Wage Theft and Celebrity Chefs | Q&A


(APPLAUSE) Hello. Welcome to Q&A.
I’m Fran Kelly. And joining us in Melbourne tonight, business and communications
consultant Parnell Palme McGuinness, Tasmanian Liberal Senator Eric Abetz, Australia’s favourite social justice
activist, Tim Costello, MasterChef winner and author
Adam Liaw and Victorian Labor Senator
Kimberley Kitching. Please welcome our panel. Q&A is coming to you live
across eastern Australia on ABC TV and across the nation
on iview and NewsRadio. We’ve got plenty to talk about,
so let’s get to our first question. This is from Oliver Little. Thanks, Fran. Good evening, panel. This weekend, we saw the Member
for New England, Barnaby Joyce, make it abundantly clear that
an increase to Newstart is in order. How does this Liberal-National
government expect people to live, let alone find a job, on $245 a week when Barnaby can’t make ends meet
on four grand a week? Thanks. Fair point. Adam Liaw,
do you want to have a go? (CHUCKLES) Right off the bat. I think Barnaby is just starting
to challenge his own reputation as Australia’s best retail
politician, by saying he can’t get by
on $4,000 a week. But even though people might want
to give Barnaby a good kicking – and people on Twitter
certainly were doing that today – I think it’s a good thing
that he’s come out and said this. You know, it’s great that he’s
supporting an increase in Newstart. There hasn’t been a substantive
increase since, I think, 1994. You know, that’s a long time ago –
it’s a quarter of a century ago. And if Barnaby Joyce is having
difficulties supporting two families on $200,000-plus a year, divide that in half,
$100,000 a year, and people are struggling
to support one family. And if you’re not even working
and if you’re on $40, $38 a day, it’s even more difficult still.
Parnell? Look, if it’s hampering people
from getting jobs, then I think an allowance designed
to get people back into work needs to be increased. And it looks at the moment
like that’s exactly what it’s doing. At this rate, people can’t
polish up enough to get themselves out the door
looking good enough to get a job. On the other hand, I think
it has to be addressed as part of a package that goes along with
looking at other economic factors. So, for instance, are we
training people to take the jobs that are available in the economy? Are we producing too many people who are competing
for the same kinds of jobs? So the most people who are
looking for a job or want more hours are competing for things
at quite a low skill level. And that’s because
we’re producing people who don’t have specific skills, who don’t have
differentiated skills. And a lot of the time
people coming out of university with undifferentiated skills are competing with the low-skilled
people in our economy. Tim Costello, what do you think? There’s always going to be
people unemployed? Yeah. So, full employment
really requires about 5% unemployment at any time. So I commend Barnaby
for saying that. He’s reminding us
that divorce is expensive and having a lot of kids
is expensive too. But, that aside,
I commend what he said. Look, when business and charities and the Governor
of the Reserve Bank, everyone says this is wrong, when The Economist magazine
talks about Australia as “the wonder down under”,
28 years without recession – the only country, really,
in the world – to have people struggling like this, when Dick Smith,
who put up his hand and said, “I got $500,000 from the taxpayers,
franking credits”… ..we give $500,000 to one
of our richest Australians – and I commend him
for putting up his hand – and we say to people on Newstart,
“You’ve got to live on $40 a day,” I personally think it’s immoral. Eric Abetz, what did you think of what your colleague
Barnaby Joyce said? And do you think the
arguments are stacking up against the government’s position? There’s no doubt that Newstart is
exceptionally difficult to live on. There is no doubt about that. In fairness, it is indexed
twice a year but, of course,
from a very low base. But it has been increased
in line with inflation over the years
that it has been operating. Would every politician love
to increase Newstart? I think so. But both Liberal and Labor
went to the last election without promising
to increase Newstart and there’s a reason for that – you have to try
to balance the budget. And when you consider
that we are still paying about a billion dollars a month
just in interest, you see the problems that… ..the legacy that is left
as a result of deficit budgeting that you then have to start using
your recurrent expenditure to pay interest
and ultimately pay off debt. And if we didn’t have
that burden of debt, didn’t have to pay that interest, chances are there’d be money around to, in fact, provide
an increase for Newstart. Kimberley Kitching? Thank you, Oliver. I think that, firstly, I’m not
going to denigrate Barnaby Joyce for arriving
at a position of empathy, no matter the path
he trod to get there, but I do think that, contrary
to what Eric’s just said, the ALP did go to the election
saying there should be a review and we weren’t going to review it
to have it go down. So… Just on that, the Prime Minister
today described that as, “I will not engage in the unfunded
empathy of the Labor Party.” Yeah, and he also said that about
some of his own Coalition members. So I think the Prime Minister
is also being quite unempathetic about this issue. I think that if I was
a National Party member… You know, traditionally, they,
obviously, represent regional seats. Regional unemployment in Australia
is much, much higher than it is in the cities. So there’s another problem for
the National Party there as well. But we can see the government
is quite divided on this issue and more and more of their members
are coming out to say that there should be an increase. I think it will, actually… ..in the end, there will
have to be an increase and not just, you know, twice a year on the very minimalist
sort of CPI level. I think there will
have to be an increase for the reasons
that Parnell points out – that, you know, you have to get
public transport to get to a job, you have to dress appropriately. I mean, these are all considerations
to get people back into work. OK. In a related question, the next question comes
from Duncan Storrar. MAN: Hi. Thanks. Since the election, our
Prime Minister’s made a big issue about suicide and mental health. Would raising Newstart and reducing
punitive social security obligations be the fastest way to make a dint
in the rate of suicide and domestic violence amongst the
country’s three million poor people? Eric Abetz, that’s putting it
not in an economic framework, but in a social framework,
a human framework. I’m not sure what the statistics are
in relation to the scourge that is besetting our society
in relation to suicide. But trying to link the two together, I’m not sure, necessarily,
is borne out by the social data. Regrettably, people that have
a lot of wealth commit suicide. Our returned servicemen and women,
that’s a real problem. Blokes with marital breakdowns
often as well. So the scourge of suicide,
I think, cannot be just addressed in relation to the issue
of a welfare payment, with respect. Both serious issues…
Not only, but isn’t it fair to say that poverty is a stress in life? I mean, there was a report recently
about Indigenous Australians taking suicide, and on poverty…
being trapped in poverty was a contributor given there. Poverty clearly is a stress in life. But there are many poor communities
around the world that don’t suffer the scourge of suicide
that we suffer in Australia and in the Western World. So I suspect there are
other factors at play other than just
the issue of poverty – and when I say
“just the issue of poverty”, I don’t mean to demean it
in any way. Parnell? From my observation, living in areas
which were quite poor years ago, it was the poverty…
poverty caused stress but it was actually the hopelessness
that led to other factors. It was hopelessness
that led to people feeling like they didn’t want
to live anymore and led to the kind of frustrations
that led to domestic violence. And that hopelessness came from
not being able to get a job, not knowing how
to go about getting a job. So, not that… It was even the step
before sort of applying for the job, I had people coming to me
and saying, “Can you help me with my CV?
I don’t know how to do this. “Nobody in my family
has ever had a job.” And so, that really deep
hopelessness and helplessness has much more to do,
I would suggest, with mental illness and with rates of suicide
in poor areas than the rate of the allowance
which supports people in that time. Tim Costello, though,
is there a relationship between hopelessness
and Newstart to some degree? I mean, if you’re feeling
trapped in poverty, would a lift in Newstart
do anything to relieve that? Yeah, I have no doubt it would. I think the fundamental question
all humans ask is, “Do I matter?” And hopelessness comes
when you think you don’t count. And I think people on Newstart
being condemned to live on such an impossibly low…
below the poverty line, know they’re expendable, they’re
dispensable, that they don’t matter. And I agree with Eric that there’s
lots of reasons for suicide. When Australia has youth suicide
at epidemic levels, clearly the lack of meaning,
the pointlessness of life, the nihilism of life contributes. But there’s no doubt in my mind that in a society
that measures your worth by the school you go to,
the car you drive, the brand of clothes you wear – we’re always, as social beings,
scanning the horizon – to be poor actually says
you don’t matter. To be poor, certainly, I think,
says that hopelessness and, therefore, mental illness
is intensified. Kimberley, do you see or accept
any kind of link between a low level of Newstart
and feeling poor and levels of domestic violence
and suicide? Yes. Well, I think… Yes, I think
there is a level of that. And there’s a really good book
about this by JD Vance, which is a memoir –
it’s called Hillbilly Elegy and it’s really an explication
in some ways of why Middle America
voted for Donald Trump. And… So I really recommend it. But there is a terribly poignant
moment in that book where he realises… He goes…
He manages to get away from… He’s never lived
in a functional household. He realises he’s really
very rarely done homework where someone is not throwing
something across the table at him. And he manages to get out
to the US Marine Corps, they look after him,
he goes to Ohio State, he gets accepted to Yale Law. And when he goes back
before he goes to Yale, he realises that he’s different
from everyone else around him. And it takes him some time
to analyse this, but he realises it’s
because he has hope. And that is a terrible indictment
on Western society. Terrible.
Adam? I think it’s a fundamental question
of dignity. You know, Newstart is there
to help people who have quite often lost
employment. It’s people who are… ..63% are aged between
35 and 65 years old. And losing a job isn’t
just losing a source of income – it’s losing a support structure,
losing friends, often leaving you quite alone. And if you find yourself
in that situation, the worst thing that we can do
is say to you that you are not worthy of a wage
that allows you to live. You know, we have to allow… Newstart has to be there
to get people back on their feet, get them back into employment. And that’s not just
paying the money, it’s also putting them
back into a system where they can help their mental
health with the people around them. And just on that point,
before we leave this – which we must leave it, ’cause we’ve got so many
good issues to go to tonight… But the notion of it being
a temporary payment – there’s more and more older
Australians, people over 55, something like 173,000 of them,
on Newstart, who can’t find work and are waiting, basically,
till they get to pension age. That’s a problem, isn’t it,
Eric Abetz? Oh, clearly, it is a problem. And that is why, as a government –
one – we focus on job creation, and also providing incentives
to employers to take on mature age, because trying to get people
in employment, that’s the best welfare system
that a government can deliver. And that is what we seek
to focus on. But we’ve got to make sure
that we don’t leave behind those that are unfortunate enough
not to get a job. OK. Let’s go to our next question,
and that comes from Rob Ward. Good evening, and thank you for the
opportunity to ask this question. My question goes to my friend,
Tim Costello. Tim, you’ve recently been reported as saying that Christians
should calm down in the face of what would seem to be
an increasing intolerance of the Christian faith. So my question is –
should Luke and Carla Burrell, publishers of
White Wedding magazine, forced out of business for failing
to promote same-sex marriage, should they calm down? Should Joshua, the uni student
suspended for daring to pray, should he calm down? And what about the Melbourne
IT specialist fired for privately expressing concerns
about the Safe Schools program? Should he calm down? What do we do? So…
Tim, that’s especially yours. Thank you. So I was speaking to my mob, the Christian mob. I would also say to some on the hard
secular left, they should calm down. And I think I paraphrased Jesus,
who said, “Turn the other cheek.” My paraphrase was,
“Calm down and suck it up.” And by that, I’m saying we’ve just elected our
first Pentecostal prime minister who could pray openly
for six minutes at Hillsong and talk openly about his faith. This notion that we’re victimised,
we’re persecuted… I’ll show you real persecution
in my World Vision work, where Christians
really are suffering. But to your question, I think there are real issues
around freedom of religion. I think freedom of religion
is actually good for society. Freedom of Muslims, Jews,
Buddhists, Christians to actually run institutions, have schools, charities
that express their vision of flourishing is good
in a democratic society. And I do think there are loopholes. I know, in New South Wales, that you can be sacked
because of your religion. An employer can say
to a woman wearing a hijab, “You’re scaring the customers.
You’re fired.” I think that’s not on. I think, to go to
what’s behind your question, that Christians should be
working this out sensibly, because I think there’s
a lot of victim-claiming and “We’re persecuted,”
which is overreach. I think there are solutions. If I criticise left and right – and I try
not to go left or right, I try to say, “Go deeper” – I think left and right
want to keep the war going, often, and overreach and hysteria
keeps the war going. In the middle is us, the exhausted middle who want
to compromise and live together. And I think we can find
solutions to this. I do blame social media, in part, which actually says, “‘You disagree
with me’ equals ‘you hate me’, “and I’m going to hate you back.” I think overborne statements
from my mob, Christians saying,
“We’re now persecuted” – though there are real issues – don’t help, in the sense
of the culture wars going on, and to find compromise
and acceptance. Tim, the other part of your quote,
I think, in that “Calm down” – “Jesus didn’t go around demanding
legislation to protect his rights.” Kimberley, do you think
we need legislation to protect religious rights,
freedoms? Well, the government
is proposing legislation. We’re still waiting to see it. I think they’re working
through their backbench to come up with what I think is
going to be a minimalist model. I don’t actually know, but I think
that’s what it seems like. One of the reasons this is
so difficult, I think, is… You know, Eric and I
were actually both on the Senate Select Committee
for same-sex marriage, where we started
to look at these issues. We then had a Ruddock review. Because, in fact,
it became very difficult to really…in the time
allotted for the inquiry, to really to come to a point
where we could solve these issues. And in fact, you can see now that
this inquiry, the Ruddock review, was released rather belatedly
last year. But, you know, it’s taken
some time – we’re now in July,
soon to be August, and we still don’t really
have anything. We then had
a religious freedoms inquiry in one of
the Senate standing committees. That also didn’t really
come to any view. And, in fact,
one of the recommendations was to go to
the Law Reform Commission. And that was around
students and teachers. So, section 37 of the Sex
Discrimination Act, particularly. But I do think, from the evidence
that that committee heard, that there are people
who really do feel that they cannot express their view. I don’t think it is helpful
to look at this in some dialectic where you’ve got, you know,
people looking for certain rights, their rights to be protected
against other people. We live in a society where,
dare I say it, thank God we do have
a contest of rights. And we are very lucky to live in
a society where we do have that. So, we are not
Asia Bibi in Pakistan. ERIC: Mm. OK, we’ve got a few questions
around this issue. So why don’t we go to our next
question now, from Sarah Cogger, and we’ll keep this sort of
discussion around this issue going. Good evening. Thank you. Another question for you, Tim. Many Christians
support Israel Folau, not because of his specific views, but because they believe it’s
both unlawful and morally wrong for an employer to terminate
an employee’s contract for their public expression
of Christian faith. And yet Jesus commanded us
to turn the other cheek, which presumably still applies
in the case of unlawful persecution. So, “If anyone would sue you
and take your tunic, “let him have your cloak as well.” How should Christians respond
to Israel’s case in light of Jesus’s command? Actually, Tim, I’m not
going to give that to you. I’m gonna give that one
to Eric first off. You can come to it in a minute. Eric? Look, our society has been
based on freedom of speech, freedom of belief,
freedom of association, of which freedom of religion
is a subset. And that is why I think we have one of the best cultures
and societies in the world – because that has been
one of our foundation stones. That is part and parcel
of the ICCPR – article 18, if I recall correctly – that freedom of religion
is deemed in international law to be one of those
fundamental rights that the state
cannot take away from you unless it is absolutely necessary. And so, going to Tim’s point, it’s OK if you’re
the prime minister, you can pray for six minutes
at Hillsong, but what happens if you are
a rugby player who gets sacked because of certain pressure? What happens, especially
to the Pacific Islander kids who are of the Christian faith, growing up in Western Sydney, aspiring to become
rugby players like Izzy Folau, and they see him sacked? What does that tell them
about the Christian faith, their right
to freedom of expression, freedom of association,
and freedom of belief? Isn’t that exactly the same
argument that Rugby Australia uses for, “What about
the young kids who are gay “who see, you know, a footballer “who’s paid a lot of money and
one of their stars of the league “saying they’re going to
burn in hell?” They are both concerned
for the young people. In fairness, look, he also said,
“Unless they repent.” But that is where I believe
that we as a society… Well, I don’t think sexuality
is something to repent for. Sorry? I don’t think sexuality
is a repenting thing, is it? Look, I don’t want to get
into a theological discussion. TIM: Oh, let’s have it. Let’s go!
I think we’re in the middle of one. This is a matter
of freedom of speech. And it does come to pass that there will be
a conflict of ideas, a clash of ideas. And therefore, it is the question
of how you go about it. And should somebody
lose their employment, because they hold
this particular view. My approach to this is,
right, wrong or indifferent, Izzy Folau had the right
to say that on his Instagram. And who was part and parcel
of his Instagram? There was somebody looking at it
and then publicising it further. And so, if you can’t have that
basic communication within our society, then I think
we’ve got a real problem where people are not allowed to give expression to that
which they believe. Tim, just on the theological point,
I think, of Sarah’s question, which is, you know, should Christians be turning the other cheek,
not heading to the courts? Yeah. I believe that. In Israel Folau’s case?
Yeah. Look, my position is complex. I think Rugby Australia –
and corporates, for that matter – shouldn’t have
some fundamental right about their corporate reputation
and their brand over or against rights of freedom
of speech and freedom of religion. So I support Israel Folau’s freedom to quote – in his case,
to misquote – the Bible. I also know that LGBTQI advocates are saying, “We’re just trying
to keep young gay people alive.” This is not about attacking
freedom of religion, this is actually about
keeping them alive. That’s what I mean by “Calm down.” Let’s find the centre here. I personally believe that schools that are Christian, Muslim, Jewish should be able to teach
that gender is binary without being carted off
to a tribunal, even though that’s not officially the politically correct position. Free speech and debate
actually deals with those issues much better than legislation. I would say I didn’t hear you, Eric, when Scott McIntyre,
the SBS employee, was dismissed for saying
some volatile things about Anzacs. He lost his job too. I think there’s often
double standards here, that we only pick up
one set of rights, which is why I’m calling
for a calm debate because I think we…
legislation isn’t a silver bullet. It won’t cover
all of this situation. We actually need to find
that middle ground and respect these rights in balance. Adam? (SIGHS) We live in a country where everybody
is free to practise their religion provided it is consistent
with the secular laws of the land. And we are an expressly
non-discriminatory country. There’s always going to be
an area of tension where religion, which
prescribes moral correctness and a set way of living, is going to come into tension with non-discrimination. I completely agree with Tim that this is an area where
we need common sense. We don’t need to rush to legislation
to try and correct everything that we see as being wrong. If you look at
the Israel Folau case, think of the absolute absurdity. We have an organisation
like Rugby Australia which is stated on the front
of their website that they’re about
diversity of gender, diversity of sexuality and they are absolutely
powerless to stop one of their prime employees, contractors,
whatever his situation may be, from consistently undermining
the aims of their organisation, just because he happens to,
not just believe something, but believe it
really, really strongly. So it seems to be… So, in the name of inclusion,
we’re excluding him? In the name of tolerance, we’re saying he can’t say
that which he wants to say? He can say it as much as he likes. Then there’s a flipside
of that, isn’t there? But does Rugby Australia
have to keep paying him while he’s saying that
against their wishes? Well, see, isn’t
Rugby Australia about getting the best possible players
on the field, and it’s about rugby, and it’s not about
religious beliefs? That is absolutely not the case. I would like to see
a Rugby Australia team that can have Christians,
atheists, Muslims, just as long as they know
how to play the game. In modern sport…
OK. Quickly. And then I’ll come to you, Parnell.
In modern sport, athletes are not just about
what they do on the field. Israel Folau should know this
better than anyone ’cause he was paid
millions of dollars to play AFL, a game that he is
not very good at at all. What about all the blokes…
Hang on, hang on, hang on. ..that drink too much,
but they’re kept on? Parnell, you know a bit about brands. Izzy Folau is a brand,
and so is Rugby Australia. Absolutely. And I’ve got
a constructive suggestion for this. How about he gets paid
for sportsballing a certain amount, and he gets paid as a brand
ambassador a certain amount and then if he doesn’t do what
he’s told to as a brand ambassador they stop paying him that amount and he still gets paid
for sportsballing? You know, quite simple. Let’s just divorce
what this is about. Because, frankly, it’s also
down to Rugby Australia in this not being very clear about what
that brand ambassador role was. Is that the case, not being clear? He’d been warned once, and then
re-signed after that, didn’t he? His warnings were very unclear
in themselves, it seems. So, he was just to be respectful. Now, to somebody who believes
his faith the way he does, quoting a passage from the Bible – or misquoting
a passage from the Bible – what’s disrespectful about that? What’s the problem with that? So, I really think that we… I couldn’t agree more
with what you’re both saying about this is
not about legislation, this has to be sorted out
by common sense, but there are also
things that you can do from a very concrete perspective to just separate the issues
that we’re dealing with here. Brands and actions and jobs
can be separated out. OK, before we leave this topic,
or this spiritual domain, our next question
comes from Celina Grech. Thanks, Fran. What does the panel think about Scott Morrison’s
recent appearance at a Hillsong conference, promoting his Christian beliefs while acting in his role as the leader of a secular
multicultural, multi-faith country? Kimberley, guess what – that’s yours. Thanks, Celina. I think, uh… Look, I actually… If people have a faith,
I think that’s actually really good, very helpful, probably
even more so in parliament. I think it probably is
a source of strength that is sometimes much needed. But, look, I actually don’t
have a problem if he wants to go and,
you know, profess his faith and talk about his faith. I don’t really…
I mean, that’s his private time. I understand what you’re saying – he’s also the prime minister
of our country. But I think you’d find
that in parliament there are some
very strong believers, and he is one of them. What’s different,
and this perhaps goes to the question,
to Celina’s question, is in the election campaign, of course, he invited the cameras in
to see him pray. That’s an unusual thing
in Australian politics. It is unusual, and it’s more… I think we see it in other
countries around the world more so than we have seen here, which brings in
another question, I think, around, I think, the influencing
being perhaps from, let’s…you know,
from the United States, and from its political campaigning. But I… You know,
if people have deep belief, I don’t really have
a problem with that. OK. Tim?
Yeah. Can I say that I do think
something has changed. Eric may remember this. I remember, my brother,
when he went into politics, saying he was advised,
“Don’t talk about your religion. “It’s a secular country.
They’ll think you’re a fanatic.” Something has shifted, where, now –
and I think this is good – you can be up-front
about your faith. And I like the fact
that Scott Morrison said “I’m up-front about my faith,” encouraging everyone else
to be up-front about their faith. When you say something has shifted, do you think it’s only shifted since this prime minister
has done it? No. I think it’s been shifting
for some time. And I think it’s a global zeist, where religion
literally is back as a force. John Kerry said if he had his time
over again as secretary of state he would study religion
to understand geopolitics. So, something has
profoundly shifted. The thing I add is, the interesting thing, I think, that Scott Morrison
is going to find out is that probably
for the next three years we’re going to be having debates about what Christianity
really means. I’ve got secular journalists
ringing me now who are thumbing through the Bible
for the first time in their lives and they’re saying… Which Bible? My Bible! And I’ll just say, Izzy Folau’s list,
that was from Ephesians. There’s another book in the Bible
which starts like his list – God says, “I’m going to judge
sorcerers, perjurers, adulterers “and those who defraud
their labourers from proper wages “and oppress the foreigner
in our midst” – think refugees – “and the widow and orphan” –
think Newstart. There’s a whole lot more in the
Bible that I’m up for discussing. OK, Adam, are you
comfortable with this? Why not? Millions of Australians go to church
of all denominations all over. It doesn’t mean
our prime minister has to go to every single church. Doesn’t mean he has to be
every single Australian. He can still conduct himself
as prime minister in a way that is befitting
of governing and being a member of parliament
for all Australians, whilst still having a faith. Parnell?
I couldn’t agree more. And I think the… Look, Julia Gillard was our first openly atheist
prime minister, right? And that was actually
quite important. It’s important that we’re tolerant to every outlook on life
that is not harming others. So it was wonderful to hear her say, “I’m an atheist – that’s just
how I feel about life.” Because for a long time
that was something politicians couldn’t say. You had to pretend
to have some kind of a faith. And it’s wonderful on the other hand to hear somebody
sincerely profess their faith, not hold it
as a political instrument, but simply hold it and say, “This is me, but I’m not going to
impose it on everybody else.” Eric, is Parnell onto something?
It did seem risky. I remember when Julia Gillard
declared herself an atheist, and perhaps some think it is risky for this current prime minister,
Scott Morrison, to be so public with his faith. Is that…? In the secular society that we are, we’ve seen it as risky in the past to have these…’extremes’
is perhaps not quite the right word, but declarative positions. Our fellow Australians
are very tolerant and they look at people
on their performance. And they judged Julia Gillard
not on her atheism, but on the government. They judged Scott Morrison,
not on his Christianity, but on his performance. But one thing I will say
to this audience is it’s amazing how many people
of the left side of politics have expressed concern about Scott Morrison’s
profession of faith, yet were strangely silent
when Kevin Rudd continually had press conferences
outside of church in the lead-up to
him becoming prime minister. His Christian faith seemed to be OK but Scott Morrison, from the Liberal
side, that seems to be a problem. I don’t know – I think there was a fair bit of commentary
about that too. Well, I think we need
some consistency here. Alright.
But if we are genuinely tolerant, multi-faith, multicultural society, it stands to reason that sometimes we will throw up
a Christian prime minister, sometimes an atheist prime minister, and that’s the way it ought be.
OK. Remember, if you hear
any doubtful claims on Q&A, let us know on Twitter and keep
an eye on the RMIT ABC Fact Check and the Conversation website
for the results. Our next question comes
from Harrison Symons. Good evening. This is a question to Adam. Given the recent wage-theft scandal involving MasterChef judge and
restauranteur George Calombaris, and his resignation from MasterChef, supposedly after a dispute
seeking a 40% pay increase, do you feel there’s a hierarchy
within the culinary profession which enables owners and chefs to mistreat and underpay staff while
they feel free to demand more? Adam? You’re here.
Good morning to you too, Harrison. (LAUGHTER)
Um… I think Matt Preston
was on radio this morning saying that that 40% increase
that was mooted was not accurate, or that they had agreed
to commercial terms. You can check his comments. I didn’t listen to them, ’cause
I wasn’t in Melbourne at that time. What about the broader question –
is there a hierarchy? Is there a hierarchy? I mean, people should be paid the legal wage
to which they’re entitled. I don’t think you’ll find
anyone in this country that thinks otherwise on that point. Um… There is…a difficulty, however. You know, I’m not a restaurateur.
I don’t run a restaurant. I have worked in
an awful lot of restaurants. I’ve flipped burgers, I’ve washed
dishes, I’ve cleaned toilets. And I can tell you that in
the vast majority of those jobs I was not paid an award wage. Generally, the larger
the organisation, the organisations that
could afford to have payroll people to keep an eye on whether everything
was being paid accordingly, were the ones that paid better and the smaller organisations,
the mum-and-dad restaurants that couldn’t keep across
the complexities of the award wage system, were the ones that were paying
below the award wage – $10 an hour,
$5 an hour in some cases. In some of my cases, I should say. None of this is an excuse for not paying
your employees properly, but I think we have to
understand also that… I mean, the question
came up this week about whether or not
that should be criminal and to that I would say, “Why not?” You know, it’s a form of fraud and
dishonesty, just like anything else. But let’s not get giddy
about celebrity chefs being thrown in prison ’cause I don’t think
we’re quite at the point yet. But we have seen some
spectacular sums around this from some of the big chefs,
the celebrity chefs, and their establishments,
or the businesses backing them. You know, the figure we all know
is George Calombaris, major establishment, $7.8 million. But it’s the others too. It’s, um… It’s some of the biggest names.
TIM: Neil Perry. Neil Perry.
Oh, yeah. There’s definitely
more to come on this. What we see in the industry
is that we have gone from a situation
across the food industry where an individual
mum-and-dad restaurant was able to survive. I think, with rising costs, that’s becoming
less and less the case, and so we’re seeing far more
aggregation of restaurants. And when you’re going from
a lot of different restaurants being independently operated, often that are not being well run
or appropriately run, and they’re not paying award wages, going into an area of aggregation where the systems
need to be better, the systems
need to be more accurate, that’s where we’re finding these kind of systemic discrepancies
coming to the fore. Before we go to
the rest of the panel, let’s go to our next question,
which is from Charlotte McLeod. Hi. If I, as an anonymous member
of the community, were to steal, misplace
or misappropriate $7.8 million, I would expect a prison sentence. How is wage underpayment
not theft? Does the panel believe
there should be prison sentences for industrial-scale
underpayment of wages? Kimberley? Yes, I do. For the reason that…you know, I…
It is thieving. It is thieving from people who, you
know, if it was done the other way, and I think if the person at NAB who stole a whole lot of money,
embezzled it, you know, she is being charged,
it should happen the other way. And I notice also these systemic
errors are never overpayments. It’s never the other way
that they make the mistakes. It’s always underpayments. And I think every business operates with
an informal social licence. So, I think if you are… You know, there were reports
that Mr Calombaris’ restaurants weren’t being very well patronised. I think that
that is, you know, because people are going to vote
with their feet. They don’t want to be associated
with someone who has done that to his staff. And I think that if you are
going to criminalise for large-scale wage underpayment,
wage theft, then I think that’s a good…
I think it is necessary. I think… But we would need to
see enough successful prosecutions in order for the deterrent factor
to really sort of start. And in Victoria, of course,
the state government here is going to actually start
to criminalise and is going to introduce
legislation. I don’t think it properly belongs
in the state system. I think it really is
a federal responsibility because you’ve got a hybrid
civil, criminal system going on and I think that
that would be better in a federal system
rather than a state system. But at least
the Victorian government is doing something about it. Eric, I’ll come to you, but
I think Adam is chomping at the bit. Absolutely. The deterrence in terms of
increasing penalties and putting people in prison for doing large-scale
systemic wage theft is certainly something that
definitely should be on the table. So, should some of these chefs
be locked up? (EXHALES) I cannot comment on the… I knew you couldn’t.
(LAUGHTER) Prison food might be better. As well as the deterrence factor,
I think we also need to look… If the goal is truly to resolve systemic underpayment
of staff in hospitality, we need to look at other issues where we can help businesses
to do this as well. You know, the awards for hospitality
are difficult. We can look at simplifying that, we can look at making that more
accessible for people who don’t have large
payroll facilities and large payroll operations. But the carrot and the stick
is going to have an effect here and it’s going to be the way
we need to go, I think. Eric Abetz? Look, wage theft,
completely unacceptable. The government, in recent times,
has beefed up the Fair Work Ombudsman’s budget
by over $10 million to assist in this area. The Attorney-General, who is also
Minister for Industrial Relations, is having a review of the IR laws
and that will be part of it. And for my tuppence worth,
stealing from employees – and that’s what it is – should be
treated by the criminal law exactly the same way as employees
stealing from employers. And I think it’s… So, we do need a change of law
for that. I mean, the Attorney-General said he’s looking at this recommendation
from the Allan Fels report. It should happen speedily? Well, look, I would be encouraging
my colleagues to go down that track. There will be the difficulty,
as in any criminal prosecution, as to whether it was
an honest mistake or not. But when it’s, I think, so systemic,
especially in bigger institutions, then one suspects that it might not
have been an honest mistake of a mum-and-dad restaurant accidentally reading
the wrong award or whatever. But when we’re dealing with the
figures that have been mentioned, then clearly something
is terribly wrong. And as a matter of principle,
it should be under the criminal law. Theft is theft, whether it’s from the employer
against the employee or indeed the employee
against the employer. We’ve got a bit to get through.
Parnell, a quick answer from you. I agree that before we go
to a criminalisation of something like this –
although that’s important as well, that the penalty codes
need to be looked at – but as I said before, we also need
to look at how many people are competing for each job. If there are a lot of people
competing for low-skilled roles, then you’ll get into a situation where some people declare themselves
one way or another to be willing to do that job
for less. And in hospitality,
that happens quite often – informally, but it happens. You think it’s people putting
their hands up for a pay cut? Well… It’s accepting it.
It’s accepting it? It’s been the accepted way, I think,
but now it’s calling it wage theft. That makes a difference, doesn’t it?
Look, it does. And of course criminalising it
would make a difference to whether people were being
underpaid, but it might also make a difference to whether certain businesses
would be…would exist at all. I mean, certainly in small family
businesses, this is often… ..you know, often it’s the owner
who takes the first wage cut or earns nothing as a result
of this sort of thing. And if the business is still not
making ends meet, then it might be some of the staff. I’m not saying that’s right. It’s very, very wrong,
but that is the way of the world. Or the 7-Eleven where…the 7-Eleven
where they stood over people to reimburse some of their money. I mean, it is not acceptable
to treat people like that. And if you can’t make your business
run without stealing wages, then you shouldn’t be
in the business. Alright, let’s move on now.
We’ve got a web question now. It’s from…
(APPLAUSE) Thank you.
A round of applause. This is from David Downs
in Melbourne. “The Ensuring Integrity Bill
gives the government power “to deregister unions
and ban individual union officials. “Surely the actions of John Setka
have provided the Coalition “with the ammunition
to crack down on organisations “who believe that might is right?” Kimberley Kitching, that’s to you. Have the unions brought this
on themselves? No. They absolutely have not. And we have to remember that the Ensuring Integrity Bill
has no retrospectivity to it, so it is not going to deal with
John Setka, unless he, you know… After, if the government
is successful in passing the legislation and he does something, you know,
down the track according to that legislation,
then maybe yes. But there is no retrospectivity
to it. Are you arguing for retrospectivity?
No, I’m not. And as you and I both know, we live
in a precedent-based legal system. Mm. There are very few pieces of
legislation with retrospectivity. That’s not a fig leaf
to hide behind. But you and I both know as well,
Eric, that this bill, the last time the Liberal government had, you know, effective control
of both houses, they attempted…well,
they passed WorkChoices and that was their own funeral. So, let’s see what happens
with the Ensuring Integrity Bill and whether it is total overreach
by this government into the rights – we’ve been talking about rights – including the right of freedom
of association. It is not appropriate
to have someone who says sufficient interest –
whatever that might mean – be able to go into a union and
decide who represents those members, which this bill does, whether I’m a disgruntled,
you know, employer who might not like a union,
for example, examining wage theft, could be an example of someone
with sufficient interest, to then actually have someone
prosecuted under this legislation. In a court of law.
This legislation is appalling. It is an interesting juxtaposition, the wage theft and the unions,
of course, who are fighting that battle
front and centre, are, at the same time,
under attack by this legislation. Look, only 10% of the private sector are actually in the trade union
movement. So, 90% of workers
are not covered by trade unions. No, but wage theft campaigns cover
more than the unionised members. And that is where
the Fair Work Ombudsman has just been given an extra
$10 million to pursue matters such as this. But, look, the vast bulk
of union officials are good, honest, decent
men and women. They have nothing to fear. But it is those like John Setka
who have a lot to fear, and quite frankly,
if I was in a trade union, I would be very happy with that
sort of legislation because it would ensure
that the same standard that applies in corporations
to directors would apply to union officials. And company directors
deal with shareholders’ money, union officials deal
with union members’ money. OK, Tim Costello…
There is no real moral difference. If the vast number of
union officials are law abiding, do we need this legislation? Look, I think
there’s a solution here. I’d make an appeal to John Setka
to resign and step down. Why? Because Jacqui Lambie,
who is the key vote, has said the unions have
a problem – John Setka. She said, “I’m against
union-busting bills,” and sees it that way,
but, whether retrospective or not, John Setka has given the government the opportunity
for this union-busting bill. My plea, John Setka – whatever you
think about your innocence and your strength of being
a union leader, do the right thing for the sake
of the union and step down. But if he steps down, the government’s not going to drop
this bill, are you, Eric Abetz? No, because… But Jacqui Lambie might, then,
say… Jacqui Lambie then says no. So, you’re not a fan of the bill,
is what you’re saying? No. I think union-busting…
We need… Look. It’s not union-busting. Well, that’s Jacqui Lambie’s words. In construction, there were
12,000 injuries last year. You do need protection of unions. Those injuries are serious. And what has John Setka
done about that? OK, let’s forget John Setka
for a moment. Let’s talk about the legislation.
Parnell. I think you need legislation to control some of the excesses
of the unions where they have been bullying
workers, rather than sticking up for them. Specifically, I’ve come across
some smaller unions which have been springing up
to actually represent the members because they’ve felt that their… ..that the large umbrella union
that represents them has become too politicised
and is imposing its will upon them, rather than doing their will
and sticking up for them. So, I think
it’s really important that that system gets
some kind of a check and balance and I actually think those workers who have started forming
those small unions will be extremely glad
and extremely grateful to have some sort of check on the big bully unions
who have been oppressing them. OK. Adam? Do you think we need
a check on the big bully unions? I don’t think it really comes up
for discussion on this. Jacqui Lambie, I think, is going to get the Labor Party
off the hook on this one by forcing the union’s hand. You know, she pushes…her position
pushes getting rid of John Setka back on to the unions which
then takes the bill off the table. I don’t think
the Centre Alliance senators… Until the next
John Setka comes along. OK. You’re watching Q&A live. At the end of August,
we’ll have our high school special. So, if you’re
a senior high school student and you reckon you’ve got
what it takes to join the Q&A panel, head to our website
and upload an audition video. We’re looking for
the smart, young leaders of tomorrow to take on the politicians of today. The next question
comes from Belinda Lawson. Belinda.
Hi. Gambling is often treated
as a bit of harmless fun, but gambling addiction
can cause great misery to individuals and families and may contribute to dangerous
levels of household debt, family violence, homelessness
and substance abuse. With this in mind,
what do you think of the alarming and apparently unfettered
proliferation of gambling advertising
in recent years? Tim Costello, there seem to be
an awful number of questions with your name on it tonight,
and that’s one of them. Yes, well, with today’s
revelations… ..yesterday’s about Crown Casino, this is just such
an important question. We need a royal commission
into gambling. We have 18% of all the world’s
pokies. We have the greatest losses
per capita in the world by 30%. The country that comes second,
Singapore, 30% behind us, then it’s Ireland. Gambling in Australia has captured
and corrupted politics. And we’ve seen this now
with Crown Casino’s expose that rich Chinese criminals running junkets can come in,
expedited visas, we know that
they’re laundering money – nearly 20% of funds going through
a casino is laundered money. We know that some $15 billion of money going through casinos
is laundered. That means it’s actually
selling ice and cocaine, addicting our kids
and often killing our kids. So, what we desperately need to do
is have a royal commission. I certainly believe
that the gambling advertising would be coming up
in a royal commission. How did the Northern Territory…
Can I just stop you there? What do you want the
royal commission into? The Crown… I mean…
Crown would be three days of it. OK, but a royal commission into what? Into the hold that gambling has and political donations
from the gambling industry has on both the major parties, and why ex-politicians always go
to gambling jobs. So, right at the moment,
Crown hasn’t come out and made a statement to the ASX,
which it should have. The chair, John Alexander,
should have. We know that the political
operatives, ex-politicians, in the gambling industry and at
Crown are working the backrooms, right at the moment, and putting
the pressure on the pollies because there is
just so much easy money here for state governments
from the revenue. When it comes to gambling
advertising targeting our kids, the Northern Territory, how did it license so many
foreign betting companies that actually spend $300 million
a year advertising, and I say deliberately grooming
our kids? Kids know the labels, the jingles, they’ve mainstreamed sport – cricket, football and rugby –
with gambling ads. This is an adult product
that is targeting our kids. So, we need a royal commission
to ask all those questions. Eric Abetz, royal commission
to check what Tim Costello just said? (APPLAUSE) That the gambling industry
has captured and corrupted our politicians? It nearly seems today
that if there’s a problem, just say royal commission
and you can set it aside. Is it a good idea, though? Look, I remain to be convinced that we need a royal commission
into gambling, per se… What do we need, then? ..in relation
to the casino matter that I think still
has a lot of play in it and we’ll find out the exact facts. But, look, gambling is a scourge. It has destroyed many lives,
many families and that is why I think
the community generally needs to treat it
a lot more seriously. That said, the vast bulk of us
are grown-up adults and we have a freedom to determine
what we do with our money and so I’m twixt and between. I think gambling’s a scourge, but do I want government saying
you can gamble on this or you can’t gamble on that? You know, these days,
pull out your mobile phone and you can lose your house
just on your phone. You don’t have to go to a casino.
That’s the point, isn’t it, though? I mean, government will
bring in a seatbelt law. If you could pick up your phone
and lose your house, should there be something
done about that? Well, how can you guard
against that? Because it is now international. So, Italy’s banned
all sports betting. No ads. All gambling ads. In England, the FA Cup has banned
the sponsorship with Ladbroke’s – you could do that –
because they’ve said, “It’s corrupting sport
and it’s corrupting our kids.” There’s a lot of things
government can do, Eric. I think…
Kimberley, do you want to have a say? Well,
there’s a self-excluding regime that you can, you know,
be voluntary, in that you can have someone…well,
you can have someone nominate… Sure, but that all goes
to the individual. What about the notion that gambling has captured
and corrupted politicians? Look, I don’t…
I actually don’t agree with that. I think that…it just doesn’t
happen where… We don’t have, you know,
gaming lobbyists in our offices. I mean, I wouldn’t have had one.
So… Bipartisan agreement on that.
What do you think, Belinda? I’m just disappointed in
that every day on the television, our children have the opportunity
to see betting ads. And they don’t just talk
about the sport, they talk about the odds. And I think that’s a really,
really big problem for our country. Parnell? ERIC: I think exposure to kids
is a real issue. I absolutely agree.
Every day, they say the odds in TV. Isn’t it time that
we had a royal commission into teaching of stats in schools? I’d love it if people actually
understood what those odds are and what probability is. Because if we did understand that
a little bit better, perhaps we would be better protected
against that sort of advertising. OK. Adam? The gambling industry is
a business model based on addiction. And they don’t even have
to produce a cigarette or get you to drink some booze or even put on a sporting match
to do that. The addiction is the money itself. And we need to take more efforts
to do that. We’ve taken alcohol advertising out,
cigarette advertising out. Gambling is the next step. And I don’t think the situation
that we have at the moment is going to persist for very long. Do you think we need
a royal commission? I mean, I think if we can get
some action without having to do
a royal commission, without having to go to that
as a last resort, it would be much more preferable. I think we understand the problem
that we are facing and we understand
the size of the problem. Corruption aside, you know, gambling and addiction to gambling
is an enormous problem. OK. Well, we’ve just got time
for one last question, and it comes from Adele Roeder. Hi, panel.
A question specifically for Adam. After MasterChef’s trio of judges
left the show due to Network Ten declining
their demands of a pay rise, on top of
their million-dollar salaries, it appears that the panel
chose their financial status over the true purpose of the show –
to encourage a passion for cooking. Who then do you believe should be the next panel of judges
on MasterChef? (LAUGHTER) And what values will they encompass to reinforce the true meaning
of the show? Now, I’m not going to come
to you yet. (LAUGHTER)
Keep that in mind. Let’s start with Kimberley
on that one. Who should be the next panel
of judges and what values should they encompass to reinforce the true meaning
of the show? Well, I think one of
the beautiful things about cooking is, you know, you can share it
with people. There’s love and generosity in that. So, I would like to see, you know,
some of those attributes in a show on cooking. You know, I have a really very dear
friend of mine who is very Anglo, so her heritage is British
and Scottish. She makes world’s best tzatziki. But there is something very lovely
about that the sharing of food and, you know, what it means
when she gives you that. I think it’s a lovely thing.
So, I think… OK, so that’s the values. I think
people are looking for names tonight. Names.
(LAUGHTER) Names… I can’t re… The one who does
the Great British Bake Off. Oh, OK.
I think she’s excellent. Alright. Let’s… Parnell? Goodness, I’m trying to think
of the names of some chefs and some restauranteurs
who I really admire, but it’s dangerous
to talk in those terms these days. Just might come out the next day
and there’ll be some scandal. (LAUGHS) I don’t know. I would say I’d like to see some
of the best restaurants in Sydney sending along their top chefs, perhaps in rotation as judges
on this. And in terms of values, look,
I absolutely agree with Kimberley. Food is about connection,
it’s about love, it is about burning off your stress
at 3am because you really need to cook
a pheasant right now. (LAUGHS) It’s about so many things. And I think you can actually… Instead of always having
this tense atmosphere in these MasterChef programs, where it’s all about re-creating
the worst of a kitchen, it’d be fantastic to see the shows re-creating what is best
about cooking. OK, get some of the tension
out of MasterChef. I’m not sure what that’d do to
the ratings. But, Eric? Look, on this one, I need a white
flag to raise very, very quickly. Cooking has never been my forte. I was spoilt for 30 years
by a lovely wife that always loved cooking for me and I confess
I’ve got nothing to add. But what I will add, if you’re
looking for somebody for your panel, I understand there’s
a Jessica Barrow in the audience that might be worthy
of consideration. OK. Alright, well, we’ll look
for Jessica afterwards. Tim? Well, I want to offer myself.
(APPLAUSE) You’ve been there before!
I have. He was actually a MasterChef judge. I was MasterChef judge.
You were a shrinking violet. I was never invited back.
The Dalai Lama was on. And they kept saying,
“What do you think?” And he’d giggle and say,
“It’s good.” “What do you like?”
He’d say, “The bread.” They’d go, “The bread?”
“Do you like this more than this?” He’d say, “No, just the same.” And suddenly it hit me, I said,
“Your Holiness, as a Buddhist, “you’re not allowed to judge,
are you?” And he said, “No. We do not judge.” And I saw Matt, Gary,
and what’s his name? George.
(LAUGHTER) Matt, Gary and George, faces fall. They were asking the Dalai Lama
to do something he couldn’t do. They quickly threw to me. And I said, “Look, I’m a Christian,
I’m into judgement.” (LAUGHTER) “This is what I like.”
So, I think I’m qualified. Alright. Adam, a MasterChef without tension,
a MasterChef without judging, and a set of judges that will represent love,
generosity and connection. Who is it?
(SCOFFS) Are we looking at him?
(LAUGHTER) I can tell you that I have not received
a phone call at all on this. (APPLAUSE) MasterChef Australia is
the most influential cooking show in the entire world. And the reason it is so popular and it connects with
so many people is that it reflects the incredible food
that we have here in Australia, the way that we cook
in our own homes, the diversity of influences and the wonderful produce
that we have. Unfortunately, one person who is not
going to be on the judging panel, who I’d like to acknowledge, is Margaret Fulton, who very sadly
passed away last week. She was a legend of Australian food. I’d like to honour her life and acknowledge that
she is literally the woman that taught Australia
how to cook. And my condolences go out
to Suzanne, Kate and Louise and all of the Gibbs, Keats
and Fulton families. Mm. Hear, hear! I think you can’t stop there. I think you have to go to
who would you see on the panel? (LAUGHTER)
Yeah… Margaret would
never have done it anyway. She said she doesn’t like all that
fancy stuff and that malarky. (LAUGHTER) Yeah, I’m not going to give you
any names, I’m sorry. I’m sure that there’s people that are in discussions on that
at the moment. I can tell you absolutely
that I’m not one of them. You’re not interested
or you’re not one of them? It’s the best job in television
and the best job in food. I don’t think anyone in the country
would not be interested in that job. But I haven’t had a phone call yet. OK, well, everybody, come on, I think
we need to get behind Adam Liaw. We’re starting it now.
(APPLAUSE) And just on that, just finally
though, the notion of MasterChef without some of the yelling,
without some of the tension – what do you think? Well, I mean, the proposition of the
show is that it is a feel-good show. You know, it is about…
There is tension of course into it. I prefer to cook
with less tension than more. I think most people do
in their own homes. But it is about celebrating food and it’s about celebrating not just
the food that’s on the plate, but also the people that make it
and the stories that go behind it. OK. That’s it from us for tonight. You have been a fantastic audience.
Thank you. And can you please thank our panel – Parnell Palme McGuinness, Eric Abetz, Tim Costello, Adam Liaw, and Kimberley Kitching. Next week on Q&A,
Zali Steggall, the Independent MP who toppled the former
Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Liberal rising star Jason Falinski and Labor Senator Katy Gallagher. Tony Jones will be back
on Q&A next week. I will be back at RN Breakfast
on Wednesday. Goodnight. Captions by Red Bee Media Copyright Australian
Broadcasting Corporation

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. It's not wage theft at all. Entrepreneurs should be celebrated for their willingness to take chances and employ people who otherwise would be on NewStart.

  2. Keep religion out of politics and politics out of religion. Policy and personal views need to be separate.

    Catholic chaplains in secular schools replacing school councillors is a major example of this and has been increased recently by Morrison.

    Express all you want, as soon as you start policy then that's over the line. My time in school I had a chaplain replace the councillor. Instead of someone qualified to deal with a student's problems as a professional I had someone try to continuously convert me to there religion.

    How did this policy pass? A high number of Catholics with no respect for what secular means in parliament on both sides is exactly how.

    Subversive religions who abuse their religious freedom in this way create problems for everyone. Completely undermines a secular nation.

    Freedom of religion and freedom from it!

  3. The panelists won't commit but I'll give my opinion on MS judges.
    Shannon Bennett, Curtis Stone and a high profile female MS winner/contestant.

  4. Couldn't they all save 20 %by only employing women ? You know the gender wage gap ? 😅😆😝

  5. As the LNP politician said, if you need to steal from your staff, then your business is not viable. Further, you're no business person, but a thief. You belong in jail. Stealing is stealing.

  6. Regarding the Falou issue, we either give all organisations the right to sack people based on values or we do not. To argue that a religious institution can but a non religious institution can't is hypocritical.

  7. Diversity of opinion is now a thought crime as far as the ABC, YouTube and other left leaning organisations are concerned. So anyone who dares question the left on their obsession with diversity, gender fluidity, multiculturalism, big immigration, the Islamic cult to name a few is seen as the enemy. That is why my latest comments seem to have been deleted yet again.

  8. 57:50 I'm quite concerned about the mental state of anyone who has roast pheasant for their go to 3am food. Either that, or it's the perfect illustration of a class divide.

  9. Tim Costello, Guy Sebastian, Eric Abetz and Israel Folou on the same panel would be fun to watch.

  10. $138,733.00

    Taxable Income per week after tax $2,667.69 $138,733.00

    BEFORE TAX $211,000.00

    Total Taxes $72,267.00

  11. Criticism of religion has to be allowed and even discrimination based on religious ideology in cases where what people believe is the impetus to threaten or cause others(human & non-human) to suffer unnecessarily.

    We need a ban on Islam in Australia simply because of it's stated global agenda, to impose it's theocratic legal system(Sharia). I would be remiss not to provide the requisite evidence for this claim, Pew research – pewforumDOTorg/2013/04/30/the-worlds-muslims-religion-politics-society-overview/

    Any religion that seeks to implement/impose a legal system that would see the death penalty for acts that are inherently non-violent e.g. apostasy, blasphemy, homosexuality, adultery has no place in our society.

    If you have any doubts about the barbarity of Sharia here is a Youtube video of an Islamic public meeting in Sydney where an Islamic leader clarified Islam's position with respect to apostates search: Ex-Muslims Should Be Put To Death! (URL links are not allowed in comment section)

  12. Eric!! What Israel did is an example of threatening violence by proxy(your genocidal God), under the law threatening violence is illegal. In Australia at least free speech ends there!!

  13. Mass immigration is wage theft. Australians are being told the lie that there is a 'skills shortage' to justify more immigration, but then many Aussies can't find work. Just more globalist lies.

  14. Mr Abetz you talk of balancing the budget and wishing to increase Newstart, yet your party gave billions in tax cuts to the highest income earners in Australia?????

  15. Simple fact is…just another bunch of arseholes on the panel at the gay bc… again!!! being told what to do by a religious politically driven bunch of funded turds.

  16. IDENTITY? An Internation of 300 Countrys. Rule Out ATHEISM for Starts (300). Are We ISLAM? If a Muslim Doesn't Accept Gay & Homosexuals. Albeit CHRISTIAN LOVE WALK Warns HOMOSEXUALS? What Is FORESAKEN PEOPLES?

  17. Australia Forges BLEACH PIT Backgrounds Of All Its CHRONOLOGY Like a POLICE STATE Endocrinator Where a Native Indigenous Peoples Carried English/European Name & Title Until they Disappear in STATE & CHURCH FILE, RANK & Disposition!

  18. Famous BLEACH PITTING is WATERGATE SCANDAL. If an Ascertained Blood Lineage bare the Living Name of Foreign Lingual, Once Their LIFE DISAPPEARS etc so Does Administrative Files Once They've Past. It Was English/European Life!!!

  19. Type into YOU TUBE : "Language Is a Kind Of Human Reason" Uploaded by Damien McCracken. You Will Be Educated With Nearly 30 Minutes of Auditorial Frame Work Analysis By Australian DAMIEN McCracken

  20. Tim Costello was extremely articulate and levelheaded. So many people fail to see the nuances involved in every public policy debate, and the egotistical desire to be 'right' means discussion breaks down before any progress is made.

  21. Not one pulled Abetz up on the garbage answer he gave to the first question. Can't afford to raise Newstart, but they can afford multi billion franking credits & tax cuts for the rich.

  22. Some great questions….but seriously with the master chef question? How did that even get in?? Isn’t QandA supposed to be about politics and social justice? Not tv….

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