THE TODAY SHOW
THURSDAY, 4 OCTOBER 2018
SUBJECTS: Labor’s National Preschool and Kindy Program; Labor’s crackdown on unaffordable tax concessions for the top end of town; GST; royal visit.
KARL STEFANOVIC, HOST: Bill Shorten joins me now. Bill, good morning to you.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning Karl.
STEFANOVIC: Fill us in on the details of this one, how will it work?
SHORTEN: Well all the research and science and experts make it clear that the more early years learning we can give our kids before they go to school, it just absolutely, quantum improves their learning experience at schools. So Labor has made a decision that we want to offer universal preschool, 15 hours a week, 40 weeks of the year, to all three and four year olds in Australia.
Some of the smartest countries in the world are doing it; Australia has fallen behind. So we want to do that. It will help parents with the cost three year old kindy and we'll be able to do it because we are winding back some of the unaffordable tax concessions at the top end which we currently pay to some Australians. I'd rather invest in the next generation of our kids.
STEFANOVIC: I was going to ask you that, how are you going to fund it?
SHORTEN: Well, we've been doing a lot of hard work in the last five years as a united and stable opposition. We're not willing to face the next election and just rely on the Government's mistakes to get us across the line, our democratic system is too important.
We're going to offer a positive vision for the future and it starts by saying, let's give our kids 15 years of learning and education in Australia and we think this will make a really big difference to the next generation - a better deal.
STEFANOVIC: But just paying for it though, where are you going to get the money?
SHORTEN: Well we are winding back the negative gearing tax concessions on future houses and we are also making other changes to the system of taxation, which will see that some tax concessions which are given to the top end won't be so generous in the future, and instead we're going to use that money to educate the next generation of Australians.
STEFANOVIC: What will happen to the housing market if you do that?
SHORTEN: Well, first of all, we have said that if you currently negatively gear, you will keep negative gearing. So it has no change to any Australian watching this show today.
But in the future we have to make a decision, do we want to give a tax break to a property investor purchasing their tenth house or do we want to make sure that all Aussie kids get access to three year old preschool?
All of the experts show that 90 per cent of a child's brain develops before they turn five. So we need to make sure that they're getting age appropriate, quality learning in their early years. I think that's a much better investment for the future of this country.
STEFANOVIC: The problem is the Coalition are almost back in surplus, they are just better at managing the economy, aren’t they?
SHORTEN: No, not at all. Did you know Karl that since they have got into power they have doubled the national debt? And what we have also seen is that they've had deficit upon deficit. Now, of course, they're relying on some increased corporate tax take but the real issue here is that the national debt is now north of half a trillion dollars. That means effectively, every man, woman and child when the Coalition got in had about $9000 of national debt, now it's north of $20,000. The other thing -
STEFANOVIC: When was the last time Labor had a surplus, in government?
SHORTEN: Oh back in the 80s mate, but neither government has managed to produce a surplus - the Coalition hasn't managed to produce a surplus since they've been in power this time around.
And when we talk about managing the economy how about this for a number: wages growth is the lowest it’s been on record just about. What we see is corporate profits are up but under Coalition governments, if you are very well off in this country you do really well.
But if you're not, well you just wait for a wage rise. Do you know most Aussies say to me when I travel around everything is going up in Australia, except their wages.
STEFANOVIC: The state governments aren't happy again with the GST carve up, will you support the changes?
SHORTEN: We do think that Western Australia has had a bad deal in the past, but we've got to make sure that if we legislate to give a better deal to Western Australia, which is what Labor has called for, that we just make sure that no other state is worse off. I think it's very important that Mr Morrison doesn't rush this, what we've got to do is make sure Western Australia gets a proper deal but no other state should be worse off. It's possible to do, absolutely.
STEFANOVIC: Okay, despite Labor being well in front, Scott Morrison is selling a better story at the moment isn't he? He's miles in front of you personally on personal approval ratings. Do you worry about that?
SHORTEN: Well I don't think this country is getting a better deal from the third Liberal Prime Minister in five years. I don't think they do have a clear plan except to respond to events.
You and I Karl, and a whole lot of Australians are fed up with politics which is very short-term. What people want from both sides of politics is vision. What we are announcing today is about giving a better deal to the next generation. That's why I want to be Prime Minister, to give a better deal to the next generation of Australians.
STEFANOVIC: If the approval ratings keep going the way they are, you're not going to start looking over your shoulder are you? Albo is ravenous.
SHORTEN: No listen, I've been very lucky with my team in the last five years. I'm on my third Liberal Prime Minister and I think that if you want to look at disunity you've got to look at the Government don't you.
I mean the fact of the matter is, have they explained why they got rid of Malcolm Turnbull yet?
STEFANOVIC: One final one for you, I was thinking about you at length the other day, not that I do a lot of that -
SHORTEN: Yeah, okay.
STEFANOVIC: - a mad republican you must be incredibly pumped about this royal visit?
SHORTEN: Yeah, I've got to say that I think we should have an Australian head of state but my family, my eight year old is driving me crazy to meet Meghan Markle - there's no question that the royals - that every little girl loves a princess.
STEFANOVIC: She has got very good taste, good on you thanks for your time Bill.
SHORTEN: Cheers, see you mate.