Interview with Kieran Gilbert – Sky News AM Agenda – Wednesday 16 July 2014





SUBJECT/S: FoFA; Abbott Government’s unfair Budget; Government in chaos; Clive Palmer.

KIERAN GILBERT: With me on the program now the Labor frontbencher Jason Clare. Mr Clare thanks for your time. Mathias Cormann did secure the support of the crossbench last night. Labor did over the last few years negotiate with the crossbench, in fact formed an alliance with the Greens. So is it a bit rich for Labor to be critical of the Government now, for doing these sorts of deals?

JASON CLARE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS: Well the point I’d make is this. If there’s another Storm Financial, if there’s another case of what we saw happen at the Commonwealth Bank, where people lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, in some cases more than a million dollars, their life savings and had to go back onto the pension then it’s on Tony Abbott’s head.

We have done everything we can to warn this Government about the risks of watering down consumer protection against dodgy financial advice and they’ve now done this deal with Clive Palmer and if this leads to another crisis, another fiasco, another case of people losing their life savings then it’s on Tony Abbott’s head.

GILBERT: In relation to Clive Palmer and that negotiation last night, is it premature to be saying that the Government’s $40 billion or there about in savings is going to hit the fence? Clearly Mr Palmer is open to negotiation on things.

CLARE: It’s clear Clive Palmer is running the country. Clive Palmer is running the Government. Simon Benson’s got an interesting article in the Daily Telegraph today where he says “Coalition Ministers last night privately conceded that Mr Palmer has effectively taken control of the Parliament”. I think that’s right. I think that Tony Abbott has become Clive’s puppet. He does what Palmer says and the best evidence of that, you know the cameras don’t lie, was Clive Palmer yesterday going from the House of Representatives to the Senate listening to Mathias Cormann read into the record his promises to Clive Palmer and then Clive Palmer walking out of the Parliament.

GILBERT: The Government also compromised, you’re saying he is being led by Palmer, isn’t it a Government compromising to get its agenda through. Like it’s compromising with you on Qantas? That’s compromise.

CLARE: Tony Abbott when he was Opposition Leader said this: “there will be no deals done with independents and minor parties under any political movement I lead”. The issue here is hypocrisy.

GILBERT: He’s talking about forming government though.

CLARE: He was talking about doing deals and that is exactly what he is doing. In opposition he said he wouldn’t do any deals with minor parties or independents and now he’s doing them with Clive Palmer. This is hypocrisy. It’s another broken promise.

GILBERT: Again I put it to you though isn’t it a Government compromising like they have done with you on the issue of Qantas? This is what Labor wanted and now you describe that as a back down.

CLARE: It’s a good back down. I’m glad they’ve backed down because it was a stupid idea. They’ve got to back down on the bad idea of a $7 tax every time you go to the doctor, they’ve got to back down on their plans to cut the pension and they’ve got to back down on their plans to increase the cost of university degrees. The faster they do that the better. This budget is as popular as anthrax, they know it. That’s why Joe Hockey is now talking about trying to go around the back door to cut other things.

My warning to the Government would be if they are going to try and do this in a different way and cut hospitals further, cut schools further then they are just going to become more unpopular. The people of Australia have given this Government a clear message, they don’t like broken promises, they don’t like this unfair budget.

GILBERT: Okay, if they don’t like broken promises why not let the Government deliver on a promise, their biggest promise, to repeal the Carbon Tax? Which Labor said they would also terminate.

CLARE: We’ve said we’ll get rid of the Carbon Tax if we can replace it with something that will work, an Emissions Trading Scheme. Direct Action is a dog. Everybody knows that that won’t work. We’ve said we need an Emissions Trading Scheme. Even Clive Palmer says we need an Emissions Trading Scheme.

GILBERT: So under no circumstances Labor would support direct Action as a last resort to get some effort in that area?

CLARE: One thing is very clear, Direct Action won’t work. It’s a dog. If we are going to get serious about this in the future it’s going to take an Emissions Trading Scheme.

GILBERT: Okay Mr Clare thanks for your time.

CLARE: Thanks mate.