Minister Shorten interview on the Today Show


KARL STEFANOVIC, HOST: Good morning guys. Nice to see you this morning. Um, Billy, first up for you, it's not every week you lose the trust of the Australian people, huh?

BILL SHORTEN, MINISTER FOR THE NDIS AND GOVERNMENT SERVICES: Well, it's not every week that Australians, 13.6 million Australians get bigger, better tax cuts. So I think that this is a good decision. Cost of living has been hammering Australians and after the January break the Prime Minister has announced bigger tax cuts for millions of Australian tax payers. So this is good news.

HOST: You lost some skin this week. Is the Prime Minister's leadership terminal now?

SHORTEN: No, not at all. This is about helping everyday Australians with their cost of living -- middle Australia. The reality is, I'm down at Flemington Racetrack this morning, just having a look at the horses in work, and just about every person who works on this racetrack stands to make bigger, better tax cuts. And that's a good thing when it helps to pay the bills.

HOST: So you’re not going to address the credibility and trust issues this morning?

SHORTEN: Well, I’m addressing the cost of living issue. 

HOST: Okay. Peter?

SHORTEN: For all of for all of last year you guys all said Labor's got to do more on cost of living. Now we're doing it and everyone’s crying. 

HOST: I mean, you could have said it earlier. Peter, you've called the PM a liar and you're now demanding an earlier election. I don’t think that’s going to happen.

PETER DUTTON, LEADER OF THE OPPOSTION: Well, I think it's just a major break of trust. It's a betrayal. And the Prime Minister promised this on over 100 occasions. This is not just some throwaway comment that he made at a press conference, Karl, this is a, you know, my word is my bond. And continued to repeat it. And it's telling that Bill Shorten won't defend the, you know, the integrity of the Prime Minister, which is unbelievable in a sense. And I just think most Australians don't want a Prime Minister who looks them in the eye, tells them one thing, and then does completely the opposite.

HOST: Bill, why aren't you defending the Prime Minister?

SHORTEN: I am defending the Prime Minister. I support this decision. I think he's made the right call. Someone famous once said that when your information changes, your conclusions change. The reality is that, uh, there's a cost of living crisis for Australians. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is changing plans to make sure we get better tax cuts for people. What's Peter Dutton's answers to a cost of living crisis? Have an election. I think Peter Dutton just needs to answer is he going to stand in the way of lower taxes for 13.6 million Australians or not?

HOST: All right. So, Peter, as the potentially the Steven Bradbury of Aussie politics sweep into power at the next election. What changes will you bring to stage three tax cuts?

DUTTON: Well, Karl, important to talk about stage one and two because stage one, two and three were introduced into law by the Coalition when we were in government. And they were phased to be implemented -- and phase one and two directly targeted at low and middle income earners. People are paying 27% more tax under this government, from the first day that Mr Albanese was elected as Prime Minister. So we implemented those first two stages. What we now know is that there is a huge black hole in the Government's costings and that there's something like $28 billion worth of tax -- That's going to be additional tax -- that's going to be recovered from Australians and paid to the tax office, which didn't make it into the Prime Minister's speech yesterday. And it completely undermines the argument that Bill just put, because we know that it's not just 1.8 million people who are worse off under this package, but over the coming years, it's going to be over 4 million Australians who are affected by it, because bracket creep is just this silent, you know, grabber of your, every dollar that you're earning.

HOST: So what are you going to do? What are you going to do if you become PM?

DUTTON: We want to understand the black hole and understand the costings, which we're doing right now. And then we'll make our announcement. But we went to the election with a promise to the Australian people on stage three tax cuts. We don't break our promise in a way that the Prime Minister has. We don't desert Australians who we have promised an outcome and we think at the moment this is the latest example of Labor trashing the economy. So, we'll have a lot more to say about our tax policy. But we need to understand what it is the Prime Minister has announced yesterday, 

HOST: Bill? 

SHORTEN: Well, let's be very straight,13.6 million Australians, everyone who goes to work, who pays taxes going to work, everyone's getting a tax cut. The people who Peter Dutton's complaining about, people like you, Karl, myself and Peter, instead of getting a $9,000 pay cut, we're going to get a $4,500 tax cut. 

HOST: I don't care about that cut, but I do care about a promise being made and not being kept. And can you categorically this morning -- Bill, I know your word is your bond -- can you rule out any other changes coming -- superannuation, death, taxes, any changes to negative gearing? 

SHORTEN: This is purely about providing 13.6 million taxpayers with lower taxes. And I'm going -- I'm down at a racetrack and occasionally bets happen at a racetrack. Pete, I'm going to make a $10 bet with you that you will have to back in our lower taxes. Otherwise the Liberal Party will be the party of higher taxes for middle Australia. So you know you're going to have to go with a better idea. I just think cut the pain out, Peter. Just back it in because 13.6 million Aussies who stand to get better than what the Liberals are proposing want to know, will Peter Dutton stand in the way of them getting a tax cut?

HOST: Pete?

DUTTON: Well, Bill, lets go double or nothing and bet  -- let’s go 20 bucks or let’s go $200 if you want, to bet that you're going to challenge Anthony Albanese by the next election. 

SHORTEN: Oh, mate, do you know what? Do you know why you can go to 200 bucks? Because you’re getting a tax cut under Anthony Albanese.

DUTTON: Where’s Richard Marles gone? Where’s Richard Marles gone? What have you done with him. First one, the deputy’s knocked off, the PM’s next …

SHORTEN: Don’t tell me you don’t want to me to debate you, Peter? Do you want Richard back? 

HOST: It’s all good. 

SHORTEN: I’ll pass on your  best wishes.

HOST: Just before we go. It is Australia Day. How will you be marking it, Bill?

SHORTEN: I’m going to a Rotary breakfast and then two citizenship ceremonies. It’s a busy day for MPs. Not that anyone’s got any sympathy for us.

HOST: Then you'll be off to the track. Pete?

DUTTON: It’s a similar story. The Rotary club do a citizenship ceremony this morning. We have an awards ceremony for our local volunteers. Barbie after that and maybe a bit of mowing this afternoon. It’s been raining and sunshine here, but a really special thought for all of those in North Queensland.

HOST: You are not mowing. You are not mowing.

DUTTON: I am mowing. 

HOST: Give me a break.

DUTTON: What are you talking about. Karlos, I'll send you a photo.

SHORTEN: You’d be on the ride-on. 

DUTTON: I like a nice, nice straight, nice straight lines. But special thought for, uh, those in those in North Queensland this morning who are waking up to a lot of devastation, so. 

HOST: Hear! Hear! Well said. 

DUTTON: Not a good day for them. 

HOST: It isn’t. Good on you, guys, thank you so much.