Television Interview with Natalie Barr – Sunrise – Friday 7 June 2024


SUBJECTS: Peter Costello; Social cohesion; The Greens

NATALIE BARR: For their take let’s bring in Education Minister Jason Clare and Deputy Opposition Leader Sussan Ley. Good morning.


BARR: Jason, Peter Costello is a former politician and Treasurer of this country, what do you make of this incident?

CLARE: Good morning, Nat. I wasn’t there, I’d leave it to others that were there to comment. I’d just make the general point that everybody should be safe at work, no one should be pushing other people around.

The journalist there says it did happen. I see Mr Costello said that it didn’t happen. There’s CCTV footage I’m sure that the airport has as well. It’s a matter for the airport about whether they release that or provide that to the police.

BARR: Jason, from the public’s point of view they, you know, they think this is not something that happens in everyday life, but you guys are walking through that airport every other week, aren’t you, and journalists ask you questions? From that point of view does it sort of get heated, is it hard to walk through there?

CLARE: No, it’s not and it shouldn’t be. I’m not sure what Sussan’s approach to this is. My view is that if a journalist asks you a question you stop and answer it, and that’s the simplest way to do it rather than try and run away or say no comment or accidentally knock somebody over.

BARR: Sussan, what’s your take on it? The journalist from The Australian was probing Mr Costello over reports that Nine’s CEO and Chair were aware of allegations against the company’s ex‑news boss Darren Wick prior to his departure and that million dollar pay‑out that he apparently got. What’s your take on this confrontation?

SUSSAN LEY: My first thought, Nat, is I hope the journalist is okay. I’ve known Peter Costello for many years, and I’ve never known or found him to be aggressive in nature. There’s different camera angles. I haven’t seen them all. Peter has spoken about it. The journalist has spoken about it.

I think it’s worth remembering that in public life people do need to be respectful, whether they be public figures, journalists, politicians, whoever. But I’m not going to comment further, and I refer those who are interested in the comments of both Peter and the journalist, it is an untidy incident. We do need to maintain respect, but let’s see.

BARR: Yeah, maybe the CCTV will clear it up. Moving on. Peter Dutton has called on Anthony Albanese to put the Greens last on Labor’s how to vote cards at the next election. It comes after the two leaders condemned the minor party for pouring fuel on the fire of social division and anti‑Semitism.

Jason, will you commit to putting the Greens last?

CLARE: That’s a decision for the party organisation. I think Sussan would say the same thing if you asked whether the Liberal Party would put One Nation last or Clive Palmer’s party last.

But what happened this week is that the Prime Minister called the Greens out. They’ve been telling lies about the sale of weapons to Israel, which is just a flat out lie and hasn’t happened. They’ve also been telling lies about the Government’s position on the war. We’ve been calling for a ceasefire, but you wouldn’t know that from some of the lies that the Greens have been saying.

I’ve said repeatedly on this show that we can’t let a war on the other side of the world tear us apart here in Australia. It’s having a massive impact on the Jewish community and the Muslim community here in this country, and a big part of that is because the dead bodies that we see on our TV screens for the Jewish community and the Muslim community aren’t just dead bodies, they have names. They’re often family members or friends and it’s not right that we have political parties trying to exploit that for political dividends.

We need as leaders to work together here to try to keep the country together, not pull it apart.

BARR: Sussan, we’re about six months or so out from an election, are you guaranteeing you will put the Greens last?

LEY: Nat, there was a moment of national unity when the two major parties in the Parliament came together to condemn the violent and aggressive anti‑Semitism that we have seen from the Greens. These attacks on MPs offices are disgraceful.

But this anti‑Semitism dressed up as protest around the country with the flames being fanned by sections of the Greens party is something that I have never seen in my entire time in politics.

So, we have said in the coalition that at the next election we will put the Greens last on every single ballot paper. And that’s a pledge I invite Jason to make this morning on behalf of his party, because this is a moment that we cannot allow to go past without absolutely condemning the way the Greens have approached an issue that is so, so important to the fundamental safety and approach that everybody of every faith should have in this country.

And the Jewish people are feeling completely under siege and when they listen to Adam Bandt in the Parliament, well it makes my insides recoil. It is just awful.

BARR: Jason, yes or no?

CLARE: Nat, just in conclusion I guess what I’d say is that we want people to put the Labor Party first come election day, not fringe parties to the left, like the Greens.

BARR: But we know that’s not how it works in a two‑party preferred system.

CLARE: But the way it works is that we ask people to preference the party of their choice. I want people to make the choice to put Labor number one, not the Greens on the left or the Liberals on the right, but the Labor Party which is the party of the sensible centre down the middle.

LEY: Sounds like excuses to me.

BARR: Okay. We’ll leave it there.