Donations, Disability, and Disillusionment | Q&A


(APPLAUSE) Hello, and welcome to Q&A.
I’m Fran Kelly. And joining us in Melbourne tonight, The Australian’s foreign editor
Greg Sheridan, West Australian Labor MP Anne Aly, West Australian Greens Senator
and disability advocate Jordon Steele-John, economist with the Grattan Institute
Danielle Wood and ACT Liberal Senator
Zed Seselja. Could you please welcome our panel. And Q&A is coming to you live
across eastern Australia on ABC TV, and across the nation
on iview and NewsRadio. There are plenty of questions
from the audience tonight, so let’s get going. Our first question,
from Olivia Koster. Thank you. I’ve been a nurse
for nearly 20 years. I’ve worked in nursing homes,
country hospitals and major city
emergency departments. And now I’m trialling
something new – a health clinic in a primary school. But it’s not about bumped heads and
bruised knees, as you might expect. Mostly, I’m seeing kids
with anxiety. Factors here include
exhausted parents, too much screen time,
poor nutrition, poor sleep, less free time
and less engagement with nature. What can we do about
this rising anxiety epidemic? OK, let’s start with Zed,
Zed Seselja. Thank you, Olivia. I think, probably, you would have
a lot of the answers, I’m sure, and some of what’s in your question,
I guess, would be some of the things that immediately come to mind. For me, I’ve got
five children of my own. We all worry about how they grow up. Time outside, exercise, being able
to play with their mates, being able to climb trees,
get on bikes, those sort of things must be part
of health and wellbeing, certainly not all of it. Screen time is something I think
we all worry about. I see it with my kids. We’re often battling to make sure
they’re not on the iPad, they’re not looking at the phone, they’re not sitting
in front of the television. I guess they’re some of the things
that intuition tells us is important for kids to have
balance in their lives. There’s a lot of science out there, I think particularly around
screen time these days and about how addictive that is. So as law-makers, I guess
we respond in all sorts of ways. It’s difficult. I mean, I heard a great podcast
from an author, I think it was John Marsden,
talking about this issue and talking about
the domain of kids these days is more limited than it used to be. You know, they’re at school.
They’re at home. Maybe there’s not
much of a backyard. They may or may not be able to roam
in the neighbourhood as we used to. They’re a lot more restricted. They’re spending more time in front
of the television and on an iPad. So I think all of those things
are part of it, and I think we have to have
some responses. And you’re obviously at the sharp
end, where you are seeing that. And, you know, I’d be keen to hear
from you, and others in the field, about what we can do differently
and what we can do better, because we’re seeing
a growing prevalence, I think, of anxiety amongst young kids. Danielle, does that concern you?
I think you’ve got a three-year-old. Are you worried to hear
from someone like Olivia that there is a rising tide? I absolutely am concerned
to hear that. I mean, I have to admit, this wasn’t
an issue that was even on my radar but last week I went
to pick her up from childcare and there was a sign that said, “Here are some ways to deal
with anxiety in your child.” And I thought, these are
three, four, five-year-olds. You know, that’s absolutely
frightening to me that they’re already
giving parents advice about how to deal with this issue. And I think you have raised,
you know, a number of points that may be contributing. What I wouldn’t like to see
is this kind of… ..the blame put back on parents. I think there’s already a lot of
guilt that goes around parenting and whether we’re doing a good job. So I think, you know, we need to be
looking at kind of the broader structural society issues
that might be feeding into this and not, you know, putting
another thing on parents to feel concerned and anxious about. And, Jordon, in your mind
is there any doubt there is a rising anxiety epidemic
in little kids? Well, I… Thank you so much
for your question, Olivia, and for the work that you do helping
kids in that front-line space. I think, as a young person myself, and as somebody who spends a lot
of time with people a lot older that are experiencing the kind of
end result of this anxiety that sets in now
at such a young age, I think there’s a couple of things
we need to do. One is, we need to take
a new look at our curriculum and the intensity
that it places upon kids. The pressure that it places. Look at models like Finland, where the education system
is far more balanced towards recognising the importance
that social interaction plays in the development of children. I think we need to foster
a really positive culture in relation to young people. We spend a lot of time in politics,
and in society generally, demonising young people and talking
about the ways that we are failing. And I think we need to celebrate
and lift up young people more as the default position. And thirdly, I think we’ve got
to take a new look at NAPLAN and ask ourselves whether
this standardised testing regime that introduces such pressure
at a young age and says, basically, if you get 49%
on a test, you’re 49% of a person, is something that we want
to continue doing. The New Zealanders have binned it,
and I think we should follow suit. Anne, do you have a view on that? I think that’s a good point about
NAPLAN that hadn’t occurred to me. I mean, I’ve seen a government study
that says 6.9% of primary kids are showing anxiety or some kind
of other nervous disorder. Mm. Thank you, Fran. And, Olivia,
you said you worked with children in primary school – is that correct?
I do. I’ve got over 50 schools in Cowan
and I regularly meet with the principals of those schools
to discuss issues. And at my last regular meeting
with the principals I was hearing some
really disturbing statistics, where they were saying one in four
children in primary school – one in four children –
was experiencing anxiety. And what’s happened is the schools
have kind of picked that up and have been using their budget
to provide for extra services, to provide for extra psychologists. With regards to Jordon’s point
about the NAPLAN, you know, I think that there’s not
really a lot of research on what are the causes
of the anxiety or, you know, what are the factors that are
contributing to the anxiety. Yes, it may well be the NAPLAN,
it may well be the testing regime. It may also be home life. I know that in my electorate,
for example, there is significant mortgage stress that is being experienced
by parents, financial stress. We live in a much more
complex world now. Anxiety is catching, too.
I mean, that’s true, I think. Absolutely. They get that
from the parents. Screen time is the other one. But look at the world
that we live in today. It’s a much more complex world
than the world that I grew up in and indeed the world
that I raise my children in. Greg, are you surprised to hear this? Well, as a parent,
I was very anxious and I might have transmitted
anxiety to my sons. I had a great respect
for my own incompetence and when the boys were very little
I always thought I’d lose hold of their hands
and they’d get run over, or I’d drop them over a cliff
or something. But I’m a very relaxed grandfather. And the key to that is that with
my granddaughters, especially, I began reading The Australian to
them and talking about politics… (LAUGHTER)
ANNE: That’ll create anxiety! ..on the day that they were born. I think we’d better call in Olivia! They are the happiest kids
in the world, let me tell you. JORDON: Oh, dear God. I do think, though…I respectfully
disagree about NAPLAN. I mean, we had loads and loads
of tests. I don’t think tests produce anxiety. I do think that there is a problem about a certain loss of purpose
in our society. And if your parents
don’t have purpose, as Anne says, that probably transmits to the kids. I don’t think you solve it
by asking kids to do less work. I mean, my three sons, the most stress-busting thing
in their lives was sport. And they were intensely competitive
about sport. And they were full of pressure
all the time about sport. One son ran out the other son
at a cricket match once and the guy who ran
the other guy out was so scared he stayed out and made 100 because he wasn’t willing
to come off the field. So I don’t think it’s simplistic –
just remove pressure from them. Our kids don’t perform very well
in international comparisons. We have a big crisis. Education is not done very well
in Australia. The more money we put in and
the less prescriptive we make it, the worse the outcome is. OK. It does seem, though, Olivia
has highlighted something that perhaps some of us haven’t thought
about much, so thanks, Olivia. The next question comes from
Lebe Malkoun. Thank you. We have recently seen
an investigation into claims the New South Wales Labor Party
attempted to mask a large donation from a Chinese property developer. It’s an example of how money
and power appear to provide access to our leaders in order
to influence particular agendas. Australia prides itself
on its democratic society. However, both major parties
in Canberra have resisted calls to make political donations
more transparent and in real time. Why are the major parties reluctant
to provide full transparency to everyday Australians
on who is donating money to them? OK. Well, I think we’d better go
to the two major parties first off. Zed. I think everyone’s going to have
a shot at this, so let’s keep moving on it. Well, look, I think if we look at
the case in New South Wales… ..that came after there had been
pretty significant donations reform. So the New South Wales government
a number of years ago… Yeah, but not to be distracted
from the question – why are the major parties federally reluctant to provide
full transparency? Well, I’m going to… The question references
what’s going on in New South Wales and then talks about
donations reform and donations reform happened
prior to this happening. And so I don’t think that the way
to deal with people breaking the law and not complying with the law
is to bring in donations reform, because the very people
aren’t complying with the law. I don’t think that fixes the issue. So what we need is a culture
where people actually comply with the law. Now, I’m not in the camp
that actually says that there’s something wrong
with donations. I think donations are a very
legitimate part of a democracy. And we see it
right around the world. We see challenges with it.
We see rules around it. Yes, there needs to be
transparency around it. Exactly where you draw those lines
is certainly a very legitimate debate. But there’s been a bit of
a narrative out of New South Wales to say, if only we could have
stricter, tighter laws, then we wouldn’t see
this kind of behaviour. Well, they did put in
stricter, tighter laws and we saw people, unfortunately,
trying to get around it in a pretty egregious way. Alright. But the question is,
why are the major parties reluctant to provide full transparency
to everyday Australians? I’ll come to Anne on this,
and maybe… Mm. Look, I think I agree
with Zed on this one, around, you know,
you can have the laws, but I think this requires
real cultural change. And with that cultural change
you’ll have that change in the willingness
to make it more transparent around political donations, including political donations
in real time, including the things
that you mentioned in your question there, Lebe. Lebe, is it? That’s correct? So I think there is
a real need for cultural change. And I think what’s happening
in New South Wales… And I don’t want to delve too much into what’s happening
in New South Wales for two reasons – first of all,
I’m from Western Australia and don’t really know much
about what goes on in the New South Wales Labor Party, but, secondly, because there is
an investigation going on. It’ll be interesting to see
what kind of recommendations come out of that investigation and whether or not there is
a recommendation for further donation reform
or further legal changes. But I think there really does need
to be cultural change. But hang on, I’m just
going to jump in here, because I think Lebe’s question
is quite clear – “Both major parties in Canberra
have resisted calls to make “political donations more transparent
and in real time.” And both representatives from
the major parties in Canberra have said we don’t need
to make any change. Now, I think that’s an issue,
isn’t it? Why wouldn’t either of you…
Do you think… Anne, do you think
it’s not a good idea to have real-time,
transparent donations? Well, I think it’s a good idea.
I do think it’s a good idea. So we should have it federally? I would like to see
more transparency in donations. So we should change the rules? I think we need to look at
the whole regime, not just around donations. But this is why I think we need
a federal integrity body, and I think that could be
part of it. I’m going to come…
Actually, let’s go… This is all part of a discussion. We’ve got another question here
from Oscar Levi, which goes to this. Oscar? In the wake of
the recent revelations from the New South Wales ICAC, it’s pretty easy to see why
community trust in politics has hit an all-time low. Wouldn’t the establishment
of a federal Independent Commission
Against Corruption be a good place to start
in restoring public trust? Danielle, you’ve done some work
on this? In response to your question, yes. But, as Anne said,
I think that is one part of a whole suite of reforms we need. So, yes, New South Wales
put laws in place but the fact is
that people breach them. But that was discovered
by the Electoral Commission and is now being investigated
by the New South Wales ICAC. So the fact that they’ve had
those laws and they had that infrastructure means that we’ve actually
flushed out this example of the New South Wales Labor Party
breaching the laws. We do not have
that infrastructure in place at a Commonwealth government level. So, yes, I do think we need
an integrity commission. Yes, I do think we need far greater
transparency around donations. About a third of the money flowing
to major political parties, we have no idea where it comes from.
That’s… And when we say a third, we’re
talking a lot of money, aren’t we? We are – we’re talking
millions of dollars. This is because the parties
only have to disclose donations over $14,000. A donor can give a series of
donations below the threshold, in aggregate worth far more – they don’t have to be disclosed
by the major parties. And as we’ve already picked up
on the timeliness, we only see this money
disclosed once a year. So we can wait up to 19 months
to see who gave money to a political party. So, there are huge holes
in the regime. These are easily fixed. Um, and all it requires, really,
is the political will. I’m going to come back… Hang on,
Jordon. Just before I do, Zed Seselja, the… Just hearing
that, do you think it’s acceptable that donations up to $14,000
don’t need to be declared, we don’t need to know
who’s giving that? And there could be someone giving
multiple versions of that? Well, I don’t…I don’t have
a significant problem with where the thresholds are set. There’s always debates about
exactly where it should be. The… In answer to the…
Most of the states have it at $1,000. Sure. Sure. Well, there’s different
rules in different states, but at the federal level, that’s
where it’s been for a long time. To answer the question…
That’s wrong. ..the answer is yes, in terms of,
uh, an independent, uh, commission of sorts. And what Christian Porter and
the government are going through is a process to make sure
we get that right. We’re not going to do it
in a rushed way, but we’ve allocated the money
for that, a significant amount of money
for when that commission comes in. And the work is now being done
to get that legislation right, to make sure that it has
the teeth that it needs. So, you know…
So, the short answer is yes. Exactly what that will look like…
is very important that you get that right. Uh, it’s important that you have it
in a way that’s fair, that has due process,
but that has strong teeth. Now, there’s a number of different
agencies at the moment that have teeth, and what Christian Porter
and the government are looking to do is bring that together
into a consolidated form. Alright. There’s also a number
of models for a federal ICAC, and the Greens actually put one
through the Senate today. Well, look, I just want to go back
to Lebe and to Oscar and answer you very directly. You are absolutely right. This strange exchange
that you’ve just witnessed over the last five minutes or so,
where people said a lot of things but didn’t really say
anything at all, um, that has a source, folks. And the source is the $100 million
of corporate donations that have been taken by the Liberal
and Labor Parties since 2012. That is why it has taken this long
for us to get to a space where, after nine years
of campaigning and six separate attempts, the Greens’ bill for an independent
ICAC passed the Senate today. Now, that is a great victory
for democratic transparency and it puts to shame,
I have to say, Zed – absolute shame – the proposed
commission by the government. You are proposing
to put forward a body that would hold hearings in private, that would have no ability to take
public whistleblower commentary, uh, that has absolutely no support
from the academics who have worked
in this space for decades. But, Jordon…
For decades. PK, hang on, Jordon. Your claim there is because
there’s been corporate donations, that’s what we need. So, the fact that the Greens took
the largest donation in political history…
We take no corporate donations. What’s the relevance of that? We’re the only political party that
does not take corporate donations. OK. You take donations from
very, very wealthy people who give you, in one case,
$1.6 million in one donation. Mate, you can dance around this…
dance around it however you like. It’s a bit rich to sort of lecture
everyone, as the Greens tend to do. Just the fact that we know
that they got their donations… And Jordon knows that $100 million
in corporate donations have come because there are disclosure laws.
No, we don’t, Zed. That’s the point. So, you know, we’re actually
going around in circles. Hang on, we ARE going round
in circles here. Hang on. I’m going to hold you,
Senator. Greg. So, Fran, three real quick points. One huge element in New South Wales
is the Chinese government effort to gain influence
in our political system. That’s the much…
that’s a much bigger story than fundraising shenanigans
by the Labor Party or the Liberals. Second point, I’d love to see
much greater public funding for political parties, but you cannot and should not
ban donations because they are an element
of democracy, and if you try to ban them, you’ll either make
the playing field unlevel – you’ll ban corporations
but not unions or something – or you’ll drive them into
political action committees, like you’ve got in America. And thirdly, this week of hearings
in ICAC has been very interesting. Whenever ICAC is persecuting
someone who you don’t like, you think ICAC is doing a great job. But let’s remember, ICAC destroyed
the premiership of Nick Greiner on a charge of corruption which was
proven by the court to be untrue. Now, Greiner was subsequently
thoroughly vindicated by the court, but his premiership, and all the good policy that
Australia should have had from that, was destroyed. Barry O’Farrell’s premiership
was destroyed by ICAC over a bottle of wine! People have given me bottles
of wine, for goodness’ sake. But thank God I’m not the premier. Are you saying you think the federal
proposal from the government is good enough, even though
it’s not public hearings? Look, I… Yeah, because
I think public hearings, they are Star Chambers.
(JORDON SPEAKS INDISTINCTLY) And they sometimes do good
but they often do a lot of harm. OK. Now, Jordon… Even in… Just a final thought. Even in one of the Obeid cases,
the courts found the other day that the transaction which ICAC had
condemned was entirely legitimate. So that…those individuals
had their reputations absolutely destroyed,
and that was unjust. Whereas, in a court of law,
you’ve got some protection. Alright, we’re answering Oscar’s
question. He’s got his hand up again. So, I’m guessing you don’t think
it’s been answered yet, Oscar. Well, I just think
this sort of speak that we’ve gotten
from the government just… ..is exactly breeding
the sort of mistrust that I was talking about
in the question. This kind of doublespeak,
in terms of the, you know… ..I guess, basically to say,
getting this commission that is in theory an Independent
Commission Against Corruption which is going to be
out of the public eye. Like, I’m sorry, but that
just doesn’t make any sense to me. That doesn’t make any sense. And critically, Oscar, it cannot
investigate retrospective cases. So, it has no ability to go back and look at, say, the actions
of Minister Pyne in taking the job with Ernst & Young just after
creating, you know, 100…well, a $200 billion increase
in defence spending. But I really must pick up, Greg,
on a false equivalency that you just made
between the union movement and corporate donations to politics. OK? When corporations donate
to political parties, they do so
to get themselves an outcome which increases profit
for their shareholders. When unions donate
to political parties, when they engage
in political activism, their goal is the improvement
of workers’ rights. Corporations gave us the GFC. Unions gave us the weekend. And for you to make an equivalency
between those two organisations… Jordon, I really think…
..is absolutely abhorrent. Just briefly, Greg. I’m going
to come back to Danielle. (APPLAUSE) I really don’t think you know
what the motivation… I really don’t think you know what
the motivations of corporations are. You haven’t got a clue
what their motivations are. And if you think the Painters
and Dockers unions and the CFMEU and all the rest of it, who have
racked up more criminal charges than you and I have had
good dinners… OK.
..are a light of benevolence, that’s the sort of bias…
ZED: Hear, hear. ..you’ll get out of those laws.
Hear, hear. And, Danielle, I mean, we don’t know
the motivations of corporations, but everybody presumes that
corporations are giving money for some kind of access
that, ultimately, will end up in some kind of result that might
favour them, don’t they? Isn’t that partly the problem? I think that needs to be
your starting assumption. They’re clearly giving money
for a reason. Um, we know there’s a link
between money and access. That’s what a fundraising
dinner is. You’re paying $10,000
to sit next to the Minister. That’s as explicit as you get. But I think there’s also concern that there is a link
between money and influence. And there’s any number
of political debates. For example, when the Gillard
government tried to introduce mandatory restrictions
on poker machine limits, um, you can see that donations
from pubs and clubs, normally pretty evenly split
between both sides, absolutely ramped up to the
Liberal Party in that period and they cut off donations
to Labor. When that legislation went away,
guess what, we returned to business as usual.
JORDON: Absolutely. So, when you look at the data,
it certainly suggests that, at least in the minds
of these people donating, there is a link between
the money they give and an outcome that they’re
trying to derive. OK, there is a…
Can I just… Can I just raise a point there?
Just briefly. Sorry. Because, Lebe, you said
that it gives access to leaders. My office is in a shopping centre and I have people
walk in all the time. My door is always open
to anyone who walks in. And I think, you know, this question
also that you raised, Oscar, about our faith
in politics and in politicians. I know, as a local member,
my door is always open. That people have unfettered
access to me at any time. And I think that’s the same
for most members of parliament who go into parliament
with…with good intentions, and with those intentions
of wanting to represent the people. So I would just like to say
that you do have access to your local members of parliament and you should take advantage
of that and use that. OK. Obviously a lot of interest
in this topic. Now, remember, all, if you hear
any doubtful claims Q&A tonight, let us know on Twitter. Keep an eye on
the RMIT ABC Fact Check and The Conversation website
for the results. And our next question
comes from Miranda Wilson. Hi. Thanks. Um, this week the Morrison
government will take its plan to trial drug testing
for job-seekers on Newstart and Youth Allowance
to the Senate. As a university student,
I have experienced firsthand the already arduous process
of proving yourself eligible for Youth Allowance. Does the panel agree
that this tactic will not only make it more difficult for those who need support
to get it, but also worsen the stigma surrounding those who are
financially disadvantaged? Greg, do you want
to have a go at that? Well, look, you know, this is one
of the few subjects in the created universe on which
I don’t have a dogmatic opinion. Um, I can see… I can see pretty
strong arguments on both sides. Look, I totally agree with
Jacqui Lambie and Barnaby Joyce that if the parliament does this they should subject themselves
to the same test. I absolutely… In fact,
I delight, I rejoice, I…dance a maypole dance
at the thought that everyone in that building
should be subjected to drug tests. But it’s not an unreasonable
burden in itself to ask people to obey the law. I think it’s going to be very costly and it should be done
in some humane way, in the sense that one strike
shouldn’t mean that you lose your payments. I mean, professional footballers
have to subject themselves to drug tests, but I think
in the AFL you get three strikes or something. So, there ought to be
some sort of… The emphasis should be
on helping people, rather than just knocking them
off the welfare rolls. But I…I can see arguments
on both sides of that question. Just to clarify, I think one strike,
you don’t lose your payment, you go on to the 80% welfare card,
I think is correct. And then the second strike,
you have to go into treatment. Jacqui Lambie’s
made the point today… ..she’s said she’s not going to
support this until… ..unless and until there are
rehab places made available, actually built. Yeah. Well, I mean, that’s at the
heart of the trial. So the trial… We’re a long way from having
those rehab places. Well… But there’s money
for the rehab for the trial. So we’re talking about… ANNE: So, why don’t you
set up the rehab first? Which is what Jacqui Lambie said. We’re talking about
a limited cohort… Makes sense. We’re talking about
a limited cohort. So, the very points that Greg made and the very points
that are being made about it not being a punitive thing, about looking
to get people help… The starting point is this – we know that for many people
who are addicted to drugs, that getting off welfare
is a lot harder. We know that.
The facts tell us that. The science tells us that. And so, having a situation… And also taxpayers
have a right to expect that their money
won’t go to illegal activities. So, those are the two
starting points of principle. But we’re not saying
we’re going to throw people off. What we’re saying is, yeah,
you would move to a BasicsCard, which is exactly
the same amount of money but it means that a large chunk
of it is quarantined, so it can’t be spent on things
like drugs and alcohol. And then there are
treatment options. And that’s what we’re looking
to fund as part of this trial. So, we’re hitting it
from the perspective of treatment. We’re hitting it from
the perspective of saying we’re going to help people. And, in fact,
when people go into treatment that can be part
of their mutual obligation because that will help them
actually eventually to get off drugs and to be able to get
back into the workforce which is what we want to see. It’s one of the reasons –
not this particular policy, but policies generally –
where we’ve got the lowest number of working-age Australians
in a generation on welfare. That’s something I’m very proud of. That’s something the government’s
very proud of. And we’re going to look for more
ways to continue to do that. Anne, I’ll come to you, but just on
that point and very quickly, if you wouldn’t mind, Zed Seselja, um, we also have the highest number
ever of over-55s on Newstart. Under this proposal would people over 55
have to go and urinate in a jar? Look, in terms of…in terms
of the exact detail of it, uh, that’s a point of detail that I
probably wouldn’t be able to answer. JORDON: The answer is yes.
The Minister could, but… Would you be happy to take
the test yourself, Zed? Very happy. Yeah. And I’m presuming, Anne,
you would be happy? Of course. I would be very happy. But I just wanted
to pick up on the language that you’re using there, Zed. Because you said
that this wasn’t punitive, but I heard you
talk about illegal activities. Alcoholism
is not an illegal activity. We’re talking about drugs.
Uh… Drug addiction is a health issue. It’s a health issue. And It should
be treated as a health issue. The evidence that we have…
But we still have laws against… ..on these trials… But the evidence that we have
on these trials… And I think, you know, it’s
reasonable to ask the government to look at evidence bases
before they start making policies that are going to impact
on people’s lives. I think that’s a very reasonable
proposition to put forward to you. What is the evidence
that this works? The evidence that we have
is that it doesn’t work. It doesn’t work
in getting people off drugs. It demonises people further. It creates more poverty. So, it is a punitive measure. And to argue
that it’s not a punitive measure but it’s actually
a compassionate measure, I think is really disingenuous. You’re arguing against a trial which
will help us gather more evidence. But I’m not sure what evidence
you have that suggests that those who are on drugs
are just as likely to be able to get back into the
workforce as those who aren’t. Zed, there is no evidence
that welfare recipients are more likely to use drugs. That’s it. This whole debate is premised
on the idea that if you are a person
who receives Newstart or Youth Allowance, you’re part of a cohort that is more
likely to use an illicit substance. It’s not true. There is no evidence that underpins
the government’s approach to this issue. It is simply pure, dogmatic…
Ideology. ..ideology, based on an idea that “dole bludgers”
need to be punished… Can I just ask Zed Seselja
if he accepts that point? ..because they are doing
something wrong. And it is disgraceful to say.
No, I don’t accept that point. And I’m not…
Well, cite the evidence, then, Zed. There’s no evidence to suggest…
Cite it. Sorry?
Cite the evidence. Sorry, you want me
to cite chapter and verse, to…? You are a member of a government that is putting forward
one of the most… And I’m not the relevant minister.
..significant welfare reforms… You know I won’t have
that level of detail, but I think
that can be fact-checked. ..in this country’s history…
Hang on. I’d be very happy
for that claim to be fact-checked, that there is no evidence,
because there is evidence. There is no evidence, Zed.
There absolutely is evidence. We know it is one of the things
that makes it so much harder for people to get into work.
Nuh. Are you seriously arguing… ANNE: What’s the evidence that
this is going to change that? Are you seriously
arguing to me, Jordan, that people who are addicted
to drugs, like ice, like ice, are just as likely to be able
to get a job and keep a job as someone who’s not? Your policy does not
a single thing… I mean, that is…
That’s an absurd proposition. Your policy does not a single thing.
It’s an absurd proposition. It defies common sense. OK, so let’s put it
the other way, then, Zed. Is that the position?
Then you show us… Show me the evidence that suggests that drug-testing
welfare recipients, cutting their access to welfare… Not cutting their access to welfare.
..makes that… ..makes that different…
That’s wrong. ..forces them to give up drugs
and get a…get a job? Well, the first…
Does it force people to… The first thing is, it’s a trial. Let’s hear from
a non-politician on this. The second thing is we’re not going
to take their welfare away. And I would…
It would simply be quarantined to make sure that
they can’t spend it on drugs. I would ask…
No, hang on. I’m going to take this back now,
’cause the truth of it is, nothing’s going to happen
in the short term ’cause Jacqui Lambie says nothing
until the rehab services are built. So, that seems to be a way off to me. But, Danielle,
do you have a view on this? Look, I do agree with
the questioner, actually, that in my mind it is punitive. I don’t think it’s an equivalent
to saying, you know, a politician should get a drug test. What we know
is that when people are unemployed, they’re incredibly vulnerable –
they’re financially vulnerable, they’re socially,
mentally vulnerable. And if you are saying
to the, you know, 55-year-old that’s been retrenched,
“You have to go and pee in a jar,” you know, I think the message
you’re sending is that, to some degree,
“This is your fault. “You’ve done something wrong
in order to be here.” That’s very different to asking
a politician to take that drug test. And if we want
to talk about barriers to getting unemployed people
back to work, I think there is actually almost now
an emerging policy consensus that the level of Newstart is so low
to in itself be a barrier. If you do not have the money to
prepare yourself for an interview, to get to that job interview,
you know, that is a real issue in making that transition
back into the workforce. So, if we’re going to spend money,
I would much rather see that spent on boosting the level of
Newstart Allowance. On that note…
(APPLAUSE) You’re watching Q&A,
live from Melbourne. Our next question comes via Skype, and it’s from Andrea Wildin
in Algester in Queensland. Hi. I’m a wheelchair user
in Queensland. My question is regarding
the Disability Discrimination Act, the Anti-Discrimination Act
and the Human Rights Act, which are in place to help us, yet we still don’t have equal access
in government buildings such as schools in 2019, with counterclaims
that we are a minority and the cost
just simply isn’t worth it, or financial hardship
on government agencies. With the evidence overwhelmingly in favour of full inclusion
for disabled people, how can this still be an excuse
for segregation? OK, Jordan, “segregation”
is a pretty strong word. Is that how you see it?
Absolutely. It’s a strong word,
and it’s absolutely justified, Fran. I think Andrea’s question
is bang-on. Here’s the reality. Unfortunately,
to be disabled in 2019 in Australia is to experience
horrendous levels of discrimination and segregation. The figures out recently
speak to this very clearly. We have 50% of disabled people
living below the poverty line. Our unemployment rate is double that
of non-disabled people. We seek urgent medical attention at many times the rate
of the rest of the population. 36% of us report
psychological distress, compared with 8% of
the overall population. And here’s the kicker – the life expectancy of
an intellectually disabled child born today is 24 years shorter than the rest of the population. What Andrea is describing
is just one part of a broad systemic failure
that we’ve got in Australian society to recognise that we do
treat disabled people differently, that we do see
these inequities in our community. And it’s time for politicians, it’s time for those
who design the systems, to listen to disabled people
and be led, as we create these solutions
to remedy these problems. And, Andrea, you asked the… ..you said the point there about, “We still don’t have equal access
to government buildings “like schools because of claims that
the cost simply isn’t worth it.” Have you experienced that yourself? Not being able to either get access
for you or others in schools or office buildings?
Yes… Because it’s simply
not cost-effective? Is that the excuse given?
Yes. You can’t just go into a school and find that
there’s no wheelchair access, and just ask for it
and it simply appears. We have to actually…
(SPEAKS INDISTINCTLY) OK. The line’s… We’re having
trouble with the line there. But, Jordan, just to stay with you
for one moment, how much of these access issues
still…? I mean, it’s still paramount today?
Certainly. I think about the building
you work in, Parliament House, and some of those doors
must make it tricky for you? Parliament is not accessible, and they’ve had to make
a lot of, you know, changes. But what I think is really…
needs to be our focus here is the legislation that we’ve got
to address some of these issues. The Disability Discrimination Act, it’s a couple of years older
than I am as a human being. It was passed in 1992,
and it’s fundamentally broken. It places the burden
of championing the change or flagging the discrimination
on people like Andrea who then pursue it through a process which has no teeth to then force changes if it is found to be
a legitimate case of discrimination. OK, I’m going to stop you there, because we’ve got another question
from Jeanette Lee on this general topic about the…
the laws around disability. JEANETTE: Hi. Yeah, as you were saying,
there is still much individual and systemic disability
discrimination of people with disabilities
in our society today. For example, young people
with disabilities in nursing homes, and the extremely high unemployment
rate of people with disabilities, and the frequent removal of children
from parents who have disabilities. Can you please comment
on how you think these discriminations can be
better addressed and remedied? Now, Jordan, I’m sure
you’ve got more to say on this, but let’s go to…
Let’s go to Zed first on this. Well, look, the first thing
to both of you is to say
that what you’re describing there is completely unacceptable. It’s completely unacceptable,
and, you know, we shouldn’t have a situation
where someone in a wheelchair is not able to access a school
or other public buildings. We shouldn’t have situations
that you’re describing. So, in terms of responding to it, there is much that is being done,
I suppose, and much that needs to be done. But there’s no way you can defend
what’s been put to us. We have to have a situation
where we do much better. You could point to a lot of strides
where we have… We’ve had
these disability standards, as Jordon says,
for a long, long time, but in many cases
they haven’t necessarily played out in…in the way that they should. So, I have an open mind
in terms of the solution. If… Jordan, you’re suggesting
it’s partly a legislative solution. I’m sure that wouldn’t be
the whole way. I’ve got an open mind on it. But in terms of what
the government’s position is on it, you know, I think
it’s a discussion worth having. The thing about it is,
we have the laws, we have the Anti-Discrimination Act,
so what needs to happen? And do you think we might
get close to this with the royal commission? Do you think this is going
to go any way towards… ..the shining light on it
is going to help? It’s not like we don’t know. Well, no. We do know part of the story, and just haven’t listened to that
and acted. But I think on
the royal commission, it’s really important
that we have a process now. I mean, this has been a long fight
of disabled people for decades for this justice moment. And it’s really important that we see the commission’s
integrity defended. But more than that, we need to come to
a new understanding as an Australian community
of what disability is. For…for too long, we have laboured under a delusion that disability is merely the result of a medical impairment
held by the individual, when in fact disability
is the collective result of society’s failure
to adapt to and include people regardless of their impairment. It’s something we all need
to take collective ownership of and work together to change. It can’t just be something
that is left to disabled people to constantly fight and struggle
to try to change these situations. It’s got to be a collective effort. And, Greg, as a journalist,
I’m sure… (APPLAUSE)
Yeah. It’s… It’s one of these debates, isn’t it, that just happens again
and again and again, and everyone says,
“Yeah, that’s not good enough”? Well, you know, let me say, I agree with everything
Jordon has said, and I do think
he goes to a critical point. It’s a failure to acknowledge
the universality of humanity and the essential distinctiveness
of humanity. On this very program some time ago,
I had a debate with Peter Singer, who argued that newly born babies who suffer severe disability
or handicaps have less utility – he’s a utilitarian philosopher – than sentient mammals
and should be allowed to die if their parents
aren’t interested in them. And I said, “No, that’s absolutely
wrong.” He said, “What? “You mean just because
“they’re members of our species “we should keep them alive?” And I said, “Yes, absolutely.”
OK. “That’s absolutely right.” Now, I want to ask you…
I want to ask this question, Fran. Put this… So, I had coffee today
with a friend of mine who…whose son recently died. He was 27. A spastic quadriplegic,
cortical blindness. The devotion of my friend
and his late wife to their son was magnificent, and their son was a happy,
good, worthwhile human being who shed light and grace
on everyone who met him. Now, I think he has a right to life,
and I ask this question. Amartya Sen,
the famous Indian economist, said there are 25 million or
30 million missing girls and women because they’ve been aborted
on the basis of their gender or killed as infants. Now, we think that’s terrible,
on a basis of gender, and I agree. Do we really think it’s a good idea to abort babies
because they have a disability? But I don’t think that’s the debate
we’re having here tonight. No.
It’s not the debate we’re having. We’re not having
a right-to-life debate. No, no, but you’re saying…
We’re having a debate about law… You’re saying the debate
has to be on approved ABC lines… No, no, no. No, no, no.
..or otherwise, it’s out of order. I’m just saying
it’s a completely different issue. Well, let me ask you… Well, I’m saying the right to life
of disabled babies is a critical factor, and part of
not seeing them as human beings… Yeah, but, Greg,
the question is about people living with disability
in our society now and… Well, the questions is,
are they allowed to live? Well, the question… This is not a space
for you to derail this conversation with your own ideological agenda,
Greg. I asked one question.
OK. OK. Let’s…let’s just try
something radical and ask the disabled person… Yeah.
..what the issue is. How about that? Um, now, the issue here, my friend, is that we have spent
the last 100 years crafting a society
which, in every aspect, excludes, denigrates and discriminates
against disabled people. I agree with you there. In the very physical fabric
of our societies, our employment structures,
our education systems, that is the issue, and that needs to be
where our focus is. I agree with you. Absolutely. Not in the corner
of some right-wing debate… Ah.
..where you are trying to take it. Alright, well,
let’s hope the royal commission does get us somewhere there,
because, certainly, the recent royal commissions
have shone lights on issues, and I think the whole community
has learned a lot from them, so I hope it happens this time. You’re watching Q&A live,
and if you have something to say, you can join the audience,
send a tweet, or put your hand up
to become a People’s Panellist. Go to our website to find out more. Our next question
comes from Mike Game. Yeah. Undoubtedly, our economic outlook
has downside risk, especially given
the global uncertainties associated with Brexit,
the US-China trade tensions, and indeed
the Hong Kong democracy protests, yet the Australian economy
continues to grow. Real wages are also growing,
albeit sluggishly. Inflation is low. The housing market
has cooled off somewhat. And the government finances,
um, seem to be improving with a…with a surplus, um,
emerging in the short term. Yet the commentary seems
to focus on the downside, um, and, um… ..and that implying that Australians
have never been worse off and that the outlook is very poor. Um, wouldn’t it be better
to actually adopt the half-glass-full, um, perspective on…on the Australian outlook,
um, and Australia in general? Anne Aly,
Labor spent all Question Time looking at the downside risks
in the economy. Would it be better
to look at a half-glass-full? Um…
A glass half-full? Well, I think it’s better to be
realistic about this, Mike, to be honest. You know, retail sales are down.
Um, discretionary… Discretionary spending is down,
even with the tax incentives that the government
has put on the table – the tax cuts and the tax incentives
to small business. There are several indicators – both anecdotal…anecdotal
and financial indicators – that the economy
is not doing as well as it could. We have the RBA putting
interest rates at 1% – the lowest they’ve been,
um, in history, with the potential
for them to go even lower. We know from countries
where the interest rate is 0% or in the negative that that does not contribute
to economic growth. The government is saying
that its economic plan is that the tax cuts
will filter through eventually and we have to wait and see. But what if they don’t?
What’s plan B? What’s plan B if the tax cuts
that we’ve already seen – $15 billion flowthrough – and people
aren’t there…aren’t out there buying their big-screen TVs
and spending their…their tax cuts because of high household debt, because they’re using it
to pay down debt, because of mortgage stress? So, if the tax cuts
aren’t flowing through now and the government’s saying
this is their mantelpiece, this is what we’re all relying on, they’ve put all their eggs
into that basket, what happens when it doesn’t,
or if it doesn’t? What is plan B? I think – I think – it is wise and it is prudent
to have a plan B… OK. ..to talk about best-case
and worst-case scenario. Well, Zed, what’s plan B? Well, I don’t…
(LAUGHTER) Firstly, I don’t accept the premise
of much of what Anne said, but, Mike, I think your analysis…
Just look at the figures. You don’t have to accept what I say.
Well, I’ll get to that. Mike, I think the point
of your question is correct – that there’s been a big attempt,
you know, by the Labor Party, other…other people
in public commentary, to sort of suggest that we’re in
a terrible space economically. It’s simply not true.
Now, the economy continues to grow. Um, people have talked about
the last quarter of being, you know, 0.5% growth and whether
that should have been stronger. We saw a lot of factors there. And you talk about
the global headwinds, we talk about the severe drought
and a number of challenges, but our economy continues to grow. Employment growth is double,
um, the sort of OECD average – the developed world average. Um, we are seeing… We’ve seen 1.4 million jobs created
since we came to government. Unemployment is down
around about 5%. We’re bringing the budget back
into surplus. We’re delivering tax cuts. And this is where I’ll go to
some of the assumptions… Well, that was exactly Mike’s point. Well, this is where I’ll go
to some of the assumptions that Anne was talking about
about retail sales. Well, the, you know… We’ve barely
got any retail figures – any serious retail figures – since the tax cuts actually started
flowing into people’s pockets, and the quarter
that we’re talking about was before the tax cuts came in,
and people did fear, Anne, whether you like it or not,
during that time, um, that you were going to come in and raise taxes left,
right and centre because they’d been told there was
going to be a Labor government, you were going
to raise taxes on housing… Alright, let’s not go back over that
’cause we’ll run out of time. All of those things. But of course
that plays into sentiment. So, in terms of what plan B is,
well, the economy is growing, despite the global headwinds and despite some of
the great challenges. Um, we are cutting taxes, which we will see, I think,
flow through into the figures. Well, what if they don’t?
OK, hang on. We are seeing the housing market
turn around. We’re already seeing strong figures
in relation to that. And, you know, we’re build… We’ve got
a large infrastructure program. We’ve got a skills agenda. There’s a whole range
of things we’re doing, but people want to see
those fundamentals right, and we believe we’ve got
those fundamentals right. We’ll of course continue
to respond to the challenges, but I think your…the premise
of your question is correct – there’s a lot of talking down of what is actually
a very strong economy. And, Mike, we are very fortunate – we’ve got a resident economist
here tonight. Danielle, how do you see it?
Glass half-full? Glass half-empty? What’s the…what’s the picture? Look, I think, clearly,
the growth figures are weak figures. This is the second-lowest rate
of annual growth we’ve seen since the global financial crisis. There are some positives
that you’ve pointed to, but there are certainly
a lot of risks on the downside, and this is why you come
to the plan B point – because economies feed on momentum. If the momentum starts
heading downwards, we need governments
to be ready to act. So, if we sort of see unemployment
starting to creep up, at that point, you really actually want
the government jumping in and stimulating the economy because we know that things can
get really ugly really quickly. So, they have to be ready to go
to…to pull that lever. So, I’m not saying
that we’ll get there, and I certainly hope that we don’t – I hope that the tax offsets,
you know, will start to… ..to, you know, get the consumers
out and buying things – but there is a real chance that
that will not be the case, and we need to be ready to act. OK, the next question
comes from Leila Creagh-Molino. It seems inevitable,
in the next 10 years, given the now increasing
house prices and the lack of meaningful
wage increases over time, that the number of individuals
and families facing renting for the long term
will only grow. The relationship
between the landlord and renter is set up in favour of the former, with renters faced with
standard 12-to-18-month leases and few to no rights
when it comes to increases in rent, having old and unhygienic fixtures
and fittings replaced, and fashioning the home
in their style outside of selecting
their furniture. Should the policies governing
the landlord-renter relationship become more flexible and progressive
in favour of renters? Jordan, I hear you making noises
and nodding next to me. Nodding and making noises –
yes, indeed. I mean, Leila,
you’re…you’re bang-on. I mean, we have seen
a power balance here shift in completely
the wrong direction in Australia. We are one of the only countries
without a national rental standard, so there isn’t a uniform agreement on what is an acceptable property
to rent. And we see, you know,
states across Australia either defund or not have at all
the tenant advocacy services that are needed to make sure
that people are not exploited. The Greens
are really clear on this. We need to go back
to looking at ways in which we can put the power back
in the hands of renters, so that people don’t get abused,
so that rent prices are affordable, and that everybody
can have a roof over their head, ’cause it ain’t radical
to suggest that, but that is a basic human right. People should be able
to get a roof over their head, and not have to be driven
into poverty to pay for it. And, Leila…I mean,
and, Danielle, sorry – is Leila correct, do you think,
in the premise that we are inevitably leaning towards
a society and a community where there’s going
to be more people renting? Oh, absolutely. We see that… I mean, you’ve had
a good, hard, deep dive into the housing market, haven’t you? I have indeed, and certainly, if we look at home ownership rates
for young people, they’ve fallen very dramatically
over the past 30 years, and particularly amongst
the young and the poor. So, if you’re in the sort of top 20%
in terms of incomes of under-35s, you’re almost just as likely
to own your home now as you were 30 years ago. If you are in the bottom 20%, your home ownership rates
have fallen from about 60% to 20% in that time. So, we know that
home ownership rates are in decline. They’re in decline
across all age groups, but particularly
amongst young people. And so we are moving into this world
where renting will become the norm for a lot of people
for their whole lives, so we need to look at
tenancy laws, as the questioner pointed out. We also need to think about,
you know, things like
our social security system, which often assumes that,
once people retire, they’ll own their own home. So, there are a whole lot
of settings, I think, that need to adjust
to this new reality. What about, um… There’s been a lot of talk
about stimulus, and Zed Seselja talked about
some of the stimulus that the government’s got planned –
the tax cuts, infrastructure. What about stimulus
around social housing? Would that be something
we should be looking at, given the future
that we’re talking about here? I…I think that should be
very high on the list, if not number one on the list. You know, if you think of
good stimulus measures, they’re…they’re temporary
in nature, they’re fast to roll out, and they actually address
a social need. Social housing –
you can roll that out really fast. The Rudd government did it
during the global financial crisis. They built 20,000 new homes,
they upgraded 60,000 more, all within a two-year period. We have a growing problem
with homelessness. We have massive rental stress
amongst low-income people. This would be
a really great stimulus policy. GREG: So, Fran…Fran…
Yeah, sure. Just… Yeah, Greg? So, I’d suggest
a completely different approach. The sort of…
the Green left approach of hyper-regulation doesn’t work. There’s a reason we haven’t had
a recession for 27 years – I’m in furious disagreement with
my fellow conservatives on this – it’s because of
our immigration program. What we need is to be a much bigger,
wealthier, stronger nation. What we need in housing
is a lot more supply. Don’t try to regulate poor,
you know, hardworking people who’ve managed to get
one investment home in their lives out of existence. Just try to increase the supply
of homes massively and increase the supply
of people massively. I’m unhappy that the government
has cut the immigration numbers. We will avoid recession
and we’ll grow and we’ll be strong and we’ll be wealthier
and everybody will have better homes if we keep growing. Alright, Greg Sheridan, you’ve just give me the perfect segue
into our next question. We’ve only got time
for a couple more questions. Our next questioner is
Benjamin Djunga. A series of courts in Australia
have consistently held that the Sri Lankan family
battling deportation have no right of protection
by Australia. Should parties
who would otherwise fail in their claim for protection
gain a right to stay in Australia on the mere basis that they have
made a life for themselves? What message would this send
to people smugglers or to other skilled visa applicants? Anne Aly? Hmm. Thank you for that question,
Benjamin. And I want to address
that particular case, but, also…
and I don’t want to do it in the way that I think
it has been addressed in the political and public domain. I actually want to look at
the limitations of the law here because the law itself can only deal
with the circumstances and the means by which people came to Australia. It doesn’t deal with
all of those other circumstances with this particular case – the fact that this family
made a life for itself, contributed to the community,
that the community wants them there, and that a significant number
of Australians are in support of this family not being deported
back to Sri Lanka. The part of the legislation
that does allow for that is ministerial discretion, and ministerial discretion
has been used 4,000 times over the last three years
on compassionate grounds like the granting of visas
to au pairs which is compassionate grounds. Sure.
(MURMUR OF LAUGHTER) So I think the question
that needs to be answered here is, if the law is such and can only deal
with those circumstances, but we have
this ministerial discretion that can deal with
these other circumstances, why isn’t ministerial discretion
being used in this case? Zed Seselja, why isn’t it? Why is it so steadfastly
not being used? Greg Sheridan’s described this
as a dilemma of Biblical proportions in the past. Well, of course there are dilemmas
all the time for immigration ministers. I don’t think it’s a job
that many of us would envy because it’s
a great, challenging job where you have far more
worthy cases, whether it’s potential refugees, whether it’s people
who claim refugee status and don’t receive it,
like this family, whether it’s other economic migrants who want to come
to this great country. We could take… Greg’s approach
is one where, effectively… I know you’re not saying
open borders, but much, much larger. You know, we think the balance is
about right where it is now. And so when you’ve got a cap,
whether it’s on your refugee intake or whether it’s
on your migrant intake, there are going to be
tough decisions, and this is one of those. Can I just interrupt there,
because when you… Just picking up on Greg’s point – when you do have something
called a regional visa, which is relatively new, and a policy to try and direct
new arrivals to regional centres, and we have a regional town crying out
for this particular family, why doesn’t the government take
that chance and just say, “Yes, OK”? Well, all of those points
have been well made and it’s one of the reasons
they’re tough decisions, but the reason the Minister… ..and the reason I would
back him up on this and the Prime Minister
is backing him up on this, is because both parties,
both major parties, have said, “If you arrive by boat, “you will not be resettled
in Australia.” This particular family arrived… Anthony Albanese,
on behalf of the Labor Party, said that at the time –
you wouldn’t be resettled. Now, this particular family
did not attract refugee status, according to every court that
tested it, including the High Court. At the end of that process,
if the argument is, “If you stay long enough
and you settle in “and you are well received
in your community, “then we will make an exception,” then, effectively, that rule
that we’ve laid down is completely undermined. To take up Anne Aly’s point…
I think that’s the challenge… But it absolutely undermines that
ability to manage it in the future. And that’s where the Labor Party,
I think, are getting themselves
into very dangerous territory here where they are going back to
a situation where they’re saying,
“If you can stay for long enough, “if you can appeal through
the courts, “you will get a different outcome
than the 1,500 Sri Lankans…” OK, so best you come here
as an au pair then. Hang on, Anne. We are… None of those families
who went back are any less worthy
than this family – this is where these decisions
are very difficult and this is where you have to
have rules and follow them. So, the easiest thing in the world –
the popular thing in this case – would be to say,
“Yes, we’ve responded “and we’re going to do it,” but those are the consequences
as we see them, and that’s why I support
the Minister’s decision. Alright.
We are so very almost out of time. We just have time
for one last question and it comes from Ralph Levy. Thank you, Fran. My question is directed
in particular to Greg Sheridan. Greg, do you think that democracy
in the UK can survive Brexit? So, Ralph, thanks for the question.
Yes, I… I think, Greg, we should tell them you’ve just been in the UK
for three months. I have indeed. And, yes, I do. And let me just preface it by saying
I’d let the Sri Lankans stay because the little kids
didn’t do anything wrong. But in any event, I think Brexit
was a magnificent exercise… (APPLAUSE) ..a magnificent exercise
of British democracy. Democratic accountability
rests at the national level, not at the supranational level, and the British voters decided
to take back control of issues which we control – their borders,
their money, their laws. And the political class,
the media establishment, the judiciary, academe is
against this to a man and a woman. I’ve just spent three months
at a British university – I think I was the only person
on the whole campus who was a supporter of Brexit. But the people voted
in a majority to leave. And if they don’t leave, there will be conflict over this
in Britain forever. And I think they have to leave. I don’t think a no-deal would be
the end of the world. And what a bizarre situation now – Boris Johnson is being portrayed
as a Nazi destroyer of democracy because he wanted
to prorogue parliament. Now he’s saying, “OK, I’ve lost
the confidence of parliament, “let’s have an election,” and the opposition is saying,
“No, no, no, no, no. “You’re a Nazi destroyer
of democracy “and you have to stay in office
for the next two months.” That’s crackers! This is a classic example
of insiders versus outsiders. The ordinary people wanted to leave
in a majority. The establishment doesn’t want them
to leave. I hope the ordinary folks win. Alright.
Jordon, very quick comment from you. (APPLAUSE) Well, it wouldn’t surprise you
to know that, with my accent, I’ve got a view on Brexit. I think the swiftest way to resolve
this is a secondary referendum. Nobody can argue
with a straight face that what people voted for in 2016 was the impact that we now know
will occur from a no-deal crashout. Let’s just let people have
another whack at this. And if it’s their view to go,
then they’ll have to make it work, but let’s not do that
without giving people one last shot to think about it carefully. I’m giving the two politicians
on the panel 20 seconds to answer this question. You want to give them as many whacks until they vote the right way,
I suspect. I think that…it is about… This is a classic example
of the people voting one way and I guess the parliament
and a lot of the insiders doing everything they can
to frustrate. And I guess, one way or another, the democratic system
should sort this out. When they go to an election, they’ll
sort it out once and for all. I suspect the people will have
their say probably again in favour of Brexit,
but we’ll wait and see. I have to say the democratic system
is creaking a little under the weight of Brexit.
But, yes, Anne? Well, you’d be surprised
with my accent that I have an opinion
on Brexit too. My Brexit…my opinion
is a little bit of both. Look, I do think that there was
a majority vote for Brexit but I don’t think those who voted
for Brexit had the kind of foresight or were armed with the knowledge
that it would turn out to be what it is at the moment, so I think that going to
a second vote would be a practice of democracy, and I’m in favour of giving
the power back to the people, and perhaps they do that by going
for a vote in the election… ..through an election, or through
another referendum on Brexit. I think we’re certainly headed
to an election. It looks like that. Danielle? Look, I actually agree
with Anne’s point. I think, you know, this is not
what the people voted for when they voted. They were told it would be
a smooth and orderly process. They were told that a trade deal would be the easiest thing
in the world to negotiate. It’s very different to what’s
being put in front of them now. So I think the opportunity
to vote again with full knowledge
would be a good thing. OK. Well, that is it from us
for tonight. You’ve been a fantastic audience.
Thank you, all of you. And could you please
thank our panel – Greg Sheridan, Anne Aly,
Jordon Steele-John, Danielle Wood and Zed Seselja. (APPLAUSE) And I’d also like to say a big
thankyou to Lisa, the companion dog, who’s in the audience tonight. You can continue this discussion
on Facebook and Twitter. And next week on Q&A,
social policy analyst Eva Cox, Vice President of the New South Wales
Young Libs, Brigid Meney, Shadow Trade Minister Madeleine King, a government representative
and a surprise guest, so stay tuned. And until next week, goodnight. (APPLAUSE) Captions by Red Bee Media Copyright Australian
Broadcasting Corporation

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. Unions gave us the weekends?! What a load of crock! Unions are a blight on the country. Does no one read history anymore? The Ford corporation have us 8-day work hours and the weekends. Liars!

  2. These greens are complete loonies!! Their language is nuts, their viewpoints are so skewed it's not even funny, and their polices are terrifying!

  3. Brad Keen — Soon many eggheads in many Australian suburbs will go shopping without a basket !! You don't need a long neck to be a goose Brad !! Hope you lay the golden egg without straining your prostate gland !!

  4. About time corporate 'supposedly' run liberally minded work force ABC, WoW about time.. Now stop your culture wars and unite us, Please!!!

  5. Re drug testing, it's funny how "In the Australian Capital Territory, the fine is $100 for up to 25 grams of marijuana or two plants" So politicians, public servants and their kids can just get a slap on the wrist if they get caught with pot undoubtedly..

  6. all i can say, is in regards to heavy drug use, it’s wealthier young white collar people who use drugs like cocaine, mdma etc on a regular basis. if you’re going to drug test people on newstart, then drug test the lawyers, architects and engineers who are running things and where their drug use affects much more.

  7. Why don't people consider the obvious point. If we put people who are caught with or having taken drugs in prison, then people will stop.

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