Election 2019: Bill Shorten | Q&A

(APPLAUSE) Good evening. Good evening. Welcome to Q&A, live from
the Robert Blackwood Hall at Monash University in Melbourne. I’m Tony Jones. Facing your questions tonight,
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. Please welcome our special guest. (APPLAUSE) Thank you very much. Now, Q&A is live in eastern Australia
on ABC TV, iview and NewsRadio. And just to be clear, we also invited
Prime Minister Scott Morrison to appear solo
on an election leadership Q&A, but earlier today, his office
informed us that he is not available. Well, the man who wants his job
is here to face your questions. Let’s go straight to the first
question. It’s from Thomas Fernando. Mr Shorten, during
the federal campaign trail and recent debates, one of the issues that you’ve been
consistently questioned on is that of taxation. Many Australians, including myself,
have been getting the sense that you’ve been avoiding
giving Australians a clear and up-front
and honest answer. We don’t know whether we can
really trust Labor on the issue of taxation. But tonight’s your opportunity
to prove us nay-sayers wrong. How is the Labor Party going to pay
for all of their proposals? And under the Shorten government, would there be higher taxation
for the average Australian? Bill Shorten, off you go. Well, good evening, Thomas,
and thank you for your question. For the last 5.5 years, Labor’s been
working on its policies and we’re able to pay for them. The basis of our policies
is that we think that it’s time for real change in Australia. We think it’s time that a whole lot of people
who the system isn’t looking after have a better voice. What we’re going to do
to pay for our promises is that we are going to reform
the taxation system, we’re going to take away subsidies which principally flow
to the top end of town, and reallocate them in part to spending on schools
and hospitals. We’re going to make sure that multinationals pay
their fair share of taxation. What we’re able to do
is pay for our promises by engaging in genuine reform,
which creates a fairer Australia. It isn’t right in this country,
Thomas, that a property investor, who may be investing in
their sixth or seventh property, can get a taxpayer-funded subsidy
to make a loss on that property. That’s simply not fair. It isn’t right
that large multinationals can have dodgy royalty arrangements. And by that, what I mean is that
they have a big volume of business and revenue in Australia, and then what they do is, even though they make
a big profit in Australia, they pay a royalty
to a parent company elsewhere for the use of a logo
or some trademark or some intellectual property, and miraculously this
multinational’s big profit in Australia gets whittled down
to a tiny amount, which is the only part that
the Australian tax system taxes. So we seek to reform the system, to make sure that we’re actually
tackling the big issues in this country – being able to afford
pensioner dental, subsidies for households battling
with the cost of child care. Can I just interrupt for one moment? ‘Cause we’re going to get
to some of those issues. But Thomas actually wants to know how you’re going to pay
for those promises specifically. So, you haven’t set out
the funding details. When are we going to see that? Well, we’ll outline
the final costings later this week, actually, Thomas. But I can say to you tonight that we’re going to reform
what’s called dividend imputation. So that’ll save about $6 billion
we currently spend. We are going to
reform the allocation of, uh, income splitting and trusts. That’ll save
several billion dollars. We are going to reform the fact
that you can currently claim money off your accountant
for claiming tax deductions. We’re going to cap
what you can claim at $3,000. That’ll save over $1 billion. We are going to reform
the negative gearing rules, none of which will be
retrospective – if you currently have
a property investment, the rules won’t change
but in the future we won’t be subsidising investments
in existing houses if you’re making a loss. So that will save
billions of dollars. So, we have actually been up-front
with the Australian people. Let’s just see
if Thomas accepts that. Thomas, can you pop back up? You were after a specific answer. Do you feel now that you have
the answer that you were seeking? Yeah. Yep. I’m OK with that answer. OK, fair enough.
Thank you. Can I… I’ll just come to…
(CHUCKLES) I’ll come to part
of one of his questions. (APPLAUSE) Of course, the last thing he asked
was, will there be new taxes? And clearly there will be
new taxes, on… ..higher taxes
for self-funded retirees… Oh, no. No, no. Let’s…
..on wealthy superannuants, higher taxes on
property investment, higher capital gains tax. Well, let’s go through each of
those propositions and correct them. If we give someone a subsidy
for owning shares, and then we stop giving them
that subsidy, if you take the subsidy away
from people, that’s not a new tax – we’re just not giving you something. Let me be more specific.
It’s a bit complex. First of all, what I’m about to say does not apply
to 96% of Australians. So, if you’re not sure
about dividend imputation, that means you’re not getting it,
generally, so don’t worry. But… Can I just suggest
you don’t try and explain all these individuals,
because there are… ..individual issues, because
there are questions on them. Oh. Sorry – you asked me
two specific things. Well, give us a general point. Because the government says
those are higher taxes. Well, they would, wouldn’t they?
You’re saying they’re not. (LAUGHTER)
They would. But they’re not. A simple proposition –
in Australia at the moment, we give some people
an income tax refund, even though they haven’t paid
income tax. This is a subsidy. It’s a gift. When John Howard
introduced it in 2001, it was costing the budget
half a billion dollars a year. Now it’s costing
nearly $6 billion a year. But where the government
is lying to people is, they say, if we stop giving you this gift,
that somehow that’s a tax. We’re not taxing
the income of retirees. We’re not taxing…
changing the tax rules. What we’re doing is
we’re just not giving you a gift. Now, there’s nothing illegal
or immoral about this gift – it’s very nice. But at the end of the day,
this nation has to make a choice about what it can spend money on. But when the government says
that this is a retiree tax, what a pack of liars they are. Because it is not a new tax to take
away a subsidy going to someone. Same with negative gearing. Why should first-homebuyers
in this country… OK. I’m going to say we’re going
to come to negative gearing, so let’s just hold that point.
Sure. Now, we’re asking
the Opposition Leader to keep his answers short, so we can get through
as many questions as possible. The next question comes from
Kristine Giam. The World Bank states that
Australia’s GDP growth per year is at 2%, which is well below
Australia’s goal of having strong and sustainable
growth of 3% to 4% per year. So, my question
to you, Mr Shorten, is can Australia afford
a Labor government with their promises of
free dental care for pensioners and reduced childcare costs
for young families? Thanks, Kristine. First of all, there’s an assumption that if we don’t help pensioners
with the cost of their dental care, that if we do nothing, that somehow
that isn’t in itself a cost. There’s 145,000 older Australians
on waiting lists for dental care. Not helping them afford dental care
doesn’t make the problem go away. Not helping pay
for people’s dental care doesn’t cure your teeth decay
or your problem. So the proposition
that us helping pensioners who have been getting the thin edge
of the wedge under this government with rising electricity prices,
with everything going up… We believe that
when you give Australians better dental or oral hygiene, they’re healthier, they’re happier. It actually costs less. Your teeth, especially
as you’re older, are a big, you know… Illness… Dental decay and illness is actually
correlated to general illness. So this is the beauty
of the Labor notion of the fair go. When you have a strongly funded
healthcare system, that’s actually cheaper
in the long run for everyone. And as for child care, you know,
if we do nothing else in our first term of government,
if we get elected, what we are going to do is help
a million Australian households with the cost of their child care. Now, the Liberals say,
“Oh, we can’t afford that.” Whereas I say, “Why should
working women in this country “go to work, or two-income families, “and one of the people’s income
be eaten up by child care?” They go to work to pay for the
child care so they can go to work. This is madness. So what we’re proposing to do
is we will have an economic growth dividend arising out of properly funding
child care in this country. For example, when we help
early childhood educators get properly paid, what we’re doing is recognising the
economic contribution of that work. So the beauty of Labor’s notion is when you have
cost-of-living measures, when you have working-
and middle-class people getting a fair go, when you’ve got an even better
healthcare system than the one we have now,
that is an investment in the future. When the Liberals say
we can’t afford that, what they say to people – pensioners with their
dental challenges, or families struggling
with childcare costs – is they say,
“You don’t deserve it.” I have a different view. I would rather support
a million working families with the cost of their child care… It’s worth about $2,000 per year,
per child, under us. And the beauty of that investment
is we can pay for it because we’re going to wind back some of the unsustainable
tax concessions at the top end. Then, everyone gets a fair go
in this country. OK, you’ve…you’re over the minute.
Well over the minute. Now… (APPLAUSE) You did avoid the…
the point of that question, which was about the state
of the Australian economy. Now, if the Reserve Bank actually
lowers interest rates tomorrow, what does that tell us
about the state of the economy, and could your big spending promises
push the country into recession? That’s the…the kind of core
of that question. Oh, the short answer
to that scare campaign is no. But I don’t accept
that I didn’t answer the young woman’s question.
No, you answered part of it. Yeah, thank you. And, um…
(LAUGHTER) What…? There’s a whole debate
about how you grow the economy, and this is at the nub
of the election. In 30 seconds – the government’s saying
we’ve had six years of whatever, and they want three more years
of whatever, more of the same. I actually think that this economy
is more likely to grow sustainably when millions
of Australian households are getting regular wage rises,
getting support with cost of living, having a properly funded
healthcare system. This is how this country
works best – when millions of people
share an opportunity, rather than just
the top end of town, then you have millions of people
contributing every day. This is the secret of growth
sustainably in the future – invest in the people,
and then people do the rest. And now, you have answered
her question. (APPLAUSE)
So, the next question is from… Thank you very much. The next question
is from Alex Kilroy. According to the Grattan Institute, I’m on track to be worse off,
over my lifetime, than my parents. University was free for them. And they were able to buy a house for less than two times
their combined income. Today, my sister’s HECS debt is larger than the cost
of that house, and I can expect to pay
10 times my income for a comparable home. Australians over 55,
like my parents, have seen their wealth increase by nearly $200,000, in real terms,
this century, but people my age
have gone backwards over that same period. So, how does Labor plan to improve
the economic prospects of young people like me? Thanks, Alex. Um, first of all, we want you
to be able to com…compete on a level playing field
to buy your first home. A lot of young Australians wonder how they’ll ever be able
to afford it. That’s why we’re levelling
the playing field, and removing the tax subsidies, which give the property investors
a head start over you. Secondly,
when it comes to university, we’re going to open up
200,000 new places which will help flow more money
into universities and provide a lot of people
with a chance to go to university. Thirdly, for everyone
who wants an apprenticeship, we’re going to pay the up-front fees
of 100,000 apprenticeships over the next three years,
and reverse the cuts to public TAFE which have occurred
under this government. We’re going to make sure
that young people get penalty rates restored
on Sundays and public holidays. We’re also going to make sure
that when they have their education, in the school years, that we
properly fund our public schools. So, we’ve got a whole bundle
of propositions – homeownership, the wages, making sure that we’re properly
investing in education. I mean, young people get a bad rap
in a lot of the tax system, a lot of the political debate. The reality is,
not only do you not have… ..housing a lot more expensive
than used to be, not only do you have to pay
for university in a way which your previous
generation didn’t, but even on, uh, things
like Medicare, which you should pay, the point is you’re less
of a challenge on the health system than the older people. So, I want to see some measures
which put young people at the front. And I’ll tell you one other way we’re going to help young people
going forward – we’re going to take proper action
on climate change, rather than leave that problem
in the too-hard basket like the current government.
OK. Once again, we’ll be coming to that. Do you see this election
as sort of generational square-up, uh, where you’ll redistribute wealth from older, more established
families and people to younger people,
who you say are missing out? Is this a generational square-up,
literally? No, it’s not
a generational square-up. But the fact is
that, in Australia, if you have a lot of capital, you’re taxed far more lightly than if you make your money
from income. Specifically, if you have
a lot of property and assets, you’re doing quite well
since the GFC. But if you don’t,
then you’re falling behind. That’s not just young people. That’s the pensioners.
That’s the wage earners. In this country, there is
a bit of an intergenerational scam in our tax laws. We will give you subsidies
to own a lot of shares. We will give you subsidies
to invest in a lot of properties. But what we don’t do is provide enough other support
for younger people. So, there is reform needed
in this country. Real change is needed. And there is a very stark contrast. We’re offering real change. The current government are
offering you three more years of the same last six years. OK. The next question
comes via Skype. It’s from Callum Chow
in East Lindfield, Sydney. You there, Callum?
With housing prices… With housing prices
in Sydney and Melbourne falling by 14.5% and 10.9%
since their 2017 peak, and housing being the main
investment for most families, wouldn’t your
negative gearing policy push prices down even further, damaging the financial position
of families by decreasing demand
for properties older than 12 months, and also have significant impacts
on the wider economy in relation to the level
of consumption and growth? Uh, no, they won’t. The fact of the matter is – and thanks for your question,
Callum – they won’t. Under this government,
property prices have fallen. They don’t seem to take
any responsibility for that. But in the future,
with our changes… All the experts,
all the independent experts, as opposed
to the property interests, have made it clear
that our changes will have a very minimal impact on prices. What we will do
is stop giving a leg-up to people who already have
property and investment and level the playing field
for first-homebuyers. Let’s go to another question
on this subject from someone who has invested,
um, in property. It’s George Korfiatis. My question is, uh, you talk about people having
ten investment properties to justify taxing them further. I have an investment property,
and your policy doesn’t discriminate between owning one or ten. Take away negative gearing,
and on my modest income, along with falling prices,
then it becomes a bad investment. If you’re elected, I’ll be selling and probably enjoying
the surplus funds over the next ten years. I doubt I’m alone. Have you considered the cost
that you’ll pass on, as I’ll now be eligible
for full age pension in the future? Thank you. OK. Thanks, George. First of all,
our changes won’t apply to anyone who’s currently
negatively geared. In other words,
you can still keep claiming a loss and claiming, uh, credits
for the loss you make on your property investment,
if that’s what you currently do. So, there’s no change. What we’re saying is
on 1 January in 2020, new purchases of existing housing won’t be able to claim
a government subsidy. You use the word ‘tax’. If I’m not giving you a subsidy for you making a loss
on an investment property, that ain’t a new tax. That just means
you’re not getting a subsidy. But in the meantime, no-one who is currently
negatively geared… They can still claim that subsidy. So, this is a long-term change with a…with a very slow start. So, you’re not getting…
Let’s quickly… None of the rules
are changing on you. Well, let’s go back to George, who has now heard your explanation
of your policy. OK. George, um,
want to stand up for us? Are you still,
under these circumstances, considering selling
your investment property if you still can benefit from it? Well, the risk is that falling
prices will escalate further, and there’s better investments
elsewhere, or you can just use
the surplus funds and fund your retirement
through the age pension in future. So, your fear is Labor’s policy will
cause the accel…an acceleration in the, uh…in the lowering
of house prices? Absolutely. Because you’ve got all of the other,
I guess, taxes and charges that are coming from
all layers of government, not just federal government,
which are… ..which are kind of
compounding the whole problem. OK. Quick answer? Well, first of all, if you want
to keep your investment property, and keep claiming the same subsidy
from the government, you can. If you choose
to sell it in the future, you’ll be able to sell it
in the future. You, yourself, just said you might
put it into some other investment. That’s fine. The only point of difference is not
about any of your current finances, but is it right
that we spend billions of dollars to give people the ability
to claim a subsidy when they invest in a property
in the future, or should we properly fund
our hospitals and schools? It’s not a zero-sum game. The waiting lists for aged care
are 130,000. We’ve got kids at schools not
getting the resources they should. We’ve got waiting lists for
elective surgery in this country. So, none of your current investment
is affected. And by the way, if you think
that the negative gearing… ..in the future, that you won’t have
the chance to buy new properties, and get more
government subsidy for it… Under this government,
prices have gone down. Treasury, independent experts
have said that ours will have a very minimal,
if any, impact on house prices. And I also want, one day, for some of the kids
of some of the property investors to be able to get
into the housing market too. What about the young ones? If the slide became worse…
Oh… ..and it could become worse
according to some experts, would you delay the implementation
of your negative gearing changes? Well, first of all, um, once you get into the hypotheticals,
it’s a bit unfair. Secondly, we’ve got a problem
right now in Australia. The economy has flatlined
under the current government. Wages are the low…the grow… ..have been growing at
the lowest level in 60 years. Government’s about choices. We… The last six years have not been an unmitigated success
for Australia. Now, corporate profits
in the last three years are up 39%, but wages have only moved 5% or 6%.
OK. We have four million people
working irregular or casual work. Pensioners are doing it really hard. We’ve seen on Four Corners tonight
before coming here that you’re seeing people
in aged care facilities where they’re rationing
the sanitary pads. OK, you’re… This country has got to do better
in looking after people. You’re anticipating questions
that are coming up. The next question is a video. It’s from Liliana Giandinoto
in Mill Park, Victoria. I am 61 years of age, and following
the closure of our small business, I find myself for the first time
in my life in need of government assistance. I have been granted
the Newstart allowance, which, including energy supplement
and rent assistance, comes to a total
of $574.20 a fortnight. Whilst I understand that Newstart is supposed to be
a short-term assistance, but for someone of my age it is likely to be
a much longer process to get a job. I have already applied for over 200. I’ve had to borrow from family
just to keep a roof over my head. Mr Shorten,
what is your party going to do to help those in my predicament? Thanks, Lilian, for your question.
(APPLAUSE) Lilian describes a whole lot
of forgotten people in Australia. Did you know that, in Australia,
if you’re over 55, your average period of unemployment
is twice as long? There is age discrimination
in Australian workplaces. Now, that’s not going to worry some
of the school students up the front, not for many years, but there are many
of our fellow Australians who have been dislocated by change, and they…no-one
will give them a job. So we announced yesterday
a new measure, that all small businesses who have
a turnover of less than $10 million, we’ll give them
a 30% deduction on their tax when they hire someone over 55 who’s been unemployed
for longer than three months. You know,
on a Saturday or a Sunday, I do the shopping in the house –
it’s my one way to sort of make up for the fact
that I’m doing, you know… ..not around
a lot of the other time. But, um, uh…
(AUDIENCE CHUCKLES) The number of times that I’ve seen
really well-dressed people, immaculately presented – a bit like Lilian
who we saw on the video – they’ve got their CV
in a plastic sleeve and they say…you can see the
sting of rejection in their eyes. They say, “Why doesn’t anyone
want to give us a go?” So what we’ve done is put
a specific measure on the table which will reward companies
for investing in older people. Lilian also made a point
about how low the Newstart is. We’re going to review it when
we come in, ’cause it is too low. So, what’s your aim…
(APPLAUSE) ..when you review it? It’s obviously… You know, we’re looking at big spending
initiatives from you at the moment. Oh… You’re going to add an expansion
of Newstart on top of that. Tony, you’re…
How much will it cost? Tony, you’re using
the sort of language of the conservatives there –
“big spending”. Lilian is getting about $265 a week. You know, let’s not dehumanise her. But why wait for…
No, hang on. Why do you need review…
No. No, no, no. Do you know anyone that could live…
Wait a sec, Tony. First of all, just answer this – do you know anyone
who could live off Newstart? Mate, Tony, you get to ask me
one question at a time. I’ll answer it
as quickly as possible. You said “big spending”.
Demon, demon, demonise. That woman is living on $265 a week. Now, we say
it’s a temporary benefit. That is true till you get a job. But when you’re an older Australian your waiting period
is twice as long. I don’t know the number
we will come up with at the end of the review…
But you will be… ..but I’m not reviewing it
to keep it the way it is. ..you will be increasing it –
is that what you’re saying? I think common sense says
that a review is going to conclude that that amount is too low. I won’t pre-empt it, but I’m not
having a review to cut it. And, again,
this language of “big spending”. It’s not as if this government
is not spending money. It’s who they’re spending it on. I just went to check, when we were
talking about the negative gearing – we’re spending $35 billion
in the next 10 years to help subsidise property investors who haven’t even bought
their property yet, yet we can’t find enough
to help Lilian who has, you know, been working, and at 61,
on the rough end of change. It’s about priorities. But when you say “big spending”,
let’s tell the truth here – this government is spending money. They spend it in tax cuts – $77 billion for the top tier
of tax earners. They spent three years trying
to give away $80 billion to the big end of town
in corporate tax cuts. This government will spend money, but when it comes to a woman
on $265 a week, “Oh, we’d better check that. “We’d better send her
a robo-debt letter from Centrelink. “We better just police her
to within an inch of her life.” I’m sure she would like to know…
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) Leave that to one side.
Next question is from John Dummett. We’ve got to get through
a lot of questions tonight. Go ahead, John.
At least I’ve turned up. I’m happy to have ScoMo here.
(LAUGHTER) I’m trying my best. Mr Shorten,
you have been Opposition Leader through three prime ministerships –
Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison – but you have consistently
lagged behind these men in preferred Prime Minister polls. Can you give a frank
and candid answer as to why you have proved
to be so unpopular with the Australian public? (LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE)
Yeah, well… Good evening to you too, John.
Thanks. Um…
(LAUGHTER) 2,032 days, but who’s counting? Um…
(LAUGHTER) Let’s face it,
this country needs change. And, you know, they said
when I was the Opposition Leader against Abbott
that he was unbeatable. I remember the headlines. Tony Abbott, going to be there
for three terms. Well, I outlasted him. Then, uh, Malcolm Turnbull,
the Sun King. In some journalists, it was the end
of the two-party state. It was like Louis XIV reincarnated,
courtesy of Point Piper. Anyway, he’s probably watching this
from New York, isn’t he? (LAUGHTER)
Hey, Malcom. (APPLAUSE) OK. I…
Now, we’ve got… I’m coming to it. I want to throw in a question… We’re allowed to have
a little bit of fun here. Scott Morrison’s running… Just whenever I start
to have fun with an answer. Anyway. You go. Come on, Tone. Scott Morrison is running
a kind of presidential campaign, almost a solo campaign. Are you surprised
how well he’s doing? Well, we’ll wait and see, won’t we?
Um… Then we’ve got to Scott Morrison.
He’s the latest Liberal. But this is the point. I think Australians
are over instability. And the point of the last
2,032 days is this – my team’s united. I can put my whole team… I mean, maybe not all of you
watched the launch, although it’s good footage,
yesterday. I can put all my team up the front. We’re all working together. In fact, I could even get the last
three Labor prime ministers to attend the launch. I don’t think that’ll be happening
under this guy. (LAUGHTER)
Australians are over the disunity. And whatever you think
about the individual numbers, the best test to be prime minister
in this country is to be an opposition leader. And I wouldn’t swap
any of the last 2,032 days and the unkind headlines and all the rest that
the government has thrown at me… They’ve thrown their best shots
at me over 2,000 days. But that’s actually
what the system is about. Because you need to know
who’s running, you need to know what they’re like,
you need to see them tested. And for 2,000 days
my whole team has been tested. So I couldn’t be prouder of my team. I couldn’t be prouder of the fact
that I lead a team, that I can get my team out with me. And what we’ve also done
is put forward policies. I know not everything
I’ve said tonight so far has met with everyone agreeing
with it. But one thing I can promise you – and it’s the one thing I hear
right across Australia, from the left to the right,
the north to the south, the east to the west – is
people are sick of the instability. And for six years, Labor has proven
we’ve learnt that lesson. We are the stable, united choice. So, on May 18, vote for change. Vote for Labor to end the chaos. OK, alright. (APPLAUSE) Let’s try and stay away
from sloganeering if we can. But the next question
will test you again. It’s a video from Les Fordham
in Sturt, South Australia. Yes, like many
self-funded retirees, my wife and I are not
on a high income, but if we lose our franking credits
we lose 20% of our annual income. Labor members have advised that
we should seek financial advice on restructuring our affairs, but nothing will give us
the same income as we get now. Bill Shorten has said that
he wants to increase the basic wage for low-income earners, yet he seems happy
for a retired couple to live on less income
than the basic wage. How does this equate
to Labor’s slogan for making Australia
a fairer country? Thank you. Well, Les, first of all, there’s something
which we need to understand about our retirement system, is, we have a pension. 2.6 million people are on it,
full or part-time. But you only get the pension… ..if you have assets
below a certain amount, income below a certain amount. Above that,
people mightn’t realise, but in superannuation,
up to $1.6 million in accounts, all the income you get
from your shares, and your assets,
all the income is tax free. But what happened in 2001
is John Howard said, well, if you own shares, and you get a dividend
from the shares, and interest from them, that he’ll give you 30%
on top of that. It’s a government payment. You’re not self-funded when you’re
getting a government payment because you own shares. It’s just not means tested. So, this gift… When you get an income tax cheque
in the mail and haven’t paid income tax,
it’s a gift. And the thing is,
this gift is paid for by millions of people
who go to work. Did you know
that half a million Australians pay on average 11,000 tax
a year…$11,000 tax a year. Every dollar that these half
a million people pay in taxes goes to the gift, to people who happen
to be lucky enough to own shares in retirement, get a dividend
and then we top it up. I know it’s
a complicated explanation. It affects 4% of people. What we’ll also do for Les…
Can I just get in… ..is, when he’s sick, we’ll make
sure Medicare is better funded… Can I just say… He’s on a video
so he can’t do follow-up questions, but can I do for him
a follow-up question? Do you accept this policy
is going to hit a percentage of low-income retirees
on self-managed super funds, as well as the rich ones
that you’re targeting? Well, I actually…
‘Cause he’s basically saying… I understood your question.
OK. Good. Keep going then. Um…
(LAUGHTER) Low-income people
are on the pension. Now, that doesn’t mean
that it’s illegal or immoral to get a free payment
from the government because you own shares. I’m not judging it. I get it. I wouldn’t want to lose that either.
I understand that point. But it’s now costing $6 billion. When will we be
honest enough to admit that just giving $6 billion
to some people because they don’t pay income tax, that we write a cheque
and put it in the mail… Do you know, some of the people
receive $250,000 in tax refund for tax they haven’t paid? What I will also do… The point about this fellow is he’s
at the other end of the spectrum. Yeah, and I’m not…
Do you… I just simply said, do you accept
that some low-income retirees are going to be hit
pretty hard by this? Well, what you’re saying
is that when you’re a retiree you never have to use
any of your shares. The whole principle
of superannuation was to give you enough
to be comfortable in retirement. It was never meant to be that
the government would top you up, you could keep all your shares and you’d never have to
spend a cent in retirement. It is a difficult issue. I don’t blame Les for
not wanting to lose some money. I don’t blame him at all. But you’ve got to ask yourself
a question – how do we pay for aged care
in this country? How do we pay for dental care
in this country? How do we pay for medical care
in this country? This is… It’s a change. We’ve still got a safety net. But what I understand is this is…
not everyone likes this. But there is a sensible reason
to do it. Because, if it’s costing the budget
$6 billion now… Let me rephrase the question. How much will it have
to cost the budget before we say we can’t afford it? It’s gone up 12 times
in the last 18 years. When will it be too much? OK. You’ve got the answer.
(APPLAUSE) We’re going to move on
to other questions on other subjects. The next question
is from Liv Moroney. Hi, Liv.
Hello. Mr Shorten,
my mum works in aged care, and every night I hear another story
about the real-life consequences many geriatric patients face
due to the lack of funding. Successive inquiries into aged care
have revealed numerous cases of abuse, neglect,
and poor care of patients. According to
the Australian Medical Association more than one in five… Sorry. According to
the Australian Medical Association, by 2056,
more than one in five Australians will be over the age of 65,
leading to higher care costs. You’ve stated we’ve got to make sure
that aged care staff are valued, paid properly and properly trained. So how does the Labor Party
aim to support and fund the recommendations found
by the royal commission? Thanks, Liv. First of all…
(APPLAUSE) Can you thank your mum
for what she does too? We don’t fully appreciate
our aged care workforce. You probably didn’t watch it
last year, but when I was last on Q&A, I think it was in Elizabeth
in South Australia, and people there raised
the challenges of aged care. And not just the challenges. ‘Challenge’ is sort of
emotionally neutral word, isn’t it? You know, the questioner raised
abuses, problems, neglect. And they asked would I be open
to a royal commission? I said,
“I think you’re on to something.” The government then attacked me
in parliament, accused me of elder abuse
for raising a royal commission. Well, eventually,
like they do sometimes, they got around to doing
what we thought they should do. So the royal commission’s under way and it started hearing
some evidence even today, and I mentioned it a little earlier
in our discussion. I think there’s several things
we need to do to reform aged care, and we don’t need to wait
for a full royal commission to tell us some of it, because
there has been lots of reviews. One is we’ve got to provide
better training. Two is we’ve got to find more money. Three, we’ve got to find more staff. The nurses’ union and other unions
in this industry have said that… ..you know, they’ve raised
the issue of staff ratios. I think we’ve got to have
that conversation. You can’t ask two aged care workers
doing a full shift, looking after 20 or 30 people,
just to… It’s not like making widgets
on a factory line – people are people. Someone falls out of their bed, you can’t say to them,
“Well, it’s taken six minutes “to lift you up
so I’m going to leave you there, “because under the, you know,
inadequate funding of the system “I can only afford
to give you six minutes.” It’s one of the reasons why we’re
doing the reforms we’re doing. I mean, how do we find the resources
to look after our most vulnerable? And it’s about making choices. So I do think we need to look
at ratios. I think we need to look at making
sure we’ve got community pharmacies, supported to do work in aged care. I think we need to make sure
GPs are properly remunerated for their work when they attend. I think we need to have more audits
and inspections of the facilities. I also think we need to have
more TAFE training. And we’ve said that some of
the new TAFE places we’ll create will go into aged care,
and also the NDIS. So I don’t have all the answers
here tonight…. Here’s a quick question, then. Why do you make a special case
for increasing the salaries, subsidising the salaries,
of childcare workers but not aged care workers when, possibly, they face
an even bigger crisis? (APPLAUSE)
Well… I don’t think it’s quite fair
to play that Hunger Games approach. In terms of
early childhood educators, which is a separate issue,
they have been neglected too. So, I’m happy to take you
through these numbers. I think that we’re in a position to be able to do a whole package
on child care now. I get that the royal commission
may make findings. I get that we need to talk
to all the stakeholders in aged care to roll out changes. The fact that we look after
early childhood educators now does not mean that we won’t work to help aged care workforce
in the future. But, as it happens, we know that
for early childhood educators… And when you’ve got lots of people
not being paid properly, let’s not have a competition
who’s the most miserable. But for early childhood educators, did you know that they are
the 92nd lowest paid profession in Australia out of 96? These early childhood educators
are the people we first entrust our
two- and three- and four-year-olds outside of the family unit. Because it’s a feminised industry –
in other words, preponderantly, the vast bulk
of the workforce is women – they have been underpaid forever, and that’s why we are going to look
after early childhood educators. But my answer shows we’re thinking
about what to do in aged care too. (APPLAUSE)
OK. Remember, if you hear… Thank you very much. Thank you. Remember, if you hear
any doubtful claims from Mr Shorten tonight,
let us know on Twitter. Thanks, Tony. And keep an eye on
the RMIT ABC Fact Check and The Conversation website
for the results. The next question comes from
Luke Evans. Thank you, Tony. We all know that our relationship
with the United States is an incredibly important one. In 2016, you said Mr Trump was
incredibly unsuitable to be leader of the free world. No, I didn’t say that, but…
Is that…? I did say he had views
that I just couldn’t understand. Um, it was a quote of yours. The Americans picked him,
so it’s up to them who they pick. Very true. Let him finish his question,
if you don’t mind. I want to be quoted… Is that still your view towards
Mr Trump, and how do you suppose you would further the relationship
with Mr Trump, uh, and also quoting as saying
he was “barking mad”? I said some of his views were. Um… How will I deal with Donald Trump?
Not the first person to ask me that. And it’s a very good question. Uh, professionally and politely. I’ll always put
Australia’s interests first. The American alliance
is important for our security, and we have a lot of shared values. Whatever the American
democratic system…elects, we’ll work with them, and that’s
how…that’s how I’ve always been. When I was a union rep, I could always work professionally
with the employers. In the parliament, I try and work as professionally
as I can with the Liberals, even when they change leaders. And with Mr Trump and
with Xi Jinping and with Theresa May and with Mr Macron
and with Mr Trudeau and all the other leaders –
Mr O’Neill in New Zealand, with my friend Jacinda Ardern
in New Zealand, I’ll be professional, but what I’ll also do is I’ll never
compromise our national interests. My foreign policy will be
independently minded and it will speak
with an Australian accent. It will prioritise
working in the Pacific with New Zealand, with Indonesia,
with our near neighbours. I understand the importance
of North Asia, economically, and the rise of India. I understand the value
of multilateral institutions. I understand and respect the
shared history of ANZUS alliance. And foreign policy for Australia,
under my government, will not be a second-order issue. And what’s even better? I’m going to give the world
Senator Penny Wong, so I’m sending the best we’ve got. (APPLAUSE)
OK. Sorry. Thank you very much. The next question is from
Dante Harrower. Dante. Hi, Mr Shorten. So piggy-backing off
that foreign policy, which international relationship
do you value more – the US or China? (APPLAUSE)
I, um… It’s not one or the other. The world is a complex
and uncertain place. In terms of security, America has always been
a reliable ally to Australia. A little-known fact –
in 1942 when Darwin was bombed, 188 Japanese bombers overhead, 10 planes went up. I think nine were shot down. All 10 were piloted by Americans. I’m a student of history. When John Curtin,
the great Labor leader, in 1941 said we wanted to
bring Australian troops home, that was a big break with the UK. But he looked to America…
So I get the history, but I don’t let history just
dictate all of our future views. I’m loyal to the relationship, but that does not therefore mean
that every perspective from Washington should be
Canberra’s perspective. I do not look at
our relationship with China through one prism of strategic risk. Of course we want to maintain
our national security, our cybersecurity,
our national interests. But I tell you what – whatever this government has
accomplished in the last six years, in terms of economic growth, has been written on the back
of exports to north Asia and China. I think it is a great that thing
we have so many Chinese Australians. So many people of Chinese ethnicity
have joined their story to the Australian story. What you won’t get from me
is the crude oversimplification that somehow there’s…
it’s a bipolar world and you’re for one
and not the other. I have excellent relationships
with China and I have excellent relationships
on my many visits to the US, but, again, to finish what I said
in the last answer, for me, foreign policy will be
with an Australian accent. And what I mean by that is
the first countries I will visit if I’m elected… ..New Zealand, Papua New Guinea,
East Timor, Indonesia. The best foreign policy security
I can give future generations of Australia
is create the best neighbours. We will be a…
(APPLAUSE) We will be a conscientious
international citizen if Labor is in government. We won’t dismiss the Paris targets
on climate change of 45%. We won’t turn our back
on taking action to help clean up the Pacific
of the plastic waste. We won’t cut $11 billion
out of foreign aid like the current government. We will be conscientious, we’ll want to extend
our trade relationships, we’ll want to deepen
our cultural ties. But you ask, China or America? In Australia, we’re smart enough
to work with all of them to Australia’s long-term interest if we behave in a smart
and respectful fashion. OK, briefly, Paul Keating, obviously,
has a clear preference for China. Did he discuss with you his fears about the intelligence chiefs twisting the policy decisions
on China? One of the things which you… I think Paul Keating
is a great man. Uh… (APPLAUSE) And so do you. So, yeah. But… Did he share with you those comments
before he made them publicly? I’m coming to it. He did a 20-minute interview which 18 minutes of it
was so…uncontroversial it didn’t run in the media. He made a comment about
our spy chiefs – I don’t share that particular view
with him, no, I don’t. I think our security agencies
are very professional, so I don’t share that view with him. But what…
But I asked you, had he made that… No…
..claim to you before, privately? He didn’t tell me he was going to do
that particular press conference. But do you know what? He’s an elder
statesman of Australian politics. He’s a grown-up. And in my party
you’re allowed to have an opinion. (APPLAUSE) OK, Scott Morrison, by the way,
today has demanded that you disown Paul Keating…
Oh, God. Oh, well, no, Scotty. ..and distance yourself
from his remarks. No. Not a hope in Hades that
I’m going to disown Paul Keating. But on that particular view,
I don’t agree with him. Isn’t… Don’t these
current government ministers, don’t they dumb politics down
to, you know, black and white? Paul Keating was
a great treasurer of Australia and a great prime minister. (MAN LAUGHS LOUDLY) (SMATTERING OF APPLAUSE) Well, he probably did a better job
than the person who interjected, I’ll give him that. But the point about it is
he’s allowed to have a view. It’s not the end of the world. I tell you,
I set a test for Mr Morrison. Not that he’s here
to, you know, hear it, but maybe someone will
tell him…tell him this. Why don’t you get
your last predecessors to turn up to your launch –
Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott? Let’s see how you go
doing that much bit of unity. Alright, you’re watching
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten live on an election special Q&A. The next question comes from
Athrina Atabak. Hi, Mr Shorten.
Hello. My question is, as a student,
I’m particularly concerned about climate change. Recent studies show irreversible
climate change effects by 2030. How would a Shorten government
expand domestic policy as well as work internationally to ensure that our future
is not threatened by the prospect of the world
becoming uninhabitable? Thanks, Athrina.
(APPLAUSE) Well, there’s few issues
which are more black and white, or where there’s a stark difference
between us and the government, than taking real action
on climate change. We’ve committed to reducing
our carbon emissions by 45% by 2030. We’ve committed to making sure…
to achieve 50% renewable energy as part of our energy mix by 2030. So what we’ve said is
we’ve put in measures to get 0.01% of companies,
but our top 250 carbon polluters, to reduce their emissions. The government isn’t doing that. We’ve said that we want
to encourage a greater investment in renewable energy – the government’s not doing that. We’ve said that
we also want to encourage the rollout
of solar battery systems. I mean, 2 million Australian
households now have solar rooftop. What we’d like to do is help expand
the take-up of solar battery systems so they can store that energy. There’s a lot of differences. All the government ever does is say, “Oh, the cost of taking action
on climate change is too much.” Whereas…
In fact… In fact, they ask you
what your policies are going to cost and until now we
don’t have an answer. Do you have an answer?
‘Cause it’s one of… OK. I know people want just to
not be controversial but I want to give you
a controversial answer back to that, Tony. That is such a dumb question,
to say “What does it cost?” without looking
at the cost of inaction. You can’t have a debate
about climate change without talking about
the cost of inaction. (APPLAUSE) Let me use an analogy for this. It’s not that you are, Tony,
it’s the question. You know, the Libs just say,
“Look at the cost of it.” The reality is that a lot of
companies are already decarbonising. They’re reducing
their carbon pollution. They view that as an investment. I went up to a company
called Sun Metals. They’re a zinc refiner
outside of Townsville. The only way
that we’re still refining zinc at Sun Metals in Townsville
is because they invested in a solar farm, solar panels, which has meant that
they’ve reduced the cost of power going to the refinery. Now, if you believe the Liberals, they’d have stopped
at the cost of the solar panels, but they wouldn’t look at
the fact that the cost of energy under the old system
is too expensive and the jobs will be gone. I’d rather look at
the whole equation. You can’t… These people never admit – the government, the conservatives,
the climate deniers, the people really running
the Morrison government – they never admit that there is
a cost to climate change. There IS a cost – the bushfires,
the extreme weather events, the insurance premiums. Climate change is costing. And if anything shows you
how broken the last six years – maybe 10 years –
of Australian politics is, is that whenever
someone wants to have a crack at doing something
on climate change, the knuckle-draggers and
the cave-dwellers drag them down. I mean, if this government
was serious on climate change, Malcolm Bligh Turnbull would still
be prime minister of Australia. (APPLAUSE)
OK. Just a quick follow-up – you’ve made some big promises,
obviously, on climate change. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said this was “the great moral challenge
of our generation,” then he appeared to step away
from that challenge. What did you learn from that? Well, I’m not going to
criticise Kevin. That was then. I’m just asking
what you’ve learnt from that. Well, what I’ve learnt is
that we in Labor must commit to real change on climate. We can’t squib the fight. Leadership in this country
isn’t always about telling people
what they want to hear, but it is about telling the truth
to the people about what you’re trying to do. Future generations will look back
at this current election and they will wonder why on earth
people were arguing against action on climate change. I don’t want to be a prime minister
who squibs the challenge. The Labor Party
is going to stand up. We know the government’s going to
run a scare campaign. We know that they’re going to try
and crowd out the issues and say it’s too hard, pull up the drawbridge,
the world’s too complex, leave it to someone else to fix up. They’re going to somehow say that
if we want to act on climate change, there’ll never be any fossil fuels. There still will be fossil fuels
in this country. The point about it is we are… What I learned out of 2009? You can stand for something
or fall for everything. And we’re going to stand and fight
on climate change. We’re not retreating.
(APPLAUSE) Alright, the next question. You mentioned fossil fuels.
The next question is about Adani. It’s from Karolina Franczak. Mr Shorten, Australians don’t want
equivocation from their leaders. If you truly believe that climate change
is an urgent crisis that we need to address, can you, without equivocation, and with the full knowledge
that it may affect the Labor vote in Far North Queensland, denounce the proposed
Adani coalmine as a polluting relic that does not belong
in a modern Australia which is transitioning
to renewables? (APPLAUSE) No. What I’m going to do is
adhere to the science… ..adhere to the law, I’m going to make sure
that we don’t have sovereign risk. There is no doubt in my mind that
we’re moving to more renewables. There’s no doubt in my mind that, uh, coal fired power
is getting more expensive, and renewables are getting cheaper. But, at the end of the day,
we have to have a framework of laws, we have to have
a framework for investment. So as much as some people would
like me to just say, “Just stop it,” I’m not going to say that, because we’ve got to have a system
so we don’t incur sovereign risk. So that isn’t the answer
you want to hear, but if it’s any consolation
to you more generally, I accept that we need to take
a lot more action than this government is taking
on climate change. I accept that we’re going
to see change. But what I can’t say to you is that we’re going to stop using
fossil fuels in our energy mix. And I’m certainly not going to say
that we’re going to stop exporting, because that’s not
a realistic promise. There’s no way I can deliver that.
So I’m not going to say that. But let me ask you this – are you worried that if you say
anything definitive about Adani the CFMEU could hand…
No. ..Scott Morrison the kind of photo op that they handed John Howard
back in 2014, which effectively undid Mark Latham? No, I’m not worried about that, no.
Why not? ‘Cause I’m not.
‘Cause there’s other issues. I’ve got plenty to put
to the people of Australia. That is a potential threat,
though, isn’t it? I mean… Well, this government says,
somehow, um, that unless you support
every mining project, you know, without checking it out,
without doing the science, that you’re anti-miner. I’ve represented more miners
than this government ever will. This is a government
who does nothing about casualisation or labour hire. Like, I say to people
in Central Queensland I’m not going to incur
sovereign risk. But this argument that somehow
this top-end-of-town government, who’s deregulated the labour market, casualised the labour market, undermined wages and conditions… They’re not the friend
of working-class people in this country, in any part. And, you know, no matter what
dog whistle the government does, I’ve got an argument to put
to workers around this country, full stop. And that’s going to be that
we’ll get your wages moving again. So I think this government
is virtue signalling on one issue, just to try and scare people from ignoring their economic
interest on a range of matters. Alright, next question. We’ve got
a lot of topics still to cover. Scott Venus. Mr Shorten, um, will your
Labor government actually, um… ..repeal the changes
to the Medicare bulk billing system that has seen many Australians
simply not see a doctor because they can’t afford
the gap fees? Yeah. Thanks, Scott. Um, the government has frozen
the patient rebate for the last 5.5 years. Um, what that means, effectively, is when you go and see the doctor, you get a rebate,
and that’s the Medicare system. They’ve frozen it at the same level. We will unfreeze it
if we get elected. We’ve also said
that for a range of treatments we’re going to extend the, uh,
investment from pathology, through to cancer treatment
and scanning, uh, through to dental care
for pensioners. We’re going to create
new Medicare items. Medicare is a f… It is a core
issue of Australian politics. Any of you who’ve been lucky enough
to go overseas and come back know that one of our sources
of national pride is our Medicare system,
our national health scheme. But, over the last number of years
of conservative government, they’ve been shifting
more of the burden back onto the people
to pay for the system. We have made a choice – we will invest more money
into our Medicare system and make it even better by changing
some of the tax treatment of other parts of our tax system. It is a choice. But can I tell you,
when you’re sick, your ability to claim a tax subsidy
isn’t as important to you as your ability to see a doctor. And that’s what motivates me.
OK… (APPLAUSE) Currently, the average
out-of-pocket patient co-payment for a single GP visit is $37.39. Mm-hm. If you unfreeze, uh,
the co…the payments to doctors, how much is that going to come down? Well, it will increase the rebate. Uh, what we’ve seen…
That’s right. It’ll be a matter of, you know,
less than a dollar each time the indexation goes up. But if you look over five years,
I’ll tell you what’s happened – the cost of your out-of-pockets
to see a GP under the freeze has seen the cost of seeing a GP
go up by about 20%. The cost of seeing a specialist
in Australia, your out-of-pocket, the gap, has increased by about 39%. The, uh, amount of money cut
from hospital funding… The federal government’s cut
funding to hospitals, ’cause they should…
they promised to pay 50% of the effective costs of the states
to run the hospitals, and they’ve retreated to 45%, which has seen literally
millions of dollars cut from every hospital
you can think of. We’re going to put that back. Yeah, so do you have a specific
target for getting these fees down? Well, we’ll index it
on a regular basis. But what we will also do is,
in particular areas, we’re going to put new money into
the system on top of indexing it. And a classic example is our help
for the challenge of cancer. One in two Australians
in their life… ..will get a diagnosis of cancer. What a lot of people think,
though, is that, um… So, if that’s not you,
it will be someone in your family. And what a lot of people think is
that when you get that diagnosis, the system’s free. And, indeed,
the Prime Minister said that. But it’s not. I met a fantastic couple today,
uh, in Western Sydney, uh, Sandy and Kim. She’s got pancreatic…Sandy’s got
pancreatic cancer. It’s level four. Pancreatic cancer is… You know,
survival rates aren’t great. This is a really remarkable woman. She’s lived five years. Her out-of-pocket journey, though… Oh, not a journey,
‘journey’ makes it sound benign. Her out-of-pocket ordeal has been
$100,000 over the last five years. Now, some people might say,
“Well, that’s just their bad luck.” That is not the way
I view Australia. If I can do one thing
as prime minister, but help make sure
that when you get cancer it may make you sick,
but it shouldn’t make you poor… If I can honour my commitment that anyone
who gets diagnosed with cancer has a lot more access
to bulk billing, they don’t have to feel they’ve got
to fill in their superannuation form to spend all the money, so if they pass away,
their family doesn’t… ..they don’t die in debt, this, to me, is why
you want to be Prime Minister. It’s why any of us should want
to see a government look after people
in the fight of their lives. You know,
they are very clear choices. And so, in cancer…
And the same with pensioner dental – what we want to do is give
every pensioner in Australia… They don’t own yachts, they don’t have, you know,
portfolios of shares. But I tell you,
when you’ve got bad teeth, everything else is crook. 2.6 million Australian pensioners, because of the decisions
we’re making, we will make sure they can get
a new bulk bill item, up to 1,000 bucks every two years, just to help with the cost of seeing
a dentist, private or public. This is what I think about Medicare. It’s not only worth
defending and saving, it’s worth making better. What’s wrong with us not having the best dividend imputation
franking credit system in the world? OK… What’s wrong with having the best
healthcare system in the world? Alright.
That’s ambitious. Thank you very much.
(APPLAUSE) The next question is from
Francine Machin. Right now
there’s a suicide emergency with Indigenous Australian youth. Both Labor and Liberal governments
have promised to put money
into suicide prevention. However, past records show that throwing money at something
can be pointless. Tracy Westerman, the 2018
Western Australian of the Year, is a respected clinical psychologist and a Njamal woman who believes
that money is often used for, and I quote, “Crisis-driven, reactive,
and ill-informed responses.” How will your government ensure that families
like those in the Kimberley can keep their children
safe from harm? Thanks, Francine. (APPLAUSE) It’s an epidemic. Again, not a topic which gets
to the front of the newspapers, although, to be fair, the media have actually covered
some of this epidemic better than, perhaps, previously. The issue of suicide is massive. But also the issue
of our First Australians, and the inequality of the lives
that many of them live is massive. There’s an intersection. On mental health and suicide, Labor’s committed to doing a whole range
of suicide prevention projects – and, to be fair,
so is the government. So we’re trying to do,
not just more resource, but make sure it’s effective. So there are a range of projects
in the city and the bush on that. But I think the theme I would like to particularly address
in your question is the issue of unfair outcomes
for Indigenous Australians. We don’t have all night to go
through everything that happens but, I tell you,
I’ve got a unique idea to help make sure that Indigenous
Australians get holistic solutions. I want to make Pat Dodson,
who is from the Kimberley, who’s the Father of Reconciliation, I wanted to make the first… ..I want him to be
the first Indigenous Australian who’s in charge
of Indigenous matters in Australia. (APPLAUSE) Can you…can you start by claiming that this is a national emergency? Because no-one has done that. No-one has put this on that level and committed
all government resources necessary to do something about it. Yeah, I think that’s fair language. I think it’s a national disaster, national emergency. I think, to be fair
to a lot of people before me, people have tried to work at it. So I don’t claim any special status
in saying what I just said. But I do have a view
about the nation – if any Australian’s doing badly,
that affects all of us. Sometimes in this country
we judge ourselves by how many billionaires we have
on the Forbes, you know, Rich List. I have a view
that we should judge ourselves by if we have great disadvantage. Now, some of the conservatives say, “Oh, that’s just all
virtue signalling,” and they’re, you know,
cynical about it. We should be really proud
of the fact we share the continent with our First Australians who’ve got 60,000 years plus
of continuous connection to country. I think we need to redefine
our relationship with our First Australians, not from either indifference
or paternalism, to partnership. Now, the way we do that… And I know you’re talking
about suicide which is the cutting edge,
and for some of you, you might say, “Well, just work out the suicide and
worry about everything else later,” but it’s all connected. If you don’t feel
that you’ve got stable housing… ..if you don’t feel
you’ve got access to a job, if you’re split up from your family, if you lose connection to country, it all works on each other. So, you know, we’ve got the suicide projects, but I’d also want to put to you that reconciliation in Australia
and closing the gap is everything. It’s putting our First Australians and recognising them
in the nation’s birth certificate – the Constitution. They had a whole lot
of Aboriginal leaders attended a big meeting at Uluru, and they came up with a declaration
that they wanted to have a voice. They want to be consulted
about laws made about them, rather than just inflicted
upon them. I think this is a reasonable idea. I don’t think it means that we’re
creating a new house of parliament just for Aboriginal Australians
to be in charge of everything. So, very briefly, how would it work? Would it have a constitutional basis? And would it give advice
to government that government had to follow
on Indigenous affairs? Well, Pat Dodson and Malarndirri McCarthy, our Labor
Senator from the Northern Territory, and Warren Snowdon, who’s a
longstanding member for Lingiari, and plenty of other people have been working on
how do you actually turn the idea of properly consulting
our First Australians into a reality? Pat Dodson, Shireen Morris,
who’s our Labor candidate in Deakin, they’ve all worked on this. I think that we can, uh,
create regional assemblies, I think we can create
a national body, and I think we can put it
into the Constitution to consult. What it will not be
is a third chamber of parliament. When you say you think you can, is this a commitment
from a Labor government? Oh, we’ve already made…
It’s in our national… It’s in our policy, yes. It is our commitment. For some of you wondering why are we talking
about the Constitution and properly consulting
First Australians and a voice and a structure, some of you might say,
“But that’s not the practical stuff. “Housing, school, and jobs
is what’s practical.” Well, that’s true.
Practical stuff matters. But if you want to have
a relationship of equality, you’ve got to empower people to be part of the decision-making
over their lives. You know, some people say that, by giving
Aboriginal Australians a voice, that they’re getting
a head start on everyone else – they get something special
that no-one else has. The reality is
that our First Australians start behind everyone else. All we want them to do is have fair dinkum
equal opportunity in this country. OK, let’s move on. Thank you.
(APPLAUSE) Thank you very much. The next question comes via Skype. It’s from David Thomas
from The Gap in Brisbane. Hi. Mr Shorten, over 100,000 people are
now working on gig economy platforms in the personalised
transport sector. They are underpaid, they work
between 60 and 80 hours a week for an average of under $10 an hour. They don’t receive any WorkCover
or any superannuation and don’t get any expenses
for their vehicles. What will you
and the Labor Party be doing to outlaw these sham
employment practices which are largely carried out
by an overseas corporation using an offshore tax haven
to collect and distribute incomes? Good-paying jobs and sustainable, tax-paying small
businesses are being destroyed in what has become
a free-for-all race to the bottom. Bill Shorten.
Thank you, David. Um…
(APPLAUSE) David may be talking about taxis,
he could be talking about Uber… Um… In fact, I think he was talking
about Uber. We’ve got some principles,
if we form a government, to deal with the sharing economy,
or the gig economy. Now, technology’s changing options
and services in our economy far quicker than regulation
can keep up. And there’s a great convenience
to Uber. You know, you can… A parent
can order it for their child and know where their child is
and know their child is safe. You know, there’s convenience
for a new technology, but it’s a challenge
to existing business models. So we’ve got five or six principles that we will apply
if we get into government. And it’s not easy. The whole world
is trying to grapple with it. First of all,
if you own your own car, you have a right to use your car,
so… You know, if you own your house
and want to rent it out to someone, you have that right. So that’s the first principle. If it’s your property,
you’ve got a fair right to have a say how you use it. It’s not for us to stop you. But what we also think is you’ve got
to pay fair wages and conditions. You do have to pay taxes. Why should existing
bricks-and-mortar business be subject to a set of regulation and then new entrants
just don’t have to do any of that? ‘Cause those taxes and charges
pay for the roads, and they pay for system. So it’s not fair. So taxes…
So you’ll find a way to tax Uber? Is that what you’re saying?
These are our principles. You’ve got to pay proper wages,
you’ve got to pay proper taxes. You’ve also got to make sure
that you’re appropriately trained. Public safety is important. If you’re going to entrust
someone to a service, that service has to meet
a certain level of public safety. So here’s the thing – can you
legislate for a company like Uber to pay taxes, pay superannuation, to actually pay for the rights
of their workers to have holidays, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera? Are you intending
to unionise the gig economy? Oh, my Lord, you can scare everyone. Um…
(LAUGHTER) I wouldn’t have thought you would
regard unionisation as scary. No, I don’t, but I don’t know
about the way you meant it. Um…
(SCATTERED LAUGHTER) OK, there’s five or six principles. It is really hard,
you’re quite right. The whole world
is grappling with it. I’ll rattle them off. You’ve got a right to use
your own property, but you’ve got to pay proper wages
and conditions, you should pay some sort of taxes.
You should be… If you’re going to drive people, you’ve got to be publicly safe
to do so. I also think that you’ve got to have
principles of access. In the cab industry,
we require the existing operators… ..you know, they’ve got
to have disability access. The new gig interlopers, you know,
they’ve got to demonstrate how they will provide
proper access too. So I think there are ways to have
principles which you can regulate, but it’s not going
to involve no change at all, because people have a right
to use new technology, they have a right to try and, you know, get the best
services they can. You can’t turn your back
on the future and pretend it’s not happening. But regulation does need
to catch up. The wages, the taxes,
the public safety, the use of access. And everyone’s got to have
the same broad set of rules. That’s called a level playing field. So, very briefly,
the ACTU, Sally McManus, hot on this issue. Are you going to work with the ACTU to do something
about the gig economy? We’ll work with everyone. I mean, it is a new area,
and there’s exciting services. But what I need also to say, it’s one of the things
the government sort of criticises. They say,
“Oh, Bill will work with unions.” I’ll work with business.
They never criticise me for that. I’ll work with unions.
I’ll work with the community. We’ll work with the existing
operators in the industry. And we’ll work with
the new technology operators. What this country needs is
for far too long… Doesn’t matter if it’s taxation,
the environment, Medicare, the gig economy – for too long
we’ve grown to a tendency that we’ll just try and shove
the hard issues down the road. Aged care. For too long, we’ve had
a tendency in Australia that when it gets too hard, when we can identify
a particular group of people who are missing
or not getting exactly everything, for too long we’ve decided
that if you don’t have… ..that the only change
you can have is where everyone is happy completely,
100%, with everything you’re doing. We put it in the too-hard basket. The sort of government I’ll lead
will be an inclusive government, it’ll be a listening government. But what we’re not going to be
as a government is a government who says
that the world is too hard, tell everyone,
“You don’t need to change, “you don’t need to do anything.” What this nation needs is
real change, stability, a sense of purpose and a sense that the future
is not too hard. If we all work together, in my experience,
we can normally solve most problems. That is my experience. OK, we’ve got time for…
(APPLAUSE) Thank you, again. Save your applause
for after this last question. (CHUCKLES) So hard. We’ve only got time
for one last question. It comes from Kathryn Watt. Repeatedly, our royal commissions find that there is a failure
in leadership culture in human decency and human kindness, especially in caring
for the vulnerable. Community organisations, aged care
and disabled service providers are all in the spotlight. Has government effectively
outsourced selectively your own responsibility to take care
of people in our society? What will your leadership
culture be? How will your government
guide all of us as a community in relation to our culture, and being a decent and caring
country to live in? Thank you. (APPLAUSE) That’s a fantastic question,
Kathryn. Uh… My style of leadership
is not that of, uh, “I know best, and everyone else
must do as I say.” I’m not a lone ranger.
I’m not going to be a Messiah. I don’t believe in the sort of
authoritarian strongman that, “I will do this
and everyone will just follow.” You know, that doesn’t work. We’re a country
of 25 million people. We have lots of differences
and lots of different experiences. I would rather say my leadership
style is one of the coach. I want to get
the best out of the team. I understand that if you can get
the smartest people in the room, even if they don’t all agree
with each other, you’re more likely to get
a better outcome than if you don’t talk to people. I understand that if you want to go
and find out what’s happening, they don’t all come to you. So if I’m elected prime minister, we’re going to do
the public meetings, we’re going to out
and listen to people. So my style of leadership
is to listen. My style of leadership
is to get the best out of people. And this isn’t just
an idle statement. Love us or hate us, the Labor Party for the last
5.5 years has been stable. Not for nothing did Bob Hawke say, “If you can’t run your own party,
you can’t run the country.” My other bit of…
my other leadership style is that I don’t believe in majorities
picking on minorities. This is not political correctness, but in my experience,
good ideas come in all packages. They can come from the left,
they can come from the right, they can come from people
who worship Jesus or people who worship Allah or people who don’t worship
anyone at all. Good advice and good ideas doesn’t
come from what school you went to, not how many generations
your family’s been in this country, not how rich you are. Good advice and good people
are everywhere. It’s as… I’m going to
finish on this point. I went to this university. The reason why
I went to this university is ’cause my mum worked here
for 33 years. My mum came from
a working-class family. She was the first in her family
in the early ’50s to ever go to university, ever. No-one ever thought… My grandma, English grandma,
she was a cleaner and a barmaid. They wouldn’t have thought
we’d ever be sitting here, talking to you like this. But if my mum…
And she became a teacher, but she wanted to be a lawyer,
but she was the eldest in the family so needed to take
the teacher scholarship to look after the rest of the kids. My mum was a brilliant woman.
She wasn’t bitter. She worked here for 35 years. But I also know that if she had
had other opportunities, she could have done anything. I can’t make it right for my mum. And she wouldn’t want me to. But my point is this – what motivates me, if you really
want to know who Bill Shorten is, I can’t make it right for my mum but I can make it right
for everyone else. This is a country… I don’t care who you vote for –
I’d like you to vote for us – I don’t care what god you worship, I don’t care how long you’ve been
here, your accent, your family, what job they do, but I reckon that if this country can just let people be
as talented and as capable by giving them
all the same opportunity, we won’t all be the same
at the end of the day, but then nothing gonna
hold this country back. When we’re equal,
when we get equal opportunity, we are going to be the best country
in the world, with no arrogance. That’s my leadership style. (APPLAUSE) That’s an obvious end point
for the program. That’s all we have time for tonight. Please thank our special guest,
the Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten. Thank you.
(APPLAUSE) Thank you very much. Thanks to Monash University’s
Robert Blackwood Hall and this great audience. Give yourselves a quick round
of applause, if you wouldn’t mind. (APPLAUSE) Thank you. Very good. You get
a standing ovation from the guest. That’s pretty rare.
(LAUGHS) You can continue the discussion
on Facebook and NewsRadio, where Tracey Holmes
and politics professor Rod Tiffen will be taking your calls. Now, next week it’s the final Q&A
before the election. As we said, Scott Morrison
will not be appearing on Q&A. In his place,
Liberal Party campaign spokesman and Trade Minister Simon Birmingham, deputy Opposition Leader and Shadow Education Minister
Tanya Plibersek and the leader of the Greens,
Richard Di Natale. Until next Monday’s Q&A, goodnight.
Goodnight. Captions by Red Bee Media Copyright Australian
Broadcasting Corporation

  1. Let's hope if Labor get in they will put money into the prevention side of health as Big Pharma is the most corrupt big business on this planet. It is all well and good to say more pharmacies but that isn't solving any health issues, just medicating the masses and lining the pockets of Big Pharma.

  2. How brave a lefty on lefty station on a left show, say goodbye to australia if this lunatic gets in, remember rudd Gillard, hello carbon tax goodbye inheritence. Global bs.

  3. You could not get a more fake, rehearsed man with no substance. There is just something of putting about him, you get the feeling that you can't trust him that nagging feeling…. Not quite right. Won't get my vote.

  4. Bill Shorten, the Australian workers' 'friend'??

    In July 2015, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten of the Australian Labor Party, a former official of the AWU, was called to give evidence at the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption. Over two days of questioning, Counsel Assisting asked Shorten several times if he had had a conflict of interest in accepting, and not disclosing, large donations from employers while negotiating for the union on behalf of employees. Shorten said there was no conflict of interest. Shorten admitted to the commission that he had failed to declare a political donation of around $40,000 from a labour hire company in the lead up to the 2007 election campaign, and that invoices regarding the payments for services were not truthful. Shorten denied knowledge of alleged false invoicing, totalling more than $300,000, which had been sent to construction company Thiess John Holland.

    During cross examination, Counsel Assisting said that Shorten was being "evasive". Heydon intervened to tell Shorten that some of his answers were "non-responsive", adding "If I can be frank about it, you have been criticised in the newspapers in the last few weeks and I think it’s generally believed that you have come here in the hope you will be able to rebut that criticism or a lot of it. I’m not very troubled about that, though I can understand that you are, and it’s legitimate for you to use this occasion to achieve your ends in that regard. What I’m concerned about more is your credibility as a witness … and perhaps your self-interest as a witness as well. It is in your interest to curb these, to some extent, extraneous answers."

    The best indicator of future behaviour is past behaviour, Shorten is a crook.

  5. Someone should train him on how tax works, I don't know why he thinks pensioners below the threshold should pay income tax on dividends. if he sticks to his guns then they should sell their franked shares and buy non-franked, therefore no tax. Just like the negative gearing policy, landlords need to increase rent or reduce expenditure to make the investment a profit. So rents up, maintenance down, aren't these people suppossed to be supporting the battlers?

  6. Indigenous Australians were saddled with Terra Nullius for 200 years. Mabo made a difference. The Uluru Statement from the heart was an opportunity for indigenous Australians to gain self-respect and empowerment. The government failed them. No less than the colonialist murderers that decimated their ranks. Politicians are the anachronistic dotards who missed this opportunity to lift the Indigenous Australian’s self-respect and empowerment to become the emblem of our country.

    Lang Hancock suggested solving the Indigenous problem by poisoning the water causing infertility amongst aboriginals and thence their demise. This was in 1984. Yesterday in historical terms. This abhorrent colonialist view is still too close to the surface- right up Fraser Anning’s street, I expect. They deserve a voice and a role in determining their future, and Australia’s future too.
    Assigning a Minister is not enough.

  7. At his door stop interviews, Shorten now has his attack puppy Kristina Keneally. I wonder what ministry Shorten has promised her. Kristina is too pretty to be an attack puppy, maybe that's the point, and she's a girl for the female vote. It's all so calculated.

  8. If Bill Shorten loves Australian workers, why do public servants need to pay union fees when Labor is in government?

  9. I dont think Australia will vote in a man with man-breasts. Watch this man jog/run – It goes against nature.

  10. I agree with the majority of comments, never liked bio for some reason but am sensing a return to real labor values…..

  11. These are complex issues which require complex answers allow the bill shorten to answer the questions in full, I'm sick of media infantilizing the Australian public.

  12. I'd never vote for either of the major parties, but I must admit, Bill did an exceptional job compared with the slew of mediocre orators we've had in the past decade or so

  13. If youre a smoker then you can thank Labour hand bag squad for it the huge tabaco tax , 6 billion per year , these clows just tax tax tax

  14. Forget about labor and liberal party. Seriously if we vote for a minor party you will break the cycle of living in limbo. Australia will be a very interesting place if labor and liberal is told to take a back seat.

  15. Dollar bill wanting to spend all tax payers money . He will join the UN MIGRATION PACT YOU WATCH MORE SOMILAS AND ARAB MUSLIMS

  16. Would you really want a rapist for your prime minister. Look into bill shortens rape charge and really really think hard about what sort of person he is besides the obvious of economically retarted

  17. Bill was a lawyer for many years .
    Can we really trust a person who lies for money , protects criminals whether right or wrong for money basically too be a good lawyer you must be a compulsive liar.
    He couldnt even answer some basic questions without lying !

  18. Im glad the moderator doesnt give him a pass with not answering questions. Also, where is the invitation to the other major party leaders? The major independents? – the Greens, One Nation, LDP etc.

  19. Great ideas but WHERE IS THE MONEY GOING TO COME FROM FOR ALL OF THIS? He is dreaming! Spend, spend, spend is all I heard.

  20. Love the way Billy boy uses the technique of thanking the person for the question before answering the question. It's like he went to a seminar and was taught this is how you disarm them.

  21. Bill isn't doing the traditional National Press Club appearance. Too many non labor journo's there to ask the really hard questions?

  22. Today Shorten hilariously called for civility, in between the bile and cheap shots he has been spewing during the election campaign. Does he have any self insight. He calls people "cave dwellers, knuckle draggers", straight out of the Hillary Clinton deplorables playbook. And what did he say about Trump. This person is not Prime Ministerial material. His natural cave is not Parliament House. He's a DNA union man.

  23. Lmao if old mate sells his negative gearing property because Labor gets in he’s a fool. He said it didn’t apply to his property and the treasury says that it will have a minimal effect on house prices.

  24. oh dear, Shorten is an unoriginal parrot – "we need real change" – every left wing politician says the same line. Try and be a little different.

  25. Rudd and Gillard must be very proud of Billy. Vote Shorten in and get another 4 years of Labor disaster just like Rudd and Gillard.

  26. Never matters who gets in the agenda moves on .poor are staying poor.the corrupt are always staying corrupt.

  27. Pensioners have always been better looked after by Labor, not just the ones that are fortunate enough to have extra income, but the ones that have only the pension to live on. The present rise in cost of living far exceeds the reduced indexation that is received biannually. If Kerri-Anne Kennelly’s tasteless remarks yesterday are anything to go by, the Liberals don’t hold regard pensioners in high regard at all. The right wing of politics only feign interest in pensioners around election time, then they are forgotten until election time rolls around again.

  28. Fortunately, the LNP and independents will ensure NONE of Labors policies get passed- or we would be stuffed

  29. Australia is dying. Their choice is corporatist leftist liberal PM and a socialist SJW pro communist China PM. Farewell Australia.

  30. Very sad what the Labour party has become. Labours proposed policies would put Australia at the greatest economic disadvantage of all time.

  31. This man and rhino head Bowen should be in prison 1200 dead under their watch people trying to get here . No other answer but Shorten for that little man carried many knifes in those short pants he dressed in , no doubt the blonde bimbo with the fat belly carried the extra he needed .KARMA to a dog.

  32. they are traitors to the people of the constitution of the commonwealth of australia, life imprisonment is penalty for treason

  33. mate u talk about listening to the people but r the people right i think what are u going to do for climate change climate change is ruining our country what r u going to do about uni being to expensive what about tafe being to expensive what about refugees wanting to live a better life and having their kids have a better life what about people being locked up and having there cereers being altered becuase someone wanted to smoke a little weed is this something your going to change didnt think so

  34. This really is an horrendous individual , no Hawke / Keating here . He went to Xavier with his twin brother , he mixed with the powerful ( Pratt as a best mate ) , Read the book " animal farm " this lot are full on Socialist . Just horrible outcomes for the Nation , don't be fooled , this guy is a thief at best . Don't be fooled .First question , is from a Labor person , just ridiculous .

  35. To sum it up , Bill shorten will take it from the hard working Australians from taxes and give it to the lazy bums. More education dosen't creat more jobs . you got to have a strong economy. Gee negative gear is not a government susidy . Its a loss to reduce your income so you pay less taxes . If you don't need to pay then . It useless as you won't get anything back

    Morshed Khan

  37. Good on you bill for calling out the free loaders enjoying negative gearing.

    Thats why I voted for him today

  38. Not one word of what is really happening in Australia and pushing what they are in the US Socialism in another wrapping.

  39. Bill Shorten lost even with the Leftist run Polls on his side? WHAAAAT! He must really suck for the top job. Well done Australians for preventing this terrorist from hijacking Australia, and his militant leftist cronies. I guess it will be back to normal, with these leftist militants protesting on our streets.

  40. So they say you pay zero tax on your super… well the company that paid the dividend has paid tax… so the super gets a rebate from the government for the tax paid… now it is zero tax… =p… To keep it simple…Shorten wanted.. ( he is gone now ) ..to tax super =p… but he never says that =p

  41. Bye Bill! Nice to see some far left ideals rejected by people who can think further than one day into the future

  42. HA HA HA HA HA HA Bill.Go back to under the rock you came from.While you're at it ,take with you the ABC 'journalists',Channel 9,The Age,Get Up,Leftie teachers,CFMEU and the rest of your retinue with you!

  43. Shorten is propped up by immigrants.
    Hes as smart and ppl focused ad a bag full of cement.
    Nothing GREAT about him.
    We see he is not leadership material.
    Shorten comes across as not being able to help himself let alone others.

  44. The govt and workers prop this joker up.
    Pls he is underhanded and went for the young ones who think his policies are ok.
    Luckily a lot of young ppl have parents who explain to them how the world and Australia works.
    Thank god hes gone

  45. This interview has been out for a week now and like with all news that involves Australia and it's roll in Russia gate it is suppressed.
    For those people that want to know how Alexander Downer and the Australian Government is involved in this Russia Gate saga that actually started the 2 year investigation into Trump and Russia you should watch this interview.
    The Mark Steyn Show with George Papadopoulos, part one

  46. Q; Bill why did you not support the royal commission into institutionalised child sexual abuse; ie why did you want to protect pedophiles?

  47. God save Australia. If this Union Boss won election, Australia would become another Venezuela,extra taxing the hard working / successful people and robbing self funded pensioners as the way of getting money to give to those who do not earn it,this class welfare has been a crazy idea. Historically,Socialism country has never been a success ,why trying to bring the country backward, Bill, you and the lefties are big liars, so much JOY to see majority Australians so clever to reject it

  48. Bill always say Labor put money in Health and Education, but lot of people don’t know that majority of those money actually paid to red tape and fat cat created by Unionsand little to the people in need .no matter how much money you pour in , if you don’t do it efficiently, money never enough , that why Labor policy is only good in theory,and bankrupts in Practice

  49. Thank God this fuckwit lost. Don't have to look at his top row of teeth and giant forehead that a lunar module could land on.

  50. My brother He doTax law in Australia .
    When introduced. GST in Australia. at that I was at my brother place. He asked me to have look. I said to him no need to look. Knows all about it.

    We do pay GST & PST since 1984
    Climate change forget it
    What do you like ?
    Job creation or climate change?
    Co2 Tax is fake
    Population are growing
    Civilization must move on.

  51. Shorten really didnt have the intelligence to be prime minister, that was plain to see in this show.

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