Interview with Laura Jayes – Sky News – Tuesday, 22 October 2019

SUBJECT/S: Skin Cancer Awareness, Press Freedoms, Medivac
LAURA JAYES: Let’s go live to Canberra now. The shadow housing minister Jason Clare joins us live. Jason Clare who is a regular on this program. You have been absent in recent times so before we get into the politics of the day I think it’s an important public service announcement that we’re about to give our viewers. You got your skin checked but was it too late? Tell us about why you’ve been absent for the last couple of months.

JASON CLARE: I had a mole on my leg and I noticed just after the election that it seemed like it was changing colour and I just got a bad feeling, sort of a sense, that something might have been wrong. So I went and saw the dermatologist and told her that I thought the mole was changing colour and she said look let’s cut it out and make sure that everything’s okay. So it was cut out and the pathology tests came back and said that it was a malignant melanoma which meant that I had to have some more surgery. Some pretty significant surgery to cut around where the mole was.

And that meant that 52 odd stitches later I’m back here at Parliament House slowly recovering. I feel very very lucky that I made the decision to go see the doctor because if I didn’t it’d still be on my leg and it’d still be growing there, potentially metastasizing and getting into the blood system. So if there’s a message there it’s check your skin and please as we’re getting into summer it’s really important that everybody, whether you got pale skin like me or if your skin is darker, no one’s immune from this, thousands of people get this cancer, so please go see a doctor, go see a dermatologist and get your skin checked.

JAYES: If you’re honest do you think you get your skin checked enough?

CLARE: Probably not. I got checked every two years and I’ve been a bit paranoid about this one. There’s nothing scarier than when the doctor says you’ve got the C word. It really terrified me. I’ve got a little boy who turns three today – happy birthday Jack – and worried me about whether I’d get to see him grow up. But we’ve got great doctors that were able to walk me through the process tell me that everything was going to be okay. You just got to listen to your doctor and make sure you get checked. Blokes are pretty bad at that in particular. So hopefully by me posting up on Twitter what’s happened to me it’s encouraged people that have seen that to get out, book an appointment with their doctor and get checked.

It looks as you can see from the images like a shark bit me but this stuff’s a lot more dangerous than sharks. Sharks bite about a dozen Australians a year. Skin cancer will get around about 13,000 Australians a year and more than a thousand Australians will die.

So please please if you get anything out of this interview today go and book in a skin check.

JAYES: And that is a good news story and we’re happy to see you back healthy. But it’s a very important message for you this morning.

Let’s get onto media freedom and the protection of journalists. Labor has shifted its policy. We had Mark Dreyfus on Sky News yesterday saying that there shouldn’t be blanket exemptions for journalists but there should be exemptions under national security law. What exactly is Labor talking about here.

CLARE: What we’re saying is we live in a free country we live in a democracy where an important part of that is journalists should be able to do their job in holding the Government to account without worrying that there’s going to be a knock at the door and police are going to raid you for just doing your job. We’ve seen too much of that over the last few months. There’s some recommendations that have come out of the Right to Know campaign that are recommending some changes to the way search warrants are executed as well as what the law should be that protects journalists that are doing their job and defamation. We’ve said these are good worthwhile ideas. There are two parliamentary inquiries that are going on at the moment. I guess what worries me out of this is Mark Dreyfus has said look here’s a good idea, why doesn’t the Government look at this, why doesn’t the Parliament look at changing the law, and last night Christian Porter just said no. He misinterpreted what we said. We’re not saying a blanket ban.

JAYES: He said no blanket exemptions, that’s what Mark Dreyfus, he didn’t say blanket.

CLARE: That’s right.

JAYES: But the other thing here is that the national security the PJCIS, a very powerful Security and Intelligence Committee is looking at this. I argue that is the wrong body to be doing it because it’s always going to come down on the side of national security rather than journalist freedom isn’t it?

CLARE: I think that’s right. It’s not the right body. There is another Senate inquiry that’s looking at this as well. But even if it’s not the perfect inquiry I’d like to think that we’ve got a government that’s willing to look at these sorts of ideas and consider them on their merits. Not just say no this is not what’s happening. Since the election that not many people expected the Government to win, I don’t think the government expected to win the election, we see this sort of creeping arrogance that you don’t have to listen to what people are saying. This is another example of that. There’s a lot of journalists that are very worried about whether there’s going to be a knock at their door just for trying to do their job. Journalists have a very special place in our democracy and making sure that when governments do the wrong thing it’s not swept under the carpet.

There’s an arbitrariness to this as well. We had we had one leak that embarrassed the Government and a Newscorp journalist had a knock at the door and then police were raiding through her undies and socks. Then there was another raid that it seems like it was designed to embarrass the Labor Party. Could have come from Peter Dutton’s office. You know – the police weren’t there going through Peter Dutton’s undies. So there needs to be a review here to make sure that we change the law to address some of the legitimate concerns that we’ve seen over the last few months.

JAYES: Never has there been so much focus on one journalist underwear drawer. But just quickly before I let you go the medevac laws are also going to be looked at this week. We heard from the Chief of Operation Sovereign Borders last night – of the 135 people that have been transferred here under medevac only 10 needed hospitalisation. Does that prove that perhaps there needs to be some changes here?

CLARE: The government last year tried to create this pretence that this was going to destroy our border security and that we needed to open Christmas Island. It cost taxpayers hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars to do that. It created the impression that murderers and rapists and paedophiles were just going to land in Australia.

JAYES: Yeah but if only 10 people out of 135 have needed to go to hospital.

CLARE: Well again this is done based on the advice of doctors and the argument from the Government is it’s just two doctors. Well that’s rubbish. It needs to go through a proper panel and if Peter Dutton thinks that that evidence or that advice is wrong he has the capacity under the laws to reject it.

JAYES: Jason Clare good to see you once again and thanks for that public health service announcement at the beginning of that interview – appreciate it.

CLARE: Thanks Laura it’s great to be back.