Television Interview with Peter Stefanovic – Sky News – Tuesday 30 March 2021


SUBJECTS: ALP Special Platform Conference; Andrew Laming.
PETER STEFANOVIC, HOST: Let’s bring in Jason Clare, the Shadow Minister for Housing. Jason, good to see you. Thanks for joining us. So, you’ve got the Labor Conference that begins today. It’s virtual, it’s not going to have the fireworks or flashpoints this year. Sounds like it’s going to be boring.
Labor conferences are never boring, but this one will be different, that’s for sure. We’ve all had to do things differently in the last 12 months, a lot of us have been stuck on long zoom conferences. Hopefully this will be more interesting than some of those boring zoom conferences a lot of people have been in.

STEFANOVIC: So, you can mute someone if you don’t like what they’re saying, Jason?

CLARE: You certainly can do that. Reminds me of when I was crook and I had to miss a week from Parliament a couple of years ago, and I was sitting in the lounge room. I was able to mute Josh Frydenberg and Scott Morrison when they droned on with those long Dorothy Dixers. So, you can do that. But the whole idea here is to make the party platform shorter and simpler and get us ready for the next election. And hopefully, by doing this online, it’ll mean that a lot of party members and a lot of people that are interested in the development of public policy will be interested in tuning in over the next two days.

STEFANOVIC: Okay. Well, as Trudy just reported there, Bill Shorten’s policy platform went beyond 300 pages. This time it’s just a smidgen over 100 pages. So, is that what you mean by simpler messages? You’re taking fewer policies to the next election? 

CLARE: One of the mistakes we made at the last election was too many policies. It was cluttered, it wasn’t clear. We want to send a simple message to the Australian people at the next election about our plans to create more jobs, build a fairer society, raise the living standards of all Australians, make life a bit easier. And the platform, in its essence, is all about that. By making it shorter and simpler, that’s just one way to send a message to the Australian people that we get it and we’re preparing policies now that are all about making sure that we create more jobs and raise the living standards of all Australians. 

STEFANOVIC: Okay, well, some of those leaked details have emerged this morning, and I’m sure Anthony Albanese will be talking about this later on. But it references a $15 billion plan to revive manufacturing in Australia to basically build ships, trains, cars, etc. in Australia again. How are you going to do that?

CLARE: Pete, we’re going through now the biggest economic crisis since World War Two, and in the aftermath of World War Two, we had to rebuild Australia. To be frank, we need to do that again now. We’ve seen massive drops in employment over the last 12 months. Unemployment is still high. But we’ve, in particular, seen a big drop in the number of apprentices and big drops in manufacturing. Half the jobs that have been created in the last 10 years have been in our CBDs, in the CBD in Sydney and in the CBD in Melbourne. But in the outer suburbs and in the regions, we’ve seen atrophy. We’ve seen lots of job losses, particularly in blue collar jobs. What Albo is talking about here today is a fund to reverse that. To create more jobs. There’s plenty of places in Australia where people used to have a job, working in construction, or working in manufacturing or food processing, that are gone now. If we’re serious about learning the lessons of the last 12 months, then we’re going to have to turn that around. 

STEFANOVIC: The problem is and why so many jobs, in particular the manufacturing sector, have moved offshore is because wages are too high. Businesses can’t afford it so how do you just reverse that? 

CLARE: We’ve had this conversation before specialising in areas where we’re better than the rest of the world, but also recognising that there are things that just frankly need to be made here in Australia. Think about this, before the pandemic the two places around the world that made the most masks surgical masks were Wuhan and Milan – ground zero for the pandemic. We had to learn fast learn how to make everything from hand sanitiser to ventilators. The last 12 months should be a lesson to us that we need to make more here. Whether that’s masks or ventilators, or whether it’s making sure that we don’t just dig lithium out of the ground in Western Australia or anywhere else in the country, but can value-add and turn that into cathodes and anodes that make batteries, that should be the challenge that we meet in policies like this. 

STEFANOVIC: The government has put on 55,000 jobs that it’s created in the last three months. That’s just in the manufacturing sector. How much more can you do?

CLARE: For everybody out there that is still unemployed or underemployed, I’d say a lot more. There’s about two million Aussies that don’t have a job or don’t have enough work at the moment. There’s about 100,000 fewer people working in manufacturing today than they were 10 years ago. I can take you out to my electorate in Western Sydney, Pete, and show you a few empty factories. There’s a lot more that they can do.

STEFANOVIC: We just got a little bit of image breakup. Folks, we’re going to persist with that for now. A couple of gremlins in the system today but still we’ll stay with you, Jason. 

CLARE: Hopefully the conference won’t have any of those gremlins.

STEFANOVIC: Andrew Laming, he’s staying he’s staying in in the LNP until the election. The Prime Minister resisting an urge to step him aside. He’s going to get his medical leave or whatever it is that he’s doing. What do you make of that decision?

CLARE: He should be kicked out of the Liberal Party. He should be sacked from the Liberal Party. If this was the private sector, he’d be sacked. Think about it, he’s a bloke who’s been trolling people online, in the bushes taking photos of women, taking photos up women’s skirts and he still got a job. Imagine any company in Australia, big or small, that would cop that. I get that the Prime Minister doesn’t have the authority to kick him out of the Parliament, but he should show some moral authority here. He can kick him out of the Liberal Party, and he should kick him to the crossbenches, and that’s what he should do today.

STEFANOVIC: All right, Jason Clare. Appreciate your time this morning, thanks so much for joining us here. We’ll talk to you again soon and best of luck with the conference. As you mentioned there, hopefully there’s none of those technical glitches that just emerged in that last minute or so. We’ll talk to you soon, Jason.