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(generated from captions) free-wheeling approach, and that attracted a lot of attention, there was a lot of criticism. There was talk about the Ash Street junta. Ash Street was the headquarters of the Liberal Party in Sydney and it was accused of running away with the party, and so we have to pay deference to the corporate memory sometimes and we shouldn't get a rosy-eyed view that everything about 30 or 40 years ago was peace and love and harmony. You talk about individuals, and there would be some people in this room who know it better than I, but Bob Menzies - he did have quite an aimable relationship with Curtin and Chifley and Caldwell, but he didn't have a good relationship, so I read with Evert, they had a poor relationship. I hi had the time I was leader of the Liberal Party an aimable relationship with Bob Hawke and Kim Beazley, perhaps less intensely with some of the others, but I don't think we should overdo it. (LAUGHTER).You just briefly touched on Sam Dastyari.YesI'm just wondering what you made of that press conference yesterday? And if you were still PM and if I was a Liberal, what would you have asked him?Well, you just try apply the true Westminster principle about a defaulting frontbencher is that he or she goes if their continued presence is damaging to the team. It is not a question of the law or this, that and the other, or rule and so forth. Is his continued presence on the frontbench of the Labor Party damaging to Mr Shorten's team? Far be it for me to offer advice to Mr Shorten, but I think the answer to that question is definitely yes. And that was the rule in the end that I applied when people got into difficulty and I think he, on that ground, he has gone a million.The current Member for Hume, Angus Taylor, did speak last night in Sydney about the need to reform the NSW branch of the Liberal Party. He said it's undemocratic and he has warned that it faces - the party faces oblivion unless it sorts these problems out and that it reforms NSW. What do you think of what he had to say last night?Well, I share his analysis about the need to alter particularly the preselection system. Our - there is a mounting view amongst Liberals and Liberal supporters in Sydney that when it comes to preselections in safe Liberal seats, the Liberal Party is near to a closed shop, and for a party that has rightly, in my view, campaigned hard against closed shops in the industrial relations arena, we should not allow it to continue. I think the preselection systems in some of the other states are better, and I'm not decrying the broad quality of people, but over time, when membership of political parties is lower than it used to be, the Liberal Party now - and I'm sure the same applies to the Labor Party - is less representative of the generality of people who vote for the parties, and I think we do need two fundamental reforms: We need fundamental reform giving everybody who belongs to the Liberal Party in a particular area and has done so for a reasonable period of time should have a vote in choosing the candidate, and the other thing we should, instead of making it hard to establish party branches, we should make it easier, and it was one of the maladies that was identified in Angus' speech last night. Now, I've expressed my views on this. Before I wrote a report at the request of the then Premier and the then PM and the then State President in 2014. In the end, this change will only happen if the PM and the Premier resolve. We have a NSW-based PM and we have a NSW resident, domiciled PM, and we have a very successful Premier in Mike Baird, and I would hope both of them, who have expressed broad support for a more democratic approach, I would hope that they would bring their influence to bear, ba us it needs their influence to bring about the change - it won't happen otherwise. That's the dynamic of political parties, particularly on our side of politicless.And Sir Robert was really proud of the fact that women were central to the Liberal Party's creation.Yes.What do you think he would make of the fact today that the party has gone backwards in getting women, Liberal women into Parliament federally? Well, of course - I mean, there weren't an enormous number of women Cabinet ministers, to be fair to subsequent Liberal Leaders, there weren't an enormous number of Cabinet ministers - there were some - and of course that was a reflection of society at that time, and everything is a creature of its environment, and its society. Look, I don't believe in quotas, as you know, and I mean, you can talk about targets and aspirations and goals. I would like to see a natural process where by there are more women, but I don't think you will ever sort of have a 50 - I'm not sure you will ever have a 50/50 thing because it is a fact of society that the caring role, whatever people may say about it and whatever the causes are, there is still women play a significantly greater part of fulfilling the caring role in our communities which inevitably place some limits on their capacity. Now, that's - some people may say, "What a terrible thing to say." It is not a terrible thing to say, it just happens to be the truth, and occasionally you've just got to recognise that and say it. It shouldn't be sort of - the mainstream should not be too timid to say things occasionally.You have described Menzies - one of his great strengths is being a great nation-builder, that being important in terms of his engagement with the electorate.MmmYou've also consistently talked about - and I go back to certainly 1996 since lecture, the importance of that was there of having a narrative that make it is clear to the electorate just what it is you stand for. Is part of the problem, it seems today, in terms of the respective standing of each side of politics, is that they lack a very clear narrative, in a sense and therefore that undermines any attempt to promote themselves as nation-builders?I think one of the problems or one of the features - not necessarily a problem - of modern politics is that it is a lot less tribal than it was. That is both a strength and a weakness. It means that you don't automatically vote the same way as your father or mother voted, but the weakness of course is that we have the rise of identity politics which I think is not a desirable development. I always believe that political parties should cohere behind a set of principles and values and that they should have a common a applicability to people irrespective of their occupation, their background of life, irrespective of their religion or lack of religion or Ethabuka nickty, white or black or born in Australia or not, and I think with the principles of the political party, they are just as applicable to a Chinese family that emigrated to this country in the last 15 years as they are to an Anglo-Celtic family whose ancestors came here in the early 1960s. It is common principles. I don't like identity politics, but this is a problem all around the world, it's not limited to Australia. The modern Democratic Party in the US which could well produce the next President is far more obsessed with identity politics than the party of Roosevelt and Kennedy and Johnson was, far more obsessed, and there are strains of that in the Republican party as well, and there are strains of it - and I think the lack of uniting values and attitudes - and you see this in the Labor Party and the divide between what I call scsh forgive the Sydney analogy, between the Young Street an none dale and high street Penrith, the academic, inner-city people who really relish the identify ki politics, and people who live in the outer suburbs, and it is creating difficulties for the Labor Party, and some people feel alien to that. The Liberal Party has some of the same challenges as well. We might go to our members on the floor now. Peter Jean has the first question. No, Laura Tingle, my apologies.Age before beauty. (LAUGHTER) Mr Howard I just remember Robert Menzies. I remember watching him leaving politics and at that stage the ABC News tended to have lots of pictures, as I remember it as a 3 or 4-year-old, of sheep and combine harvesters and instead of the exchange rate, you would have the wool and wheat prices at the end of the news. It was a very different country. You opened up, and I was interested that you focused on two of the international achievements of over the Menzies era, but I just wonder, it was a different economy, it was exceptionally heavily regulated and that meant that the capacity of prime ministers and governments to influence the day-to-day life of its citizen ri was much greater. So what would - and you also talked about Menzies' versatility and his capacity to re-position himself. How would he re-position himself today when there is this sort of disaffection with government? Would he be looking for more interventions from Government, or would he accept the strange world into which he found himself parachuted now and still basically think it was up to the markets to resolve our problems?Well, of course, that is a very hypothetical question, Laura, but I will nonetheless answer it the bft I can. You are right that the economy of the Menzies period was highly regulated and I devot an entire chapter of my book to what I call The Great Assumption, and there was bipartisan support behind centralised fixes, fixed es change rates, high tariffs and those sorts of things, but that doesn't mean you didn't have challenges such as the Korean war boom when inflation rose to 23% in one year and because of an imaginative scheme devised by Arthur Fadden it was brought back and also the help, I might say, of the wage-fixing system of the time which isolated-the-inflation of the flow-on operation of the wage-fixing system. How would he deal with it, would he be parachuted in? The bft way I can answer that is to try to articulate how I would deal with the environment about which you are talking. I think we are living no you in a very different economic paradigm than we would have expected even 5 years ago, let alone 10. I think the people who devised quantitative easing are amazed that it has not had the effect that they hoped it would have. We are living in an era of low interest rates that nobody in this room would have experienced as far as - they are unbelievably low interest rates, and I think we are probably will look back on the period of the 1970s and '80s as the exception to the rule when it comes to high inflation. We may have low interest rates, low inflation for years into the future, so conditioned are we to have high interest rates and high inflation, we find that very hard to accept, and this is a prediction that Ian McFar lane, but one former governor of the Reserve Bank made. So I think we are living in a very different environment. I think one of the challenges for all modern policy-makers now is to try and identify the Joshes future because jobs are - this is not sort of a return to the Luddites, but it is a recognition in a highly technical, a highly IT 'ed economy, we are certainly experiencing growing apprehension about where the jobs of the future are going to be available, and obviously the more flexible the economy is - and that means returning to things like industrial relations, taxation reform, that at a time of the Government's choosing - I'm talking in the general. It's only those who are now in power. I think they are the sort of things we should understand and grapple with. But it's very hard beyond that for me to sort of speculate as to how Sir Robert might react if he were parachuted. But if you have a capacity to explain things, uf - you start a long way in front and he had a great capacity to explain. I said in my book and I repeat it here, he is the greatest political orator I've ever heard. Winston Churchill was magnificent, but he was different, and Job Menzies didn't read from one of these things. (LAUGHTER) I don't like them either.Peter Jean.Peter Jean from the 'Advertiser', Mr Howard. You spoke about Menzies and the developing the ANZUS treaty and you of course were a great supporter in government of the ANZUS treaty, famously invoking it wept September 11 occurred. I just want to ask do you have any concerns about the future of the ANZUS alliance? Do you see it facing chae challenges in the future, particularly given the unpredictability outcome of the upcoming US election?I don't think it will come under any existential threat. I can't ever see a future Australian government or American administration wanting to pull out of it because although it is first and foremost a military alliance, as also an expression of the shared values of the originally three now sort of de facto reduced to two, although you don't know in the future, New Zealand may return to full participation - I don't know. It is an expression of the shared values, and values bind countries together tighter than anything else. And it is worthwhile keeping this in mind in the context of some of the discussion about our relationship with China. The simple thing about our relationship with China is the first time that I can recall in the economic history of this country that we have had a heavy economic dependence on a country that has an utterly different system of government from us, an awe authoritarian system. It was either Britain or America or post-war Japan which was an emerging democracy many I think we have to understand that will inevitably create difficulties. Now, I think that will help us in our understanding that and having the capacity to articulate that to the Chinese and to articulate that to the Australian community will help us in our relationship with China, and it is an important relationship, but it can never be the same sort of relationship as the one we have with the US, because that's based on common values, and values bind us tighter than anything else.Andrew Tillett from the 'West Australian', Mr Howard, thanks for your appearance today. We had - you mentioned about the success of the Liberal Party being, I guess, to borrow Christopher Pyne's words, an election-winning machine. Vrt I don't think with Robert Menzies with the longs serving PM, yourself second longest serving PM and Malcolm Fraser the third long esest serving PM, all from the Liberal Party, coming up next week, we have the anniversary of Malcolm Turnbull becoming PM a bit different - only the second time in the party's history a PM had been torn down from within. I wonder if you think, given we are coming up to that anniversary was
if you could reflect on whether it was worth it for the Liberal Party to make that change?Well, the Liberal Party made that change, it was made decisively, and in a very deliberate way after an earlier ballot where people had expressed unhappiness around the view I took at the time, notwithstanding my close personal association with Tony Abbott and indeed I have a good relationship with Malcolm Turnbull - they were both ministers in my Government - that that was a decision made by the parliamentary party and there was nothing to my running the ruler over it now. Malcolm has been reelected. He has a job ahead of him. He obviously lost ground in the election - that's self-evident - we can peck late what might have been and to no point if other arrangements were obtained, and I see my role as consistent with I hope articulating things that are important for the country's future of supporting Malcolm Turnbull. He brings great talent to the job. He is highly intelligent, he is very successful in business, but he has got a job ahead of him, and so have his colleagues. In the - I don't think I'm breaking whatever rules in saying that I make the observation that in the television program, the PM is in a - it is a special category of job, you are not a dictator, you are not a monarch, you are the first amongst equals, and that means your colleagues have got to respect your primacy, but you have to respect their equality, and it's sometimes you've got to get the two of those things right, and if you can do that, if Malcolm can do that, there is no reason why he can't succeed.Max blink Ken from Australian Associated Press, Mr Howard. I want to get your thoughts on what comes after towering leaders. Sir Robert departed in 1966 at a time of his choosing, whether it's did designated successor, yet within five successive years they went through three prime ministers, one dismissed in the Australian polity and then Labor was elected. Why did it go so wrong so quickly? Well, if I think back on my early years in Federal Parliament, one towering leader, Whitlam was followed by tore towering PM, Malcolm Fraser, they were certainly the two tallest prime ministers that Australia has had. (LAUGHTER).I think it is a product of the natural cycle of politics. The Liberal Party had that long period with Menzies of extraordinary success and stability and then we had the tragically short period of Harold Holt's prime ministership and then we had quite an unstable period. John Gorton was elected with an enormous amount of community goodwill. I remember those days very well, although I personally at the time, if I had have had a vote which I didn't, probably wouldn't have respect
voted for Gorton. I grew to like and respect him a lot more later on, and I understood many of his qualities, but he had a great start, but then there were difficulties, and he was challenged for the leadership even after he had won an election. He was challenged for the leadership by McMahon in fair burn which was quite extraordinary. I mean, his majority fell from about 38 or something to 14, but it was still a pretty solid majority. But then of course he was ousted. So we went through a bit of a period of instability. I think when you've had a long period with one bloke or a couple of people in charge, I suppose there is a natural reaction. I think that's one of the reasons. I think the other reason is that a lot of people haven't adjusted to the new social media. I think people are still overreact to the immediacy of the moment. I'm often asked about Facebook and Twitter and it's part of life and I understand that a lot of people using them, and I don't, and I don't recommend it, but I often think one of the problems with that is that people who are impet wous and lacking in careful thought, social media sort of reinforces their weaknesses, and it is... (LAUGHTER) And I think that applies a bit to politics. When you analyse the state of the polls when Kevin Rudd was removed, I look back on that as quite extraordinary. He was still ahead - the Labor Party was still ahead in the polls. Gee-whiz! I mean, I can remember a few periods where I went through where my approval rating was pretty dismal and I'm glad the ruler wasn't run over that. (LAUGHTER).Tim Colbage, Mr Howard this is not your first biography of a PM, of course, you have published one before, and by chance it happened to be of the second longest serving PM. I wonder if you could compare those two? You made reference before to the way, for example, that the PM has a difficult position of - in relation to his colleagues in terms of where does his power begin or where does his power end and where does theirs take over. Menzies, it seemed to me, gave his ministers a lot of licence and a lot of those things you mentioned - ANZUS, the spender initiative and McEwan on trade with Japan - how do you think - you must have sort of put yourself in Menzies position a number of times when you were confronting how he handled issues. What things do you think he did differently from what you would have done and other things we can learn from the past?Look, I probably put myself in his shoes unconsciously. I can't say I consciously thought, "What with these difficulties, how would Bob Menzies handle it." Simply because it was unrealistic. Bob Menzies was born in 1929, I was born in 1939. Sir Robert had been out of Parliament for 8 years when I was elected, I only met him once. It was a cocktail party at The Lodge in 1964, but I studied him and I certainly learnt from him from answering questions. I thought one of his great skills was to give very short answers which is what the question deserved, scuch as, yes," or, "I will analyse that," or, "I will go away and give you an answer." "I tried it but not very successfully. It was a different environment. It was pretelevision. The enormous day-to-day difference difference between the life he had as PM and the life I had as PM was the omnipresent media. Now, I'm not criticising that. I'm often said that I think one of the great protections for our freedom is not a bill of rights but three things including the absolute freedom in the press. But it was just different. You couldn't get away in my time with the odd press conference. It was just a different world. That's no the to say it wasn't just as hard. I mean, it was a lot more demanding travel-wise in that the ease of travel for prime ministers in my time was probably greater than Menzies'. I think I unconsciously - but as far as dealing with my ministers, I think there are a lot of similiarities. I think you have - my approach was that you set the directions of the Government and there are certain things that people understood I was particularly interested in, and was keen to see occur, but having appointed people, you had to give them freedom. I mean, I was extremely fortunate in having some outstanding ministers. I mean, you could trust Peter Costello with the economic argument and the decision-making that Treasurers should make completely. Alexander Downer as Foreign Minister. Peter Reith as Industrial Relations Minister. And in the early years, I remember Michael wool rich was an incredible competent Health Minister, and providing you trust people and you delegate and you run a proper Cabinet system - running a proper Cabinet system is fundamental, and that means you do consult people and get their approval, and one of the things that came through to me, talking to people about Menzies was despite all the talk about how dominant and so forth he was, he consulted. I can remember talking to Doug Anthony and Peter Nixon about this, he consulted, and he respected his colleagues, and that was one of the ingredients of his success. Now, perhaps I both consciously and unconsciously followed that. Stephanie Peat ling from the 'Sydney Morning Herald' and 'The Age', Mr Howard. I just wanted to take you back to the issue of donations which you did cover quite comprehensively before, but I just wanted to ask one extra thing. The issue of foreign donations, that's one thing that the Labor Party in particular says should be banned, the Liberals say no at this point in time, but it does seem to be raising a lot of questions about what kind of influence comes with those donations particularly from governments such as China. You ruled o out a lot of other reforms to donations in your previous answer, but I just wondered if there was a special case for foreign donations, do they need to be examined again?I'm not sure they do. One of the problems you've got is you've got quite a lot of dual citizens now. Of what do you do with them? You ban half of it or I'm just not sure about - we do have a lot of dual citizens in this country, particularly from China, quite a lot, and I'm not quite sure what category you put them into. I think they are just as relevant to the notion of disclosure, and the key thing is disclosure, and you've got to have effective and timely disclosure laws, and you've got to keep thinking about, if you start bringing in more restrictions, you've got to keep thinking about the third party situation. You've got this ludicrous position in the US where these political action groups can raise any amount of money they like and the Supreme Court has said they are OK, they are untouched by the donation laws, and yet when it comes to running away with democracy, they are potentialally more menacing than what the political parties are, because there are no constraints on them except the will of the individuals. I think the American system is terrible, but of course that's what happens when you allow the Supreme Court to make all the political decisions.We've reached the point where we normally conclude, but Mr Howard has indicated he is happy to run another 5 or 10 minutes if necessary. We have a number of journalists still on our list, but we will get through as many as we can. That's up to Mr Howard how long his answers are and to Jill began Brad forward.From the ABC, Mr Howard. Back in the late '90s, early 2000s, you spent a lot of time with the Democrats and Brian Harradine. Us reporters were chasing him around the building, hanging off his every word, wouldn't he, wouldn't he support the GST. I'm wondering if you would think you would have the skill to get the GST through this SenateSorry?I'm wondering if you would have the skill to get the GST through this Senate or any other difficult economic reform for that matter? Jillian, I've said before that I thought both Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull had a more difficult job in the Senate than I did. And the principal reason for that is that when I was PM, certainly in the early years, the Ma I juror grouping in the Senate was the Australian Democrats, and if you see Australian politics, looking from where you are, this is left, this is right, the Australian Democrats were there, whereas now the principal crossbench grouping are the Greens and they are there, they are to the left of the Labor Party, and just think about it. We were able to negotiate Peter Reith with Cheryl Kernot when she was in the Democrats and workplace relations legislation in '96 and then I was able to negotiate with Meg Lees the GST, less food, et cetera, in 1999 And I had in Brian Harradine, a very principled, decent man who was very forthright. He said after the election," John, you have won the election, you have a big mandate, I won't try to frustrate the Government as long as you understand there are certain things that are dear to me." I understand what they were. He was a unionist, DLP view, he had strong views and I respected them but he said, "I'm not going to get in your way on normal mainstream issues." And deep down I hoped that he would support the GST, but it wasn't a surprise to me when he said, "No, I cannot." It is hard. Do you genuinely think it is more difficult. The Democrats you could talk to. They would come part of the way. The Greens, I don't think on any of the fundamental economic issues, the Greens are a long way to the left of the Democrats and a long way to the left, considerably to the of left of the Labor Party, although hearing some of the Labor Party stuff on the banking royal commission, I'm not so sure. That is a terrible position. (LAUGHTER). I'm reminded of the last time we had a banking royal commission was in the 1930s, and Ben Chifley was on it, and it was out of that that he developed the idea of nationalising the banks. That was a bullet we were lucky to escape, nationalisation. Think what would happen to the Australian economy in the early 1950s if the banks had been nationalised. We would have gone down the path of Socialist Britain and it would have been very, very sad.That was going to be one of my questions if we got there, but I don't think we would have anyway, but I will go to Michael Keating now.Michael Keating from Keating Media, Mr Howard. Do you think the Liberal Party today is still the same Liberal Party it was under Sir Robert Menzies and how do you think the Liberal Party has evolved over the decades?Well, the answer to your first question is yes and no. . It plainly has changed its altitudes because of the fashions at the time and the attitudes of the community. It was one of the bipartisan understandings in 1949 was maintenance of the White Australia policy. Both sides of politics supported the White Australia Policy. There were individuals in the two parties who were less or more intense in relation to that, but for very understandable and laudable reasons, those attitudes changed, although I have to say that the PM under whom the change occurred was Harold Holt, and a lot of credit should also be given to the late Alec Downer who actually got rid of the dictation test which was the instrument by which the White Australia Policy was implemented, and the Downer family has quite an honourable history in relation to these matters. It's different in that way and I think the composition of it is different. I think we have interestingly enough, there are people will laugh at this, there are fewer lawyers now I think going in than what there were. I think both political parties have to resist the rising tide of people who have had no life's experience in other occupations before they enter parliament. One of the great things about any Government is to have a collection of people who have done different things other than politics before they enter parliament. That's changed a lot for both the Labor Party and the Liberal Party, the Labor Party of Gough Whitlam was composed and of ban Hawke's come posed of a lot more people who had varied careers before they went into politics. But political parties have got to change to survive but they've got to remain sufficiently consistent to attract like-minded people and I go back to my point about identity politics. Identity politics will doom a political party, because the only way you can unite people with different identities is behind common values and common beliefs. I've learnt over the years that people who have common values and beliefs can come from all sections of society. I think political parties including the Liberal Party will forget that at their peril. Try to take two more questions but we will have to wrap up.In your address you mentioned that Australians want too know our stories a an important story is that of our first Australian, do you think, we've heard a lot of talk about same-sex marriage plebicite but do you still there there is a an appetite within the Liberal Party to have a referendum on constitutional recognition for indigenous Australians in this term of parliament, and do you regret not doing more on this issue during your terms in office?The answer to the first part of the question is I think so, I just don't talk sufficiently to my parliamentary colleagues about this to be more definite than that but it's a question about is there an appetite though for what question? It's no good on this issue saying "do you support a referendum to recognise the first Australian? " I have said publicly as far back as 2007 I would support a change that recognises an historical truth that Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people were here before anybody else and that's an historical truth. Nobody can argue with that. But once it goes beyond that I think you open up all sort of other things. Right at the moment, there's a lot of debate about what the question is. I can give you a clear answer to that question when you tell me clearly what the question is and I just don't know what the question is. Do I regret? No. I was criticised in relation to the apology, I know it's a separate issue but I've thought about that and I remain of the view that the position I took then was the right one, but the world has moved on, apology's been given, nobody wants to sort of reverse that and you just move on to the next issue, but this remains an incredibly difficult issue for our country and I just hope that we find a way of ensuring that the indigenous people share the bounty of the good life or have the opportunity of sharing a bounty of a good life in mainstream Australia. I'm appalled at talk about treaty, that will be so divisive and will fail. The Australian public will not be attracted to the idea of a country trying to make a treaty with itself. I think we overcomplicate these things. It's a simple proposition and in the 1967 referendum succeeded because it was a simple proposition. People - automatically said, "Gee, how can you not count them in our population? " It was so fundamental eel offensive to ordinary instrings and I'd say equally in relation to recognition if you're aing so people "can we just have something in the sqution that recognise an historical truth, they were here first. " I have no problem with that u because that's true. I think if you work on that, and try and get consensus around that you'll get it up. But if you try and add all sorts of other things and separate councils who make judgements on legislation, that will fail, the history of constitutional referenda in this country indicates that. They're my views on that subject. Despite the bell we will have one more question. Running down the bell. I just want to draw you out on identity politics which you've raised a couple of times but I want to be clear what you mean by that. I read a very interesting piece in Vox recently about - a publication in the US - about basically that race and identity had become the dividing line in American politics, the thesis was essentially because there wasn't as much debate around economic reforms that race and identity had supplanted debate about the economy in defining the characteristics of both the Democrats and certainly the Republicans under Donald Trump. The piece drew a line from the civil rights movement to the present to make that case so it was quite a compelling set of arguments I thought. When you say the Liberal Party needs to avoid identity politics, what do you mean and do you mean for example that the foray that we saw during the last parliamentary week by Senators on the racial discrimination Act is that a foray on identity politics or not, what do you mean? I want to be clear about what you mean? The foray as I see it on 18C has nothing to do with identity politic, it's got to do with voluntary's famous injunction, I don't agree with what he says but I'll defend his right to say. I think 18C is a free speech issue. What I mean by identity politics is saying to a group of people "we want you to vote for us because all of you are black or all of you are Chinese or all of you are gay or all of you are such and such and we will give the best policy for that group irrespective of how it might transgresz general policies in other areas. " Now that's what I mean by identity politics. People have identified, people of the same group, have identified with a political party historically often because of economic circumstances and not because - the classic example in Australia of the Catholic community, as late as the late 1950s early '60s 70% of Catholics voted Labor not because of theology but because of Irish Catholic history of this country and they tended to be in the lower socioeconomic group and it was socioeconomics not religion that brought them to the Australian Labor Party. Now that changed and people trying to appeal to Catholics to stay with the Labor Party was pointless when they were part of the outwardly mobile community. That's what I mean by identity politics and I think there's a danger - if you believe that politics is a contest of ideasor values which I do, then you should be able to unite people who are ethically, racially religiousally and otherwise diverse behind those same sets of values and I often thought about this in relation to the voting patterns of migrants over the years. And people saying and I think it's historically right to say that in Menzie's era the east Europeans overwhelmingly supported the Liberal Party. Why? Because they'd fled communism and they identified the Liberal Party with strident anticommunism. British migrants probably supported the Labor Party because a lot of them came from the industrial cities of England and scand and knew plenty of shop stewards and so forth and then you get to people from Asia, there are many of the attitudes of the Chinese community and Asian communities that are intensely Conservative. Their reference for small business and families, the stability of the family unit and I had a very large Chinese constituency in my electorate. I didn't say vote for us because you're Chinese, I just appealed to them on the basis of small business and families, so they were uniting themes of Liberal philosophy. That's - that's what I mean when I talk about identity politics and I see dangers of this emerging in Australian politics, particularly but not only on the Labor side and I think it's - it will be poison for them and it will be poison for us as well.We will conclude on that note. (APPLAUSE) These are the top stories on ABC News the - the Federal Trade Minister has called for more foreign investment in farmland. A new Government register had revealed that just under 14% of Australian agricultural land is foreign owned. More than half of that belongs to investors from the UK. Steven Ciobo says the figures show concerns about Chinese investment have been exaggerated. The Justice Minister Michael Keenan says Australians should be prepared but not scared about the threat of a terror attack. A propaganda magazine for the Islamic State terror group has called for lone wolf attacks at locations in Sydney and Melbourne. Mr Keenan says the authorities have the resources and power to respond to this latest threat. Syrian activists say the Government has dropped barrel bombs filled with chlorine on civilians in Aleppo.


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This program is live captioned by Ericsson Access Services. Today: The foreign investment push calls for increased overseas ownership of Australian farms.

The Prime Minister proposes stronger regional cooperation as Islamic State calls for lone wolf attacks on Australia. Syrian Government forces accused of dropping chlorine bombs injuring 80 people in the country's north. Good afternoon. You are watching ABC News. I am Jeremy Fernandez. Also ahead: An acclaimed Formula 1 engineer invents a flat pack truck for use in developing countries. And: Tim Cahill climbs from the bench to deliver Australia a World Cup qualifying win over the United Arab Emirates.