Bill Shorten warns News Corp against acting like a political party


“If some editors want to be political parties, they should just come out and say it,” he said.

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“Beyond that, though, any vote they can take off Labor they took off three or four electoral cycles ago.”

Mr Shorten said the greater problem was that the media was under threat from social media companies.

“I have some sympathy that the new media platforms get a lighter run in terms of regulation and taxation,” he said.

“I’m sympathetic to traditional media, but the way forward for them isn’t just to become more frenzied.”

Asked by Insiders host Barrie Cassidy about whether he would “go after News Corp” or change media laws if he won the election, Mr Shorten said he looked at policies rather than personalities.

“One of the reasons why we are competitive – I wouldn’t put it any stronger than that – next Saturday is that we are respecting the intelligence of the Australian people,” he said.

“If we want the people to trust us, we have to trust them first.”

Mr Shorten said Australians should spurn Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party in order to restore stability to the federal government.

After earlier committing $10 billion to the construction of a new Melbourne suburban rail line, the Opposition Leader declared “we will be the party of reform” on climate change, inequality, schools, hospitals, wages and childcare.

Labor treasury spokesman Chris Bowen and finance spokesman Jim Chalmers issued election costings on Friday that showed they would need the approval of Parliament to legislate tax changes raising $160.5 billion in revenue over a decade.

Chloe and Bill Shorten at a launch for Labor’s arts policy in Melbourne.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

These measures include changes to negative gearing, capital gains tax, dividend imputation, trusts, tax deductions, multinational taxation and the imposition of a 2 per cent income tax levy on incomes over $180,000 a year.

Asked if a Labor government would be blocked in the Senate from raising some of this revenue, Mr Shorten rejected government criticism that said it could not be done.

“My answer to them is this: we will be the party of reform,” he said.

“This country needs a change. This government’s not trying to do anything for anyone else other than give away taxes to the top end of town.

“They haven’t all got elected. My first advice if Australians are worried about chaos and confusion in the Senate, is vote Labor in the House [of Representatives] and vote Labor in the Senate.

“We’ve got another seven days. I say to Australians: if you’re sick and tired of the last six years of chaos, where you voted for Abbott and got Turnbull, where you voted for Turnbull and got Morrison. Now you could be voting for Morrison and get Clive Palmer or Pauline Hanson.

“This country is now entering the third decade of the 21 st century. We haven’t got a lot done in the first two decades.

“We need to start getting on with business in Australia: real action on climate change, bridging the inequality gap, reversing the cuts to schools and hospitals, get the wages moving, look after the childcare, look after the dental care for pensioners.

“The way you do that is don’t vote for extreme right-wing parties in the Senate. Vote for stability, vote for Labor.”

Asked about his $9.9 billion plan to offer taxpayer subsidies to childcare workers to supplement their salaries, Mr Shorten said “we’re not going to” duplicate that in other sectors such as aged care.

“I think that we’ll end up doing different paths to lift wages in other sectors,” he said.

“We’ll get wages moving. The solution we’re using for early childhood is unique to early childhood.”

He named his policy to restore cuts to penalty rates as one way to increase wages in other parts of the economy.

David Crowe is Chief Political Correspondent of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

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