SUBJECTS: Elected officials commenting on Middle East conflict; Chris Ketter; potential of a further rate rise from the RBA; cost of living; America rips off Bluey
KARL STEFANOVIC, HOST: You're watching Today, thanks so much for your company. Well, there's nothing quite like Aussie elected officials to bring us all together in troubled times, right? The Greens have accused Israel of unleashing hell in Gaza they say, while it's being strangled and bombed to death. The deputy Greens leader says remove your colonial blinkers for a minute and look at the truth. Meantime, Independent MP Zoe Daniel has denied a rift between the Teals. Nothing to see here, they say, as two Teals joined forces with the Greens to oppose a parliament motion supporting Israel. Wow. Joining us to discuss, Minister for the NDIS and Government Services, Bill Shorten, and from 2GB, presenter Chris O'Keefe from Sydney. Nice to see you guys. Stumbled my way through that. Billy, good morning to you. I mean you've been around for a while. How does all that sit with you?
BILL SHORTEN, MINISTER FOR GOVERNMENT SERVICES: I think that some in the Greens political party are out of step with the Australian people, or at least the mainstream. Israel does have a right to defend itself. Remember what's triggered this latest incredible round of instability and violence, it was thousands of Hamas terrorists crossing the border, kidnapping, murdering, killing. And I don't understand why some people seem to always struggle with the idea that Israel has a right to exist behind safe borders. I mean, clearly, though, what Hamas want is different to ordinary Palestinians. Hamas use the ordinary Palestinian citizens effectively as human shields. The whole thing is a terrible and growing disaster of incredible tragedy.
STEFANOVIC: We were warned by our top spy that we need to be careful with language. Chris, this is only just getting started. What do you think?
CHRIS O’KEEFE, 2GB: Of course. But I think Bill's point is 100% spot on. At the Bataclan theatre in Paris, you were there, Karl. Did you see the Greens or independent members of Parliament supporting motions that somehow supported ISIS or the terrorists in that attack? I just - you can call for calm and you can be anti-war, and you can be pro-peace, but you can't be pro terrorism. And you've got to be extremely careful if you are an elected member of the House of Representatives in the Commonwealth of Australia, thinking it's student politics again, and somehow having a Free Palestine bumper sticker on the back of your car makes what's happened in Israel any less horrific.
STEFANOVIC: Well, if nothing else, they're going to be consistent on that, that's for sure. Well, Bill, former Labor Senator Chris Ketter has been appointed to a plum trade investment job in San Francisco. That's despite Penny Wong declaring your government would move away from political appointments to qualified senior officials. It does look like a job for the boys.
SHORTEN: Oh, no, I don't think that's right. I think you find that our foreign minister has said that she wants to make sure that there's better processes. But when we talk about ex-politicians, a lot of them are actually very good at what they do.
O’KEEFE: Kevin Rudd, outstanding.
SHORTEN: And, the reality is, if you want to represent – outstanding, Kevin Rudd and Alexander Downer and, you know, so my point is as simple as this - hi, Kevin. My point is simply this that people are - just because they've been a politician doesn't mean they're not good at things. And representing Australia overseas, I'm sure that this gentleman will do a very good job, Mr. Ketter, and I think it's a good thing that we have a diverse pool.
STEFANOVIC: All right, nothing to see here.
SHORTEN: I genuinely don't think so. Not in this case. No, no.
O’KEEFE: Jobs for the boys. Whatever it is, it happens. All of them do it. And no one should be surprised.
STEFANOVIC: After months of reprieve, the RBA warns interest rates could soon be lifted again as growing pressure mounts on new Governor Michelle Bullock. Bill, you're trying after the weekend to get the narrative back to other important issues. This is one, another rate rise would cripple so many families along with higher petrol prices. You've got any relief coming?
SHORTEN: Well. I sincerely hope that the rates don't go up. A lot of people are doing it really hard. There's 3 million people with mortgages, but there's also the renters who are doing it hard. We've been pumping in relief into the system in a non-inflationary way. I mean, the terrible troubles in the Middle East are pushing petrol prices up.
STEFANOVIC: It doesn't look good.
SHORTEN: That’s just disastrous - well, let's go through what we've been doing. I mean, cheaper childcare. That's good. 5 million Australians getting support with their electricity and energy costs. That's good. A million small businesses. That's good. You know, like I'm not going to tell people doing it hard this morning with their gas and electricity bills and their petrol, that life's easy because it's absolutely not. But what I can do is say that we've put in many measures which are at least trying to help defray, take the sting out of some of the price surge -
O’KEEFE: Hey, Billy, where's the 275 bucks you promised us off our electricity bills before the election, when Chris Bowen was sitting there with, you know, he's amazing green modelling that we're going to get $275 off our power bills. It's gone the other way. All you've done is offer us power bill welfare and say, congratulations, Australia. we're not going to fix the actual problem where we've got gas prices and electricity prices going through the roof, and you guys sit there and try to have us on saying, oh no, guys, we're looking after cost of living. You're not looking after cost of living. You just bought spent $450 million on a referendum that was a complete and abject failure.
SHORTEN: Chris, it'll be - the show ends, Chris. The show ends at 9:00, sorry to interrupt your rant. Now, the point about it is you're - you realise that since we said the $275 and the modelling done in 2021, Russia invaded illegal war into Ukraine, you realise that we've been putting in place a series of measures. So sure, I want downward pressure on prices, but I just wish that and not even you, because, you know, you sort of you've got an opinion on most things, but I just wish the Liberals and some of the people in Parliament, all they do in Parliament is ask questions on the Voice now, they never want to talk about what Woolworths are doing, what -
O’KEEFE: That’s all you talk about; all you've been talking about for 18 months.
STEFANOVIC: Hey, you two.
SHORTEN: Oh, Christopher. Your nose is getting longer, like the proverbial puppet.
STEFANOVIC: Hey Billy, I know you’ve got you William Wallace tie on today and we'll never buy our freedom, that's for sure. But we do need to get you very quickly on this Bluey rip off that American kids are being subjected to. Here is this Chip Chiller, which is an absolute rip off. Take a look.
STEFANOVIC: You should do something positive in government today and remove these guys visas if ever they want to come to Australia. Come on.
SHORTEN: Yeah, yeah. Hands off our Bluey. Simple as that.
O’KEEFE: Can I say something about Bluey?
STEFANOVIC: Go on.
SHORTEN: We like America, but they can't have our Bluey
O’KEEFE: It's father shaming.
SHORTEN: They're stealing our intellectual property.
O’KEEFE: Bluey, Bluey is the perfect dad.
STEFANOVIC: It’s awful.
O’KEEFE: Because, you know, when you wake up and you're struggling a little bit, and then Bluey comes on, you go -
STEFANOVIC: That's awful.
O’KEEFE: - stop shaming.
STEFANOVIC: It makes you feel bad, it makes you feel bad about yourself, that's for sure. Thanks, you guys. We appreciate it. Sarah?
SARAH ABO, HOST: Keep your hands off our Bluey. America.