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01 February 2022

SUBJECTS: Morrison Government Aged Care one-off payment announcement to be announced; wages in Aged Care sector; mortgage rates and cost of living pressures for Australians; Albanese calls Melbourne Australia’s sporting capital; school begins for 2022.
KARL STEFANOVIC, HOST: Welcome back. In just a few hours’ time, the PM will deliver his first major speech of the year and it is a big one, desperately trying to win back voter support with a cash splash for workers in aged care. They need it, but will it be enough to stop his slide in the polls? Let's discuss with the Shadow Minister for Government Services Bill Shorten, who's in Melbourne and in Sydney Triple M’s Gus Worland, morning guys nice to see you. Bill. First up, four hundred dollars payments for aged care workers, two of them. You've got you've got a support that, haven't you?
BILL SHORTEN, MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG: It's a sugar hit. The fact of the matter is that aged care workers, the base rate is around $22 an hour before tax. I mean, you can earn more at Bunnings and I'm happy for the Bunnings workers, but we've got to treat the aged care workers better. If Mr Morrison was fair dinkum, he'd turn up at the Fair Work Commission, the independent umpire of wages, and support increasing the base rate per hour. If we don't do that, we're going to see a flight of aged care workers into hospo, into retail, into Bunnings, and nothing ever changes. So, increase the base rate and the sugar hit wouldn't be necessary.
STEFANOVIC: Okay, so the Coalition will give $800 for aged care workers in those payments, those one off payments. But Labor will increase the base wage for aged care workers.
SHORTEN: Wages are increased by the independent umpire. And you're a shrewd observer of our wage system, so I know you appreciate that, you know, President Karl of the Wages Commission - but my point is that it's good for Mr Morrison to say, Oh, listen, I've just discovered this thing called aged care workforce. Here's $400 pro-rata or $800. The reality is that when you're on $22 an hour Karl, $22 an hour before tax, the base rate is what's got to go up, otherwise we're going to struggle to attract people to the industry. We've got to stop relying on aged care workers subsidizing the whole system.
STEFANOVIC: Okay. So just to clarify, what would you push to increase the wage from, to?
SHORTEN: That will be decided by the independent umpire. But I think there is compelling evidence from the Royal Commission, that $22 an hour is too low. You know, where it lands, that'll be up to the evidence, that's up to the independent umpire. But I think most people, as they're getting their kids off to school this morning would agree, that if you're going to look after some of those vulnerable people, some of whom might have challenging conditions in residential care, is $22 an hour before tax enough? Clearly it isn’t.
STEFANOVIC: Okay. I don't think it is either, but I think that they'll take the $800. Gus, what do you think, the PM putting out, trying to put out, a lot of fires before he clears the decks?
GUS WORLAND, TRIPLE M: Yeah, exactly right. And I didn't know that it was $22an hour. That seems really low to me, especially when people in retail are earning more. So that's the first thing. Bill sounding very prime ministerial today, which is nice to see. And also, what a shock that politicians are throwing some money around a few months before an election. What I'd really love to see is what was promised last time by Mr Morrison and what has he actually delivered? That's what most voters would like to see, because we all know we're not silly, that when it comes to an election, we're going to be throwing promises and money and so forth. I'd love to go back over both parties, what they've offered when they've got in and what they've delivered. That's what I think voters would really like a bit of a scoreboard. So, we know what's fair dinkum and what is really what we know is, you know, just throwing cash at us to try to get the vote.
STEFANOVIC: Most elections come back to the economy and faith in the economy, and there's so much pressure on the nation's hip pockets in various areas right now, the mortgage rates are on the rise. The cost of your weekly shop is going up. Inflation is nudging higher. So, what does the Government decide to do from today? It's going to reduce that impact on our pockets. Bill, what would you do to decrease inflation?
SHORTEN: Well, first of all, we've got to get - I mean, there's a number of issues of cost of living, but you've got to get real wages moving. The reality is that you've had your health insurance, your private health insurance premium, just - you turn your back of a morning, and it seems to have gone up. Petrol prices are not trending down. Home ownership is getting less affordable, so one of the challenges is the wages system. But I also think with this Government, the biggest pressure on all people from their jobs to their cost of living is COVID. So, I don't understand why it's been so hard to get the rapid antigen tests. I don't understand why the boosters seem to be taking longer to rollout. We need to get on top of COVID. That'll be a great help for the economy.
STEFANOVIC: Beer is going up, too. Can you believe it? They're raising the taxes on beer, Bill.
SHORTEN: Yeah, listen, I can see why that would outrage the stalwarts at the front bar of many of the bars across Australia. But for me, if I can, you know, dare I move away from the altar of beer for a moment, I reckon private health insurance increases are problematic. I think the next generation are frozen out of the housing market. I think our wages aren't moving. And if interest rates move up, as you've predicted there on the show, which the pundits, the experts are saying, I think that's going to put people under a lot of stress and where's the vision? Where's the big picture? And remember, and it's going back to Gus's point quickly, he said. Oh, you know, people's records. Three years ago, people didn't know Scott Morrison, and I accept that he sort of got under my guard by, you know, he was new and didn't seem to be saying very much and people didn't want to be perhaps bothered by change. Well, he's had three years and the place has gone from bad to worse.
STEFANOVIC: Gus, does a one cent a litre beer increase worry you? It's already 15 bucks a beer when you go out?
WORLAND: Yeah, I think I might be able to manage that mate. No problem at all. And we always know there's always a bit of a beer tax or a bit of an increase isn't. And I think it's not going to stop anyone enjoying a cold one.
STEFANOVIC: Okay, Bill Albo, he's been spending a lot of time, the focus this morning has been on the PM, but Albo has been spending a lot of time in your hometown. He's accused this morning of turning his back on his hometown of Sydney by declaring Melbourne the sporting capital of Australia. Can you believe it? That came during a speech in the Victorian capital. On a serious note, though, there is a perception that so-called Each Way Albo is trying to please everybody on every issue. That is a dangerous game, is it not?
SHORTEN: I don't think that's fair. I mean, frankly, he could have said that Melbourne is the sporting capital of the galaxy, and he wouldn't have been underselling Melbourne. But listen, every city has got its great benefits. You've got the Harbour, you know, you've got the Opera House in Sydney. Every city's got its wonderful things, but I think it is fair, and I don't think he was over exaggerating - between the Australian Open and the AFL Grand Final, the Melbourne Cup you know, the Grand Prix. Melbourne's fun to visit, isn't it, Karl?
STEFANOVIC: It certainly is, but you don't take that to heart, that Each Way Albo? It's not fair?
SHORTEN: No, I don't think that's correct. I don't think that's correct at all. The reality is that Labor's articulating its policies on climate, on what we do to help make our own health products in Australia so that we don't have shortages on masks and rapid antigen tests that we've seen. We've said that we want to create a Centre for Disease Control, which means that we are better at fighting pandemics in the future. We're outlining our policies. The other thing is that Mr Morrison is going to stand up to the National Press Club and want a bunch of flowers, a bunch of roses for saying he's going to fund some university research. For the last 10 years that the Liberals have been in university research funding, the trend has been down, not up. These guys think, the current Government think we have short memories, and they think that you can reinvent yourself one day and you'll forget the last thousand days. I don't think it works that way.
STEFANOVIC: I reckon there's a bit of reinvention in everyone, Bill. Don't you worry about that. You never know [all laugh]. Hey, Gus, I want to talk to you about back to school. And also, Bill doesn't seem that long ago, does it? Look, we've got a beautiful photo here. It has been confusing when kids are going back to school, especially when you've got a national program. Even Ally was a little bit worried about Matt going to school next Monday. It turns out he's all ready to go because he knows that it's actually today. He's going to school. Mum’s on top of it as per usual.
SHORTEN: You do a great job as a mum, Ally. My daughter starts - ohhh, look at that.
ALLISON LANGDON, HOST: No wonder the Education Minister was confused yesterday when I said he started next Monday. He goes today!
STEFANOVIC: Going to a different kind of school. It's beautiful. Thank you, guys. Appreciate it.