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This program is live captioned by Ericsson Access Services. Good evening and welcome to The Drum, I'm Julia Baird. Coming up: It's the Shane Warne defence - Matt Canavan blames his mum for his citizenship woes. Dramatic decline - over --
male sperm concentration dies by 50% over -- dives by over 50% over the last 40 years. Gillian Triggs steps down as chair of the Human Rights Commission, so what is her legacy?

Thanks so much for your company this evening. Joining me on the panel - writer and median Sami Shah. Former Kelly
Howard Government minister Jackie Kelly is back and David Marr from the Australian. If you are on Twitter you can join us there using the Hashtag The Drum. Mamma mia, Canavan
yesterday National Senator Matt from Cabinet
Canavan announced he would resign from Cabinet but not from parliament because his mother had signed him up without his
for Italian citizenship a decade ago my
without his knowledge.I knew that my mother had become an Italian citizen, I had no knowledge that I, myself, had become an Italian citizen. I will stand aside until the matter is finally resolved.This has happened without his consent. He was 25 years old at the time. And without his knowledge. He never signed a form.That question aside, the senator's case is arguably different from those of the Greens' Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters who were born overseas. Matt Canavan wasn't. The High Court will now be asked to decide whether he can stay. The issue hanging on a part of Section 44 of the Constitution that it hasn't ruled on before. Now, to read
David Marr, you are a man who liked to read the constitution of an evening.I do. I curl up with it. Does it make any difference that he says this was foisted upon him without his knowledge? Can we have any way of knowing it?Look. I am basically in favour of the which
underlying purpose of Section 44, which is that if you are going to be you will
a parliamentarian, particularly if you will be a government minister, only to
you should have allegiance clearly only to this country but there is a problem with the language and the is
real problem with the language here is that it is so broad. It is so vague. Even being entitled to citizenship of another country, that you don't want to take up, might well make you fall foul of the constitution. I think that is so broad that the judges would just narrow it just to make sense of it. But, you know, his case is hard to believe. When was his mother going to tell him? And how can you sign up another
a 25-year-old for citizenship of facts
another country? The facts are - the facts are wonky to begin with, really wonky. But the High Court is going to have to look at this, and it is a possibility that it will be a great clarifying moment.We don't really know beyond - much of the facts beyond what he's said today but you have head your own experience with Section 44.Not a big fan.Tell us what hatched to you, you were entitled to New Zealand citizenship?I migrated with Australia.
my parents when I was 12 to Australia. I finished my schooling - the minute I turned 18 I took out Australian citizenship based on my parents' travel documents, which at that time you could travel between Australia and New Zealand would any documentation. I think I basically had a New Zealand birth extract. I didn't even have a full birth passport
certificate. I got my Australian subsequently
passport - all the travel I subsequently did. I joined the air cleared
force - I was top secret security cleared into the air force and I ran for parliament and then, yeah, I was in a marginal seat obviously. So there was political gains to be won. There is a lot of people sitting in parliament obviously that are ineligible but they are in safe seats so the call was never made. of
Unfortunately I was also - ran foul of another section of Section 44, which was I hadn't resigned from the air force. I got done over twice. You are not a fan of the idea? Why? 50% of Australians, a huge number were born overseas or parents were getting more
born overseas. In future that the getting more and more and more. I think today with the widespread media, with social media, with the election campaigns we have - if your replace Israel
platform is that Palestine should replace Israel people can see your interests are not Australian and will not vote for you. If you are clearly dedicated to your is born
electorate, this type of argument he is born in New Zealand or Canada or Italy, he can't possibly represent you, sure, you can make that an election campaign and people can still vote for you anyway. The big parties scan people or have lawyers who deal with this for candidates. My seat was such a massive swing I didn't get looked at. Minor parties, foul of
independents, those people will come foul of this all the time and it is not fair excluding the little person where the major parties can really do something about it. I think if smaller people
you change it you will see more parliament because
smaller people running for to worry
parliament because they don't have box
to worry about, "Have I ticked this box or that box" or whatever. The electorate will make a choice.What do you make of that argument?I am this.
closer to where David sitting on this. I think that Section 44 in spirit has certain values. To have well
allegiance with another country as well as Australia might make you questionable as a parliamentarian and the role you might play in parliament. I do think that clarifying it beyond just right now even
it says that if you are eligible even for citizenship that is a problem. I think that should be clarified and gotten rid of. It is if you hold dual citizenship, that is an issue. I also think that the problem is how are we defining with Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam for countries still.
example, they are Commonwealth New
countries still. That is Canada and New Zealand. If you are a British parliamentarian, my understanding is as long as you are from the Commonwealth you can still sit in parliament. I am a Pakistani and Australian dual citizen now. I understand if I was to run for parliament I would have to give up my Pakistani citizenship and that is perfectly fair.What about instances where you can't give up your citizenship like Greece and Israel, you can't get out of being a citizen?That is OK. The courts recognise - all they ask you to do is all you can to renounce. You are not held to an irrevlockable citizenship in another country.The electorate is the one that is voting you in?That is being decided by the court. If you can't renounce the do all
citizenship of another country but do all that you can, that is all that's needed. The other thing I think the court should do is recognise the truth that New Zealand really isn't a foreign country. not.
That's controversial.Well, it's not.It is the seventh state.That would really clean up a lot of things. I am old enough to remember when you didn't need a passport to a
fly to New Zealand. You just got on a plane as if you are going to New
Adelaide, which, of course, is like that
New Zealand in so many ways! I think that seriously we should be looking at Australia and New Zealand having the same, you know - without travel restrictions and things. There is the
politics involved in that because islanders
the problem is they were afraid of islanders coming into Australia. That is what that is all about, thought
which is pretty despicable.I warships.
thought it was the American warships.No, it was Islanders coming into Australia.It is strange about.
the way Canavan is being spoken doing
about. No one knows what they are doing at 25, that tender age. I'm sure he would have known he had been signed up for citizenship. There is another aspect to this, it is not about Section 44 and how it plays out but how it is perceived by the electorate. The issue is that at a time when most of the political circles in Australia are seen as having no credibility, as having a great deal of lack of respect for their own electorate, this just kind of - it creates a very bad impression of them as people who think the rules don't apply.That is my point. That is a good point.The thing you are seeing right now is all the issues about the way they 'money
are spending money, the taxpayers holidays and
'money is being spent on private holidays and all these things. The politicians
general public feels that politicians hold them in a certain amount of contempt and now even in this one thing, it is not a big thing to ask for - check your passport before you become a parliamentarian.Parliamentarians are only called on when there is something to be gained by a controversy in their seat. A lot of politics is around this kind of - certainly after my by-election or just before, between my election and by-election there were a whole bunch of parliamentarians who went in and went before my by-election.Just check. I feel - well, you are not a little RAAF officer. You were about to become an influential member of the National Parliament.Hang on a minute.You just check.I had studied law. I had studied honestly
constitutional law and I can honestly say I had never come across that particular section to know about that. If I can't, with my background, get it right, it's something that your average little punter coming along and running for politics is never going to get right.You were a qualified lawyer. That is what I am saying, and I still got it wrong.Well that's your fault. Sorry, it is your fault.I just think you disqualify a lot of people. Sami was just saying this type of fighting amongst politics over issues like this. The people were quite right because at the by-election they put me right back. They said, "You have just been stuffed.
playing politics with this. Get stuffed. We are putting the chick back."Do your chores before standing.We voted for you, that is who we got and that is the person we want.I want exactly this panel back once the High Court has decided what is going on. We will dissect it vigorously then.I want constitutional reform!Onto entirely different kind of news. It is the sort of news that inspires comparisons with the disopen theian infertile future of -- dystopic tale.
infertile future of the hand maids tale. After studies looking at over 40,000 men's sperm counts in
researchers found that sperm counts in Western men had declined by more than 50% over the last 40 years. The parts
same trend wasn't seen in other and Asia.
parts of the world such as Africa and Asia. Now evidence suggests smoking and
factors such as lifestyle, diet, smoking and obesity along with associated with
chemicals and pesticides are associated with the decline. The studies lead researcher warned that if we don't change the way we are living or the chemicals we are become
exposed to the human species may become extinct. Dr Peter Illingworth Australia and
is the medical director of IVF Australia and has been working in years.
the field of fertility for many years. He joins us now. The extinction of the human species... Is that such a bad thing?That is what I was going to ask. It is quite alarming what this - what these the
findings are. They seem precipitous, the drop, is that right?They do seem precipitous but the end of the human species is not yet nigh. You and
can do an awful lot with statistics and this has been one of the biggest medicine
areas of controversy in reproductive medicine for the past 25 years. It was around as a topic when the book was written in the first place. She was aware that this discussion was going on even then this. Was not a new thing. What we haven't had is any convincing evidence that it is actually true. What the authors in pulled
this paper have done is they have pulled together a whole lot of different measurements of sperm in parts of
different laboratories in different parts of the world on fertile men and infertile man and pulled line
together a marvellous graph of a line that goes like this and that is not the whole story. People have done other studies where they have looked at the same people over 10 years and can't see it happening.Is it a general trend because they are dramatic figures?There is or
uncertainty about whether it is true or not. There are lots of little testicular cancer
strands around of evidence around, testicular cancer is more common than 20 years ago. People look at mall formations in the penis that are more common than they used to be. There are little strands around that suggests there may be something in this but hard evidence is not yet clear cut.Do lifestyle issues affect your sperm count?They do. That is undoubtedly true.Is this because we keep putting cell phones in our pockets next to our genitals? Maybe. What we do know is if men were overweight - we get more overweight men now than we used to do - that affects their sperm count. Their affectiveness to the female suggests they are not breeding.That is harsh. So what is the science clear on? It is clear on obesity.It is clear on extremes.And age?Age is very important. You all read in the papers about Rupert Murdoch and Charlie Chaplin and Rod Stewart fathering kids in their 07s but it that
is -- 70s but it is not appreciated that there is a much higher risk of genetic problems in the kids to older men. While they can still have kids, unlike woman in their 70s, it is still much harder for them.Is there sufficient awareness of it because of the outliers as you have that it
discussed?It is probably a case that it is not. The old story used to be all you have to do is get hold but that
of a young chick and you are alright but that is not the whole story.Is there a difference between 20s and later to
30s because females are leaving it later to have children?Not the precipitous effect that women different.
experience. The bio is much making sperm
different. Men are continually making sperm every day of our lives. million
The two of us here will make 1 million sperm here while we are disconcerting
having this conversation.That is disconcerting to think about.Women born
make all their eggs before they are reproductive life
born and use them all up. The end of reproductive life for women is a men, because
much more precipitous drop while for over
men, because the sperm are turning over all the time, there is more sperm as
genetic faults appearing in the sperm as they get older.How much of this is just a gendered respond to the news in terms of we have known for ages or at least the that
conversation has been around forever that women over 30 have a more difficult time conceiving whereas it is just assumed that all men are realisation that
hugh Heffner and Rod Stewart and the realisation that we are not makes us think, "Civilisebreak will end if I bit of
can't breed after 35."There is a spoken
bit of that. The experts I have holding
spoken to in the last 48 hours are holding their hands with horror at
trying to understand how it can look at clear cut as that. It is a much more - it may be real but there is a much more subtle effect than the know
headlines would suggest. What we do know - we have talked about obesity, age, cell phones is a maybe?Maybe. --
What aboutsteroid use? UseSteroid -- steroid use is a potent way for a takes
man to disrupt his future. If a man takes a lot of them it will affect his sperm count. Often it will stop when they stopped the steroids and his sperm will return.How much of this is cell phone in in the pocket, unhealthy food.
laptop on the lap while uneating lot.
unhealthy food.A combination of the lot.This is our lifestyle.Most of the hornet pilots only have female children is that the case?Is that true?Yeah, apparently. We always look at those suspiciously who had boys.David?This is something else I never imagined I would be discussing on ABC television.Yet you are the perfect choice. the
Self-abuse. I have been back out on the internet this afternoon ever since being warned that this subject would come up tonight on The Drum and I have checked and it is true, it is all out there. Go out onto the internet. God's teaching is as firm as ever, this is a punishment come home to roost for the human race which has not been paying sufficient attention to God's very clear rules on self-abuse. The quicker we just - this
the quicker we come to our senses on this the better for the health of the human race.I would give good money for David's browser history right now.Oh, the places I have had to go.In the name of "research". Should we ask the relative expert, is David right?In Waycott but not keep
others.The important message here, keep doing what you are doing.Sperm samples are not collected from strong point.
natural intercourse.That is a very strong point. The other thing to remember is that boomers have had their very strong impact on world young
sievelisation because They bred from young parents.There will be an article in tomorrow's newspaper sperm count
about eating avocados causes low sperm count all of a sudden. We will blame the millennials for this one. There are 6 billion people on this planet and you better get used to compromise millennials. My kids come back from school and say, "Mum, there are 9 billion." The population has gone up 150% in one generation. There is no sign that the population is diminishing.Seriously I don't get this about sperm counts are falling in the west and you are blaming smoking and it is rising dramatically in Asia and Africa. I don't see that correlation at all.A That is
lot of it doesn't add up at all. That is the whole point.Tell us about what we know about epigenetics and its impact on fertility.That is a fascinating area. What it means is changing.
changing in the genes themselves changing. It changes the way the body of
genes behave. There is a growing body of evidence, a lot of what we particularly, influencing
are now comes from our mother, develop
particularly, influencing the way we the
develop in the uterus by changing outrouse.
the way our genes work in the come
outrouse. The majority of men who come to see me with a low sperm count have probably have that all their lives. It is not that they have been exposed to chemicals as children or adults. There is a lot of research going on at the moment looking into how they are programed inside the uterus by their mother and their mother's environment.Much like Canavan, we are blaming the mother again over here.I thought we there.It
were blaming the father for a moment there.It is always mum's worth.It is so delightful having you on The Drum. Finally tonight, professor role
Gillian Triggs steps down from her role as President of the Human Rights Commission today. She has had a controversial five years in the drug, an acrimonious relationship persistently
with a Coalition Government and a mediaout lets
persistently critical response from mediaout lets like the Australian newspaper. This morning she said she leaves the role at a time when human rights are in decline in Australia. We are regressing on almost every front whether it is women, course,
Indigenous, homeless and most, of Why
course, asylum seekers and refugees. Why is that?I think it is partly because we have a Government that's I logically opposed to human rights and it is exacerbated by the distance of most Australians from where these problems are most visible.David Marr, what do you think Gillian Triggs' legacy will be?I think she has been heroic. Not faultless but heroic. Any human Human Rights Commissioner is going Government.
to come into conflict with Government. That is his or her job, because they are critiquing the exercise of power by Government. It is the fundamental job to criticise Government.She herself has said she should have done some things brought
differently.Of course.For example brought the children in detention inquiry in earlier when the Labor Government was in?That inquiry has been grossly misrepresented and, yes, it might have been done at another time. The conclusions don't
wouldn't have been any different, I don't believe. The thing is, anybody - we know the history of this over the last few years, anybody who brings in an authoritative report on the flight of children in detention is going to be monstered in this country by Government and by News Limited. It goes with the territory. News Limited of course has this obsessive - obsessive - suspicion of human rights, which is imported from America. It is a capital thing, it has
is a capital R Republican thing. It has grown up in America because of race and sex and conservatives in the
America hate human rights, except sacred.
the right to bear arms, that is sacred. The right to deseg regait schools, the right to abortions and the right to homosexuality, all of those things are hated. As with many things with News Limited, it has been the bridge to bring these ideas into Australia and we just - let's keep remembering this, that a combination of factors in Australia, partly Government, partly churches, only
partly the press, means we're the only democracy in the world that doesn't have a national regime of enforceable human rights. We are a unique country and part of what Gillian Triggs was saying on her do
departure is we still need it.What do you think Sami? Gillian Triggs said the attacks were ideological. Her critics say she made some consistent,
errors, she wasn't always the
consistent, she should have stopped case from
the Queensland university students' case from taking up so much time, what is your view?The way it played out with her, whether or not she made mistakes, the attacks were they used
ideological because the language they used was very familiar to me. In Pakistan there is a human rights lawyer, very famous in the country and famous around the world, and she spends a lot of time fighting for basic human rights and women's rights earn these issues. The language used to attack her from the Pakistani Government and the right-wing religious extremists in me
Pakistan was shockingly similar to me to the language used to attack Gillian Triggs in Australia by news limited and the Government and over here the Liberal Party Government and the Coalition. When you go online, the language used to attack her is very ideological and had nothing to do with the point she is saying. If a report comes out saying that children in detention who are is,
being abused and the first response is, "Well, why didn't you say this earlier?" That means you are only are
interested in covering yourself. You are only interested in making this political. You are not interested in the children. That just shows that at the end of the day what she had to go through to even get something like that out. The kind of weird experiences that happen around her. There were offers to her to quit her job and different stories were coming out about her and the kind of online
abuse she suffered in news and online and in public circles in Australia. It has always been a ideological thing. The fact that at some point - at no point have people sat back and think, "The thing I am opposing is human rights", says there is a lot we have to take in about our at tute to civil rights in divided on
this country.Have we become that divided on the question of human rights? Is there a lot of discussion on the language and the words seem is
to be a partisan thing?I think it is a case of an academic not mating it in politics. She was an appointment of Julia Gillard. I have to say at that time I loved the way we had a female Governor-General, we had a female on the High Court, we had Maree Bashir in NSW and we were seeing females in significant positions and appointing a female to this position was excellent. I don't
Unfortunately, she was an academic. I don't think she got it and I think she has had a lot of female appointments to boards down. William Dean, what a fantastic way to lead a controversial topics.
country to consensus on very controversial topics. She didn't. She had an ideological position. She was going to ram it down the think
Government's throat and I don't think she brought anyone with her. nothing with
She caused controversy and did nothing with it. You look at other she
people that given that opportunity, she squandered it. If you want to look at her history, she has brought her organisation into disrepute. We now have a huge bunch of bridges to build to regenerate that structure to be anything - seen as anything I
except this extremely left-leaning - I don't think her legacy will be anything than an academic who didn't make it in politics.That is just an absolute cut andpeace political attack on this woman. Absolute cut andpeace.Well...She is a lawyer with a profound interest and a profound attachment to people's rights. That is always going to bring her in conflict with the Government.Look at her record. Where has she actively acted on the record as a defending lawyer in these cases? She is a lecturer.He has great runs on the board in her years here.She has lectured in various universities in Melbourne and overseas.What is that seep as a bad thing?She has no real like William
experience as a practising lawyer like William Dean.You are dumping on lecturers and lawyers. Who else will you dump on while you are at it?She didn't make the transition to a leadership role very well.She was a fine commissioner of human rightsShe should have been a leader in the role and she failed Australia right
completely.The fact that in Australia right now the way the dialogue is going human rights are seen as a leftist issue is not to be placed on her door stop.She started out with a Government with 18C in existence. Today we have a situation where it is about to get abolished. .We will have to leave it there for The Drum this evening. Thanks so much for our robust panellists this evening. Sami Shah, Jackie Kelly and David Marr. We will be back again evening.
tomorrow night. Have an excellent

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