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22 September 2021


SUBJECT: Melbourne protests.

ALLISON LANGDON, HOST: Well, more now on those violent and ugly protests in the heart of Melbourne yesterday, with more planned for today. It was utterly shocking, wasn't it?

KARL STEFANOVIC, HOST: I couldn’t believe it was Australia. Bill Shorten was on our show about this time yesterday, he joins us now from Melbourne a day later. Bill, as a former union leader and proud Victorian, how was it for you watching things unfold yesterday?

BILL SHORTEN, MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG: I felt sick. I literally couldn't believe what I was seeing. You know, perhaps - I mean, it's gutless to attack the police doing their job. It's gutless to carry on like this when the nurses and doctors are working so hard. But that fear of people trapped in their car, of mums and kids trapped in their car, as lawless louts walked around the streets trying to own the streets. I didn't recognize Melbourne, I thought this was like something out of Trumpland when they stormed the Capitol building. I never thought I would see this sort of lawlessness in my hometown of Melbourne, which is such a warm and friendly town.

LANGDON: And look, Bill, it just doesn't feel like they're going to stop anytime soon. Do you have any more mail? I know we were talking yesterday about - you were saying that the whole thing had been hijacked by extremists from the far right, but there's still a lot of union members involved in that crowd. Are you getting any intel on the ground?

SHORTEN: Well, if there are members of unions who are involved in this, then they're not trade unionists that I respect. The trade union movement that I have supported in the past does things peacefully and it does things for the collective good. This is a strike of the selfish. It’s like the bar scene from Star Wars of, you know, there's the fake tradies, there's the neo-Nazis, there's the gym jockeys who are unhappy. There's Rent-a-Crowder's. Listen, I get there will also be some genuine anti-vaxxers, people who don't want to put anything in their arms. But I reckon there's a lot of opportunists looking for trouble. They're full time trouble-makers. But you know what? Don't take it out on the police. That's cowardly. Don't take it out on the car vehicle users on Melbourne's roads. That's cowardly. It is weak, weak, weak. Do you know if you want to be tough? If you want to be brave? Roll up your sleeve and get an injection. It takes five seconds. This is gutless. It's not my Melbourne, and they should just wake up to themselves. And if they want the lockdowns to end as we all do, you're not going to punch and coward and king hit your way out of this. You're not going to do it by breaking down doors and acting like a mini me of some of those, you know, mad Trump supporters. The way you're going to do it is by working for the common good. That's what we need in Melbourne, and I know Melbourne's better than these clowns.

STEFANOVIC: They sure are. Well said. The issue is going to be that these people don't really seem to care. They seem desperate enough and they seem ostracised enough or whatever is inside their heads, not to care about whatever happens. So, what happens now? How does Dan Andrews handle how the police handle it? Because 99 percent of Melbourne is outraged by this and they need to be handled.

SHORTEN: Well, you know what, the Victorian police? There's no better in the in the nation. I am going to back the professionalism of Victoria Police. They know what to do and what the rest of us have got to do is have the police's back. And it's not just the police. I had a thousand people on a virtual town hall last night, parents talking about home schooling and what we do to protect the mental health. I tell you now, Karl and I want to tell the rest of Australia, I want to tell you, Ally, and I want to tell the rest of Australia. 99 per cent of Melburnians, 99 per cent of Victorians, we've got the back of the police. This is not going to - these people will eventually go away. I can't tell you what our I can't tell you what day. I can't tell you what week they'll go away. But Victorians are better than this. We will go one day longer than the idiot fringe, and we will beat not only the idiot fringe, but we will also beat this COVID. We will open up, we will get vaccinated, our kids will get back to school, our jobs will resume and we will win this. And the way we're going to win it is not by getting distracted by the give ups. These people have cracked after 18 months. I don't think they're all bad people. 18 months of this has been something which people have never had to go through in their lifetime before. But most of us are tougher than this. The weak way is the lout’s way. The weak way is what's happening right now on the streets, and Victorians are much stronger. And do not underestimate us, louts. The Victorians that you are ignoring and mocking and pulling down. We'll get on top of this, just like we get on top of the vaccines, just as we get on top of the COVID.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, good to talk to you. 

LANGDON: Feel your words this morning, Bill. Thank you.