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25 November 2021

SUBJECTS: Funding for the NDIS; Minister Linda Reynolds comments on NDIS being “welfare for life”; Scott Morrison’s lies; Religious Freedom bill.
LAURA JAYES, HOST: Joining me live now in our studio is the Shadow Government Services and NDIS Minister Bill Shorten. Before we get to the NDIS, Mr Shorten, there was an impassioned speech from the Prime Minister. Are you convinced? Will you vote for it?
BILL SHORTEN, MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG: Labor will study the bill. We respect the role of faith in our society. I respect people of faith and I respect people who don't believe in religion. So, we'll just study the bill. And if it enhances and aids Australian society, no doubt we’ll support it. But we want to study the detail first.
JAYES: Okay, fair enough. Let's look at the detail of the NDIS, it has been flagged today by Minister Linda Reynolds that the NDIS needs an overhaul. It's not sustainable.
SHORTEN: Oh listen, I think Linda Reynolds and the Morrison Government just make it up as they go along with the NDIS. This year, they've issued 10 different sets of alarming numbers to say the scheme is unsustainable. Now they're saying that we blame the states for not putting enough money in. I think the Morrison Government's lying about the NDIS. I don't think they give a rat's about the NDIS. I think for eight years they've been in charge of the scheme. If there are costs within the scheme which need dealing with, then the Government should just actually manage the scheme rather than punishing participants or blaming the states
JAYES: If it's more expensive than anticipated, we do need to fix it, don't we? Should the states be asked to pay more? How do you make it more sustainable?
SHORTEN: What's ironic is that I think it was Minister Stuart Robert, he was the sixth Minister for the NDIS under the Morrison Government, Linda Reynolds is now the seventh. Who knows who the eighth will be, but Minister Robert signed off a deal with the states in 2019. Look, if the states aren't paying their way, did this problem only start in 2020? So, I just don't believe what the Federal Government say about the NDIS. Linda Reynolds has gone on the record this morning - I wondered if it was real, but I've verified it - she said the following comments about the National Disability Insurance Scheme. She says it was never intended to be a welfare scheme for life. Come again, Linda? What planet do you live on? The fact of the matter is that the only way you're eligible for NDIS funding is if you have a severe and profound permanent lifetime disability. So, the NDIS is not a welfare scheme, it's not income support. It provides individualised packages of support so people can travel, they can participate in the community, they can get their house modified. But if you've got a lifetime disability, is Minister Reynolds really saying that it's not a lifetime support? I mean, it's not as if an amputee can grow their legs back. It's not as if the blind can see. It's not as if, if you've got multiple sclerosis, they've cured it, or spina bifida or cystic fibrosis. Like, I just - this Government's just so out of touch with the lives of people with disability lead.
JAYES: Yeah. Well, Labor’s certainly trying to get this lying issue to stick at the election, it seems from the preview of Question Time this week, it'll be a contest between lying ScoMo and weak Albo. Who do you think has got the upper hand there?
SHORTEN: I think Anthony is making the stronger case. Mr Morrison, I don't know if he's a fantasist or if he genuinely believes what he's saying in the moment, but one day he'll say one thing and then at a later point, he'll say diametrically the opposite. We have the Prime Minister for gaslighting Australia, like he pretends he didn't say things and then he does say things. The electric vehicles, he bagged that technology, he mocked it and said it couldn't, you know, drive a ute on the weekend, you're going to lose the weekend. Now, a couple of years later, he's born again. He can't say he's changed his mind. I mean, the problem for Mr Morrison and the reason why his character is an issue is in life, if you change your mind, own up and say you've changed your mind. But this guy's got to be right, even when he's on both sides of the same argument.
JAYES: Bill Shorten, we'll have to leave it there. Short and sweet today, we'll speak soon.
SHORTEN: See you.