31 March 2020




SUBJECTS: Government JobKeeper package; Coronavirus; Bunnings

ALLY LANGDON, HOST: For billions of Aussie workers, the PM announcing a 130 billion dollar wage subsidy to save jobs threatened by coronavirus. To discuss, I'm joined by Shadow Minister for Government Services Bill Shorten and Triple M’s Gus Worland. Good morning, gentlemen.

BILL SHORTEN, MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG: Good morning Ally. Good morning Gus.

LANGDON: So Bill I’m going to go to you first, because as soon as this was announced, our sharemarket surged yesterday, reporting its best day ever. Do you share the optimism of the markets over this latest rescue package?

SHORTEN: Listen it sounds good. I know Labor has said that we should have wages subsidies and they're doing that all around the world. But this will make the viewers happy because the Labor guy’s not going to bag the government. Good on them. We’ll have to study the detail to make sure the casuals are getting looked after. I think it is a step in the right direction and it will come as a tremendous mental relief for a whole lot of people. I’d like to put a plug in for the disability workforce. They do a great job and are an essential service.

LANGDON: Yeah, absolutely. And in this time of unity Bill do you think the Prime Minister's doing a good job?

SHORTEN: I think on this one. Yeah I think we are getting there. This morning is not the morning for being churlish. I'm happy that workers are being looked after. I mean we’ve got to remember the sole traders and the small businesses, but this is a step in the right direction. On the surface, we'll have to study the detail, I think they're going to need to bring parliament back next week or as soon as possible. But the idea that we're going to help people at work, that must be a tremendous mental comfort for a lot of Australians. 

LANGDON: And I think that's it provided a bit of hope yesterday. I mean this is six million jobs that we’re potentially talking about it is huge isn’t it?

GUS WORLAND, TRIPLE M: It sure is, Ally. And it's just so wonderful to hear Bill talk about that this morning and be so positive. I don’t think the PM necessarily has nailed it down absolutely everything over the last couple of months. But what a tough job it's been for him. And I think he's now rallied in that particular case. Like Bill said, mentally for people that we've been out of control, we haven't been sure what's happening. There's so much going on that we're not sure about. Now, at least we can put a line in the sand that said, at least that's there. And it's this is the guy who tip my hat to our leaders in government. And I tip my hat to Bill for being so positive as well, because this is not about politics. This is about real people's lives.

LANGDON: And don’t you find, and I put this to both of you. What I think a lot of people are really liked and what we're seeing, you know, with national cabinet. You’ve got all the Premiers from the states and territories and the Prime Minister in there, both sides of politics. Is that there really does seem to be a sense of cohesion and that we are in this together? Would you agree Bill?

SHORTEN: Yeah, I think that give out leader Anthony Albanese a guernsey in the team. But at a time like this, this is unprecedented. The aim is to get the best out of people. I mean, Labor's said, you know, go hard, go early and that hasn't always been the strategy. But today, when I think about up to 6 million people who've got a better chance staying at work, their employers and companies being able to ensure cash flow. Well, you know, this is what Labor’s been calling for but it on the surface, it looks a good thing. And I just think about all the shop assistants, all the essential workers all the people in the companies and at least this is good news in a time when the news seems to be quite bad.

LANGDON: Now, something else I wanted to talk to you both about this morning because there are wildly different stories coming from the government's hotel quarantine scheme. Overseas arrivals spend two weeks confined to hotel rooms. Now, as we're seeing some of them are five-star others aren't quite so luxurious. Gus do you have sympathy for those who are complaining?

WORLAND: I suppose I have a little bit of sympathy for some parts of it, but at the end of the day, let's look at this situation we’ve got. This is as Bill said, unprecedented global drama and we're totally out of control at the moment in the world. So a couple of weeks anywhere, a luxury hotel is probably better than most. I know it's going to be ideal. It's not what they wanted, but no one one's getting what they want at the moment. So I reckon it's time to give yourself a bit of an uppercut if you are complaining too much. I think it's all about understanding the bigger picture and just getting on. It's only 14 days. My wife's been quarantined for 13 days after coming back from Japan. She’s got windows and she can walk out on a balcony but still, you know, she’s still keeping in contact with people. I think we have to just get a grip and realise that it’s only 14 days and just get on with it.

LANGDON: Have you ever given yourself an uppercut?

WORLAND: All the time, regularly.


SHORTEN: You mean the uppercut or the hotel? I'm lucky to be in politics -  there’s others who give you the uppercut. But in terms of the 14 days, it's better being here than being overseas. As an MP I've got constituents who are stuck in other parts of the world. So just perhaps you know if you’re you are thinking you’r a bit hard done by there are people who just want to get home to Australia. But 14 days, cabin fever, small room, you’ve got the kids, you got your beloved life partner. I got a little bit of sympathy for people are getting cabin fever after 14 days. I mean, it's better than being somewhere else in the world. Listen, I'm just at home and I found that my ideas of a home office and a regular schedule  ... I did not know there were so many outstanding chores at home!

LANGDON: This is why we need Bunnings to stay open Bill so Chloe can keep sending you off to the shops so you can do all those jobs around the house.

SHORTEN: Essential services: Bunnings and Dan Murphys!

LANGDON: But we see in every crisis that it really does bring out the best and it brings out the worst in people. Bill, can I ask you, what has made you angry this week and what has lifted your spirits?

SHORTEN: Tell you what I couldn't believe when I saw it is I went on eBay there are profiteers trying to sell Glen20 for 50 bucks. You know, there should be a rule against this profiteering. You know, we all complain about the people hoarding the toilet paper, but Glen 20 is used to spray the surface, not that I work with Glen 20 but it’s used to spray surfaces. I cannot believe we’ve got rogues and scallywags, there should be a law against people selling far above this. And the tech giants like eBay they should just clamp down on this. This is bloody outrageous.

LANGDON: Yeah they need to be named and shamed those people, I reckon. Gus how about yourself?

WORLAND: Look, I've just decided, guys, to be as positive as possible over this period. It got me so angry the toilet paper stuff, and then also the hand sanitizer. The fact you can't get it and the fact that people are hoarding. I'm just really focussed in on the fact that community have come together. And I think the great Aussie spirit overall is being good. There's always gonna be ratbags. There is always gonna be people that let us down. But as a general rule, again, like we have seen with all the mother nature stuff, with the droughts and the fires and the floods, we have come together pretty well as a nation. So I'm just going to stay positive Ally.

LANGDON: And I saw a beautiful suggestion yesterday as someone wrote in and said that why don't we get some of our young people, our school kids, to write letters to our veterans because of course we’re not celebrating Anzac Day or recognising Anzac Day this year so I thought that was a beautiful touch too. Gentlemen always lovely to talk to you both. Thanks for joining us this morning. Stay safe. 

SHORTEN: Thanks, cheerio.

WORLAND: Thanks, Ally.