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Transcript of doorstop interview: Canberra: 10 November 2016: US Election; Racial Discrimination Act; Bob Day



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TIM HAMMOND MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSUMER AFFAIRS SHADOW MINISTER ASSISTING FOR RESOURCES FEDERAL MEMBER FOR PERTH

E&OE TRANSCRIPT DOORSTOP CANBERRA THURSDAY, 10 NOVEMBER 2016

SUBJECT: US Election; Racial Discrimination Act; Bob Day.

TIM HAMMOND: Good morning. Well it’s very clear a lot has happened overnight, and speaking both to people here in this place in Canberra but also in my home electorate of Perth and my home town of Perth in Western Australia, a lot of Australians are very surprised about the result last night. Having said that, it is very clear that the American people have exercised their democratic right and they have spoken accordingly. It’s entirely appropriate to congratulate President-Elect Trump on his recent victory.

What does it say this morning, though, as the sun is still rising and the Earth is still turning? It is incumbent upon us as Australians to remember that the Alliance and the strength of the relationship between Australia and America is stronger than any one personality and stronger than any one person. It has survived over decades and decades through mutual hard work, mutual respect and mutual trust and there is every reason, as Australians continuing the work that we do, to expect we should receive that same level of strength in our Alliance going forward.

But it also means a number of other things too. It means that we should never forget as Australians to be who we are, and it is entirely appropriate to make sure, regardless of who you are, that we call out divisive and partisan speech and hate speech when we see it and when we hear it. It is never okay to be ridiculing minorities, it is never okay to mock or insult war veterans, to mock or insult people with disabilities, for instance, or also make derogatory remarks about people based on their gender, or their ethnicity, or their sexuality. We will continue to call that out as we see it.

Going forward, we wish President-Elect Trump all the very best and, as I said, have confidence and strength in our mutual Alliance.

In relation to some of the comments that are being picked up on the wires I think it is very important to bring this back closer to home, and very important to make sure that we uphold the freedom of democracy that we have in this country. What does that mean? That means not giving in to those that think that it is okay to relax our laws in relation to Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, to make it okay to legitimise hate speech or legitimise language that sees us justifying bigotry or derogatory type language. As a father of two young girls I will continue to call out people who make offensive or derogatory remarks on the basis of gender or sexuality, and I’m very pleased that, as the Labor Party, Bill Shorten and the rest of the Caucus stands completely united in making sure we don’t see the relaxation of Section 18C.

JOURNALIST: How will Mr Shorten be able to work with President Trump after calling him barking mad?

HAMMOND: Well I think there are three things in relation to what has occurred in the course of a very robust campaign. Firstly what you need to do is go back and have a look at Bill Shorten’s actual remarks in relation to his comments about Mr Trump, and the focus was on policy positions as opposed to personality. Secondly, what I don’t think is particularly helpful in the context of the political debate is to look back on a robust campaign and look at who’s called who what. If we want to go down that path we also need to look at what Minister Frydenberg has said in relation to the President-Elect at some stage, or what Mr Pyne has said in said in relation to the President-Elect at some stage. What is important to focus on in the context of where we are at in the here and now, is the strength and the robust level of the relationship and the longstanding Alliance between America and Australia.

JOURNALIST: Okay but would you, going into the future, say to Donald Trump’s face whatever he said would be barking mad. Would you expect your Leader to actually call him out to his face now that he is President-Elect?

HAMMOND: Bill Shorten made his position very clear last night, which was an entirely appropriate position to take. And that is: you judge people on the basis of the language that they use and the way in which they treat each other. We expect, and it is entirely appropriate to expect, countries to deal with each other with honesty, decency and mutual respect. Going forward we can only judge President-Elect Trump on his conduct and his words. I’m very proud of the fact that Bill Shorten held his ground, unlike Malcolm Turnbull in this instance, and has maintained a view that he is going to call out offensive remarks when he sees them.

And I also think that, in the context of what is clearly a momentous and historic occasion, let’s also not forget what’s happening much closer to home. Right now we have hundreds of families around this country facing a very uncertain future as a result of the collapse of Bob Day’s business empire. Mums and dads who will not get their deposits back on their dream homes. Mums and dads who work very hard in small businesses who will never recover the tens of thousands of dollars that they’re owed.

We must never forget the fact that we need to look after mums and dads and working families at home in the context of their job security.

That is not what has happened on the watch of this Government and under this Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Instead they have been content to let this situation slip away in front of their eyes, whilst at the same time continuing to accept the vote of Bob Day on the floor of the Senate, all the time knowing that his dodgy business deals in relation to his electorate rental office were inappropriate and unsatisfactory. It’s very important that we focus on what’s close to home, that is making sure we give Australians the best health care options they can have, give Australian kids the best education opportunities they can have, and most importantly keep Australian families in jobs.

Thanks very much. Thank you.

Ends.

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