23 May 2022




MONDAY, 23 MAY 2022


SUBJECTS: Federal election result, primary votes, climate policy, Kimberley Kitching


NEIL MITCHELL, HOST: Where does it go now? On the line. The former leader of the Labor Party. Federal Member for Maribyrnong, Bill Shorten. Good morning.


BILL SHORTEN, MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG: Good morning, Neil. How are you?


MITCHELL: I'm okay. Congratulations.


SHORTEN: Thank you.


MITCHELL: Bittersweet? I mean, it could have been you.


SHORTEN: Listen, would’ve I liked it three years ago, sure, but better late than never. And I'm pleased for Anthony Albanese and the team and I send my commiserations to Scott Morrison. Whatever I thought of his policies, he served in the highest office in the land. So, you know, I thank he and Jen for their service.


MITCHELL: What job would you like?


SHORTEN: Any job would be good. A Cabinet Minister. That'd be great. I'm also pleased that I've been re-elected by my constituents. They gave me a slightly improved vote on last time. So thank you to everyone in Maribyrnong.


MITCHELL: Yeah, you're up about 1.8%, is that right? A swing to you?


SHORTEN: Yeah, that's nice. I mean there are a lot of small parties running. And, you know, whilst there was a big third party vote across the nation, I'm pleased in my area they sort of stuck with what they knew.


MITCHELL: Now I want to ask you about that. I think last figure I saw, 32.8% primary vote for Labor, which is the lowest since 1934, significantly lower than you got at the last election. Why? And both parties seem to be on that basis on the nose, Labor and Liberal.


SHORTEN: Oh, I think there were two, two things out of Saturday night. One is there was a vote for change and the other one is that in the case of about 35% of the people, they picked another party other than Labor or Liberal. That means that the vote for change we hear loud and clear and we're pleased we’ll form a government, I'm very excited by that. But I think it would be wrong of us not to acknowledge that we need to win the confidence and get the first votes of more Australians at the next election. And we do that by just keeping our promises and working hard every day for the people.


MITCHELL: Yeah, I agree. You've got to grow confidence and trust. I wonder if you need to campaign differently. But that's another argument as well because both parties campaigned in a similar way. What do you do to rebuild trust and confidence.


SHORTEN: Keep your promises and work hard every day. I think Australians are a pretty reasonable bunch of people. They don't always expect you to get everything right. They don't always expect you to achieve 100%, they do expect you to apply yourself 100% every day.


MITCHELL: Why did the teals do so well?


SHORTEN: I think in Liberal seats there are people who didn't want to vote for Labor but were fed up with the Government. So there was a mood for change. And so I think a lot of traditional Liberal voters just couldn't stomach the idea of Scott Morrison for three more years, frankly.


MITCHELL: Do you think there's any female element in it, some of the teals seem to think it?


SHORTEN: Yeah, I do. A lot of the teal candidates are highly accomplished women. Labor's done all right at recruiting highly accomplished women. I think the Liberals will probably look at their selection process. It's up to them, but they'll look at their selection processes. I mean, for a long time they've had a, you know, 80% plus of their MPs have been men and I'm not sure that that's meant that they've always had the best empathy and understanding of the point of view of women.


MITCHELL: Are you confident that Labor will have government in its own right?


SHORTEN: Yeah, I'm pretty confident. I mean, we've got to wait till they're declared. And for Victorian voters, the seat of Deakin is the one to watch in the count, in my opinion. There's three Victorian seats which are still unclear in my opinion. There's the seat of Menzies, Kevin Andrews, long standing member deselected by his own party. But I think his own party underestimated Kevin's appeal in that electorate. So they put a new bloke up. We've run a strong candidate, Naomi Oakley. She's done better than I think anyone thought. But I think Menzies more likely than not to go to the Coalition be held but 6% swing there. The seat of Deakin is probably the boil over one for the political tragics. Michael Sukkar is defending the seat against a very good young man, Matthew Grigg from Labor. Matthew is a teacher. So we'll see what happens in the postal votes. The bayside sort of Melbourne Ports seat from Albert Park down to Caulfield. It's a tussle between the Greens and Josh. Josh is very energetic. I'm confident that when the 15,000 postal votes are counted and the 6000 absentee votes are counted, that Josh will be returned in Melbourne Ports. So they're the three seats to watch in Melbourne, I'd say.


MITCHELL: Do you think that Labor's going to have to negotiate, the Greens and the teals are already saying they want tougher emissions policy by 2030. Do you think you'll have to negotiate that and get tougher?


SHORTEN: No, we've been very clear on our policies and that goes back to keeping our own promises. I think you'll find Anthony and the team will talk to all of the points of view in the Parliament, but we won't compromise on our core values. I mean, there's no reason why we won't talk to all sides. When I've been a Minister or indeed in the Opposition, you talk to the Liberals, you talk to the Nats, you talk to the Greens. You know, the nation expects us to try and be constructive, but not compromise your core values and promises upon which people voted for you.


MITCHELL: The late Kimberley Kitching was a good friend, obviously. Did you think about her on the weekend?


SHORTEN: Yeah, I did. I did. Actually, I'd have liked her to obviously have been able to be part of the victory. She worked hard in many areas and gave Labor strong credibility. So, you know, I've been in touch with the family since the election and it's very hard, but I'm sure she'd be pleased with the outcome.


MITCHELL: Thank you for your time. Congratulations again.


SHORTEN: Thanks, Neil. Lovely to chat to you. Cheers.


MITCHELL: Bill Shorten, former Opposition Leader. As I said, he had a higher primary vote than did Anthony Albanese and he didn't form government.