Transcript: Opposition Leader Bill Shorten nailed by Leigh Sales

The Treasurer Wayne Swan promised four surpluses. He didn’t deliver one. You promised an effective mining tax. It raised next to nothing. You promised no carbon tax. You introduced one. You dismantled the Coalition’s border protection regime claiming that would save $60 million. It cost more than $10 billion. You axed two sitting prime ministers. Isn’t that reasonable for voters to baulk at trusting Labor again with the reins of government?

You can watch the full interview here:


LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Today is six years to the day that the Labor Party took the extraordinary step of knifing a first-term prime minister, Kevin Rudd.

Today, one of the players centrally involved in that and then the removal of his successor Julia Gillard is the Labor Party’s leader.

Against expectations, BILL SHORTEN has managed to rapidly reunify the party and opinion polls have him neck and neck with the Prime Minister heading into the election.

The Opposition Leader has agreed to two campaign interviews with 7.30. He sat down with me for the first of them in Adelaide today.

BILL SHORTEN, great to have you on the show.

BILL SHORTEN, OPPOSITION LEADER: Great to be on the show, Leigh.

LEIGH SALES: At your National Press Club speech a few weeks ago, 15 times you said the words, “You can trust Labor,” and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard you say that elsewhere. Given your record, aren’t voters smart to distrust you?

BILL SHORTEN: Not at all. Labor’s developed great policies in health care, education, jobs, renewable energy, the NBN, housing affordability. And also, Labor has learned to work as a team. One of the first things we had to do when we went into opposition is become united. We’ve done that. We’ve been a strong opposition. And now we’re setting the political agenda by being a big-target opposition with lots of policies for people to talk about.

LEIGH SALES: Let me take you through a few examples of why people might fear that they can’t trust you. Can you direct me to where on the Liberal Party website I can find details of their policy to privatise Medicare?

BILL SHORTEN: Well if you have a look at the taskforce which they set up, whether or not the Liberals have put it on their website doesn’t change the truth that they are spending $5 million of taxpayer money to privatise the payment system of Medicare.

LEIGH SALES: That’s not privatising Medicare though, is it?

BILL SHORTEN: Well you asked me to point why we argue that the Liberals are privatising Medicare. I’ll be succinct. They set up $5 million taskforce to outsource, to pander to private operations the payment system of Medicare. 2.) The reference to the Productivity Commission from the Treasurer Scott Morrison which looks at outsourcing and looking at what is the best way to deliver human services from government. And 3.) their actual cuts to Medicare. What they are doing is moving the burden of payment from government to individuals to pay for their own health care.

LEIGH SALES: But the head of the Australian Medical Association Michael Gannon says, “In no way would the outsourcing of the payment system equal the privatisation of Medicare.”

BILL SHORTEN: Well everyone’s entitled to their own opinion.

LEIGH SALES: He’s head of the AMA.

BILL SHORTEN: Well, you’ll find that the AMA in February, the previous – with a previous leadership actually expressed concerns about the outsourcing of the payment system. And anyway, when you look at the payment system, it’s at the heart of Medicare. And people may care to, you know, fall for what Malcolm’s saying, but I won’t give up on Medicare and I’m going to fight to defend Medicare and I don’t think outsourcing the payment system is in the best interests of the Medicare.

LEIGH SALES: But Chris Bowen, your own Treasury spokesperson said in September, 2009, “The public and private sectors have a common interest in providing payment services which are better tailored to customer needs.” You yourself have considered that using the private sector is a more efficient way to deliver payments.

BILL SHORTEN: Well, this government, with their plans for Medicare, are not in the best interests of Australians.

LEIGH SALES: But no, no, we’re talking about the payment system. You yourself have looked at privatising the payment system.

BILL SHORTEN: Oh, no. Doesn’t matter if it’s Chris Bowen or myself, we’ve never contemplated outsourcing the payment system of Medicare holus bolus.

LEIGH SALES: I say again to you, “The public and private sectors have a common interest in providing payment services which are better tailored to customer needs.” You have looked at this in the past.

BILL SHORTEN: No, we haven’t set up a $5 million taskforce, and, when you look at everything this government’s doing to Medicare, I’m not going to take a backwards step in defending Medicare. They’re freezing the GP rebates, they’ve set up a taskforce to investigating outsourcing the payment system, they’re increasing the price of medicine and they are cutting and slashing bulk billing incentives for pathology tests and diagnostic imaging.

LEIGH SALES: Can you put your hand on your heart and look Australians in the eye and say that the Coalition has a policy to privatise Medicare?

BILL SHORTEN: I can say to the people of Australia that this election and their vote on July 2nd will determine the future of Medicare.

LEIGH SALES: Is the Coalition privatising Medicare?

BILL SHORTEN: You’ve asked me to talk to the Australian people here and I just want to take another 30 seconds and answer your first question. On July 2nd, Australians will have a choice. It’ll be about the future of Medicare. You can vote Labor and make sure that we keep the price of our health care system down and that we keep it in government hands or you can vote Liberal and you look at the range of their cuts and a range of their manoeuvres and we will head down the path of an Americanised health care system, where it is – how much you earn will determine the quality of your health care.

LEIGH SALES: I started this by raising the issue of trust and so why I keep going on about the privatisation of Medicare is ’cause you’re using words like the Americanisation, the privatisation of Medicare. The Prime Minister has explicitly ruled it out and labelled it the biggest lie of the campaign and so why do you keep saying that Medicare’s going to be privatised?

BILL SHORTEN: Because throughout this election, as I’ve travelled around talking to tens of thousands of people, they keep telling me, “Bill, make sure you don’t let the Liberals harm Medicare.” And so, there is a big difference. Malcolm Turnbull’s running dishonest ads where he says he guarantees Medicare funding. The only thing …

LEIGH SALES: But you’re – sorry, you’re not addressing my question, which is you’re claiming that they’re privatising Medicare holus bolus and that policy doesn’t exist.

BILL SHORTEN: Well no, I’ve said that they’re – had plans to privatise the payment system and those plans do exist. I’ve said that they’ve set up a Productivity Commission investigation to look at the outsourcing and privatisation of human services. I haven’t said in this interview, but I’ve said elsewhere they’re privatising Australian hearing services. I’ve also said in this interview earlier that they have got a plan to cut the GP rebates by freezing them, so it means that for six years doctors don’t get an increase in their rebate. They have a plan to increase the price of prescription medicine and they have a plan to cut bulk billing incentives for pathology and diagnostic imaging. When you add all of that up together, I do say to Australians: you can trust Labor to defend Medicare, you just can’t trust Mr Turnbull and his Liberal team to run Medicare in the best interests of all Australians.

LEIGH SALES: So with that point, you know, basically what you’re saying is you can’t believe – to voters, you can’t believe Malcolm Turnbull because of the Coalition’s track record. So applying your logic then, when will you come clean about Labor’s secret plan to reintroduce onshore processing and abandon boat turnbacks?

BILL SHORTEN: OK, well there’s two big statements there. Let’s deal with both of them. I’m saying that Mr Turnbull can’t be trusted on Medicare because what he said – because of what he said he intends to do with it. He intends to make you pay more to see the doctor, pay more for your blood tests, pay more for your medicine. These are facts. That’s why you can’t trust Mr Turnbull. And as for the second proposition you advance, the Liberal Party’s been trying to say to Australians that we have a different plan to them in terms of deterring people smugglers. They should be ashamed of themselves for running that argument, because we don’t. That’s the short answer: we don’t have a different plan to the Coalition in terms of deterring people smugglers.

LEIGH SALES: But if I apply the same logic that you’re applying to Medicare, Labor has in the past said offshore processing was cruel, you abandoned it, you built new detention centres on the mainland, many Labor MPs are opposed to the current policy, so therefore we can’t believe you now when you say that you’ve got the same plan as the Coalition. I’m applying the same logic that you’re applying to the Medicare situation.

BILL SHORTEN: No, actually. Mr Turnbull’s said in the future he wants to cut Medicare. I’m talking about Mr Turnbull’s future plans, not even their past record on Medicare. They have plans to cut the funding of Medicare in the future. I have plans to deter people smugglers in the future and what I’m saying is our policies will be the same as the Coalition in terms of defeating and deterring the people smugglers. And this point is really important. I say through this show through to confederates of people who may talk to people smugglers in Indonesia and criminal gangs elsewhere: whoever wins the election on July 2nd, the people smugglers are not gonna be back in operation. We have a bipartisanship on defeating the people smugglers and people smugglers should be aware they will not be allowed to ply their evil trade and encourage vulnerable people to get on unsafe boats and drown at sea.

LEIGH SALES: Isn’t the message that you’re sending with your hyperbole around Medicare that you don’t think that the truth alone can win you the election?

BILL SHORTEN: Not at all. I just think the truth of the Liberals plans on Medicare is scary and I will not be deterred. I will keep fighting to defend Medicare. Labor’s made budget decisions. We’ve made budget decisions going forward which will see us unfreeze the rebates paid to GPS, which will see us reinstate the pathology bulk billing discounts incentives so that people can get blood tests without paying big upfront fees. Labor’s made a decision with scarce taxpayer money not to go ahead with a price hike. It’s very important that his – that we establish this beyond any reasonable doubt. If you vote for Mr Turnbull, large corporations will get a tax cut. If you vote for me and Labor, Medicare will be saved from the massive cuts which Mr Turnbull has foreshadowed in his most recent budget.

LEIGH SALES: Why do you think that the company tax cuts now are so evil where in the past you, other senior members of your team have argued that company tax cuts lead to increased productivity, increased investment and jobs. You look at the record of Paul Keating in office. He cut company tax rates from 49 per cent right down to 33 per cent.

BILL SHORTEN: I’m glad you used the example of Paul Keating as an example of Labor’s commitment to reduce taxes. You can only afford to reduce corporate taxes when you replace them with other taxes. But Mr Turnbull keeps trying to pretend he’s some sort of poor man’s Paul Keating. He’s not. When Paul Keating reduced company tax, he introduced capital gains tax and fringe benefits tax, or in other words, the revenue which the budget was foregoing from corporate tax was replaced by new taxes. Mr Turnbull’s only picked up half of the lesson from the Labor Party. You can only abolish taxes or reduce taxes when you’ve got a source of income to replace them.

LEIGH SALES: The source of income is from the investment and the jobs that are created.

BILL SHORTEN: No, no. The source of income for Mr Turnbull’s $50 billion tax cut is cutting Medicare, is cutting schools.

LEIGH SALES: You’ve argued yourself that lowering the corporate tax rate assists in the creation of jobs. You said that in 2011. The creation of jobs is where the revenue comes to from government.

BILL SHORTEN: Do you know where you got that speech from?

LEIGH SALES: The Council of Social Services?

BILL SHORTEN: And do you know the context within that speech was given? It was given for the mining tax. There was a debate then that a mining tax would replace the revenue that was foregone from a company tax. See, this is Mr Turnbull’s great economic mistake. We both know he’s aware he’s made this mistake. If you with want to reduce corporate tax, something else has to give. Now Labor people have said you can reduce one lot of tax if you increase another lot of tax. What Mr Turnbull’s saying is you can reduce corporate tax and you do that by not having as much money for schools and Medicare. Labor people just don’t believe that you should reward large business at the expense of the cost of going to the GP or a properly reasonable school in a poorer suburb of our big cities or in the bush.

LEIGH SALES: Let me return to the issue of trust and give you some other examples that might worry voters. Policies that you’ve screamed blue murder about for years, you now support. Take the Schoolkids Bonus for example. You complained non-stop about the Government’s abolition of that and now at the 11th hour, you accept it.

BILL SHORTEN: Well hard decisions have to be made. I have to say that with the Schoolkids Bonus, it would be good to keep it. The problem is the Coalition’s made such a dreadful hash of the economy. They’ve tripled the deficit, they’ve increased the net debt.

LEIGH SALES: But you said in March, “Labor will stand with Australian families against these cuts every day to the next election.” That was in March. We’d already had the mid-year economic forecast.

BILL SHORTEN: Well no, since then we had the remarkable development of the credit agencies saying that because of the Government and the budget position, the triple A credit rating was under attack. And what we are doing, in contrast to Mr Turnbull, is we’ve set our priorities. So you’re right, a tough decision. What we’ve set our priorities is to make sure that every family whose kid goes to school gets a well-resourced school. What we’ve said is that we won’t go ahead with the harsh cuts of Mr Turnbull, cutting payments to families whose total household income was less than $100,000. And what we’ve said to families is we’ll keep the price of going to the doctor down and we’ll defend bulk billing.

LEIGH SALES: Let me give you, while you raise health …

BILL SHORTEN: So we’ve got a proposition for families which is about schools, the cost of living and health care.

LEIGH SALES: Let me give you another example while you raise health. You railed and railed about the Government ripping $57 billion out of hospitals in the 2014 Budget and then when it comes time to put your money where your mouth is, you offer only $2 billion on top of the $2.9 billion extra promised by government.

BILL SHORTEN: Well what you’re referring to is the hospitals component of our health approach. Actually what we’ve said for health care is that we will put back $12 billion over 10 years in terms of unfreezing the GP rebate.

LEIGH SALES: It’s not $57 billion.

BILL SHORTEN: Well perhaps if I could explain what we have said and then we can discuss – you know, you can give me your opinion. $12 billion has gone for GP rebates. Tick. We’ve said that we want to not go ahead with the price hike for the Government’s increase in the cost of medicine. That’s about $3 billion approximately. We won’t go ahead with their cutting of the bulk billing for diagnostic imaging. That’s about $2.9 billion. So we are putting back some of the money that they’ve cut, and when it comes to hospitals, which I think was at the heart of your question, we’ve decided to forego giving a corporate tax cut and increase the funding to hospitals twice as much as Mr Turnbull’s willing to do. Now the beauty of what we’re doing is that our extra resources into hospitals is aimed at making sure that there’s real hospital reform. We get waiting lists down for elective surgery, we get waiting times down in emergency wards. I’m optimistic that in the next four years of that hospital funding envelope, which is much more than Mr Turnbull’s, we will see improvements which will overall decrease the long-term costs of hospital care in this country.

LEIGH SALES: You talk about your commitments to spending. Labor has been upfront that it’s going to run larger deficits over the coming four years than what the Coalition will run. What is the economic case for running a larger deficit?

BILL SHORTEN: Well first of all, the – we will get to balance in the same year as the Liberals. But what I won’t do …

LEIGH SALES: But in the short-term, what’s your case for running a larger deficit, economically?

BILL SHORTEN: Sure. In the – we’ve said that we will get to balance in the next four years at the same time as the Liberals. In terms of the interim, what we won’t do is tell Australians, one, that we’re going to go ahead with zombie tax measures which make the Liberal Party’s position look better on paper, but in reality, they’re just not true.

LEIGH SALES: But I want to get to …


LEIGH SALES: But I want to get to where you’re coming from, because you look around the world and there’s some potential real shocks in the system. You could have the Brexit tomorrow, you could have President Trump to be dealing with next year. Where is your buffer in the short-to-medium-term if you’re running higher deficits?

BILL SHORTEN: Well, what I’m trying to explain to you is that the Government doesn’t have the buffer they claim to have to begin with.

LEIGH SALES: You might be the Government in a week, so where’s your buffer?

BILL SHORTEN: Yes, but that’s why – what I’m explaining to you first of all is that you’re making a comparison. You started off that series of questions with saying that the Government says that they have a better short-term position. What I’m saying to you is, that’s a mirage. What they have is what we call zombie tax cuts. They’re proposing to increase the working age to 70. They’re proposing to make unemployed people wait for four weeks before they get a payment. They’re proposing harsh cuts to family payments. None of these measures will ever see the light of day.

LEIGH SALES: But so you’re saying, “They don’t have a buffer, we don’t have a buffer.”

BILL SHORTEN: No, I’m not. That was only the first of my two explanations. But the first thing is we must establish beyond reasonable doubt is that the Government’s numbers are artificially pumped up by measures which will never see the light of day. The second proposition I have is that we will make structural change. We will improve the bottom line of the budget and we will do it in a sustainable fashion.

LEIGH SALES: What, with some new measures that we aren’t aware of yet?

BILL SHORTEN: No, no. But what we will do is that we will do this through long-term reform. What I won’t do in the short-term is smash the health care system, is smash the school system and make savage cuts to funding just to feed some short-term objective. Our longer-term economic story, which goes to the second part of that string of questions you asked me, is that we will invest in people, because we think that’s the long-term sustainable driver of growth, through education, TAFE, university funding. Then what we’ll do is we will invest in infrastructure. Infrastructure is road, it’s rail. We’re very committed to public transport investment. We’ll also properly invest in first-class technology and NBN. What we’ll also do is create certainty for new industries – advanced manufacturing, an expansion of tourism, renewable energy. It is through these measures of investing in people, of investing in infrastructure which creates productivity, investing in new industries which creates greater competition. That’s the way which we can have a very steady pattern to the future, a pattern of growth.

LEIGH SALES: Alright. Another issue of trust. I’ve put this to you before, but let me raise it again. You’ve said repeatedly in regards to union misconduct that you have zero tolerance for criminality and illegality and I’ve previously read you numerous judgements from courts all around the country labelling the CFMEU an organisation with total disregard for the law. And yet you continue to accept money from the CFMEU, the Labor Party does, and to allow them a say in the formulation of Labor Party policy. That’s not zero tolerance, is it? It’s a joint venture.

BILL SHORTEN: Oh, no, that’s not fair at all, Leigh. That’s not fair at all. I don’t think you can assert that the Labor Party’s done any of those things, so using it is a joint venture …

LEIGH SALES: But you do take money from the CFMEU. You do let them have a say in policy.

BILL SHORTEN: Leigh – Leigh, it was that proposition about a joint venture – that’s a bridge too far and that doesn’t stack up. In terms of the CFMEU, I have got zero tolerance for when their officials break the law. They’re absolutely not welcome in the Labor Party. I don’t tar every building worker or every trade union with the actions of some officials. I don’t expect Mr Turnbull …

LEIGH SALES: But there have been numerous – sorry, …

BILL SHORTEN: But let’s just be clear …

LEIGH SALES: I don’t want to go to Mr Turnbull because what I want to go to is this. There have been numerous …

BILL SHORTEN: Well no, you are because you’re setting up a double standard here.

LEIGH SALES: No, no. No, no, I’m not. No, I’m not at all. There have been numerous cases that I’ve read you in the past where judges around the country have said that the CFMEU as an organisation – not individuals, as an organisation has a record of flouting the law and I’m pointing out that despite you saying you have zero tolerance for that, the Labor Party still has a very tight relationship with them.

BILL SHORTEN: No, I don’t confuse every person in that union with the actions of some officials. But we do have zero tolerance. We’re the ones who’ve increased the penalties. We’re the ones who’ve proposed new oversight in terms of the regulation of workplace relations. What I won’t do though is engage in a general attack on the trade union movement and label everyone with the actions of some people. But where there is criminal activity, the way you hunt it down is through the use of a joint taskforce of police. This government has called the whole election on the basis of their regulator, but they’re proposing a system of bureaucracy which is not needed when you’ve already got the tools there. What we’ve got to do is give the compliance authorities the resources to do the job they’ve got to do. And just while we talk about flouting the law, how many bank scandals do there need to be before we get a royal commission into the banks?

LEIGH SALES: Sticking with the trust theme, Labor’s record in office. The Treasurer Wayne Swan promised four surpluses. He didn’t deliver one. You promised an effective mining tax. It raised next to nothing. You promised no carbon tax. You introduced one. You dismantled the Coalition’s border protection regime claiming that would save $60 million. It cost more than $10 billion. You axed two sitting prime ministers. Isn’t that reasonable for voters to baulk at trusting Labor again with the reins of government?

BILL SHORTEN: Well the Labor Party, when it woke up after the Sunday after the last election, realised that the good things it had done in office – the Apology, the handling of the Global Financial Crisis, a whole range of measures – have been overshadowed by infighting. Everyone collectively in the Labor Party learned a very valuable lesson that hardest way it can be done, administered by the Australian people. People do want to see a strong Labor Party and they want to see a strong Liberal Party. What they want to see are united parties and I’ve got to just put on record my gratitude to my party for the sense of unity and purpose that we’ve had since then. When you talk about some of the programs and some of the measures of government, under this government, they’ve never recorded a surplus. Under this …

LEIGH SALES: No, we’re talking about your record.

BILL SHORTEN: No, they are, but just, let’s be clear. Under this government, and this is the government seeking to offer themselves – how do they say they’ve learned their lesson?

LEIGH SALES: We’re talking about your record. I’m asking how voters – if people think, “OK, well past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour,” they look at some of those things I’ve outlined and they feel nervous about going back to Labor.

BILL SHORTEN: Well let me reassure voters that for the last thousand days, my team has been united. I don’t think you can say that about the other chap’s team. In the last thousand days we’ve decided to be not just a strong opposition – and I think we ticked that box. We were doing so well, they got rid of Tony Abbott. But we’ll also be now a strong alternative government. The conventional wisdom in politics, Leigh, is that you be a small-target opposition, you wait for the Government to fall over. We’re impatient for the future of Australia. We’re ambitious for this country. We can’t afford three more years of inaction on climate change. We can’t afford to see our educational rankings fall. We can’t afford to see Medicare trashed. So we’ve put up positive policies and we’re making clear choices. This government says that their economic plan for Australia is to give $50 billion away to large corporations. Ours is to reinvigorate education and Medicare. The choice is straightforward.

LEIGH SALES: I’m just wondering though, when you make a pitch like that, why then have you been relying for the past few days on hyperbole and exaggeration about the Americanisation of Medicare which Malcolm Turnbull, I come back to, has explicitly ruled out as their policy? If you’ve got your hundred positive policies why do you need to go down this path of exaggeration?

BILL SHORTEN: Because Leigh, don’t look at what Malcolm says, look at what he does. Remember what he was like before he became Leader of the Opposition?

LEIGH SALES: Well remember what Labor was like when it was in government? We can keep going around on that sort of merry-go-round.

BILL SHORTEN: Well no, OK, but we’re not going round in that way. I don’t think that’s fair. Malcolm Turnbull’s budget speaks to the future of Medicare. He is freezing the rebate which gets paid by the Government to doctors in lieu of seeing patients and not having to bulk bill – he’s freezing it for six years. And the Royal Australian College of GPS has said that 14.5 million Australians will pay more to go and see the doctor in the future under these policies. This is not us saying it.

LEIGH SALES: But then again, I come …

BILL SHORTEN: And that undermines Medicare, doesn’t it? If it’s harder to see the doctor and you lose bulk billing, surely, surely we should be defending bulk billing in this country and I will.

LEIGH SALES: But then I come back again, say, to the example of the Schoolkids’ Bonus where you would’ve been making this sort of case about the Schoolkids’ Bonus and then you’ve reversed course, so how can people trust that you’re saying that about freezing Medicare rebates and you’re not gonna change your mind down the track?

BILL SHORTEN: What we’ve said is that the policies we present to the people at this election will be the ones that we enact. We’ve committed not to spend money on any other programs that we haven’t spoken to the Australian people about. We’ve done is we’ve gone out and had this debate with the Australian people and we’ve been listening to them and we are putting forward a policy which does properly fund schools, and hopefully that takes the pressure off parents at government schools that have gotta pay voluntary levies. We do have a policy to properly fund hospitals and GPS and blood tests. That takes the pressure off self-funded retirees. We’ve got policies to help working parents, including working mums, go back to work by lifting the childcare rebate from $7,500 to $10,000. What that’ll mean is that people can go back to work and not see most of their pay gobbled up in childcare fees. Our policies are the experiences of middle class and working class people.

LEIGH SALES: Before we run out of time, let me just zip around a couple of quick things. We’re in South Australia. The Xenophon party is polling about a third – just under – of the primary vote. What lessons are you drawing from that about how people feel about the major parties?

BILL SHORTEN: Well I haven’t given up chasing people’s first preference votes in South Australia, Leigh. And in fact today I outlined 10 of our jobs policies for South Australia.

LEIGH SALES: People are pretty disillusioned though, aren’t they, if that many of them are looking at voting for a minor party?

BILL SHORTEN: Well, it’s up to political parties – minor, major, individuals or teams – to actually put forward their policies and convince people to vote for them. I haven’t given up convincing people of our policies. I have to say, being the Leader of the Opposition for the last thousand days, people have constantly written Labor off. They said Tony Abbott was unbeatable. They said the 2014 Budget was unstoppable. They said Malcolm Turnbull was unstoppable and they said that the Labor Party would split at the national conference over policies on refugees and people smugglers. Our critics have been wrong time and time again. What we are doing now is being a big target, big policy, brave party and I believe that on July 2nd we will see a – a good result from Australian voters and South Australian voters.

LEIGH SALES: You point out that your critics have been wrong on a few occasions. Even your enemies are conceding that you’re having a very good campaign. Your supporters are thrilled with it. If it ends up being a hung Parliament, would you really get that close to being Prime Minister and then walk away rather than negotiate with the Greens?

BILL SHORTEN: We will not go into any Coalition alliance – you pick the word – with the Greens. I’m chasing people’s first preference votes. Australians want a clear result at this election. They want three years of certainty. We will give them that because we’ve got the best policies which are most positive and we’re gonna advance our case every day.

LEIGH SALES: A lot of Labor supporters’d be very disappointed to hear you say that you wouldn’t work with the Greens, that you’d rather see a Coalition government there than some sort of arrangement with the Greens.

BILL SHORTEN: No, I’d rather – I didn’t say about a Coalition government. There’s more than two options, Leigh. I know the insiders say it’s either Greens or Coalition. There’s a third option: a Labor Party in government, governing for all Australians, working with business, working with workers, but not on behalf of any vested interest.

LEIGH SALES: BILL SHORTEN, thank you very much. We’ll see you again before election day.

BILL SHORTEN: Thanks, Leigh. Great to be with you.