Television Interview with Karl Stefanovic and Sarah Abo – Today Show – Tuesday 27 September 2022


SUBJECTS: Optus data breach; Labor’s Cheaper Child Care Plan.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Well, let’s update you now on that breaking news. The Optus hacker reportedly releasing 10,000 private records onto the internet for all to see. That’s driver’s licences, Medicare information, home addresses. It is an absolute, as one of our viewers pointed out before, violation.

SARAH ABO: Cabinet Minister Jason Clare is live in Canberra and joins us this morning. Minister, do you have any further information on this attacker? It is appalling.

JASON CLARE, MINISTER FOR EDUCATION: Not only appalling, but for 10 million Aussies right around the country that have had their information effectively stolen, they must be extraordinarily worried at the moment. And about 2.8 million of those Aussies have had, effectively, 100 points of identification stolen. So, you can expect that a lot of Aussies would be pulling their hair out at the moment. That’s why the government has been working with Optus and the banks to make sure that people’s money is safe in the bank. But there’s a lot of lessons that have got to be learned here. It’s pretty obvious from this hack that Optus’s security systems weren’t up to scratch. And I think we’ll also see as this unfolds that the powers available to the government aren’t up to scratch either.

STEFANOVIC: I agree with you. What do we do about that? And I know there is distress in the community. A lot of older Australians are worried about their money, as you point out, the money in their bank account, can that be accessed? Can, by using their ID, alternate credit cards, be made and then that money – I mean, this is a mind-blowing breach with extreme parameters.

CLARE: Yeah, I’ve got family members texting me asking exactly the same questions. Karl, this is bloody serious, but we’re taking it seriously. Not only the Minister for Home Affairs, but the Attorney General, the Communications Minister, the Treasurer were working across the weekend with security agencies on this, working with banks, but working with Optus as well to make sure that people’s information is not used to steal money out of their bank accounts. We think the MyGov system is safe because of the multi-factor identification process, but there are going to be some tough lessons to learn here.

ABO: Yeah. And a lot of people will be suffering at the moment. Minister, we just want to go to your portfolio quickly now: child care. The government pledging to make it more affordable for 96 per cent of families. How are you going to do that?

CLARE: This is a big commitment we made during the election campaign. Childcare is expensive and it’s gone up by 41 per cent just in the last eight years. We promised to cut the cost of child care and I’ll introduce laws to do just that today. It will cut the cost of child care for more than a million Australian families. We do that by increasing the subsidy. So, if you’re a family on 60, 70, $80,000 a year, we’ll increase the subsidy for you, if you’ve got a child who goes to child care, to 90% of those costs. So, it means, effectively, for a family on $80,000 a year, that the government will provide about $14,000 a year, if you’ve got a child going three days a week. It’s a big investment. But we know that if child care is more affordable, then it makes it easier for parents to go back to work. In particular, mums. I think 60% of mums with kids under the age of six are working part time rather than full time. And that’s because, it’s often because child care is so expensive.

STEFANOVIC: Look there’s a lot on your plate right now. A lot on the economy’s plate right now as well. Look, I know, too, that you’re a massive Panthers supporter. Good luck this weekend.

CLARE: Hey, hey, hey, stop that rubbish, Karl. I bleed blue and gold.

ABO: Get him for defamation.

STEFANOVIC: Good on you, Jason. Thanks for your time.