Minister Shorten interviewed on the Today Show


TRACY VO: Well, the Federal Government's plan to secure cheaper energy for Aussies households before Christmas has hit a major road block. Anthony Albanese testing positive to COVID delaying a crucial meeting with state premier's. For more, we're joined by Minister for Government Services and the NDIS, Bill Shorten, and 4BC's, Neil Breen. Good morning to you gents.


NEIL BREEN: Hey, Tracy. Hey, Bill.


TRACY VO: Bill, to you first. There was this dinner scheduled for tomorrow at Kirribilli House. Of course, now the Prime Minister has COVID. Time is ticking. Is there any hope of it being revived for tomorrow even via Zoom or how long do we expect this National Cabinet meeting to be delayed for?

BILL SHORTEN: Well, best wishes to the Prime Minister in terms of dealing with COVID. He's been working very hard so it's not surprising that the virus has finally got him. It will be delayed just a few days. I mean, the fact of the matter is all options are on the table. There's been discussions, it's no secret, with the premiers. The challenge is Putin's war in Ukraine has flowed through to coal and gas prices all around the world and gas prices all around the world and it's affecting Australian families

TRACY VO: Indeed, but there is a point here where the Prime Minister and your government want to do something before Christmas comes…

BILL SHORTEN: [Interrupts] Oh yes.

TRACY VO: …because families are doing it tough the at the moment.

BILL SHORTEN: Absolutely. Families are doing it tough. You look at the whammy between mortgage rates, this, and inflation caused by supply shortages. It is hard. I'd assume that things will be tackled well before Christmas. There will be discussions between the Prime Minister and premiers. So I look forward to seeing what emerges in the national interest.

TRACY VO: Hopefully in the next few days we will hear more about it.

BILL SHORTEN: Yeah, absolutely.

TRACY VO: Neil, the gas industry is concerned price caps will stave off future investment. I mean, there is a fine line here that the government has to strike the right balance there, isn't there?

NEIL BREEN: Yeah, that's right, Tracy. And I was reading those comments from the gas companies this morning and they're talking about if you take profits away from them now by taxing them or capping them in the future, they can't invest in the industry and employment, and that's always industry's argument about anything that the federal government does, any lever they pull. The fascinating story in Queensland, though, is whether Annastacia Palaszczuk will side with the Federal Labor Government. She has been very cosy with them yet to date she has got nothing out of them. She wanted a 50-50 split for hospital funding. Didn't get it. She wants 50-50 on the Olympics which was promised by Scott Morrison. She's not getting that out of the Federal Labor Government. Now the Federal Labor Government wants some coal deal out of Queensland. She's talking very tough about it. She's in a bit of a bind with the Queensland people here. She has to deliver something for them, so it's a fascinating argument between the two if you like.

TRACY VO: Well, there you go. Well, let's talk about that poll that was published in the Sydney Morning Herald, Neil. It showed 79 per cent of voters support price caps. As you've mentioned, Annastacia Palaszczuk is firmly against that. Is the Queensland Premier out of touch here?

NEIL BREEN: Well, she's not out of touch with the Queensland people. She's a genius when it comes to the Queensland people. She wins elections by bigger margins every time she goes to the polls.

TRACY VO: [Interrupts] But this could be her undoing if she can't support something to help energy or curve energy prices.

NEIL BREEN: It won't be her undoing in Queensland if she keeps prices low for Queenslanders because Queenslanders won't care about the rest of the Australia. They showed that during the pandemic when she locked everyone out and they voted for her in their droves.

TRACY VO: Well, there you go. You know more than us. You're up there, aren't you Breeny.

NEIL BREEN: [Interrupts] I'm living it.

TRACY VO: You are living it. Well, Bill, you've got Palaszczuk and Perrottet going against this. There's push back from there. You've also got Peter Malinauskas in South Australia potentially trying to create more debate on nuclear energy. I mean, you've got your work out here.

BILL SHORTEN: Yeah. There's an old saying: never get between the premiers and a bucket of money. But at the end of the day, I know all the people that you're talking about. They're interested in the national good and that's what Prime Minister Albanese is going to be pushing. At the end of the day, strip away all the other arguments, the perrokelism, the people's republic of Queensland, families are doing it tough.\

TRACY VO: Indeed.

BILL SHORTEN: And I'm confident that if- knowing what I do of the premier's and knowing the Prime Minister as I do, if people keep families at the centre of what they're thinking about, we'll get to an outcome.

TRACY VO: Alright. Well, to move on now, let's quickly talk about the Socceroos arriving home late last night, of course, to a hero's welcome. I think everyone in the country was behind the team. A million tuned in to watch the game, packing pubs and live sites, but they have come home, Bill, with really no home. You can see there's a hunger for the world game. Is the government going to chip in here?

BILL SHORTEN: Well, first of all, there could be a national home. It could be in Melbourne. We're hosting the Women's World Cup. And if you wanted to see the celebrations for the Socceroos, everyone in Australia wished they were at Federation Square because that's where the party was going on of. So I think- just, you know, love Sydney - love Sydney - but you're very crowded here. But bring Socceroos home to Melbourne where the round ball game has got keen followership.

TRACY VO: I think you're a bit biased there, Bill. But, you know, we'll leave it there. Neil, your thoughts?

NEIL BREEN: Well, Queensland will want it. Aren't we hosting the Olympics in Queensland, Bill, in 2032?

BILL SHORTEN: [Talks over] Yeah, well, you've got the Olympics, we'll have the soccer.

NEWSREADER: [Talks over] Queensland's the new home of sport. Come on. 50-50 funding from you guys and we're away.

BILL SHORTEN: We've got something in common, Breeny. New South Wales is between us so something for you, something for us.

NEIL BREEN: Exactly.

TRACY VO: [Interrupts] Hey, you've got Western Australia here as well by the way so we're…

BILL SHORTEN: That's right, you always get an edge in to.

NEIL BREEN: [Talks over] It's not going to Perth. Forget Perth.


TRACY VO: Breeny, we'll leave it there. Alright, Bill, Breeny, thank you so much for joining us this morning.

NEIL BREEN: Thanks, Tracy. See you, Bill.