Television Interview with Natalie Barr and David Koch – Sunrise – Friday 9 June 2023






SUBJECTS: Brittany Higgins; David Koch


NATALIE BARR: Let’s bring in Education Minister Jason Clare and Deputy Opposition Leader Sussan Ley. Good morning. Sussan, that was the moment. Your party says Gallagher misled the Senate. What needs to happen here?


SUSSAN LEY: These are really serious and concerning issues, Nat. If anyone, a politician, or a journalist, sought to politically profit from a rape allegation then that is just morally bankrupt. So there are serious questions here. Questions of character for Anthony Albanese and his leadership.

Now Katy Gallagher is the Finance Minister. She’s the Minister for Women. She’s a senior member of the government and part of the government’s leadership team and she’s not answering basic questions.


BARR: Because there are two issues here really, aren’t there? Whether she knew about this interview, she knew these allegations before they came out in the interview, and then whether she has a conflict of interest about the payment given to Brittany Higgins?


LEY: It’s a multimillion-dollar payout and there are questions to be asked and answered there. But she hasn’t answered the question that you’ve been asking, that your listeners have a right to know and that every Australian has a right to know. She’s in hiding. She is not stepping out and actually giving people the explanations that they need following the remarks that she made, which was that she didn’t know, that she had no knowledge of the allegations prior to them becoming public. So it’s just a simple question and we just need that answer, and maybe Jason can provide it this morning on the most watched breakfast television show in Australia.


BARR: Thank you, Sussan.


JASON CLARE, MINISTER FOR EDUCATION: Just a quick plug for Kochie there.


BARR: Jason, the headlines are, “Text, lies and videotape”.  This is not good for your government, is it?


CLARE: What Sussan just said is wrong. You know, suggesting that Katy’s not answering these questions. She was on ABC Radio answering these questions yesterday. Katy Gallagher is a person of the utmost integrity. You know Katy, I think you do as well. You would know that she’s a person of integrity. If the Liberal Party want to refer this to the Anti-Corruption Commission, then fill your boots. Remember what this is about. It’s an allegation that a person was raped in Parliament House 50 metres from the Prime Minister’s office. That led to an inquiry that Kate Jenkins did. It exposed the fact that 40 per cent of woman in the building have been sexually harassed.

I know we’re getting wound around the axle here about the politics of all of this, please don’t forget the people and the work that we’ve all still got to do that’s not finished yet making sure it’s a safe place to work.


BARR: So, those allegations though that Katy misled the Parliament, that is a serious allegation and that she had a conflict of interest about this payment that Brittany Higgins received. Should that be referred to the Commission? That is the question that’s being asked today.


CLARE: On the Commission itself, anyone can make a reference. If Sussan wants to walk outside today and make a reference to the Commission you can do that. Governments don’t say, “You must investigate this”. It’s not the way this Commission works. They can decide what they investigate and what they don’t. I think Mark Dreyfus the Attorney‑General, answered that question yesterday, he made this decision, not Katy.


LEY: The way you answer questions of course Jason is to stand up in front of a press conference and actually front up. Now, that hasn’t happened. We’ve also got another of your senior members of the government, Tanya Plibersek, who was mentioned in the text message exchange. She needs to answer questions. Both of those ministers are effectively not and that’s the problem.

So, I know we can jump ahead to referrals to integrity commissions, and of course that may well happen, and ‑‑


CLARE: Well it’s in your hands.


LEY: ‑‑ it probably should happen.


CLARE: Well it’s in your hands.


LEY: However, at this point in time we need those questions answered and unfortunately Anthony Albanese who said he would lead a transparent government that absolutely fronted up when it needed to, and I think he might be fronting up on your program soon, Nat.


BARR: He is.


LEY: Those questions are the first step in a process. This is a serious and concerning and you and I share everything that you just remarked about the safety of women in our Parliament. But that’s the issue. The issue is if anyone in this government sought to weaponise a rape allegation for political motive then that is truly awful, Nat.


BARR: And are you going to refer her to the Commission?


LEY: We need to have those questions answered and that’s the next step. But I would support that referral and I know colleagues have talked about it.


BARR: Okay.


 LEY: And there is so much here that we simply don’t know. But so much that the Finance Minister, the Minister for Women, does know and needs to explain.


 BARR: Okay. Before we go, we know you have both been part of this program for a long time and I know you’d probably both like to say something to Kochie on his last day. Jason.


CLARE: Everyone knows what Kochie’s done here on Sunrise. What people may not know is the work that Kochie does behind the scenes helping young people in the western suburbs of Sydney in particular.

There’s a place in Macquarie Fields called the Koch Centre. That’s named after David and Libby. And it’s there because of the work that both David and Libby have done with Father Chris Riley’s Youth Off The Streets, helping kids that are homeless but also kids that have fallen through the cracks. He’s helped change lives and save lives and I’ve been able to see a little bit of the work that both he and Libby have done there.

 So on behalf of all of those young people, Dave, thank you.


  DAVID KOCH: Thank you. 


  BARR: You know because that’s your patch obviously. Sussan.


 LEY: And Kochie has left an imprint on the national character, Nat, and has reached so many people through this program.

 He’s been part of the big moments, some of the really sad moments of our lives, and we associate him with trust, with honesty, with bringing absolutely frank and fearless exchanges to the country and I really wish him all the very best with the next steps of his life and I know that Sunrise and Australians will miss him.


KOCH: Oh, thank you.


BARR: Thank you. That’s nice. See, we argue it all out and everyone has, you know, the tough questions given to them but, you know, that what everyone expects, so thank you very much.


CLARE: And there’s no truth to the rumour that he’s the next Reserve Bank Governor.


KOCH: I’m up for it. Well done, Jason.


BARR: Okay, well you’re close to Jim Chalmers and it ends in September, so you heard it here. Thank you very much.


KOCH: Hat in the ring, Jason. All right, that’s very kind of you.




Media Contact: Nick Trainor 02 6277 7350