STEPHEN JONES - TRANSCRIPT - TV INTERVIEW - AFTERNOON LIVE WITH PATRICIA KARVELAS - THURSDAY, 28 MARCH 2018

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
ABC NEWS 24
AFTERNOON LIVE WITH PATRICIA KARVELAS
THURSDAY, 28 MARCH 2018

SUBJECT: One Nation preferences.

PATRICIA KARVELAS, HOST: I'm going to bring in my panel a bit of a different perspective I think we'll get here, frontbencher Stephen Jones from the Labor party and Victorian Liberal Senator Jane Hume join me. Welcome to both of you. 

STEPHEN JONES, SHADOW MINISTER FOR REGIONAL COMMUNICATIONS & JANE HUME: Good to be with you. 

KARVELAS: Jane I'm going to begin with you because former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has revealed that he stands by comments that he made I think last year but he's office said he stands by them, that one nation should be preferenced over Labor. What do you make of this? 

HUME: Well, I'm not going to speak of half of Tony Abbott, but what I will say is the Prime Minister has been very clear in his recommendation to the Liberal Party organisation that in the upcoming election we will be preferencing One Nation below Labor, which I think is exactly the right response. Scott Morrison has been very clear about his objection to the comments made by Pauline Hanson in the last couple of days and also the One Nation team their comfort in weakening potentially weakening our gun laws, which have been, I think one, of the crowning achievements of Coalition governments in the last 50 years back in 1996 John Howard, the National Firearms agreement, I think was possibly one of the bravest and most powerful directives to remove semi-automatic and automatic weapons from the Australian landscape and I think that's been terrific thinking good on Scott Morrison for coming out so strong. 

KARVELAS: So are you disappointed then then that Tony Abbott didn't get the memo?

HUME: Well, I'm not going to speak on behalf of Tony. 

KARVELAS: Ok I'll ask you another question then: The Nationals they don't agree with you. What do you make of that? 

HUME: Well, the Nationals are entirely different. That's entirely up to them. They need to speak to their party organisations. You know, we're both Grassroots parties. 

KARVELAS: What is your view about your Coalition partner not falling into line
and saying that actually One Nation should be preferenced before Labor. 

HUME: Well, I wonder, every Member of Parliament knows their electorate the best. However, I don't necessarily think that the National Party reflecting the sentiments of all people in the bush. I've been just come today from from the city of Wodonga where we were announcing a 14.5 million dollar investment in the Wodonga Hospital and speaking to people about these comments at that announcement. They too were denouncing the Pauline Hanson's comments and and One Nation's behaviour as abhorrent, as ignorant and as entirely out of touch with their communities.

KARVELAS: So I'll bring you in Stephen Jones. Are you pleased to see Scott Morrison declare this new position today? 

JONES: Look I am pleased that the Prime Minister is telling the Liberal Party to put One Nation last. After exhausting just about every other option he's finally arrived at the right position, but what we can clearly see is there's more evidence of disunity and division within the Coalition parties when they can't even agree on a ballot paper. How can they run the country? You've got the National Party throughout the country saying they're not going to follow the Prime Minister. They've got senior Liberals who have been very, very publicly saying the Prime Minister has got it wrong and challenging the Liberals to defy the Prime Minister. I know what this is all about. This is all about the One Nation vote in Queensland which in the 2016 election was 14 percent across Queensland. You just had Ken O'Dowd on in his seat in Flynn. The One Nation vote was 17% and clearly what they're trying to do is cuddle up to Pauline Hanson and try and attract the preferences of her voters. It is of course the wrong strategy. If you say you're a national party and you care about people on the land and you care about the resources sector, you can't then turn to people in our near region and say to our biggest markets where that's China, whether that's Indonesia whether that's the Middle East: 'We want you to buy our beef. We want you to buy our sugar. We want you to buy our wheat. We want you to buy our coal and on our iron ore but we don't like you. We don't trust you. We don't like your religion and we don't want you anywhere near our place.' This is the sort of argument that the Nationals should be taking up with One Nation, with Pauline Hanson, and people of their like. It is against our national interest. It's against the interest of the people on the land and it's against the interests of the resources sector to be sending a view of Australia, which is consistent with One Nation policy and ideology 

KARVELAS: Jane Hume, can I ask you a question? The Labor party will be put above One Nation according to Scott Morrison, but not above the Greens. Why?

HUME: Well, Scott Morrison has also said that he's concerned about the extremist views of the greens. They have in fact tried to create an obstacle to almost all our national security legislation in the last three years. They too are a danger to the the progress and prosperity. 

KARVELAS: Who do you think is more radical after the revelations from Al Jazeera? 

HUME: Well, and I think that's you know, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has made that very clear

KARVELAS: What do you think, Jane Hume what do you think? One Nation or the Greens. Who's more radical? 

HUME: Well, it honestly depends on who's running for the Greens quite frankly. I think that some of their candidates are particularly radical, we certainly saw that in the Victorian state election as you remember well Patricia, but I have to admit that I think that these comments by Pauline Hanson that whether they take it out of context doesn't matter. They are abhorrent they are ignorant and, and they have no place in our Parliament. I would like to see One Nation's influence there reduced quite significantly and I have to say I'm very pleased to see Bill Shorten come out today and ask the ACTU to also put One Nation last on the ballot paper the same way that the Labor party will be doing to actually step away from their 'Put the Liberals Last' campaign. Let's see if Sally McManus steps up to the plate and does as Bill Shorten has asked her.

KARVELAS: Jane Hume, you've really been a little critical of the Nationals for not representing their electorates orthe spirit of their electorates, the feeling in their electorates around these issues, around one nation and what they've said around guns and at least what was revealed in the Al-Jazeera two-part Series, so you've made those comments, but what do you make of what Ken O'Dowd just said to me a little earlier on this channel on Afternoon Briefing, he made this comment that that was in the past and that he's concerned about issues today was that particularly sensitive? It struck me as insensitive. 

HUME: Well, let me take a step back and I haven't criticised the Nationals obviously each member of Parliament knows their own electorate far better than anybody else. What I said was that I felt that the regional and rural communities that I see on a regular basis have expressed their opinions to me. That said, you know, I do think that Port Arthur is still quite raw in many people's minds it is only 23 years since the Port Arthur Massacre and you know gun ownership in this country has decreased significantly since then, I think we've seen a reduction in gun owning households. 

KARVELAS: So was it wrong of Ken O'Dowd to say that's in the past?

HUME: Well, it isn't in the past. It's only 23 years ago. And I think that you know, that was a day that changed Australia forever and will live in our memories.

KARVELAS: Stephen a lot of pressure on the Government on preferences, but will you enter into a preference deal with the Greens? Will the Labor Party do that?

JONES: Can I address this issues straight on Patricia? We can disagree on policy whether it's between Labor and the Greens, Labor and the Nationals, Labor and the Government, but in my view there has to be an entry price to Australian politics and to getting a seat in the Australian Parliament. There are some things that we should all agree on that are just not right and racism and bigotry have got to be at the top of that list. We can disagree on energy policy, on climate change policy, on jobs and IR and all of those things but surely we can all agree, if you want to be a party of Government, that racism and bigotry are not on and if you stand for racism and bigotry, I'm sorry, you're at the bottom of the pile. That should be a pretty simple conclusion to reach.

KARVELAS: So Jane Hume, if I'm going to follow on from what Stephen Jones just said, why didn't the Prime Minister make this announcement we heard this morning after the Christchurch massacre and the fact that Pauline Hanson's party won't support the censure motion?

HUME: Well, he did say that he the reason why he took some time was to give One Nation an opportunity to effectively respond to the Al Jazeera footage. They haven't responded appropriately and that's why he's acting now.

KARVELAS: You don't think that Pauline Hansen's response today was convincing? She said for instance looking at my notes. She said so many things but essentially it was a conspiracy by the media and Al Jazeera and that it was political interference from a foreign government. Jane Hume. You don't think it's political interference from a foreign government? 

HUME: I think Pauline Hanson has come out fighting and that's entirely her prerogative. What the Prime Minister has done though has taken a very strong stance on One Nation and making sure that they are preferenced below Labor at the next election. 

KARVELAS: So what does this mean for you Stephen because your party's been putting a lot of pressure on the Liberals. They've now answered this particular question. Does that mean now you move on to the Nationals? 

JONES: Surely the Nationals are going to do the right thing as well. And I just don't think their position is tenable. You can't say you want to be a party of the Coalition but you can't even agree on the ballot paper. That's certainly got to be dealt with and dealt with before we get back to Parliament next week and I predict that it will be I just don't think it's tenable. Clearly what's going on here is Barnaby Joyce is yanking the chain, Michael McCormack doesn't have the authority to stand up to the Queenslanders. It's all about Queensland. It's all about them trying to cuddle up to One Nation in Queensland. It's simply not sustainable. I'd call on the National Party to get this sorted as soon as possible so we can focus the debate back on the issues that really do matter and let's focus on you know, the core economic issues about jobs, about cost of living, about wages, about these sort of things that people want us to be talking about. 

KARVELAS: Jane Hume Pauline Hanson says, you've essentially just given Bill shorten the keys to the Lodge, the CFMEU, the Greens she had a list, but by making this announcement, is that what the outcome is here? 

HUME: No, I don't think that's the case at all. And as I said earlier, I think that, you know, Bill Shorten stepping up and saying that the ACTU you should get rid of their 'Put the Liberals Last' campaign is demonstrative that you know those mainstream parties have an authority. What we will be interesting Stephen is you know, you can wag a finger at Nationals. You can wag your finger at the Greens. You can wag your finger at whoever you like, but the ACTU are out there handing out how to vote cards on behalf of the Labor party. 

JONES: Jane let me deal with that right now.

HUME:If they're saying 'Put the Liberals Last' rather than put One Nation last, then any statement Bill Shorten makes is hypocritical. He's got to step up now and make sure that Sally McManus, that he's a puppet master to her rather than the other way around. 

JONES: Well, I let me deal with that now there will be no how to vote that is anyway affiliated with the Labor movement that will have One Nation anywhere but last.

HUME:Can you guarantee that Stephen? 

JONES: I'm very very certain of that and I'd be very very confident that the ACTU will do the right thing. 

KARVELAS: Do you know this story you just thinking it's the vibe, you hope they'll do the right thing.

JONES:I've spent over 30 years of my life in this movement, I am very very confident that ACTU have no truck with racism or bigotry and they'll be having that conversation with their affiliates and members. 

HUME: So there will be no how to vote card that says 'Put the Liberals Last,' there will be no 'Put the Liberals Last' slogan that is run by the ACTU at this election campaign. Is that what you're saying? 

JONES: I can guarantee you that that the Liberal Party will not be below One Nation on any Labor-affiliated how to vote. Bill Shorten has made that very very very clear and I think frankly the ACTU thing is a bit of a furphy, the ACTU isn't running a candidate. They're not a registered political party. 

KARVELAS: But they have considerable resources don't they, and they put them
behind Labor very often.

JONES: Yes, we get support from right across the union movement and many other organisations. Frankly, this is a furphy and it's an attempt to distract from the problems of the Liberal Party have in Queensland and with the National Party. I predict that what is going to happen before Parliament gets back next week is that the National Party will fall into line with the Prime Minister on that. For them to do anything else is tearing the Coalition agreement up and saying 'we can't even agree on a ballot paper. How can we agree on any any fundamental policy across the country?' 

KARVELAS: Well, you've heard his answer there. I'll just give you the final word Senator Jane Hume. Stephen Jones says, there's no way that they're going to put One Nation above the Liberal Party.
Well that's certainly heartening. I think that you know, it'll be interesting to see whether Sally McManus - she is certainly wielding power on Industrial relations policy - let's see if Bill Shorten can bring her into line and make sure that there is in fact no 'Put the Liberals Last' campaign by the ACTU as you've promised.