Bill's Transcripts







SUBJECTS: Turnbull’s citizenship crisis.

BASIL ZEMPILAS, HOST: Welcome back to Sunrise. Senator Sam Dastyari has been confronted by a far-right group at a pub in Melbourne. Mr Dastyari was racially heckled by members of Patriot Blue who filmed the exchange on a mobile phone.

Now the Labor Senator attempted to brush off the men later calling them cowardly white nationalists on social media. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten joins us from Brisbane this morning, Mr Shorten thank you for your time. What are your thoughts on that ugly confrontation last night?

BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Well you're right Basil it was ugly I saw the footage, I was disgusted by the idiots calling Sam shocking names not worth repeating. I rang Senator Sam, he was in good spirits. But you know what is this country coming to when you can't go out and have a meal without being abused by idiots and by racist idiots. So I congratulate Sam for keeping his cool but these people are just idiots and whatever their cause is it's not worth having a bar of.

ZEMPILAS: I think we all agree with you on that one alright let's move on to the citizenship debacle now your two hour meeting with the Prime Minister failed to find a resolution. The main sticking points, the time frame given for MPs - you want five days the PM wants longer, about three weeks to prove due diligence in confirming eligibility. Now the one thing you could agree on was that this has to be dealt with by the end of the year. Will it be Mr Shorten?

SHORTEN: I don't think the nation can continue into the New Year with this Government crisis. The meeting was constructive. You know, Malcolm explained his views he has, as we know he's had a change of heart, he did not want to do anything about all of the MPs. I formed the view that after you have revelation after revelation and even after the High Court, you had the President of the Senate sort of putting his hand up and saying I've got a problem and senior Ministers knew about it. I thought in this very unusual set of circumstances I think MPs do need to demonstrate what steps they have taken to renounce foreign citizenship. It is the Constitution, the High Court set a very clear test. So we didn't get there yesterday but I am confident that in coming days we can get an agreed process.

ZEMPILAS: Well on confidence can I ask you Mr Shorten, can you assure us that as of the last election all Labor MPs and Senators are eligible to sit in this current parliament?

SHORTEN: Yes I can, I am satisfied Labor has a very stringent vetting system and I think this is really, but what I want to see is one rule for every parliamentarian. And what I've said to Malcolm is that really this crisis has been going on for months so he wants to have more and more days in December to resolve it, I don't think we need that.

I think that - I know that Parliament is due to resume at the end of November, five days after that everyone puts their case on the table and let's fix it, let's see what we're dealing with. Malcolm wanted a longer period of time than that, I think the patience of the Australian population is not wearing thin it's exhausted.

ZEMPILAS: Mr Shorten, I think the problem you've got here on both sides of parliament is the MPs get a grey area and are being allowed some room to move for a grey area. We don't get it, ordinary Australians out on the street don't get that grey area if you're 18 you can't say I think I'm 18 can you let me into the nightclub.

SHORTEN: Well, to just correct you slightly, first of all the - we can't have a grey area I agree, and secondly Labor doesn't want a grey area. We're the ones who said last week enough is enough. Now initially Mr Turnbull didn't agree, he sort of put me down and sneered and said we don't need to do that. I think for reasons only known to him this week, perhaps there's more trouble to come from within the Government, he's had a change of heart.

I just want to say to the Australian people who are really jacked off with this whole circus of a crisis, Labor wants to fix it. We want to do it once, we want to do it right. What we want to do is uphold the Constitution and the High Court's interpretation. Now in coming days we're going to put what our lawyers say is the law and I think we'll get there but I do agree it is just a circus at the moment.

ZEMPILAS: Yeah time to get it fixed that's for sure.

SHORTEN: My word it is.

ZEMPILAS: Mr Shorten, thank you for your time.

SHORTEN: Good morning.


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