FRIDAY 11 MARCH, 2022
SUBJECTS: Passing of Senator Kimberley Kitching; Shane Warne’s body returned home; Shane Warne’s legacy.
JAYNE AZZOPARDI, HOST: Welcome back. Some really emotional scenes at Essendon Airport last night as Shane Warne's body finally arrived at back home in Melbourne by private jet. His family there for the saddest of tasks, still hard to believe. Let's discuss with Shadow Minister for Government Services Bill Shorten and 6PR’s Gareth Parker. Good to see you both. Gentlemen, we'll come to Shane Warne in a moment but Bill, I just want to go to you first. We had some devastating news overnight with the sudden death of Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching from a suspected heart attack. She was only 52. So young. Bill, obviously you were such close friends with Kimberley. We're so sorry for this loss. It's come as a terrible shock, no doubt. You know what kind of a woman was she to you? And obviously the broader community.
BILL SHORTEN, MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG: She and her husband are great friends with my wife, Chloe and I. We've got a dreadful call from her husband just after five o'clock, and he said she was she was gone. So, we raced over to this suburban street in Strathmore, where she had apparently pulled up in her car and must have been experiencing a heart attack. And we waited with her husband till the undertakers’ van came. It was terrible. And she was a very fierce but warm person. So, in other words, in this era where politicians, you know, you know they think something. But what annoys people is that politicians don't actually say what they really think sometimes. She wasn't cut from that cloth. She was a very fierce person. And, you know, she wasn't necessarily on the fast track to big promotion in the Labor Party because she would speak her own mind with real honesty. And she's the reason why we have very strong laws against corruption by foreign gangsters who then park their money in Australia. So, it's a dreadful loss. At 52, she's been taken far too young, and I have no doubt that the stress of politics, the machinations behind the scenes, some of the attacks that you get even, you know, from within the ranks of politics, has contributed to her early passing. It's terrible.
AZZOPARDI: Yeah, she's left an incredible legacy in all their work in human rights as well. Bill, are you doing okay?
SHORTEN: Oh, it's terrible. Listen, I really appreciate, you know, the terrible irony is, I felt for Warnie’s passing. It's just terrible that news and but so a lot of people are doing it hard, but when it's in one of the streets where you live, it's someone who's one of your close friends. It's terrible. And I feel for her husband most of all, they had each other and now one half of two people is gone. And at 52, you know, it's terrible. I feel for everyone who knew her, who liked her. There's an old saying, you know, who would you want in a foxhole with you when the when the when the bullets were flying, and everyone always wanted her in the foxhole. She was tough.
AZZOPARDI: Yeah, tough. And she fought for everyone. Really, it is just so sad. We've had this devastating news of suspected heart attacks, obviously, you know, Shane Warne as well, Bill, we saw his coffin draped in the Australian flag come home, a fitting honour for the king of spin. How important will it be, do you think, for Melbourne and the whole country really to say goodbye to Warnie at that public memorial on March 30 that's been announced?
SHORTEN: It was terrible news. I think it is so fitting that this great Australian cricketer, this great Victorian will be farewelled at the G, and I've just got to say to everyone who's on the north side of 50, none of us are bullet proof. Bad things can happen to good people and just get your heart checked out. Just get your heart checked out.
AZZOPARDI: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it is good advice for everyone, really. And Gareth, this reported memorial, you know, it's a fitting tribute to somebody that Australia loved so much. The world loved so much. It's going to be live streamed to the public, including at a special event at the SCG. It just shows how we're all feeling this loss.
GARETH PARKER, 6PR: Absolutely. And it'll be very well watched, I'm sure. Just before I say anything else, I do just want to express my condolences to Senator Kitching's family, especially to Bill, who, as we can see this morning, was so close to her and to Chloe and to everyone in the Labor family. And indeed, I've been reading the tributes this morning from right across the parliamentary aisle. Senator Kitching didn't take a backward step. She was very direct about China in particular and about human rights, and she's been rightly lauded for that work, so everyone's in complete shock around the country about this untimely passing. But I did just want to just say that to Bill and to everyone who knew Senator Kitching because it's far too young.
SHORTEN: Thanks, Gareth.
PARKER: As it indeed is with Shane Warne. Far too young. I mean, he was my cricketing hero growing up. And it's only a week ago today that the news came through on the same day that a great West Australian cricketer, Rod Marsh, also of a heart attack. So, I endorse exactly what Bill just said about getting checked out. I mean, I've got a text from my dad last Friday night. Rod Marsh was his cricketing hero. Shane Warne was my cricketing hero. And to lose them both on the same day was just unbelievable. So, I think the memorial one last time Warney is going to fill out the MCG isn't. He's going to pack it out. Yeah, there will be people from right around the world watching, and I reckon we're going to hear a few - we've heard some fantastic stories this last week. I reckon we're going to hear one or two more in what will be no doubt an extraordinary celebration of a great Australian life.
AZZOPARDI: Absolutely. No doubt, Gareth, you'll be watching it live as it's streamed. But Bill, how important do you think it is for the people of Melbourne? I mean, he's one of us.
SHORTEN: Oh, listen, he - there's a lot of great sportsmen and women in cricket, but very few help remake the game, and I think that he helped remake the game and to his family, just shocking. Like, the bloke was larger than life and I'm - simple tributes perhaps don't capture it. And there's been some amazing words said. But you know, everyone will, I suspect, remember where they were on that morning when the news started flowing out, and it was sort of disbelief. It can't be true. But anyway, at least we'll get to say goodbye to him at the G. Wow. That’ll be special.
AZZOPARDI: Yeah, it will be special. And I think you're right. I mean, I think it was such unbelievable news. It's certainly going to go down as one of those shocks for many people. So, thank you both. Bill, condolences again. And Gareth, thanks for joining us today. Thanks, guys.
PARKER: A pleasure.
SHORTEN: Thanks for letting me talk about it. Cheers.