The interview was preceded by a clip that referred to the Opposition Leader as a “numbers man”, who had survived a number of his leaders being axed.
Mr Shorten called the comments “fire cracks” and dismissed the claims as conservative commentary, in a prerecorded interview before he delivered a tribute to former prime minister Bob Hawke.
“Let’s go to the heart of the matter,” he said. “Wherever I go in Australia, Australians are telling me they want to vote for change.
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“I’m getting a great reception. We’re getting a great reception because my united team, which I’ve helped build over the last six years, has learned lessons.
“And we’re going to take real action on climate change and tackle the problem of low wages growth. We’re going to tackle the cost of living for working mums.
“Wherever I go, I’m finding a pretty good reaction,” he said again.
When asked what frightens him about the possibility of becoming the next prime minister, Mr Shorten insisted the task of governing was not daunting to him. He said his only fear was not being able to serve the Australian people.
“Winning doesn’t scare me,” said the Labor leader. “What scares me is not fulfilling the hopes and dreams of millions of our people
“What scares my is when parents go to work and they have one of their two salaries chewed up by child care.
“What scares me is that you might die of cancer because you’re poor. What scares me is that black kids in this country are more likely to go to jail than university.
“You might have women who are the victims of family violence who have to stay in an abuse … abusive relationship because this country hasn’t worked out where they can stay.”
Mr Shorten also outlined his vision for an inclusive Australia, criticising the Prime Minister for refusing to answer questions about whether he believes gay people are going to hell.
“The PM was asked a question a couple of times which he didn’t answer,” Mr Shorten said. “Are gay people going to hell?
“I’ve not at any stage spoken about his religion.”
Sales then asked if the Labor leader was “politicising” the Prime Minister’s faith. “He would say that, wouldn’t he? That’s not what happened,” Mr Shorten said.
“I didn’t ask him not to answer that question. I do respect the right to religious freedom. I do respect freedom of speech.
“But I also respect, just as religion is part of someone’s identity, so is their sexuality. I make no judgment about people who have no faith, or practice whatever faith.
“But if you’re the prime minister, I truly believe we have to create an inclusive society where people are able to express their identity within the realms of the law without any persecution.
“What happened is that I simply thought a PM should make it clear that they don’t think that gay people are going to go to hell.”
When asked about changes to policy affecting housing affordability, the Opposition Leader said the Government was “rushing around” after letting first home buyers languish for six years without a chance in the market.
“This feeble attempt from the Government, as you could tell, maybe you’re not saying it, but most experts are saying this Government is rushing around for a single positive idea in this election and it looked like this was a bit of an after thought from a Government who has let first-home buyers languish for the last six years.”
The opposition leader said Labor’s policies have the capacity to “make the idea work” for renters and first home buyers, if they’re elected.
“Our policies are not about driving prices in a particular direction. They’re about levelling the playing field for first home buyers.
“Because it isn’t really fair that a first-home buyer couple goes along on a Saturday to an auction and they’re competing against a property investor who is getting a Government subsidy to make a loss.
“To be very clear, because of the shameless scare campaign run by some of the real estate agents keeping their business models intact relying on Government subsidies, none of our changes on negative gearing are retrospective.
“We’re going to help home buyers in the future, first home buyers. And our changes are not retrospective and there’s a whole group of people this Government never talks about — the people who can’t afford to buy their own home.
“We have measures to assist them with social housing, too.”