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Transcript of interview with Karl Stefanovic: Today show: 31 October 2018: Labor's plan to crack down on tax avoidance; Labor delivering extra funding for every public school; Liberal chaos and division; Halloween



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THE HON. BILL SHORTEN MP

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS & ABORIGINAL

AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS

MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

TELEVISION INTERVIEW

TODAY SHOW

WEDNESDAY, 31 OCTOBER 2018

SUBJECTS: Labor’s plan to crack down on tax avoidance; Labor delivering

extra funding for every public school; Liberal chaos and division; Halloween.

KARL STEFANOVIC, HOST: With an election looming and the Prime Minister's

approval rating at an all time low, Labor has launched its bidding for your

vote. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten joins me now live from Melbourne. Good

morning to you Bill.

BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning Karl.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, let's start with the business end of things. You've promised

to crack down on multinational tax loopholes for companies and individuals. Easier

said than done isn't it?

SHORTEN: Well, it is certainly easier said than done, but we have got to do it. I

don't think most Australians waking up this morning realise that some corporations

and some high net wealthy - very wealthy, wealthy individuals are dodging about

$5 billion in tax over the next ten years by basically going to tax havens. And what I

mean by that is, that there are some Australians who are able to claim citizenship

or residency of another country, a low tax jurisdiction, and even though they earn

money here they shuffle their money around and they pay practically no tax in

these tax havens, these Caribbean Islands etc. I mean they even are able to fly

over and inspect their tax accounts, in these tax havans and claim that back off the

Australian taxpayer. So we are going to shut down the loopholes. The other thing

we are going to do is we're going to reward whistleblowers. So if you are doing

something dodgy with your tax overseas and a whistleblower comes forward, the

whistleblower is going to share some of the reward. So it just means that for

everyone who is not doing the right thing by tax, it means that someone who

knows what they are doing, could well get some more money by giving you up.

That way we think that we're going to get our multinationals -

STEFANOVIC: A lot of these wealthy individuals get themselves lawyered up and

you're talking about international boundaries and international laws here. I think it's

unfair Aussie businesses pay full freight as well but it's been like that for a long

time. How exactly are you going to - how specifically are you going to shut them

down?

SHORTEN: We're going to change the laws and we're going to put the resources

to enforce the laws. If you want to crack down on multinationals and very, very

wealthy people not paying their tax, who do you trust? The Liberal Party who spent

most of their time in government wanting to give them tax cuts, or the Labor Party

who wants to properly fund our schools and hospitals? When it comes to this,

there's only one party you can trust to clean it up and that's the Labor Party.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, and nothing specific though?

SHORTEN: Well we are putting forward a series of recommendations. Changing

the law on whistleblowers, changing the ability of companies to mask or hide what

they are doing. We are going to ask them to be much more transparent in their

reporting. So we are very going to put forward a series - and we put them forward

today, very specific proposals which international tax experts say are best practice

to clamp down on all the money going overseas, rather than paying for our schools

and our roads and our hospitals.

STEFANOVIC: It would be good to clean up those multinationals who are using

those loopholes, it would be a good thing. Okay, there are reports also this

morning you are going to increase the dole after you get elected, is that true?

SHORTEN: What we have said is that we are going to review the Newstart

allowance. It is, in my opinion too low. You don't review something to cut it. We

don't know what number will come up - that we’ll get at the end of the review, that's

why we're having the review. But I'm not going to stand here and say that someone

on $260 a week is doing it easy, they're simply not.

STEFANOVIC: The flip side will be that people out there say, hang on a second

you don't want to encourage people to be on the dole.

SHORTEN: Of course we want people to get off the dole and get a job. But you

know, this sort of simple view that you either starve people in order to make them

get off the dole, it's just not as straightforward as that. No, our priority is to make

sure people find a job. Our priority is to make sure that we encourage people to

work, they have got the skills to work, they've got the attitude to work. But at the

same time, I'm not going to start kicking a person who is down in the head, am I?

That's what we do when we just say bad luck.

STEFANOVIC: You are aren't spending too much already are you?

SHORTEN: No, what we are able to do is we are prioritising schools and hospitals

over creating richer multinationals and more tax minimisers in you know,

Caribbean Islands. That's how we pay for our promises. We want to make sure -

everyone has got to live within there their means, but what annoys me is that there

is one rule for some and another rule for most other people. What we want to do is

make sure that we've got a fair tax system which is one which covers everyone

and treats everyone the same.

STEFANOVIC: The reality is Bill, you don't actually need to do anything. You don't

need to be on our show, you don't need to say anything, you just need to be quiet

and you will win the next election.

SHORTEN: Well, some people say that to me. But with the division and the

instability of the government, the fact that the Liberals sacked Malcolm Turnbull

nine weeks ago, then they have got to send him to Bali to clean up the new Prime

Minister's foreign policy mess, the chaos has got to end. But what I'm not going to

do is just do that by doing nothing. We need to that demonstrate to Australian

people that the system can work. That at least one of the major parties is working

on policies for the future.

STEFANOVIC: You don't want to run the risk of bringing yourself undone though, I

mean you're in the box seat, you've basically won the race.

SHORTEN: No, it's still got a long way to go. That would be too arrogant to just

assume that the election is over. No, what I want to do is restore people's faith in

the system. For me the reason why I want to be Prime Minister is to hand on a

better deal to our kids. That's why today we are announcing that we will - that we

can explain to every school in Australia, the extra funding for the extra tutoring for

kids who are doing really well and the kids who are falling behind. And the reason

why we can make promises on that -or reducing waiting lists, properly funding our

hospitals, making sure that kids can get apprenticeships, is that we are cracking

down on the multinationals and the big end of town. We just want to have the same

set of rules for all Aussies.

STEFANOVIC: Happy Halloween to you this morning. Are you going trick or

treating this arvo with the kids? Maybe you could go around Malcolm's house, he

has got plenty of goodies for the government.

SHORTEN: I don't know if he is back from Bali yet, with the old mop, cleaning

up Mr Morrison's problems. But no, I'm going trick or treating. My little daughter

made me ring all the parents of her friends to make sure they knew what time to be

here. And it's a big deal, I mean I know people don't like

the commercialisation some days, but I have to say, this is one of the unusual

times in the year where the kids get out - I mean parents watching, and they go

and talk to the neighbours. I like the atmosphere of Halloween.

STEFANOVIC: I don't mind it either. Good on you Bill, thank you very much.

SHORTEN: Maybe not the lollies. See you, bye.

ENDS

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Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra.