Interview with Kieran Gilbert – Sky News – Wednesday, 14 June 2017



KIERAN GILBERT: Shadow Trade Minister Jason Clare with me now. Shadow Trade Minister, Labor’s  obviously is going to try and come up with your own proposal on climate, but when you hear the divisions within the Government it makes your navigating this more difficult, but it is incumbent upon Mr Shorten and the rest of your team not to play politics with this, isn’t it? Certainly you listen to some of the rhetoric from Labor and that’s what your colleagues have been doing recently.


GILBERT: Putting the boot in along the way?

CLARE: We’re waiting, hoping they can work this out so you can have a negotiation. This war has been going on about what we do with climate policy for ten years. It’s been going on within the Liberal Party for almost that long. It was eight years ago that Abbott rolled Turnbull about this. It’s still going on today, and as a result, power prices are going up, pollution is going up and jobs are going down. You can’t sit down and negotiate with the Liberal Party until they work out what they are doing.

GILBERT: You talk to energy industry people, Chief Executives and others, they just want certainty on where the country is going. Should Labor be willing to compromise on things that otherwise you might not adopt yourself like government support for clean coal? The fact is you have supported that in the past. Kevin Rudd put hundreds of millions of dollars into that sort of notion, why not reach out to the Government to try and make this a bit smoother rather than just play politics?

CLARE: We’ve said we’ll be constructive.

GILBERT: Not on coal.

CLARE: Coal is going to be part of our energy mix for decades to come, we’ve made it a key point of our policy that 50% of our energy come from renewable sources by 2030. The other 50% is coal and gas and other sources, so coal is going to be a big part of this for a long time to come. The question is whether the Federal Government should provide extra incentives to build more power stations and whether that’s going to make any difference or not. But you can’t have this conversation while the Liberal Party is still fighting with themselves over this.

It doesn’t take Nostradamus to tell you what’s going to happen here. Either the Prime Minister will get his way on this and implement Finkel and then Tony Abbott is going to roll him, or he gets rolled by his own party room, and the Australian people will kick him out because they’ll say this is a do nothing Prime Minster who can’t get reforms through that are going to help their power bills.

Josh Frydenberg was telling you this morning that the debate in the party room was all about power prices. Finkel says if you do nothing, everyone’s power bill is going to go up by ninety bucks a year. So this should be clear to everyone across parliament that you’ve got to do something here. Otherwise, people are going to pay more.

GILBERT: As a former Minister in this area I want to ask you about the Federal Police. Acting Commission Phelan spoke to Samantha Maidenlast night on Sky News and he wants the power to have preventative detention orders extended from 16 year olds down to 14 years old potentially, held for two weeks in the capacity, to question those individuals while they’re held. I think what surprised a lot of viewers is that outside of New South Wales, that’s not applicable already, that the police can’t question these individuals held on those particular detention orders. It needs to change, doesn’t it?

CLARE: I certainly know in my time as Home Affairs Minister one of the great frustrations is you’ve got different laws in different states and trying to get uniform laws across the country is always difficult. Where you can get consistency you should try to get that, and I think that’s what the Assistant Commissioner was pointing to. If we can get consistency, in principle that’s a good thing.

The Government hasn’t brought anything forward to the Parliament, but we look forward to seeing that with interest. As we have done in a number of other areas when it comes to national security, we want to work constructively with the Government to make sure that we’ve got the toughest and best laws we need to keep Australians safe.

GILBERT: The former Director of Intelligence in the United States, James Clapper, appeared with Kim Beazley last night, he’s contributed to this L’Estrange Review into our security apparatus and one of the measures that he has been asked about is the Department of Homeland Security. What’s Labor’s view when it comes to that?

CLARE: Again, we’re waiting to see what the Government decides. I think there is work being done by the Government on how this would work. There’s a number of different models that they could come up with, the US model or the UK model are probably the two best examples here, but we haven’t seen any proposition. So we will wait and work constructively with the Government on what they come forward with.

GILBERT: The Prime Minister said in his statement to Parliament this week, that in this sort of area you can’t sit and have a status quo and be happy with that. That the status quo situation dealing with security, that the threats change, Governments need to change. It seemed to imply to me that they’re certainly heading into the direction of a structural change within the Government.

CLARE: I think that’s right, but it’s not just about structures. Ultimately it’s not structures that keep people safe, it’s the coordination that takes place between agencies and we’ll have to wait and see what the Government comes up with.

It’s also coordination between Australian agencies and international agencies. When I was Home Affairs Minister, I made sure that there was a regular yearly meeting between Australian Home Affairs Ministers, as well as the US, the UK, Canada and New Zealand. We did that when we were in power, I think that doesn’t happen anymore. I’d like to see the Government resurrect that because having the Homeland Security Ministers from the Five Eyes’ countries meeting regularly would help make sure that we’ve got the best exchange of information between those five countries.

GILBERT: Shadow Trade Minister Jason Clare I appreciate your time.