Minister Shorten on the Today show with Alison Langdon


ALLISON LANGDON: Well, as families around the country wait with baited breath for the inevitable rate rise to come today, there are strong calls from one of the top economists in the country for the RBA boss to step down. Minister for Government Services and the NDIS, Bill Shorten, joins me now, along with 2GB's Jim Wilson who's in the studio. Nice to see you both.

JIM WILSON: Hi, Ally. Hey, Bill.

ALLISON LANGDON: Bill, let's go to you first, because the former Chief Economist at ANZ says the Governor and the Board have to go because they misled families, saying it was unforgivable. Pretty strong words. What do you think?

BILL SHORTEN: Well, I think that the politicians shouldn't be piling on the political pressure on the Independent Reserve Board. They've got a job to do, so, no, I don't- I think it would be inappropriate as me as a government minister to start just putting that pressure on these independent people. Having said that, obviously mortgage increases are a tremendous pressure. I mean, the long-term housing prices will probably rebound but there is a lot of cost of living pressure on mortgagees. I wouldn't mind, rather than, perhaps, a former banker talking about the Reserve Bank, I wouldn't mind the banks improving the rate of return for deposit holders. I mean, they're pocketing some of this money through the increased interest rates, and at the very least, the bank should be passing some of that on to deposit holders.

ALLISON LANGDON: I agree. They pass it straight on when- if you have a mortgage, but if you've got a savings account, I think they're earning something like an extra $600 million a month. But Jim, can you answer what Bill can't as a politician…

JIM WILSON: [Talks over] Yeah.

ALLISON LANGDON:  …should Philip Lowe go?

JIM WILSON: Well, it's a big call from Warren Hogan who's a highly respected economist. But I welcome the fact that the new federal government, and new Treasurer Jim Chalmers, is launching a review of the Reserve Bank. And I think that with Philip Lowe, the, you know, the sort of forecast last year during the pandemic, that was very likely that the cash rate would stay at 0.1 per cent until 2024, was, I think, very, very careless. And I think now, obviously it's come back to bite him on the proverbial. So I think we'll see, probably, a half base point increase this afternoon, maybe 0.75, three quarters of a percentage base point. That for someone on an average New South Wales mortgage of, let's say, $780,000, that's an extra $219 per month. Now…

ALLISON LANGDON: [Talks over] That's a lot of money to find.

JIM WILSON: …I- absolutely. Especially, as Bill mentioned, you know, with the cost of living pressures. I mean, petrol's come down somewhat, but what happens when the fuel excise relief comes off next month? And Bill this is-

ALLISON LANGDON: [Interrupts] Well, what you do is you ask Bill to keep it in place.

JIM WILSON: That's exactly- thank you, exactly right. Bill.

BILL SHORTEN: Yeah, there's no way that every measure can be kept in place, because everything- every decision you make has a consequence somewhere else. The problem is, the previous government racked up over a trillion dollars of debt, and that means that the taxpayer has to pay increased interest payments on the debt that the Australian Government owes for the money it's borrowed. So just pretending you can keep running up things on the nations credit card and that there's no consequence for extra costs to taxpayers, you know, the fuel excise is a short-term change, but it would cause ongoing long-term harm. We will have to pay for it somewhere else.

JIM WILSON: So you won't- sounds of it that you won't be extending it beyond the end of September?

BILL SHORTEN: Oh, that decision's going to be for the Cabinet and the government, but they've- you know, they've been pretty clear up to now that that isn't part of our forward thinking. I mean, the reality is, and we're in a situation because of global supply shortages, energy crunches caused by Ukraine, there's a shortage of labour, and to be honest, Australia hasn't made the hard decisions over the last nine years to go to cheaper, more renewable energy. So we've…

ALLISON LANGDON: [Talks over] Yeah.

BILL SHORTEN: …I mean, we're not going to be able to turn this around quickly, you can't. It's like a big ocean liner. You can't turn it around on a dime. And I think the new government's hit the ground running pretty well already, actually.

ALLISON LANGDON: Yeah. That sounds like a big fat no, though, to be clear. Let's talk about this, because the Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe, she's been slammed by her colleagues after staging a protest while reciting the parliamentary oath. Take a listen.


LIDIA THORPE: Their true allegiance to the colonising Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second.

SUE LINES: Senator Thorpe.

[End of excerpt]

ALLISON LANGDON: Bill, what did you make of that?

BILL SHORTEN: I think the Senator's looking for attention. We've got systems in Parliament. Look, she's entitled to her view, but I worry that those tactics, whilst they may appeal to a minority of people, turn other people off some of the issues that we're trying to get done in this country. So, I don't know, it's- you've to live to your own individual conscience, but also you've got to bring the people with you. And I think quite a lot of people look at that and say: that politician doesn't speak to us. So I think it turns people off.

ALLISON LANGDON: Jim, what did you think? Making a point, or just looking for attention?

JIM WILSON: Yeah, I think it was cheap publicity stunt. I think it was totally disrespectful to our Queen. And I think that, you know, she redid the Oath, but, yeah, she's just an attention seeker. And I think that Adam Bandt's been fairly quiet, the Greens Leader, about that sort of behaviour. But this, you know, this is a Party - Adam Bandt, for example, who goes and moves the Australian flag from the backdrop of his media conferences in Federal Parliament. They are elected officials of our country. You know, we are- you know, there should be a degree of respect to an incredible woman being our monarch, the Queen. And I think that the way Lidia carried on yesterday, I just go, you know- it just- she gets her moment of fame, but I think, as Bill says, there are much bigger fish to fry right now. Cost of living pressures, bigger issues…



JIM WILSON: …that's where the focus should be.

ALLISON LANGDON: And talking about a little moment of respect. Bill, there was a lovely moment where you made a new friend in Parliament yesterday. It was nice to see you and Scott Morrison burying the hatchet. You popped over to say gidday?

BILL SHORTEN: Well, listen, I think he ran a pretty bloody awful government, but having said that, you know, he was-

JIM WILSON: [Interrupts] Is that what you said to him when you went over to him to say gidday?

BILL SHORTEN: Oh my god [indistinct].

ALLISON LANGDON: [Laughs] That's why he was wearing the mask, so he couldn't lip read.


BILL SHORTEN: No. But having said that, he's been at the very top of the tree. Now he's right at the back and that can hurt. So I don't like his government's- old government's values, but I can feel for the person. But the other point, you know, which is worth making, is he can still- he has the- it's a privilege to be in the Parliament, and it's a privilege to serve. And you mightn't have the job you want, but that doesn't mean that you can't do the job you should do. But anyway, maybe I'm just getting soft. Who knows.

ALLISON LANGDON: I don't know. I like this side of Bill. Don't you Jim?

JIM WILSON: It is a sign of- we talk about a lack of respect from Lidia Thorpe. That, to me, was a sign of respect between those two who've been in Australian politics for a long, long time, and I think that, yeah, they put their political differences to one side. They- you know, I'd loved to have been a fly on the wall to see actually what was- did you talk about the Sharks in rugby league? Or…

ALLISON LANGDON: [Talks over] No, no, no.

JIM WILSON: …no? They didn't go there, do we?

ALLISON LANGDON: You know what? It- the conversation between them, it stays that way, Jim.

JIM WILSON: Oh right, look out, Chatham House rules are happening.

BILL SHORTEN: There we go.

ALLISON LANGDON: [Laughs] Okay. Nice to…

BILL SHORTEN: [Talks over] You're going soft on me, Ally.

ALLISON LANGDON: …basically because we've run out of time. That's why.



ALLISON LANGDON: Nice to talk to you both this morning, thanks.

JIM WILSON: Good on you.

BILL SHORTEN: See you, good morning.