Transcript – Sky News with Peta Credlin
Subjects: Labor negative gearing policy, citizenship, Queensland LNP
PETA CREDLIN: Welcome back. You know we are nearing the campaign discussion time when political parties start to scrape off the barnacles. Labor is doing that. Bill Shorten's election-losing agenda from last time. They are getting rid of negative gearing. They are endorsing the government's stage three tax cuts. Anthony Albanese’s small target strategy, looking after the chase on aspirational voters in key marginals. Let's bring in my political panel to discuss all of this, from Brisbane Senator Amanda Stoker, from the Hunter Valley, New South Wales MP Joel Fitzgibbon. Joel, I am interested in your view. Would you say this is smart politics or is Albanese making a mistake by not having a bold agenda for Labor?
JOEL FITZGIBBON: It is sensible politics, Peta, and I welcome it. In opposition, you can have the best and the most bold policies in the world but it is not much good if they stay in the top desk drawer after every election. I am delighted that Labor has been creeping back to the centre ground, where most Australians are in the last two years for that we have dispensed with the unsellable tax changes. We have made good decisions on the gas industry and Shadow Ministers are lining up to visit coalmines to demonstrate our support for what is such an important export industry for the country and we have moderated our language on climate change. Climate change is important, but it cannot be your signature policy. And I am hoping in the not too distant future we will dispense with that crazy idea of having a medium-term target from opposition.
PETA CREDLIN: I can't disagree with much of that there, but there is no commitment, Joel, from Anthony Albanese that I have seen. Never ever would he make changes to negative gearing, was that ruled out in the caucus?
JOEL FITZGIBBON: The caucus was actually unanimous in its support for the recommendation of the Shadow Cabinet. That was to dispense, well, we have already dispensed with some of these proposals so dispensing with negative gearing-
PETA CREDLIN: [inaudible]
JOEL FITZGIBBON: I‘m not going to use that term but they are finished with it, Peta. Changes to negative gearing are now behind us. And the madness of even considering repealing legislative tax cuts, tax cuts which Scott Morrison had a mandate to introduce, by the way, is also well and truly behind us and I think that is absolutely a good thing. You can't go to an election campaign promising to kick sand in the faces of half the Australian community which is what we did at the 2019 election.
PETA CREDLIN: Right, Senator Stoker, quite a lot of LNP news over the weekend, lots of changes but we won't bore people with the party detail. I did notice Henry Pike, new candidate for Bowman, he’s not long been preselected, it is a must-win seat for the Coalition. You know him well and he is facing an investigation about the backroom deals, the allegation of, in relation to his preselection, and now we have Campbell Newman quitting the LNP and saying he is likely to run for the Senate. And you are number three on the ticket. You are the one he is likely to go after. How do you feel about all of that?
AMANDA STOKER: Well, I think the most important thing we can do is, instead of focusing on ourselves, focus on the needs of Australians. And the very policies that you have just discussed with Joel are at the heart of what matters to Australians. Joel used some really, I think, important language in the way he has talked about these changes to Labor's policies. He talked about moderating our language. But what it speaks to is the deep division at the heart of Labor's economic policy. There is more than half of that hard left party room that has taken years to let go, kicking and screaming almost, ever so reluctantly of $387 billion worth of new taxes, and fiddling around with negative gearing to the detriment of mum and dad investors. The people of Australia want us to focus on that, what is in their pockets and in their homes, rather than politicians talking about their own prospects.
PETA CREDLIN: Joel, I want to go to another issue. A little history here. There was some in the Labor Party not supportive of the move in relation to dual nationals who were foreign fighters. You know, Australians with foreign nationality as well who went to fight with ISIS. We have a particular Turkish Australian dual national in prison in Syria at the moment, over suspected terror activities. His family, though, want to challenge the move by Karen Andrews, the Home Affairs Minister, to cancel his citizenship earlier this month and they have filed an urgent case in the High Court. He left Australia back in 2013. I don't think there are many Australians who would support this bloke. ASIO said he was likely involved in foreign incursions and recruitment while in Syria. Do you have much sympathy here?
JOEL FITZGIBBON: You are right to say, Peta, I know that most of Australians, the overwhelming majority, would say to keep him out and give him no opportunity whatsoever. I don't know a lot of the detail of this case. For example, I don't know who he was fighting for. If he was fighting. It's a very complex situation in Syria, with about at least four groups. There are two questions. First, the validity of the original law which gave the Minister the right to revoke Australian citizenship. And the second, of course, is what he did or did not do while in Syria. I thought I read he had been pardoned by the courts over there, which needs to be a bit of a guide from the Australian perspective. But there is a big question as to whether the Minister of the day should have this discretion, rather than leave it to the legal system. It is a pretty big deal taking away someone's citizenship. He had a dual citizenship. And I think, Peta, clarify if you can, I think he may have been born in Australia?
PETA CREDLIN: Sorry, Joel, I missed that.
JOEL FITZGIBBON: Was he born in Australia? I know he had dual citizenship.
PETA CREDLIN: I am not sure he was.
JOEL FITZGIBBON: I am not sure.
AMANDA STOKER: It's my understanding he was.
JOEL FITZGIBBON: I thought Tony Abbott's law allowed the Minister to take citizenship away if he held a dual nationality.
PETA CREDLIN: He certainly has dual nationality.
AMANDA STOKER: I can answer that if you like.
PETA CREDLIN: Please, Senator.
AMANDA STOKER: Thank you. He does have dual nationality. That is the only kind of person the regime applies to. As I understand it, he was born in Australia. But if we speak in the general, rather than about a specific case, it is entirely legitimate for a person who held citizenship and therefore allegiance to two countries and behaves in a way that is related to terrorism, in a way that demonstrates a repudiation of their commitment and their allegiance to Australia, that they should no longer have the opportunity to be a part of the Australian community. Now we don't do that lightly. The test for doing so is really very high. And as the current news shows, it is able to be challenged in court. So, we have in place the safeguards necessary to make sure that we're doing the right thing by individuals. But as a matter of principle, I don't think there is anything wrong with the proposition that a person who leaves this country to engage in terrorist behaviours and does so in a way that doesn't fit with their duties to Australia should no longer have that privilege.
JOEL FITZGIBBON: Can I just say, Peta –
PETA CREDLIN: Thank you Senator. I'm sorry, Joel. I'm really tight on time. We will come back to it next week if we have to. Amanda Stoker, Joel Fitzgibbon, thank you for your time.
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