Shorten rejects Paris posting rumours

Labor minister Bill Shorten rejected speculation he would soon be appointed to the role of Australian ambassador to France. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Diego Fedele

Bill Shorten has rejected speculation he is set to depart Canberra and take up a diplomatic posting as Australia’s ambassador to France, instead asking if the chairmanship of Nine Entertainment is vacant.

Appearing on the Today show alongside Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, Mr Shorten was asked about whether he was departing for Paris but turned the question back on the presenter Sarah Abo after Nine’s chair Peter Costello appeared to knock over a reporter in Canberra, fuelling suggestions he should resign.

“Oh, no. That rumour wasn’t correct,” Mr Shorten said.

“But, is there a job going at Channel 9? Is there a job going at Channel 9 as the chairman?”

On Thursday, footage emerged that appeared to show Mr Costello pushing The Australian reporter Liam Mendes to the ground as the fallout continues over the broadcaster’s handling of former Nine News director Darren Wick, who is accused of lecherous and drunken behaviour.

The footage appears to show Nine chair Peter Costello shoving a journalist to the ground. Picture: Supplied.
The footage appears to show Nine chair Peter Costello shoving a journalist to the ground. Picture: Supplied.

The video shows Mr Mendes repeatedly questioning Mr Costello before the Nine chair gathers pace and appears to drop his shoulder into the reporter, who consequently falls to the ground.

Mr Costello stares at Mr Mendes lying on the floor before walking away without offering any assistance.

The former treasurer turned Nine chair has denied he pushed over Mr Mendes, claiming the reporter tripped over an advertising placard as he was walking backwards.

Asked what he thought of the incident that occurred at Canberra airport, Mr Shorten said he was focused on his portfolio responsibilities.

“I don’t know. I guess we’ll leave it for others to sort out. I don’t know what happened there,” Mr Shorten said.

“I’ll focus on my day job … which is the NDIS.”

It is understood Prime Minister Anthony Albanese previously offered Mr Shorten the role of High Commissioner to the UK; however, the NDIS Minister turned down the London-based role.