6 October 2015
Transcript - #2015009, 2015

Interview with Ray Hadley, 2GB

SUBJECTS: Countering violent extremism, conclusion of negotiations on the landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement

RAY HADLEY:

Treasurer, good morning to you.

TREASURER:

Good morning Ray.

HADLEY:

Now you’re, I think, in Melbourne for a Cabinet meeting today?

TREASURER:

That’s right yes.

HADLEY:

Ok, the shooting at Parramatta. I have been highly critical even of the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister who described it straight after it happened as a political attack rather than a religious one; it is now evident that it is predicated on religion not politics. I mean this is lunacy in the extreme. What do we do? How do we engage? How does the Muslim community engage with disaffected youth? I mean you have got someone who is born in Iran, of Iraqi Kurdish background, joining allegedly I.S. to shoot this innocent man when in fact the Kurds are fighting I.S. in that part of the world. I don’t understand any of it.

TREASURER:

And that is not surprising because it is very difficult to understand all of this. I mean thee things tend to make no sense because we are dealing largely with things that are completely irrational. I mean this was a terrorism incident that occurred last Friday and for the families of all of those who were working with the man who was killed and obviously the other officers who showed incredible bravery as Andrew Scipione said, I mean our best at their finest on that day. But it is frustrating, it is infuriating, I think Jamal Rifi has set exactly the right tone and note as you expect him to, I mean you have had him on your programme with me. I think Jamal has shown the sought of leadership in the community that we would more broadly expect and look towards. But we do have to continue to get on top of this issue with young disaffected youth who are basically being convinced by dangerous people living in our community and we have announced in the last Budget as you know, we have spoken about it on your programme in my last portfolio, of programmes which are trying to get people to see that they have a future which has a job and an education and they don’t have to go down this violent and crazy path.

HADLEY:

One of the things – interrupting you, you may not have heard it because you are in Melbourne, the report I went with at the top of the show, police have now arrested another student on his way to Arthur Phillip High School in Parramatta. The same school as this young bloke, the 15 year old attended, so that is breaking new which perhaps you are not aware of but they have made an arrest this morning – another student on his way to school. One of the things I questioned at the job of the show and I don’t quite understand and this doesn’t lay at the feet of Malcolm Turnbull or Julia Gillard or Kevin Rudd or John Howard. Why are we finding it so difficult to ban the radical group Hizb ut-Tahrir?

TREASURER:

Well this is something that is still under consideration by the government. I mean I have had a bit to do with those characters and seen them in previous roles. I think people are right to be concerned about their activities and the way they carry on. You know we would only have to think back to that disgraceful protest that they held outside an ANZAC memorial earlier in the year to get an idea about where these characters are coming from. But you know we have got to take the right advice from the federal police, the right advice from ASIO and other agencies about how to address this Ray. I mean we can all feel, as we should, outraged and frustrated and angry about what has taken place. But the calm and sober response which is being advised by all of these agencies which deal with this professionally and have for a long time that is the advice we will take and that is the path we will take. Because that at the end of the day is how we are going to defeat this not just overseas, but that is how we are going to defeat it here in our own country and defeat it we must.

HADLEY:

Now there is a story in the Financial Review today suggesting the government is reviewing plans to strip the citizenship from dual nationals associated with terrorism. A watering down of laws that we could expect perhaps, but you were I think were a fervent support of that initiative. Are we going to see things change?

TREASURER:

Well I was the Minister when I was in immigration that first put it up. There has been a review by the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence and that is a bipartisan committee, Dan Tehan chairs that and I think you may have spoken to Dan on your programme.

HADLEY:

I have.

TREASURER:

Dan is a pretty focused customer and they have had a good close look at this and they have made some recommendations which the government will consider and that will come back before Cabinet. But there is no change in our resolve I think to pursue this but it is just a matter of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. There has been a good process and Dan has done a great job on that as has Anthony Byrne who is the Labor Deputy Chair of that committee.

HADLEY:

Alright, I hope that stands the test of time. Look, this Andrew Robb, the Federal Trade Minister, has done an outstanding job when you think about what he has been able to put together in a relatively short time. There is this massive trade deal between Australian and eleven other Pacific countries eliminating 98 per cent of tariffs. This will allow local industry to diversify as the mining boom fades, I mean I heard him this morning on Sky News he was – he doesn’t get too excited Andrew Robb, but he was genuinely very excited and said this is a really big deal for us and I think he is hoping that people back here understand what a big deal it is.

TREASURER:

I think that is our job and with Robby and the whole team that is what we will be seeking to explain. I mean we have big opportunities ahead of us. Our economy is changing, our region is changing and to secure the jobs of the future, the jobs that our kids are going to have, then these arrangements, these deals are pivotal to us to achieve that. I mean we can’t just sit down here, jump into bed and pull the doona over our head as it would seem Bill Shorten wants us to do, we need to go out and embrace these opportunities and this has good deals for us on beef, on sugar, on rice, on dairy, on seafood right across the board - 40 per cent of the world’s trade and Andrew Robb has put us in the box seat. We have been able to resist issues on medicines which means our medicines will not be more expensive, now that is important for consumers in Australia but it is also very important for the government who is a big purchaser through the PBS scheme and that actually helps us in terms of managing the Budget. So Andrew Robb is the best Trade Minister Australia has ever had.

HADLEY:

Cameron has sent me an email while we talking, “Ray, still under consideration, Hizb ut-Tahrir has been under consideration since Mr Ruddock was Attorney General.” That is a very good point I did mention that it dates back to John Howard.

TREASURER:

That is true and I think the continuing events only highlight the need to bring some greater focus to that question.

HADLEY:

Ok, there is talk that minor parties will target marginal seats in the next federal election as a means of punishing the government if it reforms Senate voting rules. Preference whisperer Glenn Druery is reportedly planning on running minor party candidates in key marginal seats with preferences directed to Labor. We have seen this happen and the Senate being manipulated, can he manipulate the lower house as well?

TREASURER:

Well I think that is a very different proposition and look the government has no plans to be bringing in any legislation at the moment. So people don’t need to jump at shadows.

HADLEY:

You mean in relation to the Senate?

TREASURER:

There are no plans for us to bring forward any legislation. There is a Joint Select Committee – Standing Committee I should say on electoral matters that has made a report. I note Nick Xenophon put up an idea the other day and that was interesting. But look those issues will have their time; if they are to be introduced we will have that discussion then. At the moment I am working with the crossbenchers to secure some further savings in the Budget and some important reforms to get other new initiatives, particularly on childcare - I am still taking a keen interest on that in the new role working with Simon Birmingham. So we have got a lot of work to do with the crossbench and we are keen to get on with that and those other matters I’m sure will come up when and if the time demands.

HADLEY:

While I am on that and we are talking about Andrew Robb doing this sensational job the Trade Minister. I mean they are still not working with you as a government on the Chinese Free Trade deal. I mean and that’s – we have had the ambassador from China say “look, if you don’t hurry up this mightn’t get done at all.”

TREASURER:

Well that is a very good point and that is not a crossbench problem that is a Labor Party problem. Bill Shorten needs to decide and get off the fence…

HADLEY:

But if you got the crossbench across the line he wouldn’t be worried about it. I mean he is not a concern to you.

TREASURER:

Well I don’t think the Labor Party should get a leave pass on this. I mean if you think…

HADLEY:

No I know that but look - I give up on him. If he can’t see the merit in the free trade deal with China, the benefits it will bring – even allowing for the way that his union mates are jumping up and down on the one spot because they mightn’t be able to bribe someone because they are coming here as a part of some sort of deal with a free trade deal. I mean really at the end of the day the responsible Senators should be saying well this is good for the country and whatever is good for the country I will vote for.

TREASURER:

Well I would be confident of getting to that position with them but at the moment our focus is on the having the Opposition do the right thing. Bill Shorten should just frankly climb down, build a bridge, get over it and support what is going to be the single biggest free trade agreement that the country has ever been able to negotiate, which is going to ensure that in the future our children have jobs and that current Australians have jobs as well. I mean it is a vote for jobs and Bill Shorten has to back that up. Every other key Labor leader in the country from Bob Hawke to the Premier of Queensland, Ms Palaszczuk, are all backing the deal. So you know Bill, catch up.

HADLEY:

So is Simon Crean, so is Bob Carr, so is Bob Hawke – everyone bar Bill Shorten.

TREASURER:

But the music has stopped Bill and you are not with a seat. So get with the programme.

HADLEY:

Alright have a nice time in Melbourne, we will talk next Monday.

TREASURER:

Thanks a lot Ray.

(ENDS)

Further information: Julian Leembruggen 0400 813 253