Doorstop Interview with Brendan O’Connor – Canberra – Monday, 24 November 2014





SUBJECTS: Cuts to the ABC and SBS; Tony Abbott’s broken promises.

JASON CLARE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS: On the night before the election the Prime Minister looked down the barrel of a camera and lied to the Australian people. He said there would be no cuts to the ABC. Well that was a bald faced lie and four hundred people today are the victims of that lie.

You’ll remember also that over the last few weeks, over the last few months, Malcolm Turnbull has been saying that these will just be back office cuts. We now know that’s a lie as well, because today four hundred people are getting the sack, but also regional radio stations are being shut down, local sport on the ABC is going to be cut back, local editions of the ‘7.30’ are gone and so eventually it will be ‘Lateline’ from ABC1.

This is not the only lie that Tony Abbott told. He’s shown that lying is as easy as A, B, C. He’s broken his promise on health, he broke his promise on education, he broke his promise on pensions and now he’s broken his promise on ABC and SBS. He’s shown you can’t trust him. The people of Australia trusted Tony Abbott at the last election. I don’t think they will again.

I might just ask my colleague, Brendan O’Connor to say a few words.

BRENDAN O’CONNOR, SHADOW MINISTER FOR WORKPLACE RELATIONS: Thanks very much, Jason. It’s clear from the Government’s attack on the ABC that they have no regard for working people.

We’ve seen this before in terms of its attack on the car industry, its lack of support for the ship building industry. We’ve seen this before by the Abbott Government in terms of providing cuts to wages of our defence personnel.

This is a government that has no regard for workers in this country, for people who are going to face Christmas without any job prospect.

As Jason said, as a result of the broken promises and lies of this Government, not only by the Prime Minister but indeed the whole Government, we see four hundred people and their families go to Christmas without knowing if they have got any employment security whatsoever.

And it’s not just in the cities, we see it in the regions where jobs will go as a result of the lies of this Government.

What we say in Opposition is it’s bad enough that that’s happened, but they better respond to the requirements of those workers who will be made redundant as a result of the lies told by this Government.

So they need to provide employment support and services in order to ensure that the three hundred or so workers and their families that will be hit by this decision before Christmas and those other workers, those other loyal and hard-working, dedicated ABC employees who will lose jobs as a result of this decision after Christmas are looked after so they can find work as quickly as possible.

CLARE: Happy to take some questions.

JOURNALIST: What does Labor have a major problem with? The fact that they lied before the election or that the cuts being made?

CLARE: I’d make two points. First, the Prime Minister lied. People don’t like being lied to and this Prime Minister lied. It’s like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. He said before the election there’d be no cuts and now there are cuts. I don’t know if Tony Abbott has abbnesia or some other ailment, but he needs to remember he promised no cuts to health, education, no changes to the pension. He also promised no new taxes and now we’ve got a tax on petrol. He promised no cuts to the ABC and no cuts to SBS.

I’d also say this, any organisation can be more efficient, but you need to find efficiencies in an organisation like ABC and use that money to invest in more programs and new services for the people of Australia. That’s what we did when we were in government to create things like ABC 24 and ABC online. This Prime Minister is not doing that. He’s just lying to the Australian people and I think the people of Australia are fast having a gutful of that type of behaviour.

JOURNALIST: Question inaudible.

CLARE: It’s not a quarter of a billion it’s half a billion dollars, when you add up what was in the Budget, what Malcolm Turnbull announced last week as well as cutting off the Australia Network, we’re talking about half a billion dollars here, half a billion worth of Tony Abbott lies.

JOURNALIST: There are four hundred jobs to go and regional services to be cut, do you support the manner in which Mark Scott and those in charge of the ABC are going about making these savings?

CLARE: I think Mark Scott has been put in a terrible position. He, like twenty million Australians, was entitled to expect that when Tony Abbott said there’d be no cuts to the ABC that he was telling the truth. What Mark Scott’s found out, what we’ve all found out is that Tony Abbott is a liar, and he has to deal with the consequences of that lie.

JOURNALIST: Could he have fought harder on this? Do you think he went to bat as hard as he could?

CLARE: Ultimately, the decision about how big the cut is to the ABC was made by this Government, by the Prime Minister, by Malcolm Turnbull and by people like Christopher Pyne who sat around the Cabinet table and ticked this off and that’s why I think people find it unbelievable that Christopher Pyne last week put out a petition asking people to save the ABC and stop ABC cuts in South Australia.

If Pontius Pilate Pyne really cared about the ABC in South Australia then he wouldn’t put out a petition, he’d actually walk into Malcolm Turnbull’s office and say “Don’t make these cuts”, but he didn’t do it.

JOURNALIST: Question inaudible.

CLARE: That’s right, Morwell in Victoria, a bushfire area as you point out, is one of those regional radio stations that’s going to be cut. That’s a good example of a place where you’ve got a local journalist reporting local news. They won’t be there anymore, they’ll have to go to Sale and there are places like that right across NSW, in Queensland, in Victoria, also South Australia and WA, regional radio stations that have been cut down for one reason only because of Tony Abbott’s lies.

JOURNALIST: Can I ask for your reaction to Jacqui Lambie quitting the Palmer United Party?

CLARE: That’s a matter for her and it’s a matter for the Palmer Party. Thanks very much.