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Transcript of interview with Neil Mitchell and Bill Shorten: Radio 3AW - Mornings: 9 November 2012



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RADIO 3AW

MORNINGS WITH NEIL MITCHELL 9 NOVEMBER 2012

E&OE………………………………………………………………………………… NEIL MITCHELL: Okay, left and right with us, Workplace Relations Minister, Bill Shorten. Good Morning.

BILL SHORTEN: Good morning, Neil. How are you?

NEIL MITCHELL: Are you texting somebody?

BILL SHORTEN: No, I'm checking some research for this interview.

NEIL MITCHELL: Very good of you, and the shadow treasurer - you shouldn't text and talk.

BILL SHORTEN: No.

NEIL MITCHELL: Joe Hockey, good morning.

JOE HOCKEY: Or do your lipstick while you're doing it as well [laughs]. Good morning.

BILL SHORTEN: That’s the difference between Melbourne and Sydney Joe.

JOE HOCKEY: [laughs] NEIL MITCHELL: Okay, gents can I start with a very serious one; we now have very specific allegations in New South Wales of cover-up within the Catholic church over paedophilia. The police in Victoria have alleged the same thing.

There is a - I believe, a piddling little state enquiry underway here, but New South Wales Premer said it's up to police. I've argued this morning there needs to be a federal royal commission here with the powers to subpoena everybody from Cardinal Pell down, and demand answers. Bill Shorten, is that the way to go?

BILL SHORTEN: I've thought about this question a lot, both through discussions with you, but also personal experience. At my parish where I used to go to mass at Sacred Heart in Oakleigh, the priests there encouraged me to become an alter boy, and I asked my mum about that.

And mum always made a point of taking us to mass, but she said there's other things you've got to do, and I always wondered if I didn't have a lucky escape because of the wisdom of my mother, because that priest there then went to jail, and he had been a shocking abuser. I then - my second sort of...

NEIL MITCHELL: [Interrupts] So you might have dodged being a victim.

BILL SHORTEN: Yes, and so the second - and it's like one of about 28 things I owe my mum. But the second brush I had was when I was a lawyer, and a law firm was acting for victims of errant clergy, and the abuse of trust is fundamental, and there's no excuses, and it's real and this is not a couple of cases.

It's - even if it was a couple of cases it would be unacceptable, but it's a substantial and modern problem. So I saw that as a preface, and I know people hate long winded answered, but I have thought about this question; how do you best deal with it?

Radio 3AW - Mornings with Neil Mitchell Friday, 9 November 2012 Errors and Omissions Excepted

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Now, I am not convinced that having a royal commission is going to fix the faults. What I do think though and I look at how the system's become better at dealing with issues around rape. Once upon a time women were the victim - women still are the victims of sexual assault and attack, but once upon a time the system dealt with it very badly, and I think part of this crisis is that there's a perception that big organised institutions who do wonderful things for lots of people are perceived - and I think in some cases rightly, not to have dealt with the issues.

NEIL MITCHELL: So what do we do? If it's not a royal commission, what is it?

BILL SHORTEN: Well, I listened - Frank Brennan who's a progressive independent thinking priest made a good speech. He said that the institution had a problem, for when you have senior and intelligent people calling it for what it is, that is a step forward.

I do think that we need to make it comp - as it is now, but it needs to be compulsory whenever there's reports, that institutions have to report it to police.

NEIL MITCHELL: What? Mandatory reporting?

BILL SHORTEN: Has to be. I also think that...

NEIL MITCHELL: [Interrupts] Because they're exempt at the moment.

BILL SHORTEN: Well, I do think that mandatory reporting has to be an issue. It has to be considered. I also think that with our police, they're stretched to seven different ways, all the week long. I think there probably is a case if we say that this is a problem, that we have to be fair dinkum about assisting the police to become even better than what they are, and I'm not saying they're bad, but just as we did - at handling these matters - just as we did with rape, we now have - like for instance, some of the basics; women report - can report these matters to women police.

NEIL MITCHELL: Yeah, but you're talking about - well, actually sorry, look I won't get to that point. Joe Hockey, we'll get to that in a moment as part of the discussion - Joe Hockey, your view? Does it need a federal royal commission?

JOE HOCKEY: Well, I tend to agree with Bill here. I'm torn on the issue, Neil. I know...

NEIL MITCHELL: You Catholic as well?

JOE HOCKEY: Yeah, I am, but I mean, like Bill I had - well, I had friends that were interfered with. Not at...

NEIL MITCHELL: Really?

JOE HOCKEY: Not at the school that I was at, I hasten to add, and I never saw anything at the school I was at, but...

NEIL MITCHELL: [Interrupts] But within the religious system.

JOE HOCKEY: Yeah.

NEIL MITCHELL: Well, isn't it extraordinary that two senior people like you, and you've both had personal contact with it. That's horrendous.

BILL SHORTEN: It shows that it is a wide-spread issue.

NEIL MITCHELL: It does.

BILL SHORTEN: So the question is; how do you best help the victims, and how do you stop it happening again?

NEIL MITCHELL: Well, that's part of it, but somebody has to be accountable as well. BILL SHORTEN: Absolutely.

NEIL MITCHELL: The cover-up is modern day. It is not just history.

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BILL SHORTEN: I believe there's been a cover-up. When I was a lawyer - ultimately it's a criminal matter. We need to provide both the victims and the police with the capacity to seek their address and that those involved in the cover-up have to be exposed.

The only thing which we're debating here, and part of my gut instinct thinks oh well a royal commission will get to the bottom of it, but the reality is we've got to the heart of the matter. The problem is that institutions have covered up

and delayed and dissembled. These matters - one of the terrible things about this sort of assault, is that the victim can be in their early teens, for instance, and maybe it takes ten, twenty, thirty years to work through the confusion, the humiliation to the sense of rage. When you're investigating things twenty and thirty years...

NEIL MITCHELL: Of course.

BILL SHORTEN: ...I think a system where we have the police properly resourced, properly empathetic, institutions who own the problem - I know it's not - it's...

NEIL MITCHELL: Well, Joe Hockey, what do you think? I mean you've started to say you're torn. You're torn between a royal commission and other ideas, or what?

JOE HOCKEY: Yeah, look I agree. I mean, what do you have? A royal commission to the Catholic church? I mean, that's ridiculous.

NEIL MITCHELL: No, it's not. There's a conspiracy that...

JOE HOCKEY: Well, and I think there is a conspiracy. I agree, but I think it's a conspiracy that is much broader than what may be the case in the Catholic church. It is much broader. I mean, you know, it has - paedophilia is the most evil - just about the most evil thing that I can think of, the most evil being genocide, but and for the victims of paedophilia it must feel like that, and from my perspective, I think you've got to follow the trails, but...

NEIL MITCHELL: But this is the point; we're not. We're not. We've got a state government committee - three people sitting occasionally here in Victoria.

JOE HOCKEY: Yeah.

NEIL MITCHELL: We've got New South Wales police saying oh well - and they're being accused of cover-up today. They're being accused...

JOE HOCKEY: [Interrupts] Yeah. Oh no, they're very serious. I agree, Neil. I'm not - please don't think in any way - I mean, it's just a question of how to do it - of how to do it, and I understand the anger. I understand the highest level of investigation is the one that you automatically turn to, but I'm so incredibly mindful of the victims, and I know victims.

I know them. I have friends who have been victims, and if you ask them to give evidence before a court, they wouldn't do it. There's no way they would do it. All they want to see is for it to stop and for the wounds to heal, and having, you know, a public enquiry would traumatise them. So I don't know the answer. I honestly don't.

BILL SHORTEN: I think that we need to make - and this is not a criticism of the police, because I think that they do marvellous things with scarce resources - but we need to make the police investigatory system more user friendly.

NEIL MITCHELL: How? Are we going to give them more money?

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BILL SHORTEN: Well, we've done it - we've improved the way we do it with rape, and I think there may be some of the examples there, which show that you make it more empathetic, you don't dismiss people. You need people to investigate these matters who are skilled at it - not fanatics, but who are skilled at it. I can't tar all of organised religion with this.

NEIL MITCHELL: Of course. Not even priests.

BILL SHORTEN: Sure no, but having said that, this probably next sentence is probably a bit more controversial. I don't want to create a witch-hunt society. On one hand you've got to make sure that the victims really do get their sense of justice -that they can get a sense of power back that these predators have stolen off them.

On the other hand, an accusation is not proof. So what we need to do is to, I think - that doesn't mean the status quo's acceptable, and maybe there needs to be a national conversation about how we provide more funds and support for efficient investigation - a timely investigation, more training for appropriate investigations. We need to have more support. Just as we have women's refuges, maybe we need more victim support services.

NEIL MITCHELL: Okay. Are you still a Catholic, Bill Shorten?

BILL SHORTEN: Ah, no.

NEIL MITCHELL: Joe Hockey?

JOE HOCKEY: Yep.

NEIL MITCHELL: Despite this? How can you trust the church?

JOE HOCKEY: Well, I think the church is bigger than - I mean belief in God is bigger than in participating...

NEIL MITCHELL: Oh faith is. Faith is. I don't know about the church being...

BILL SHORTEN: Oh, well let's run an example where if you like, even if - AIDS. When AIDS started to really become prevalent in Australian society, Catholic hospitals were marvellous. Now, it's not a story which gets a lot of telling.

NEIL MITCHELL: Well, nobody's denying the church has done some great things and great things have been done in the name of the church.

BILL SHORTEN: Yeah, but there's no question in my mind that periodically there have been cover-ups by people in authority who, rather than deal with the miscreant, errant bad priests, have just shifted them around and denied the issue.

NEIL MITCHELL: We'll take a break and move onto some other issues in a moment, including jobs for kids.

[Ad break]

NEIL MITCHELL: Joe Hockey in Sydney; Bill Shorten in Melbourne. Paul, go ahead please.

CALLER PAUL: G'day Bill and Joe. How are you going? Just wanted to ask you guys whether or not you can follow up Detective Inspector Fox's comment last night on Lateline, of which senior police officer took him off the case.

NEIL MITCHELL: Okay, Peter Fox is the officer, the detective inspector who said he'd been removed from the case because he's getting too close to cover ups. Effectively, that's what he said. Well, Joe Hockey, you're in New South Wales. Should that be investigated?

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JOE HOCKEY: Well, yes it should.

NEIL MITCHELL: By whom?

JOE HOCKEY: The state government.

NEIL MITCHELL: Bill Shorten?

BILL SHORTEN: Yes, when you've got a senior officer, there may be a perfectly legitimate explanation why he was taken off but this is a matter that can be investigated. It's a specific issue which goes to whether or not the processes are being followed and in the earlier answers I gave I said it's important that we have the best possible investigation and support for victims. That falls within that test pretty clearly.

JOE HOCKEY: And I'm sure the Police Commissioner Scipione here in New South Wales will investigate it.

NEIL MITCHELL: Joe Hockey, I was talking - and I'll ask you both this. I was talking to a young Irish woman yesterday who was working as a receptionist in my dental surgery and she'd been in this country a short while because she couldn't get any work and she was telling me that her family - she came from a large family. She had siblings all round the world because there was no work in Ireland. One was in the United States, one in Canada, one in New Zealand and she was in Australia. They just had to leave home looking for work.

The youth unemployment rate is now up to 12 and a half per cent. That's the highest in the decade. What would you do about it if you were running things?

JOE HOCKEY: Well, you've got to get some momentum in the economy and you've got to get some employment confidence going. The population in Australia - and this has been the problem in Ireland. The population in Australia is growing so much so that we need to create around 17,000 new jobs every month just to keep up with the rising population and last month we created 10,700 jobs.

The first to go are younger employees, often because the cost of, you know, or the risk associated with employing someone with no employment history are there and they haven't necessarily got the skills. And if you want to get things going you've got to understand, firstly, that it's the private sector that employs people.

NEIL MITCHELL: So you'll grow the economy?

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JOE HOCKEY: You've got to grow the economy and also unquestionably - and Bill can answer this - there are some problems with the industrial relations system that need to be addressed that are currently making it harder and not easier to employ people.

NEIL MITCHELL: Okay, Bill Shorten?

BILL SHORTEN: Well, I'm happy to talk industrial relations with you, Joe, and in fact, perhaps what we should do is…

JOE HOCKEY: Oh, have another public [unclear]. You've been saying this…

BILL SHORTEN: Have another one?

JOE HOCKEY: What's happened now?

BILL SHORTEN: Have another one? I missed the first one we had, Joe. But on the issue…

JOE HOCKEY: You were there, Bill.

BILL SHORTEN: On the issue…

JOE HOCKEY: It was out at the university campus.

BILL SHORTEN: Oh my God, that was back in the Stone Age, Joe. What? '04 or something?

JOE HOCKEY: No, no, no, it was 19 - 2006.

BILL SHORTEN: It's still seared on…

JOE HOCKEY: The Stone Age. 2007 actually; 2007 it was.

BILL SHORTEN: Only five years ago.

NEIL MITCHELL: Six years ago.

BILL SHORTEN: Five football teams have won grand final premierships since you and I last -anyway, let's have an IR debate but in this - on the issue of your proposition about youth unemployment, there has been a decline in the number of 15-19 year olds in work, but a number which doesn't get the same coverage is that since October '08, 63,400 people in this age group are now - extra people - are now studying.

Now that doesn't explain all of the unemployment but what we're seeing is a couple of factors. One is more 15-19 year olds are staying at school or in apprenticeship training than ever before. The other thing is between 1993 and 2005 there was what you would call - the demographers would call or the population experts - a baby drought. So there's…

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NEIL MITCHELL: Drought?

JOE HOCKEY: A drought.

BILL SHORTEN: …far fewer 15-19…

JOE HOCKEY: That's why we had the baby bonus, mate.

BILL SHORTEN: Yeah, but that's why we've still got it. The proposition, though, is that between '93 and 2005 - and if you say your policies were designed to help deal with that, that means you recognise my point that there are - these 15-19 year olds and 20-24 year olds are going to head into a period of time where, actually, there's fewer of them and more people passing retirement age. So I think some of these problems will shake out.

NEIL MITCHELL: So we sort of - we'll grow through the…

BILL SHORTEN: I believe that but I also believe the best thing we can do for 15-19 year olds and 20-24 year olds is give them an education. The best job security in the future is going to be to have as many skills as possible. In terms of your line about industrial relations leading to mass sackings, that isn't backed up by any data.

JOE HOCKEY: No, I didn't say mass sackings.

BILL SHORTEN: But I thought your implication was, the question about unemployment, then you said Bill, how about, you know, it's IR, you said I have a question, what about industrial relations.

JOE HOCKEY: Well IR does have a role to play. There's no doubt. You know that.

BILL SHORTEN: Okay, so where's your evidence.

JOE HOCKEY: Well, I think you've just got to anecdotally speak to…

BILL SHORTEN: No.

JOE HOCKEY: Well, hang on. I actually spend a lot of time speaking to business around the country and they say, you know, their starting point is I'm not going to employ this new person, I'm not going to employ this young person, I have to train them up if I haven't got work coming in the door and, quite frankly, in some cases they're saying that they're paying up to 45 dollars to pay an 18 year old to clear plates and cups off - 45 dollars an hour - to get them to clear plates and cups off a coffee shop floor or tables on a Sunday morning.

NEIL MITCHELL: Okay.

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BILL SHORTEN: Joe, you know that's an exaggeration. This idea that we've got this cashed-up youth generation between…

JOE HOCKEY: No, no, no, no. I'm just pointing it out. I'm just pointing out what people have to pay…

BILL SHORTEN: No, I heard your point.

JOE HOCKEY: …with forced penalty rates and so on.

BILL SHORTEN: I heard your point. I was just responding to it. This idea that there's this cashed-up, pocket-rich generation running around getting 45 dollars every hour they get up and go to work is not true. That is a Liberal myth.

JOE HOCKEY: No, no, you're saying that no one…

BILL SHORTEN: No, I'm saying that if you work…

JOE HOCKEY: No 18 year old working on a Sunday morning is being 45 bucks an hour…

BILL SHORTEN: Well…

JOE HOCKEY: …to do those sorts of jobs. Is that what you're saying?

BILL SHORTEN: I tell you what, mate, if you can find me more than a dozen, I'll shout you a cup of tea.

JOE HOCKEY: More than a - shout me a cup of tea.

NEIL MITCHELL: Okay, well, we'll see if we can find some. Is there any employer who's paying 45 dollars an hour to an 18 year old on a Sunday morning to do anything? Just a quick question, though, as we need to wrap up. Do you, Joe Hockey, think there's too much advertising of gambling? Should we be cutting back or restricting, have greater restrictions of advertising of gambling?

JOE HOCKEY: Yes and you know what really angers me is advertising during the course of sport, for people to place bets on the game as it's going on and I've raised that with the gaming industry and they said that they've pulled back their ads but…

NEIL MITCHELL: There's no sign of it.

JOE HOCKEY: You know, I just - I had - it's just wrong and I'll tell you, I just - that I'm choosing my words very carefully here in relation to horse racing and I know what's - you know, how important horse racing is in Victoria at the moment. It sort of - it disheartens me how close the relationship is between people running betting operations and participants in a sporting industry.

NEIL MITCHELL: Bill Shorten, would you restrict the advertising?

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BILL SHORTEN: I think the provision of moving odds as sporting events are going on, I think that is problematic. In terms of how we improve betting…

JOE HOCKEY: That is hard to control, to be fair…

BILL SHORTEN: It is.

JOE HOCKEY: …because they can do it overseas and offer the…

BILL SHORTEN: It is but I tell you what would be a good first start: if all the states could agree on Race Fields Legislation so that - in Victoria and New South Wales, the big bricks-and-mortar operations, unlike some of the online sports bookies in other states, they're paying taxes. Some of the online operators aren't and the racing product doesn't receive the same return from the online operators.

JOE HOCKEY: Yeah, that's a fair comment.

NEIL MITCHELL: Okay, final word for you both goes to James. Yes, James?

CALLER JAMES: Yeah, how are you going, guys? I'll give you your first one towards your view, Joe. My daughter worked in a call centre, worked on Cup day and she was on 47 bucks an hour as a result of it.

NEIL MITCHELL: How old is she?

CALLER JAMES: Eighteen years old.

NEIL MITCHELL: 47 dollars an hour in a call centre. There's one.

BILL SHORTEN: Well, Cup day comes once a year.

JOE HOCKEY: No, it doesn't.

NEIL MITCHELL: And by the way…

BILL SHORTEN: Okay, well let's unpack it. Was it the TAB call centre which has had…

JOE HOCKEY: Well, it doesn't matter who it is. So far, you've…

CALLER JAMES: No, no, it wasn't the TAB call centre. It's a call centre that handles a host of utilities and different sort of businesses but…

BILL SHORTEN: I've got no hassle with people getting penalty rates working Cup day.

NEIL MITCHELL: But not - but on Sunday mornings?

BILL SHORTEN: Well, that was Cup day. Cup day wasn't Sunday morning.

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NEIL MITCHELL: Well what's your attitude on Sunday mornings? Are you happy for 45 bucks an hour?

BILL SHORTEN: I just don't accept that there's an epidemic of low-paid people every other day…

NEIL MITCHELL: Easter, Good Friday, Christmas day, Labour Day?

BILL SHORTEN: Well, do you know what? Yeah, I actually back people getting penalty rates on public holidays.

JOE HOCKEY: Yeah, but you told us it didn't happen. Well, there's one case.

BILL SHORTEN: Oh yeah, okay. Well I'm saying that the Libs are exaggerating this idea that -what's - no, the proposition is that because you get paid penalty rates on a Sunday or a Cup Day, that this is causing youth unemployment. That's rubbish.

NEIL MITCHELL: The proposition is you said it didn't happen. There's one example.

BILL SHORTEN: I've said…

NEIL MITCHELL: You said there's only one Cup day.

BILL SHORTEN: I said if you can…

NEIL MITCHELL: What about Good Friday? What about Christmas Day? What about Anzac Day? What about all the others?

BILL SHORTEN: Oh my goodness, is that what…

JOE HOCKEY: Okay, here's the deal.

BILL SHORTEN: Is that what this…

JOE HOCKEY: Here's the deal.

NEIL MITCHELL: Here's the deal from Joe.

JOE HOCKEY: Here's the deal.

BILL SHORTEN: Is that what this country's come to?

JOE HOCKEY: Neil? Neil? Here's the deal.

NEIL MITCHELL: Yes, here's the deal.

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JOE HOCKEY: If five of your listeners can ring up and identify 45 bucks an hour…

BILL SHORTEN: Yeah, I want to see the payslips.

JOE HOCKEY: …because Bill Shorten's so dug in about this, he's going to pay for Christmas lunch for you and me, Neil.

NEIL MITCHELL: I don't want to have Christmas lunch with you two.

JOE HOCKEY: Okay, well he's going to pay for me…

BILL SHORTEN: Well now Joe, to be fair Joe, I didn't think you meant on Christmas day.

NEIL MITCHELL: Well, that's all right.

JOE HOCKEY: Well, look, no, no, no, no, take it - I mean, I know I said Sundays but, I mean, I'll find them for you. I'm happy to find them for you.

BILL SHORTEN: All right, Joe, I'll tell you.

NEIL MITCHELL: Thank you.

BILL SHORTEN: No, Joe, hang on, hang on one second.

NEIL MITCHELL: We've got Kevin Rudd.

BILL SHORTEN: What we do is…

JOE HOCKEY: You've got Kevin Rudd, did you say?

NEIL MITCHELL: Yes.

BILL SHORTEN: Just hang on one second.

JOE HOCKEY: What?

BILL SHORTEN: About this penalty rates issue…

NEIL MITCHELL: Can you two go?

BILL SHORTEN: No. On penalty rates, yes I am dug in and if the Liberal Party are saying they're not going to support penalty rates on Sunday…

JOE HOCKEY: No, no, no.

BILL SHORTEN: See, Joe, that's what you want.

NEIL MITCHELL: Okay.

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BILL SHORTEN: You want to whinge about it but you will never change it.

NEIL MITCHELL: [969] 693 13.

JOE HOCKEY: Kevin Rudd.

BILL SHORTEN: You'll never change what you're whinging about.

NEIL MITCHELL: Don't you approve of Kevin Rudd on the program?

JOE HOCKEY: Come on, he's…

BILL SHORTEN: Neil, can we just go back. Will the Liberals change penalty rates on Sundays?

JOE HOCKEY: Kevin Rudd's a backbencher in the Labor Party. Why does he need…

BILL SHORTEN: How about…

JOE HOCKEY: He's a former Prime Minister. Why does he need to do radio all the time and TV?

BILL SHORTEN: Well it just proves one of our backbencher's worth 10 of your front benchers but the most important point is…

JOE HOCKEY: Well this one's worth 10 of your front benchers too.

BILL SHORTEN: Why don't, Joe, you've been - Joe, you've banged on about penalty rates.

NEIL MITCHELL: Okay. Thanks Bill.

BILL SHORTEN: No Neil, don't let Joe off the hook here, Neil.

JOE HOCKEY: Have a good weekend.

NEIL MITCHELL: I want an industrial relations debate, gentlemen.

BILL SHORTEN: Well, so do I…

NEIL MITCHELL: We'll do it.

BILL SHORTEN: …and why don't we ask the question…

NEIL MITCHELL: Thank you.

BILL SHORTEN: …does the Liberal Party of Australia support penalty rates on Sundays and public holidays?

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JOE HOCKEY: Yes, we've said that.

NEIL MITCHELL: Yes.

BILL SHORTEN: All right, so you were whinging about it but you're going to do nothing about it.

NEIL MITCHELL: Thank you very much. You said it didn't happen and now you're trying to say that there's not a lot of 18 year olds…

BILL SHORTEN: Getting 45 dollars. I still don't believe it.

NEIL MITCHELL: Christmas lunch with Joe.

[ENDS]

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