Television Interview with Danica De Giorgio – Sky News – Tuesday 10 November 2020


SUBJECTS: Four corners investigation; JobSeeker.
DANICA DE GIORGIO, HOST: Joining me now live is Shadow Housing Minister Jason Clare. Jason Clare, good morning. Barnaby Joyce there saying that similar questions over conduct hang over Labor. Is he right?
JASON CLARE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS: I think inappropriate behaviour, wherever it happens, is just simply unacceptable. All political parties need to make sure that the women in this building feel safe and are respected. I think the Australian people expect that politicians in this building are going to act to a high standard of behaviour, and so we should.  Frankly, any politician who comes into this place and doesn’t think that they should be held to a high standard, or should be scrutinised when they don’t, is in the wrong job.
DE GIORGIO: Do you think that the ABC story was selective, though? It only covered the Liberal Party. It didn’t touch Labor or the Greens.
CLARE: As I said, inappropriate behaviour in any political party, whether it’s Liberal, National, Greens, Labor Party, is just not acceptable. But the ABC decide where they take their story. This is a national broadcaster. It’s not the government broadcaster. They’re independent of government, and they decide what stories they follow. They’ve done plenty of stories on the Labor Party in the past and I’m sure they will again.
DE GIORGIO: When should a politician’s private life be made public?
CLARE: I take the view that we are paid by the taxpayer, we’re public officials, you’ve got to act on the basis that anything you do could end up on the front page of The Daily Telegraph. We’re subject to higher scrutiny because we are politicians, and so we should be. So to complain and criticise when this happens, I think is frankly, the wrong approach. We need to live up to the standards that Australians expect from us.
DE GIORGIO: Okay, so you believe that then it is in the public’s best interest, then to know about the personal relationships that a politician has?
CLARE: Most people would expect Australian politicians to live up to a high standard, and when we don’t, they want to know about it. Politicians should expect that if they fail to meet that standard, it’s going to end up on the front page of The Daily Telegraph or The Sydney Morning Herald or The Australian. That’s what’s happened in the past and that’s what’s going to continue to happen in the future. It’s incumbent on all politicians and all political parties to make sure they get their act together and are treating women in this building with respect and make sure that they’re treated in a way in which they would want their mothers, their wives, their daughters to be treated.
DE GIORGIO: Is there a broader issue then with the way that women are treated in Parliament?
CLARE: I think all political parties need to do a better job here. There’s absolutely no doubt about that. All political parties need to make sure that they’ve got the processes in place, make sure that women aren’t sexually harassed, that it’s embedded into our training systems to make sure that people are treating women in this building with respect. There’s always more work to do there.
DE GIORGIO: All right, I just want to get you on another matter, Jason Clare. The JobSeeker payment will reportedly be extended at a reduced rate to the end of March. Do you welcome this extension?
CLARE: It’s good that it’s being extended beyond December. We think it should be extended at the current rate. Remember Danica, we’ve got unemployment going up and expected that there’ll be another 160,000 more Aussies that’ll lose their job by Christmas. We’re in a situation at the moment where not a lot of Aussies have got the virus but a lot don’t have a job. What I’m worried about is what happens in March. When JobKeeper ends and this JobSeeker payment ends at the same time, you’ve got a lot of Aussies who don’t have a job. That’s going to make it really difficult for a lot of people to keep paying the mortgage and keep paying the rent. I think the Government’s going to have to look seriously at the state of the economy come the end of March next year, and what’s going to be needed to make sure that we don’t have Australians losing their homes or being kicked out of the place where they live.
DE GIORGIO: But is it fair to say, though, Jason Clare, that the Federal Government simply can’t save every business or can’t save every individual?
CLARE: You make a good point, come the end of March when JobKeeper ends, we’re going to see some businesses collapse, we’re going to see more people struggle, because they won’t have that support. The Government needs to take the measures that are necessary to help Australia get through this. Otherwise, the recession is going to be longer, the recession is going to be deeper, and you’re going to have more Australians struggle. The thing about recessions is unemployment goes up fast and takes a long time to come down but if they don’t get these measures right, you’re going to have more Australians suffer right through next year. So, I just urge the Government to make sure that they get the policies right here otherwise, you’re going to have a lot of Australians suffer a lot of pain over the course of 2021.
DE GIORGIO: Jason Clare, that’s all we have time for. Thank you for joining me.
CLARE: Thanks, Danica.