Interview with Kieran Gilbert -Sky News – Wednesday, 20 July 2016


SUBJECT/S: US Election, Shadow Ministry, Marriage equality plebiscite

KIERAN GILBERT: Live to Labor frontbencher Jason Clare. We’ll keep those pictures up for you of the Republican Convention in Ohio. Jason Clare as someone who has watched US politics for a long, long time this is a remarkable evening US time, morning our time in terms of US political history that Trump has defied all the expectations and formally now formally nominated that Party’s nominee. He’s now got to accept it later on in the week.

JASON CLARE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS: Defied all the critics. All the sceptics. There wouldn’t have been many people 12 months ago that would have said that Trump would have been the nominee and I think the next few months are just going to get more interesting and more exciting for people who follow US politics.

We often complain about how long elections go for in Australia. We complained mercilessly about an eight week campaign, remember Trump nominated back in June of last year and Hillary Clinton put her hand up for the Democratic nomination back in April. They have been campaigning for over a year and we’ve still got a few more months to go.

Next week is the Democratic Convention in Philly that will be interesting to watch as well Kieran. I think the speech to watch there will be Bill Clinton’s speech. Back at the convention in 2012 I was waiting to see what Barack Obama would say, he made a great speech but the stand out speech at that convention was Bill Clinton’s and I think it will be again.

GILBERT: Looking forward to that, absolutely. The Ambassador, Joe Hockey said he’ll be there as well as he seeks to try and build ties on both sides of the aisle, which you would endorse that.

CLARE: Yes, as he should be. We’ve got a very strong relationship. There is no stronger relationship that Australia has than with the United States and it’s bigger than the individuals that hold high office in either of our countries and so it is good to see our Ambassador there at this convention and at the Democratic National Convention next week because whoever is successful in the first week in November, Australia is going to have to work very, very closely with the new administration in the United States.

GILBERT: Nothing like the divisions in the Republican Party but your own leader, this weekend as we turn our attention to domestic politics, he’s got to manage a few sensitivities both in the right faction and the left faction with Kim Carr basically being deserted by his entire factional allies previously.

CLARE: That’s a bridge Kieran. That’s a fair bridge. I think one of the things that stands out in the Labor Party over the last few years has been the unity of our team and I’m not going to speculate on what’s going to happen over the next few days.

The party will meet in Canberra on Friday and that is where we will elect our frontbench, so the outcome of that will be clear come Friday. Bill Shorten, from that elected team will allocate portfolios, but I think you would have to admit, that any objective analyst would say, that when you compare Labor and Liberal it’s been the Labor Party of the last few years which has demonstrated real unity compared to the Liberal Party, which have been divided ever since Tony Abbott was replaced by Malcolm Turnbull. You are still seeing divisions now whether it’s on super or on the issue of the marriage equality plebiscite.

GILBERT: We’ve had a busy half hour, only one minute left, I just want to ask you about the issue of the same sex marriage plebiscite. I can’t see how Labor would oppose that in the Parliament if it meant that the outcome was the legalisation of same sex marriage possibly by the end of the year. Would Labor really seek to preclude that from happening?

CLARE: What we are saying is that it’s the Parliament’s job to pass laws about marriage. We should simply do that. Even if you had a plebiscite the Parliament would have to go back and vote to change the law. We can do that quite simply. MP’s should have the courage to vote their conscience. This plebiscite idea was really created so politicians in the Liberal Party who didn’t have the guts to vote their conscience could have an excuse to vote one way or another based on what the community said.

I think what this is now demonstrating is that the divisions in the Liberal Party are becoming more and more toxic. Malcolm Turnbull knows that this is a risk and when this comes up, whether it is this year or next year there is a real risk that it could cause an even bigger civil war inside the Liberal Party.

GILBERT: Mr Clare we are out of time. Appreciate your time as always, thanks for that.