Minister Shorten Interview on Sky News


SUBJECTS: Scott Morrison’s response to Robodebt Royal Commission findings

PETER STEFANOVIC, HOST: Let’s go to Canberra, Bill Shorten's back. Bill, good to see you. Thanks for your time this morning. So, Olivia just ran through the fiery speech from Scott Morrison yesterday, so get your response to his claim that he's the victim of a political lynching.

BILL SHORTEN, MINISTER FOR THE NDIS AND GOVERNMENT SERVICES: Scott Morrison is not the victim of Robodebt. There were 434,000 Australians who were the subject of lawbreaking by the Coalition governments. Scott Morrison thinks it's all about him. It's not. The Royal Commission didn't believe his evidence. He gave it under oath, he certainly does. I don't dispute that. But the Royal Commission was damning about him, misleading cabinet and about him, he should have known things which he says he didn't know, and the Royal Commission wasn't satisfied with his explanations. Mr. Morrison is very defensive, but at the end of the day this was successive Coalition governments breaking their own laws and going after the vulnerable. They're the real victims.

STEFANOVIC: Okay. He's targeted you, though, Bill. He says that you didn't raise concerns about the scheme in 2015 and the then opposition banked the savings from Robodebt heading into the 2016 and 2019 elections rather than ending the scheme. So, in essence, he's saying that you shared his view at the time, is that right?

SHORTEN: No, the opposition raised problems with Robodebt once it started rolling out. There were hundreds of questions and comments in Question Time. All of our electorate offices were inundated by complaints. What amazes me is that when people were complaining, Mr. Morrison and his colleagues basically ignored all the red flags and warnings. You know, Mr. Morrison's version of history is that we're all co-convenors when he was Treasurer and when he was Prime Minister, that wasn't the case.

STEFANOVIC: Right. So, you didn't bank the savings?

SHORTEN: No, in terms of the budget papers that were presented by the then government, sure, the Opposition didn't know that the government was just making stuff up and didn't have lawful authority. But for Mr. Morrison to - I mean, really the bloke has got more front than Myers. He's now saying what, it's everyone's fault except for him? He blames his department, he blames the Department of Human Services. He says the real problems emerged in 2016 and 17 and he wasn't the Minister then. Then he blames the opposition and he blames ACOSS, the Council of Social Services. In Mr. Morrison's world, he's like this blame free factory. No blame attaches to him. It's remarkable. I mean, what does he think his job was as Minister? You know, was he like the three wise monkeys, hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil?

STEFANOVIC: Does he escape criminal prosecution here?

SHORTEN: I don't know. I don't know. He's alluded that there's an adverse finding against him, but we'll see where that goes. I will just say this, at the end of it, Mr. Morrison thinks that some sort of a political hit job on him. The people who broke the law were the Coalition government, the people who kept breaking the law for four and a half years with a Coalition government. Mr. Morrison didn't support the class action. Mr. Morrison didn't support the calling of the Royal Commission. Mr. Morrison now says he's done nothing wrong. Well, you know, that's his world. That's what he sees in the mirror. It's just not what everyone else sees.

STEFANOVIC: Okay. Bill Shorten, we're out of time, but appreciate your time this morning. We'll talk to you again soon.