Minister Shorten interviewed on KISS 101.1


SUBJECTS: Maribyrnong River flooding.

CLINT STANAWAY, HOST: I have the Local Member for Maribyrnong, Bill Shorten. Bill thanks so much for joining us this morning. I mean, we've been here most of the morning. The scene is, it's just devastating. Three days on from that event when we saw the water pour into these homes, the residents here they're still in quite a, quite a spot of bother.

BILL SHORTEN, FEDERAL MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG: Well, that's what you've got to remember with the floods - the water goes, but life doesn't immediately click back into business as usual, it's a ton of work. And it's very heartbreaking to see people's livelihoods on the side of the street waiting for the hard rubbish collection, and that's all their precious furniture and heirlooms. And it is really watching people's memories being chucked in the, chucked in the bin.

STANAWAY: So, where can we help? Where is that help most needed?

SHORTEN: Well, it's a really good question. The council’s been doing a great job. You know, it's funny, isn't it? When you see films about natural disasters it's all about the sort of heroes in the uniforms. But council workers actually, from the depot, are probably more valuable then hens' teeth now, so they're going to do a hard rubbish collection. 

But there'll be some people who'll be out of their accommodation for a long time. So volunteers of clean up's a good thing. I'm sure that if- at the local community centre there's offers too, you know, for people to go and have some meals or just to take the kids for treats while they're doing the rebuild - that's important. 

JASON HAWKINS, HOST: Actually, you know what? That's a bloody good point. Like, you know what it's like, Bill, looking after kids at the best of times, and these families are trying to rebuild at the moment and they've got kids at home.

SHORTEN: Yeah. Well, the kids of Melbourne have had COVID lockdowns for the best part of 300 days, and now they're flooded - it's positively biblical. But whilst it tough, it's also good to see people walking back around the river. You know, life- having said that life won't get back to ordinary for the people who're flooded, that's true. But there's a good spirit of resilience there, Jase. It's impressive to watch people just say: oh well, there's people who are doing it harder than me, because this is their dragon (*) that they can't burn.

HAWKINS: It's always the way, isn't it? It's always, it's like…

LAUREN PHILLIPS, HOST: Such, yeah it's that spirit.

HAWKINS: …people you see donating money are the ones that normally don't have it.


HAWKINS: You know. It's always the way.

SHORTEN: Yeah. That's right.

HAWKINS: Hey, did your house get affected, Bill.

SHORTEN: No. We're in another part of Ascot Vale.

HAWKINS: Yeah, right.

SHORTEN: Look, if you're near the river it was a challenge, but for most people, you know, we're fine. 

HAWKINS: I'll tell you what a tough pill I reckon would be to swallow this morning, Bill. The footage that they just showed on TV before the aerial shot where there's not a drop on the racecourse.

PHILLIPS: Yeah, the wall - the Flemington flood wall out a Flemington Racecourse, Bill. I know there is going to be an investigation into that, but are the locals angry about it?

SHORTEN: I think it's a mixed reaction. Ironically, 16 years ago, before I was in Parliament, I said I had concerns with the wall, that one day we might get one of those big one in 50 year floods.


SHORTEN: So I posed it, at the time. I questioned it. I don't know, though, if the wall caused the flooding in the houses here.


SHORTEN: You know, like- but I do think there's enough, going to your question about it, I think, yes, some people aren't, some shrug their shoulders, some want to think about it.


SHORTEN: I think it is important that the Melbourne Water experts demonstrate to everyone's satisfaction that the wall didn't contribute to it. 


PHILLIPS: Yeah. Hey, we're also hearing about reports of looting and people being out in the streets, stealing from other people houses. And I remember seeing this at the floods in Lismore up in New South Wales - people going through people's houses. Is that a real concern down there? And what are you doing to make sure people's homes do safe with what they do have left that they can salvage?

SHORTEN: Listen, I haven't heard that from the local police, who've been fantastic. I guess, in any disaster, in any situation, you could always have people who are opportunistic animals and who just don't…

HAWKINS: Yeah. Scumbags.

SHORTEN: …care about anyone else. There are some people, there are lots of volunteers here yesterday, and they were just fantastic. But some people aren't quite ready to have volunteers go through their damaged house yet. But I…

PHILLIPS: Which is fair enough too.


SHORTEN: …I just think that's more a sort of psychological trauma thing. 


SHORTEN: If you go around the sides of the strips, I mean, I don't know if there's a few of those, sort of, hard rubbish pickers. You know, I don't know if they'll ever make a paid TV show, you know. I know there's, sort of, the collectors' shows…


SHORTEN: …but some of the hard rubbish here, I'm not sure anyone will be collecting.

HAWKINS: Bill Shorten, thanks for joining us on Jase and Lauren.

SHORTEN: Great. Lovely to talk to you.