Minister Shorten Interviewed on the Today Show


ALLISON LANGDON, HOST: These are pictures from Melbourne Airport this morning. Look at those long lines. All passengers are being rescreened after a security breach. And this of course is not the first time it happened. You might remember back in early September we had a similar breach which was caused in Sydney. Let's go to Minister for Government Services and the NDIS, Bill Shorten, and 2GB's Chris Smith who joins me in the studio. Nice to see you both. Bill, I mean, just looking at those line, huge delays again. I just don't understand how someone can avoid security screening?

BILL SHORTEN, MINISTER FOR THE NDIS AND GOVERNMENT SERVICES: No, I don't know. Something's gone wrong. Just another adventure, fun-packed day for Australia's flying public again. Although in this case, if someone has got through the screening they have done the right thing. But I just feel sorry for the passengers there. I'm glad I came up to Canberra last night because flying in the morning, it's an adventure.

LANGDON: It's always an adventure, isn't it? Look, Qantas is on it. They've cleared the- evacuated the terminal and rescreening everybody. But Chris, I mean, you will remember that this happened- that everyone arriving in Melbourne last month had to be rescreened because they'd come in from Sydney and the drama last month was that passengers had come from a regional airport. I would have thought that all airports, no matter the size, would have security screening.

CHRIS SMITH, 2GB: Well, this was something that when we brought in terror laws and new screening protocols at our airports, including regional airports, a whole new protocol had to begin for regional places because they didn't do that. Look, I'm with Bill in terms of the fact, yes, it's a pain in the backside for all of those standing in lines now, and of all airports, of all the capital cities, the screening area at Tullamarine is the smallest of them all, so it's a pain. But having said that, it's good that they can pull it up, they recognise the problem, and they do it properly. So we should be thankful for that I think.

LANGDON: And look, we've been talking to passengers there this morning and I think they are very grateful for the fact that this has been pulled up and they're happy to do it but it's annoying anyway.

SMITH: Give them a $50 credit. Come on Alan Joyce, another one.

LANGDON: Bill, I mean, this raises that issue though when you're talking about regional airports. How is it that we are not screening everybody no matter how small the airport is and is that something you guys need to look at?

SHORTEN: I'm totally on board. I'm not aware of how many airports don't screen at the regional take-off venue, but you can't get into the major airports without being screened. So I guess maybe there's a cost issue but I couldn't tell you how many airports, country airports don't have screening.

LANGDON: Yep. Except you've then got mistakes like this are made and you do have people who get through.


LANGDON: Let's move on to another topic because we're being warned our energy bills could go up by at least 35 per cent next year. I mean, the reality is a lot of households are not going to be able to afford that. Bill, you've got energy bosses who- look, they haven't missed this morning and they're saying that transitioning to clean energy, it's difficult and expensive. It was always going to be. How could you ever then have promised cheaper energy bills before the election?

SHORTEN: Well, first of all, for ten years we have seen denial and delay from our predecessors. There's no good time to transition but the reality is that every day we leave it, it's just increasing the volatility of our policy environment for energy companies. So we have to make the changes and what we are seeing, it won't turn around overnight, but what we are seeing is greater investment in renewable energy. At the same time though, we've had some pretty extreme weather events, we've felt the energy crunch globally, but if we keep delaying change, it just gets more expensive and the bill gets higher.

SMITH: But Bill, come on. You knew during the campaign that bills weren't going to do down by the allotted amount of $275. That was never going to happen because we've transitioned so quickly. We've demonised coal, we've sent our gas overseas, we're not ready for the transition.

LANGDON: Well, let's take your last point first about sending gas overseas. I think if you look in today's paper, our Industry Minister, Ed Husic, is putting the companies on notice that for our manufacturers can't keep increasing the price of gas. The reality is that energy policy is hard. But every Australian, you know, as they're getting up this morning and getting the kids ready for school or off to work, knows that if you ignore a problem for ten years it's going to get worse and nastier and tougher than if you tackled it. And under the last government, you know as well as I do, Chris, they had 20 other different energy policies. So it is tough. It is tough for families.

SMITH: True, but we demonised coal. We demonised our baseload power and no one came up with a document that said on this date we can be do the transition. We decided, don't worry, the windmills and the solar farms are coming, but we're not ready and we won't be ready. And now with a 35 per cent increase in power bills, we're going down the same track as the UK. People are killing themselves in that part of the world. Businesses will go broke. The can't pay that kind of spike in power prices.

SHORTEN: Well, I'm sure you will be the first to acknowledge that there's a war in Ukraine which has led to an energy crunch and there's also extreme weather events. But let's get to the heart of the matter, no one is demonising fossil fuels but the reality is that the world is moving to renewable energy and what we've lacked in this country is a government strong enough and clear enough to say, okay, change is with us, let's try and make it work for everyone.

LANGDON: Bill, I think everyone knew that there had to be that transition to clean energy but looking at, there was no way that it was ever going to be cheap and I just can't understand how there was ever- where you came up with this figure of $275 by 2025.

SHORTEN: We're committed to reducing energy bills by that amount but of course there are other problems. So I think for people at home saying, you know, there's always finger pointing between government and Opposition about energy. The reality is we can't wind back the clock and bring back the last ten years where there was neglect. 


SHORTEN: What we're doing is stabilising the rules so that people can invest in new forms of energy. We're also making sure that we introduce new technologies. In not too distant a future, people will be saying what was all the fuss about hydrogen, as we move to more hydrogen in our economy.

LANGDON: Yep. Alright, it's a debate that will continue. Appreciate your time this morning, Bill and Chris. Thank you.