Deemed Not To Matter | Q&A


(CHEERING, APPLAUSE) TONY JONES: Good audience. (APPLAUSE) Good evening, and welcome to Q&A.
I’m Tony Jones. Here to answer
your questions tonight – ABC Radio announcer Sami Shah, Jim Molan, the former Liberal senator
hoping to make a comeback, Rebekha Sharkie
from the Centre Alliance, Shadow Minister for Social Services
and Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney, and marketing strategist Toby Ralph. Please welcome our panel. (APPLAUSE) Thank you very much. Q&A is live in eastern Australia
on ABC TV, iview and NewsRadio. Well, we’re hoping to get to
quite a number of topics tonight, but our first question
comes from Ross Kroger. Will the government
set up an independent body to advise on deeming rates, Newstart Allowances, and pension amounts, or will only wealthy politicians
have access to fair and equitable incomes… Rebekha Sharkie.
..wh… Sorry. We’ll start with you. Now, you want to finish
that question, don’t you? Go ahead. ..while pensioners freeze,
go hungry, cannot afford access
to health services, and die? Rebekha Sharkie,
we’ll start with you. This is an issue
that is very dear to my heart – Mayo is the oldest electorate
by median age in South Australia – and an issue and a cause that I have taken quite strongly
to the parliament, and will continue to do
for this term. We do have pension poverty
in Australia. We have 1.5 million people who are
existing entirely on the pension, and around a third of those
are in poverty. Last year,
with the former member for Indi, we…I backed the call for an independent commission
to set Newstart rates, Youth Allowance rates,
and the pension. And I’ll be taking that back into
the parliament… Yes, how has the government responded
to that call? Because they do like to keep their
hands on these levers, don’t they? Look, they do, but ultimately, every dollar that we can give
to pensioners, it’s helping them
to live a good life. They spend every dollar
back in the community. They’re not buying online
from overseas. They’re supporting local businesses, they’re keeping the heater on, and they’re buying food. And when I hear from people that are
living in one room of their home, they are not turning on the heater, they’re going to bed
at 6:00 or 7:00 at night – I don’t think that’s the Australia
that we want to see, and I think we can do much better. And I might say that I think
both Labor and the government have said that they wouldn’t support
an independent commission, but I think that that’s the fair
and proper thing to do. Jim Molan,
not in government at the moment. Maybe you will be sometime soon –
we’ll come to that later. Oh, thanks, Tony! But you might like to give some
gratuitous advice to the government about what they should do
about pension rates and Newstart. All I can say is,
bloody politicians, Tony. That’s… But this is a very serious question. Very, very serious question. And the only organisation
in Australia that takes an overall view of the
entire nation is the government. Every single part of the nation
wants more money, wants more goodness, and wants more things
for their particular part. The organisation in our country which spreads that money
as evenly as possible, and as fairly as possible
across the nation is the government. So I find it very, very hard
to make a decision and to give advice
on individual things. For example, I believe that
one of the most poorly served groups in our society are totally and
permanently incapacitated veterans. I think that,
of all the veteran community, they have the greatest claim
on resources. I think that kinship carers… I am of an age where I have a lot to do with people who are the fastest-growing
demographic in this country, which is people over 65. And I have been made aware recently of the unfairness of grandparents
who, for various reasons, find that the children
of their children have now come to be cared by them
and, in different states, they are treated
in vastly different ways. And there’s a real problem there.
So… Jim, I’ll take you to the big one.
Newstart and base-rate pensions… Yeah.
I mean, are we going to have to wait until the economy tanks
before the stimulus of giving a rise to Newstart and base-rate pensioners
is necessary? Yes, and the stimulus
is one of the reasons for doing it. In many of the country towns
that I visit, people say to me, “Why are we paying people
not to work?” Now, this is
a very contentious view, but at the moment,
only the government can see what priorities are
across the entire community. Alright, let’s toss it across
to the other side of politics – Linda, what do you think? Do you get people saying, “Why are people being paid
not to work?” Um, I have heard that. But let’s be very clear.
And good evening, everyone. And let’s remind ourselves,
we’re on Wurundjeri country. I have heard that,
but I think it’s really important that policymakers understand what the profile of someone
on Newstart is. It isn’t necessarily a young person. It’s often someone that’s 55 or 60
that’s been retrenched and probably has
a very difficult road ahead in terms of getting a job. So it’s not just young people, and that notion that somehow it is
is just not true. The second point
that I’d make was… Ross, was it?
Thank you for your question. The second point
about an independent body – I think you were right. I mean,
politicians have an independent body to determine what our salaries are. And Rebekha is in part right. What I’ve said
in terms of the Labor Party is that we’re fairly agnostic on whether there should be
an independent body that would set, actually,
the deeming rate, which I’m sure
we’re going to come to. I met with Ian Yates
from COTA last week, and I’ve spoken
to a number of people in the seniors groups, and their view is strongly that there should
be an independent body. And that is something
that we’d obviously listen to. But let’s be clear. The government has the reins. It has the mechanisms,
it has the people to be able to set these rates. And that’s what the Minister
said today. I’m not defending that
for one moment. I’m just saying that
there are two points of view. We are in opposition, and our job is to listen
to those points of view, and come to a position
over the next three years. Toby, what do you think? Your old boss, John Howard,
a year ago, called for an unfreezing
of the Newstart rate. He said it had been frozen
for too long. That’s the same from employer groups
and business groups, but not the government,
at this stage. Sure. A lot of people are calling
for raises in Newstart. And there are some
pretty good cases for it. Chris Richardson,
I was interested to see, from Deloitte Access Economics, was saying it would be great
for the economy, along with a whole range
of other people. To be honest,
I don’t actually know enough whether it’s a good or a bad idea,
is the truth. I can talk about deeming
if you wish, Tony? Go ahead. That’s part of the story. OK. So, deeming, in my view, Ross, I think deeming’s a terrific system ’cause it saves a whole lot
of bureaucracy and paperwork. The question is,
what should the rates be? They’ve been dropped to 1% if you’re
getting up to 52 grand to invest. And they assume you’re making 3%
if you’ve got more than 52 grand. Basically, because if you’re
investing more than 52 grand, you’re likely
not just to stick it in the bank, you’ll have shares. And shares will give you,
on average, about 4.5%, whereas a term deposit
will probably give you 2%. So they assume you’re earning 1% when you’re probably earning 2%,
if you’re in term deposits, and they assume you’re earning 3%, and you might be earning
more than that. The… The, um… The rates were unfair. I personally believe the rates
are actually pretty realistic now. I think…
For me, the problem comes when a very conservative pensioner
who can’t afford to… ..who might have 100 grand, say, but is too scared
to put it in the stock market because the stock market’s
too volatile, sticks it in a term deposit, gets 2% and is taxed
as though they’re earning 3%. That’s a problem. My per… I think
two things need to happen. And one of them is not an
independent body. I think the first thing
that we need to… Why not, by the way? Well, I don’t think the setting
of the rate is a particular issue. I think the rates are fair. I think we need to treat people
who put their money – irrespective of the quantum of it – into term deposits to keep it safe should be taxed at the lower rate. And I think we need to ask
our financial institutions to develop special products which will cope with people
who have more money, want to preserve their capital,
want to earn 3%-plus, and I think that should be
a call on banks and financial institutions
to deliver something which will service
pensioners better. OK, just briefly, Linda,
you’re shaking your head there. So I’ll give you
a 30-second right of reply. The government has made
millions and millions and millions of dollars
off the backs of pensioners. They have not changed the deeming
rate for 4.5 years. It is not fair. And bringing it down 0.25% to 3%,
I think, is not good enough. Let’s go to the other side
of the panel. Sami, what do you reckon? I’d start by not letting
any financial institutions be a part
of the decision-making process, largely given their track record. Even here
after the royal commission, we kind of know at this point the banks cannot be trusted
with…money, it turns out. (LAUGHTER) The other element
of the deeming rates thing is, look, it’s… It is overdue.
It is needed, clearly. And the RBA cut of 1% has kind of
triggered this entire conversation. Great. There are 75% of pensioners
who do not benefit in any way, and see no change
in their lifestyles from a change in the deeming rate. I think, if it’s a first step, and the next step is Newstart, and the other step after that is
raising the pension, that’s great. But the fact that, so far, we’ve only seen this step
being considered and no word at all
about any of the other steps, for a government that’s… Is it fair enough, do you think,
for the government to actually wait to see how the economy’s going and
have one more lever they could pull to stimulate the economy? Um, I think something
like Newstart, which is so overdue –
more overdue, many would argue, than the deeming rate issue
ever was – should be a priority. And given the fact
that the government’s had a…impression problem – obviously didn’t hurt them
in the election, it turns out but overall there is the
‘top end of town’ kind of approach that most people accuse
all the political parties of – um, you’d think something like
Newstart would actually help them combat that impression
and change the dialogue around who they benefit
and who they’re looking out for. It’s a bit disappointing to see that
they haven’t had that level of… But, Sami, the Prime Minister has
ruled out changing Newstart. So, there we are.
At this time. At this point.
But he did rule it out. OK. Let’s move on.
We’ve got another question. We’ve got quite a few
good questions tonight. We should get to as many as we can. This one’s from
Hayden Champion-Silver. Hayden. Hey, guys. So, I’m 21 years old. Last year, November,
I became homeless due to some traumatic experiences
at home. And I come from the…
Melbourne’s west side – so, Melton, to be specific. When I did become homeless,
I was… I had to move away from that area,
approximately 40km away, um, when Hope Street
Youth and Family Services found me crisis accommodation. Now, my question to you guys is, why are youth homelessness services
not more available in growth corridors
around Australia, despite these areas having some
of the highest cases and highest rates
of domestic violence and youth homelessness? Rebekha, start with you. Um, thank you for your question,
Hayden, and I’m very sorry that you have
experienced homelessness. And we know that young
people are the largest group of homeless across Australia,
and it’s growing significantly. Before I was a member of parliament, I had the great privilege
of working in the youth sector, and we, actually, were the base for services for young people who…who were, um,
seeking emergency services, who were homeless, as well as employment services
and education services. I agree with you. In South Australia,
there is a central pooling, and then there’s different
organisations that are responsible for different regions. I’m not sure
what that is in Victoria. But I think that
that works quite well because we recognise
that, in regional areas… I mean, Mayo has a higher rate
of homelessness than the national average. So, in regional areas,
young people are…are homeless. It’s not just a metro thing. And there’s an extra layer
of isolation if you are homeless
in a regional area, so… Were you surprised to see the new
Minister for Homelessness say, “We need to put a positive spin “on this issue.”
Yeah. “It’s really just a tiny,
tiny percentage of the population, “so let’s think about it
in a more positive light”? Well, look, I’ll give Luke
the benefit of the doubt. And I’d be very happy…
Rookie error? (LAUGHS) I’d be very happy to sit down
and chat with him about the experiences that I had. And one of the great, um, tragedies
is that, in 2014, we had a rolling-back of the NRAS, which was the National Rental
Affordability Scheme. Now, for the organisation
I worked for, that allowed us,
when that scheme was around, which was a Labor program… ..it allowed us to go from having
seven units to support young people in transitional housing, to support you with low-income rent and get you on your feet… ‘Cause it’s about getting people
on their feet, and then getting you into a job,
or back into education. And we were able to extend that
during that time to 39. So, we were able to help a lot more
young people over a year. With the ending of that program,
I think we’re seeing a lack of building of social housing, and that was a great program
to have. And it wasn’t… Government contributed
a small amount, Jim, but not a lot. And it was really about getting
the private sector and non-government organisations to be able to have some skin
in the game. I’d love to see,
in this parliament, some more, uh, funding, some kind of, you know,
second version of NRAS, which will be something
I’ll certainly be lobbying Luke and other ministers… But I take your point
in relation to ensuring that there’s services
in regional areas, and I’d be really happy to follow up
and see what’s in Victoria. Sami, Melbourne broadcaster, so I’m going to give the next answer
to you. Go ahead. Honestly, the amount of homelessness
I saw in Melbourne when I first moved here
took me aback. It’s… I came here in 2015 from WA, and we’ve been seeing
a bit of an increase in homelessness over there, but the sheer numbers
in the city of Melbourne, in and around the CBD,
and the outer suburbs as well, was astonishing
and quite depressing, given the fact that we are a country
that has had a growth economy for a longer period
than most of the rest of the world. Um, record numbers, in fact,
at one point. The new Homelessness Minister’s
statement was… It was one of those things
where it shows you the disconnect he has from the problem,
given the fact that, at one point, he even said that the amount
of homelessness we’ve got is commensurate
with the population increase, whereas that’s not true at all. The amount of homelessness
has increased by 14% between the last two censuses –
population increase is 8.8%. So, right there, you can see
there is a crisis. For me… Let’s quickly… Let’s…
I’ll come back to you. Let’s just quickly go back
to Hayden, our questioner. Hayden, you’ve left home
or forced to leave home because of a domestic violence
situation, as I understand it. What would you say to a minister
who says you’ve got to put a “positive spin” on the issue? You can’t. There’s nothing positive
about being homeless. There’s not a single thing
I could think of, when I was homeless,
that was positive. OK. Linda? It must have been terrifying,
Hayden. Absolutely terrifying. It is hard to understand,
in a nation like this nation, with the wealth that we have,
that there is homelessness. A lot of it we can see. A lot of it we don’t see. It’s young people sleeping
on couches. And many of us have had
experiences like yours. I had a homeless family with me
for six months – good people, but with three young children,
just could not find somewhere affordable to live. I think that, you know,
it really is the responsibility, as Rebekha said,
of government, developers, and the business community, and community housing providers, to look at how you can leverage
more funding to be able to build more units. We need more places
for people to live and not just crisis accommodation. We need places…
If you haven’t got an address, you can’t keep down a…keep a job,
it’s hard to go to school. All the things
that you’re nodding to, and I know that you understand
very, very much. Labor took to the election
a second version of NRAS, and 250,000 new housing units. We lost the election,
but we would love the government to actually have a look at that
and realise that this is one of the biggest social…
social issues facing us. Just to finish up, young people
escaping domestic violence, and women and children, older women who are entering
an age of their life where they should have comfort,
and they’re homeless, and of course,
we have the issue of youth, as you’re talking about. Toby, you’ve put a lot
of positive spin on some interesting issues
in your career. (LAUGHS)
Homelessness? Could you possibly do that? I think the jingle would be
pretty hard. The… To your point, Hayden…
So, no. To your point, Hayden, um, Melton is of those areas which has quite a high degree
of ice usage. It’s got some domestic violence
out there, quite high domestic violence stats. And it’s… And your question was, should we put resources out in those
places where the problems exist? I think that makes eminent
good sense. I can’t see why we wouldn’t. It’s cheaper.
It’s better for people. It’s probably a stronger
long-term solution. So, yes, I agree
with your proposition. Jim? The only comment that I’d make,
Hayden, is that I certainly understand
the issue. I’ve seen it with people
who are your age and not much older. I’ve certainly seen it amongst,
to mention them again, the veteran community,
and it’s been a significant problem. A lot of that has been addressed…
LINDA: Absolutely. ..by the RSL,
by a non-government organisation, by people contributing
themselves to it. I…I…I’ve seen it
only in a little bit in the privileged city
that I live near, which is Canberra. Uh, I live in a rural area, and I’m sure it’s there,
it’s just not as visible, I think, as Sami was saying. But it would be great
to do something about it. Again, there is only so much
to go across, and that’s Newstart, pensions, homelessness and housing,
now, we’ve got. Uh, it’d be great to throw money
at them all. OK. We’ll move on. Thanks for keeping us on our toes,
Hayden. Our next question comes
from Amanda Powell. Some people are saying
that a constitutionally recognised Indigenous advisory body would be
a third chamber of parliament. However, entrenching the power to establish a consultative
and advisory body to parliament is certainly not a new idea. And quite recently, in 2016,
the Queensland Constitution Act entrenched the requirement
to have parliamentary committees. Another example – New Zealand set up a Parliamentary Commissioner
for the Environment in 1986, and New Zealand’s had a Parliamentary Maori Affairs
Committee since the late 19th century. So, these bodies only ever have
recommendatory powers. However, they can provide a voice,
leadership, and empowerment. What are people so afraid of, and are the claims of a
“third chamber of parliament” just dog-whistling?
OK, Linda, we’ll start with you. I am so pleased
you’ve asked that question. Um, I want to say, once and for all, and draw a line under it
for the naysayers, a voice to the parliament is not,
never has been perceived, and will not be, a third chamber. It is a nonsense
and it’s mischievous to even describe it as that,
as you’ve realised. The Uluru Statement from the Heart – and I’m sure most people here
know what I’m talking about when I talk about
the Uluru Statement from the Heart – talked about three things. It talked about a voice
to the parliament enshrined in the Constitution so no government
could get rid of it. It talked about
a Makarrata Commission that would lead the process
of treaty or agreement-making, many of them already existing
in Australia, like the Noongar Agreement
in Western Australia, in Perth. And the third thing it asked for was
a national process of truth-telling, for all of us in this nation
to come to terms with our past and be comfortable with it. And I think that
that would grow us up remarkably as a nation. Labor has said to the government,
“We will work closely with you.” Rebekha and I have spoken about it.
We will work closely together. There is a long way to go
with this discussion, and I believe that having an
Indigenous voice to the parliament would be beneficial to everyone, but most beneficial to issues
like Hayden’s raised, and others – that’s the social-justice outcomes
for First Nations people, which are, frankly, atrocious. (APPLAUSE)
OK. Thank you. A couple of quick questions. Ken Wyatt seems to be moving towards
a legislated model, not a model built into
the Constitution. Is that a compromise that
you might be prepared to make? I know that the voice,
as part of the Uluru Statement, is meant to be
in the Constitution, but the pressure will be for it
to be outside the Constitution. That’s coming from Peter Dutton,
among others. The Prime Minister seems to agree. If this is too hard a rock
to push uphill, will you compromise and have it
outside the Constitution? Well, three things, Tony. At the moment,
I’m not talking about, and the Labor Party is
not talking about, compromise. But we are talking about working as collaboratively as possible
with the government. And who knows where
we’ll end up in a few… ..in a year or two’s time? The most important thing is to hear from the voice
of First Nations people. And I know very much from
my own discussions and consultations that people want a voice
to the parliament that has surety. We are still very burnt by
the experience of ATSIC, which was gotten rid of by… I think it was John Howard, and Amanda Vanstone was
the minister. So, what First Nations people,
everyone, are looking for, is a voice that cannot be
at the whim of a government, which is why the Constitution
is seen as an instrument for making that voice permanent. We will have the discussions,
work through the issues. And I can assure you that
this is not a scary prospect. This is something
that is well overdue and could well change
some of those issues that we’ve been facing
as a nation for so long, like homelessness,
like domestic violence, like incarceration, child removal, and shocking, shocking
life expectancy outcomes. OK. Let’s throw this around
the table. Toby, what do you think? Um, I think this is an
evolving conversation. I think it’s a very important one
for Australia. I’m… In my work, I’m lucky enough
to work with a lot of people who run big things –
corporations, even countries, industries, and so on – and some are good leaders,
some are bad. What I notice is a characteristic
of a good leader is not that
they have brilliant strategy or they’re forceful
or they’re economical, or their tactics are wonderful. A great leader has the capacity
to carry people with them… Mm.
..and take one step… ..get as many people as possible to take one step
in the same direction. And that’s a very hard thing to do
in this circumstance. Are you looking for that
from the Prime Minister? No, I’m looking for that
from Ken Wyatt, and I think he’s doing
a superb job of it. I think if he put
a specific recommendation, it could get shot down now. I think it’s unsurprising that
in raising what’s done, some people have
very high expectations of the great news
that might come from it, and others are scared of it. I think that’s all just part of
a conversation that will evolve, and I congratulate Ken Wyatt
for what he’s doing. Jim, can I just take you
to a point here? The republican referendum
sort of foundered when people wanted
to vote for a president. Now, some people said even if the president had
no specific powers, he’d have a symbolic power
over parliament, and the conservatives did not want
to see a body with a symbolic power. It seems the same argument is
being played out around the voice. I think, if it becomes
a symbolic activity, you’d have to ask yourself
why you would do it. I’m not scared of the issue,
but I… As a principle,
I would be very unwilling to place this in the Constitution. And as a…
as a Liberal conservative, I think that the challenges
that Linda has just explained to us that the Indigenous population, the Indigenous group
in this country face, I can’t see how they are related
to the Constitution. And if we…if we take
all those individual things that Linda was talking about, and hope to solve them by doing
something in the Constitution, I think we’re moving away
from the main activities, which is to…to change…
to assist our Indigenous people to bring themselves up
to where they want to be. What would be the problem
of putting an advisory body into the Constitution
if it didn’t have the power to impact legislation,
but only to advise on it? Well, why put it
into the Constitution? I mean… Linda just made the argument, so it
can’t be at the whim of a government. Oh, yeah, but there were
other reasons why ATSIC went down, let’s face it. Let’s be truthful about it. It wasn’t just John Howard
trying to do something wrong. There were many other reasons
why ATSIC went down. But I just… I find it very, very interesting that, having taken racial references
out of the Constitution, we’re now going to put them back in. And if we are…
LINDA: But they’re in there now. Well, why do you want
to put them there? They’re already in there. Well, why do you want
to put more in? Well, the question is, you’re not going
to solve homelessness. You’re not going to solve
all those problems you went through, by having something
in the Constitution. And I… You know, I visited
the Northern Territory recently on a stillbirth inquiry
with Malarndirri McCarthy. She’s a superb spokesperson
for her people. A superb spokesperson. You’re a superb spokesperson
for your people. Why is that the Chinese community,
the more recent migrant community, they…they…why don’t they have
a body which advises the parliament? We all have our members
of parliament. I was a senator… MAN IN AUDIENCE:
Sovereignty wasn’t ceded, mate. I was a senator…
(APPLAUSE) Sorry, we’ll just get
a microphone to over to you so you can actually make that point
and the audience can hear it. OK, sorry. You…
Levi. In the second row. Thank you. So, I didn’t hear
what you said, because… Yeah, so, let’s be really clear. Since 1778,
sovereignty hasn’t been ceded by any of the First Nations
of this country, and the only way sovereignty
has been pushed aside is through force and violence. Thank you.
We’ll take that as a comment. Rebekha, going back to
the question of the voice. So, I think that, as a nation,
have a huge opportunity here. And I think, if anyone was to
lead this on the government’s side, I think Ken Wyatt will do this. I have tremendous respect for Ken. It needs to have the whole of
the parliament behind this decision. And I think, Jim,
it’s about recognition, and we need to ensure that
in our Constitution we recognise that this land has been the land of
Aboriginal people for 60,000 years. JIM: Put it in the preamble. Well, can I ask, would you be happy to take out
the religious protection out of the Constitution?
No. No. (LAUGHTER)
Well, there you go. Look… Um, look, I think that
it’s a journey, and I think that what will
be really important is that we get this right, because I think that
the parliament, I think that history,
European history, has let down Aboriginal people, and we can’t…we can’t let down
Aboriginal people. And this time…
And, Tony… Sorry. And it needs to be us, not…
the parliament, not doing things
TO Aboriginal people. It needs to be all of us together
walking side by side. I…I’m… I’m excited about this. I think… I think Ken Wyatt is
a tremendous member of parliament, and I think that he will
take this forward. I will say one thing, though. When Malcolm Turnbull
was the prime minister, towards the end of his time, I actually stood
and asked a question. The crossbenchers
get one question a day. We actually now get a second one
at the very, very end, but you never know
if you’re going to get to that. And I asked him… There are four flags that fly in the House of
Representatives chamber, and all four of those flags
are the Australian flag. And there is an Aboriginal man
in my community – shout-out to Hedley – and he said, “I don’t feel that
I am recognised in the chamber.” I would like to think that we could, at the beginning
of this parliament – we’re very new in the parliament – to have both the Aboriginal
and the Torres Strait Islander and the Australian flag
all fly proudly in our chamber. OK, we’ve got another question
on this, and it’s from
a different perspective. It’s from Bill Thompson. Bill? After working and paying taxes
for about 50 years myself, I believe that no person
living in Australia today should be entitled to
any special benefit or recognition which is based not simply
on need or achievement, but rather on race, or how long
their ancestors were here. What do the panel think about that? We’ll start with Sami, because we haven’t heard
from you on this issue. Um… Wow. Thanks for the easy one!
(LAUGHTER) Um… It’s… Look, it’s easy to dismiss
the value of race when it’s not something that has been a defining aspect
of your life, when it’s not something
that has been used to vilify, deprive, and in many cases,
destroy entire communities. In institutions like that, when you don’t have that experience, when you’ve never had
that kind of vilification coming at you
based entirely on your race, it’s easy to sit and say,
“Look, you know what? “It’s a fair go. “Everyone’s born equal,
everyone dies equal, “and I don’t see race.” It’s actually harder
to see race in these situations because that acknowledges
a certain level of privilege. I can understand
why you’d feel that, “Look. You know what?
There’s no race, everyone’s equal. “Why should my taxpayer money
go in different areas?” But, unfortunately for you, we do live in a society
which is entirely designed upon helping one another,
helping the underprivileged. We have Newstart, which we desperately need
to increase, for a reason. We have Centrelink.
We have all of these things. We have, you know, Medicare. We have a system designed
to help those who need the help. And there is, whether
you like that truth or not, a community within Australia
who, because of their race, have suffered more and greater than
any other community in this country. And to give them the help, because their race
has put them in a situation where they’ve needed the help,
there’s nothing wrong with that. Bill, if you want to come back,
that’s fine. Linda? Um, I’m rather surprised
by your comment, Bill. And I, um… I’m a little saddened by it,
actually. I’ve paid my taxes for 50 years too. 45 years, I should say. Uh… I think that
where you’re coming from, uh, is not actually understanding
the truth of this nation. And the truth is that
First Nations people have a special relationship
with the land, and have a very spiritual
relationship with country that has gone back
tens of thousands of generations. And that means something. The second point that I’d make is that if you think that
bigotry and racism has not been part of
the Australian story, um, as Sami has indicated, then you’re wrong, because it has. And the thing that I see daily
are the terrible outcomes of that bigotry and
that racism and that history. I see it in young people, young Aboriginal people
in particular. And it is also, I think,
a really important point to make – and I’ll finish on this, Tony – is that the truth liberates. And for us as a nation
to come together as Australians – all of us – to understand our shared history,
our shared…our shared story, can only make us a better place. Just…just a quick one, Linda.
(APPLAUSE) We know what happens
with referendums – so few of them get passed
in this country. That’s true. And the leadership to take you there
needs to be bipartisan, it needs to be consistent…
Yes. ..and it needs to make a clear point
to the electorate, which is led from the top. Do you think you’re going to see
that happen under this government? I desperately hope so. We, in the Labor Party, have completely embraced
the statement from Uluru – the Statement from the Heart. Uh, completely embraced it,
and have done so for some time. I think you’ve heard our leader,
Anthony Albanese, say that. The…
Here’s the problem, though. Ken Wyatt – who could be the leader on the government side
of this debate – has not embraced the whole thing,
but only part of it. Yeah, well… And he’s now separating out the voice
from the Constitution, it seems to me.
Yes. And I think the position of
the Prime Minister is fairly clear – that he would like
to see recognition of First Peoples
in the Constitution – not the preamble,
um, but the Constitution – and would like to see
a voice legislated. Um, that is where the position
of the government is at the moment. The position of the Labor Party
is a full embrace of Uluru. But we also are
very understanding that, for a successful referendum
in Australia, it must be bipartisan,
it must be across the parliament, I would say to Rebekha. Now, that is the, uh… That is the situation there is. There is a long way to go
with this discussion, and I’m not going to pre-empt
anything at this stage except to say this –
that, at the end of the day, there has to be a permanent voice
to the parliament that advises the parliament on issues pertaining to
First Nations people, be it legislation or policy. And that can only make
the outcomes better. Um, my wish is that it be enshrined
within the Constitution. The government has
a different position, and we will see where we get to. Um, and I hope that Scott Morrison
can come to this discussion with an open heart and an open mind. OK. Well, a long way to go
in that debate, we think. The next question
comes from David Cartney. Sami Shah, as a writer and comedian, do you modify how far you push
the boundaries of freedom of speech to suit a particular audience
that’s in front of you? Um, I… Look, I do perform differently,
obviously, to the different audiences
I perform to. So, if I’m performing
in a comedy club, for example, there’ll be a lot more profanity
and descriptions of genitalia… (LAUGHTER)
..than, um… ..than there would be right now,
for example. LINDA: (LAUGHS) I’m glad! And I think for everyone’s sake. Um, and I also host breakfast radio,
and that’s a different job entirely. And when I write a book,
it’s a different thing. Um, your audience does define
the message to some degree, but if you aren’t being honest
in your message, your audience will always
walk away from you, so… I’ve got to ask you this
as an ABC broadcaster myself – are there automatic limits
to your free speech by virtue of you being
an ABC broadcaster? Um, other than the stuff that
you kind of have to sign on to, which is you can no longer curse
on your social media, um, which I miss terribly… (LAUGHTER)
..um, and…and biases. You should not display biases. And I think that’s an important one, because given the fact
that I do also consider, you know, what I do as journalism, having a bias would make me poorer
at my job. Um, so, as long as
I maintain those two, I feel like that’s
a reasonable request from the ABC, and I’ve always believed
they’re important things anyway. But beyond that,
um, yeah, when I’m… You know, if I’m at a comedy club or if I’m doing anything
outside of here, it is a different voice,
but it’s also because that’s a different demand
from the audience. OK, you did a study of free speech –
a five-part podcast called Shutup. I’ll give you
an advertisement for it. (LAUGHTER)
That’s OK. What did you discover
about the limits of free speech, the borders of free speech
in this country? It obviously changes
from country to country… Yes, very much so.
..and you were born in Pakistan, and the borders there
are much tighter, I imagine. Well, one of the interesting things
I discovered was the fact that
the borders change constantly. Um, what we think
are the borders now, um, were very different
even 20 years ago, 10 years ago. There are certain things which
every country considers blasphemous within their own belief system. So, within Pakistan, for example,
it was religion. You know, any criticisms of that
were blasphemy. But in Australia, for example,
you can argue that any discussion, or criticisms,
rather, of the Anzacs would be considered
fairly blasphemous. And that’s definitely
one border that we, as a country,
have defined as, you know, “You don’t transgress that,
or else there will be consequences.” The Yassmin effect.
The Yassmin effect. And…and Scott, who worked for SBS
for a while as well. Um, so we’ve seen that. Beyond that,
though, it’s always shifting. There was a period of time when Lady Chatterley’s Lover
was banned in Australia because it was considered just
too darn saucy for this country. And now you wouldn’t blink
if someone mentioned that to you. And now there’s other, you know,
rules and regulations. So, we decided collectively what we’re OK with
and what we’re not OK with. Um, and I think, actually, one side is going,
“Political correctness gone mad,” and the other side says, “We’re not,
you know, being free enough.” Um, I think that’s a good thing because when you have
those two sides fighting, you’re constantly redefining
the boundaries, and that’s a healthy debate
to be having. We talk a lot about free speech
on this program, so I thought I’d just hear
from you on that one, and we’ll go to another question. We’ll hear from another individual
on the panel. It’s from Emily Foley. Um, my question’s for Jim Molan. So, you polled 137,325
first-preference votes in the 2019 federal election,
making you the politician with the highest personal vote
in the country, following a campaign urging people
to vote below the line, yet you failed to secure
a Senate spot after the New South Wales
Liberal Party placed you in an unwinnable fourth position
on ballot papers. Does this demonstrate
that factional politics will always disadvantage
the interests of the people that politicians
are elected to serve? (LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE) That was a pretty fair summary
of your recent political career, Jim. Well, I’d like this
to be fact-checked, please, but… Thank you for the question.
That was… That’s a tremendous question,
Emily, and… LINDA: Just what I wanted!
Exactly. If you think I’m going
to get back into factional politics, you’re stark-raving mad,
in New South Wales. I’m safe down here in Victoria ’cause no-one in New South Wales
watches this show. Well, you’re lucky…you’re lucky
you’re not on a national program! I’m not on a… What I would say, though,
and what needs to be fact-checked, is that my understanding
of 137,000 votes is that it’s not just
in that election. It’s the largest number
of first-preference votes that any individual politician
has got at state and federal level in the history
of Australian politics. And when you make that argument
to the Prime Minister… (LAUGHS) ..in relation to the casual vacancy
which will soon appear as a result of Arthur Sinodinos
going to Washington… Well…
..what has he said to you? “You’re so popular, Jim –
I want you back”? (LAUGHS) I have not made
any argument to the Prime Minister, and I would not make that argument
to the Prime Minister because I don’t believe
that I have… ..I should ever work
on an entitlement. If 137,000 people thought that,
um, they would vote for me, which is an extraordinary number… I was never… You know, I would have loved
to have gotten 600,000 votes. I will run
for the preselection, and I will leave it
up to the preselectors, which is the way it should work, and I will run
on the basis of merit. So, um… And when you’re speaking
to the preselectors, no doubt you’ll tell them that you’re the most popular
politician in history… (LAUGHTER)
..but what else will you say to them? Because you were a senator.
Mm. Um, you were
a prominent figure briefly while you were a senator
in your part of the parliament, in your faction,
if I can put it that way. Um, will you be arguing that
you need to go back into that role? No, I will argue that,
on the basis of merit, um, is one thing,
and I have…a record of merit that I think should be looked at, and that’s an argument
that I’ve got to make. But I will make an argument
on the basis that I am a Liberal conservative, that we need a range of views
within our parliament, not just… We need a range of views
of all different areas, not just in the parliament,
but also in our party… This is a job interview. ..and that my being there
on a routine basis would contribute to that. I also have one significant issue
of unfinished business, and that is I will propose… If I get back in, I will propose
and encourage government to adopt
a National Security Strategy. A National Security Strategy
is an essential component of the fact that
the strategic environment of our world, um, has changed considerably
and has never been more uncertain since the end
of the Second World War. And I’m not asking government
to spend one cent more on defence, but what I’m saying is… Is, “My country needs me.”
No, what I’m saying… Don’t be facetious, Tony.
(LAUGHTER) What I’m saying is that there are
very important issues across, not just defence,
but across energy, liquid fuels, food resilience, water resilience –
a number of different areas that need to be addressed,
which are not being addressed. Therefore, I’m your man.
A final quick one. That sounded like a job interview!
(LAUGHTER) It did sound like
you were talking to… It sounded a little bit like you were
talking to the preselectors there, but amongst those preselectors
would be people that think you betrayed the party by running
your below-the-line campaign. Um, those people will not want
to see you get back. What’s your argument to them? Um, no, they won’t, and I may not
be able to convince them, but the preselectors
will decide the issue finally, and let’s see what they say. The Prime Minister has quite a sway
in these matters, doesn’t he? Well, um, yeah,
I guess he has an influence. Um, I don’t think he will get… I don’t think he will get involved
intimately in it, but you never know. You never know your luck
on a good day! But what I would say, though, is that one of
the most important things that… Regardless of what people think
I did during the election, the below-the-line campaign, um, I was also, in 2016… After I was put in
exactly the same position in 2016, I was part-leader
of the democratic reform movement in the New South Wales division
of the Liberal Party, which delivered what most
other parties have already got – that is, plebiscites and democracy
at the lower level. “This ad was brought to you
by Jim Molan.” Absolutely!
Well, you asked me! You did get the question. Remember, if you hear… I don’t know if you’re
a dear friend of his. We should look into that, I dare say.
Thank you, Emily! Remember, if you hear
any doubtful claims tonight, please let us know on Twitter, keep an eye on
the RMIT ABC Fact Check and The Conversation website
for the results. The next question comes from
Jlenia Dal Pio Luogo. Toby, it has been reported
that you believe that lies, inaccurate simplifications,
bribery, deception and downright misrepresentation
have always plagued politics. You also stated in the past that,
in politics, it’s all about the result –
to come second is to lose, so every effort is made to win. From your experience
helping politicians campaigning in multiple elections,
both in Australia and overseas, what is the best way
to deal with the trade-off between representing the public
the truth and making the politician win
the election at all costs? Toby?
Thank you for the question. The trade-off from my perspective,
I assume you mean? Hm.
Um, I view myself as, um, a propagandist. And my job is to make the best
and most persuasive case possible. Um, and I will do that
for all manner of people – politicians,
unacceptable industries, human rights groups – you name it. I’m a cab for hire, and I’ll take
you where you want me to take you. On the other side… You want to be a bit careful
about that, ’cause quite a few people around
Donald Trump had that philosophy. (LAUGHS) On the other side,
there are equivalents to me. And they are every bit as… ..every bit as skilled. I think what that leads to is… ..duplicitous but, um… ..robust debate. My hope, and my belief, is actually that Australians are
actually smart enough to sort through the nonsense
that we produce and make a balanced decision
at the end of the day. If you look at the last election,
for example, there were, um,
misrepresentations on both sides. You had, um,
allegations of death duties, um, which bubbled up,
which were patently false. The franking credits situation
was patently misrepresented. You know, you get
a bit of it from both. Were that a… Were that a corporation, were these people directors
in a corporation, they could be locked up. You know, they’d be done under the Misleading
and Deceptive Trade Practices Act. They… So, how do we…? But when you take those… When you take misrepre…
political misrepresentation in an election to court, the judges tend to dismiss it as the argy-bargy of politics. So what do you do? You fight as hard for the side
that you’re fighting for, and someone does the same
on the other, and somewhere in the middle, I hope, you can see some common sense. Is it possible to have integrity
and, at the same time, have a win-at-all-costs ethos
in politics? I haven’t seen it
in…in my role, no. Linda? Yes?
What do you think about that? (LAUGHTER) Um, well, I’ve only just met
Toby tonight. Um… And now you’re going to hire him?
(LAUGHTER) No, I am not… Just the Labor Party? I can only speak
from my personal perspective, Tony, and that is that, um, the reason I’ve gone into politics, I’m very clear about. The three motivating factors was
my Aboriginality, the fact that I’m a woman, and I’ve worked all my life
in the area of social justice. I take very seriously
my job as a representative. I remind myself every day just how
important that is and the fact that people put
their hopes, their aspirations, their hurts, their loves in you, and expect you to uphold those
within the parliament. I’m a member of a, er,
of the Labor Party, and therefore I have
an enormous commitment to my party, and a responsibility there. I have a responsibility
to the people that elected me. And I have a responsibility
to the broader community and, in particular, in my case,
the Aboriginal community. Rebekha, what do you think? And what do you think, generally,
about the philosophy that was espoused in the question? You heard Toby talking about it
in more detail. Well, my belief is that we need
to get money out of politics. Because if we do that, the major parties can’t
afford the hired guns. Um, and I’d like to see us
have a system where, you know, as a first instance, we have
real-time political donations. Because any of the donations made
during the last election, you won’t even be able to see
what they are until next February. And that’s only for donations that are above the threshold
of just around $13,000. Um, politics has become
a big-money industry. And the other side of it,
of course, is advertising, which saw the biggest advertising
plunge in the last election of any election.
Exactly. Exactly, with Clive Palmer
in particular, which didn’t pay off for him. Um… Depends what his aim was.
That’s right. It depends what his aim was.
As far as seats. But when you’re a member
of the crossbench, when you’re from a minor party
like I am, we just don’t have any of the funds. And what’s interesting is any motions that we’ve taken
to the parliament, um, that looks at curtailing money
out of politics, um, you find that both the major
parties stick together on them. And I think that we will
only see true change and actually changing culture
around elections… I mean, between the robojets… Er, robocalls, sorry, um, between… You know, in my electorate, people were getting glossies
shoved in their mailbox every day saying that, pretty much,
a vote for Rebekha Sharkie was going to end your world
as you know it, and somehow Bill Shorten was going
to be in Mayo every day of the year. It was really actually
bordering on offensive, particularly
when we then started to get… Um, we got a letter,
written in cursive, from an 83-year-old lady, and I’m sure this lady had no idea
that that would then be dropped into every letterbox
across the electorate, saying that I would be, um, ensuring that their franking credits,
um, were lost. And so… ..in order for us to get to truth
in political advertising, um, I think we’re going to need
to get rid of money first. Sami?
SAMI: Mm-hm. Um, I worked in advertising
before I became a journalist, so I kind of have
Toby’s understanding of how repulsive an industry it is. (LAUGHTER) And it makes sense that advertising and politics
kind of have blended together – er, like attracts like.
(LAUGHTER) One of the worst election systems
in the world – it’s a great spectator sport, but it’s a horrific thing
to be a part of, no doubt – is the American system. And that’s entirely because
of the money in politics over there. The amount of advertising spend, the amount of donations
and untracked donations and all of that. And this was the closest
we’ve come… And the Supreme Court decision
that money is speech. Exactly. And that in and of itself
is such a questionable statement. But this election was
the closest we’ve come yet to an American-style election. It’s still a long way away
from there, but I do feel like it’s
worryingly close at the same time. I’d much rather pull back away
from it by, as Rebekha said, taking the money out of politics,
out of the elections. Um, but it is disappointing that
when the question always comes up, Labor and Liberal do join forces and all the minor parties are
left out to dry. OK, we’re going to try
and get to our last two questions. The first of those is
from Lucas Moon. Yeah, as a veteran myself, there’s
a group of us younger veterans who would like to see the RSL
get right out of the pokies business and instead focus on welfare
and advocacy issues that it was set up to do, particularly the disturbingly
high rates of suicide amongst my generation of veterans. Is it OK for Australians
to be the world’s biggest gamblers per capita, in terms of
$24 billion a year in losses, and is it OK for more than
$1 billion of these losses to occur
inside RSL-branded poker machines? Jim, why won’t the Liberal Party
tackle the issue when veterans suffer
above-average rates of gambling harm and suicides? Released last week
by the Productivity Commission, double for under 30. And, Jim, that’s what we know of, because you don’t know
how many veterans we have. Jim?
Yeah. Er… (APPLAUSE) This is a much bigger issue
down here in Victoria than it is in New South Wales. And I’ve been following it
from the side – the complaints
about the RSL down here. I’ll leave that to one side. I think we, as a society,
do take our veterans seriously – to the tune of $11 billion. That’s the amount of money that we put into our veterans
each year from DVA. Jim, I’m not going to let you
leave the question aside. Because the core of that question
was about the RSL and pokies. A pretty straight question for you.
Yeah. I can’t…
I’m not going to get mixed up in… I’ve spent a lot of time working
with the RSL in New South Wales on their issues. I can’t, Tony, get involved in this. I’ve watched it from the side. If there is a… The greatest provider
of support to veterans has been RSL sub-branches. That’s where the strength
of the RSL lies. Sometimes they’ve been very badly
let down by their leadership. Certainly they were
at a stage in New South Wales. But the beauty of the RSL
is in its sub-branches. If it gets confused by pokies,
that’s a really sad thing. Well, it is confused by pokies,
according to our question. You’ve got your hand up. Go ahead. Jim, I just want to rephrase it. At the start of the night, you said veterans that were
permanently incapacitated… Yeah.
..deserved a lot. Well, the legislation
obviously changed in ’03, so today’s veterans get a lump-sum
payment from DVA most times. And I’m aware of many veterans and double amputees
and those with brain injuries – the same organisation that helped
them, being the RSL, they’ve gone and put all that money
in the machines, and now they live off
a $22 a fortnight pension. Yeah. Is that still OK for you,
as an ex-general, not to have an opinion? No, of course it’s not, but there’s no way in the world that any organisation can reach out
and touch every individual. You join the RSL, fight for the RSL in your state
and change the RSL, as some fantastic people
in this state are trying to do, and I watch it going on every day. If there is something wrong
down here, er, the federal government
can’t do much about it. But they can do an extraordinary
amount about supporting veterans, and they do do a lot
about supporting veterans. Let’s hear from other panellists.
Sami? We’ve, er, actually… Hi, Lucas.
It’s a pleasure to finally see you. We’ve had Lucas on our radio show
on ABC Breakfast over here in Melbourne. And we’ve had this issue going on
for a while as well. And what it came down to,
we discovered, was a generational fight. The previous generation just had a different relationship
to the pokies than the current ones. They did not take, and continue to not take
the threat of pokies seriously. WA, I believe, has taken
the pokies out of the RSL, and they’ve seen a huge benefit
from doing that. It’s not always about the money. And I think that’s been
the big concern – is that they lose the money, they lose the income
if the pokies leave, but it’s a short-term loss
for a long-term gain, that’s definitely worth it. Rebekha, that case study there
of people getting lump-sum pay-outs, and then just pouring
all of the pay-outs into pok… People with brain damage,
as the questioner said… Absolutely. ..pouring the pay-outs
into poker machines in the RSL… Yeah.
..their own club. It’s preying on vulnerable people. And thank you for your question. I might say,
the RSLs in my community, in Mayo, we don’t have pokies. And yet our RSLs are
thriving communities, and we have younger veterans
and older veterans, and nearly all of them have
a museum within their RSL, and they are welcoming places
for the whole community. And I hope that Victoria moves
to South Australia’s model, because we might not have
glitzy RSLs, um, but they’re wonderful places to be. Toby, what do you think about this? You’ve defended, as you said earlier,
a number of unpopular industries. How about the poker machine industry? Um, so poker machines are, um, insidious, they’re sort of a stupidity tax. You put a dollar in,
you get 90 cents out. You put 90 cents in,
you get 80 cents out. You keep doing it
till you lose your money. It’s a bad thing. The interesting question here is – by doing something ghastly, like promoting poker machines
in RSLs, are you able
to deliver something good? And what’s the balance between them?
I don’t know the answer. But I was interested
to hear Sami say that, in fact, the change, er, has been positive
when they’ve been dropped. I know you don’t mean
to be offensive when you say “the stupidity tax”, but there is
a victim-blaming element to that… Sure. ..that’s been a major part
of the problem with pokies. We know, for example,
that the way the games are designed, they prey on people’s psychology,
they prey on human weaknesses. REBEKHA: Highly addictive.
They do. It’s more of an addiction issue
than it is, as you said, a “stupidity tax”. Well, Toby, what do you think?
Should the RSL, being the kind of institution it is,
representing veterans, um, listen to these accounts and think again
about what it is they’re doing? Clearly they should. I mean, clearly,
the RSL should listen to veterans. I mean, that’s its job. Um, and then they have to weigh up, “Is the money that we’re delivering,
and who we’re getting it from… “..is the money we’re delivering “doing greater good
than greater damage?” And that’s…
I don’t know the facts around that. It sounds like it’s doing greater
damage, from what I’m hearing here. But, er, I don’t know. Now, just remember this – if you or anyone you know
is experiencing difficulties, please call the number
on your screen. Oh. Well, that is all
we have time for tonight. I didn’t realise
I was ending up there! Please thank our panel –
Sami Shah, Jim Molan, Rebekha Sharkie, Linda Burney
and Toby Ralph. (APPLAUSE) Thank you very much. Indeed, we were at the end
of the program. So, next week on Q&A –
Boris, Brexit, and the black dog. We’ll be joined by Tony Blair’s
legendary spin doctor Alastair Campbell –
who’s just released a documentary about his battle with depression – former WA premier Geoff Gallop, the pro-Brexit head of the Menzies
Research Institute, Nick Cater, businesswoman Kate Mills and political scientist Anne Tiernan from Queensland’s
Griffith University. Until then, goodnight. (APPLAUSE) Captions by Red Bee Media Copyright Australian
Broadcasting Corporation

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. I miss balanced reporting. Majority of mainstream media are nothing but Liberal cheerleaders, ABC and SBS are left-leaning cheerleaders. While true journalists get attacked by the government for reporting the truth??? Come on.

  2. Isn't it strange that the only sensible question (which was from Bill) got most of the panel pushing back? ABC can't you see the agenda you're pushing just based on this??? Open your eyes – you're only representing a portion of the population!!

  3. 'Freedom of the press' only applies to members of the mainstream media and not to independent journalists like Tommy Robinson and Julian Assange.

  4. Token gestures like 'welcome to country' ceremonies and 'recognition amendments' do absolutely nothing to help real aboriginal problems. The Left are using indigenous issues to attack Australian sovereignty and European Australian nationhood.

  5. Bill's question is the best at 32:19. He basically asks why people should get benefits based on race, rather than need?
    It is obviously racist to give benefits to any one particular group based only on race. If benefits are given based on need, low income, etc, then if one race of people have, on average a lower income, they will be given more help, not based on their race but on their incomes. This is fairer and not racist.
    The panelists who answer his question disregard this, and support benefits based on race. This would actually allow people who are relatively well off but of a certain race to gain more benefits than others who are worse off but of a different race.
    It seems the extreme leftists are only to willing to scream racism when it is directed against a person of colour, but when racism benefits a person of colour they are willing to support racism.

  6. The indigenous community has been helped, in various ways, by successive governments for nearly 50 years. Billions of tax payer dollars has been spent during that time. How is it that we keep getting told that nothing much has changed for them over that period? How is it possible that that much money and effort hasn't made a difference in assisting a minority in the community?

    I don't think the public are being told the whole story. 🤔

  7. Don't be fooled, Linda Burney is half white, yet she chooses to identify as being Aboriginal. Why? Does she benefit from it? Of course. Look where she is. By identifying as Aboriginal she has become a member of parliament, a very well paid job and invited onto talk shows like this. Does anyone think if she identified as white (one of her parents was Scottish) she would have any of these positions?
    Also note at 34:16 that Linda never actually answers the question put to her. When she has no facts to counter the argument she resorts to trying to make the questioner feels guilty and ashamed for asking such a question.

  8. Don't be fooled, Linda Burney is HALF white. Why would she choose to identify only with her Aboriginal half? By choosing to identify with the Aboriginal half of her ancestry she benefits greatly, a great job as MP and great pay. However with equal validity she could identify as white and not benefit at all. If you were in her shoes, which would you identify with? 
    Also note she does not address the question asked by Bill, (34:16) as she has no facts to dispute his question. She can only come up with trying to make Bill feel ashamed and guilty for having asked such a question. This is a common strategy of the extreme left. When they can't win the debate based on evidence, logic and reasoning they resort to making you feel ashamed, or even racist for asking such a question.

  9. Bill … comes from an IGNORANT UNDERSTANDING of colonialism.. and the treatment of aboriginals, who were only given the right to vote in 1962..

  10. 21:41 "what are people so afraid of"? special privilege, such as aboriginals automatically getting more government funding,like they already do, because of white guilt and skin colour.. IE racism.
    we have representation, more than for any other group, but it's never enough, the demands are never ending. rack off.

  11. Once the indigenous citizens get a voice to parliament it will not be long before Muslims make a claim for Sharia Law to be applied to them rather than rule of law.

  12. Freedom of speech is the freedom to say insulting things but not to incite others to break the law, such as supporting or enacting child marriages and committing violence, such as Antifa and Alt Right have been doing. So Christians, Muslims, Atheists can all be insulted but the members and leaders of these groups cannot incite others to break the law. So called blasphemy is fine but responding to people who blaspheme by inciting others to use violence against them is not free speech and should be severely punished within the limits of the law.

  13. Who's the little socialist dweeb on the left ? Is he related to that ex Iranian MP who was kicked out of the ALP for consorting with the Chinese communist govt ?

  14. When my grandparents were granted entry to Australia in 1952, after living in refugee internment camps for 8 years in Europe, after world war 2.
    They were the lowest paid workers in Australia, working for tenure for years as part of the entry agreements to remain in Australia, and have the opportunity to be granted citizenship.
    And you know what, THEY WERE GRATEFUL FOR THE OPPORTUNITY AND THEY WORKED!
    Fear this new progressive left, they are closet communists and fascists.
    They are slowly removing everyone's freedoms, and destroying social fabric.
    Its only 90 years since hundreds of millions died, while being ruled by and fighting against these principles!

  15. 32:16 The whole panel response in essence came down to 'my gang is more important than yours and I've got a better relationship to those with the guns, the government'.

    Mixed economy. Pure collectivism, dropped of all pretence.

  16. 1. Congratulations to Rebekha Sharkie on a great performance in this episode of Q&A.
    2. Can we please have Guy Sebastian, Israel Folou and the face of The Australian Christian Lobby whatever his name is on Q&A Soon?.

  17. Prefacing your question by telling us how long you have paid taxes is deceptive and a completely irrelevant way of trying to increase your authority on the subject. Shah's comment was spot on, and it is sad that someone who has lived in Australia for as long as the gentleman presumably has cannot see the disadvantage of the indigenous component of our population.

  18. If indigenous people get benefits that others dont, doesnt that mean were not equal? Ergo, white men are better people in society then everyone else, therefore any argument about equality from race or gender is null in-void. Also since they pay higher tax and reap little benefits there is no reason for anyone to work as hard unless they get benefits, like restricting the right to vote to responsible people or better retirement. Or is one group of society suppose to lift everyone else up and expect nothing in return?

  19. The government is like the children that want to push off the parents having no respect for the wealth they produced.

  20. Spend the submarine money. Germany couldn't win a war with a 100 u boat start up, so 12 would be inadequate. German U boats were immune from attack in their concrete pens. Such protection is no longer safe. So spend the sub money on its people. Maybe then we'll have people prepared to fight against an aggressor.

  21. A generation is about 25 years, so 60,000 years is about 2,400 generations, not "tens of thousands of generations" (34:58); that would be in excess of 250,000 – 500,000+ years. Just pointing out that hyperbole.

  22. Scan the comments section to ensure YouTube is not conveniently deleting comments. The question by Bill Thompson was one to consider, what is recognition going to do to solve indigenous issues?

  23. 10:35 Neither can governments so we are in a bit of a quandary there. Can't trust the government or the financial institutions to handle money.

  24. Q&A Questions

    1:15 Deeming Rates;
    12:03 Youth Homeless & Domestic Violence
    20:58 Constitutional Indigenous Advisory Body (Third Chamber of Policy Concerns)
    26:46 Republic Referendum
    32:20 Benefits based on Race
    38:30 Freedom of Speech in Comedy/Country
    41:54 Factional Politics in Elections/2019 Election
    44:00 Jim Molan merits of reelection
    47:25 Political Advertising
    54:51 Veteran Suicide and Gambling Addition

  25. Q&A Questions

    1:15 Deeming Rates;
    12:03 Youth Homeless & Domestic Violence
    20:58 Constitutional Indigenous Advisory Body (Third Chamber of Policy Concerns)
    26:46 Republic Referendum
    32:20 Benefits based on Race
    38:30 Freedom of Speech in Comedy/Country
    41:54 Factional Politics in Elections/2019 Election
    44:00 Jim Molan merits of reelection
    47:25 Political Advertising
    54:51 Veteran Suicide and Gambling Addition

  26. Most people have a deep connection with their land. It’s not just an aboriginal idea. Ask any Russian about connections to land, any German, Japanese, Native American (north or south), any African, just for a few examples. But, no — apparently aborigines are special in this regard.

  27. So many Leftists !Linda Burney was especially irritating, Pretending that changing the Constitution to give 1st Nations more say in Govt would SOMEHOW, magically,  solve Homelessness, and Poverty, and 'Inequality' .Essentially, 'Just agree to do what I want to do, and EVERY other issue will improve !'As for people like Hadyn, his mistake was thinking that Govt spending on Social Welfare Programs is, in any way,  targeted at White 20 year old Males.White Males are on their own, Hadyn, even Leftist ones.

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