Bill's Transcripts



SUBJECTS: Labor’s plan to deliver a fair share of GST for WA; Julia Banks

PAULA KRUGER, HOST: The Opposition Leader Bill Shorten arrived in Perth yesterday for a two day visit, and he must be feeling pretty happy with the way things are going right now, and that was after the Liberal turmoil last week. Mr Shorten, good morning and welcome to ABC Radio Perth and WA. 

BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning Paula. Good morning Peter. 

KRUGER: Now I'm quoting some commentary that I heard yesterday but are you measuring up curtains for the Lodge at the moment?

SHORTEN: No. I just want to reassure Australians that despite the chaos and division that we saw last week in the Government and their inability to explain why they got rid of Malcolm Turnbull, I want to reassure Australians that what we're working on is positive reasons to vote for Labor. 
We want to earn the respect of people for our stability, our steadiness, our plans for the future. We don't want to just assume that the negatives of the current government will bleed across into positive votes for us. We want to fight for every vote.

PETER BELL, HOST: Mr Shorten you probably noticed that Western Australians care a lot about the GST and you're here talking about GST reform. What about committing to changing the GST formula the way the Liberals have?

SHORTEN: Well actually the Liberals haven't put in their final proposal. What I have said yesterday, and I've done it after consultation with Premier Mark McGowan who's been a very strong advocate for a better deal for Western Australia, as I've said the following things: 

That like the Liberals we will, and from 2019-2020 financial year ensure that Western Australia gets no less than 70 cents in every dollar that's paid. It's like a floor that doesn't stop it being above it, but that's the floor. And then again as the Government and ours are both proposing and 2024-25 we want to raise this floor to 75 cents, and we're proposing to legislate that within the first 100 days of an election.

Now the Government has come back and said "oh it’s all politics and you know, will they commit to a particular formula?"

We've said show us the detail. One thing's for sure this is my 40th visit to Western Australia as Opposition Leader, I think I've spent nearly three months here in the last five years. I'm fully conscious that Western Australia hasn't been getting a fair share.

My view of Australian Federation is that the way which we look after everyone isn't by beggaring someone else. But there's no doubt in my mind. So what we'll look at in the distribution formula is making sure that other states aren't disadvantaged, but we're going to put the floor in place because Western Australia hasn't been getting a fair deal.

KRUGER: Okay, Mr Shorten we know the Liberals want to peg the GST distribution to New South Wales and Victoria though, so do you support that general idea?

SHORTEN:  I'm not going to give the Government a blank cheque. We need to see what their final distribution recommendation is to the States. The States are going to have to agree with it. But what I've undertaken to both Premier McGowan and to Western Australians, is that we're prepared to be on a unity ticket with the Government. We just want to make sure that other States including Tassie, South Australia and Queensland don't cop it in the neck. But our commitment on the floor is unequivocal and part of the reason how we can make sure that everyone gets something, gets a proper deal, a fair deal, is that we're not giving away big tax cuts to top income earners and we haven't been pursuing corporate tax cuts, and we won't pursue them if we form a government. So we have enough money in the Budget to make sure that the West gets its fair go.

KRUGER: Now, understandably with everything that happened last week people really want some certainty right now. I'm sure you're hearing that. So WA, we want certainty on this as well. Can you commit to changing the GST formula?

SHORTEN: We need to see the final detail. Anyone who says that they can commit to something that they haven't seen is selling you something which isn't real. 
What we commit to is the floor, what we commit to is working with the Government. What we commit to is legislating the floor in our first 100 days. And listen I think essentially we probably will get to the same point on distribution.

I just want to see the final detail but we're not looking to find problems with it. Our only proviso is to make sure that the Government doesn't play any games on other states of Australia but there is no doubt in my mind the West hasn't been getting its fair deal. We'll work with the Government. This is what people want to hear out of politics. They want to say well, Bill you've been the Leader of the Opposition will you work with whoever the Liberals have currently there and I say yes. I'm interested in coming back to Western Australia, so we'll get this right.
BELL: Mr Shorten what does the floor need to be legislated, why isn't an intergovernmental agreement sufficient? That would be pretty hard to change.
SHORTEN: I think that putting in a black and white legislation just puts it beyond doubt. I mean it's not me, it's the Government has had three different Prime Ministers in the time I've been Opposition Leader. The next person along might say well that was that person and that's not me, so I'm not bound to it.
If you make it the law, then it's the floor.
KRUGER: You're on ABC Radio Perth and WA and we're talking to Bill Shorten the Opposition Leader. You're looking around WA at the moment, you've been here a few times about how many seats do you think Labor could pick up in a federal election that you haven't currently got here in WA?
SHORTEN: I think we're competitive but we're not arrogant. When I come to Western Australia I don't look at Liberal Western Australians and Labor Western Australians or you know, Independent Western Australians - I just see Western Australians. 
So what I want to do to win the votes and I want as many votes as possible, I want to do that on the basis that people respect us. On the basis they think that - you know, this morning parents will have packed their kids off to school, I want to make sure that their schools that they're sending their kids to are well funded. 
There'll be people today right across the State both in the regions and in Perth who are on elective surgery waiting lists. We want to try and do what we can to reduce that. There'll be people last night who checked into emergency departments with severe episodic mental illness, but where will they go today? Where's the aftercare? We've got people waiting for aged care packages of support. 
For me, politics isn't about a particular title or a particular job, it's about what we do to improve the control that people have over their own lives. So if your family's okay and your health is okay, then I've found a lot of other things start falling into place. So that's how we're going to win votes by not thinking of ourselves but thinking about what we do to cut the rubbish out and just get on with the job.
KRUGER: Bill Shorten, yesterday we heard from Julia Banks who is from your home State of Victoria. She made some allegations against Liberal MPs but she also mentioned Labor MPs in there as well. Have you investigated whether there's any substance to the claims that she made about people in your Party?
SHORTEN: I've tried to ring her to find out what she meant but I think to be fair to Labor her comments have come after the last week of Liberal infighting. I do think that anyone who is feeling bullied has a right to a safe workplace. The one thing to have adversarial politics where we contest the ideas of each side of politics but we've got to a world where it's the politics of destruction. I mean to be honest the Liberals boast about having a 'Kill Bill' strategy. So I do feel for her, she's a talented woman. We don't agree on policy but I've got to know her a little bit. If the Liberals can't hold women like that in their ranks they have a problem that's not being political it's just stating the obvious but I do think last week's taken a big toll within the Liberal Party. I do think that's what's triggered Julia stepping down and I think politics is the worse for it. All of us should be reminded to behave better. But I do think the Liberal Party, what we've seen with their division, they're not going to heal this quickly. 
BELL: Mr Shorten, Julia Banks specifically mentioned both parties. Is Parliament a safe workplace for women?
SHORTEN:  I do think that there's too much bullying goes on and by that, I don't necessarily know what has happened to her and I don't have the facts but I have seen some of the Government rush to say oh it's all made up or that's just life. Sure, in adversarial politics you're going to disagree and things get said but I don't know what has gone on last week. I don't know who got heavied on what but clearly something has gone wrong here.
KRUGER: Mr Shorten thanks for joining us. That's the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten joining you on ABC Radio Perth and WA.


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