September 02, 2016

SUBJECT/S: Banking Royal Commission, Turnbull has no authority, foreign donations, Turnbull Government bungling the NDIS. 

JON FAINE: Jenny Macklin is the Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services and the Labor Member for Jagajaga, Ms Macklin good morning to you.


JENNY MACKLIN: Good morning Jon.


JON FAINE: Why would the Labor Party descend Parliament into chaos just to try and score a cheap point on Malcolm Turnbull?


JENNY MACKLIN: Yesterday was about making sure that we did everything possible to have the House of Representatives call on the Government to establish a banking royal commission. I’ve got victims of the Timbercorp fiasco in my electorate and I’m sure you’ve spoken to some of them. People who have lost their homes. Some people have completely lost their livelihoods who certainly made it plain to me that they want a banking royal commission and nothing less. They don’t think anything else will get to the bottom of the problems in our banking and financial system and that’s what yesterday was all about.  


JON FAINE: You ran an election campaign on exactly that policy and do I need to remind you that you didn’t win office. The Government did, they’re in power, don’t you respect that?


JENNY MACKLIN: And yesterday in the House of Representatives, the Turnbull Government lost control of the Parliament. The Senate has called on the Government to establish a banking royal commission and for two hours yesterday Mr Turnbull lost control of the House of Representatives. There are many people in the House of Representatives on all sides who want a banking royal commission – this is really what it’s all about. We want to make sure that we do everything possible to make sure we improve our banking system and make sure that people like my constituents don’t get treated in the way they did by terrible financial advice. Some people have even lost their lives - it is a very serious matter.


JON FAINE: I guess the platitudes from your leader Bill Shorten and Malcolm Turnbull that there’s a sensible centre and you’ve got to serve the needs of the electorate and get back to governing and stop playing political games. That’s what’s being tested here as much anything else is it not?  Jenny Macklin you’re using procedural opportunities here, I totally understand that you’ll seize the moment, but how does that help anybody?


JENNY MACKLIN: Because just to go back to the essential point Jon, we’re trying to impress upon the Government, the need to have a banking royal commission…


JON FAINE: But you didn’t get one, instead you played procedural games for an evening and it embarrassed the Government and didn’t achieve anything else.


JENNY MACKLIN: Well I don’t agree with that, I think it’s really brought home to the Australian people that Mr Turnbull does not have a stable majority. It’s also brought home to people that we intend to continue to fight for a baking royal commission because we know so many people have been hurt by terrible financial advice and we want that fixed.


JON FAINE: To turn to the other matter, the influence peddling that I was discussing with Mr Frydenberg before. Senator Dastyari has his own problems to explain, but the full list of politicians that have gone on fully sponsored visits to Israel, to China, to the United States, this is influence peddling on a grand scale and it has to be noticed and remarked upon that the majority of the major travellers, the repeat offenders are Labor politicians.


JENNY MACKLIN: Well, I think the critical question here is what do we do about the law on foreign donations. As you would know Labor has been trying to change the law for some time now to ban foreign donations to make sure that it is not legal. We’ve been stopped at every turn by the Liberal and National Parties voting against us. You and I have talked about these issues before. We think that the level of donations that you have to disclose should be brought right down to a $1,000. People should not be able to split the information about donations, we should be required to make public everywhere we get donations from and we also should do it in real time. I think this idea of waiting sometimes more than a year before the public finds out where the donations comes from is also wrong and the sooner we get this cleaned up at least the public will have much greater transparency about where donations are coming from and have it in real time.


JON FAINE: I’m delighted to learn that that’s the Labor policy but you’ve completely ignored or overlooked my questions about travel. What is achieved by for instance, and hit list is  best as my scanning goes, Sharmon Stone nine trips, Gai Brodtmann Labor seven, Richard Marles Labor six, Michael Danby Labor six, Wayne Swan Labor six, Andrew Robb Liberal retired four. And Bill Shorten Labor four. I’m just picking out a few of the people who have had the most trips in the last parliament. How does the public get value from that? Surely what it’s really all about is influence peddling?


JENNY MACKLIN: Well, it certainly would be wrong if it is influence peddling. I’m absolutely in agreement with you about that. I think the important thing is that it’s properly declared, there are important reasons for people to go overseas and the critical question is to make sure that people use their judgement and don’t take trips when it’s inappropriate. 


JON FAINE: As The Australian points out Jenny Macklin, Nationals Senator, John Williams spent ten days in Samoa to investigate the feasibility of a coffee industry, give me a break?


JENNY MACKLIN: Well, I can’t comment on that particular trip obviously Jon, but the important thing is that these matters are declared and that it is transparent, that the public knows about it and that I think is the critical issue. I also agree with your fundamental point, which is that it certainly cannot be about influence.


JON FAINE: The National Disability Insurance Scheme is in trouble, this is an issue that’s of particular interest for you, as one of the Ministers who had the carriage of it before, what’s the latest information that you’ve put a press release out about I’ve got in front of my hand and I’ve only had a chance to scan it?


JENNY MACKLIN: There are figures in the Australian Financial Review this morning and I understand that the Disability Ministers are meeting today and will be very concerned to see that fewer than 1,000 people with disability are getting support packages in the two months since the full rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme started on the 1st of July.


JON FAINE: And what’s wrong with the website, for how long has that been out of action? 


JENNY MACKLIN: Well there’s a number of problems as to why this has all happened. One is the whole IT system which was put in place far too late, the Government made decisions about the IT system far too late, the bilateral agreements with the states were signed far too late. Everything this Government touches, I have to tell you, is just a shambles. The worst thing is that this now affecting people with disability who have waited all their lives for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. 


JON FAINE: Thank you indeed, we’ll have a closer look as soon as we get the chance.




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