Minister Shorten on Mornings ABC Radio



VIRGINIA TRIOLI, HOST: Minister for the NDIS, Minister for Government Services, and Member for Maribyrnong, which has had just a little bit of rain, Bill Shorten, good morning to you.


TRIOLI: And thanks for making yourself available. I know you're a little bit late. I've got some people disappointed here going: where's the Minister? Where's the Minister? Well, here he is. The traffic doesn't always obey. So, I've got some questions for you, but I think we might just get straight to the calls. I mean, maybe a good way to actually kick off our conversation might be to hear from Damien in Chelsea. And Damien, you're actually an NDIS worker and provider. You've got a bit of feedback for the Minister. Good morning.

CALLER DAMIEN: Hi, Virginia. Hi, Bill Shorten. Look, my plea is for representation of NDIS workers on the board. I believe this is really important at the moment because it's the- one of the largest growing areas of employment in Australia through the NDIS and also through aged care and things like that. But it's really important that we get that feedback from people who are actually working every day with participants, and they're also got that experience of working with providers. And I think if that feedback was coming through to the level of the board, then we'd see some of the urgent areas for perhaps structural reform or review coming up before they become a bigger problem.

TRIOLI: It's a good- Damien, before I let you go, if you can sum up in one sentence, if there was one key thing about the experience of being a provider, being there with people who are on the NDIS scheme that you wanted the board to know, what would it be?

CALLER DAMIEN: It's that workers are in a highly vulnerable and potentially exploitative position at the moment and that they are the ones with the wisdom and the knowledge who can bring these problems to the board's attention straight away.

TRIOLI: Okay, Damien, thanks for calling in. Minister Shorten?

SHORTEN: I think Damien makes a great point that the people working on the ground have irreplaceable and unique insights which will value-add. In terms of the specifics of the board, my focus has been to get more people with disability onto the board. Appointments come up periodically, and a lot of them had been filled by the previous government. So sort of got to wait to see when terms expire. But I'll bear in mind the point or the advice about a worker perspective. For what it's worth, Damien, I attended the Health and Community Services Union last Friday at their delegates' meeting in Preston, where there were 50 or 60 workers, and I literally just stood there and took advice and suggestions from people. So personally, I share the values of listening to workers. It's my background as a former union rep.

What I might also say, Damien, is we're doing a review into the NDIS. We've got a very good review panel, but also, what we have is a secretariat - that's like a fancy name for the researchers who work on all the written matter and the ideas which are out there - and we're making sure the union and worker voice is heard there as we are the employer and provider voice. One thing which is worth noting is that Kurt Fearnley, Damien, who of course is the new chair of the board, he'd been working in an advisory capacity at Life Without Barriers in Sydney, which is a big service organisation. So I hear what you're saying. Workers' voices weren't heard sufficiently in the last few years. That will change with me as the Minister.

TRIOLI: The review that you are spearheading into the NDIS and the fact that there's been much made of the fact that it won't be or it can't be sustainable if it keeps growing at the levels that it is, it seems to me that the- one of the most logical conclusions from that is that you have to either reduce or cut services, maybe change what is eligible under the NDIS, what is funded under the NDIS. Does that have to be actively considered in order to make the NDIS sustainable?

SHORTEN: That goes to the heart of the matter, Virginia, and thanks for asking that because I'm getting a lot of people saying: is this review a cost-cutting exercise? No, it's not. We need to- there's three principles I've got for the review. These are my working principles. One is I want to re-orient the scheme towards focusing on outcomes and investment in people. The second thing is I want to make sure that there's not money being wasted. That's different to cutting someone's access to a wheelchair or home mods. What I'm getting at is that where there's government-funded schemes, what I've detected anecdotally and now I'm seeing more as I get to be the Minister, is that some of this NDIS money is getting syphoned off to people who are taking advantage of people with disability. So I think that, to be honest, if we pick the fruit of- the low-hanging fruit of waste, I think we can see some improvements. The scheme does have to be sustainable for future generations, but I want to make it- to sort of wrap up that answer, it is not the fault of people with disability that the scheme is increasing in cost. And- so I'm- this isn't an exercise of a sort of heartless, steeple-fingered conservative minister just saying we're going to cut benefits because that's not where I think the problems lie, to be honest.

TRIOLI: And you don't think that that has to be included in the process at some point along the chain that some services, some supports, the framing of some packages to support certain kinds of disabilities might need to be reined in in order to make it sustainable? That's not going to be a logical outcome?

SHORTEN: I suppose the answer I was trying to give, if I didn't do it very well, I'm sorry, is that I don't think the key problem with the scheme is that someone with a disability requires home modifications or requires support to be able to fulfil their goals. What happens with some of the therapies? What's happening with value for money? I'm sure we'll look for value, but what I don't want people thinking is that all of a sudden that they're going to lose everything they have, because they won't. But we've got to clamp down on waste. We do have to make sure that- and the vast majority of providers do the right thing, but my inbox every day is inundated with people saying: listen, there's someone taking a lend of the scheme who's a service provider, and we've just got to straighten it up and make it fit for purpose.

TRIOLI: I'm going to very, very briefly go to the weather and to news headlines, and we'll come straight back to you. I can see your calls there. I know you're patiently waiting, and I will come to you… Brad, thanks so much. Bill Shorten is still with you, Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, and we're taking your calls. Liz in Geelong, good morning. What would you like to ask the Minister?

CALLER LIZ: Hi. I have a personal question about my daughter who has a disability, but before listening to Mr Shorten, it brought up another question as well about his language. Why does he keep calling- talking about cutting costs? I understand that we have to cut waste and rorting and all the rest of it, but the whole cutting costs language plays into the previous government's agenda. I think we should be looking at benefits. There have been surveys saying that $1 spent reaps a benefit of $2.50, [indistinct]…

TRIOLI: Liz, I don't think there's any argument here, but I would- you've got limited time. I'd get to my question if I were you about your daughter.

CALLER LIZ: Okay. So my question is, my daughter has been a success story of the NDIS and I invite Mr Shorten to come out and visit her. But in her latest plan which has been reviewed and now has to go to the AAT, they've cut her funding and so that now we only have enough core funding to last for 11 months. So our question is how do we cope with this when the funding runs out? And when we go to the AAT, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, why is it that we've been told there will be top end lawyers there representing the NDIS when there are no advocates available to advocate for us?


CALLER LIZ: And really all we want is back what we've been having for the last six or seven years, has been…

TRIOLI: What she had before, okay. Let me put that to the Minister, Liz. Go ahead.

SHORTEN: Plenty of issues there, Liz, and thanks for calling in. And I'm pleased that your experience with the NDIS has been positive up until the last particular decision you're referring to. Just going into the AAT, I think the old process where people would have to combat a very litigious legal system under-resourced isn't ideal. It's- and in fact in the last two months I've set up a process oversighted by Graeme Innes, the former Human Rights Commissioner. Well, we're trying to do alternative dispute resolution. So specifically on election night, there were about 4500 cases banked up to go to the AAT, which we said before the election was too many. We've reduced about 2000 of them. That doesn't mean there's not new matters emerging, and perhaps yours is in that category in the last one to two months. But we are reviewing all the matters so that sometimes you genuinely can't get agreement, but more often than not, without you having to battle corporate lawyers, we're getting expert independent reviewers just to see if the matter can be resolved simply and without all the acrimony.

TRIOLI: I want to take you, Minister, to the substance of a reduced package. But just on that point, you've still got that backlog of 67,000 cases. And the AAT itself this is in the paper today, warning that it actually needs increased staff and funding if it's to get through that backlog in a timely manner. Will you do that?

SHORTEN: Well, that's the whole of the AAT. So my colleague Mark Dreyfus, I know is giving deep consideration to how the AAT's functioning.


SHORTEN: But in the 4500 which were NDIS matters, we announced in the Budget extra money, $5.9 million to resolve the backlog. But the other thing I want to do, and this goes to perhaps the deeper point that Liz was making beyond her daughter, which is the old system which we've inherited. You wouldn't often get written reasons from the agency until the door of the AAT to find out why the cut has happened. We want to build in an alternative dispute resolution process where if the internal review doesn't resolve your matter, Liz, or your daughter's matter, then we go to a reviewer whose- with who the agency doesn't have legal representation in. They have to put their reasons in writing to the reviewer and you can be there with an advocate to sort it out. So I'm positive that we can take a lot of the pain out of the review process. We just- we've been in four months. We're trying to set this all up pretty quickly.

TRIOLI: Have some of those- because Liz's question really is representative of many questions that are banked up.

SHORTEN: Plenty, plenty.

TRIOLI: Yeah, absolutely. Have you established that a lot of those reductions in packages were capricious?

SHORTEN: The jury's out for me. That was my suspicion, I have to say, coming in as the Minister. As I've been quizzing outgoing leadership of the NDIA before we've replaced them, I've said I'm worried that there seemed to be a sort of blunt force trauma where it was basically…

TRIOLI: Get the package, just cut it.

SHORTEN: …management of the system by litigation and attrition. If you could survive the litigation, then you keep your package. The jury's out. I can't say I've proven that, but that is been a hypothesis of mine which hopefully with alternative dispute resolution there won't be any- the same cause for concern. Too many matters were going to the AAT. Not enough were being reviewed in a problem solving way rather than an adversarial fashion.

TRIOLI: I hope that answers your question, Liz, and I hope that's helpful. Lisa is mobile. Lisa, what would you like to say? Good morning.

CALLER LISA: Oh, good morning. I just wanted to ask a question in relation to investigating unscrupulous and unprofessional service provider that are NDIS registered. What mechanisms are in place to investigate their practices?

SHORTEN: Well, not enough have been in place, in my opinion. That is why in the Budget announced last week my bid to set up a fraud fusion task force, which is $137 million, just to specifically look at who's taking the scheme for a ride. That will involve the use of Australian Federal Police being seconded to do work in the disability agency. We'll also get the Tax Office and the National Disability Insurance Agency talking better to each other, because some service providers - and again it's the minority. So please, I don't want my phone dial at my electorate office lighting up with service providers saying: we do the right thing. We know most people do, but there are people taking the scheme for a ride. What we want to do is compare the information income that the service provider is getting from the NDIA. Then the NDIA tells the Tax Office so the Tax Office can see if the person is declaring all the income they're getting from the NDIA, the service provider.


SHORTEN: So we want to do that. The other thing is the Quality and Safeguards Commission's there. Frankly, I don't think they have enough resources at the moment, but you can always report your concerns to there, and people seem to be reporting their concerns to my office as well. And again, we're very busy, but we want to take them and follow them up.

TRIOLI: Okay. So if you…

SHORTEN: Quality and Safeguards Commission's probably…

TRIOLI: Is there a hotline, if you like?

SHORTEN: Yeah. Well, there's a funny story to this. I was told there was a hotline at the agency. I then had a correspondent write to me and they said it wasn't working. So I then rang the number myself as the Minister and I found it wasn't working, but now I've fixed that up. So there is a hotline.

TRIOLI: [Laughs] Okay, so someone will do that.

SHORTEN: There's a bit of trial and error getting this right and we are working on it.

TRIOLI: Lisa, good to hear from you. Thank you so much. Carol, in Hiatt. Hi, Carol. What's your question? You've got the Minister here.

CALLER CAROL: Oh, good morning, Virginia and Bill. I have a question about special disability accommodation. I have a 42-year-old severely disabled son who is autistic, intellectually disabled and cerebral palsied. We made the decision last year due to our health that we needed to look for this accommodation and we put in a very, very thorough application. In January of this year. In July, it was rejected. My husband was very, very ill in hospital and has subsequently passed away. We asked for a review from the NDIS and they upheld their original decision and said he was suitable for independent living, and they would fund him for 3 hours, one-to-one a day. Now that's absolutely ridiculous when he's non-verbal, he's incontinent, he can't even feed himself. And if I have health…

TRIOLI: I'm just going to- I'll jump in there, Carol, because- I mean, I just think that's extraordinary. Explain to us how within the system that you understand the NDIA works, Bill Shorten, someone can look at all that documentation and conclude they can live independently. How does that even work?

SHORTEN: Well, I don't think it is working, is it?

TRIOLI: I mean, you've got to be bloody minded to actually conclude that, don't you?

SHORTEN: Well, Carol doesn't want any-

TRIOLI: Yes, it's my phrase, not yours.

SHORTEN: Carol doesn't want to hear me list the problems I've encountered with the agency, but I feel you, I feel what you're saying, Carol. First of all, the time it takes to approve a decision shouldn't be six months. So you put it in January and then to get an answer in July - I don't understand why it's taking people six months, that's the first question. And to my knowledge, there isn't a satisfactory answer.

Then with the review you should - if the agency disagrees, and sometimes the agency will disagree with a participant and their family, you should get your reasons in writing. If someone says, contrary to your experience, that they think only three hours of one-to-one a day will do, I don't even know, Carol, if you got a written explanation and the report underpinning that view.

TRIOLI: Did you, Carol? Was there actually a formal report?

SHORTEN: I'm worried she probably didn't even get a full report.

CALLER CAROL: We got a report that said that because Andrew could move independently around the house, that therefore he was suitable for independent living. As I remember, that's what they said. Now, Andrew, if we get- if we lift him up off the couch, he can walk around the house with me supporting him. But I can't lift him up and say, go into your bedroom so I can change it, please Andrew Nothing like that. So they seem to seize on a very small paragraph in the OTs report.

SHORTEN: This is my issue. Did you get a- you gave them an OTS report, but they just gave you back a couple of lines in a paragraph? To me that isn't satisfactory.

TRIOLI: Well, then how are you going to fix it as Minister?

SHORTEN: Well, that's why I got- that's why I get the, good title. We are doing the NDIS review. We've now got a new CEO who started a week and a half ago. SDA, time of special disability accommodation is a priority for us to tackle before the end of the review. So, we're looking at how they make the decisions in the agency - what is the process, what is the evidence? See, Carol, did people come out and meet?


SHORTEN: Did anyone at any stage meet you or your son?

CALLER CAROL: When we first joined- well, when we first were accepted onto the NDIS back in 2018, the local area coordinator, I made sure she came to the house to meet Andrew. But since then, nothing. We're currently waiting on an appeal to the AAT.

SHORTEN: Well, to me it's not satisfactory that for a big decision, especially in terms of accommodation, there's got to be more human interaction. There's not that many matters where we- in other words, not all half a million people on the scheme are looking for specialist accommodation. I think it's more like 15 to 20,000.

TRIOLI: No. Nor need to be personally interviewed, that's right. But at a certain point, given that you're in the job and you've been in the job for several months now, those changes will have to- we will be expecting you to have made those changes and to begin bringing about different outcomes.

SHORTEN: Let's deal with expectation management here a bit. We've rolled up our sleeves, we've changed the leadership, we've put in new people in the board. We're setting up the Crime Task Force. We've set up the review. All of this takes consultation and discussion with people with disability and everyone else. We've hit hospital discharges because, as terrible as Carol's story is, people being stuck in hospital and they're medically fit for discharge has been a very urgent priority.

I can tell listeners that we've moved about 310 people out of hospital in the last two months who had been waiting a very long time, who are eligible to leave. And we've resolved about 2000 cases in the AAT. But SDA decision making is closer to the front of my to do list than at the back.

TRIOLI: So, is that story that was published - I think it was just two days ago about more than 3000 properties for people with disabilities are sitting empty while you've got those NDIS participants you're speaking about, that some of whom you've moved out of hospitals - is it about that figure? And why are they empty?

SHORTEN: Well, I'm not- That was the figure quoted in the report. But just because someone- just because a property developer has - I just want to sound a note of caution on that - just because the property developers built something which they say can be used for special disability accommodation, doesn't mean the person with the disability wants to move into that flat and that set of apartments.

So, there's been a- we're doing a review of the pricing of SDA. But there's been some developers come in who, in my-there's some really good ones who've come in, but there's others who sort of thought they could get rich quick. You know, put something- nominated eligible for SDA - that doesn't necessarily mean that the person with the disability should be just put in there.

TRIOLI: So, if the figure is rubbery, what's the more true figure of the ones that are lying idle?

SHORTEN: I think there is a vacancy rate and the vacancy rate's higher than normal housing, so that's not acceptable.

TRIOLI: And is that because of- is it too difficult to get through?

SHORTEN: I think there's probably multiple ingredients to this, but two big ones. One is the red tape. For whatever reason, we've got some decision making processes in the agency which I'm getting to the bottom of, which are simply very long and cumbersome, and I'm not sure why. Again, sometimes they're working really well.

But the other thing is, not every person with disability wants to just be plonked somewhere far away from their family. So sometimes finding the suitable accommodation and the suburb you know, or in with the people you know, that can take a bit of time.

TRIOLI: Let's take a few more calls. Bill Shorten is with you, the Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme at 9:44. Michelle, in Moonee Ponds. What would you like to say, Michelle?

CALLER MICHELLE: Hi. I wanted to actually give a good story in a way. We've been with the NDIS for quite a few years now and we're- for my husband and we've been provided with electronic doors and a accessible bathroom and really we've been very fortunate and we've really, appreciate the support that we've been given.

The surprising thing for us was actually the cost involved. We were lucky- luckily enough, to be able to renovate our house to make it accessible and the things that we actually receive from the NDIS, our builder said were, cost way more than he imagined that they would. Because the providers seem to like, just - I don't know, they seem to up the cost because the government are paying.

TRIOLI: At 10 per cent. Yeah, that's a really good point. Michelle I'm really glad that supports you getting a working. How's your family member doing.

CALLER MICHELLE: He's doing okay. And let's put it this way, what we've been provided has made his life- you know, it's really improved his quality of life.

TRIOLI: That is great to hear. But that's the thing, isn't it? I mean there's sort of- it's almost like we need to turn around a moral obligation on these manufacturers and providers and say: guys, you're not ripping off a wealthy government, even though you think you might. You're actually just ripping off individuals who are on this scheme because it's taking money out of their scheme themselves.

SHORTEN: A hundred per cent. Michelle's story- a lot of people do come to me and say it's working, which is great. It's always difficult, and I feel a bit for the sort of rank and file of the National Disability Insurance Agency. Bad news sort of leads the news…


SHORTEN: …and that's the way it has ever been thus. Good news tends not to ring up and say, I've got an issue. So a lot of it is working okay. But there is still, in my opinion, too much red tape and clunky decision making which I just, you know, we're just sort of going to change - that won't, can't be done by next week. But the other issue though, which is driving me to distraction is, I do sense that there is an industry out there where if they see it's got NDIS, the prices go up.

Now, I had allied health professionals get upset with me and say, but it's very hard what we do in the report writing. I'm not bagging every individual in the system. The majority of providers are excellent, and I do accept that for some people who prepare reports, the NDIA seems to require cumbersome reports which add to the admin - so I buy some of the explanation.

TRIOLI: The admin is genuine.

SHORTEN: And I accept that, and that's why I started with that. But there are, there is a proportion of the population who see NDIS, double the fee, increase the fee and they're ripping off the person with a disability and they're ripping off the taxpayer.

TRIOLI: So what are you going to do about it?

SHORTEN: Well, that's where we- that's where I start off by saying I think it's not so much cost cutting, it is about going after the waste. That's why I've got some of the smartest people in Australia working on the review. Because we've got to clamp down on overcharging just because someone says they have a government package.

TRIOLI: Philip in Maribyrnong, what's your question for the Minister? Good morning.

CALLER PHILIP: Oh, good morning. Good morning, Mr Shorten. Firstly, I'd just like to say that I've been listening and I think some of your answers are quite good, and I know I think you've got your heart in the right place. But look, I'm reading about my dear little granddaughter, Sophia, who's nine-years-old. She had been on an NDIS package which recently was cut by 92 per cent, 92 per cent cut.

TRIOLI: May I ask her diagnosis, if that's not prying?

CALLER PHILIP: Sure, she has autism and special learning disabilities. Now, my daughter has asked for a review. And I'd just like to read you

TRIOLI: It's a bit hard to hear you, Phillip. You keep coming in and out of the sound. Maybe just hold that phone in your mouth.



CALLER PHILIP: Yes, is that better?


CALLER PHILIP: Yes. I'll just read you the decision because it's only two sentences.


CALLER PHILIP: NDIS supports, and this is quote: NDIS supports need to represent value for money in that the costs of the support are reasonable relative to both the benefits achieved and the cost of alternative support when compared to the benefits to be achieved. That's the first sentence. And the decision maker says: I am not satisfied the requested support meets this criteria.

Now, I'd just like to make three points. Firstly, she's obviously listened to all the things that you've been saying, especially on Q+A and program like that where you've talked about, you know, the need look at this is money. But this is, in terms of a decision, it's nothing more than bureaucratic gobbledegook. You know, there's no effective measure given in terms of what she's talked about, no alternative sources of provision of services as I mentioned. There is no reference to any clinical need and there is no mention of the sort of qualifications this person has to make that decision. My assumption is it's just a clerk who's making a decision and running off a pro-forma decision...

TRIOLI: Well, that's an important point, Philip. I'll leave it there. Is there just a pro-forma, you know, decision making process?

SHORTEN: I suspect so, and sometimes…

TRIOLI: Do you not know yet?

SHORTEN: Well, no. I think you'll find throughout this whole interview I've said one of the things which has staggered me since becoming Minister is the red tape and also not clearly written decisions and not clearly written explanations for the decisions, both with Carol, who we spoke about and we spoke about Liz earlier on they're stuck in an appeal process, but the agency hasn't outlined the reasons why it has said no. And that's what I think Philip from Maribyrnong was getting at.

TRIOLI: That's right. And what do you understand so far, given the investigations you and your people have made, what do you understand about what comprises that decision making process?

SHORTEN: Well, let's- there has been a fundamental challenge with the scheme that it- for the last nine years, frankly, it's had ministers who are disinterested. It's had an agency who's seen a rapid growth in the number of people on the scheme. But I don't think the decision making processes have kept up with the scheme. In other words, it's not enough to tell Sophia's parents or Philip, the grandparent there, that your daughter's doesn't need this.

TRIOLI: It's not value for money.

SHORTEN: That is not enough, in my opinion.

TRIOLI: I know, but I'm asking a different question. What do you know about what the assessor has on the desk in front of them…

SHORTEN: Oh, I see.

TRIOLI: …when they're writing the report, when they're comparing what they asked for and all the forms that have come in from the OT and the physio and everyone, and they're looking at their form saying, this is what you're allowed to fund and these are the reasons why. What does that form look like?

SHORTEN: First of all, the forms are very long and they're a bit hard to read, in my opinion. Secondly, a planner or someone who might be making this decision will have had some reports from the participant or their family. But I'm not convinced that when we say no that we fully examine the evidence and that we've done the full due diligence that's required.

TRIOLI: And why? Why is there that mindset not to examine?

SHORTEN: Well, I think the agency's been under a staff cap since 2017. What that practically means to listeners is the scheme had about 180,000 people on it and had about 3500 staff. The scheme has 540,000 people on it and it has in-house about 3500 staff. So I think that to some extent the agency's overwhelmed and we haven't given it the resources. The other thing which happens, and I've seen it as an experiment with the hospital discharge I referred to earlier, I went to Alfred Caulfield, met the allied health clinicians there. They were really smart and switched on, the social workers. What I found out is that when a decision -and I've seen this at hospitals all around Australia who I've been visiting in the last three months - when an application for an NDIS plan goes forward, the planner, the first person, the person at the hospital and the allied clinicians deal with, very rarely has the decision power to say yes. They've got to send the home mods in one direction. They've got to send if there's care packages require somewhere else. So what we've done as a trial in the hospitals is give the planner who's working with the allied health clinicians the power to say yes. That's why it's sped up. I'm telling you now, the red tape in this agency is something to be seen.

TRIOLI: No, I don't doubt that for a second. I'm…

SHORTEN: And I'm sorry that we haven't fixed it all straight away. And I just wanted to- I've just been in touch with the new CEO. She's listening to your show, which is great. She said, if we can get Carol's details afterwards, we just want to follow up that SDA matter.

SHORTEN: Well, she might ring back in.

TRIOLI: We should have a record. But if we don't, Carol, call back in. Before I let you go, and I'm sorry I can't get to all the calls today. You know, Minister, that we could spend the entire programme this morning doing this.

SHORTEN: And I'm interested to but I don't know if all your listeners are.

TRIOLI: And we still wouldn't get to all the questions. But I do want to ask you just on another matter that concerns the government. The UN Climate Summit in Egypt next week. The PM's not going to attend the COP27. Instead, he's sending Chris Bowen. Now, I remember that was scathing of Scott Morrison who was not sure that he was going to attend last time. That was in doubt. He did end up going but only after some pressure and ended up going to Glasgow. Shouldn't the PM go this time?

SHORTEN: Prime Minister Albanese's been going to a lot of international events. He can't get to everything and it's undoubted that…

TRIOLI: No, but this is one you should go to. When Joe Biden is going, when Rishi Sunak is trying to clear the diary to get there.

SHORTEN: I think you'll find it's very important but he has- not every COP is as important as every other COP. In other words…

TRIOLI: This seems like and almost crucial COP this one. Five minutes to midnight.

SHORTEN: Well, that's your view and I'm sure- well, climate change is crucial, and I think you'll find that we're doing a lot more than our predecessors. But I'm not sure that at this COP they're going to make the same dimension of decisions about setting five year plans as some of the previous ones or some of the future ones. So, yes, it's all very important. And I'm sure if he could clone himself, he'd be everywhere. The reality is that he will go to the ones which are about the world setting targets and goals in between when it's reports about updates, you know, as my understanding is they're not all equally important. And Chris Bowen is going and he's our sort of person on the ground in Australia. So I think you'll find compared to our predecessors we believe climate change and we're doing a lot more. Sorry for laughing, but I…

TRIOLI: No, I just think you're running out of time compared to our predecessors. This might be the last time I allow you to say that on this programme, Bill Shorten. Alright.

SHORTEN: Okay. Well, unfortunately for the NDIA…

TRIOLI: It's all squarely with you guys now.

SHORTEN: Yeah, yeah, but I'll also tell people the truth about why there are delays and we just- but one thing I promise all your listeners is there's nothing here that I've heard which I think is satisfactory. So we've just got to keep doing it. Thank you.

TRIOLI: Okay. Great to have you on the show coming in. Thank you. Bye. Minister Bill Shorten there, answering your questions. Apologies again that we couldn't get to all of them.