Bill's Transcripts



SUBJECT/S: Fair Share for Western Australia Fund; Western Australia Infrastructure; GST; Newspoll

LOUISE MOMBER, HOST: Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is in Perth this week, with some grand infrastructure plans for our state. Federal Labor is promising $83 million to upgrade Midland station and extend the line to Bellevue. Mr Shorten joins me now, good morning to you.


MOMBER: First of all, why Midland?

SHORTEN: We've seen that Perth is growing, it's growing fast. And we think that when a city growing like Perth is, has public transport options, then that's a smart investment of scarce taxpayer money. And we've been talking to the West Australian Government and they said this was probably the best immediate priority for us to invest in.

MOMBER: Okay, well look it's no secret that WA is struggling with jobs and with growth. Are these your main priorities? Is infrastructure really where your heart is for Perth?

SHORTEN: There's no doubt as you say, Western Australia's been hit hard since the end of the mining boom, and it hasn't been receiving its fair share from Canberra. What I understand is that when things were good, Western Australia was paying a lot of tax to Canberra, and now I think it's reasonable to see some of that money being reinvested in Western Australia. So our priorities, we've said that we want to extend the Ellenbrook line, we've said we want to put more hospital resources at Joondalup, and now what we're saying is that we want to extend to Bellevue, and we'll be making more announcements. We've got a plan for Perth and a plan for Western Australia. I'm spending five days here visiting all around the state, and I want to hear the good ideas which Western Australians have for Western Australia.

MOMBER: Can you give us a bit of a hint on some of those announcements, because you are here for some time, until Thursday. What more can we expect?

SHORTEN: We think that roads are important; we think that rail is important; we also think that health care is important. So they're certainly some of the priorities. I'm going to be at the Wanneroo Tavern tonight having a public meeting. In other words, I think it's important that politicians come out of their ivory tower, and so we've invited people to come along and give us their views about what Western Australia needs.

MOMBER: In the past WA could say that we felt a little felt out when it comes to the Federal perspective. How important is WA to you?

SHORTEN: It's very important. The reality is that Labor federally is more competitive in West Australian than we've been for some elections. But what I understand fundamentally is people will look at either side of politics to see what plans they have for the people. What really matters to people in my opinion is what are we doing on cost of living? What are we doing on roads and public transport? What are we doing on schools and hospitals? I know that my party will do better if we talk about the issues that are important to people, not just engage in the standard political games which really turns people off politics.

MOMBER: And obviously GST and our share is a big issue for our state.

SHORTEN: Absolutely. I've spent a lot of time explaining to my colleagues in the east, that the GST is a big issue in Western Australia. Premier Mark McGowan has been quiet a forceful advocate in my thinking. We've proposed a Fair Share for Western Australia fund if we get elected. In other words, we are going to create a de facto 70 cents floor, and without getting into all the ins and outs, what that means is more infrastructure expenditure for Western Australia, specifically because they haven't been receiving their fair share.

MOMBER: There would be West Australians that would say, well you know, we will believe that when we see it. There is a year until the next election. That's obviously, you're hoping that's going to a priority for you come a year's time?

SHORTEN: Absolutely, you're right, why wouldn't West Australians be cynical about Federal politics? I buy that. But what I am also saying to West Australians is that there is no election on next Saturday. I am here well in advance of an election testing ideas, reflecting on ideas and putting out policies well in advance. People are always talking about polls and personalities. I actually don't think people really care about what I think about Malcolm Turnbull; they want to know what I am going to do to help make people's lives better. And so, what I am doing is ripping up the political play book, and putting our policies out early. And I tell you something, if Mr Turnbull and the Liberals want to copy our ideas, they should.

MOMBER: Let's talk about Malcolm Turnbull very briefly. He has lost his 30th Newspoll in a row which is what he used to roll Tony Abbott, his thinking. Do you think he should step aside as leader?

SHORTEN: Well, that's going to be a decision of the Liberal Party. I actually think that people – they’ve formed a view on the Government, I do think that. They're not happy with the Government. But I am not really sure that people care about what I think about Malcolm Turnbull, they're not going to expect me to wrap him up in a bow and say he is a great fellow. What people want me to do instead is say what I am going to do for them. See, I think the big issues in the West are jobs, hospitals, schools, cost of living. So, we are working on our policies to tackle those issues.

MOMBER: But it is a nice position to be in, to see that he has lost his 30th Poll. As Opposition Leader, you wouldn't be discounting that.

SHORTEN: I've been up in the polls and I have been down in the polls. What I have learnt is that I think people are a bit over the analysis of the polls. A poll doesn't change whether or not you get a wage rise, it doesn't help you pay the electricity bill, it doesn't help you make sure the hospital waiting list is any quicker. So, sure, I can watch it and I can watch the government rip themselves apart but more importantly, I want to convince people that they can trust us. And the only way I can convince people they can trust us is not my smart one-liners about Mr Turnbull, it's what I am I going to do for working and middle class people; the schools, the hospitals, the cost of living, the Bellevue extension, that's what I am interested in doing.

MOMBER: Ok, we will watch with interest. Enjoy the rest of your time in WA. Bill Shorten, thanks for joining us.


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