Subjects: Labor’s economic mismanagement; Noel Pearson’s offensive rant on multicultural communities and The Voice; the Prime Minister’s divisive Voice, Treaty, Truth proposal; the Government’s cost of living crisis; Labor’s sweetheart airline deal that will keep airfare prices higher; Chris Bowen’s botched handling of community consultation in Port Stephens.
So, I don’t know that there are major water problems in North Strathfield, last time I checked, for Rose Jackson. And there she is, she’s an activist, and at the moment, her activity is destroying farmers – coastal farmers in New South Wales. Peter Dutton, it’s a basket case. Good morning.
Good morning, Ray, it sure is. Look at her CV – not a day of work mentioned – never had a small business, never had an overdraft, never had to pay staff, always been employed by the union. But, as they say, when you vote for a change of government, you change the state or you change the country, and I think people are seeing that under the Labor Government – federally and state-wise – at the moment.
I don’t want to keep flogging the dead horse, which is the Voice, but I have to.
I’ve received a number of emails, and I’ve read one of them this morning from people who came to this country in the last 25 years and have made a great success. The one I received this morning I think has come from either Sri Lanka or India, and they are greatly offended by the offering of Noel Pearson. Let’s have a listen to what he had to say yesterday:
I say to multicultural communities in the campaign that I’m involved in around the country, I say to them, ‘listen, where do you fit into Australia? It’s a bit unclear, are you with the mob from the UK? Are you kind of honorary settlers? Because some of you are the wrong colour, or you don’t come from northern Europe, you come from Africa, you come from Asia, come from South America, you come from all over the joint, you come from China’. I say to them, ‘where do you fit in Australia?’.
You see, Peter Dutton, there’s an expression in racing – you may not be aware of it – it’s called ‘running dead’. Now, it doesn’t happen very often, it means you’re not trying. It appears to me that Noel Pearson’s running dead, because how could he possibly think that was helpful? To try and get those people who came more recently to Australia across the line to vote ‘yes’? How could he think that would be helpful? It appears to me that it’s counter-productive. He’s running dead on his own campaign.
Well, Ray, I just think it’s a confused campaign that the Yes activists are running at the moment. I mean, it’s started with people like Alan Joyce and others dictating to Australians as to how they should vote, and now you’ve got leading people in the Yes campaign – like Noel Pearson – talking about, you know, our country being segregated and different people being worth different amounts depending on when they came here. I don’t understand the logic behind it, as you point out. The fact is that every Australian is equal and we have a special place in our hearts for Indigenous Australians because that’s the reality of our history, and we want to see everybody succeed, including Indigenous Australians.
Looking forward, I hope that our country can heal quickly after the 14th of October because we’ve been divided. The Prime Minister says, well, you know, he says now, ‘it doesn’t matter whether it’s ‘yes’ or ‘no’, it’s been a worthwhile exercise’. It’s cost half a billion dollars and it’s dividing our country! And you’ve got Noel Pearson out there talking about a different model of how the Voice might work each day. There’s no consistency in what they’re saying, there’s no clarity because nobody understands what the model is, because the design of the model doesn’t start until after people vote.
So, I think the wheels are falling off the Yes campaign. I’m glad for that because I think our country dodges a bullet if we vote this thing down on the 14th of October. But we shouldn’t be complacent. There will be a lot of people who are susceptible to the sort of messages that Noel and others are putting out, and I really am deeply concerned that the Prime Minister’s put our country knowingly, willingly, on a path to be divided and ultimately with no great outcome. Noel Pearson says, oh, well, it’s been a worthwhile process because it’s highlighted the plight of Indigenous Australians. Well, I mean, people understand the plight, we aren’t idiots. But we are concerned about where the money’s going and why the money is being spent on bureaucracies and bureaucrats and activists, and it’s not being spent on people who need it on the ground.
Well, the best example I can find – and I referred this to you months ago, about the NIAA and the Coalition of Peaks, and said ‘what’s your belief is: the Voice gets up, will they disappear?’, You said, ‘well, the Prime Minister says, ‘no’, they’d still be here’. It’s $4 billion for the NIAA. There are 1,300 or more people employed – 750 are based in Canberra. Now, I don’t know how many disadvantaged Indigenous people live in Canberra, they’re probably some, but not as many that live in Arnhem Land or north-western Queensland or western New South Wales, south-western New South Wales, parts of WA, parts of South Australia. I don’t know that the people in Canberra are Indigenous people who are disadvantaged, but that’s where they all seem to live?
Well, and that’s why I think it’s been a fair criticism of the proposal that the Prime Minister has put: that it will be Canberra-based because they’ll be there influencing government policy on a daily basis. They’ll be up engaging the Prime Minister, the Treasurer, the Defence Minister, whoever it is in government, from now into perpetuity, given it’s put into the Constitution, it’s permanent and it can’t be changed.
So, the Defence Minister, or the Treasurer, or the Prime Minister will have to negotiate the Voice’s position because the High Court will find, no doubt, that if the Voice has been given its own chapter in the Constitution – like the High Court – that you can’t just ignore it, and you can’t just completely dismiss their advice. You need to have a good reason as to why the Government of the day is taking a different direction from that offered up by the Voice, and again, I think Australians have worked this out.
I think the Prime Minister’s position in all of this, whilst he’s been obsessed by the Voice over the course of the last 15 or 16 months, most Australians now can’t afford to pay their power bills and the $275 that he promised is nowhere to be seen, and I think it’s going to get harder for Australians, not easier over the next 12 months, and there is a big price to pay for a Labor Government and people are seeing that in their bills right now.
Can you imagine the pile-on that’d be happening at the moment – just change the narrative: Prime Minister Scott Morrison, you know, there’s someone wanting to come and fly to this country, and his Minister or he meets with Alan Joyce, and after a rather favourable look at this other airline coming into the country, and then all of a sudden there’s a hook up between Morrison and Joyce and a bit of quid pro quo and all of a sudden there’s a reversal decision. Can you imagine what the mass media would be doing to Scott Morrison on this very day, or to a Liberal National Party Government, as opposed to what they’re doing to the Labor Party? For what appears to be a deceitful and rather dubious campaign orchestrated by Catherine King and led through the nose by Alan Joyce to make sure that Qatar couldn’t come here with 28 extra flights?
Ray, I mean, you could imagine the ABC: they’d be frothing, they’d be fact checking and they’d be, you know, writing all sorts of scandalous print. Fairfax – Sydney Morning Herald and others would be running it front page and they’d be calling for commissions of inquiry, etc., etc.. But they let it go through to the keeper and it shows the double standard. Again, Australians aren’t stupid – they know this. You can see the intimate relationship between the Prime Minister and Alan Joyce on every issue where they discuss and there’s a meeting of minds, they’re on the red carpet together and, you know, I don’t believe the Prime Minister when he says that he hasn’t had discussions about it and the first he knew about it was when the decision was made by Catherine King. I mean, that doesn’t hold water.
So, again, I mean, what’s the consequence of the Government’s action? Well, the consequence is that people are paying more for a flight between Sydney and the Gold Coast, or Sydney and Perth; people are paying more for cargo when they want to export their different bits and pieces out of their small business operating out of a garage when they want to send that overseas. That’s part of the reason it feeds into higher inflation and higher interest rates. They can’t manage money and they can’t manage the economy. That’s the fundamental flaw of Labor governments.
Okay, and then Jayne Hrdlicka, the boss of Virgin – well, she revealed it all yesterday. Now, she was getting along swimmingly with Catherine King and she co-chairs with Qatar, so she’s got an interest in getting Qatar into more spots into Australia, so she’s pushing that barrow and it looks like it’s all going along hunky dory. Then the next time she has a meeting and there’s been an intervening meeting between Alan Joyce and Catherine King, and all of a sudden the spectre of the court case involving those poor Australian women who were inappropriately dealt with by Qatar authorities – not Qatar Airline but Qatar authorities – and all of a sudden, ‘oh we can’t deal with these people because of human rights violations’. While Qantas have a codeshare arrangement with an airline based in the Middle East who, well, still persecute and sometimes execute homosexuals. I mean, it just doesn’t – and in between time, there you talk about the red carpet, there’s a Prime Minister glad handing Alan Joyce, unveiling those jets – Jetstar and Qantas with ‘yes’, ‘yes’, ‘yes’ emblazoned on the livery. I mean it doesn’t pass the pub test – of course, it’s all bullsh*t, it really is. You know, Joyce was joined at the hip to the Prime Minister, he got the ‘yes’, ‘yes’, ‘yes’ on the plane and he got Qatar the punt. It’s as simple as that!
Well, you’ve got Catherine King, though, running around saying – I think she’s given six different versions as to why they made the decision to stop Qatar coming in. Again, I just don’t think as Prime Minister, you can look the Australian public in the eye and tell them that black is white. The fact is that a decision was made here. The Prime Minister’s up to his neck in it and they can give every feeble excuse, but in the end it’s Australians who are paying the price.
It’s a similar story on the Voice at the moment, Ray. I mean, the Prime Minister’s up there saying, you know, ‘this is just a pleasant change, this is just a respectful request that we’re putting to the Australian people. It’s a modest change, not much will happen’. The next room he gets into says, you know, ‘this will be the greatest legacy of a Labor Government’ and ‘who cares about the cost, taxpayers will just pick up the bill’. I don’t know, I just think it’s got a shelf life and I think people are getting sick of it. As I say, all the while, the Government’s making decisions which are driving up cost of living.
Look, very quickly, my least favourite subject: Casanova Bowen. You know why we call him Casanova, because everything he touches he *beep*. Then you’re up there off the Hunter yesterday. I get people from the South Coast of New South Wales about these ridiculous wind farms that he’s imposing upon fishing grounds off Port Stephens and imposing upon people off Shellharbour, and has some sort of half baked, you know, notion that, ‘oh, I’ve had a discussion with the people and they all love it’, and imposes this on these people and now risks alienating Labor heartland – and I’ve had a couple of former Labor politicians from the area text me this morning saying ‘thank God you’re talking about it’, because Casanova Bowen is doing exactly what he did with immigration and every other portfolio. Don’t forget he played a significant role in stuffing up things for Bill Shorten. Got him, of course, the punt and now he’s going to do the same to Albanese by the look of it. I mean, how does this bloke survive? I mean, fair dinkum. If brains were dynamite, he wouldn’t blow his ears off!
I don’t know, Ray. I mean he’s obviously got, you know, the factional warlords have smiled upon him. I don’t know how on earth he keeps his job. But there’s a real threat, as the authorities tell us, that the lights will go out over the course of summer, that there’ll be blackouts. Particularly in Victoria, a huge problem. I don’t know how you can run a business if you can’t turn the cold rooms on or you can’t keep the freezer running if you’ve got a butcher’s shop or you’ve got a grocery store or you’re just an average family. But they’re taking us down this path where their renewables-only policy is just going to continue to drive prices up. I think if you’re struggling to pay your bill now – and in New South Wales power bills are going up by 25 per cent over the course of the last 12 months – you’ll find yourself with a much higher bill over the next, you know, year, two, five years.
But as you say, I mean, we met with some of the commercial fishermen yesterday, the tourist operators, this is an industry that’s worth about $600 million a year across the coast there and they haven’t been consulted. Chris Bowen goes up there, gets booed out of the room, and he says, ‘well, we’ve had this 65 days of consultation’. Most of these people hadn’t heard anything about it. One of the fishermen had it sent to him by a mate, it was published in a newspaper somewhere.
People, honestly, are going to be done out of their business. The whale migration patterns are in question, they don’t know where it’s going to be on-shored – this is a really important point: they talk about 300 or 400 of these wind turbines, 260 metres in the air and it, you know, they’ll have exclusion zones so the fishermen can’t go out there. It’s entirely sustainable, it’s a designated marine zone at the moment that they’re going into, there’s been no environmental impact statement done and the community hasn’t been consulted about it, and we don’t know which beach the cables are going to come in through. They talk about five cables per wind turbine, well do the math and think about the impact that that will have when it comes in on to the coastline. I mean, maybe they’ve consulted with the Indigenous owners of the land that they’ve got to then run across, or maybe they haven’t, but they’ve got that headache to deal with as well.
They’re talking about destroying communities, and I mean, if you want to put up a – as we found in Western Australia, you want to move four kilos of dirt or dig down 400 mil for a post hole, you’ve got to get an environmental impact statement and consultation with the Indigenous elders. And, here, they’re talking about destroying the whole community and the value of and the amenity for big parts of that community.
Honestly, I don’t know how much more damage Chris Bowen’s got to do before he gets sacked, but the project has to be put on hold and the consultation period properly undertaken. These are reasonable people, they’re not activists. They’re just normal family small businesses who, you know, have had charter businesses and they’re taking tourists out. The tourists spend money at the coffee shop or at the local restaurant, and the Government’s talking about buggering that up. Honestly, it’s really upsetting, mate, because they’re going through a lot of hard times.
Okay, I’ll leave it there. I appreciate your time. We’ll talk next Thursday.
Thanks Ray. See you, mate.