31 October 2023


SUBJECTS: Israel rejects calls for cease fire; former Australian PM’s letter of condemnation against Hamas; rising antisemitism; Qantas’ new legal defence of service record; Halloween

KARL STEFANOVIC, HOST: You're watching today. Thanks so much for your company. The Israeli Prime Minister has rejected calls for a cease fire, declaring the state will not surrender to tyranny and terror. Take a look.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRESIDENT [VIDEO]: Calls for a cease fire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas. To surrender to terrorism. To surrender to barbarism.

STEFANOVIC: It comes as a furious mob stormed an airport runway in Russia. Terrible scenes, surrounding a plane which had just landed from Tel Aviv, targeting its Jewish passengers. Back home, six former Prime Ministers have signed a joint statement condemning Hamas. John Howard, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull, and Scott Morrison say, quote, it was the single largest massacre of Jewish people since the Holocaust, and its grotesque cruelty and violence was comparable to that of ISIS. The six former PM’s saying they stand with both Jewish Australians and the Australian Palestinian community at this time. Joining us to discuss today's headlines is Bill Shorten from Canberra and 3AW presenter Neil Mitchell from Melbourne. Guys, good morning to you. It's an unsettled time isn't it. What a mess. Bill, how do we keep the peace here at home?

BILLSHORTEN, MINISTER FOR THE NDIS AND GOVERNMENT SERVICES: We've got to remember that the last thing that this country needs is division based on the terrible scenes we're seeing in Palestine and Israel. Hamas wins if this country becomes divided. So, you know, I think the statement by the ex-prime ministers should be acknowledged. I think it reflects the pretty consistent position of the Albanese government. We feel desperately for the civilians in Palestine, but we also recognise that the psychotic nature of the gangster regime of Hamas is just despicable and needs to be rooted out. But somehow, along the way, we've got to try and do it in a way which just minimises the suffering of civilians on all sides.

STEFANOVIC: Do you know why Paul Keating didn't sign it?

SHORTEN: No, I don't.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, Neil, it's getting harder and harder to avoid these divisions, right?

NEIL MITCHELL, 3AW: It is getting hard when you hear the Prime Minister speak, you hope there's a plan B, and I would imagine there is a strategy. But what do you do? You've got those hostages there. They've undergone psychological torture effectively. What is - I agree with Bill, what is worrying me out here and in Australia and other parts of the world is this surge in anti-Semitism. I mean, why is there this underlying level of hatred towards Jews? We've got 100,000 Jews in Australia, 800,000 Muslims, and yet we've got this developing tension that really worries me. And, you know, it even legitimised some idiots outside our courts last week, saying Heil Hitler. There is - a lot of my Jewish friends. I was talking to one who's in Europe at the moment. He's frightened to go out in Europe, and a lot of them have been telling me this anti-Semitism is building and it seems to be happening now. We've got to stop it. We have to acknowledge that any innocent life lost, as the Prime Ministers say, any innocent life lost is a is a tragedy. But also, you've got to look at this anti-Semitism and say it's just, it's based on no logic. I can't understand it. I really don't get it.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, let's move on. For the moment, Qantas has launched a bizarre new legal defence, claiming it doesn't sell flights but instead, quote, a bundle of contractual rights consistent with its promise to do its best to get consumers to their destination on time. Huh? Bill, it's Halloween, but Qantas ain't ghosting.

SHORTEN: No, I don't - sometimes an organisation will follow its legal advice to a point of stupidity. In other words, there'll be some lawyer who dreamed up this, some lawyer who dreamed up this defence. And no doubt in the boardroom it read really well, and you could just see the fists pounding on the table, we've got them this time. But then you realise when you read it out loud, there's almost like a corporate inside voice and a real outside voice. And maybe sometimes you shouldn't have your inside voice and read it out aloud. And that's what this reads like. I mean, I was just looking at my phone in preparation for this morning's chat and it's like doomscrolling from Qantas. You just get the message, the plane is delayed, the plane is cancelled. Please contact your travel agent. I don't know. The lawyers are writing it, not the marketers.

STEFANOVIC: Plenty of cancellations and delays across Sydney this morning with those high winds. Neil, what a strange way to try and win back customers.

MITCHELL: Well, they call themselves a world leader. They're a world leader in annoying customers. Have a look at the tickets. I mean, technically, I think they're right. Technically they're right. But, you know, Karl, I'm coming up to have lunch, one of your famous lunches, and I book a seat with Qantas to fly up at 10:00 one Wednesday morning, and, oh, no, I'm not really booking that. I'm booking for next Saturday fortnight.


MITCHELL: It is absolute garbage. Maybe Alan Joyce wasn't the problem at Qantas. They've got a bigger problem.

STEFANOVIC: Well, the good news is you don't have to book accommodation when you come and have a lunch with me. You'll be in the in the watchhouse afterwards.

SHORTEN: Hey, what lunch is this?

STEFANOVIC: I don't know, I'm working on it.

MITCHELL: Don’t tell Bill. Don’t tell Bill.

STEFANOVIC: It's a private lunch alright? Between Neil and I!

SHORTEN: I'm with Sarah, I want to be invited. You've got to invite Sarah and I.

STEFANOVIC: All right, it is Halloween -

SHORTEN: And you’ve got to invite the camera men too.

STEFANOVIC: What are you coming to Halloween as today, you fellas. Bill, you're up first.

SHORTEN: Neil, over you. I want to hear what Neil's doing before I say something.


MITCHELL: Righto. I'm going to shave my head. I'm going to buy a bad suit. I'm going to get Albo’s talking points. I'm going to terrify people. I'll go out as Bill Shorten.

STEFANOVIC: Oh, that's nasty. Billy?

SHORTEN: Oh. That hurt, Neil. Why are people so cruel?

MITCHELL: Oh, I’m sorry Bill, I'm really sorry.

MITCHELL: All right, well, if you're coming as me, I'll come as you.

STEFANOVIC: Oh, there you go.

SHORTEN: I'll get a beard. I'll be - you know, I'll get a beard, I'll knock on people's door in the morning, and I'll be very grumpy.

STEFANOVIC: Well, there we have a perfect Halloween date. I'll see you guys at 12:30. Thanks, gentlemen. Have a good day. Sarah?

SARAH ABO, HOST: And I'll come as Karl and throw the best party on Earth. And you're all invited.