Interview with Kieran Gilbert – Sky News AM Agenda – Wednesday 25 November 2015






SUBJECT/S: White Ribbon Day; tobacco excise; national security 

KIERAN GILBERT: This is AM Agenda, thanks for your company – with me now Shadow Communications Minister, Jason Clare. Jason Clare thanks for your time. I want to start with this Labor Policy when it comes to domestic violence. It is White Ribbon Day and it is basically to afford those victims of domestic violence an additional five days leave per year. Can you talk us through the rationale, the reasoning for this policy?   

JASON CLARE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS: If you are fleeing your house because your husband is belting you or the kids and you need to find refuge with family members or friends or find another place of refuge then the last thing you should have to worry about is whether you are going to get sacked for missing days at work. If you need to go to court to get an AVO you shouldn’t have to worry that because you can’t go to work that day that your boss will sack you. 

That’s why big companies around Australia have provided this leave to their employees, it’s why different parts of the United States have implemented this and we think that this is an important step, an important right that all workers in Australia should have and that is why we are recommending it to the government today.     

GILBERT: It seems like a good idea but the question that comes to mind is why not make it much larger than that – a months leave or two months unpaid leave or whatever else? Some emergency measure for these individuals to give them some guarantee that they will have a job once they deal with a crisis of this sort in their life. 

CLARE: This is our recommendation, if people have better ideas then put them forward. I think the principle is a sound one that people should be able to flee violence and take action with police and the courts and not be afraid that they are going to lose their jobs.  

This is a real problem. I’m concerned that it is not getting any better. When I was a little boy my mum told me that you don’t hit girls and it was impregnated in my brain from an early age. 

I always thought that this was something Kieran that older people did but all of the research now coming out shows that even young people, teenagers, people in their twenties think that it is still okay to hit a woman as long as you apologise afterwards. A survey came out in September that said a quarter of young people think it’s okay as long as you regret it and apologise afterwards. This is a big problem. It is a problem of character and we need to get this message to school children and to kids from a very early age that this is not right. We also need the legal system to protect people when they need help.     

GILBERT: The one good thing in this area is that it has generated so much attention in the last year through Rosie Batty that great Australian and others and political leadership as well now talking about this very difficult complex area lets hope some progress is made on that front. 

Another difficult area is of course tobacco policy and tobacco tax. I know Labor has announced this tax this week but you represent an area of Western Sydney where the smoking rates like other areas would be higher in less well-off suburbs. Do you accept that this is a regressive tax and if so why doesn’t Labor factor in this issue, that it is going to hurt poorer people more in terms of their out of pocket expenditure? 

CLARE:  Kieran it is true, it is true that more poor people smoke, it is true also that more poor people die of lung cancer. In my local hospitals there are people suffering from lung cancer today, thousands of people dying of lung cancer every year, disproportionately they are poor people and if we can take steps, we’ve don’t it in the past through plain packaging laws that have reduced the amount of people smoking in Australia, but all the research shows that if you put the price up then it will have a big impact on the number of people who take up smoking or continue to smoke. If we can save lives by doing that than that’s good thing so I would argue very strongly that I would rather increase a tax on something that will kill you, then increase the tax on fresh food which is actually good for you.  

GILBERT: As a former Home Affairs Minister finally, your thoughts on that national security speech by the Prime Minister yesterday, did he strike the right note in your view?   

CLARE: I think that this is not about talking tough, it’s about taking the right steps that are going to tackle the core issue here and that is ISIS. It is an organisation that needs to be destroyed. Whether they are responsible directly for the things that we have seen in Beirut, or in Paris, or in Africa, or in Egypt, they are certainly the inspiration for all of those activities and we need to take the necessary action to destroy that organisation because as long as they exist then you are going to see people continue to act in their name and that doesn’t require tough words, it requires serious action.   

GILBERT: Jason Clare appreciate your time as always, we’ll chat to you soon.