Zali’s Political Slalom | Q&A

Zali’s Political Slalom | Q&A


(APPLAUSE)
Good evening and welcome to Q&A.
I’m Tony Jones.
And here to answer
your questions tonight,
the head of the Australian
Council Of Social Services,
Cassandra Goldie,
the Liberal Member for Mackellar,
Jason Falinski,
Independent MP Zali Steggall,
who toppled
former prime minister Tony Abbott,
the Shadow Minister
for Finance, Katy Gallagher,
and the economics editor for the
Australian newspaper, Adam Creighton.
Please welcome our panel.
Thank you very much.
Q&A is live in eastern Australia
on ABC TV, iview and News Radio.
We’ve got plenty
of great questions tonight.
Our first one comes from
the audience, from Ricci Bartels.
Ricci.
Thank you very much for the
opportunity to ask a question
that’s very near and dear to me.
I have paid taxes for 46 years –
you might be able to tell.
I’ve put 20 years
in the private sector
and 26 years in the public sector
for a not-for-profit
community service.
Um…
At the age… I was forced on
to Newstart at the age of 62,
through change of management
and subsequent retrenchment.
I’ve…
I’ve been on… I’ve spent…
I have experienced Newstart
for over three years.
Jobactive left me to my own devices.
I could not find a job,
no matter how hard I tried.
So my question to you wonderful
panellists is this.
How would you…what would you
or how would you suggest
people like me
“have a go to get a go”?
Jason Falinski, we’ll start with you.
Thank you, Tony.
Firstly, can I say,
that’s an extraordinary story
and I’m sorry
you’ve had to go through that.
I don’t know enough about
your personal circumstances
to be able to properly comment on it
and nor would I presume
to know your life.
We have done a number
of things in the government
to try and make sure
that our system,
which is a $172 billion
welfare system per annum,
is as bespoke as possible in
response to the needs of individuals
as much as possible.
It may be, in your particular case,
we haven’t been as successful
as we need to be.
But we keep trying.
Australia has a very successful
welfare and tax and transfer system
in this country.
It’s one of the reasons
that we have very high income
levels…high income mobility levels
and very low levels
of income inequality,
especially compared
with other OECD nations.
So…
I’m happy to talk to you
after the show but…
Well, we’re going to talk
a little bit ON the show –
that’s one of the great things
about having questioners
here in front of you.
I’ll quickly go back to Ricci.
First of all, a quick response
to…to what Jason is saying,
and can you give us some idea
of how you lived for three years
on the sum that Newstart
offered you to live on?
Well, to put it in a nutshell,
it’s the worst time of my life.
The loss of dignity.
The loss of friends because you
can’t go out, you can’t socialise.
Not eating proper foods, even though
I suffer various ailments.
Um…
Looking for a job, applying
for a job, not getting the job.
There were three occasions
where I got a small project job
in community service.
I’m a very skilled person.
I’ve done…
I’ve been a manager for settlement
services for quite a long time.
So…
For me, it was the worst time
of my life.
And, Jason, with respect,
you haven’t answered my question.
What do you suggest people like me,
at my age,
or at a young age for that matter,
you know, what…
..how do they
“have a go to get a go”?
This is so important.
Have a go, get a go.
It’s so divisive.
Uh… Tony?
Yes, sure.
Ricci, look, I can’t…
I can’t tell you how…
I don’t know enough about
your life circumstances to comment.
All I can say is that
we as a government are doing
as much as we possibly can
to create a system
that allow people to get as quickly
from welfare to work as possible.
We have a very highly targeted
welfare system in this country.
It has been very successful
in ensuring that poverty levels
and inequality are kept low.
If the system has failed you
personally
at your…in your particular
circumstances,
I can only apologise for that.
I’d love to know more,
and we’d love to create a system
that is…that makes sure
that what has happened to you
doesn’t happen to others.
OK, let’s hear from Cassandra Goldie.
Have you heard
stories like this before?
(CHUCKLES)
And how typical is that case?
Ricci, great…great to see you
here this evening.
Lovely to see you.
And I know that there are
other people in the audience
who also know exactly
what it’s like.
And I want to say to you, Jason,
it is not a…
Everybody’s story is unique
but, at the same time,
there is a huge problem
with our social security system.
And in case you hadn’t heard it,
just about everybody else
in the country agrees
that Newstart is unbearable.
It is not working.
And it desperately needs
to be increased
to something that’s livable
after over 25 years of not having
been increased in real terms.
And it’s an absolute travesty
that we, as one of the wealthiest
countries in the world,
have refused to do what a good
government would do, so far.
But I’ve got to say tonight,
what has been very encouraging,
Zali – good on you, sister –
you said Newstart needed to be
increased.
The Country Women’s Association says
that the Newstart payment
needs to be increased,
the Australian Medical Association,
all of the business groups,
the union movement,
the leading economists,
Adam, you too…
ADAM: I haven’t been asked yet.
Yeah? (LAUGHS) ..says that
Newstart must be increased.
You left out John Howard.
John Howard.
Of course, there are politicians
across the political spectrum.
And the tide is only going
in one direction –
to get this change
that’s so desperately needed.
Can I say, it’s been so important…
For too long, people have felt
really silenced by this.
There’s a lot of shaming that goes
on, isn’t there, Ricci, you know,
when this happens to you?
And the mental stress.
And it happens to young people,
older people…
Sorry, can I just say, I think
that Ricci was just going to…
..but more and more people,
Tony, are speaking up.
Ricci was just going to make
a point there. Go ahead.
Yeah. The mental strength…
You know, I was a front-line worker,
I did conferences, I spoke
at conferences, I wrote papers.
And as you can see,
I’ve lost my nerves now
and I’m quite happy to speak.
But your confidence goes…zip
when everything in your life
that you’ve cherished…
And I wanted to work till I’m 70.
I loved the work I did.
And I took jobs, still in the sector
but not managerial.
I was quite prepared that
I may have to make adjustments.
In other words, I believed not only
have I had a go for 46 years,
I believe I had a go on Newstart
and I do not like hearing things
like “have a go to get a go”.
I do not like hearing things
like this government will give,
will only…
..”hand up, not hand out,”
only recently said
by our Prime Minister.
What is that supposed to mean?
Am I a handout now?
Let’s…let’s go back to Jason and…
(APPLAUSE)
Can I just put this to you?
I mean, you might want to respond to
that, but can I just put this to you?
It’s clear the government
is trying to protect its surplus.
So, we’ve got the Prime Minister
talking about
“unfunded empathy”
from the Labor Party –
he’s clearly worried about the money.
If you get a surplus,
will the situation change?
Will the government raise Newstart,
as so many people have called for?
Um… So, Ricci, can I…
can I firstly address
the point that you made?
No-one in the government thinks
that you’re a handout.
This government
and this country has always been
about ensuring that…
no matter where you come from,
what the circumstances
of your birth are,
that you get a chance to live
your life to its full potential.
That is not to say that we are a
perfect nation, because we’re not.
And there’s a lot more that we can
do to become a more perfect nation.
And every government,
regardless of who they are,
is always trying to move their
government…trying to move
the country in that direction.
So, quick one, Jason,
’cause I’ve got to hear
from the other panellists.
So, just a quick one,
what I just asked was about…
On the surplus? Well…
..if you get a surplus,
will you raise Newstart?
What I would say to you, Tony,
is this is…
I know that there are people
on the left
who try to characterise this
about…as being about money.
It’s not.
It’s about saving lives.
It’s about moving people
from welfare to work.
And I’m happy to go through…
OK. Well, say, if John Howard
is one of those people,
I’m happy to be in that camp.
This, this is…
Well, no, no. Can I say…
CASSANDRA: It’s the lowest
government payment in the OECD.
..I am allowed to disagree.
Yeah.
I am allowed to disagree
with John Howard.
Sure. OK.
I think, on this, he’s wrong.
Fair enough. Zali.
Look, I agree with the policy
that we need
to create opportunities
and job opportunities
to get off the welfare.
Absolutely. Yeah.
But the welfare has to be at a level
that you can live…live reasonably.
You have to be able to still have
that quality of life, a standard.
You can’t have it
where it pushes people so low…
And we talk about mental health
issues and isolation.
And if the rate is so low –
which it is, it’s the lowest
in OECD countries…
People are going
without food every day.
..it is…I think it’s embarrassing
for us as a nation
that we haven’t addressed it
and raised it.
The irony is we’ve got
an economy that’s flatlining
and it needs a boost.
And we have addressed it
with tax cuts
and things
that are coming into play,
but the RBA has also come out
saying that the boost
of raising Newstart
would actually kick-start,
as well, the economy
in putting more funds
into the system.
RICCI: Absolutely.
So I think it has a multipurpose
and it should be, I think,
nearly bipartisan.
It should… There are people
supporting it across the aisle.
And I certainly support it.
Let’s go to the other side
of the aisle, to Katy Gallagher.
And the Labor Party didn’t have
the courage to say,
“We’re going to raise Newstart”
before the last election.
You just said, “We’re going
to have an inquiry,”
which is, you know, you could argue,
the coward’s way out.
Well, I wouldn’t…I wouldn’t
characterise it that way.
I mean, we’re in opposition.
You know, you don’t have
the resources of government
to actually get the information
from the Treasury
and from the Department of Social
Security to actually pull together
a submission that would allow you to
make those decisions as a cabinet.
You can’t do that from opposition.
I mean, you just don’t have
the resources…
You made a lot of promises
from opposition
and that wasn’t one of them.
Well, the promise from opposition
was that we would have
a review of Newstart
and that was in recognition
that we were getting representations
from almost every sector
of the community
and the business community
more broadly
to have a look at it
and that it wasn’t keeping pace
with what people
in the community needed.
So our position was that,
and I think Bill Shorten
said at the time,
you don’t have a review
to decrease a payment.
You know, the review was genuine.
If we had won the election,
it would be well under way.
And, you know, we didn’t.
So our position is,
the government…
this is firmly and squarely
in the government’s court.
I think the language
that’s being used –
and Ricci’s sort of given us how
that matters at a very human level –
you know, this language that
the best form of welfare is a job,
well, that’s nice, but there’s,
you know, 1.8 million
unemployed and underemployed
people in this country,
and there’s about 250,000
job vacancies.
So, you know, no matter
how hard someone tries,
that’s going to be
really difficult for them.
I think the language is divisive.
It’s not the way Australia
has developed in terms of having
a safety net for people
when they need it.
20 years ago, I went
on a social security payment,
completely, you know,
out of the blue
and without any fault of my own –
not that that matters.
And it gave me a safety net
to allow myself
to get myself together.
And I think, at this point in time,
we’re saying Newstart
doesn’t provide that anymore.
And the government needs
to sort it.
This is one of the…sort of,
the benefits of winning an election.
Get on with it.
Adam, as an economist…
We heard Zali suggest
that it would actually boost a
flagging economy to increase Newstart
’cause the money would go
straight back into the economy
at the retail level.
What do you think?
Well, certainly it’s likely
that the extra welfare payments
to people with very low incomes
would likely be spent.
So I do agree with that.
Look, I mean, I don’t…
Neither side of politics basically
has acted on this
and I think it’s…you know, I think
it’s really embarrassing, you know.
I mean, they’re sitting there,
yet the Rudd-Gillard government was
in for six years and they didn’t
really do anything about this.
KATY: This is a third-term
Liberal government.
And the call to have a review…
I mean, you know, we might have
the second-lowest payment
in the OECD, but we certainly have
the most number of reviews of things
and I really think we need to stop
reviews and actually just act.
(APPLAUSE)
I mean, you’re quite right
about the…
You know, you’re really quite right
about the number of jobs.
You know, the ABS said that there
are 245,000 job vacancies in May.
There’s about 750,000 people
on Newstart.
Of course, there’s another 900,000
on the Disability Support Pension.
So I do think we need to recognise
as a society
that this idea of dole bludgers
really is wrong.
I mean, certainly, some people
on the payment will be lazy
and they won’t seek work.
But I do think the large majority
of them do seek work.
And, you know, who wants to live
on $280 a week?
Not many people.
It’s not very pleasant.
And so, I do think
that there’s definitely a case.
I mean, it was last raised in 1994.
Now, in that time, a backbench MP’s
salary has gone up in real terms
just under 100%,
whereas the Newstart payment
has not increased at all.
Now, that’s…
that’s just extraordinary.
I’m going to quickly…
I’ll give the last word on this
to Ricci,
since you raised the question.
Imagine you’re speaking now directly
to the Prime Minister.
What would you, very briefly,
say to him?
Oh, do I have to? Um…
(LAUGHTER)
OK. Prime Minister,
in your acceptance speech
you said that you would govern
with compassion and strength –
and something else,
but I focused on the words
“with compassion and strength”.
So, I would like to say
to Scott Morrison
that you can be both
compassionate and strong
by increasing Newstart.
They actually work together.
And there are a number of ways,
if…
..if Adam, he wants a review,
and Labor wanted a review…
CASSANDRA: I don’t think
he does want a review, does he?
..you could have said,
“We’ll raise it $25 or $50 now,
“and after the review, we’ll see
whether it could be raised more?”
OK.
These things can happen.
Ricci, thank you very much…
Thank you.
..for raising the question
and for prosecuting the case.
(APPLAUSE)
Thank you very much.
The next question is from Iz Connell.
Oh, hello.
Senate Estimates has been told
that the robodebt program costs
almost as much as it recovers,
asks for money that isn’t owed,
and puts considerable stress
on vulnerable people.
Given the widespread criticism
of this poorly targeted and designed
debt-recovery initiative,
what will it take for the government
to stop this disastrous program
and focus their efforts
on other, fairer methods
of increasing government revenue?
OK, we’ll keep this one
a little briefer,
but, Jason, starting with you,
it’s in the government’s…
Sure. Absolutely.
So, I’m just going to be brief.
The are other things in
that Senate hearing as well –
that $1.9 billion worth of debts
have been recovered,
that there are $4.58 billion worth
of debts still outstanding,
that if you want to have
a $172 billion welfare system
that is properly targeted
and designed to get people out of…
..back to work and living
their lives as best they can,
you need to have integrity
in that system.
You can’t do that unless
you are collecting on debts.
And, by the way, we have
a legal obligation to do that.
Um, if you’re making
so much money from it,
why not use human beings
rather than robots?
Well, there…
There are…
Well, let’s be very clear.
The first thing that…
Well, there are nearly 32,000 people
in the Department of Human Services
and Centrelink.
That’s number one.
Number two, the way that
the income assurance system works
is that people are initially
sent a letter saying,
“We have data matched between
different things that are going on,
“and we want to understand
what is happening in your lives
“so that we can understand
whether we have been paying you
“more or less money
than we should have been doing.”
It goes both ways, by the way.
OK.
And that’s what happens.
Cassandra… And I’ll come back
to our questioner
who’s got her hand up in a moment.
But Cassandra, go ahead.
Yeah, so, this robodebt system
has been in operation now
for three years, yeah?
Um, the government has issued
500,000 alleged debts.
And on their own numbers,
one in five of those has been wrong.
And that’s only been
established, though,
because people have had the guts,
the tenacity
to actually
finally challenge the debts.
We have no idea the number of people
on very low incomes,
often in
very vulnerable circumstances,
who have actually paid
the money back
because either they didn’t realise
how to challenge it,
they were too fearful,
all of those things.
And we should remember
that this is the government
debt-collection system, right?
So, first of all, we stripped
a lot of the human side out of it.
So many of these debts –
alleged – are wrong.
And then, as it steamrolls on,
the government has
extraordinary powers
to grab and come after you in a way
that no private corporation
is allowed to do.
This is absolutely
an abuse of government power.
I’m…I’m really stunned, Jason,
that the government is not
taking this far more seriously.
We’re having reports in the media
very regularly now
of people being tipped
over the edge,
cases of people taking their life
after receiving this kind of notice.
You have to understand
what it’s like
to be on the other side of this
as a government, a big government,
comes after you
when you don’t know
how to navigate that system.
And so I really urge you
to listen to how inhumane this is.
And so many people have been
so deeply distressed about it.
The journalists
have been doing your job.
People directly affected have been
doing your job, speaking up.
I’m just questioning
what will it take for you
to really be prepared to scrap this
and acknowledge that
you’ve got to get this right?
I’m going to quickly go back
to our questioner,
’cause she had her hand up.
Iz Connell?
Two comments.
Not everyone is capable of working.
I am. In the past, I wasn’t.
And not everyone can.
And another thing,
I read in the media recently
that robodebt notice
was sent to a man
who had died six months previously.
Where are the safeguards?
What are you doing for
the vulnerable people
who are targeted by this?
Do you actually care?
I’ll go to Katy first, ’cause
we haven’t heard from you on this.
Go ahead.
Yeah, well, Labor has said
that we should stop this program.
We’ve had too many cases
coming to us of people
who have been very distressed,
you know.
I don’t think…
I don’t know how many
debt notices you’ve seen, Jason,
but they don’t…they’re not
written in a way that says,
“Hi. We’ve got a few questions
about how you’re going.”
They’re actually sent like a bill.
And they have, you know,
“You owe this,”
and then it’s, you know,
up to you to appeal it or argue it.
And certainly, from experience
I’ve had in Canberra,
just walking around,
people coming up to me,
very distressed.
And then there’s obviously been
the high-profile media cases
of people who are dying,
or who have died,
and having claims against them.
There’s people who are having debts
raised from 25 years ago.
We’ve got the situation
where in Townsville
they’ve paused the program,
presumably in recognition that
it’s quite distressing for victims
of the flood up there.
You know, so, the government has
acknowledged that in Townsville.
So, I think this really does
go to, again,
the government working it out,
providing the resources
that are needed.
We have no problem with
collecting the money that’s due
if there have been overpayments.
That’s part of the system.
But, you know, the way
it’s being run at the moment,
the high error rate,
the fact that it relies
on individuals to argue their case,
and in some cases…
I’ve colleagues in the parliament
where 100% of the people that have
come to their constituent office
have had all of their debts waived.
And there’s no transparency
about that.
If you don’t appeal, and you pay,
maybe you shouldn’t have.
There’s…
There’s just no transparency.
So, we think the program
should be stopped,
resources should be provided,
and the government needs
to get a grip on it.
Zali, a case for crossbench
intervention here?
I mean, you have intervened
on other issues.
We have, and I think as
independents on the crossbench,
we tend to stand up for wanting
probably integrity of process,
and, really,
transparency and accountability,
so it is concerning.
Look, I did feel that
the Minister in Question Time –
and that came up a lot
in our last week in parliament –
I did feel he dealt with it
and certainly apologised for
the instances that had gone wrong.
I think it’s a classic case of
oversight by robots is probably
not the best way to go.
At the end of the day,
get back to jobs
and having real people
looking at the facts
and the cases, I think,
especially when you’re talking
with highly vulnerable people
where an oversight can have
really dire consequences.
But there is that compuls…
the mandatory obligation
to report and to update
your information,
so you have to be reasonable as well
that this is a system
that does require accountability.
There has to be a process
of debt recovery,
but it has to be, I think,
a little bit more
human and reasonable.
OK, we’ve got quite a few
questions to get to.
Remember, if you hear doubtful claims
on Q&A, let us know on Twitter.
Keep an eye on
the RMIT ABC Fact Check
and the Conversation website
for the results.
The next question comes
from Terry Jones. Terry?
Both major parties recently
joined forces to block a move
for an inquiry into allegations
of special treatment
for Crown Casino
by MPs and public servants.
I think it’s quite clear that
there’s strong public support
for an effective Commonwealth
anti-corruption commission
with sufficient powers
and sufficient teeth
to investigate allegations
of undue influence
by vested interests on decisions
made by MPs and public servants.
Why are both the major parties
so strongly opposed to this?
It makes me think…
ask myself the question,
“What are they trying to hide?”
Why don’t you MPs
actually do your job,
which is to represent the views
of your constituents,
who I’m sure would like
to see this happen?
And if you’re not prepared
to do that,
how else do you expect that
the failing public confidence
in our political process
will ever be restored?
OK, I’m going to start with Zali
again, because the independents…
(APPLAUSE)
The crossbench were very strong
on this in the past week,
so I’ll start with you,
but then we’ll hear from the…
Absolutely.
..both sides.
We cut a very lonely figure
in parliament,
the five of us standing
for a motion that, in fact,
there be a joint inquiry.
Look, it has been reported off
for inquiry
but not to a body that has
the power to properly investigate
if there are any ministerial
or any…the corruption aspect.
I think we’ve seen
in the last 12 to 24 months
a number of incidents
that have come up,
where really there is
that complete loss of face
when it comes to…
..our politics and politicians,
and real concerns as to corruption.
And there really is a strong need
for a national
anti-corruption commission.
I mean, it just has to be done.
We have Cathy McGowan, previous
independent member for Indi,
put up a proposal.
I know the Coalition government
have come on board with a proposal,
or flagged that
they will bring one on,
but it has no teeth, it has
no true accountability, no…
It needs to be a national
anti-corruption commission
that has…fully-funded,
that has the capacity
to have public hearings,
that it can fully investigate,
it can’t just be reported by a body.
So, I think the public
wants to know,
the Australian people want to know
that no-one is above the law,
and that anything can be…
..that it can be investigated,
and cleared up.
If the allegations are false,
then I think it’s in everyone’s
interests that we clear it up.
But the Crown was
a classic example of,
“Come on. What’s it going to take?”
(APPLAUSE)
Just a quick one on this.
So, you were in parliament,
so you…
You said you cut lonely figures
on the crossbench.
And so my question, briefly, is,
do you know why,
or do you think you know why,
both the major parties
had no appetite
for an open parliamentary inquiry
into this?
Well, we’ve had both…both sides
of politics in government.
We had six years of Labor.
We’re now on a third term
of Coalition,
and no-one comes forward with
a decent anti-corruption commission.
So, the real question is, why not?
Do you think it’s specific
about Crown, in this case?
Crown… Well, look, the
gambling lobby is pretty powerful.
I know both major parties accept
political donations from…
from Crown and gambling,
so there is a real question of
“Why not?”
OK.
And I certainly don’t want
to cast aspersions,
but if you’re not prepared
to have it investigated, why not?
Jason?
Yes, Tony?
How can I help?
(LAUGHTER)
Sir, I’m afraid…
When are you going to have an open
inquiry into this, to start with?
Well, I’m afraid
you guys have been misled.
The government has referred this
to the Australian Law Commission
for Enforcement Integrity.
It has powers that a parliamentary
committee could never have
and it will investigate
these allegations quite clearly
with the powers that it possesses,
and members of parliament will be
subject to that investigation
if there are…if those allegations
are proven to be upheld.
In terms of, um…
The government is designing the
Commonwealth Integrity Commission.
It will have a budget
of $107 million.
It will look at many of the things
that you’re talking about,
and it will have teeth.
We have seen during the week
people make claims
about members of parliament
being corrupt,
but when asked to actually
give specifics of that allegation,
they’re not willing to do so.
The biggest thing undermining
our politics at the moment
is irresponsible allegations
without…without actual proof.
And I would say…
We’re sitting in the state
of New South Wales at the moment.
We have seen the New South Wales
Independent Commission
Against Corruption
essentially become a kangaroo court
with show trials.
And innocent people,
hundreds of innocent people,
have had their lives destroyed
because this commission didn’t go…
went for headlines
instead of trying
to root out corruption.
But that’s rubbish. The Aust…
The model that’s been proposed
is on the basis of an analysis
of all the commissions that are
around all the states of Australia.
It’s not just about
what’s happened in New South Wales.
We have had very good
operating bodies in other states,
and the body…the proposal from
an anti-corruption point of view
is actually taking the best
of all of our systems,
not just New South Wales ICAC.
Um…
Sorry.
I’m just going to go
to Katy Gallagher.
It does seem to be people
are probably getting a glimpse
as to how you won that election.
(LAUGHTER)
Katy?
Well, Labor does support
an anti-corruption commission,
or a body, of that type.
We went to the election
with that policy.
In terms of the issues
around Crown Casino
and the allegations
that were raised,
we did think that
the government’s response
to have it dealt…
or have it investigated
by the Australian Enforcement
Integrity Commission
was a good first step.
We have left open, you know,
based on what
that investigation finds,
any further action
that needs to be done,
and indeed the Senate
actually passed a motion,
I think on Thursday,
to require the Leader
of the government in the Senate
to come into the Senate
on the next sitting day
and explain what
the Prime Minister has done
in relation to investigating
any concerns
that have been made
about ministers or MPs.
No-one’s been named, as Jason says.
Um, there’s just been
allegations there,
but we do want to know
whether the Prime Minister
has followed this up,
and what investigations he’s asked
his department to undertake,
whether that’s speaking with
the people that have made
the allegations
and come back to the parliament.
So, um…
Why didn’t you support,
just out of interest –
Labor support –
a parliamentary joint committee,
which was the inquiry,
which was what the crossbench…
Yeah.
..were after?
Um, they said they felt lonely.
Labor clearly wasn’t going
to join them.
Well, look, I’m in the Senate,
so I missed all the excitement
in the House.
Everyone says the House
is the exciting place to be.
Um…
I presume you talk
to your colleagues.
I do talk to them from time to time.
Um…
(LAUGHTER)
Um, my understanding was –
and, again, not being there –
was that the formation
of the committee
was not representative
of the parliament.
Um, now…um, you know,
we have 68 members
in the House of Reps.
There’s six crossbenchers.
Um, you know,
there was an overrepresentation
of them on the committee.
And, look, to be honest,
if everyone’s seen
how parliamentary committees work,
um, they don’t necessarily have
the powers or the independence,
that the body that the government
has referred it off to has,
and we think that is
an appropriate first step.
I don’t think, seriously,
that a, you know, whole…
..a widely represented crossbench,
Liberal and Labor politicians
on a committee,
is the right body
to investigate nameless allegations
about ministers and members of
parliament doing the wrong thing.
It’s just not on.
So, nothing…nothing to do…?
Just to confirm, nothing to do
at all with Labor’s connections –
historical connections – to Crown?
Um, none at all. And look, I’ve…
You know, speaking from
personal experience,
I’ve had nothing to do with Crown.
Like, it’s just a…
Two of the key power brokers from
the New South Wales Labor Party…
Well, people who were…
Mark Arbib.
..in the Labor Party years ago…
Karl Bitar.
..have jobs there, yeah,
but I think that’s…
It’s a bit of a bow to say that
that implicates
the whole of the federal caucus
in some conspiracy
’cause it’s simply not correct.
OK. Alright.
I mean…
Our questioner has his hand up.
Let’s quickly go back.
I was just going to say,
doesn’t this highlight why we need
a decent, proper, national
anti-corruption commission?
We support that.
That’s what we need.
Well, Jason says…Jason says
the government’s building one.
ADAM: What’s
the smoking gun, though,
on such a corruption commission?
It…it… I want to say
to the crossbench
that have been doing this work –
more power to you.
Um, you’ve also all supported
an increase to Newstart –
more power to you on that –
from Bob Katter
right through to Adam Bandt.
Um, sometimes, this is about
hearing what the community
is really saying needs to change.
Um, we don’t want any more
of the Labor-Liberal…
You know,
it’s all about politicking.
It’s actually
very serious allegations.
They need to be dealt with…
Let’s do precisely that, Cassandra –
go back to the community.
..seriously wherever they come from.
Our questioner…
Sorry, our questioner
had his hand up.
And if they’re not,
then they are dismissed.
Just one second, Cassandra.
I’ll come back to you.
Our questioner had his hand up.
Go ahead, Terry.
Uh, look, quite honestly,
the response that I got
from both the major parties
doesn’t wash it with me.
I mean, if you look back
not just at the Crown business,
but you look back
at a number of the other things
that have come up in, you know,
the last few decades,
I think the, uh, culture of secrecy
and, uh…
WOMAN: Lack of transparency.
..lack of transparency
in politics in this country
has been deteriorating
for probably at least 20 years.
Yeah. OK.
And it’s got to the point where
there are so many transactions
that I can run off
in the last 12 months
that – just to use a phrase
that politicians often use –
doesn’t…don’t pass the pub test.
Right? I mean, you look at some of
the water buybacks, for example.
And the grasslands.
You look at the grasslands…
OK, we…
I mean, I can go on.
Well, you could because you’ve got
a team effort down there, but…
(LAUGHTER)
Which is great,
but we’re going to throw back…
She’s…she’s my political adviser.
That’s fantastic.
(LAUGHTER)
But… So, can I just…?
Look, quickly round up your point
and we’ll go back to the panel.
I will round up my point by saying,
what all these answers
have convinced me –
that if we want to see
more accountability
and transparency in politics,
what we need is more Independents
in parliament and less party people.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
Alright.
Nothing wrong with the two of you
responding, by the way.
I wasn’t meaning to imply that.
Now, Adam, you were…you were
talking about no smoking gun.
What do you want to say?
Well, look, I think
the first point to make is that
Australian politics isn’t perfect,
obviously,
but on most indices
around the world,
we are one of
the least corrupt countries,
and I just don’t see
why you would make
such a big structural change
basically following on from
something that was on 60 Minutes.
I mean, that is…that is hardly
the reason to change
and introduce a body, which…
..you know, which is going to be
a picnic for lawyers, basically.
Are you implying that…
I mean, you’ll see all the judges…
..because it was on 60 Minutes,
it was somehow less relevant
as journalism?
No. Well, I’m just saying…
(LAUGHTER)
No, but this is a huge…
But what is being proposed…
Funny you would focus on that.
What is being proposed is basically
the sort of commission
that emerges in countries
like Italy and Brazil
when there are serious,
serious cases of corruption.
Basically, a new legal body
that comes out
with all these extraordinary powers,
and you just can’t predict
how it’s going to behave.
Just as Jason said, we’ve seen,
in Western Australia
and also New South Wales,
these entities
can basically go feral.
They have a lot of power.
They can go and search
journalists’ homes.
I mean, if you don’t like
what happened to the ABC journalists
and the News Corp journalist,
then you should not be supporting
a commission like this
because they can be
extremely powerful.
Now, we have a parliament and,
most importantly,
we have a free media,
and the free media
is definitely the best,
and the cheapest, I would add…
So, do you know any cases of ICAC
searching journalists’ homes?
Because, of course,
we know the Federal Police
have been doing that.
As I understand the proposal
that has been put forward
by the crossbench,
that…such a commission could
actually do that if they wanted to.
OK. Well, Zali better respond
to that briefly.
I think that the basis
of the commission
that’s been put forward
is being proposed
by a number of eminent
retired Supreme Court judges.
Of course. The legal profession.
Of course they want this –
because it helps lawyers.
Well, with due respect,
what is it going to take?
I mean, you’ve got
the Great Barrier Reef –
$440 million
of Australian taxpayers’
being allocated without tender
or proper process.
$420 million to, um, Paladin Group.
We’ve got the $80 million in
the Eastern Australia Agriculture.
We’ve got appointments
of politicians
and ministers and staffers
to the AAT.
I agree, but the incentives…
The incentives of journalists…
We have no process of review.
There is no accountability.
True, but we have a police force
in every state.
We have the Federal Police.
We have so many different
crime commissions.
Plus, we have a free media,
which has brought
all of these things to attention.
And, of course,
we have other MPs as well
who have a hugely powerful incentive
to rat on the other side and…
So, I…I just think…
The free media doesn’t have
the power to compel testimony,
which is one of the things
these bodies do.
But we have no shortage of
royal commissions in this country.
I mean, we have
more royal commissions
than any other country
on Earth by far,
and so, if something
really bad does happen…
The suggestion here is effectively
a standing royal commission
to look at the integrity
of government.
Well, yes, and I just think that
that is big step into the unknown
for a country which is as clean
as Australia compared to others.
(LAUGHS) No,
I can’t come back to you.
We’ve got to go to another question.
We’ve got to move on.
Next question’s
from Felicity Rafferty.
Hi, panel.
Liberal Party staffers are
complaining of sexual harassment.
We’ve got the minister for women
in the last government resigning
as a result of difficulties
juggling her Canberra portfolio
with her domestic responsibilities.
In the current
House of Representatives,
there are 11 of 44
Liberal MPs are women.
Are Liberal women in parliament
expected to toe the party line,
that is to say that
there’s nothing to see here,
just as Adam Goodes was expected,
as an Aboriginal football legend
and Australian of the Year,
to keep quiet about the prejudice
that he faced?
Jason?
Absolutely not.
There are a couple of things
you missed out there.
For example, we have a record number
of women in cabinet now.
I’ve sat through two weeks
of first speeches
in the House of Representatives,
and the diversity of the new members
that have come in
for the Liberal Party,
both in terms of
background experience,
skills and gender
is quite extraordinary.
What’s your percentage
of women in parliament?
I can’t tell you
off the top of my head.
36%.
36%, apparently.
(LAUGHTER)
Thank you, Cassandra.
It’s about, um…
KATY: I don’t think it is, yeah.
And we’re ranked
about 48th globally,
in terms of being low.
What, in the parliament?
Low. Yeah, in the parliament.
Yeah.
It’s low.
Jason, can I just ask you –
these abuse claims from these women,
do they tell you something
about the culture of the party?
Because they’re suggesting
there’s some kind of
misogynous culture within the party.
Does that worry you?
Yeah, that does worry me.
It does worry me
from the perspective that
we are a broad-based political party
without the sort of
institutional support
that other parties have,
so we rely on members
joining our party.
We rely on them being active.
And if there is a culture
where certain people feel
that they’re unwelcome
or that they’re not, um…
..or we don’t want them involved,
that’s a massive problem for us.
Or that they’re being shut up
when they have abuse claims.
Or they’re being shut up, exactly.
How disturbing is that?
So, the abuse claim
is really disturbing,
but I think Katy and any member
of a political party would say
political parties are not set up
to deal with claims of sexual abuse.
That is the purview of the police,
and rightfully so,
because they’re very serious claims.
Where there is a problem with
environments
in which people
don’t feel comfortable being there,
that’s a problem
that we have to face up to,
and one that the federal executive
faced up to on Friday,
and it’s an ongoing project.
Cassandra,
you obviously want to respond.
Keep it brief, if you wouldn’t mind.
I do. I do.
Jason, I don’t think
it is correct to say
that a political party
has no role here.
I mean, no corporation,
no employer anywhere else
would get away with saying that.
In fact, the codes of
conduct and the expectations
around the responsibility
of an employer
to ensure that
if there is an allegation
of this kind of conduct,
that the employer
does all things reasonably
within their power to ensure that
that person is supported,
that they feel able
to bring forth that complaint,
for you to take action
to investigate it,
including to support them
to go to the police
if they choose to do that.
This is an environment
where it’s very difficult
for a person to pursue that
on their own.
No other employer,
if you pursue it legally,
you get in big trouble to just go,
“Oh, not our job.
“You go off
and tell the police about it.”
The employer has a responsibility
to support that person
right through the process.
OK, um…
Listen, Tony, I’m…
I’m sorry…
Right, yeah.
So, I need to be clear.
I’m talking about the difference
between harassment and sexual abuse.
One is an act – a criminal act.
In the two women that came forward,
one has said
that she was supported
in going to the police,
and she decided that
she didn’t want to go to the police.
I don’t know what more you believe
the Liberal Party could have done
in that particular instance,
but we have a very…
Should you root out
a culture of harassment
and make sure that
the people who are doing it
are not members anymore?
Where there is harassment of anyone,
on any basis,
they will – let me be very clear –
be rooted out and expelled
from the Liberal Party.
So, what do you think
about the notion
that someone went
to one of these women and said,
“How would you feel…”
I’m appalled.
“..if this person was put up
for pre-selection…”
I’m absolutely appalled at that.
“..the person who did this to you?”
That is absolutely appalling
and I can’t…
I honestly…
If that hadn’t been put
on the record,
I would tell you there is no way
that would have happened.
So, are the people responsible,
have they been rooted out?
Well, in that particular instance,
there are ongoing inquiries,
and I believe,
if that person is discovered
and the person making
that allegation
is willing to
identify that person,
yes, they will be rooted out.
OK, I’ll quickly go back
to our questioner.
Felicity, you had your hand up?
Yeah. I guess
the feeling that I have
with regarding
how women are meant to feel
within Liberal Party ranks
is that it’s OK if you just go about
being nice, little ladies,
but if you stick your head up
above the parapet
and say, “We have a problem here,”
that’s just not on.
So, I guess I need to say to that –
and I know you’re not meaning
to be that way –
but that is highly offensive
to my female colleagues
in the parliament,
and none of them are like that.
None of them will put up
with the sort of nonsense
that has been described
in the media.
We have a very strong culture
of empowering people
regardless of their gender.
OK, I’ve got
to ask you this, Zali.
Does it make you think twice
about even the possibility
of joining the Liberal Party?
(LAUGHTER)
I’m a proud independent.
Yeah. Will you remain
a proud independent?
It’s one of the questions.
We got a lot of questions…
Fair enough.
..along those lines.
Do you intend to remain
a proud independent
throughout your time in parliament,
or is there any chance
you could join the Liberal Party?
Look, I’ve answered
this question a lot.
The irony is, on one day,
I get asked, or assumed,
that I’m going to defect
to the Liberal Party,
and another day, I’m a Labor stooge
and a GetUp activist,
and then I’ve got a Green staffer,
and then I’ve got everything.
So, I think a lot of people
have trouble accepting…
Are you saying you wouldn’t fit
in the Liberal Party?
People just have trouble
categorising what an independent is.
And, ironically,
I think it’s the truest form
of representation of your electorate
because I’m not beholden
to a party line.
I’m beholden to my electorate,
and I’ve made it clear
I am there to represent
my electorate as an independent,
and that’s what I’m doing.
But what I find interesting
with the question,
for example, on this issue is,
are our political parties
only kind of starting
to come to terms
with the expectations
that all our corporations have had
to deal with for a long time already
from a legal point of view, from
quotas, equity,
proper representation,
more diversity within the parties?
How do they deal with
sexual abuse complaints
or discrimination?
And I feel like,
in the corporate world,
it all happened some time ago.
Not perfect. Still a long way to go.
But it’s a process.
Maybe the political parties
are sort of a bit late to the party
of getting on with this.
I’m just going to bring Katy in,
and Adam wants to get in as well.
Go ahead.
Just briefly on the corporate point.
I mean, do we really have
any evidence
that things are so much better
in the corporate world?
I mean, I would say,
from first principles,
that, I mean, our politicians
are under far more scrutiny
than people in the corporate world
because of the media attention.
And so if they won…
I mean, if they stuff up once,
their entire career is over,
whereas that is not the case
in the corporate world.
So, I just think this kind of
constant beating up on politicians,
because of, you know,
so-called cultural reasons
just ignores that these things
can be just as bad
in the corporate world,
but we just don’t focus on it.
Adam, we’re talking about
our political leaders here
and the Australian parliament.
Surely, we should be saying…
You would want, Jason,
for you to set the standard.
You know, that’s what
we’re after here.
But these…
(APPLAUSE)
Katy, I’m going to bring you in
before we run out of time. Go ahead.
Look, I think the first thing
to say is that, you know,
political parties
have to deal with this
and it has been an issue
that’s grown.
I think we see certainly there’s
been issues in the Greens party
from time to time.
You know, I’m sure the Labor Party
is not perfect.
The Labor Party
isn’t the employer of staffers.
I think that’s the only point
I’d add to Jason’s,
is when the staffer…
..if they’re employed in
a political office,
they do have an employer
and that employer has obligations,
so those staff do have, you know,
support.
I would have to say, though,
in terms of the stuff
that’s been going on in
the Liberal Party,
I just…you know, it’s unusual
but I’d like to support the words
that Jason has said.
I think he’s been quite outspoken.
And, you know, it’s still…
..politics is still
a male-dominated profession.
And, you know, I think I’ve been
in politics for 20-odd years.
You know, women have had to fight
to have systems put in place
that support their involvement
in political parties.
In the Labor Party,
there’s more of us.
We’ve probably been a bit more
shouty
and we’ve got the policies in place.
And, you know,
we have other support networks,
that are women’s groups within
the party that support that.
But, you know, the federal caucus,
we’re 46% female now.
You know, the boys
are starting to look around
and, “What’s happening here?”
But I would say that, you know,
we need men like Jason who are
going to say that what happened,
the allegations that have been in
the paper, are wrong,
shouldn’t happen, because that will
bring forward cultural change
within political parties.
‘Cause it’s not so simple as
just having a policy.
It is actually changing culture,
and that’s where you need leaders
to actually stand up and say,
“It’s not OK. This is the way
we’re going to do things.”
And, you know, I think
credit where credit is due.
OK. We’re going to move on,
completely different subject.
Goronwy Price has a question for us.
Go ahead.
Ah, yes.
In Canada and the United States,
there are many small,
entrepreneurial companies
now pioneering nuclear batteries.
In effect, nuclear batteries,
small-scale power plants.
These can be powered by thorium
and they have several benefits –
one of which is thorium
and molten salts,
they cannot melt down.
They do not convert to plutonium,
so they can’t be weaponised,
and they potentially could be
produced in factories
so they’re many, many times cheaper
than conventional power plants.
Are they using them anywhere?
There are applications in
in Utah now.
The first, so they’re
just coming off the line.
There’s none, as far as I know,
actually installed
but there’s one that’s being
approved currently.
The idea is that after
you’ve built them,
after you’ve made them,
it can be buried.
They’re very small, you bury it.
It’s a sealed system and then
you take it away 25 years later.
A small unit in my back garden,
in Warringah,
would have enough to power
the electorate for 25 years.
And then it could be taken away
assuming the body corporate
would allow!
Would you be…
(LAUGHTER)
You’d be happy to…
You’re obviously a member of
Zali’s electorate!
Would you be happy
to have one in your electorate?
Certainly, I’d be happy to have one
in my back garden.
I’d be happy to have one…
You could put one under the
Quarantine Station on North Head.
OK.
They are safe.
There’s a major nuclear power plant
in the suburbs of Toronto.
I think we have an
unreasonable fear of nuclear energy.
OK, let’s go to Zali first
because it’s your electorate.
Can you imagine this?
Because you want zero emissions.
It’s critical for climate change,
in your way of looking at it,
so why not think about
the new generation of
thorium nuclear reactors
as a way of doing this?
Look, again, we have to find
the solutions.
We need to go towards
a zero emission
and there’s no doubt that we have
to investigate all the options.
We do know renewables are
the cheapest source, as it stands,
and my understanding is nuclear
has a cost element.
But, look, the Energy Minister
has just referred to the committee,
on which I am, and we will be
investigating.
Do you feel agnostic about the source
of power?
For example, a form of nuclear power
which was cleaner
than traditional nuclear power,
like thorium batteries
that he’s referring to,
would you be prepared to go into that
with an open mind?
Well, I think we have a duty
to investigate all possibilities.
The question, though is, you have…
There’s a lot of factors that need
to be looked at
and, I think at the end of the day
there’s also social acceptance
is a big part of it.
It has to be acceptable
to the community.
I’m not sure how the rest of
Warringah would feel
about your proposal!
And you have to weigh it up with
what alternatives are available.
And, look, the beauty is that’s what
can be investigated,
and I do have an open mind
in terms of looking at it.
OK.
Personally, I do feel that
there is a duty to find the safest,
cheapest source of power.
Alright, let’s go to Jason because
Angus Taylor has suggested that
we need another inquiry.
There was one, the Switkowski inquiry
during John Howard’s time.
That was of course before these kind
of thorium reactors even existed.
Well, they still don’t
quite exist yet,
but they’re a lot further
down the line.
Look, I agree with Zali,
we need to, you know,
have an open mind on different
power sources that are available,
in particular ones that don’t
produce greenhouse gas emissions.
I think the issue with
renewable energy is
that whereas a coal-fired
power station or a gas turbine
can create electricity permanently,
or in a dispatchable sense,
you need to combine renewable energy
with batteries,
and that’s what sends the economics
of that right out of whack.
So when you put that into
the equation,
what you end up with is
a nuclear reactor
becomes quite cost effective
in comparison.
And so do you feel that’s
a good way to go?
A lot of your colleagues are
now talking openly about
this as a possibility.
Once again, I’m going to keep
an open mind.
It’s part of an inquiry.
I don’t think that I should…
But is Angus…is Angus…
..on Q&A, reach a conclusion.
Is Angus Taylor going down
the right path here,
opening up an inquiry?
Because John Howard had one,
an extensive one…
Yeah.
..that decided it was too expensive,
would take too long and too many
political obstacles.
That was 12 years ago.
A lot has changed.
And, yes, I think we need to explore
all options.
Time is ticking. You know,
we have available to…
Are you talking about the program
or the planet?!
..available to us…
The climate crisis.
OK, alright.
Actually, last time I checked,
it’s not like we’ve got forever
to think about these things.
We don’t, you know.
Here we have…
You’re in favour, are you?
(APPLAUSE)
You’re in favour of nuclear?
No, no, no.
Why are we investigating something,
could, maybe,
when we absolutely know we’ve got
the best technology
in terms of renewables.
We should be getting behind
and investing in that
as rapidly as we can.
Cassandra, renewables are never
going to achieve it.
I mean, if we want to
get to zero carbon…
Adam…
..the overwhelming bulk of
Australia’s energy
still comes from gas and coal
and yet we focus every day in the
media on these so-called renewables.
I mean, even if you look at
the Western world…
Why would you call it
“so-called renewables”?!
Well, they are single-digit
percentage contribution.
I mean, it’s just so absurd
that we’re the only country
in the G20 with a complete ban
on nuclear energy.
It doesn’t make any sense.
We have a third of
the world’s uranium…
Can we just be clear about
one thing?
They’re not “so-called renewables”,
they are renewables.
(DERISIVE LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE)
Sure, but they still…
It creates the impression
that they’re free.
Like, sure, the marginal cost
is free at some times of the day.
Indeed, on 22 July,
it was for the first time,
the marginal cost of energy
was free.
And everyone’s like,
“Oh, wow, free power.”
But, you know, what’s going
to happen at night-time?
I mean, you still need power
at night-time.
And everyone says,
“Oh, well, you know,
“there’ll be battery technology,”
but that’s just assuming that
the rate of progress
in battery technology will
just continue upward and upward
forever and that it’s just all going
to work out perfectly.
The reality is,
on current technology,
there is no way that with solar
and wind and hydro,
you will get to zero emissions.
We absolutely need nuclear.
I mean, I just came back from
Chicago, I spent three months there,
and in the state of Illinois
they have 10 nuclear power stations.
10. And the cost of electricity
there is a third of what it is
in New South Wales. One third.
And then in France as well,
I think they have something like
30 nuclear power stations.
Their power is much cheaper
than ours.
I don’t want to see here…
So all this business about it being
so expensive is just wrong.
I don’t want to see nuclear
in this country.
And, Zali, do you want…
But why?
Chernobyl was built in the ’70s.
We’ve got available to us
renewable energy sources
that we should be absolutely
investing in…
But the battery technology
is not there.
..investing in as quickly as we can.
If we’re worried about energy bills,
there’s a bundle of things
that we can do.
We know people on low incomes,
all the solutions that there
are available.
People on low income’s power bills
have gone up about 100% in a decade.
Get all the houses around
the country actually…
OK, I’ll tell you what I’m going
to do here, I’m just going to say…
Hang on a sec, I’m going to say,
you need to speak…
But we are now going into
another review.
Hang on a sec, Cassandra, you need to
speak independently of each other.
We’re very good at reviews!
OK, you’re both
talking over each other.
So, Cassandra, finish your point.
And I’m going to go back to you,
Adam,
because it does take a long time
to build a nuclear reactor.
It does, yes. It does.
They are very expensive,
and that’s what Switkowski found.
There would be a 30-year time period
to actually get one up.
That’s going back then.
Have you looked into this now?
How long would it take to build,
even one, in Australia?
Well, certainly, the technology has
improved a lot since that review.
But, I mean, as I understand it,
our various emissions targets
do relate to 20, 30 years
into the future,
so we do have to act now,
if we’re going to do this.
They do take a long time to build,
but there are smaller modular ones
that are being developed.
I mean, the state of Ontario
in Canada is now 60% nuclear.
So, you know, we really do have
to act now.
I mean, I’m not for a review.
I think the major parties have to
get together, they have to agree.
I mean, it really is so
disappointing
that Labor’s come out and basically
pooh-poohed this idea,
because it’s not in the national
interest really to say this.
Let’s hear what Labor says. Go ahead.
Yeah, so, our view is this is,
well, yet another review.
We don’t believe that Angus Taylor
is genuine about this.
I think this is him distracting from
the rather difficult month he’s had
in politics and also the fact that
they’ve had 15 failed
energy policies
in the last six years.
So, you know, my feedback
from the community,
when I’m talking to people, is
they want to get on now,
picking up Cassandra’s point.
They want action now, they want
a national energy policy now
that the government has failed
to deliver
and, you know, we’ve lost
prime ministers over.
And this is something
that has been tested
before the Australian community
a number of times since 1950
and has been rejected
every single time.
You know, the view of, I think,
the people I represent is,
you know, first believe
climate change is real,
that it’s happening, and that
we need a policy to deal with it.
And that’s something that
this government,
in three terms and six years,
hasn’t been able to deliver.
If nuclear energy was safe,
would you still be against it?
Well, I think there’s issues
around nuclear energy.
It’s about the location.
It’s about the use of water.
It’s about the cost.
It’s about the length of time
to construct.
It’s the construction period
and the emissions throughout that.
I mean, there’s a whole range of
issues that have to be looked at
if you were genuine about it.
But, you know, it is,
I think, saying,
“Oh, we’re going to do
all this busy work over here
“about something that might happen
in 30 years,”
but actually what’s happening now,
and what people want to see now
is action happening now.
Just on the location, we do have one
at Lucas Heights already.
Yes, but this would be a new one.
We’re running out of time rapidly.
This would be a new one.
Goronwy, you had
a very long question,
but you can make
a very short response!
No-one is saying, “Don’t use
renewables, don’t use storage,”
but climate change is an emergency.
Here we are,
it’s like we’re going to war
and leaving our tanks and
our artillery and our aircraft
back in the hangar
and saying, “We can’t use them.”
Nuclear power works.
The countries that are producing
all their energy emissions-free –
like France, Sweden, Ontario –
it’s all done with nuclear power
and some renewables.
Alright, Adam, I think he made
your point for you, so we’ll move on.
In three weeks’ time,
we’ll have Q&A’s 2019
High School Special, when senior
high school students join the panel
to discuss Australia’s future
with today’s politicians.
So, we want Australia’s
political leaders to meet
the leaders of tomorrow.
So head to our website
and upload your audition video.
Our next question comes from
Halle McGree.
A recent survey showed that
one in eight men
believed they could win a point off
Serena Williams in a game of tennis.
Do you believe these results
would be different
if the subject of the survey
was a top male tennis player?
And do you think that this shows
sexism is still prevalent in sport?
Zali, I’ll start…
(LAUGHTER)
I’ll start with you.
Put you on the downhill
and let you go.
Good luck anyone taking a point off
Serena Williams, is all I can say.
She’s powerful,
she’s absolutely fantastic.
Look, sexism does still exist,
there’s no doubt about it.
But you have to tackle it head-on,
and it’s girls like you,
it’s the next generation
that have to do it.
We all do our bit.
It’s why I’m here.
It’s why I’ve stood for parliament
this year.
I thought it was really important
that we needed more women
in parliament, more representation.
I’ve come up across sexism, whether
it’s been my sporting career,
legal, at various times.
You have to call it out
and you have to stand your ground.
So, yeah, sport is a…
..it’s a tricky one,
but you just have to go for it.
I think the growth in women’s sport
has been fantastic.
I think back to 20 years ago,
we had a handful of individual
sportsperson…sportswomen,
that could get a few sponsors
and you could get yourself
enough profile to survive in sport.
Now we have leagues, we have sports.
We need to see pay equity,
we need to see the women’s teams
getting the same pay as the guys.
But at least they’re starting
to get a little bit more recognition
and coverage and, I think,
often much better to watch.
I must say, I’m a bit surprised
about this question because
it was 1974, I think, when Bobby
Riggs challenged Billie Jean King.
Yes.
And that questions seems a bit of
a throwback to that weird time.
I thought we might have advanced
a little further than that.
Yeah, and, look, it’s one of those
things that you’re not comparing
apples with apples, they’re
different…often different sports.
It’s not a question of saying,
“Well, is a guy stronger
than a woman,
“and so is that a test of strength?”
It’s about, you’ve got
different sports.
You know, you don’t ask a
100m sprinter to run the 10 k
and say, well, one’s
a better athlete than the other.
They’re doing different sports.
And so I think male and female sport
needs to be respected and recognised
and celebrated for what it is.
And that’s up to the public
to really let everyone know
what they want to see
and what they want to watch.
You know, I’ve got boys and girls
at home,
I want them all to participate
in sport.
I encourage the kids,
kids from the electorate,
I want everyone to get out there
and get active.
I’d like to throw that around
to everybody
but I’m told we’re out of time.
So that is all we have time for
tonight.
Please thank our panel –
whether they’re going to play tennis
or not –
Cassandra Goldie, Jason Falinski,
Zali Steggall, Katy Gallagher
and Adam Creighton.
Thank you very much.
Thanks too to our wonderful
questioners tonight –
a very feisty bunch,
if I may say so.
If you’ve got more to say,
you can continue the discussion
on Facebook and Twitter.
Next week on Q&A, British philosopher
AC Grayling,
whose latest books trace
the history of philosophy
and the crisis of modern democracy,
the minister for congestion busting
Alan Tudge,
the Shadow Minister for Environment
and Water Terri Butler,
historian Clare Wright, who’s
chronicled the Rebels of Eureka
and the campaign to win women
the vote,
and People’s Panellist Li Shee Su.
Until then, goodnight.
Captions by Red Bee Media
Copyright Australian
Broadcasting Corporation

41 thoughts on “Zali’s Political Slalom | Q&A”

  1. Stop immigration, including students with working visas. Unemployment is clearly too high and people are suffering, there is no justification for immigration whilst even one Australian is unemployed.
    Immigration is also unfair to working Australians whose wages are stagnant and who are taxed to provide centre link payments to unemployed Australians whilst foreigners are working.

  2. Hardly call it free media , who pay's there wages .. ADD revenue media bias is as bad here as the rest of the world!

  3. Since Australia processes all the nuclear waste from every country that imports our uranium we should have 100 percent of our energy supplied by nuclear. At the moment we have all the risk and no gain.

  4. When is the RBA cutting cash rates again? How will womens sport stop 5-6million workers being let go when next financial crisis or depression caused by governments takes place?

    Start paying attention to real issues.

  5. If you want to fight corruption at every level the cheapest and most effective way is to protect the people who bring information forward. Whistleblowers are being hung out to dry and we sit and watch it on the news…

  6. If you ever get bored watching this, then check out tony and his pen when he speaks to the camera. He never seems to write much down but he picked up that thing 10 times a minute when he's doing a monologue.

  7. 38:00 a woman brings up the "prejudice" adam goods faced… that NO other team member of the same race faced…
    care to explain how this is "prejudice" lady? Australia is getting sick of race virtue signaling and false claims of racism. and being called racist in one of the most diverse populations on the planet.
    close the boarders. if you want more skilled workers TRAIN THEM. offer aussies incentive to have kids, stop flooding us into oblivion.

  8. This country seems bent on self destruction, the people are only passingly aware of the machinations to reorganise their financial,social,spiritual and familial lives. 9:20
    as a apprentice why would i look at buying into a housing bubble, all the while bidding myself deeper into a never audited bankers ledger as i try in vain to outbid the head of Chinese trade and or intelligence for a 4 bedroom flat in the western suburbs, chuck in automation and the collapse of the world trade "order" sandwiched between a politically correct drag kid and entrenched political class so bereft from reality they will even tell you on monday night tv that there isnt any divergence of policy in another of the major political parties 9:20,what do i suggest? why not quit your low paying hard working job and sit and watch ( on their dime for a change) as they burn it down around themselves,youll be hard pressed to convince me otherwise 🙂 so in summary enjoy the show this will get noticeably worse at an increasingly "exhilarating" pace, things gonna get worse but i wouldn't like to hazard a guess that they will get better this century.

  9. here something the panel could discuss that actually matters for once, not to suggest they dont accost many real new story's to spin their agenda on, might it be prudent to enquire why every major aussie "news" youtube page has their comments unceremoniously blocked, why cant the people have their say and see what other people like themselves think? hmmm you start to get nervous at that point id imagine cant have any wrong-think coalescing much less below one of your very own mouthpieces just a thought 🙂

  10. Zali Steggle is a foolish Naive representative . I can see no good from her repeating ignorant statements every time she opens her mouth .Same goes for Cassandra Goldie . Uninformed people like these can not add anything to the debate on climate government energy or economics. If these ignorant women are all Australia can offer , We are in trouble

  11. You worked as a manager for 40 years, but now want your tax dollars back. Agree pay her $1M. And the rest of the people on Newstart. My grandkids will pay when they are born and start working.

  12. Have U noticed the audience is mostly boomers No fresh blood in Australian politics
    Australia is in its death throws

  13. Every single person on newstart feels this women's pain and pretending like the liberal mp hasn't heard it before is a pathetic joke. What a filthy rat

  14. Adam Creighton was schooling that moral signalling Cassandra Goldie we need more of him on the panel. All Cassandra did was attempt to grandstand whenever she got a chance, we need less of her.

  15. If you ever think that the worlds best male tennis player would lose a point to the worlds best woman's tennis player you have got to be joking. That last question is just common sense and it isn't sexism to point out that woman perform sports at a lower calibre to their male counterparts.

  16. Zali Steggall should have stuck to skiing. Well done Warringah you've unseated one of the most capable politicians we've seen in modern times and put in this ridiculous woman. *slow clap

  17. The left and green investors won't debate nuclear energy because it undermines their ability to use climate hysteria as a lever to gain money and power: it is always about self interest. And these elites use the so called 'useful idiot's' to make noise in their support: those that lack critical thinking and only watch left media which keeps them in a fog of ignorance.

  18. I would suggest the Liberal government's economic policies are better examined through the lens of evolutionary psychology. And, this is because all political policy making is consequent to the eternal struggle between those seeking to preserve the species and those seeking to steal reproductive advantage.

    Now of course, during the period when a species is occupying a new niche, there will be positive selection for those reproductive strategies that increase the total number of individuals contributing to the overall gene pool. However, once that niche is fully occupied, and internal competition for resources arises, then a small percentage individuals will seek to increase the proportion of their genes alone in that pool, irrespective of whether this results in a smaller overall population size. This perspective not only describes the fundamental difference between citizens and psychopaths, and why politics all over the western world is traditionally bimodal, consisting solely of a ‘left’ and ‘right’, it also explains why there are so few women in the LNP and the sexist behaviour of the men. Put plainly, the frequency of psychopathy demostrates a strong male bias.

    Quite uniquely for conscious and therefore prescient humans, however, this approach to politics also predicts that once planetary resources can clearly no longer meet demand, then a third political force on the far left consisting of environmental activists will invariably arise. The Greens.

    Put more plainly; through policies such as free public education, strong unions and environmental controls the left seeks to provide every child an equal opportunity to eventually procreate. While, through policies such as tax advantages for the wealthy, public funding of elite private schools, the destruction of the healthcare system and a Newstart allowance below the poverty level. LNP just wants you dead.

  19. To answer Zali, it is necessary for immigration to be drastically reduced in order to create job opportunities as well as create the conditions for wage increases.

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