Subjects: Queensland Premier Steven Miles laughing at question on youth crime; Anika Well’s insensitive joke; Labor’s cost of living crisis; Labor’s energy policy shambles; AGL profits; IR laws prove the unions run the Albanese Government; Prime Minister Marape’s visit to Australia; Australia’s important friendship with PNG.
Peter Dutton, the Federal Opposition Leader’s on the line from Canberra.
Mr Dutton, good morning.
Good morning Ray.
Now, I know you’ve got to go to a meeting with the Papuan Prime Minister shortly, but I’ll try and guide ourselves through. I had played to the audience that regrettable interview that Adam Walters from Sky News – and I know you’re aware of it – conducted with the giggling Premier of Queensland. I’ve also had a request from the widower of Vyleen White, Victor White to speak to me, which I’ll do when I’m finished talking to you.
But, I just want to extend that – this is for the benefit of people without going to the entire interview – this is what happened. And while you’ll hear some audio here of the laughter, the grinning goes on for quite an extended period.
The absence of any reference to youth crime in your speech to the Queensland media would have been noted…
[Premier Miles giggles]
….by more than a few, including the people of those communities.
Now, I know that you’ve dealt with this bloke for a long period of time, as I have. He was an inept Deputy Premier, but the disgraceful performance with that particular laughing and giggling, I think surrenders all right for him to be the Premier of the state of Queensland.
I agree with that, Ray. I think when the union bosses picked Steven Miles as the successor to Annastacia Palaszczuk, they knew that he wasn’t up to the job, that he wasn’t the best person for the job; but he was chosen because he’ll do whatever the union bosses tell him to do – even if it’s against Queensland interests – you see that in the deals that the State Government do for the CFMEU and others – that’s the financial windfall for them – so, that’s the background to it.
In relation to this particular incident; I’ve seen some appalling acts in politics over a long period of time, and I’m sure your listeners have as well. The issue of law and order and crime, people living in fear, having their bedrooms broken into to steal car keys, people being assaulted, stabbed, murdered; it is, I think, one of the most emotional and serious issues in Queensland at the moment. And if the Premier in the first instance doesn’t have the ability to conduct himself with decency and dignity and respect, then he’s not fit for the job.
Secondly, which I think has compounded his problem and now made his position untenable, is that he’s concocted this story that actually he wasn’t laughing at that – he must be thinking of something else – and that it wasn’t that he was laughing at the issue. He just happened to be, I don’t know, daydreaming or something? But it doesn’t stack up. It’s a lie. I think he’s digging himself deeper into the hole.
For a lot of Australians right now, not just Queenslanders, but a lot of Australians who are facing this crime endemic, they want a leader who can stand up, and provide support to them. I think it gives an insight also, if I might say, into the discussions that must go on around the Labor Cabinet table when they’re talking about ‘should we harden the laws up?’, ‘should we appoint a few magistrates who are going to really thump the desk and deal with some of these criminals?’. No, no, they don’t take it seriously because they’re too concerned about the civil rights of the offenders, and they think there’s a rehabilitation path for someone who’s out on bail and then stabbed someone to death, and that the person shouldn’t be behind bars. In their hearts that’s actually what they believe, which is actually quite dangerous.
Well, the funny thing is – and it’s not funny either, in the sense, but the strange thing is, as opposed to funny – Mark Ryan, the Police Minister, he’s ripped and torn into to the magistrates, all of whom have been appointed – or let’s say 85 to 90 per cent – have been appointed by this Labor Government. They put them there! They put the left leaning soft soap magistrates in place, and then he’s got the temerity to say, ‘oh, they’re not tough enough’. I mean, fair dinkum.
You reap what you sow. The magistrates will say, ‘well, we only operate according to the law’, and to a degree, that’s true. If the Parliament – particularly in Queensland, where there’s no upper house – the Parliament can pass any law they want. There’s no excuse for Steven Miles not pass tough laws.
So yes, okay, the magistrates and the judges have to operate within the law – of course they do – but for a lot, they don’t go anywhere near a maximum sentence. They have a particular ideology, and you’re right, it’s because they’ve hand-picked these people to go in there, to find a lenient option for some of these criminals.
It’s exactly what’s happening now at a federal level with Mark Dreyfus and Anthony Albanese. When you read about some of the horrific crimes conducted by the worst people in our society; sex offenders and others, who end up with a light sentences; it doesn’t send any message of deterrence to other offenders who might be thinking of doing the same thing. But Labor does it whenever they get into Government, they always appoint these people who are pretty soft on law and order, and unfortunately, it’s the victims of crime who pay the price.
You probably haven’t heard this, and we’ve discovered it this morning. It comes from the Today program and Karl Stefanovic. Now, obviously it’s been big news all over the place with the interview by, of course, Adam Walters and it was featured…
Good on Adam Walters.
Yeah, yeah it was good.
Yeah, and then it’s been replayed and replayed and replayed on news services and on Sky News and on other free to air channels. But Annika Wells, the Federal Minister for Aged Care and Sport, appeared on TV this morning with Karl Stefanovic. They weren’t discussing law and order, but just have a quick listen to what happened:
In relation to family trusts and negative gearing – we made up our mind on that one yet? Or just planning not to?
I hope I don’t get pinged for smiling just then.
Can you believe that? I mean, ‘I hope I don’t get..’. It was a question unrelated to what Miles was dealing with yesterday and she smiled as he was asking the question, and ‘I hope I don’t get pinged’.
Now, I know it’s live television but as she got the IQ of a cumquat?
Well, she’s living right in the heart of a lot of this crime and she represents a seat where cars have been stolen at record numbers, and people literally are living in fear. I mean, you talk to local residents who, have fortified their homes, people who are leaving the keys in the car or by the front door in the hope that if these kids do break into their homes, they’re not going to come into the bedroom.
The social media outcome for these people means that the crimes are going to continue, and the severity, I think, of the acts that they’re committing will only increase as well. That’s the dangerous path that they’re on. For her not to have any self-awareness or any understanding or compassion toward people who see this, understandably, as their number one issue, I find contemptible.
Now, I spent a bit of time this morning – because I’m old enough to remember the Terence Cole Royal Commission, the Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry, that we saw the result of, started about 2001 and then we saw the Governor-General get it in February of 2003 and then tabled in Parliament March of 2003, which basically equated to trying to balance things better. He said that he found no evidence of criminal activity organised anyway. But his Honour said ‘it did articulate a case that was industry characterised by lawlessness in the conduct of industrial relations’.
Now, just watching things happen through the course of the morning with the Casanova Burke joining Casanova Bowen now, in that description, of the IR laws, where it’s now weighted entirely towards the unions. So those employers who joined hands and said, ‘let’s support the businesses’. They said, ‘let’s support a Labor Government or a likely Labor Government at the last federal election’, are now standing there like stunned mullets as to what’s happened to them. It was always going to be thus once Casanova Burke took control of this portfolio and all the great work, of course, of Terence Cole, bit by bit by bit being brought undone with, of course, the tearing down of the Australian Building Construction Commission, and was torn down previously as well. So I mean, where do we end up? The balance is now far in favour of the unions to the extent that businesses are almost irrelevant.
Well Ray, this is payday for the unions. The unions decided the leadership within the Labor Party, and that’s why Anthony Albanese is the Leader of the Labor Party, first point.
The second point is that they donate literally tens of millions of dollars to the Labor Party, and that’s why you’ve got another 10,000 public servants employed in Canberra by the Albanese Government, because they’re all paying fees to the union. That money ultimately – at least part of it – goes back to the ALP, both at the federal and state level, and when the union bosses turn up to the Prime Minister’s Office with a list of demands and the laws that they want changed, the Prime Minister and the Minister jump into action.
Even the CFMEU’s had their own way, well, in many ways in this Bill, but you know that the union is trying to separate and get rid of the construction side of it because they’ve been through the court so many times and lawlessness that you mentioned before has been found to be the case by judges, etc.. And the Labor Party’s taken the recommendation of the CFMEU to try and overturn that law that we put in place to allow unions to demerge.
Honestly, the saddest part Ray, is that at a time when Australians are seeing food prices through the roof, you’re paying much more for your mortgage, you’re paying much more for your insurance bill and every other cost of living pressure’s up – gas is up by about 30 per cent under this Government – all of this cost is just passed on to consumers. So when you go and buy a unit at a retirement village, or you go and buy any infrastructure that’s been built, it’s all done at a much higher cost, because that’s what the unions demand and there’s no thought for the consumer. That’s why inflation’s a problem in our country at the moment because Labor always do the bidding of the unions and unfortunately the consumers end up paying the price.
You’ve been in Parliament, so you’ve probably missed it, but at a time when people have crippling power costs, the second biggest supplier of gas, electricity: AGL, has just announced a half yearly profit that’s gone up by 359 per cent from something like $87 million to $400 million. I mean, when I looked at it I scratched my head and said, ‘well, hang on a sec’. And then people at businesses sending me their power bills saying, ‘well, it’s gone up from $1,000 to $2,500’. Well, no wonder they’re making 359 per cent increased profits. And what’s being done about that?
Well, it’s a good point, and you’ve got pensioners and people on fixed incomes, self-funded retirees who are sweltering through summer because they can’t afford to turn the air conditioning on or going to bed much earlier of a night time to turn the lights off and not have the TV running.
You’ve got a system – I think the energy system in this country is a complete disaster. It’s one of the biggest factors in inflation because, as we’ve discussed before, every farmer’s facing the same increase in their power costs that you are in your household, cold rooms are more expensive to run, the glasses are more expensive to manufacture that you buy your goods in at the supermarket – and again, the farmers can’t absorb that, it’s passed on through higher prices when you go to Coles and Woolies.
The Prime Minister promised that power prices were coming down by $275. He promised it on 97 occasions, gave his word, and he’s never mentioned that figure since he was elected 18 months ago, and you’ve got these power companies now, who are ripping people off because of the Government’s policies that allow them to do that.
I know you’ve got to go to speak to Prime Minister Marape, but obviously he’s just addressed Federal Parliament, and I’ve noted your comments this morning and shared it with our listeners. But this is a very, very important part of our history with PNG. They’re getting courted by the Chinese and flattered by the Chinese and have money thrown at them by the Chinese, so we’ve just gotta hope that the Government under James Marape sticks solid with their most historic neighbour, that being us.
That’s very true, Ray. As the Prime Minister points out, we’re in the most precarious period since the Second World War. Seeing what’s happening in the Middle East and in Ukraine at the moment, China is certainly very aggressive in relation to smaller nations in our region. They’re desperate to set up a military base closer to Australia, and that’s why it’s important for us to continue the friendship that we have.
PNG is family, and we spoke very warmly in the Parliament this morning about that shared history – the ‘fuzzy-wuzzys’, the fact that Papua New Guineans were willing to give their lives to support Australian troops, who help defend us against the Japanese in the Second World War. They were integral in turning Australia’s fortunes around, in turning really the outcome of the war, and we’ve been side-by-side with them, we will continue to be into the future, and with PNG and many other Pacific Island nations, that relationship for us is more important than ever. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Government, with the Prime Minister to make sure that we keep that a very strong relationship. It’s in our national interest to do so.
Okay. Good luck with your discussions in about 10 minutes.
We’ll talk to you next week. Thanks very much.
Thanks, Ray. See you mate. Bye bye.