Boris, Brexit, and the Black Dog | Q&A


(APPLAUSE) Good evening and welcome to Q&A.
I’m Tony Jones. And here to answer
your questions tonight – Griffith University
political scientist Anne Tiernan, the Boris- and Brexit-loving head
of the Menzies Research Institute, Nick Cater, Tony Blair’s legendary spin doctor,
Alastair Campbell, who’s just released a documentary
about his battle with depression, English-born businesswoman Kate Mills and former West Australian Premier
Geoff Gallop. Please welcome our panel. Thank you very much. Q&A is live in eastern Australia,
on ABC TV, iview and NewsRadio. We’ve got plenty of great questions
in the audience tonight, but our first one is on Skype. It’s from Kent Getsinger,
in Adelaide. Hi, Tony. Thanks for letting
me on. Thanks to the panel. I’d like to ask a question,
because journalist Vincent Navarro writes xenophobia and racism are
symptoms of populist movements and the cause of populism
is the enormous deterioration of the working class’s
living conditions. So why do political leaders
and pundits distract us by focusing on these symptoms,
which only divide us? And being a US citizen
living abroad, I’ve seen, just yesterday,
a recent example of this, was when President Trump made
more racist slurs against four progressive
US Congresswomen, saying that they were incapable
of loving their country. Thank you. Alastair Campbell,
I’ll start with you. Obviously, Trump’s comments
have resonated around the world. Well, I’m afraid Trump’s comments
always do. And I think it’s a real problem
for the world because America is the most powerful
democracy in the world, and… Whether they’d been on the right
or the left, we’ve been used to having at least
a certain shared universal respect for the person who holds the office. And I think, in most countries, with
the possible exception of Russia, the majority of people find
Donald Trump pretty much despicable. And I think he is a racist. The worst thing about it
is we knew all this before he was elected,
and the people still elected him. And that’s what populism to me
is doing to our politics. There’s a populist virus
in the world at the moment. And I did an interview with
the Guardian newspaper here recently and there were some great comments. And I don’t know who this guy is but he’s called Sleuth for Truth and he put a comment on the bottom
of this piece and he said, “Populism is diving headfirst
into a swimming pool “because you’re angry
that there’s no water in it.” And…think about that. People… Brexit – I’m sure
we’ll talk about Brexit. The people who have voted
for Brexit, particularly working-class people
that the guy mentioned in his call, they’re going to be the ones
who are going to…hardest hit. And somehow,
these populist leaders – Trump, Johnson, Farage –
they’re liars, they don’t actually stand up
for people, they manipulate their own
kind of intentions with the… Trump talks about fake news. He’s the biggest creator
of fake news on the planet. And that is what’s driving
this sense of… They have captured people
who may have legitimate grievances with the way that politics
is not working and the economy is not
working for them, but their solution
is to exploit the grievance rather than address the grievance. Just a quick one before we move on. And, yes, we will come to Brexit,
but later. But you’ve gone a long way down
the track in your last GQ article suggesting that Trump’s bigotry
is akin to fascism. We know that that’s one
of those things you just never say without getting a backlash.
Well… Yeah, you get a backlash,
but I didn’t say… What I actually said was…
In fact, I had an argument… I don’t argue with Geoff’s soul mate
Tony Blair that much, we agree on most things. But I did an interview
for GQ with Tony. It was a bit weird, interviewing
somebody when you kind of know what he thinks about everything,
but anyway. And I said to him, “Are you
not worried that there are just “too many parallels
in the world today “than there were in the ’30s?” And there are so many. Fake news is one of them. Anti-Semitism. How has anti-Semitism
come back into our politics and it’s come back
on the left and the right? The hatred of the elites… Blair said you were going
over the top. He thought I was going over the top.
But has he…? Your recent article suggests
he may have changed his opinion. He’s reading The Rise And Fall
Of The Third Reich, he said. He actually said to me…
I saw him last week, and he said, “Have you read this book, The Rise
And Fall Of The Third Reich, “by William H. Shirer?
It was written in 1960.” I said, “No.” He said, “I’m reading
this book. I can’t put it down.” I’m now reading this book –
I can’t put it down. Because on every page,
you feel the resonance. So, you know, that thing he did
the other day with the four Congresswomen
of colour, Hitler was doing that stuff. And, you know, I’m not saying
he’s going to go out and kill six million people. I’m saying the seeds of fascism
are being sown. And if we are not careful, we end up
in a very dark and dangerous place. Nick Cater, do you think
the seeds are being sown? Look, I find that kind of rhetoric
really quite troubling. I mean, whenever you write a column
and you’re tempted to go to the 1930s or fascism, you
immediately hold back your hand. Look, there are many things
that disturb us about society nowadays and there is an increasing
intolerance to free speech, for example – particularly
on the left, I have to say. (SCOFFS) And right across the board,
you see people not wanting to shut down…
What can you not say? What is…? This thing
about free speech. The right wing peddle
this thing about free speech. What are you not allowed to say? It was a prelude
to what I was going on to say. OK. But “nothing” is the answer. You can say whatever
the hell you want. I think… We’ll go back
to the question, which I think could do
with a lot of analysis in itself. There were a number of assumptions
in there with which one wouldn’t
necessarily agree. But on this question of populism, it seems to me that so often people condemn their opponents
as populist because they can’t understand
or they don’t like the fact that they’re popular. And the real reason, the real reason
I think that we’re seeing a rise of people like Donald Trump is because conventional politics
has let them down. Conventional politicians
are too wary or won’t talk about the things
that they’re interested in. We’ve seen that in this country –
we had Pauline Hanson… ..from the ’90s until now has been saying things
that ordinary people think. And politicians on both sides
haven’t been willing to go there. Nick, can I just interrupt
for one second? I mean, with all the best will
in the world, she’s not the President
of the United States, the most powerful country
in the world. Can you see any justification
for President Trump singling out four Congresswomen
of colour and saying, more or less, “You should go back
where you came from”? When three of them were born
and raised in America. What you’re seeing is this
sort of battle of outrage. You see Trump is actually getting
traction from making these comments and he gets more traction
when people come up and condemn that
he’s racist or whatever. But it’s not leadership.
And at the same time… My question was,
can you see any justification for him saying those things apart from trying to get
some political advantage? Well, it’s not something
I would have advised him to say if I was Alastair Campbell
to Tony Blair. Of course, I mean… In this, in this… Of course you wouldn’t advise
somebody to say something like that. But the point is,
we are talking about… But you’re not disturbed by it
in any way? We are talking about these people who are determined to be outraged
by whatever Trump said. Trump could stand up there and he could read
his grandmother’s shopping bill and people would be outraged.
No, you… No. They get traction
out of being outraged. He gets traction by people being
outraged against this. So the whole thing continues.
It’s a phenomenon… If his mother’s shopping bill
said that people of colour should go back to the countries where
they or their ancestors came from, you might be right.
I will say one thing here – that to compare Trump
to, you know, the 1930s, to, I suppose, if you’re
talking about fascism, Italy, or probably
more cogently, Germany, I think is just way over the top. I think you’re wrong.
We have two very… I’m not saying he’s Hitler
and I’m not saying he’s Stalin – I’m saying that what he’s doing,
there are a lot of resonance… To make those comments, to me, belittles what really happened
in the 1930s. It doesn’t. Actually, it doesn’t.
It really does. Nick and Alastair, we’ll come back
to both of you. We’ll move down the panel.
And Anne, what do you think? It actually is the best way to pay
respect to people who died – to learn the proper lessons.
In a moment. ANNE: In a moment.
Sorry, Anne. No, no. (CHUCKLES) Well, look, I think you’re hitting
on the democratic discontent and anxiety
that’s characterising our politics and, like the 1930s, to the extent that it followed
a major economic shock in which many people
have done very badly. And you’re right, Nick, that trust
has been lost in institutions and processes, and people are
entitled to feel left behind. I think populists,
on the left and right, position themselves
deliberately as outsiders. They’re aggressively nationalist – I think that’s why
you’re disturbed – and they’re very often
anti-immigrant. And this is… You know,
Trump’s particular assault on these four women
has had a…you know, a chilling effect, I think,
Nick, to be honest, on attacking people in a country
that is actually an immigrant nation that always welcomed immigrants. And, you know, three of them
were born in that country. So it seems an odd remark
to have made. Now, President Trump
makes many odd remarks and this feeds the outsiderism
that he has cultivated. And very often, of course, too,
populists trade on emotion, on “plain speaking”, and that was
a bit implicit, I think, to the remark you made
about Pauline Hanson. Saying the things people
are thinking. But whether that’s leadership,
I think, is another point. But, you know, no doubt
the charismatic leader, as they position themselves, you know, adopts this style. I think many of us are concerned
about the rise of authoritarianism among some of these
populist leaders, and we haven’t talked about them
in other countries – you know, the Philippines, you know,
Turkey, lots of other places. But not the United States.
You’re not suggesting there’s authoritarianism
in the United States. No, no, no, but the populism
is a spectrum of… You know, there’s a deep vein
of scholarship about what it is describing it. You know, many… I work with many
experts who work in this field. What I think people are very good
at doing is describing it, analysing why it’s happened. Almost no-one can tell us
what to do about it. And I think that’s the primary… Let’s move across to this side of the
panel. And, so, what do you think? You’re British by nature… By birth.
By birth, I should say. Not by nature. Australian by nature. Australian by nature, I might add.
British by birth. Look, so, I think
there’s a lot of merit in what both Nick and Alastair
were saying. In the end, you know, some of what
Nick’s saying, I think, is correct, which is, if you like a policy,
you consider it democracy, and if you don’t like a policy,
you often call it popularism. And in the event those popular
policies come forward, I think, and it’s to take some issue with
what the questioner put forward, because of a policy that has been
uniformly unpopular and that is mass immigration. Yeah. Mass immigration into the States,
mass immigration into the UK and increasing immigration
into here, I think is one of the big causes of where these popular leaders get
their ballast from in order to talk. And you talk about what we can do
to stop it. Look, in the end, I think, you know,
there’s criticism to both sides. But, you know, in the end,
I agree with Nick on some of this, which is the left, in terms
of the way it has approached how you form the conversation, has meant it’s made it
very difficult for us to talk about mass immigration without
being considered as racist. We have to decouple them. Because, in the end, if people are
unhappy about mass immigration – as I think they are, as you
mentioned the underlying factors – then we have to address it. So, for Australia, which I don’t
think as the caught that virus, I think it’s a really good time for us to look at
what’s happened overseas and say, how can we frame
the conversation differently here so that the people who are upset
feel like they have a voice and we can address that?
NICK: Absolutely. I totally agree.
Thank you, Kate. I’m going to go to the next question
and bring Geoff in. It’s on the same subject, or part of the same subject,
from Thomas Russell. The rise of right-wing populism
has provoked, as we’ve seen, sharp criticism
and lurid historical analogies from leftist critics, who see in it a dark and
disturbing turn for global society. Popular politics used to boost
the political left. Are they just mad the right’s
now beating them at their own game? Geoff Gallop. Well, I think what’s happening
in the world today, there’s a counter-enlightenment. We defeated fascism and, of course, ultimately,
communism as well, in the 19…late…
by 1989 it had collapsed. We looked as though our part
of the world was moving towards a better type of society,
that there’d be freer trade, which would help those
in developing countries, and also have a better mix of people
throughout the world. We were having great reforms,
great reforms. Gay and lesbian equality.
Women’s rights. Anti-racism was becoming
part and parcel of our culture. And what we’re seeing at the moment is an enormous reaction
against that, represented very much
by President Trump. And that reaction
cannot lead us to a better place. It cannot lead us to a better place. And I hope that when our
Prime Minister meets Donald Trump, he says to him, “OK, we’re
part of the American alliance “and we can talk about
the issues associated with that. “But, President,
the things you are saying, “the standards you are setting,
the agenda you are pursuing “is undermining the type of society
that offers people hope.” What’s the alternative? We’ve got Xi Jinping arresting
and putting into prisons the Uighur population of China. We’ve got Putin, who’s already acted in a totally unprincipled way
in Crimea. He’s got troops up around
the Latvian states… ..Latvia and
the other states up there. And what do we need at this time? Do we need a President Trump
talking the foul language, the prejudiced politics, the racism, the sort of implicit fascism
that’s part of it all? The type of society we believe in doesn’t need the populism
of Donald Trump. We need reason and interest. Geoff, I’ll take you back to one
of the core parts of the question. It’s really about the methods that both the left and the right
have used traditionally, and the suggestion from
our questioner appears to be that the right is now using those
methods, but more successfully. Well… Now, this goes, I think, to one of
the points you’ve made publicly about social media,
and how some aspects of it are undermining democracy,
in your view. Well, of course, social media,
there are no gatekeepers. I mean, one of the important issues
in any contemporary democracy was raised way back
in the 19th century by the great liberal socialist
John Stuart Mill. And he said
there’s always the potential for a tyranny of the majority. And we’ve got to make sure those minorities that are within
the system are properly protected. You can do that through
human rights-type legislation. You can do it through
good government, making sure that people
in those categories have a chance to have a say. And so I think that this idea,
this idea that we can have a better society
that protects minorities – and later on we’ll talk about
one group of minorities, those people with serious
mental illness in our society… It’s important that we check
the majority. And what we’re getting
from populism is, anything goes. There are no gatekeepers. The media can’t control what
comes out through the social media. Previously, they were under
some obligation to check the facts that they’re putting up. Academics don’t have
the influence they had in respect of the issues that
they can put up based on evidence. The public service
is being undermined. That’s one of the big issues
of American politics we don’t talk about. Trump is totally undermining
the public service of the US. And if you’re interested in this,
look at what he’s done to the wonderful
department of agriculture. One of the great achievements
of the Roosevelt government, very seriously important,
research and development, providing assistance to rural
communities all through America – totally demolished. And I think that we’ve got
to stand up against this. And I hope that when Scott Morrison
meets the President he points out what the values
of Australians are, and we really do not need a lead
from America going down this path. Alastair Campbell, you were one of
the masters of the dark arts of spin. So the question to you is, has the right now actually mastered
those dark arts better than the left? I remember Bill Clinton used to say the right has always had
the best tunes. You know,
they do the patriotism thing. Uh, they’re very… They’ve always been
kind of tough on crime. The immigration debate always… You know, the right use that
as a political lever. I mean, I was a tough campaigner, but when Tony Blair
was Prime Minister, I considered myself…in anything
I ever said to a journalist, I considered myself subject
to exactly the same parliamentary principles
that he was held to every time he stood up
in parliament. Donald Trump,
according to the Washington Post, he tells an average
of 12 lies a day. That is more than most people… Ah, but he says it’s fake news, so…
Of course he says it’s fake news. As soon he says that, half
the population think he’s right. Yes. I know. And they think
he’s right. And that’s the problem. Because Geoff’s right about
this issue of enlightenment. One of the worst things in our
referendum was Michael Gove, who’s meant to be quite a clever
Conservative cabinet minister, saying that the world
was sick of experts. Well, I kind of want experts. You know, if I’ve got cancer, I want
a guy who knows how to treat it. If I’m on a plane, I want the pilot
to know what he’s doing. But we’re electing now
politicians… I mean, honestly, I know we’re
going to talk about Boris Johnson – there’s never been
a less qualified person to be the Prime Minister
of a great country. Don’t tell us all about him yet.
OK. Because we’re definitely
going to come to him. But… Nick Cater, I’ll just give you
the final word on this subject ’cause I can see you’re sort of
burning with indignation. I find this whole notion
that, you know, the spin, that somehow these are demagogues that are working
the population up… They do lie.
Straightforward lies, though. ..in a fever pitch, I find that
just demeaning to ordinary people. Why?
People make up their own minds. But are they entitled
to make up their minds based on fact, or invention? Trump is not popular… Alastair, you’ll have to let your
philosophical opponent have his day. Trump’s popularity does not come because he’s able
to mesmerise people with fake news, spin, whatever. His popularity comes because
he connects with something deep in the American population – what they think, what they want. And as this question of values
that Geoff threw up, I mean, there is…we have at last
a President of the United States that is prepared to take on China.
Yeah? He’s taking it on, unfortunately,
in the trade realm. We’d rather we didn’t see that. But when it comes to values,
somebody has to take on China. Somebody has to take on
this communist country which has still not reformed
its way since 1949. And I find that deeply encouraging. And let’s not forget what he’s doing
to the US economy as well. Can I…?
OK… Alright. Sorry. Kate, go ahead. Can I just say to Alastair, you know, I think that point
about, you know, we no longer need experts and, you know, who’s
the expertise about our life… For me, the political ructions that have happened, you know,
in the US and the UK actually come because people don’t
believe what they’re being told. People see their lived experience and their lived experience
is not good. Yeah, but wait a minute…
Yeah, and what they’re told is that liberal democracy works
and that it delivers. But when you’re actually out there
looking at your life, going, “I have no job. “I have no security…”
Fine. But… “I don’t like the way
my village looks like now,” it’s like, you don’t want experts, because it’s like, “I can see
how my life is being lived.” Wait a minute, though.
“I don’t like it.” But Boris Johnson
and Donald Trump… They… You say that people
don’t believe, right? They are being believed even though they know that that
person is not telling the truth. When Donald Trump goes to Pittsburgh and says “We’re going to
reopen the coalmines,” do they really believe that? No.
Alastair, I’m not saying that… Boris Johnson says
we’re going to get more money for the health service. Now he says,
“Well, I didn’t really mean that.” But, Alastair… “I’ve got a different set of lies
for this part of my career.” I’m not saying they are the answer.
And people are believing them! I’m not saying they are the answer.
I’m saying this is the problem. Guys, I’m going to
interrupt both of you because we will come back to the…
Sorry. ..Boris Johnson-Brexit
phenomenon shortly. In five weeks’ time we’ll have
Q&A’s 2019 High School Special, when senior students get
a chance to join the panel and debate Australia’s future
with today’s politicians. So, if you’ve got what it takes, head to our website and upload
your audition video. We want Australia’s political leaders
to meet the leaders of tomorrow. Well, our next question
comes from Sabrina Ko. Sabrina. Hi. Good evening. I commend those on the panel today
who have spoken out suffering anxiety and depression,
the black dog. I myself have suffered
from anxiety and depression and I’m still hesitant about speaking openly about it
in the workplace, and further, feeling that
I come from a privileged position with loving family,
loving friends, a job, a home, living in a peaceful country, that I don’t have a right to suffer
from mental illness. For those who are suffering from
mental health issues in silence but still trying to maintain
a semblance of normal life, do you think it’s responsible
to continue to hold the prominent positions
you hold at work and carry on? Or would you say it’s your
responsibility to withdraw from, well, responsibility? Alastair, I’ll start with you.
Yeah. This is why you’re in Australia. So, tell us… Well, answer
the question, obviously. Well, that is a really personal
decision for people. But, for example, if I think about a lot of the things
that I’ve done in my life – working with Tony Blair, you know, helping him
to win three elections, achieving lots of change,
Northern Ireland peace process, all the things that we did, I actually think
that the experience I had, in having had a psychotic breakdown
in the ’80s and in having had chronic bouts
of depression on and off for most of my life, I think that’s been
an advantage to me. I think it gives me resilience. I think it gives me empathy. I think I understand better than
most politicians how people feel. And I also think that I was…
I say lucky – I had no choice but to be open because when I switched
from journalism, where I had my breakdown, into front-line politics, the journalists that used to be
my friends started to write about me,
including about that. And I took a decision –
I’ll just be open about it. I’ve never, ever regretted that. It’s a personal decision.
Only you can decide. But you’ve decided to be open –
I think that’s great. I don’t think you’ll ever
regret that. Can you just explain one thing? For those who haven’t seen
the documentary or don’t know a lot about it,
I mean, yes, you had a breakdown at a time when you were a very senior
political correspondent. And it was a psychotic breakdown,
and you were terribly afraid because your brother had
schizophrenia. Mm-hm. How do you actually rebuild
from that? I mean, for people who have faced
or looked into the abyss, how do you recover from it?
Oh! Well, I mean, again,
it’s incredibly personal, um, in that we’re all different. So I, for example,
I was incredibly lucky. I had an amazing partner who stood by me when a lot of women
would not have done. I had a very supportive doctor. I had… The most important in a way
was my former employer, who I had left to go
to a different job, phoned me up and asked me
to go back, even though he knew
that had happened. And the other thing that really,
really helped me, the luck – I was arrested by two policemen. And I thought about this today,
’cause I was watching your news and you had this riot
in the youth detention centre. When I was ill, when I was heading to my breakdown,
I could get quite violent, OK? When I was drunk, in particular. And I’d sometimes wake up
in the middle of the night and I’ve imagined that
I’ve headbutted this policeman, the guys who arrested me. Now, imagine if I had done that. That’s your life gone. You’re in the criminal
justice system, and that’s it. You’re never going to go
to the United States, you’re certainly never going
to get a job in politics. So, I was incredibly lucky. And then, I think,
the thing about recovery… You talk about schizophrenia
and my brother – my brother had…
my brother had schizophrenia, and, OK, his life was not as good
as it would have been had he not had schizophrenia, but he had an amazing employer, and he had the same job
for 27 years. Now, most people think
that’s impossible. The reason he had that job
for 27 years is because his employer
didn’t define him by his illness. And nobody should be defined
by their illness. He was an employee
who had schizophrenia. That meant they had to adapt. But I think
some of the cleverest people I’ve ever met are mentally ill. Some of the nicest people
I’ve ever met are mentally ill. And I think we’ve just got
to get over this idea that… We all have mental health, you know. We use these figures – “One in four will be mentally ill
at some point in their lives.” One in one of us
has got mental health, and it’s never perfect. I’m going to go to Geoff Gallop,
because, Geoff, you made the decision
to step aside… Yeah, sure. ..from a very important
and responsible job – the Premier of Western Australia. I guess that I’d had issues
related to anxiety through my whole life, really, and I’d never reflected upon them, but each time they took me over,
it got a little bit worse. And I got to a situation
where I had to make a decision. I mean, there’s no doubt
that, in theory, I could’ve stayed on
and perhaps had… ..tried to deal with the issue
from within the system. But I made a choice that I’d leave
and try something different. Now, we really should have
a situation where it’s not necessary
that we leave our employment, as Alastair is saying,
vis-a-vis mental illness. Do you…? I think politics
was a little bit different in the nature of what you do, and I was bit frightened about
the prospect of talking about it in the context of politics. I’ll admit that. Because, you know, the press
are looking at you every day. Everyone’s looking at you.
And if you slip up… You know, the disappointment for me, I didn’t finish the agenda
that I sort of had in politics, although I’d been in for 20 years,
which is a pretty good run. And so I decided I’d step back and try and contribute
my understanding and knowledge as best I can. And the one thing that
comes through all the time is to talk about these issues
with close friends, with family,
with your medical practitioners. And if we look at anxiety-related
illnesses and depression, you know, they are very, very… There’s treatment available
either of the cognitive sort or the medication, that can put you
on an even path again. So, I think that, to me,
that’s the important thing. One of the problems
we do have, of course, is that the interests
and needs and character of everyone is different. And our service delivery
tends to be a bit top-down, and it doesn’t always capture
what’s the essence of the issue for an individual person. And I think our treatments,
as good as they are, have got to take into account
the needs and interests of those that are taking those treatments,
and I think that’s an issue. I have a lot of empathy
for people, particularly as illnesses
get more serious, and there’s a standardised version
of a response to it that’s not dealing with
their real needs. And this means, you know,
as a society, we’ve got to, I think,
scale up our belief in solidarity. One person to another. You know, we live in
a very competitive society. We live in a society that wants economic growth
at all costs. This is not good in terms
of those of us that have anxiety issues
or get under pressure and find it difficult to cope
sometimes with those issues. So I think there are general
social issues at stake here, policy issues, as well
as the service issues that we… ..the questions related
to service delivery. Anne Tiernan. Oh, it’s, you know, such
a prevalent issue, mental health. And I think, you know,
in the service delivery, as you say, Geoff,
dealing with the acute crisis end is such a dilemma for people. And, of course,
you’ve been talking today, Alastair, to a group about this. I think, you know,
the focus on prevention and resilience that could be built
in the early years, we know a lot about this. Schools are becoming the epicentre
of many of these anxiety disorders. So, there’s actually a lot
we could do in the preventive side in a community context. I think the provision
in and around someone whose mental health problems
escalate quickly is terribly difficult, and people just don’t know how
to access those services in a time of real crisis. I’m just going to go to another
question on the same subject while we can. It’s from Krissi Grant. Krissi.
KRISSI: Oh, hi there. Lovely to meet you.
Alastair, I love what you said. Well, I lost my precious brother
to suicide in 2015, shattering and changing
our lives forever. We live in the Sutherland Shire
of Sydney, down near Cronulla Beach, and, um… ..where there is no
to little support… ..for the bereaved, and for the suicide…
the suicide rate continues to rise. I’m fighting
with Sutherland Hospital, our local MPs, and pleading
with Scott Morrison to do more. I have taken it on myself,
with some others, to start up a mental health
and suicide prevention action group, because if not me, then who? I’m disgusted
at the lack of support. I’m disgusted at the lack
of facilities, of all the money
going to other agendas except for saving our lives. In Australia, suicide now
takes eight lives a day, and I just can’t sit back
and do nothing. I want to see safe houses. I want to see education
and life skills. I want to see more done
for the youth. I want to see kindness, respect. And I want us all to,
like you were saying, Alastair, love, support and just encourage
the mentally ill. My brother was
a beautiful, kind soul that was lost in the system. My mum was his carer for 20 years until he, devastatingly,
took his life in our family home. Since then, we’ve had,
like, no support. Um… And I’m just sick of, like, mental health being
bottom of the barrel. Alastair, again, I’ll start with you, because…
ALASTAIR: Yeah. ..your key subject is politics
and mental health. Yeah. Of course, I’m not saying
the solutions lie with politics, but the decision
to call it a crisis does. Well, listen,
this is what gets me about this, because, you know,
you see not just the loss of life, it’s the impact forever…
NICK: Mm. ..and the costs forever.
Yeah, exactly. You know, and what Anne
was talking about, you know, if we can help people
when they’re young… And, I mean,
how many of those people who were rioting
in that place today, how many of them
actually are mentally ill? Yeah.
How many should maybe be better off in hospital somewhere? And, so, suicide… I’m a patron
of a suicide sanctuary in London, and suicide is the biggest killer
in the UK as well of young men. I was in London for 25 years.
Right. Just got back to support my mum.
Yeah. So… And the thing… What’s going on, do you think? You mentioned young men
in particular. I think you’ve made the point
publicly that young women have an epidemic of…
Self-harm. ..anxiety and self-harm…
And anxiety, yeah. ..but young men are
killing themselves in greater numbers than ever before. I mean, the honest answer is,
I don’t know. And I don’t… I think the problem
with our generation is I’m not sure we really know
what’s going on with young people. I think we sort of think,
“Oh, it’s social media.” I don’t think we really know.
But I’ll tell you this. When Theresa May
became prime minister in the UK, she said mental health
was going to be a priority. When David Cameron came in, he said mental health
was going to be “a priority”. The words are so easy. So, Scott Morrison has come in, and
he’s said his goal is zero suicide. That’s a very big, bold goal.
Yeah. But don’t just say it.
Action. Have the plan.
Yeah. Absolutely. I haven’t seen that yet. Come to my house
and I’ll tell you a plan. Or come and visit us. Tony, there’s an expression that
I think is important in this area. Young people at the moment are
the miners’ canaries of our society. They’re picking up the real issues
that we have deep down in the way that we conduct
our social relationships, the way we organise our society,
the priorities we give. They’re picking it up. They can’t see the hope. And I think we have
a responsibility in politics – those of us that are in politics – to recognise that factor
and to build a better society. It’s not the complete solution, but young people are
telling us something and we should be listening. Nick Cater, it seems… I think it’s fair to say that
no government of any complexion in Australia has ever focused on
mental health issues in the same way they’ve focused on
physical health issues – the billions to build hospitals,
for GPs, etc. Is it time that at least
one government changed that? Well, I mean, it is, slowly. I mean, I remember talking
to a minister… ..it’d be 15 years ago… ‘Cause I’ve got experience
of mental illness and I know how many other people have relatives or have had
mental illness themselves. It’s a big issue,
a huge issue, in the community. And Krissi’s story is, you know,
really heart-wrenching. And at the time, the minister said, “We’d like to,
we’re just not sure.” You know,
there was some trepidation. It was the stigma,
and everything attached. Well, now we’re in a position
where the Morrison government last year invested
$4.8 billion in it. We can argue it’s not enough,
but it’s the most ever. And included in that, Alastair,
you’ll be delighted to know, is half a billion towards
a national suicide prevention plan, which includes funding people
like Beyond Blue and other organisations. But also they’ve got a real-time
hot-spot program in place. So, if they can see
suicides happening, because we know often
there’s often a copycat effect, they can act on that. So, it’s happening. It’s slow. In one way, I’m glad it’s slow, because I think we need
to learn as we go along. And the one area that I’m really,
really concerned about… I learnt this at the weekend. I was with a…on a charity ride
for Soldier On, and this just shook me to the core. One of the veterans
got up and said, “Do you know that
we’ve had 56 of our combatants “died in combat since 2001, “and 373 suicides?” 56 people died
at the hands of the enemy. 375 died at their own hands. Now, there’s something
very wrong going on there, and I really, really want
to see something for our returned
servicemen and women. I’m just going to say
if you or anyone you know is experiencing difficulties,
call the number on your screen. The next question comes from
Timothy Brookman. TIMOTHY: Hi. Rates of mental illness,
as we’ve noted, have increased inarguably
in recent years and decades, and while
the cause of this increase might be varied or complex,
I think… ..I believe it can be attributed
to a changing and developing social
and cultural landscape. So, therefore, is the only solution
to mental health reacting to it with medication,
with programs and initiatives, or is there a place
and responsibility to address and counteract and combat potential social and/or cultural
causations? Alastair,
I’ll start again with you, because it is actually the subject
of your documentary, where you went through, really,
at the urging of your daughter, for the most part, a whole series of
potential treatments. Mm-hm.
And I would note here that you didn’t actually
go through with any of them because they required you
going off medication. In the end, I decided I didn’t want
to risk coming off the medication. Um…
It’s too scary? Um, it’s just that
I’ve done it before and it’s always
not ended very well. Um, and I’ve…
Look, I’ve got a psychiatrist I see who puts me
on the medication he does, and he admits it’s trial and error. He doesn’t know. He doesn’t know
what it’s doing to me. So, we have to kind of do
trial and error. And I’ve tried
lots of different treatments, lots of different forms
of medication, on and off and on and off,
and I’ve found one now that I’m slightly worried
it’s my new addiction. I’ve been on it for four years
and I think… ..I don’t think
I’ll ever come off it, but it’s doing me fine. I still get depressed,
but I think the… I’ll tell you the really big worry, and it’s really interesting
what you say about this – the causation and the social
and cultural landscape. I think part of the problem – this is the thing I said
at the City Recital Hall tonight – I think part of the problem is that
we think about the health service and we basically mean
physical health. We mean hospitals, we mean doctors,
and all that stuff. We don’t have
a mental health service. We have a mental crisis service. And even then, as you found, it can be very, very,
um, lacking, so… And it’s back to Anne’s point –
a mental health service says that we…we…we look after
children’s wellbeing. And I have to say to Scott Morrison, you know, the New Zealanders
might be ahead of him on this because Jacinda Ardern
is putting wellbeing at the heart of policy. And I think mental health
and wellbeing, it’s got to be part
of education policy, it’s part of…it’s part of
the criminal justice policy, it’s part of sports policy,
it’s diet, it’s nutrition. I mean, the relationship between
physical and mental health… Is that.
..is very close. Totally.
We should just really talk about health problems,
shouldn’t we, really? And, you know, as you say
in your documentary, things like physical exercise,
what you eat – you know, those things
are very important to your mental health as well.
Sure. So, I feel that we need
to get away from this idea that really stigmatises that there’s something odd
about mental health. It’s just… As you say,
it’s about normal wellbeing. But the politicians do have
to take a lead. Employers are important,
families are important, but the politicians
have got to take a lead. And what I’m sick of,
every time I do a panel in the UK, or around the place
with a politician, and they’ll all stand up and say, “It’s so great
that we’re all talking about this.” And I stand up and say, “I am sick
to death of talking about this. “Can we please have services
that match the scale of the need?” OK, Geoff, I’ll go to you and we’ll finish and move on
to other subjects after this. Well, I think the point’s been made
about the service delivery. But in answer to the question,
I think we’re complex beings. You know,
there’s all this biochemistry going on inside us. Some psychiatrists, over the years,
have focused on that. There’s early experiences
that we’ve had as individuals, and some of us don’t even realise how some of those things
are affecting us. Then there’s the type of society
that we live in. Um, I think
the World Health Organization definition of health back in 1946,
I think it was, which says you’re dealing with
physical illness, but also mental wellbeing, is the best definition
that I’ve ever seen of health. And if we made that
the objective of governments, the objective of governments, interestingly, there’d have to be
an economic component in it because, I mean,
health does require jobs. I spent some time in the Netherlands
in recent years and lived near a park
called Sarphatipark. And Sarphatipark was… ..had a monument to Doctor Sarphati, who was a 19th-century
public health physician, and he decided… He said, “If we’re going to create
more wellbeing in our community, “we need jobs.” So, he convinced
a lot of businessmen to build the Amstel Hotel, which is now
one of the leading hotels, because it gave work to people. So, I think we need
to integrate social, economic, environmental issues
in our public policy making, and that will have a spin-off,
I think, in terms of general wellbeing. But the service part
of mental health really needs a lot of attention,
and we think we’re doing it… We think we’re doing it
because we’ve done some good things, like Beyond Blue, for example,
but we haven’t really. We haven’t really.
OK. People with serious illness
will tell you. Thank you, Geoff. On this program,
we are planning to come back to a full program on this subject. So, you’re watching Q&A live. Remember, if you do need help,
it’s just a phone call away. The number is on your screen. Now, our next question
comes from Quentin Feduchin. Ah, thank you. Um, my questions. Is Brexit a last gasp
of not only the British Empire, but of British political power
and influence in the world affairs? If Britain exits, how long can it maintain a position
in the Security Council? And how long will the City –
the financial centre of London – actually continue to exist, some of it having already
emigrated to Paris? Nick Cater, we’ll start with you. Britain was a member
of the Security Council, of course, since the creation
of the UN, so I don’t… It didn’t join the EU until ’73, so I don’t quite see
how those two things relate. No, I think it’s quite the opposite. I think this is…this is
the rebirth of Great Britain. It’s a chance for you to get…
start looking outwards again. (APPLAUSE)
Outwards again instead of inwards. Now, I understand it was
very controversial at the time, if you know, back in ’73. I understand
why people looked at Europe, which, by that stage, you know,
had been growing rapidly – 4.8% annual GDP growth
for the previous 10 years. People said,
“That’s where the action is.” Britain was going backwards. And, you know, Australia,
New Zealand, we just had to manage. Well, we did. Um, but then, you know,
fast-forward to the present, and you’re in a Europe which is looking increasingly
irrelevant to the rest of the world. You know, 1% GDP growth on average
in the last 10 years. Well, why don’t you go back
to your old Commonwealth mates? You know, 24… The top 24 countries
in the Commonwealth have grown by nearly 5%. That’s where the action is. India’s overtaken Britain now,
which I think is a good thing. It shows what good colonies
you established. But, um…but…
(GASPING AND APPLAUSE) It’s an indication of how
the world’s changed, Alastair. And if you’re just going
to sit around wondering about what order
to button your jacket in in order to talk to the EU,
you know, forget it. That’s when Britain…
What’s my jacket got to do with it? To go back to our questioner, that is when Britain
has given up the ghost – when it has to, you know, latch itself on to France,
Germany, Spain. Nick…Nick, while you’re on a roll, I’ve got to ask you
about Boris Johnson, because he uses a similar kind of
faux Churchillian language, um, in his kind of Brexit…
Yeah. ..encouraging the country
to move to Brexit. And I’m just wondering whether he’s actually going
to take Britain back to some glorious past, in your idea? Oh, look, I don’t think so. I mean, you describe me, what,
as a Brexit…as a…a…? A Boris-lover.
Pro-Boris. Pro-Brexit. A Boris-lover. Look, Boris liked my book,
so I like him. But, I mean,
the point about Boris is, he’s far from a perfect politician,
you pointed out. He’s a lot of fun. We love him. I mean, if you bring him out
to an audience in Australia, you know, you’d get a packed house. He’s great. But he does at least… We’d certainly have him
on this program. Yeah, exactly.
If he does arrive in the country. He doesn’t do difficult questions. Yeah.
(LAUGHTER) He dodges them very nicely, though. But I think the thing is, we’ve had, you know,
possibly the worst prime minister, certainly the worst prime minister
the Tories had ever produced, in Theresa May – completely
un-up to…not up to the task of steering through
this important reform. I think that’s something
you and Alastair agree on. Sure. But let’s go back
to the more general point. On Boris…on Boris…
OK, go ahead. ..just to say, I think,
at least in Boris, at least in his rhetoric,
and I hope in his actions too, you’ve seen somebody who says… ..who’s going to have the toughness
to go for the tough Brexit, which is what it’s going to take. Alastair, I’ll come to you,
and I’ll come to Anne after that ’cause I want to hear
the Australian perspective on this. I think, in answer to
the gentleman’s question… My mother died a while ago,
and when I was going through her… ..clearing out the house, I came across
all my old school reports. And there was one,
when I was about 14. It was history. And it said,
“Alastair’s essay on the decline “of the Austro-Hungarian Empire
was a very good piece of work.” And I thought, “I just wonder if,
in a few decades, “our children and grandchildren
will be writing, “‘To what extent
was the referendum of 2016 “‘the end of the United Kingdom,'”
as you say, “‘as a serious power?'” I’ll give you a couple of examples. None of us know what’s going
to happen in the future, but Boris Johnson,
who lied to win the referendum… He’s now lying
about the consequences of a no-deal Brexit,
which will be severe for both the British and the Irish
and the European economy. Worse for us, then Ireland, and then the rest
of the European Union. And when I see him…say that this – the cost of this –
can be vanishingly inexpensive, and I think,
“The guy’s not thought it through.” And in his head… I mean, I’ve known Boris Johnson
for a long time – when we were journalists, then he used to come
to my briefings, and… Did he like your book too? He loved my book.
(LAUGHTER) But inside his head,
he is Winston Churchill. And in reality, he’s a hack.
(LAUGHTER) He’s a…he’s a…he’s a funny,
as you say…he’s a funny hack. And as Geoff said earlier,
with China, with Russia, with India
becoming much more powerful, I think the idea of Britain
re-creating some kind of,
you know, glorious past, when these really big global powers
are coming… And listen, even the Australians,
certainly the Japanese, are they going to…are they going
to be more interested in trade with this massive trading bloc…? Hugely! We’re ready to sign up
a trade deal with… Hang on a sec. Hang on.
Hold on! We had 60! I’m going to pause you both
just for a second because we’ve actually got a question relatively on this subject
from Max Grieve. We might as well go to it. MAN: Thanks, Tony.
Hi, Max. It seems inevitable
that Boris Johnson will be the next prime minister
of the UK. And, sadly, that’s true.
(CHUCKLES) What does his rise mean to Australia
and Australian politics? Anne Tiernan, I’ll start with you.
ANNE: That’s a tough one. Well, I think there’s a number
of constitutional questions that I’m very interested to see
how they’re going to play out. We’ve had a very interesting, um…series of events
over the weekend where a number of the Tory ministers
still serving under Theresa May… And I think we should come back
to the Theresa May question ’cause I just wonder whether
she was dealt a very fair hand by the boys who walked away
and left her with the big mess. But anyway,
putting that to one side, I think that, you know,
he has to contend with a number
of very significant issues before he can get…he can
get there. You know, we may see
some cabinet ministers go. He’s still got to get it
through the parliament, which Theresa May
hasn’t been able to do. Well, there could be
what they call in Britain a confidence motion
against the government. Absolutely.
We call it a no-confidence motion. Absolutely. They could be
at the polls in no time flat. They could bring back the government. So, there’s actually a long way
to go before we can think about what the implications are
for Australia. I think the implications
for Northern Ireland are pretty significant. And I think the uncertainty
is the extraordinary challenge. And the economic uncertainty
is just very debilitating for investment and confidence
and all those sorts of things. So, I think… I see that
he’s given an interview – Johnson – where he sort of says
that people are being, um… You know, it’s like a moon landing. People have to think about it
with the ambition of a moon landing, and you can solve
all these technical problems. This guy couldn’t even build
a garden bridge! Well, be that as it may…
This isn’t going to go to the moon. Be that as it may, Alastair,
but the point is that, you know, 31 October
is looming… Mm-hm.
..and something has to happen. And whether he can get it through
the parliament, I mean… Australia is sort of a way off
what’s going to happen, but there’s huge uncertainty. And I think
the constitutional questions are actually, in some ways,
the most interesting, but you’d expect me to say that. KATE: Can I say…?
Yeah, go ahead. So, the lesson for Australia to me
is very simple. When you’re asking
an important question, make sure you ask
the right question. The problems that come from Britain
at the moment is that, in the end, they went out
and they asked a binary question where people could give… You didn’t say,
“It has to be a majority of 60,” or, “It has to be a majority of 70,”
which, essentially, they set it up – I think incorrectly – to get the results
that they have ended up with. So, when we, as a nation,
or any nation, is looking at making
a really important decision, you have to really think it through,
and I think, in the end, that failure sits with David Cameron
as much as it sits with anyone. Absolutely. Absolutely. Geoff Gallop,
the implications for Australia. I mean, Nick Cater is talking about
a grand new alliance of trade, etc. Do you think that could happen? Well, I would hope that
the Australian government, in looking into
these sorts of issues, puts Australia’s interests first
in terms of any trade deals. I mean, Europe is a massive economy and any notion that
we would privilege Great Britain for these sort of
fantasy imperial reasons when there’s a massive market there
that we need to be part of, I’d be very concerned. I’m not sure that would happen and I’m sure that the public service will be providing good advice
to the government, but there are some
on the conservative side of politics that have
a completely delusionary view about where Britain fits
in the global economy and how just a few trade connections between us and them will somehow
deliver great benefits to us as opposed to the European Union. But can I just make one comment,
as well, that I disagree, I think, with what
was said earlier about Theresa May. I mean, she’s not of my politics, but I thought she handled herself
with tremendous dignity as prime minister of Britain. She was being undermined every day,
undermined every day, but she went to the dispatch box and she, I think, displayed
great grace in the way she carried out
her functions. So, I’m against her politics and I think
she couldn’t get it together and there are a lot of criticisms, but I think, Nick, really,
I don’t think it was appropriate to say that she’s the worst leader
the Tories ever had. She may have been… I mean, she was amazing
the way she would get up every day like nothing had happened. (LAUGHTER)
But I think that’s important. What did she achieve?
What did she achieve? Did she achieve what the British people
had overwhelmingly asked for? OK, that point has been made.
That has to be no. Alastair, we could be heading
for an election – if there is a constitutional crisis,
if there’s a no-confidence vote, we would call it, in a government
heading for a no-deal Brexit? What happens in that election? You’ve already been expelled
from the Labour party for voting for the Lib Dems,
actually, because… Protesting against
Labour’s Brexit policy. ..they wanted a second referendum…
As do I. ..but Labour will not go down
that path. Well, listen, they’re moving
in that direction. See, I think
there’s only three routes out now. There’s crashing out without a deal,
which I think would be catastrophic and I don’t think parliament
will let that happen. And by the way, this point about
cabinet ministers leaving – if Theresa May really, really wanted
to screw Boris Johnson, she could actually go to the Queen
and say, “I don’t think there’s anybody there
who can come under a majority.” ‘Cause there’s these MPs…
It looks a bit like that. ..they’re going to rebel, so you might have to go for
an election. But the point about an election,
in our politics normally, if you’ve got a government
that the country thinks is failing, there’s an opposition there,
they’ll think, “Right, we’ll go for those guys.” At the moment, they think
the government’s failing and they think
the opposition is failing, so nobody is going to get power. So, what you could end up – and here’s where you do see
the break-up of the United Kingdom – you could end up with a situation where the only way to form
a government is to have the SNP – “Yeah, we’ll come in but we need
a referendum on Scotland,” and they’ll win it at this time,
I think – and the Lib Dems say, “Yeah, we’ll come in
but we want another referendum,” and I think the only way
this is going to get resolved is to go back to the people, Johnson has to win
a separate mandate – he doesn’t have a mandate
for no deal – put it back to the people, and I honestly believe,
if there was another referendum, the country would say, “We’ve wasted three years
of our life on this nonsense, “let’s just put it behind us
and move on “and start to address the real
problems facing the country.” OK, we’re going to put this subject
behind us and move on. (LAUGHTER) Remember, if you hear
any doubtful claims on Q&A, let us know on Twitter. keep an eye on the RMIT Fact Check… I didn’t even swear about Johnson –
that’s good. ..and the Conversation website
for the results. The next question comes via Skype. It’s from Jenny Grounds
in Riddells Creek, Victoria. Jenny. Thanks, Tony. The invasion of Iraq by the US,
supported by Australia and Britain, has contributed to a lot of
mental and physical health problems in Iraqi people
and Iraq War veterans alike, apart from tens of thousands, if not
hundreds of thousands, of deaths. Could Alastair Campbell tell us
whether he acknowledges this and whether the lies he told to manipulate Tony Blair’s Britain
to go to war have contributed to his own
depression, perhaps, since then? (AUDIENCE MURMURS) Well, Alastair?
I love you too. (LAUGHTER) Uh… Well, first of all… I mean, look, we can go over
the whole thing if you want to. I think there have been
six inquiries now into the Iraq War. And in every single one of them,
I have been cleared of any lie. OK? So, let’s just park that. You can say it.
We’re not going to agree. So, let her back if you want
but we’re not going to agree. Do I recognise and acknowledge
two things? One, that the Iraq War
did not work out as planned, and have there been the consequences
that you talk about? Yes, of course I do. And I talked about my brother
earlier. He was in the armed forces, and I know people
in the armed forces, and I know people
who’ve been hugely affected – families as well – by the wars
in Afghanistan and Iraq. But all I’d say to you,
that the difference between people like this audience and people like you,
with all due respect, and prime ministers
like Tony Blair at the time and John Howard at the time, they have to make, sometimes, really, really difficult,
unpopular decisions, and they make them. And what I will always accept, as I
accepted from people like Robin Cook when he was the foreign secretary, and Jacques Chirac,
the French president, I totally accepted that
people could see a different way and they didn’t want to go
that route. But what I’ll never accept are
the conspiracy theories – we did it for oil,
we did it for George Bush – or the idea that there was
some kind of venality. Why would Tony Blair want
to have a war that led to British soldiers
losing their lives? Why would he want to do that? Alastair, can I just bring you back
to the last part of that question? One of the reasons we allowed
that question to go through is because you wrote in your diary that your wife, Fiona Millar,
thought that one cause of at least one major episode
of your depression was that you secretly agreed with her
that the Iraq War was a bad mistake. Oh, God, did I put that
in my diary? You did.
(LAUGHTER) Well, look, it’s…
I mean, this is the other thing – Geoff knows this from his time
in government – these really big decisions… You know, it’s back to the way
that politics is portrayed. People have to portray themselves
as 100%. It was always a difficult decision,
but I wasn’t the decision-maker. Tony Blair and the cabinet were
the decision-makers and I supported it. I’ll bring you to just
another little bit of your diary because after a discussion –
you write about this – after a discussion about the war
among Blair’s inner circle, you said,
“I just about convinced myself “because it was my job
to support it.” And then
Blair’s political secretary – and you write this yourself,
so you’re the source – commented,
“Ah, the Nuremberg excuse.” Bloody hell, these diaries,
they keep coming back to them. (LAUGHTER)
Um… Look, the thing about it… The thing about –
and Geoff knows about this as well – is, in politics, when the political
and the personal mix, that’s when
it can get very, very difficult. Fiona, my partner, was totally
opposed to the Iraq War, so I would be at work all day
arguing for the government position, supporting Tony Blair, and then having the press at me
the whole time, going home
and having the same thing. And what I’ll accept is
that sometimes… I remember Jamie Ruben, who was
Madeleine Albright’s spokesman, I remember he said,
when I left Number 10, he said, “What you’ll find is
it will take you a long time “to find out
what you really think again.” Because you put yourself…
That was my job. I still support what Tony Blair did but I recognise why other people
are still so angry about it, and it’s nuanced,
it’s not black and white. Well, I think we’ll move on because we’ve got time
for just one last question. It’s from Rosemary King. Rosemary.
Hi. Another one for Alastair… And the rest of the panel.
(LAUGHTER) If Bill Shorten had asked you
to be his campaign manager, just in time
for our May general election, assuming you couldn’t change
any of the policies but the messaging to the Australian
voting public was totally up to you, how would you have spun
a Labor victory? Would you have framed the policies
as reducing inequality, increasing prosperity for all, or just kept your mouth shut
and simply attacked the government? OK. Um…
It’s a dilemma that Labor faces now. I know, it does. I’ve been talking to
some of the Labor politicians while I’ve been here and… ..I think…
countries like this… Look, this is a bright… There’s a lot of bright people
in this country, and I think a country like Australia
is actually ready for a politics… I know your three-year term – I said this the last time
I was on the program – I think your three-year term
is a real problem, but I actually think that you’ve… ..there’s got to be a sense
of a real long-term vision for the country, and I think that’s
what didn’t come over. It felt very tactical – both sides. And the government… They had a lot of support
in the media, they had the $60 million –
I mean, that’s a lot of money, that guy, Palmer, putting
his money up, that’s bound to… It wasn’t for the government,
though, it was for himself. Yes, I know,
but it was affecting Shorten. Well, I don’t know about that.
No, but it did. (LAUGHTER)
..actually show it, Nick. I think the thing about Labor, I think that left-of-centre
progressive parties around the world are finding this, that we’ve got to… We still… I talked about Bill Clinton saying
the right have the best tunes. We’re still singing the old songs – it’s tax and spend,
it’s more money for this. Geoff’s right when he… I read this brilliant speech
that Geoff wrote…made recently about education. It was a different way of thinking
about education. We’ve got to…
The world’s moving on so fast. These young people, they don’t think like we think
in politics, so there’s got to be that sense,
I think, of a big future vision. And I also think – and I don’t mean
this in a personal way about Bill Shorten at all –
but I felt… He was unelectable.
No, I felt… Every time I came here, I felt – and I’m afraid it’s a little bit… ..I feel this about Jeremy Corbyn
in the UK now – I felt the country had decided,
a long way out, “We’re not going to elect him.” I just felt that. Nick Cater.
So I wouldn’t have taken the job. (LAUGHTER) It’s amazing how much I agree
with you tonight. And you just reminded me why I thought that Tony Blair was
such a promising prime minister, because he thought about education
in that different way, in that long-term way.
Yeah. But I’m afraid
you look at the Labor Party here, and they’ve been all about just
throwing money about at education. Sure, we want education
to be properly funded, but we really have to
have a long-term strategy. We have to get back…
Look, in business these days, CEOs are just focused on
the next quarter, on getting the profits up. Unfortunately,
our politics has become like that. Yeah.
So I share your view, but I must say, with respect
to the questioner, I think it would have been beyond
even your powers to rescue Bill Shorten.
Anne, what do you think? Well, of course, there was
a lot of focus on Queensland and the extent to which… Some people call it
Australia’s Brexit moment. Well, we wrote a piece
about the Quexit, the #Quexit. If I’d been advising Bill Shorten – he spent a lot of time
in Queensland, but I don’t know… You know, everywhere that was rural
and regional voted the same way, it wasn’t just Queensland. The lady’s question,
who asked earlier, the question talked about respect, and I think respect is really
what’s missing in our politics, and I think many of the people in left-behind places
felt they weren’t being heard and felt they were being told
what to do by people who had no understanding
of their life experience. And I think
that’s the big challenge for Labor, for the political parties, is to actually show some respect
to people’s lived experience – Kate, you mentioned it before – and find ways of moving beyond
the binaries, of moving beyond the potential
for disruptors like Palmer, who actually had a massive impact
in the marginal seats, but got what he wanted –
the Galilee Basin. So, you know, there were
lots and lots of issues that were constructed that way – the reality was more complex, and we need to deal
with that complexity and we need to be prepared
to be respectful of people having a different view and of actually being able
to look at house prices in Gladstone or the prospects for their children
in Mackay and say this is… I can’t see the transition, I can’t see the transition
coming for me, and I think that’s what’s happened,
you know, in the UK and other places. So, you know,
I would have encouraged… And, of course, we’ve had plenty
of former Blair-ites here helping Labor in the past –
not much – so I think they need to think about
connecting authentically because, actually,
they’ve been success… You know, it’s not true
that Queensland votes against Labor because they’ve had
Labor state governments, but I think they were concerned about the extent to which
people’s legitimate concerns about transition were being heard
and understood, and I just think
that wasn’t being picked up. Kate?
I think that Labor… I think that Labor here,
Labour in the UK, and also the Democrats in the US,
all have a similar problem, which is that
their classic, old narrative was around class and economics,
it was around the working class, and that story has moved on,
effectively, and Labor hasn’t crafted
a new story. And instead, Labor and particularly
the Democrats, I might say, the progressives, have gone down
a very specific, narrow, identity politics-type
policies. So I would say the thing for me
for Labor, that, you know, in trying
to be quite specific and focused, I think it ended up
being quite narrow and divisive. And I think whenever you go down
really hard around quite a specific policy
that affects a minority, you’re always going to get a very
strong vocal comeback against it. And I think it just failed
completely to come up with
that overarching narrative that enough of the country
could get behind. Geoff, last word to you.
I totally disagree with Kate. I mean, the class war was
conducted by the conservatives – the people versus the elites. They were running the class war. The Labor Party position was,
“Let’s look at the middle class “and some of the views
that they’ve had “about how to improve our society, “and let’s link that up
with working-class people “who’ve had certain issues come up “in relation to
their material living standards, “their opportunities
to get education, “and to link those two together
to create a better society.” It was the Liberal and National
Party that ran the class war, and they won. And, of course, that means Labor has got to do
a lot more thinking about how to forge this alliance, which we need in our modern society
to create change, between those of low incomes or perhaps even those
that are really battling with life and circumstances, with those that are well off but can see that we need to do
something about our climate, etc. They need to think that through. But honestly, Kate,
if you look at the rhetoric, the Liberal-Nationals were running
the class war, and they won, and it’s a class war
that’s rather reflective of the sort of war we’re
going to see with Boris Johnson and we’re seeing with Donald Trump and we’re seeing with
some of those European governments – the people versus the experts
and the elites. That’s the way
they’re framing the politics, that’s class politics. Labor was trying to unite the nation
around a fairer go for everyone. But, Geoff, that’s true, but, in the end, they still
didn’t craft that narrative that people could listen to. OK, I’m sorry, guys,
we’re going to have to leave it. I’m sorry,
that’s all we have time for tonight. Please thank our outstanding panel – Anne Tiernan, Nick Cater,
Alastair Campbell, Kate Mills and Geoff Gallop. (APPLAUSE) Thank you very much. Now, you can continue the discussion
on Facebook and Twitter. Next week, I’m taking a break and RN Breakfast host Fran Kelly
will be sliding into the Q&A chair alongside conservative Liberal
stalwart Eric Abetz, Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching, celebrity chef and author Adam Liaw, anti-poverty and social justice
campaigner Tim Costello, and business and communications
consultant Parnell Palme McGuinness. Until then, goodnight. Captions by Red Bee Media Copyright Australian
Broadcasting Corporation

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. A war criminal lecturing people on moral superiority. Campbell talks about manipulating and lying. Is he for real? WMDs, millions dead.

  2. The ABC scared s**tless of criticism on the live feed. Quite happy to have Alastair Campbell who's 'sexed up' dossier took Britain to war along side the war mongering Blair. This war criminal should be rotting in jail, he has the blood of thousands on his hands!… nothing said by the ABC, time for its closure!!

  3. Have some actual right wing people on your program, every week there is only one (most of the time modest) from the right and the lefties all attacking him. Love to see the truth finally come out of this show.

  4. Here we go again. Leftist ''elitists'' thinking only they know what is good for us. Only they know how to best steer the ship towards enlightenment because the populists are the uneducated, reactionary simpletons. Wrong! Only those with true life experience hold true wisdom. Those who have gone through life not in theory but in practice.  Spending the greater part of your life sitting in on lectures and reading socialist books leads to more empty talk, and ignorant policies based on failed ideology. In other words, disaster. Just look to the education system for evidence of that.

  5. Geoff Gallop is an utter moron. He labelled John Stuart Mill as a "liberal socialist" when he was the total opposite – he was a "classical liberal" or we now know them, "libertarian" like David Leyonhjelm.

  6. Why, oh why, oh why is the abc so incapable of putting together a BALANCED panel??? The bias must run VERY deep indeed.

  7. When the right wing complain about free speech, it is not really about not being able to say things. Rather, they object to facing the consequences of their words. If you lose your job or are publicly dressed down because you spout ignorant rubbish that is the right of everyone else to react to your expression. Free speech means to be free of censorship, not free of consequences.

  8. if people cannot see things that are going on at the moment and see the link between things going on in American and in China as similar to the holocaust/WW2 then we are doomed to witness a similar event.

  9. Tony. when are you going to get your act together and stop people talking over the top of your guests?
    Its clear to everyone what side youre on but really??? youre running a biased show.
    The war monger talked over Nick Cater everytime he opened his mouth and you were no better.
    This is why people we want to see your funding cut

  10. Some of you commentors seem incapable of being pleased. Yes, Qanda is notoriously left, but this panel had a Brexit supporter (Nick) and a level-headed critic of identity politics (Kate). Large chunks of the discussion were spent criticising Alistair who had a leftist stance on Trump/Boris/Brexit so this was hardly a lopsided affair.

    I'll admit the ongoing global month of mourning for Trump's tweet is pretty tiring but that was done with after the first question.

  11. Americans voted for Trump because for the first time ever, we were able to fact check mainstream media and we found them liars where Trump and us “deplorables” are concerned. We are NOT racist. We are patriotic citizens standing in opposition to global elitist ideology.

  12. The media all over the world are on the left. And they have an agenda to stop those who oppose socialistic authoritarian policy. Classical America values are being undermined in favor of far-left ideology (globalism, anti free speech, the devaluation of the citizen in favor of tribal postmodernism, Marxism, strong govt controls over all aspects of the lives of citizens)

  13. Is Tony feeling sick? He actually let Nick Cater speak without interrupting.
    Kate was right, the populists speak to people's lived experience and until the elites listen to the people about immigration concerns the populists will win the day.

  14. Trump so called base are a lot of rubes. He is a disaster. He is a liar.
    The are also the evangelicals who have a lot to answer for!

  15. You have to remember that trump was not voted by the majority.

    We have this thing called called the Electoral College which I hope will be dismantled.

    I pray every day He will be impeached and jailed. He is the worst. God help us in 2020!

  16. Roger Griffin even says that Trump isn't a fascist you utter half-wit. People like myself who don't even like Trump shouldn't have to call these lying frauds out. You are the very reason he will win in 2020 you theiving degenerate!!

  17. Truth has taken a back seat
    That's why polllies and any one else get away with the fallacy that is free speech.

  18. Finding a cure for psychological disabilities should be normalised but so should many other things.

  19. Interesting how openly condescending Tony can be towards certain panelists. Openly bias towards certain panel members, with respect to how much oxygen he allows them to have.

  20. It must be hard for Tony and the other bias lefty crowd at the ABC. They are starting to be held accountable for their Cultural Marxist bias and they are also getting drilled by some extremely well spoken commentators such as Jordan Peterson who are intellectually out of their league. I'm enjoying watching them squirm.

  21. The anti-immigrant racism of the populist right and the proto-fascist language police on the PC left are BOTH symptoms that divide us against eachother and distract us from the real problem: deep down everyone on both sides harbors a visceral digust for a corrupt and out of touch ruling establishment's increasingly deperate attempts at justifying a failed system that has rendered everyone except the 1% elites at the top powerless and invisible.

  22. 8:04 tony "when trump says to go back to countries they came from" you missed a but tony, where he also said to fix all their problems following their rule book and come back and show us how it's done.. it's NOT RACIST idiot.

    and "for women" as women are clearly a hive mind whith no individual thoughts, just a group think "group"

  23. mass immigration. London is a mess, knife crime of the world, Germany, and the UK, child rape gangs, Sweden, UK, France and others, muslim no go zones and minim shiara law enclaves. but trump is the bad guy? get stuffed

  24. People don't like mass immigration because its a forced aspect that governments are pushing on society to justify their destructive de-industrialization of the West in order to foster a consumer economy which in itself isn't sustainable. It has been a complete mess from day one.

  25. There was no mention in this episode of the feminist agenda's impact on men's mental health in this country. 6/8 suicides in this country are male.

  26. Gallop states at 14:00 that Putin has troop near Latvia, what a genius, considering they share a border.

  27. Who is "We" Tony that are headed, maybe and only maybe, that might be headed for a general election in the U.K? Could it be you and fellow Lefties that you love to spruik to and the Marxist ABC?

  28. "We all knew Donald Trump was a racist before he was voted for." Mike Tyson said that Donald Trump was the only one there for him at his lowest moments in life. Obama said Trump is the American Dream. Before 2016, Trump was the most referenced person in Black US Rap music ever. Seemed like he was a real racist before he ran … what a wanka Alastair Campbell is. No wonder the idiot was depressed.

  29. Bloke at 35:00 asks a sensible question, then the question is framed to Campbell in a way that allows him to ramble on about himself some more. The disappointed look on old mate's face at 35:58

  30. Nick Cater: Intolerance to free speech, especially on the left!

    Alastair Campbell: What can you not say? What are you now allowed to say?
    Nick Cater: crickets

  31. Why Alistair Campbell is still a free man is beyond me. He needs to be put behind bars along with Blair and have the keys thrown away.
    I cannot bear to look at him.

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