Television Interview with Peter Stefanovic – Sky News – Tuesday 15 February 2022


SUBJECTS: NSW nurses strike; character test; Government leaks and incompetence.

PETER STEFANOVIC, HOST: Let’s go to Canberra now, where we’ll bring in Jason Clare. Jason, good to see you. How are things? 


STEFANOVIC: Let’s start off with you just as a New South Welshman, it’s more of a state issue this one but I just want to get your thoughts on strike action by the NSW nurses today. Do you support them?

CLARE: I think everybody in NSW, everyone in Australia, would support them wouldn’t they? Get one of the team there in Sydney to grab a microphone, go out on the street and ask regular Aussies who do they think deserves a pay rise in NSW. I’d be surprised if most people don’t say nurses. Who’s worked harder? Who’s saved more lives than nurses over the last two years? I can’t think of anybody. And they’ve done it all with grace and a smile on their face. 

And I think a lot of nurses feel like they’ve been taken for granted Pete. Remember two years ago when the pandemic hit, they had their pay frozen. And now they’re having a fight over a two and a half percent pay rise. I did a quick Google before I jumped in the studio here. The average registered nurse gets paid $70,000, $80,000, $90,000. So they’re having a fight about getting a pay increase of $2000 a year. How did it come to this that the Liberal Government in NSW doesn’t think that nurses in NSW deserve an extra two grand? I think most Australians would think they absolutely do.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, onto a question of good character which has been posed again by the government today. It wants to lower the bar when it comes to that good character test. The last time it surfaced it was blocked by Labor and the Greens, that was last October. Will you support it this time around?

CLARE: What happened over summer with that debacle over Novak Djokovic told us that the minister has godlike powers. He can boot anyone out of the country on character grounds. If he can kick out a tennis player then surely he can kick out criminals. This just looks to me mate like a repeat of the fight that we had in Parliament last week over religious discrimination. The government looking for a fight rather than a fix. If they want to sit down with the opposition in good faith and work through these issues, tell us the problem they’re trying to fix that they don’t think they have the power to fix, then good do that. Kristina Keneally has offered to sit down with Alex Hawke and do that. But just like religious discrimination laws, just like the federal ICAC, they’ve said, it’s their way or no way. The problem isn’t us. The problem is them. Sit down with the opposition, do what the Parliament is supposed to do and work through these issues to sort it out.

STEFANOVIC: Do you feel like this becomes part of the narrative that Labor is weak on national security?

CLARE: No, I think it’s part of the narrative that you’ve got a desperate government looking for a distraction each and every day. With ministers texting against the Prime Minister or leaking out of Cabinet. You know let’s face it, there are more rats in the Cabinet at the moment than there are at the chemist. 

This government is desperate to distract from all of the problems that it has. I think that most Australians are sick of the fights, the texts, the leaks, the lies, the scandals, the rorts, the incompetence. We’re seeing a government here in Canberra Pete, which is slowly dying in front of the Australian people. Most Australians are sick of this and the sooner we have an election and put this old incompetent government out of its misery, the better.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, Adam Bandt has made some comments this morning. He’s ruled out a coalition with Labor. This is after pledging to work with Labor just last week. Which one is it? Do you believe him?

CLARE: Well, we’ve made it absolutely clear that we’re not going to have any of that at all. The only coalition that will exist after the next election will be between the National Party and the Liberal Party. And I think we’ve all got an idea how dysfunctional that is. When you’ve got the number two in the country, Barnaby Joyce calling the number one in the country, Scott Morrison a hypocrite and a liar, I think that shows you just how dysfunctional that coalition is. 

STEFANOVIC: If you win with a minority government though you might need them?

CLARE: Absolutely not. We have ruled that out. Have a look at what Albo said on Ben Fordham just the other day.

STEFANOVIC: Jason Clare, ruling that out. Talk to you soon Jason.