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Transcript of interview with Ray Hadley: 2GB: 13 April 2016: Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal; Senate Cross Benchers; TWU; QNI; Clive Palmer

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SUBJECT/S: Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, Senate Cross Benchers, TWU, QNI, Clive Palmer.

MINISTER CASH: Good morning Ray, good morning to your listeners.

RAY HADLEY: Well, it’s a moving feast this farcical Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, we started by you talking some sort of moratorium, then you would abolish it if you were re-elected and overnight we find out that hopefully with the help of the crossbenchers its gone as of next week.

MINISTER CASH: That is exactly right. Ray, our position has always been to abolish it. Over the last week it has become even clearer that the impact of the order, which as you know has only come into effect about two weeks ago. It is now putting people out of business, there has been confusion as to what the order actually says, what drivers have to pay, but what is now very clear is I am now meeting with owner drivers who have delivered their last loads. They are going out of business and that is why the Government has decided we need to urgently take this legislation to the Parliament.

Ray, I don’t know if we have the numbers in the Senate but it is an important issue and we need to put pressure on Labor, the Greens and the Crossbench to listen to the mum and dad truck drivers, they are begging us, begging us to save their livelihoods and their businesses. Let's next week do the right thing by them and abolish this tribunal.

RAY HADLEY: Well, Glenn Lazarus was on much earlier today in Sydney, with my colleague Alan Jones. It appears we have five across the line but we need one more.

MINISTER CASH: We do need one more. I will continue to do what I can. I would encourage owner drivers to call the crossbenchers, explain the situation to them. But Ray, it's not just the fault of the crossbench. Labor created this mess, as you know, you and I have discussed it before. A deal done by Gillard, Shorten and the TWU we have now had whistle blowers come out and say this never had anything to do with safety but it had everything to do with bolstering the finances and the numbers of the TWU.

It is actually a test of leadership for Bill Shorten, he now needs to make a decision. Do I acknowledge we made a mistake, but will rectify the mess we have created and we will stand with the Government and will abolish this tribunal next week and stand up for owner drivers. Or does he continue to side with the unions, it is his choice and the choice is clear.

RAY HADLEY: Well I think having heard Ed Husic this morning, on Sky News - he is still saying, using the word safety. It's got nothing to do with safety, it's about bolstering the TWU numbers.

MINISTER CASH: Whistle blowers have said that themselves as you know.

RAY HADLEY: Yeah, exactly.

MINISTER CASH: I have just been with a group of truckies, they left their home town at 4am this morning, to come up and meet with the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister for Transport, myself and Nola Marino. Because this issue is so important to them. Ask them about safety. They will say to you 'hey come on, we take safety seriously we are driving these trucks, do you honestly think we don’t take safety seriously'. So it's an insult to these drivers, to insinuate that they don’t take safety seriously because they do and a national heavy vehicle regulator, that is the appropriate body to look at further safety measure we can put in place.

RAY HADLEY: Ok, we need John Madigan, Ricky Muir or Dio Wang from Western Australia to put their hand up to join Nick Xenophon, Jacky Lambie, Glenn Lazarus, David Leyonhjelm and Bob day.... Can I get you on another one. I notice that you spoke about Clive Palmer …


RAY HADLEY: Um … and the $73M, potentially that could be covered by the tax payer.

MINISTER CASH: The Government yesterday received the final report from the creditors. We are now examining the report in detail. It’s the first comprehensive report we have received. The claim now is that approximately $73M of taxpayers’ money that may be paid out. I will make a decision over the next day or so. I just need to satisfy what are the ramifications of this. That the company will go into liquidation and then we will make an announcement in due course.


MINISTER CASH: Ray we cannot let Clive Palmer off here. If nothing else, he is morally responsible for his workers’ entitlement and he should still be held responsible for that

RAY HADLEY: Well Minister not just morally responsible. If the report is to be believed that he’s denied …

MINISTER CASH: Responsible as well …[interrupted].

RAY HADLEY: Well, if he’s peeled $200M out of the joint and put $42M into the coffers of his wife, his father in law and associated entities, when he said that Campbell Newman was about putting him in jail. It is illegal …

MINISTER CASH: Yes and let him pay out the workers’ entitlements.

RAY HADLEY: Well. So the if the creditors put him into liquidation then the government moves in and the $73M is guaranteed under legislation but do you then chase Palmer personally for the $73M

MINISTER CASH: That is also a decision the government is seeking advice on and that is why the creditors report in detail now to completely understand what has actually gone on.

RAY HADLEY: Look, I’ve spoken to Hedley Thomas from the Australian this morning and he has made a very valid point that ATSIC has been asleep at the wheel here. I mean. You know they seem to come in at the end of it when everyone knows what’s going on. You know when it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and they come in and say, oh, we’d better investigate Clive here, things don’t look too good do they, I mean … when do they go on the offensive?

MINISTER CASH: I know that the head of ASIC was talking yesterday and that is something obviously that the Treasurer and the Prime Minister are having a very close look at as well. What more can be done with that to ensure that it is not necessarily reactionary but also take proactive action in the event that something doesn’t look right.

RAY HADLEY: Well its looked crook for years. I mean its looked crook from the day that … I mean there’s been a parody that my song writer has written this morning about the wonderful things that he’s said about Campbell Newman and within six months he was decrying him because he thought he was going to take some money off him.

MINISTER CASH: In the first instance for me the QNI issue. The priority issue for the Government is that we are looking at the report and obviously, you know, we need to ensure that the right thing is done by the workers and we will make an announcement in due course.

RAY HADLEY: Okay, one final thing, if you don’t get one of these cross benchers to join the other five, I guess by something on Sky news during an ad break where you said that you’ll take some other action, what’s open …

MINISTER CASH: We’re going to introduce two Bills on Monday. The first is to abolish the Tribunal but we acknowledge that in the event that don’t get the numbers to abolish we still have to deliver the best for these mums and dads and so we will also continue to introduce the Bill that will delay the implementation of the order to the 1st of January 2017. We will continue to fight the abolition as an election issue. We have to deliver for mums and dads as that’s why we’re putting up the two Bills.

RAY HADLEY: Okay. So, either way, it will either be abolished permanently or stay a moratorium until January …

MINISTER CASH: I certainly hope that if nothing else Labor put aside the politics and vote for a stay. If they can’t bring themselves to abolish because the TWU told them not to, I am pleading with Bill Shorten to do the right thing and at least delay the implementation of the Order and then let’s take it to an election and lets fight for the abolition ourselves.

RAY HADLEY: Minister. You’re not suggesting that Mr Shorten takes writing instructions from unions are you.

MINISTER CASH: Well, it’s a theme with the AWU, the TWU raise along [interrupted].

RAY HADLEY: They all end with a U (both laugh). All right, thanks for your time.

MINISTER CASH: Great to be with you Ray.

RAY HADLEY: Minister Cash. The Employment Minister. Very capable Minister. Very very capable.


Media contacts: Office of Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash: (02) 6277 7320 / David De Garis 0427 019 692; Brooke Vitnell 0447 743 835. Department Media: