Subjects: Queensland Premier’s NRL border decision, and [email protected]
PAUL MURRAY: Also our Senator in Queensland is Amanda Stoker, she’s also the deputy Attorney-General. I had a chance to talk to her a bit earlier today about the absurdity of the politics and the heartlessness of this stunt.
AMANDA STOKER: There is just so much wrong with the policy positions she’s taken over the last long while, but particularly the last few days. To slam the border shut to Queenslanders who live in the state on the basis that they don’t think they’ve got the capacity to properly book a couple of extra rooms in our very vacant hotels, is itself indicative or enormous incompetence. It’s particularly bad when you consider that in pretty much every other state, quarantine is able to be managed effectively from people being in their home; they don’t have to be in hotels at all and can be spared the trauma, and the inconvenience, and the cost of having to go through that process, they can do it in the comfort of their own home. But then to allow those who have a special sporting status, or who are the families of an NRL player, to get the treatment that – despite coming from a hotspot – we were told just wasn’t available to Queenslanders, is a big slap in the face. Even when we look at the softening she’s flagged this afternoon to allow some boarding school students who are Queenslanders, but who attend classes outside of the state, to come home and quarantine at home in a trial, it still doesn’t help all of those Queensland boarding schools who are struggling with students who can’t get to them. There is just no rhyme, reason or logic to the approach she is taking to the public health response to COVID, to managing our borders, and quite frankly, Queenslanders deserve a whole lot better. The draconian measures that have been in place are only possible because, quite frankly, she’s scared the pants off our community. But we have a very clear and safe plan for helping Australians get back to normal. We’re putting health first, but we’re acknowledging we can’t live like this forever. And the National Plan that was agreed between the Commonwealth and all the states and territories – voluntarily, no one forced them into it – is the road forward for us safely opening up. It’s got vaccination as its key, and it’s our pathway to getting back to school, getting back to work, businesses being viable again, and being able to enjoy all the great things about the Australian lifestyle that, quite frankly, we’ve been doing without for the past two years. We’ve got a plan to get there. It is not right on any level that political games, and some sort of Stockholm Syndrome tactic, is being used to manipulate Queenslanders in circumstances where they deserve to be safe but they also deserve to be free.
PAUL MURRAY: And of course, the truth is, remember – never forget – what she who must be obeyed said at the height of all of this last year. [Queensland CHO excerpt] This is so heartless. Again, talking with Amanda Stoker, I had the chance to talk to her a bit earlier today. Now, you remember the protests all around Brittany Higgins and all the stuff outside of Parliament, and the women’s march, and all that stuff? It was about getting the Sex Discrimination Commissioner’s changes into workplace law. Well those laws are now going before federal Parliament. But it’s not going to be the total wish list of all the activist groups. Again, part of Amanda Stoker’s role is as the deputy Attorney-General; had a chance to talk to her about these new rules, about these new laws, and also the fundamental idea that, according to the activist, to simply be accused of sexual harassment, is good enough reason to be sacked. Will that be the law?
AMANDA STOKER: The Bill that we’re currently debating before the Parliament keeps the promises that the Morrison Government made in response to the [email protected] Report from the Sex Discrimination Commissioner. What we’re doing is making the sensible clarifications and adaptations to the existing law, so that we aren’t throwing the baby out with the bath water, we are keeping concepts of natural justice, we are keeping the idea that you’ve got to prove these things before they’re a problem, we’re giving employers certainty that they can act on this stuff when they’ve got evidence that a person has been engaging in sexual harassment. When they do that they’re not going to find themselves dragged before a court for unfair dismissal, for trying to protect their other employees. We’re making clear that the workplace health and safety duties that already apply for keeping workplaces safe from injuries, also include injury sustained as a result of harassment. We’re also making it clear that these standards apply to politicians, and judges, and state public servants, and also – as an extra thing – we are making sure that when a person experiences the sadness of miscarriage, they or their partner are able to take a couple of days of paid leave, because to take that out of the shadows, show people some compassion about what is a serious loss, and in doing so respect the humanity of everyone involved.
PAUL MURRAY: [Inaudible]
AMANDA STOKER: No. Not from a mere allegation alone. It would have to be proven on the balance of probabilities. So it’s not a criminal standard of proof, it’s a civil standard of proof. If it’s proven on the balance of probabilities to have occurred, then that person can be punted from their job and there’s no unfair dismissal consequences that resonate from that. What’s interesting is that the attack that Labor and the Greens are taking on this front – the things that they say we’re not doing – are all of the things would bin concepts of natural justice, that would bin requirements for proof, and what we’re implementing represents a sensible balance between making sure there is genuine equality of opportunity for all people. Because, as Liberals, we deeply believe that all people, including women, are entitled to that equality of opportunity at all times. But that cuts both ways, so you’ve got to provide fairness to everyone involved. PAUL MURRAY: She’s a good egg, I’m glad she’s in the Parliament, and always thankful when she has a chat to us. Amanda Stoker, the deputy Attorney-General