Interview with Kieran Gilbert on Sky News- Thursday 15 September 2016


SUBJECT/S: Company tax cuts; Pauline Hanson’s maiden speech; marriage equality; National Redress Scheme

KIERAN GILBERT: This is AM Agenda, thanks for your company. With me now Labor frontbencher Jason Clare. We’ve got some breaking news, details of that superannuation compromise that the non-concessional cap of $500,000 is going to be scrapped entirely. This is being put to the Coalition party room. Instead a yearly cap of $100,000 per annum in terms of the non-concessional contributions to superannuation. I am told overall revenue neutral on what the savings were to be put to the election but that cap of $500,000, gone, in its place a yearly cap of $100,000. With me this morning the Trade Minister Jason Clare.   


GILBERT: Shadow Minister I should say. Thanks for fixing that up. It’s been a busy morning. What’s your thoughts on that?

CLARE: Isn’t this more evidence that Malcolm Turnbull is being dragged by the nose by the right like a prize bull at the Easter Show. They dragged him away from his plans to increase the GST, they’ve changed his position on marriage equality, he didn’t want a plebiscite but they are forcing that upon him as well. Now they are forcing changes to superannuation. In almost every area where Malcolm Turnbull wants to do something he’s being forced to change his position by the right of the Liberal Party.

GILBERT: You don’t think this is a pragmatic approach from the Prime Minister? He knows he’s got a broad church as John Howard calls it.

CLARE: He’s negotiating from a positon of weakness, almost everything he’s tried to do the right have derailed him. They’ve basically said “You can have the lodge, but we’re running the show”. And today is another example of that.

GILBERT: A lot of Muslims, Australian Muslims live in your electorate, how will the Hanson speech go down with your constituents?

CLARE: My problem with what Pauline Hanson’s saying is that most of what she is saying is just wrong. She says we’re being swamped by Muslims. The fact is the Australian population is made up of 2% Muslims. So that’s just wrong. She says that we should stop immigration because that’s the way to make sure we’ve got enough money to pay for sick people and poor people. The fact is immigration is the key to making sure we’ve got enough tax payers to pay the bills. So a lot of what she says is wrong.

And I’d say this to Pauline Hanson if she’s legitimately concerned about the radicalisation of young people, then talk to the Federal Police and the Police Commissioner, Commissioner Colvin, because what he’d tell her is that some of the things that she said yesterday are counterproductive and they make the police’s job harder. So if she’s genuinely concerned about this please Pauline talk to the Federal Police about your concerns. They’ll tell you that the things you’re saying are not helping.

GILBERT: Counterproductive because it alienates the community further? Is that right?

CLARE: Yeah, it makes people feel like they don’t belong. It creates an ‘us and them’ mentality, and if you feel like you don’t belong to the country you live in you’re more likely to lash out and do stupid things.

GILBERT: Are you comfortable with the Labor Party’s position on the same-sex marriage plebiscite, February 11 is the day when it comes and goes without any plebiscite vote. Unless Nick Xenophon changes his position or someone else, that’s likely the scenario because Labor’s going to block it. Are you comfortable with that? Because you could be then three, four, five, six years away, maybe even further from reform in this area.

CLARE: I want a change in the law, I voted for it five years ago and it didn’t happen then unfortunately. But here’s my question Kieran, who benefits most from this change in the law? It’s gay and lesbian people. Polling shows that about 85% of gay and lesbian people don’t want this to happen through a plebiscite and I think it’s incumbent upon us to listen to them. There the ones that will benefit from this, that’s why we’re doing it. Gay and lesbian people are saying “I’d rather wait than go through a Plebiscite”.

GILBERT: And finally some developing news this morning, victims of institutional abuse are going to be meeting with the Prime Minister this morning at 10am, and this is a year almost to the day that the Royal Commission recommended compensation. But that hasn’t been followed up yet?

CLARE: Still hasn’t happened. Yesterday was the first anniversary of Turnbull seizing power from Abbott. Yesterday was also the first anniversary of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse their first report, their interim report, that recommended a National Redress Scheme – compensation for the thousands and thousands of people raped and abused, and mistreated in orphanages.

I understand Malcolm Turnbull is meeting with representatives from that group at 10 o’clock today. Of all of the things I’m disappointed with Malcolm about this is the one that I am most disappointed by. We’re both patrons of the organisation whose job it is to help these people, and 12 months on we’re still waiting for Malcolm to act and establish this National Redress Scheme.

GILBERT: So you’d be hoping he does that imminently then?

CLARE: I’m hopeful that today Malcolm Turnbull will finally listen to these victims, their stories and implement the Royal Commission’s recommendations.

GILBERT: Shadow Trade Minister Jason Clare, thanks for your time.

CLARE: Thanks Mate.