SKY NEWS, AM AGENDA
MONDAY, 26 NOVEMBER 2018
SUBJECTS: Labor’s plan for more renewable energy and cheaper power; Victorian Election, National Integrity Commission; Adani.
GILBERT: Our top story this morning the fall out of the Victorian election, joining us now is the most senior figure in the Labor Party from Victoria, Bill Shorten the Opposition Leader. Mr Shorten thanks so much for your time, what do you say to members of the Government who are questioning whether there are federal issues at play in the result at the weekend?
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Well first of all I must say congratulations to Dan Andrews and his team, it's his win, it's Victorian Labor's win. I was handing out on Saturday, I live in Victoria, I campaigned in the state election, if the Federal Liberal Party believe that there's no message for the Liberal brand in Australia well that's up to them. How they sort of do the post mortem and the recriminations, I'm not going to get involved in, but what I saw on Saturday is what I've seen all around Australia, better schools and better hospitals trumps cuts and chaos and division.
What I heard on Saturday as I was handing out in the suburbs of Melbourne, people saying they are sick of the division in the Liberal Party they just want some continuity, some stability – they also want long term vision. So the message I've taken from Victoria is a positive one, stick to the policies, stick to looking after the people, stay united and stable as we have for over five years and people will reward you.
JAYES: Dan Andrews was claiming the mantle of the most progressive Government in Australia, is that something you would like to be able to claim if you win?
SHORTEN: We're certainly more progressive than the current government in Canberra. Listen, I'll let our actions speak for ourselves rather than me put tags on how we will be as a government, my aim is to get elected first but what I can promise Australians is for example, if you've got a three or four year old we'll make sure they get access to kindergarten for free. We'll make sure we reduce the waiting lists for aged care, I want first home buyers when they go to the auctions on a Saturday to be able to compete on a level playing field, we want to get the energy prices down and we want to get wages moving.
So we're going to let our actions speak for themselves, that's what people want these days – less rhetoric and more just get on with the job.
GILBERT: The lead now you've got in the Newspoll is ten points, the result in the Wentworth by-election was diabolical for the Government, this result in Victoria it's yours to lose now isn't it, this election, a hundred per cent.
SHORTEN: Well Mr Morrison will have to call an election in the next five months, they have to. What we're going to do is take nothing for granted, the people haven't voted yet. I noticed the Government saying – assuming that we think we are going to win, I don't have that view.
People come up to me in the street and they say take a long holiday, go on a cruise you know, it's in the bag - I don't have that view for two reasons. One, the people haven't decided and it would be arrogant to take that and two, I actually think what people want is policy strength, ideas - what are we going to do for the people.
So we're going to keep sticking to our plan, roll out the ideas. We announced batteries for households, two million households have got solar panels we just want to get people to get control of power prices.
JAYES: Daniel Andrews had a big spending agenda, do you recognise that there is a difference between state and federal sphere in that, do you have to have more fiscal responsibility in that sense and where is that in your list of priorities?
SHORTEN: Fiscal responsibility is important, I don't accept the Liberal argument that somehow Dan Andrews isn't fiscally responsible, they've made some very strong decisions. But we've been making hard economic reforms, my economic team of Chris Bowen and Jim Chalmers and the others, we've been making serious economic reform proposals to explain how we pay for our changes. We've lead the debate about reforming the taxation of multinationals who don't pay their fair share in Australia, we've made it clear that we want to wind back unsustainable tax concessions.
So every promise we make, we can pay for plus more because we understand that what matters in politics is to hand on a better deal to the next generation, that includes making sure we don't have national debt ballooning, it's doubled under the Liberals.
GILBERT: It looks like the Treasurer, Mr Frydenberg will go to a Budget in April, election in May, many of them see this as their last roll of the dice - to deliver a surplus and say look we're the economic guardians. How do you respond to that?
SHORTEN: Well, if they have a surplus we think this is a good thing but it's because there's increased taxation on companies. The Government can take some pleasure from the surplus but the reason why we will have a surplus is because Australian corporations are paying more company tax.
JAYES: What's the problem with that?
SHORTEN: Nothing at all, all I'm saying is that when we talk about fiscal management what happens in Australia is that it's not the politicians who drive for good fiscal outcomes in Australia it is the companies, it's the people who go to work.
My concern is that in Australia at the moment whilst we've got good corporate profits and that's why we have the surplus, what we don't have is proper wages movement in this country. Corporate profits are increasing by ten per cent, wages by two per cent. Too many ordinary Australians are missing out on wage rises they're dipping into the family savings, they're living on the family credit card just to pay the ordinary outgoing expenses of weekly life in this country.
JAYES: Daniel Andrews' mantra was 'getting things done' and he's able to do that now because Labor controls both Houses in Victoria, you might not be so lucky. How do you propose to deal with the Senate if you are Prime Minister? Will you be pragmatic, will you negotiate with the right and the left, how will that work under your Prime Ministership?
SHORTEN: It will work cooperatively and constructively. I always had the view, back from my days representing workers in negotiations with employers, that no one has got a monopoly on having all the good ideas. The sort of leader I'd be if I was Prime Minister is I'll work with the crossbench and I'll work with the Liberal opposition if I was Prime Minister.
What this country needs is for us to work together more, that's why I'm proposing this week to work with Mr Morrison on a National Integrity Commission. Most people don't understand why the current Prime Minister has never publically gone on the record backing an anti-corruption commission at the national level, let's work together.
On the energy policy, we've offered to pick up the National Energy Guarantee which as you would know, was championed by Mr Turnbull, Mr Frydenberg and Mr Morrison.
JAYES: But why didn't you do that when Malcolm Turnbull was Prime Minister?
SHORTEN: Well he couldn't even bring it to the Parliament.
JAYES: But why didn't you agree to it? The National Energy Guarantee framework was all there.
SHORTEN: Yeah you're right, we did want to see it but the problem is Mr Turnbull couldn't even bring it to the Parliament and we encouraged him to, we thought this was a good thing to do but this is the big problem in Australia and I didn't want to talk too much about my opponents. But the Liberal Party in Australia has lost the ability to say anything other than no. You know, they've got that right-wing half they're against climate change, energy, lower energy bills and tackling climate change, they say no then the Liberal Party has got to say no because they don't want to look more divided then they already are and nothing happens in Australia.
I think we saw on Saturday the frustration with do nothing negativity.
GILBERT: And do you feel emboldened by the result in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne? I guess everywhere in Victoria in relation to your position on climate change and your Emission Reduction Targets and so on, is that reflective of a broader view nationwide?
SHORTEN: I think the nation is sick and tired after ten years of arguing about climate change that we just don't get on with it. Energy prices have just gone up and up and up, in Sydney, 26 per cent on average nationally, 19 per cent. You see a lot of businesses in Australia are struggling under the weight of massive gas price increases.
So something's got to give and this constant opposition to taking real action on climate change, this sort of zealot almost anti-science attitude part of the Liberal Party has meant that there's been no policy certainty which means there can be no new investment in new energy generation and if there's not new energy generation, prices go up.
GILBERT: And just one related question on that, Adani, have you got a definitive position on that yet in terms of when you will back it or you won't?
SHORTEN: We've said that we don't want to see any Commonwealth tax-payer money directly or indirectly go into it, we've seen the missed deadlines, we're sceptics. We've said no taxpayer money should be used in this proposition.
JAYES: That's essentially fence sitting though, isn't it?
SHORTEN: Not at all, it depends if you want federal tax money or not.
JAYES: Okay, Bill Shorten well it's good to see you in the mothership in Canberra-
JAYES: Will we see you again –
GILBERT: You like it?
JAYES: - during the election campaign back on First Edition?
SHORTEN: Yeah, sure.
JAYES: You've enjoyed yourself then?
SHORTEN: I always enjoy talking to you guys.