Minister Shorten Interview on the Today Show with Sarah Abo


SUBJECTS: Matilda’s big win; MRH-90 incident; energy in new homes; Melbourne crowned sexiest city

SARAH ABO, HOST: Welcome back. Well, Australia's FIFA World Cup dream is alive this morning with the mighty Matildas taking victory over Canada in last night's do or die match in Melbourne. Joining us to discuss today's headlines is Minister for Government Services and the NDIS, Bill Shorten in Canberra, and Nine's Heidi Murphy in Melbourne. Good morning to you both.


ABO: Bill. Four nil, What a result. And all the while, Sam Kerr sitting on the bench. How good was it?

BILL SHORTEN, MINISTER FOR THE NDIS AND GOVERNMENT SERVICES: It was absolutely thrilling to watch last night. I mean, the Matildas didn't let Australia down. They really answered up. It was do or die for them last night. We had to win. Canada's a very highly rated team and I have to say a little bit of Melbourne pride, isn't it good that they were able to play in Melbourne? Melbourne audiences I think the best in the country. I think that must have helped.

ABO: Absolutely. Melbourne, I mean, Heidi, Melbourne loves its football of any shape, size, ball, whatever you want to call it, but how good is it to see the Matildas dominate at Rectangular Stadium? I mean, bring on the knockouts,

MURPHY: Well, bring on the knockouts. And I would also like to issue a challenge right now to Bill. Next time you go to the next cabinet meeting, please put it on the agenda. Planning needs to start now. I don't think there's a clearer sign we're going to win the whole thing. We'll probably need a holiday.

ABO: Yes, Bill, we've been lobbying for this for some time. You are going to give us a national holiday if the Matildas win, right?

SHORTEN: Oh, if I can get the Nine media empire behind me, I think that would be great.

MURPHY: We're here.

ABO: You've got us.

SHORTEN: Yeah. No, you're good. We've got Heidi. It's so different having you on it compared to Uncle Grumpy. Anyway, that's great.

MURPHY: Oh, don't be like that.

SHORTEN: No, I love him. I love him.

ABO: Oh, he’s so mean isn't he?

SHORTEN: Yeah, but you bring a certain sort of positivity.

MURPHY: Well, you just bring us a public holiday when the Matildas hold up their end of the deal.

ABO: Otherwise she'll turn into grubby pants as well. All right, You've been warned, Bill. All right. Well, let's move on now. And we are being warned the ADF will suffer a shortage of helicopter capability with the troubled MRH 90 Taipan fleet now grounded. Bill, does this leave us more vulnerable than we should be?

SHORTEN: Oh, listen, first of all, I just want to say that these families of these servicemen must be incredibly just traumatised and grief stricken. My thoughts are with the four soldiers of the Aviation Regiment who've made the ultimate sacrifice. And I just want to say also I think the ADF, even though it's a very big force, it's still in many ways a family. So, there'll be a lot of people hurting. I think it's right to ground the helicopters ‘til we find out what happened and what went wrong in this catastrophic disaster. But for me this morning, it's all about the families of the bereaved and their service colleagues.

ABO: Absolutely, Bill. And I think part of what you touched on there is a big issue, you know, this lack of transparency. I mean, we had an ex-soldier on the show yesterday who told us that this was an accident waiting to happen. It's the second accident involving a Taipan in six months.

SHORTEN: Yeah, well, I won't, I'm not qualified to engage in what went wrong in this catastrophic disaster, I acknowledge that Talisman Sabre, the military exercise that these servicemen are on is the biggest that we do. It's biannual. It just reminds, I think, all of us who are not in the military that there's no safe or easy days for the men and women of the ADF. So, we do need to find out what happened. Nothing else matters. But I won't speculate as to the causes yet because I don't know.

ABO: Heidi, the fleet's concerns have been known for some time. I mean, should we have been more prepared? We're obviously doing these military exercises for a reason, and now we've got fleet grounded.

MURPHY: Yeah, I understand we do need to have these military exercises for the reasons of having our military prepared for it. But my understanding is that we have had issues with these aircraft from the very first day or very first time they were in action here in Australia. I don't have a problem with them being grounded. I say keep them on the ground for as long as it needs to be kept on the ground to be sure that our servicemen and women are safe when they go in these aircraft. If there's been problems, if there's been repeated problems, we should absolutely know about that.

ABO: Yeah. With the new Blackhawks not expected to be fully operational until the end of next year, though, it is a bit of a worry. All right. Well, let's move on now. And there'll be a distinct lack of hot air in Victoria soon, but not in New South Wales. Chris Minns has ruled out banning gas in new homes, despite Victoria powering ahead with the move. Bill, the state's Premier has said now is not the right time. Do you agree with Chris Minns?

SHORTEN: Well, it's a state issue about their regulation for what goes into new housing developments. Yeah, so I'm just going to - Dan Andrews has made his decision, that's up to him. Premier Minns has made his decision. I know that federally what we want to do is make it easier for people to move to renewables. So, we've got a $1.3 billion program to help households which we’ll be gradually rolling out and another $310 million to help small businesses. Renewables is the future. We've just got to make sure it's done in a way which helps people, not hinders them.

ABO: Yeah, but a ban doesn't help. A ban tells people what to do. It doesn't even give them a choice. I mean, Heidi, has Victoria acted too early? Is this a case of actually going towards renewables when we don't necessarily know the capabilities yet?

MURPHY: Yeah, I think one of the points from Chris Minns is he doesn't need another complication right now. And I think complication is the word that can be used to describe our energy mix going forward in this country. Yes, we need to move to renewables. Yes, we need to lower emissions, but we don't have enough certainty around the future of supply, the availability and reliability of supply, to necessarily be making moves like this, I think. I think Chris Minns has made the right call and I know there's been some disquiet here in Victoria quite a bit around this move. It's only new homes from January 1st, but it could be extended beyond that in the not too distant future. Complicated is the way forward. Challenging is the way forward for the energy system, and expensive over the next years.

ABO: Absolutely. And I mean, it takes a lot of electricity to power an induction stovetop, so I'm not sure how that's going to work. But anyway, Australia's sexiest suburbs have been revealed with none other than Melbourne. That's right, Melbourne topping the list of sexiest suburbs in this land. Look at it. I mean, it's just absolutely spectacular. Heidi. You'd agree, wouldn't you?

MURPHY: Sure is. Very sexy city and we have a booming nighttime economy. City council would tell you at any time. Very sexy city. Very happy with it.

ABO: Yes, I might agree. Bill, what is the sexiest suburb in your eyes?

SHORTEN: Oh, I don't think there's any surprises about this announcement, is there? We didn't need a sex toy manufacturer to tell us who was the sexiest city in Australia.

ABO: No. Well, we're all in agreement for a change. Isn't that nice?

MURPHY: We are indeed.

ABO: Karlos, you've got to agree, too, right?

KARL STEFANOVIC, HOST: No, I just love Bill Shorten.

ABO: Talking about sex toys?

SHORTEN: That's right. That's just the sex appeal goes on, even for Karl.

STEFANOVIC: I know. I need Billy at the Logies.

SHORTEN: Yeah, that's probably true, Karl.