipped to identify illegal and unethical behaviour. Now, we were told before the election, during the election by the Prime Minister that the regulators were fine to do it. Then something happened after the election and I think people are very confused, David, by Mr Turnbull's evolving position. He said before the election, first of all he said he went to Westpac and gave them a lecture and then he said the regulators are good enough to do the job. And then after the election he conceded half of Labor's argument by saying we need to do something new. That he came up with something weaker than the regulators is remarkable, that takes real going, to come down for an hour and say g'day to a Liberal-controlled House of Representatives committee. Now what we have had is some of the dissidents in the Liberal Party who probably in their heart of hearts want a royal commission but don't want to embarrass Malcolm, so they say we will just have the tribunal. Now I think they're confused about what this tribunal will do. I get reports, smoke signals, the pigeon mail from the Government, ‘maybe we're interested in the tribunal but we don't need a royal commission because we have come up with the answers’. The real problem the government have got is that Australians are greatly annoyed and frustrated and disillusioned. They think that the banking sector is exercising arrogant market power and they're not happy with it. Now, if the Government's latest position - and you have to admit they have had plenty of positions in the last three months - if the latest position is to set up some mini-me tribunal of the Financial Ombudsmen Service that's not totally a plan is it? I don't think Australians want a new tribunal to deal with when they're ripped off, they just don't want to be ripped off in the first place, and that's why we will keep pressing the banking royal commission.


JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, one problem that's facing the country at the moment is what to do with the people who are in the offshore processing centres. And both sides of politics say these people shouldn't come to Australia. It's clear that it's very difficult to find third countries to accept them. But there is a clear offer, or has been, from New Zealand to take some of these people. If you were Prime Minister, would you accept that New Zealand offer?


SHORTEN: Just a couple of the assumptions in your question. When you say it's difficult to find third party nations - the previous Labor Government found a third party nation – Malaysia. And if they had gone with that, how many hundreds of people would still be alive now? So I don't think it is as difficult as the Liberals have made it to find third party nations. I think, and full credit to Tony Abbott, at least he has had the honesty to admit it, that they should have given it a go. I would like to hear what Mr Turnbull say about that and Mr Morrison because they have voted against it. And Abbott is no longer in charge but Turnbull is. Does he now regret voting against Malaysia? Or is he just going to blame Abbott and just pretend he wasn't there? So, there are third party nations who are willing to do it, I believe. In terms of going forward, if I was Prime Minister, I said it that on the first day of being sworn in, I would send my Immigration Minister to Geneva because I don't believe that enough energy has been put into regional resettlement. I take nothing away from the public servants who have been working behind the scenes, you know, fairs fair.  I think that we should have started with the United Nations. If there are resettlement nations who are willing to conclude reasonable settlements with us, I believe we should pursue that. And I have no doubt they exist.


JOURNALIST: And New Zealand?


SHORTEN: That's a resettlement nation


JOURNALIST: So you use those numbers which are available?


SHORTEN: I have sort of answered your question twice, I said resettlement nations. What we need to do and what the Government should do is they should do several things, like right now. One, their Minister should go to Geneva and start working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Two, Malcolm Turnbull should accept my invitation and he and I should visit Nauru. Three, we should set up this Senate inquiry. Four, there should be an independent child advocate. These are just things which should be done. They don't require a checking, I hope, with the far right of the Liberal Party or the National Party.


JOURNALIST: Thank you very much for your speech, Mr Shorten. We have the G20 Summit coming up in a couple of weeks in China. You spoke about the need for foreign investment and I'm just wondering in terms of - Mr Turnbull's obviously going to face some questions when he gets to China about Australia's foreign investment policy. Where does the Labor Party stand on increasing the amount of foreign investment that we can get in, particularly from places like China? And where do you stand on ways to improve transparency and red flagging, say, assets that are off-limits?


SHORTEN: Thanks, Paul. When you said encouraging investment from particularly China, we welcome foreign investment in this country. Foreign investment is an important driver of our economic prosperity and we also want the right and ability to invest in other countries. Australian super funds have a fair share in other parts of the world. We should be an open economy. But I also understand that when people seek to buy Australian assets and this goes to your second question, I think the process of Ausgrid and I think that is the particular example you have in mind, should have been a lot more transparent to potential bidders a lot earlier than at the death knock. I do think this nation needs a conversation about what is for sale and what isn't for sale. I don't think all the problems which subsequently got investigated were unknown problems a year ago. I do support the decision that Scott Morrison has made. So let's be clear on that in terms of Transgrid [Ausgrid] but what I also recognise is surely we can let people know earlier. Surely we can have a discussion about what is for sale and what isn't for sale.


JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, just on the raids this morning, do you have any hard evidence that there was political involvement that led to these raids?


SHORTEN: I cannot believe the extent to which this government will go to cover up its NBN stuff-up. At the end of the day the public have a right to know if billions of dollars are being wasted. Let's look at Mr Turnbull's sorry record, it's the largest innovation project in the country, the largest infrastructure projects in the country. Every promise they made before he became the steward of this system has not been kept. I think it's ridiculous that Australia has slipped from 30th place to 60th place in the world on global internet speeds. The projects are all delayed. Just go to the suburbs and  the regions of Australia and if you ever want to get a conversation going on in one of my town hall meetings just say, how's the NBN? From the frustrating buffering, which is probably the most recognised icon in Australia now, to the costs and the delay.


And now what we have is the Government and its agency, the NBN, I mean the Government can't be there when the NBN has good news to announce and want a bunch of flowers and then say at another time the NBN's got nothing to do with us. I think the Government's overreaching. I think the public should know the sort of information which used to be available under a previous government. And I also think that you, the media, have a right to know. Why shouldn't you be able to report openly and transparently? Why is this information kept from you? So yes, I do think this Government is overreaching.


I am not blaming the individual police, of course not, but I'm saying this complaint was triggered from within the Government and the source of this dispute is the Government and Mr Turnbull's desperate desire to suppress information which you have a right to report on. And even more importantly, dare I say it, the public have a right to know.


JOURNALIST: Hello, Mr Shorten,  Katherine Murphy from Guardian Australia, I want to return to the clean energy supplement but ask it differently to the way Andrew did. You said in your speech that you, in this Parliament you intended to act consistently with Labor principles, but that you aimed to be constructive. Can you tell me how cutting benefits - Newstart benefits and pensions for new recipients is consistent with Labor principles? And the second question is, we've heard your holding formulation on the marriage equality plebiscite again today. Derryn Hinch can tell us what he's going to do about the marriage quality plebiscite, Nick Xenophon can. Why can't Labor tell us in straight forward language whether or not you will support the plebiscite or whether you will kill it?

SHORTEN: In terms of clean energy supplement and the different phrasing of the same question, we're absolutely committed to Budget repair. We don't think it serves the nation or any of the Australians in it not to deal with Budget repair. And we were absolutely committed before the election to repair the Budget and we remain absolutely committed. In terms of your good question about Newstart and the impact upon low paid people, we've also said before the election we want to look at how it works out and how this decision is implemented. We'll have a good look at the Government legislation and we will be absolutely consistent with what we said before the election. 


In terms of Derryn Hinch, in terms of the Justice Party, in terms of Nick Xenophon, they don't have a lot of people to consult, do they? You know, look in the mirror and say, ‘what do you think?’ I do sometimes wonder if these small parties, if they then disagree. But in all seriousness, the marriage plebiscite is something which I've been on the record as opposing and a lot of my colleagues have. We don't accept the proposition that we should give up on the marriage plebiscite - that we have to accept that debate and give up on the idea of just having a vote in Parliament. Once Labor goes to the lowest common denominator and say we lose, well then you and everyone else moves on and we stop having the debate about the vote in Parliament and I don't want to let the Government off the hook on that.


I think legislating this issue is a far better way than dealing with it in a plebiscite. Now I'm gravely concerned, and I thought I was pretty clear in my speech before Katherine, gravely concerned about the plebiscite and the merit of the plebiscite, I'll just repeat what I said in my speech. How is it that Australians will be compelled to vote in a plebiscite which Mr Turnbull's backbench will not be compelled to accept? How is it that Australians could be fined for not voting on the plebiscite yet Mr Turnbull's people will have a leave pass not to vote after the plebiscite in the manner of the plebiscite decision. It's nonsense isn't it. $160 million, I thought Michael Kirby made a very telling point earlier this week. I mean, I can't put it as well as him but essentially amongst the points he made, he said why do gay people have to have a decision making process about whether or not they can get married which is a departure from the way this nation has legislated on all policy issues in 100 years? It's ridiculous. 

Now Malcolm Turnbull knows the right way to go here but he's captive. I've spoke to him about it. He said well, that was a policy decision made before he was leader. Yes, but he had a very clear and I thought impressive position saying just have a vote in Parliament. I don't believe a plebiscite is anywhere approaching the best option on this question. Now, I know the Government say and some of the anti-marriage equality people say ‘you've got to let the people decide’. Well the people vote for their MPs. MPs have got views on this. $160 million, compulsory, people will be fined and yet their Government backbench and Ministers don't have to buy the decision. You and I both know it's nonsense. The real issue though I think is the Government will say this is the quickest path to marriage equality. But if they really think that, then why are we even going through the process?


JOURNALIST: Thank you Mr Shorten, Mark Kenny from Fairfax Media. Just taking you back to your comments then about the plebiscite being ridiculous. That's certainly a view I've written about myself and shared that view but it is not always -

SHORTEN: I won't sue you for that.

JOURNALIST: You're very kind. It's not always been your view though, has it? I understand that you've said in the past you're not particularly fussed about a plebiscite. And just, if I can take you back quickly to the question of refugees held in offshore detention, can you just please clarify, would you agree to those people being resettled in New Zealand? 

SHORTEN: First of all you are referring to 2011 when the prospects for marriage equality through the parliament were by no means certain. What's happened is that, since then, I have always voted for marriage equality, since then, you talk to people and the best way to do it is through Parliament. You could talk to Michael Kirby or just talk to a same-sex couple. Why on earth are we requiring people in a same-sex relationship to have to go through a national opinion poll about what they think about that relationship? When we change the Family Law Act we didn't have a plebiscite. When, in 2004, when Mark Latham agreed with John Howard about changing the definition of marriage to include a man and a woman, we didn't have to put that to a plebiscite. Let's tell the truth because being straight in these matters is what really cuts through to people. The only reason the Liberals are contemplating a plebiscite is it was dreamed up as a delaying tactic. That is the only reason. Why on Earth do the rest of us have to sign up to some deal Malcolm Turnbull did to keep the leadership of the Liberal Party. Not only did I not have a vote in their Coalition room, I don't want a vote in their Coalition room. Why do the rest of us have to sign up to spending $160 million? That is a high price to pay for one man's job. And I think even more importantly than the political point there, we know it should be voted on Parliament. And we also know that if you have this debate, it's not binding, it's a waste of money and what are we putting kids, a lot of people who argue about marriage equality say it's not good for kids. What good is it for kids whose parents are same-sex attracted to have to go through this argument and be vilify and stigmatised? 


What I have said is that we're open if we were in a Government to negotiate with resettlement nations. We would go to the UNHCR and we are open to doing that, yes.


JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, just on your super position that you articulated today, is that it? I just wanted to clarify is this your final position on super? Will you then vote against what the Government puts to Parliament unless they change some change?


SHORTEN: We hope that the Government actually sits down and talks to us about this, full stop. It should be it. I can't predict what this Government is going to produce, though. If we had had a sporting bet about the Government going down the path of retrospective legislation, could I have got any takers for it? You couldn't get odds on it. You will probably get better odds for Giles getting elected in the Northern Territory. That is the fact of the matter. So I can't predict what is in the minds of the Government. But what I say to them is this, superannuants, not just the people affected, but everyone, are sick and tired of the system being mucked about with. But this retrospectivity issue is very destabilising, it is not a matter about the amount of money, there is a principal going on there. We've come up with a solution and we have improved the Budget bottom line too. And we say to the Government and this is the thrust of today's speech, on the things that we fair about like Medicare, well we are going to fight every day. But where we can get cooperation or negotiation we will do that too. And I think on superannuation, just like on the banking royal commission and if they could actually back down on their cuts to Medicare and if they could just, just get themselves off the hook they're on in terms of this plebiscite. I think they would get a lift in respect of the public. It may not be in our short-term interest but it's in the nations long-term interest and that is who I am.

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