Minister Bill Shorten Interview on Today


KARL STEFANOVIC: Where on earth are we going to find 400,000 workers? Victoria alone is facing a huge shortage in key industries over the next few years. To discuss, we're joined by Minister for Government Services and the NDIS, Bill Shorten; and 4BC's Neil Breen. Breeny, good morning to you, and good morning to you, Bill. To you, first up, Bill, that's a hell of a lot of workers to find.

BILL SHORTEN: Oh, absolutely. It shows how timely our Jobs and Skills Summit will be next week. So I had a meeting with all the leaders of the disability sector and the NDIS to talk about the job shortages there, there's 84,000- there's 78,000 jobs we need to fill in the next two years across Australia.

I think we are going to need to have some visa workers back. I also think we've got to, perhaps, let some of the people with disabilities keep some of their disability pension and have a crack at working. I think we also need to encourage people to come into the caring economy. It's always been seen as a this, sort of, not really a career but just a job, and I think we need to remake the image. So there's some suggestions straight off the bat.

KARL STEFANOVIC: You've got to process these people who are waiting overseas, though. Is there any thought about getting more people into that processing sector so we can get bums on seats sooner rather than later?

BILL SHORTEN: Yeah, I'm sure that's part of the solution. So, the fact of the matter is, we have full employment. But there's still some groups in Australia under-utilised - some of our older people, perhaps, people with disabilities.


BILL SHORTEN: But the solution is going to be, really, all of the above. Bringing in some visa workers won't dislocate Aussies, but I do think we need to make sure that if we're bringing people in from overseas that we're properly funding our TAFE.


BILL SHORTEN: TAFE's a very quick way of turning people around. And also as I say, perhaps we look at people with disabilities - the dial hasn't moved for them in 30 years on employment. We do need to, I think, freshen up our approach there and perhaps look at encouraging employers to employ someone with a disability.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Breeny, I was in Brisbane over the weekend and it's consistent with wherever you go around Australia right now, people really struggling, small businesses, to find workers.

NEIL BREEN: Yeah, it's shocking, Karl. I did a story on the show yesterday afternoon. I focused on Noosa…


NEIL BREEN: …and we know it's a bit of a tourism mecca and everyone goes there. All the restaurants and the cafés and the bars in Noosa can't get staff. There's a famous café there called Aromas, pre-pandemic they had 70 employees there, and they were open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And now they can only open for dinner twice a week, they can't serve coffee after 2o'clock in the afternoon, they've got 47 employees…

KARL STEFANOVIC: [Talks over] Yeah.

NEIL BREEN: …and the owner said she doesn't know where they all went.

KARL STEFANOVIC: [Talks over] Yeah.

NEIL BREEN: They're just gone. Seventy down to 47 - they can't get anybody. It's incredible.

KARL STEFANOVIC: It is. It is incredible and it's incredibly difficult for those small businesses, especially in that tourism sector and hospitality.

Okay. Moving on. It's good to be Albo.

KARL STEFANOVIC: [Laughs] And that was Albo last night. I guess everyone is still in the honeymoon phase. But it's a hell of a result for you, the polls yesterday.

BILL SHORTEN: Yeah, it is good. The goodwill continues. Also, I'm just relieved for a politician who can go to a sporting event or a music concert and not get booed. So, you know…


BILL SHORTEN: …that shows you how deep the love goes in Australia at the moment for [indistinct]-

KARL STEFANOVIC: [Interrupts] It's a hell of a turnaround from the Byron Bay during the campaign, isn't it? He's having a purple patch. Scott Morrison's dramas may be helping a little bit, do you reckon?

BILL SHORTEN: Well, the Coalition can only talk about themselves. And Anthony Albanese and the team, we're just talking about Australia. And I get a sense of relief where we go in Australia, and so I think you saw an outpouring of that last night. The common theme is that people are just happy to have the adults back in charge.

KARL STEFANOVIC: [Laughs] There you go. Breeny?

NEIL BREEN: Oh, it was good fun. He was at the Enmore Theatre, which is near where he lives in Marrickville, and he was seeing the band, Gang of Youths. I think that was Tony Burke on his right. But I like it how he's approaching 60, Albo, and he's there in the Black Joy Division t-shirt, and he's…


NEIL BREEN: …drinking the beer, and he's seeing a young hip band. But I've got to point out something to Bill here he won't like - Albo was channelling a bit of Scott Morrison there, because the band Gang of Youths, guess where they originated from? Hillsong.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Oh, there you go.

BILL SHORTEN: Oh well, yeah.

NEIL BREEN: ScoMo might have been there too.


BILL SHORTEN: Yeah, I thought ScoMo was up on the stage playing in the band.

NEIL BREEN: I think he was [laughs].

BILL SHORTEN: He was producing it; he was the lighting man-

NEIL BREEN: [Interrupts] He was managing it, he sold the tickets.


BILL SHORTEN: He wrote the music.


KARL STEFANOVIC: Keep going, this is good. Hey, fellas, look, let's go straight to finals tickets now. Bill, what a huge game for you on the weekend - the Pies. I mean, you've got your tickets to the finals footy yet? That's going to be unreal.

BILL SHORTEN: Yeah, I'm looking, I'm hunting around a Geelong Collingwood ticket. I'm a Collingwood supporter.


BILL SHORTEN: Listen, in 10 of the last 12 games Collingwood's won by just a few points. Jamie Elliott, you know, he's- when he scored that- first bloke, Collingwood bloke, to score a goal after the final siren, and he won the game since Chris Tarrant 20 years ago.

KARL STEFANOVIC: You're pumped.

BILL SHORTEN: Even the Carlton supporters, well maybe not, even the Carlton supporters concede it was a good game…

KARL STEFANOVIC: [Talks over] Yeah.

BILL SHORTEN: …and I'm reliably informed that even the parole officers are getting a good time from their Collingwood clients at the moment.

KARL STEFANOVIC: [Laughs] Very good mate. Hey, Breeny, I was up in Brissy, as I said, over the weekend. The…

NEIL BREEN: [Talks over] Yeah.

KARL STEFANOVIC: …Lions got absolutely pummelled…

NEIL BREEN: [Talks over] Yeah, they got pummelled by Melbourne.

KARL STEFANOVIC: …and so did the Broncos. I mean, [indistinct].

NEIL BREEN: The Broncos were shocking. They got beaten by Melbourne 60…

KARL STEFANOVIC: [Talks over] It's terrible.

NEIL BREEN: …12, and the Lions lost to Melbourne. The Lions are in the bottom end of the eight now, I don't think you can win it from there. I think Collingwood can win it, unfortunately for the non-Collingwood fans. But I've got to say something, Karl.


NEIL BREEN: Bill Shorten's there going, I'm hunting around for a Geelong-Collingwood ticket? Please…


NEIL BREEN: …you'll get one easy.

KARL STEFANOVIC: No, it's- he's saying [indistinct].

BILL SHORTEN: [Indistinct] Thanks, Neil.

NEIL BREEN: He'll be sculling beer in the box with ScoMo.


KARL STEFANOVIC: Do you know where he can get a ticket?

BILL SHORTEN: Yeah, well, ScoMo will be playing on the ground, guys. He understands.

NEIL BREEN: [Laughs]

KARL STEFANOVIC: No, he'll be scalping the tickets.



NEIL BREEN: Hey, there's one thing about the AFL finals I don't like, I hate the week off.

KARL STEFANOVIC: No, I agree with that.


KARL STEFANOVIC: Lose momentum.

NEIL BREEN: Bill, do you like it?

BILL SHORTEN: Yeah. Well, it's there now…

NEIL BREEN: [Talks over] I don't like it.

BILL SHORTEN: …I mean, listen, I- poor old Carlton, we play them and we put them out of the eight. Collingwood's home game, MCG against Geelong, I reckon that'll be exciting.


BILL SHORTEN: I think Collingwood has- it's given their supporters just a fantastic year. One for the ages so far.

KARL STEFANOVIC: It's going to be great. Good on you guys, thank you so much. Appreciate it. See you soon.