Transcript by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

United Nations, smear campaign, National Disability Insurance Scheme, Constitutional recognition of Indigenous People, gambling reform

KIERAN GILBERT: … that Senator Carr was quite a good effort of spin wasn’t it saying that he was managing the issue rather than the Prime Minister being rolled?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well I think the important thing is the result. And the result is clear that Australia will take a position to abstain on this vote at the United Nations if the vote comes on later in the week. We’re also very clear about our position on this issue. Australia does support a negotiated solution to see a secure Israel live side by side with a secure and independent Palestinian state. So our position is very clear on this issue.

KIERAN GILBERT: Doesn’t the way that this matter unfolded though reflect badly on the Prime Minister’s authority over her colleagues?

JENNY MACKLIN: I think it is as Senator Carr has said the important matter is the solution that we’ve come to, the position that we’ve come to, and of course it does reflect our very long standing policy in this area.

KIERAN GILBERT: So it doesn’t undermine the Prime Minister’s authority?

JENNY MACKLIN: Not at all. I think it’s very clear what her position is and what the Government’s position is.

KIERAN GILBERT: She was rolled on it.

JENNY MACKLIN: Well I have absolutely no intention of discussing what goes on in Cabinet and Caucus, never have, never will. Certainly most …

KIERAN GILBERT: I can understand why you wouldn’t want to discuss this though.

JENNY MACKLIN: Well I won’t do it on any issue so and I’m sure you know that. So we can go on at this level or we can get on with the important things that are happening this week.

KIERAN GILBERT: Yeah, I do want to ask you about the Australian Workers’ Union issue as well before we get on to those important matters that you referred to. The Government’s calling on Julie Bishop to resign. Is that just a distraction from the enormous pressure to take some of the heat off the Prime Minister?

JENNY MACKLIN: You must be joking. We’ve seen the Deputy Leader of the Opposition out there every day of the week trying to beat this issue up. Now she says two seemingly different things. We’ve had her say that she met Ralph Blewitt once or spoke to Ralph Blewitt once, it’s now reported that she may have spoken to him more than once. If that is true, she’s clearly misled the Australian people, she can’t seem to remember what she did last week. So these are very serious matters given what the abuse she’s been hurling.

KIERAN GILBERT: The whole thing’s a bad look though. Extraordinary tales in this money being buried in the backyard, it’s bizarre. It can’t reflect well on the PM even the questions being asked?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well I think the Opposition clearly want to focus on what happened twenty years ago rather than what’s going happen in Australia for the future. The Government by contrast is so firmly focussed on how we improve the lives of the Australian people. Today the Prime Minister will introduce legislation to improve the school education of millions of Australian children, and tomorrow she’ll put the legislation in to establish the National Disability Insurance Scheme. This is what governments should be doing and that’s why the Prime Minister is determined to lead.

KIERAN GILBERT: The NDIS, the legislation goes in tomorrow, when will the vote be held, it’s not till next year?

JENNY MACKLIN: Probably February or March next year.

KIERAN GILBERT: Are you confident of getting I guess through the Parliament but the States, the COAG meeting next week, this will obviously be on the table at COAG?

JENNY MACKLIN: It will. And the good thing is we now have the support of five jurisdictions, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and the Australian Capital Territory. It’s really Queensland that’s held out and said that they are determined not to put money into the National Disability Insurance Scheme. By contrast the Federal Government and the other states that I’ve just mentioned are showing that we want to build a National Disability Insurance Scheme to give people with disability choice and control over the services that they need.

KIERAN GILBERT: On to the Act of Recognition for Aboriginal people, that’s going to be introduced today. It’s not binding and there isn’t a lot of detail. This is, of course, being seen as a step towards a referendum.


KIERAN GILBERT: On recognition in the Constitution of Indigenous People. But given the lack of detail in this Bill, what’s the purpose?

JENNY MACKLIN: I think it’s really important to remember how important symbols are. I’m sure you remember and I’m sure all of your listeners remember, how important the National Apology was. Of course, to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the Stolen Generations’ members, it was such a long time coming to acknowledge the wrongs of the past. But it’s also important to recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are the First Peoples of Australia. To recognise their unique place in our country and to recognise their traditional culture, to recognise how important their connection to land and waters of this country are. That’s what this Bill will do. It is only a first step. We do want to see Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples but this is a good way of building that momentum.

KEIRAN GILBERT: And finally on the vote on the poker machine trials in the ACT, the vote today, have you got the numbers to get this through?

JENNY MACKLIN: I think so and that’s exactly what we’re proposing to do, is to take it through the Parliament this week. To make sure that for the first time we have a federal piece of legislation that acts on problem gambling. I think we all know that problem gambling is a serious issue for many, many millions of Australian families. It does mean that too many families end up with no food on the table. This is a very important first step for the Federal Parliament and I will be very pleased to see the legislation through the Parliament this week.

KIERAN GILBERT: And it’s been a robust week in Parliament. One of your colleagues, Steve Gibbons has said on Twitter this morning “the Libs are led by a gutless douche bag and a narcissistic bimbo who aren’t fit to be MPs let alone Prime Minister and Deputy, both should be sacked.” That sort of language, is that appropriate?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well I haven’t seen the quotes but if that language is as you say, it is inappropriate, nobody should use that language about other Members of Parliament.

KIERAN GILBERT: Jenny Macklin I appreciate your time, busy day for you, thanks very much.