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Transcript of doorstop interview: Perth: 29 August 2018: Labor's plan to deliver a fair share of GST for WA; Liberal Party chaos; Julia Banks resignation; Abbott appointment to special envoy for Indigenous Australians



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THE HON. BILL SHORTEN MP

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS AND ABORIGINAL

AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS

MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

DOORSTOP

PERTH

WEDNESDAY, 29 AUGUST 2018

SUBJECTS: Labor’s plan to deliver a fair share of GST for WA; Liberal Party

chaos; Julia Banks resignation; Abbott appointment to special envoy for

Indigenous Australians

HANNAH BEAZLEY, LABOR CANDIDATE FOR SWAN: Good morning

everybody, thank you for being here. My name is Hannah Beazley, I'm the Labor

candidate for Swan. I would like to say a very big thank you to Labor leader Bill

Shorten for coming out here today, always supporting our TAFEs and our local

TAFEs here in Swan.

Bill has been as you know, to WA many, many times. He's a big supporter of

Western Australia, he continues to lead the way on GST for WA, our fair share. So

I'm very pleased that he is here today as well as Premier Mark McGowan and

Member for Brand, Madeline King.

So I will not be speaking anymore, and I will hand over to Bill.

BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning everybody,

great to be back in Western Australia with Hannah Beazley, our candidate running

in the very marginal seat of Swan and then we've got Madeline King of course, one

of our leading spokespeople on the frontbench and it's great to be here with my

friend, Premier Mark McGowan.

Mark's got to go down to Bunbury to meet with veterans so this won't be the

longest press conference but what I'd like to do to get the ball rolling is to simply

say, the GST fight needs to end. Labor will support a unity ticket with the current

Government to make sure that Western Australia gets their fair share. I

congratulate Mark McGowan for his single-minded advocacy to make sure that

Western Australia gets a fair share.

What Labor will do is that we will support what the Government has said, but what

we will also do is we will legislate it within our first hundred days. That's a floor of

70 cents, from 19/20 and we will lift that floor to 75 cents, 2024/25. We will also

make sure that this funding is untied. Obviously, we will consult with the Western

Australian Government and we'll have a view about things but this is going to be

genuinely, a call for Western Australia.

So today, I am very pleased to say, no more argy-bargy between Liberal and Labor

nationally. Labor has been leading the case and we've always been pleased when

the Liberals have caught up but now what we want to do is put this beyond the

realm of day to day politics. It's so confusing in Canberra to know who is going to

be in charge at the current moment, let's just legislate it.

So whether or not it's Malcolm Turnbulls there or not there, or Scott Morrison is

there or not there or I, or anyone else - let's just legislate it. Let's look after the

West. Untie it, put the floor in and we'll make sure that no states are worse off

because of course, Labor can make that promise because we're not giving away

tax cuts to the top end of town.

I might now invite Mark McGowan to talk further about this exciting

announcement.

MARK MCGOWAN, PREMIER OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Thanks very much

Bill and can I welcome Bill Shorten back to Western Australia, as you know he's

been a regular visitor, some 36 or 38 or 40 times or thereabouts since he's been

Opposition Leader, which must be a record.

It's terrific to have Bill announce today a unity ticket with the Federal Government

on GST to ensure that Western Australia gets its fair share.

I am very pleased, this is an important and historic day for Western Australia to

secure this commitment and it means that we will, from this point forward, when

this deal kicks in, have a better share of GST in the future and a floor below which

our share can never go.

I think this is a testament to the fighting spirit and the work of the people of

Western Australia who have advocated for and been very vocal about this issue

now, over many years. And it's terrific that that effort on behalf of the people of

Western Australia - or the effort of the people of Western Australia - has been

rewarded with this announcement today.

As you know, Bill has been an advocate for Western Australia getting a better

share over a long period of time and today, to announce that it's going to be

legislated means it can never be undone and that Western Australia will have a

floor below which our share can never go and that's a great thing for our state.

I'll hand over to Bill to answer questions and then I'll answer some questions.

SHORTEN: Thanks Mark, I just realised this is the longest stint between visits to

Western Australia - it's been about five weeks since I was last here - so I should

just congratulate Josh Wilson and Pat Gorman on their election victories as well.

Over to you.

JOURNALIST: Why did it take Morrison coming up with the GST deal for you to

come up with this promise to legislate?

SHORTEN: Well, first of all, history didn't start when Scott Morrison made that

proposal. For a long time Mark McGowan and Western Australian Labor had been

at both Malcolm Turnbull and myself and indeed Tony Abbott, to do something

about the GST.

I went back after many visits to Western Australia and explained to

my colleagues that if you want to understand Western Australia and if you want to

be taken seriously as a national government in Western Australia, you've got to

deal with the GST unfairness.

So in fact, you'll find that we were talking about floors, of the 70 cents variety, well

before Mr Morrison came to the party. But having said that, you know aren't we all

a bit over saying who was first, who was second?

I mean Mark was first, but beyond that at the national level, let's just legislate it

now and I think the ball is now in Mr Morrison's court, I know he's got a busy

agenda having just taken over from Mr Turnbull, but let's just legislate the floor,

we'll do it in the first 100 days.

JOURNALIST: Just for clarity around that, in terms of legislating the floor, will you

also legislate the new equalisation standard, in terms of benchmarking?

SHORTEN: In terms of making sure that it's put beyond doubt we will. I mean the

issue here is of course, and other states will be watching what I say here and

I'm conscious of that. We believe that a 70 cents floor and then a 75 cents floor

should apply across the board, full stop.

And in the case of Western Australia, the compensation should be untied, let's

legislate in the first 100 days.

That way, I mean I never thought I'd see a set of circumstances where Western

Australia's own Julie Bishop wasn't on the frontbench - these are very, there's a lot

of sifting sands here in the Coalition.

So, when the Government say that you don't need to legislate it, I think you quite

rightly can go back and say, we don't know who is going to be where on the

frontbench and Western Australia has obviously been diminished in the Coalition,

unfortunately, because of Ms Bishop's unsuccessful bid.

So that is why I think more than ever, instability is the enemy of Western Australia

and we just need to legislate it.

JOURNALIST: How many seats do you reckon you would be able to win over the

people of WA, with a deal like this and do you think some of those Liberal MPs

should start to be feeling a bit worried about their position?

SHORTEN: Listen, I think Western Australians like all Australians were revolted by

what they saw last week. They said 'oh my god the political people in Canberra are

just talking about their own jobs'. I just want to reassure Western Australians, I

don't look at Liberal Western Australians or Labor Western Australians, I just see

Western Australians.

So when it comes down to how people vote at the election, I don't want to rely on

winning on the basis that the Government's negatives flow across to us. What we

want to do is earn the respect of Western Australians.

I think this is a meritorious proposal. People are sick of just hearing promises fly in,

fly out, when will it ever happen? You have heard Western Australia's Premier,

Mark McGowan say legislating the floor is a sensible way to go, we're happy to do

that.

And I think the best thing the Government can do to reassure stability - because

they are very unstable at the moment - is just commit to legislate themselves.

JOURNALIST:Can you genuinely say that your fix or solution to the GST will be

better off for West Australians?

SHORTEN: Yes. I think that what it does is it puts it in black and white. The

Western Australian media has been ferocious in its advocacy for a better deal for

Western Australia, and I should know that because so many times you and your

colleagues have asked me.

I think Western Australia will be better off if we just legislate the floor. No doubt. No

doubt in my mind.

Mind you, that is not the only reason why I think Western Australians will be better

off under a Labor Government. I'll make sure that - and we are here at this

marvellous TAFE facility - I say to Western Australian parents we will make sure

that if you want your son or daughter to do an apprenticeship, there will be a spot

available.

What I say to West Australians is that if they want to see better energy prices or

they want to see a reduction in aged care waiting lists, Labor has got the plans to

do that.

I will say to parents who want to make sure their kids, wherever they live, get a

good quality education, that we'll back that in.

I want to make sure, and I will say to Western Australians, that if you are sick,

you’ll get quality health care and it will be your Medicare card not your credit card

determining the quality of care you get.

So I do think you will be better off under us.

JOURNALIST:Mr Shorten, on Peter Dutton's au pair issue, his office says the

Minister has intervened in many cases presented by Labor Members of Parliament

and they suggest we might have to ask if any of those cases were based on

donations to the Labor Party, what do you say to Mr Dutton's office?

SHORTEN: Well, that's a really defensive set of remarks, isn't it? Like, this is is

standard 101 in the Liberal playbook I have to say, when under pressure blame

Labor. I did not ring up to sort this au pair situation, I didn't realise we had such a

shortage of them. But frankly, I think this issue shows two things.

One, Peter Dutton's enemies in the Liberal Party haven't forgiven his undermining

of Mr Turnbull and the leaks are just continuing apace, aren't they? We didn't think

about this. I didn't know anything about it. I'm reading about the AFL guy, or ringing

up and sorting out - sorry, but Peter Dutton and his own group are the people that

know about this.

So it just shows that disunity rolls on, they've learnt nothing from last week.

The other thing I say to make I think a more important policy point, is people don't

like conflicts of interest and the exercise of undue influence, and I think the best

way that Parliament can improve its reputation and standing in the eyes of our

fellow Australians is have a national anti-corruption commission.

That way when you have got issues where people say X has done the wrong thing

or Y has done the wrong thing, why don't we just have a national anti-corruption

commission so that these matters can be fixed.

You have got them in Western Australia, an anti-corruption commission, most of

the states have. I just think, leave aside this au pair scandal and what Dutton knew

or didn't know or what's gone on there, and I guess we'll get to the bottom of that

eventually, the bigger issue here is that Australians don't have confidence in their

political system.

They got rid of Tony Abbott for Malcolm Turnbull, they got rid of Malcolm Turnbull

for Scott Morrison. You hear all this comment about people getting special favours.

Let's just set up an anti-corruption commission and that way Australians can say

that Parliament is willing to put itself under the sort of scrutiny which other people

are.

JOURNALIST: Julia Banks has announced -

JOURNALIST: Can I just ask -

SHORTEN: I'll come to you next.

JOURNALIST: Sorry, Julia Banks has announced she is not re-contesting her

seat, saying she's experienced this bullying an intimidation by both her own side

and yours, do you have a problem in Labor with bullying and intimidation?

SHORTEN: Well first of all I don't know to what Julia is referring. But let me say

about Julia Banks, just to show we are not always about attacking each other in

politics. I have always found her to polite and professional. She was a formidable

candidate. She was the only Liberal to win a seat off Labor at the last election.

She is a professional woman, the sort of person you are keen to see take up a

political career, so I feel not only the Government's failed but the system has failed

if people like her feel that they can't continue.

In terms of the specific bullying allegations, she's a serious person, she wouldn't

have said this lightly. In terms of our own party, we have got procedures in place to

protect people.

JOURNALIST: So will you look into the -

SHORTEN: Listen, I can't investigate the Liberal Party.

JOURNALIST: But your own party?

SHORTEN: Sure, we have got protocols in place and we are always seeking to

improve them.

JOURNALIST: Give you a better chance in her seat though, wouldn't it, her

stepping down, you would imagine?

SHORTEN: I think it is pretty easy to be cynical these days. She is a strong

candidate and her not being there is a blow to the Liberal Party but I just want to

say to Australians and people watching this carry on, I want people to vote for

Labor because of our positive ideas, not just simply be complacent and rely on the

dysfunction and the chaos of the Liberals to flow across and people vote for us.

Clearly if Julia Banks is stepping down, it shows the division in the Liberal Party

just goes on and on. There's been no line drawn in the sand since the rolling of

Malcolm Turnbull and the elevation of Scott Morrison.

JOURNALIST: Can I just ask the Premier, on the merits of the two GST proposals,

do you have a preference of the two? The legislating the floor, does that make a

difference? Is there essentially no difference between the two deals?

MCGOWAN: I'm pleased that Bill Shorten said there is a unity ticket, so Western

Australia has a high degree of certainty, but what Federal Labor is doing is locking

it in stone, so locking it in stone is good.

We had a situation where your GST share went down to 30 cents in the dollar and

that was clearly outrageous and unacceptable. To lock in stone a floor of 75 cents

is good.

Now, it still means Western Australia still subsidises the rest of the country, but we

will never get to the point where we go down to 30 cents in the dollar again, as we

did during the term of the Liberal Government.

JOURNALIST: And the fact that the funds are now unfettered? What difference

does that make?

MCGOWAN:It gives the state flexibility, it is GST compensation. The GST was

meant to be a tax that was delivered to the states for the state to spend in

accordance with its priorities, so it gives the Western Australian State Government

flexibility and that is a good thing. That means that we can use for it the purposes,

as determined, by the people of Western Australia.

Obviously we will always to talk to the Federal Government about all issues, but

giving us flexibility is a good thing.

JOURNALIST: Have you gotten your written guarantee yet from the new Prime

Minister for the GST bill?

MCGOWAN: No, not yet, not as far as I am aware. Obviously I have been in

communication with him about that and I raised it with him when I spoke to him and

I have texted him about the issue. So I will await the written confirmation so we can

write it into our midyear review.

JOURNALIST: I'll just ask Mr Shorten one, do you think -

MCGOWAN: Sure.

SHORTEN: Alright, and make this the last question because Mark's got to go as

well.

JOURNALIST: Thank you. If I could just ask do you think that Tony Abbott is the

right man for the Indigenous envoy role?

SHORTEN: I think I will rely on Western Australia's Senator Pat Dodson and quote

him, or requote him. He said First Australians have asked for a voice and they got

Tony Abbott; a clear disappointment.

Listen, he is clearly interested in Indigenous affairs but while he and Mr Turnbull

were in power there were a lot of cuts to services. I think if he is going to be a fair

dinkum envoy for Indigenous Australia go and convince Mr Morrison, who was the

Treasurer who wouldn't properly fund remote housing, I think Mr Morrison and Mr

Abbott, if they want a reset on treating First Australians with some degree of

decency, Mr Abbott and Mr Morrison need to reverse their cuts to remote housing.

JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, are you going to follow the new Prime Minister's lead

and issue your Shadow Cabinet with Australian flag lapel badges?

SHORTEN: Listen, the badge. I think it is fine if you want to wear a badge or the

flag, that is fine, it doesn't worry me. All of us in Parliament love our country.

For me, it is not what I wear to work that matters, it is what I do at work.

I think the real challenge here, is to put Australians ahead of ourselves. Now

people are saying that in politics, the way we are going to demonstrate that is

doing the stuff that needs to be done.

Legislate our promises on a fair go for Western Australia. What we are also

committed to doing is make sure that we improve the role of women in politics.

We've all got, both sides of politics have a bit to learn here, but I do notice that

Julie Bishop, she was a formidable political opponent, and I haven't had a chance

to say this directly in the West but, she served Australia with some flair, a bit of

panache, no one could argue that. But it would appear that no other Western

Australian MP in the Liberal Party voted for her, and that to me speaks volumes.

What message are we sending to Western Australians that your number one, your

most senior Western Australian, who undoubtedly has been good for raising funds

for the party and represented Australia on the world stage, when it comes to the

tough business of politics, she was left friendless.

So I just would acknowledge her service.

ENDS

MEDIA CONTACT: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT - 02 6277 4053

Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra.