TUESDAY, 23 JULY 2019
SUBJECTS: Drought funding; national security legislation; Bishop and Pyne post-ministerial careers.
LAURA JAYES: Let’s go now live to Canberra Jason Clare the Shadow Minister for Regional Services. Jason Clare thanks so much for your time. Labor did pass this drought legislation through the House last night. It was a pretty late one. Is that an indication that you’ll do the same in the Senate?
JASON CLARE: We supported the legislation in the House. We’ll support it in the Senate. Anthony Albanese said at the drought summit last week that we’d support it. Instead what we got was a silly game by the government pretending that we were going to oppose this legislation yesterday and making farmers fear that this wasn’t going to go through. We said we’d support it. We actually said get the money to farmers now. The irony here was that the government wanted to rush legislation through the House of Representatives in one day for money that farmers won’t see for at least 12 months. I guess what that shows is that the government is more interested in political games here than actually doing something to help farmers. Normally what happens is legislation is introduced. The Labor Party gets a week to have a look at it and then we debate it the following week. But the government allowed this pantomime to happen yesterday to suggest that we weren’t going to support it and they had to rush it through in 24 hours.
JAYES: Mr Clare isn’t the government successfully wedging Labor on a number of issues at the moment? You seem to be playing into their hands. You know Labor speaks strongly about tax cuts, that they’re the wrong package – you end up voting for it in the House. We see I guess the same thing on this drought package but you ended up voting for it in the House. Is that going to be the same thing on temporary exclusion orders as well?
CLARE: Well I think Australians have had a gutful of politicians just yelling at each other over nothing. You know it’s a bit like a car crash. People don’t like it but they stop and look at it. They don’t like seeing politicians fighting over this. What the Government’s done here is pick a fake fight. You’ve got to look at what the motivation for all of this is Laura. They knew we were going to support this but they wanted to manufacture a fake fight anyway. Why? Because they don’t have much of an agenda so they create these fake tests for Labor on tax, on the drought, on foreign fighter legislation. You might not know this but the Senate had to get up early last night because they ran out of legislation. We’ve only had two real sitting days and they’ve already run out of legislation in the Senate. It tells you that this government was elected with a pretty thin agenda. They don’t have much that they want to do. So they create these fake tests and fake fights for Labor. I think the Australian people expect better than that and acting like you’ve got to rush something through in 24 hours or otherwise everything will go to hell in a handbasket, it smells of the seeping arrogance that we saw in the fourth term of the Howard government where they suddenly got all this power and they slammed WorkChoices through. We’re starting to see some of that arrogance creep into this government as well.
JAYES: Sure but you voted for it anyway.
CLARE: Well we always said we would. You know we said it at the drought summit last week. We’re backing farmers. What we don’t want is childish games in the Parliament. That’s what we saw from the Libs and the Nats yesterday.
JAYES: Will you be backing these temporary exclusion orders – an extension of that?
CLARE: That goes to caucus in an hour and Kristina Keneally will be able to give you a definitive answer to that after that. I don’t want to pre-empt that but I, like everybody in the Parliament, I want to make sure we’ve got the best laws possible to keep Australians safe. We want to make sure they’re watertight too. You’d know that the Poms put laws through to protect them from foreign fighters. I think four years ago. So the Government’s taken it’s time to get to this place. We support in principle what the Government’s trying to do here. You know there’s already 40 foreign fighters that have come home under this Government’s watch. But we want to make sure we get it right. The parliamentary committee on intelligence and security that I’ve been on from time to time has done pretty good work over the last five or six years to make sure that our laws are right are tough and keep us safe. This is the first time the Government’s chosen not to accept the recommendations of the committee. So we’ve said hang on a sec, let’s check with the committee again, get the intelligence agencies in and just see whether the recommendations the committee made should or shouldn’t be agreed to.
JAYES: Okay. Labor has had one win this week in particular that comes to this Senate inquiry looking into post ministerial careers honing in on Bishop and Pyne for now. But given this has been an issue not just of the former parliament and this Parliament has been really for decades. How far back will this committee look? Should it look into the actions of Martin Ferguson, former Labor ministers?
CLARE: Well I think what this committee is going to look at is what’s happened just over the last six months. You know we had an inquiry that was done by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet into whether Julie Bishop or Christopher Pyne had breached the ministerial code of conduct. Julie Bishop gave evidence to that investigation that she hadn’t had any contact with the company she’s now a member of the board of. That seems to have been a false statement that she gave to that investigation because we now have video evidence of her promoting that organisation in her ministerial office. So I think it’s fair enough that this Senate investigation should have a good hard look at that.
JAYES: Well Shadow Minister Jason Clare I appreciate your time this morning. We’ll speak to you soon.
CLARE: Thanks Laura.