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Transcript of interview with Andrew Bolt: Sky News, The Bolt Report: 10 September 2019: drug testing trials; Gladys Liu; and Afghanistan

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Senator James Paterson

Liberal Senator for Victoria

Tuesday 10 September 2019

Sky News: The Bolt Report

Subjects: Drug testing trials, Gladys Liu, and Afghanistan

Andrew Bolt: Joining me is the panel Liberal senator James Paterson, Labor Senator Kimberley Kitching. Kimberley why is Labor also against drug testing of people on the dole?

Senator Kimberley Kitching: Well I think what we saw on Sunday when the Minister Anne Ruston was interviewed she said well we don't have the statistics in yet. We don't know how many people have come off NewStart because of this you know, because obviously this card is already being trialled in several areas. So we don't really have any of the statistics. I think the Prime Minister himself was also you know well we'll just see what what's going to happen with this when he was on 730 last night. I mean this is really though Andrew a weapon of mass destruction distraction by the Liberal Party because what they don't want to talk about is the economy and the fact that our economy is slowing, wages are staggering. This is a little bit of red meat that they're that they're throwing out.

Bolt: James why is Kimberley wrong?

Senator James Paterson: Andrew I can tell you why the Labor Party is not supporting trial of drug testing for welfare recipients. And that is because the Labor Party has long since ceased to be the party of the workers and they are now the party of welfare. They are much more interested in defending people's access to welfare, including their right to spend that welfare on drugs, rather than helping those people on welfare get off drugs and get into work. You cannot turn up for a job interview high on ice and expect it to go well. What the government is doing is establishing a trial to see if we can help these people get off drugs and have a better life.

Bolt: Kimberley I think, can I just point out -

Kitching: Can I just point something out?

Bolt: No, I just want to put something to you. A lot of the debate is oh we'll look it won't work, or it might not work or we haven't got the evidence that it will work. Okay. So it's from the point of view of the unemployed. Can I put to you that a lot of Australians actually don't want to be paying their taxes to the unemployed if it's going to go and drugs and booze whether it, whether this plan works or not they just don't want to give their money. Is it fair for them to be concerned about this legislation from that point of view?

Kitching: And I think that our taxes should be spent as efficiently and as effectively as possible. But what I would say to you Andrew, the largest cohort of NewStart recipients are women in their 50s who are single moms. That's the largest cohort. So if we are going to say to people well actually we think we're going to drug test you whether that's by saliva or blood test. I mean it's a pretty you know, how, how much is that going to cost in order to actually to to to ascertain how many of these people are you know taking certain types of drugs.

Bolt: I know, it's probably going to cost a lot less than drug testing all sorts of innocent people on our roads to catch the minority that offend. We do drug testing already. James. Look. Yes. Go ahead.

Kitching: Well I just wanted to say there there are you know there are people in their 50s, probably people on NewStart who voted who are the prime ministers quiet Australians and I'm pretty sure that they won't really appreciate their on NewStart, they don't want to be on NewStart. These are women in their 50s that's the largest cohort of recipients.

Bolt: I know that, I know that. James your turn.

Kitching: Unlikely to be older you know drug users.

Paterson: Andrew as you point out if you're driving a car and you get breathalysed and drug tested you are not exempt because of your gender and you are not exempt because of your age. If you work on a mine site and you are randomly drug tested to make sure that you're safe on that site you're not exempted from it because of your age and your not exempted because of your gender. This is a ridiculous red herring that the Labor Party is using to distract from the fact that they are unwilling to support a trial in three areas affecting 5,000 people to see if we can help people who are dependent on drugs get off drugs and into work. This is a compassionate thing to do to help improve the lives of people in our society who desperately need help.

Bolt: Kimberley, I just had an interview with Gladys Liu, the Liberal MP who's accused of links too close to China. I don't know that it went well with her. I saw some texts saying well I was, I was mean because I shouldn't ask an MP if the president of China is a dictator because no MP wants to offend China. It's not a diplomatic thing to do. So just to test how unfair I was. Can I ask you whether you think the Chinese president is indeed what he is: a dictator?

Kitching: I think he has given to himself power for life. And of course what we have seen is a return to a one person rule in China. I mean obviously in the past there had been collective power through their systems in the CCP. That has now been diminished. And of course what we have also seen in China is a lot of people who might be competitors or potential successors to presidents, President Xi. They are on corruption charges. It's very difficult to ascertain given that their legal system is very different to ours -.

Bolt: A dictator then? I think you've just, you've given the definition of dictator. Would you go as far as to call him a dictator?

Kitching: Well, certainly. it is an authoritarian regime. And we can only hope that you know I am a strong defender of democratic principles and democratic ideals. And I think that what -.

Bolt: What's the problem of calling him a dictator? A dictator a dictator is a dictator. I mean what's the problem of calling him that. I mean he's unelected. He's made himself president for life. He locks up his opponents: dictator?

Kitching: Well and I think that that what we are seeing, you know we have in with China I think we are seeing a very authoritarian regime as we see in Russia and as we are seeing increasingly in some jurisdictions around the world. I mean if you go into Latin America you're seeing obviously -.

Bolt: There seems to be a nervousness about calling a spade a spade. James Paterson is Xi Jinping a dictator?

Paterson: Well Andrew, he certainly wasn't elected by any democratic system that any Australian would recognise. There are no opposition parties in China that contest elections. He faced no, there's no universal franchise where people can express their views. So if you want to use that term Andrew I'm certainly not going to argue with you about it.

Bolt: Did you see the interview with Gladys Liu?

Paterson: No I was actually celebrating the maiden speech of my new colleague Senator David Van from Victoria, so I've heard some references to it but I didn't watch it.

Bolt: Lucky man. Do you have any concerns about her links to communist China?

Paterson: In my conversations with Gladys she's always spoken to me passionately about how she supports freedom and democracy and she explained to me that's why she chose to come to Australia and that's why she chose to join the Liberal Party and run for office in our democratic system. I think wisely we've woken up -

Bolt: No concerns at all?

Paterson: Well I was just going to say Andrew, I think very wisely we've woken up in the last two years in Australia to some complacency in the political class about foreign interference, including from China. And we are hypersensitive to it and all of us are going to be held to a higher standard than we ever were before. Certainly in a pre Sam Dastyari world and that's what we all accept when we put our hands up for office.

Bolt: No concern at all?

Paterson: Well I didn't say that Andrew. I just said that we are going to all be held to a high standard and that's appropriate.

Bolt: And Kimberley you had Sam Dastyari. Do you think she might, Gladys Lou might turn out to be the Liberal Sam Dastyari.

Kitching: I think that Gladys, Gladys Liu is a walking time bomb for the Liberal Party. I mean the Herald Sun and the ABC have reported extensively on Gladys Liu. I would say there is more to come about her obviously more than three hundred thousand dollars in donations had to be returned. For it because they were from sources.

Bolt: She denies that. She denies that.

Paterson: I point out Andrew, that when Liberal Party politicians received donations that they were uncomfortable with, for example Andrew Hastie, they returned them. In the Labor party they accept them in Aldi bags and then disguise them as donations from others.

Bolt: Well that was that was a pretty obvious one but well-deserved I guess. But listen Kimberley before we run out of time. You've been, you're just back from a trip to Afghanistan, which is why you weren't here and why we couldn't tell people that you, why you weren't here. How do you think it's going like it's now what 18 years since Australia joined America in toppling the Taliban that it was used Afghanistan as a launching pad for obviously the 9/11 attacks. We toppled that and we've been engaged since in trying to build a democracy. You've been there. What did you see?

Kitching: Well actually, I went with Andrew Wallace the Member for Fisher who represented the government, I represented the opposition. And we went to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Afghan Australian relations. It's very important for countries like Afghanistan to have diplomatic relations with other countries. I think that President Ghani is, it's a very contested space and there's a lot of politicians there who are very concerned about Pakistan's influence. Pakistan of course nurtures a lot of terrorist activity. And I think what we've seen recently with President Trump's, the possibility that there would be peace talks and peace with the Taliban. I think that's going to be very difficult. The Taliban has said that it would not accept the constitution. But I also think that we know that probably not all of the Taliban leadership is not able to speak with for all of the Taliban. And there's an estimate that 30 to 50 per cent of the Taliban might go to ISIS in Kurazon province, which is pretty problematic.

Bolt: Well that is freaky. Problematic is one of those weird words that actually mean it's as scary as hell.

Kitching: Disaster.

Bolt: James, before we go: Should Australia stay the distance in helping Afghanistan or is 18 years long enough?

Paterson: I'm very proud of our contribution to Afghanistan and like Kimberley I've visited our troops over there and seen the real difference that they're making on the ground, particularly in the training of the Afghan National Army. I think we've got a moral obligation to help support Afghanistan in any way we can to keep at bay the dangerous terrorist elements like the Taliban and others and to support them as much as we can in their transition to a stronger and more vibrant democracy. And I hope we continue to do so.

Bolt: Okay. Kimberley Kitching and James Paterson thank you both so much for your time. Appreciate it.