Doorstop Interview – Canberra – Thursday, 2 October 2014






SUBJECTS: NBN Report; Cuts to the ABC; Foreign Aid; Tony Abbott’s comments on the Burqa

JASON CLARE: Another day, another report into the NBN. Another report written by Malcolm’s mates. I think now we’ve had almost as many inquiries into the NBN this year as there have been inquiries into who killed JFK in the last 50 years. And this one’s a doozy. This one’s a ripper. This one recommends that NBN Co. be chopped up into about four, or five or six different bits. It recommends that the bush should have to pay more for the NBN then the city as well.

Now this report fell off the back of a truck and landed in my office yesterday afternoon and I put out a statement and I said to Malcolm Turnbull that he needs to rule out these bad ideas. Late last night Malcolm Turnbull decided to rule out a number of the bad recommendations in this dodgy report but he hasn’t ruled out all of them.

There’s one recommendation in that report that says where the NBN rolls out to new areas that developers should have to pay for the rollout of the NBN and that they can pass that cost on to the people who buy the house. Now that means a new NBN tax. It means property prices go up. It means in new areas that young families will have to pay more for their home because they have to pay to roll out the NBN.

Before the election Tony Abbott said no new taxes and today Malcolm Turnbull needs to rule out this new NBN tax.

One more point I’d like to make before we take questions and that is before the election, the night before the election, Tony Abbott said “no cuts to the ABC”. Today, on radio, Malcolm Turnbull said yes there are cuts to the ABC, that’s true. So finally the Liberal Party is being honest and admitting they lied. Today Malcolm Turnbull has admitted that they lied to the Australian people and that they are breaking their promise, they are cutting the ABC and Tony Abbott should admit that he’s broken this promise and that he lied to the Australian people.

Happy to take questions.

JOURNALIST: Just first in terms of the NBN report, are you selectively quoting there? I mean the Minister has made comments this morning that seem to disagree with your stats on this, an NBN tax is that a stretch too far?

CLARE: Have a look at the report in the Australian today, he’s ruled out a number of recommendations. He hasn’t ruled this out. If this goes ahead then it will mean people pay more for their new home then they otherwise would. It will mean that the cost of homes will go up and that’s not fair. That’s not what they said before the election and that’s why I’m saying, Malcolm Turnbull do what you did with other recommendations in this report and rule it out.

JOURNALIST: I am from the ABC. The Government does argue there are efficiencies to be made within the ABC. If Labor was in power and was in this budget situation would Labor as well be looking to public broadcasters and other public identities about whether or not there are cuts to be made?

CLARE: There’s a big difference here between the Labor Party and the Liberal Party. We increased investment in the ABC to help to fund things like ABC3, the new children’s channel. The Liberal Party seem to have this crazy vendetta against the ABC. They think they are the enemy. The problem they’ve got is people love the ABC and they don’t like this government.

They made a promise before this election and they should keep it. The night before the election Tony Abbott looked the people of Australia in the eye, down the barrel of a camera, and said “no cuts to the ABC and no cuts to SBS”. All I’m saying is don’t make yourself a liar Tony Abbott. Keep your promise.

JOURNALIST: What’s your reaction to the Government potentially having more cuts for foreign aid in regards to Iraq and ASIO?

CLARE: I suspect Tanya Plibersek might be able to add to these comments but what Tanya has said in the past and what our position is very clearly is they need to be investing more in humanitarian aid in places like Iraq and Syria. It’s all part of the roll that we can play in helping to stabilise an area that’s been racked by violence, by barbarism, by murder and people having to flee their home to find safety.

JOURNALIST: Has there been any reaction that you are aware of in your own electorate to Tony Abbott’s comments on the burqa yesterday? And what’s your view of [inaudible]?

CLARE: Look I’m disappointed by it. The job of a Prime Minister, the job of a leader is to bring the Australian people together not tear them apart, and comments like that make non-Muslims feel scared and they make Muslims feel like they don’t belong.

We are the best country in the world and the reason we are the best country in the world is because we’ve got people from all around the world, of different religions, of different backgrounds and we all get on together.

When I go to local schools I say to the kids in the classroom that Australia is like a fruit salad. We all like apples, we all like oranges, we all like watermelon but they are even better when they are all together and that’s what Australia is like. We should treat Australians like family. We should start treating each other like a family that loves each other and that means bringing people together not tearing the community apart.

Thanks very much.