tv Australian Parliament Question Time Review CSPAN April 10, 2017 8:30am-9:03am EDT
>> the chief political reporter for sky news australia hosted a program wrapping up the most recent questions session of australia's parliament. the parliament was expected to next sit in mid may 2017. this is about 30 minutes. ♪ ♪ >> hello, and welcome to parliament house, i'm kieran gilbert with a wrap-up of the latest parliamentary seating. like most important allies of the united states, australia has had a big focus on the direction of the trump administration early in his presidency. >> thank you, mr. president. my question is also to the attorney general. can the attorney general advise the senate what steps members of the government have taken to engage with the new trump administration? >> the attorney general. >> yes, i can, thank you very
much, indeed, senator faucet. in the 58 days since president trump was inaugurated, the turnbull government has been swift to engage with key figures in the administration. as we know, the prime minister has spokessen with the president. -- spoken with the president. the president's honoring an agreement with america to accept refugees, an important outcome for australia. already three nsc-level ministers have had face to face meetings with their counterparts and other officials. last month the secretary of state and the defense minister, also last month -- [inaudible] this morning i returned from the united states after a visit to washington and new york in which i had meeting with attorney general jeff sessions, the new
director of the cia, mike pompeo, the director to have fbi, james comey, the white house homeland security adviser and the chairman of the senate intelligence committee, senator burr. while in new york, i met with the undersecretary general of the united nations for political affairs who has responsibility for counterterrorism. .. the depth and breadth of our relationship with united states and in the case of a beating from which i recently returned, in particular its intelligence and security agencies. >> thank you, attorney general.
>> thank you, mr. president. could he advised this that what the outcome of these meetings was. >> i can tell honorable senators that the level of cooperation between american and australian agencies, on intelligence and national security matters, both bilaterally and for the five eyes group of nations remain entirely unaffected by the change of administration in washington. the level of our engagement between our agencies on counterterrorism, transnational crime and the wide range of other matters of which they work together is as close today as it has ever been. during the meeting in which i participated i was able to raise key national security matters including the current threat posed by isil both in the middle east and in our region. we also discussed the broader
national security environment in the region and beyond. i was able to reaffirm a critical importance of continued engagement by the united states. >> supplementary question? >> thank you, mr. president. could the attorney general and form the senate what it's critical from a national security standpoint that the relationship between australia and the united states continues unaffected by changing political circumstances? >> thank you, senator kirk as you know, as the united states has been and remains australia's most important strategic partner in a national security matters. i said a moment ago that partnership is unaffected by changes in administration in washington. it is as crucial to australia's national scooby day as it has ever been. since the 12th of septembe september 2014 when the national terrorism threat level was elevated, australia has
experienced for terror related attacks and 12 potential attacks have been interdicted and disrupted by our agencies. as i've said before, a number of those disruptions which have not been interdicted would've led to the deaths of many australians, where the direct consequence of the deep an effective intelligence sharing between australia and its allies, and in particular the united states. the government understands that. >> locally there's been a debate about the racial discrimination act in this country and labor has been critical of a proposed word change in that act by the government. >> the leader of the opposition. >> thank you, mr. chair. my question is to the prime minister. today is harmony day. the international day for the elimination of racial discrimination. why on today of all days is the prime minister chosen to weaken protections against racist hate
speech? >> thanked the honorable member first question, today we are strengthening the rights of -- [shouting] where strengthening because we're making it clear and where standing up for freedom of speech. we are standing up for the freedom of speech that underpins our society, the greatest multicultural society in the world. this is the australian labor party believe. they believe that australia -- [shouting] only held in check -- i can tell you, mr. speaker, we have respect than yesterday and people from the labour party does. we know that our precious freedoms, our freedom of speech is a very foundation of the great democracy that has caused so many people to come from every corner of the world to
join our multicultural society. and we are here in this house with the free speech, hard to be heard with the screens from the labour party. not very interested in hearing anything but their own prejudices. mr. speaker, -- [shouting] has lost its credibility pickets lost it a long time ago. it needs to be reformed and were putting in language that does the job. what we are delivering is a stronger and more fair -- it will do a better job of protecting australia against racial debilitation and at the same time ensure that university students -- for putting post on facebook. [inaudible]
to see if there's a commission or a lawyer waiting to pounce on them. thank you let's be clear. the language that we are proposing to insert in this bill is precisely the intent of the bill when it was first introduced. and, mr. speaker, if i go to the explanatory memorandum of the bill when it was introduced in this house, by labour government, it says the bill maintains a balance between the right of free speech and the protection of individuals from harassment. and fear because their race, color or national orientation pics of language were using is appropriate. consistent with the attention of the legislation and it's clear, it is clear, it is plain, it is a stronger law, a fair law. standing up for freedom of speech of protecting australians
against racial vilification. [shouting] >> the government defended its move and change to what's known as section 18 c of the racial discrimination act saying it is a protecting free speech. >> thank you, mr. chair as you. i mentioned, yesterday the coalition to advance multiculturalism, collection of 220 organizations including the council of christians and smack in the vietnamese community of australians said, quote, the turnbull government decision to perceive the water data protection against racial vilification is utterly shameful. why is a government ignoring the concerns of the very communities that 1 18c was legislator to protect? >> the attorney general? >> thank you, mr. chair resident.
the government isn't ignoring any of these concerns of what the government does believe is that we should be able to have a sensible and respectful debate in this country about the question of how we -- anti-vilification laws to protect the very people, the vilification laws are meant to protect. the government believes that it has done that. it was proposing to do that. by including in the list of prohibited conduct racial harassment. i'm afraid there has been so much noise in this debate, so much hysteria and too little listening to each other points of views. i do not know any serious person who is study section 18c as it is currently written who would defend as the best possible way, as the best possible way in which this law is expressed.
not for the present human rights commissioner said the law could be improved. not from the president of the australian reform commission who is recommended that the law should be improved. not professor george williams, former election candidate and dean of the universe of law school who has suggested the law should be improved. not david morrow, a journalist who is not a supporter of my side of politics, u.s. suggested the law should be improved. not professor sir joseph from the center and human rights law u.s. suggested that the law should be improved. we listen to every contribution to this debate but please don't tell me, send it to come please don't tell me, send it or, that there's this debate who says that we should not have a serious discussion about how to write any vilification laws as
effectively -- >> thank you, attorney general. order, order. >> given that judges insulted the coalition to advance multiculturalism, could i give you a quote from one of your colleagues? the senator said we are not snowflakes. as human beings we need to be more robust. does the minister agree with the senator that australians fearing offensive insulting or humility comments based on the race just need to toughen up? >> i can tell you that in the course of considerable form to section 18c, i've met with many ethnic committe community councy ethnic community leaders, and not one of them, not a single one of them has said to me, under no circumstances should you reconsider the language of section 18c. there is a variety of points of
view about this, as we know, and that is fair enough. in a liberal democracy. but please don't tell me that there is any representative of any ethnic community in australia who would say under no circumstances should an australian government even think about, even think about trying to rewrite section 18 c to make as effective as possible. and they don't think you will find a single representative of any ethnic committee group, send it a kitchen, who would disagree with the governments you that including a prohibition against racial harassment is a good reform mission. >> senator kitching. >> thank you, mr. chair resident. mr. president, today the mr. toles that if they find it, and i quote offenses or bruising, that's just what a democracy is. could the minister outline how much racial abuse does democracy
require? >> senator kitching, i think we all know that in a free society and in a democracy there is room for robust debate because why, by the way, some 20 years or so ago the high court acknowledged and implied constitutional freedom of political communication for the very reason the high court acknowledged in a series of decisions. but it is necessarily implicit in the nature of australia as a parliamentary democracy that they should actually be a constitutionally recognized protection of freedom of speech. do you dispute that? of course our society is based on freedom of speech. but it's based on other values as well. including tolerance, including respect and including as the government is seeking to do strong and robust anti-vilification laws. >> questions about the grey cup president donald trump on a range of issues including on
climate change, what a push ahead with the powers agreement? it remains a big focus for the greens party in our country. >> my question to the prime minister, nash is good establishment last night warned on four quarters the climate change -- with the sealevel rise and droughts, competent person. do you agree they are a national skewed implication from climate change? is so given that most fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground to make the 2° limit we agreed to in paris will you rule out letting the northern australian structure font or any other money subsidize the coal mine or are you happy use taxpayer funds to threaten our way of life? >> i think the honorable member. thanks the honorable member for this question. the honorable member would be aware the government is very
alert to the risk of climate change and the national security implications, particularly of rising sea levels, particularly in our region that it involves. of course we have substantial programs right to the pacific in particular to help our neighbors in the pacific deal with the consequences of rising sea levels and all of the security implications thereof. as far as the coal mine is concerned, i would simply say this to the honorable member. i understand that his party, he and his party want to prohibit all coal mining in australia. i understand that that's their policy. mr. speaker, were australia to stop exporting call tomorrow, not only with millions of dollars export revenue loss, not only with thousands of jobs be lost, but there would be no benefit to the global climate whatsoever. because if our coal exports stop
it would simply be sourced from other countries. obviously indonesia and columbia being to that spring to mind immediately, but there are many others. the reality is that the australian coal industry reduces call of a cleaner will become a higher quality than many of its competitors. it has, exports, our exports if stop as he honorable member would do it would achieve nothing except reducing the living standards of australians and absolutely shatter the lives and living of the communities that depend on the coal industry. it would be an exercise in ideological futility, and an exercise that i had to say the honorable member with great respect is so characteristic of his party, which seems what 2-d induction was australia for no purpose other than an ideological one.
>> a lot of our traditions and processes follow the british tradition of westminster. that's a tack generated a lot of response here and australia. >> thank you, mr. president. today australians woke to the horrific news of an attack in westminster in london for a bit of all send it as an under all senator express our solidarity with the people of britain and a sympathy for those lost in this terrible attack and condemn terrorism in all its forms are asked the nurse to update the senate on the steps we've taken to support and offer assistance to bring all behalf of the australian people. >> the attorney general. >> thank you very much indeed, senator, for giving me the opportunity to update the sin of events in london overnight. senators will be aware five individuals have now died, and about 40 people have been
injured from the terrorist attack to the british parliament building yesterday afternoon london time. london metropolitan police -- the five deceased include one police officer, three civilians and the attacker. while the investigation is still ongoing, british authorities -- operativoperatively this attacks result of islamist relator terrorism. i'm sorry to have to tell the senate that contrary to earlier reporting, and australian permanent resident has been hospitalized in london with injuries sustained in the attack. and our staff in london are offering assistance. as prime minister turnbull said, the attack on the british parliament is an attack on parliaments, freedom and democracy everywhere. we condemned the attack and are deeply saddened by the loss of innocent lives.
prime minister may rightly described the attack as sick and depraved, and condemned -- police and secret he services who continually risk their lives to keep their citizens safe. we stand in solidarity with the people of the united kingdom, and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time. in the face of such tragedy australians can be reassured that our agencies and police forces are working relentlessly to keep us safe. may i conclude by echoing the words of the prime minister this morning. we will never let that terrorist divide us or challenge our democratic way of life, and the freedoms which we cherish. >> here, here. >> thank you, mr. president. i think the measure for the edge of us to his long and deep relationship with britain can he outlined our two countries working together in order to defeat terrorism? >> yes, i can, senator.
we work at a ministerial level, at an agency level, at a policing level, at a diplomatic level to defeat and thwart terrorism. as you know, australia and britain are both members of the five eyes group of nations, the closest intelligence partnership in the world, and through the five eyes arrangements we share intelligence. and i can tell the senate that that intelligence sharing arrangement has been responsible for unloading australian authorities to and preventing terrorist strikes at home. our agencies, our police forces operate very closely together by a close collaborators, there are officers of police, australian police and agencies located with british agencies, and the reverse is true as well.
>> thank you, mr. chair. can you outline how the government is working the counter violent extremism here and australia and abroad to ensure early detection and the inclusion of a diverse communities in such activities? >> yes, i can, senator warren. thank you. the government has responded industry and overseas by enacting those cove companies a program of national security legislation reform in a generation. each of the eight tranches of legislation as i've introduced in this senate, i am pleased to say has been passed with bipartisan support and i think the opposition for the government has also invested an additional $1.5 billion to support australia's efforts in combating terrorism. since the threat level is elevated in september 2014, our law enforcement and security agencies have disrupted 12 planned terrorist attacks in
australia, the most recent in disrupted on, being disrupted being the christmas eve attack in melbourne which had been successful with or result in significant loss of life. 62 individuals have been charged with offenses. in the time remaining might i remind senators of the national security hotline, 18123400 which all members of just joining committee should access should have concerns about the hate of individuals. >> we are now in the lead up to the budget in early may so the government wants to focus on economic growth and its agenda over the next 12-18 months. >> my question is for the treasurer. the treasurer update the house on the government success in delivering up-to-the-minute outlined in last years budget? is he aware of any alternate plan that would threaten the successful transition of australia's economy?
>> thank you, mr. speaker. i think the member for his question. he knows because he selected on the basis of our national economic plan for jobs and growth that was set out and latches budgeted, try to get our economy, guest on a common is of the fastest-growing economy in the world today. where the second highest gdp per capita than any country in the g 22nd only to the united states. our national economic plan was making the decision and making the calls which addresses the challenges of ensuring that we are improving, improving the way to performance, lifting the wages, trade tooth supporting growth, increasing investment and securing jobs for hard-working australians. this is of course a raft of various mrs. peekaboo the national innovation of sites agenda delivered new -- start a business of. it has a delivered new funding to support, work with companies to take those innovations and that research into the marketplace.
the biomedical translation find doing the same thing to commercialize medical research. we are ramping up the twenty-year defense industry plan that is creating new businesses, new jobs right across the defense industry supply chain, right across the nation. it's that contrast to the labour party that never even built a bath tub boat mr. speaker, let alone engaging in issues, the important issues of developing our defense interest, particularly our naval defense industry plan. our infrastructure plan is being rolled out across the country. [shouting] the northern connector and the airport link, the midfield highway an in tasmania. export, another critical part of the national economic plan with china, japan, south korea is ensuring new jobs in new
markets, particularly in our agricultural sector which somewhat of the most amazing series of growth in the december quarter of last year and is lifting living standards in rural and regional australia. during the visit we announced our outcomes for australia beef and exports to china which backed up the arrangements we are able to achieve with indonesia just weeks before. we are changing our tax system, mr. speaker, to boost new investment that creates jobs, increase israel does real wages starting with the tax gets and extended for small and medium-sized businesses. and what a living on budget repair, over $25 million in budget improvement measures that have been delivered since last election, since less budget which is getting on with the job of budget repair. and mr. speaker, these achievements of implementing the national economic plan for jobs and growth was what was at the heart of this years budget and will be at the heart of this
years budget. >> the biggest issue of the last week or two has been mother nature and the cycle and debbie which hit queens land, has said if this are interested including the sugar industry in north queens land. >> thank you very much, mr. speaker. my question is for the deputy prime minister for agriculture on water resources. will the update the house on steps taken by the government to secure australia's $2 billion sugar industry to support the families come to those in the regions? how does this compare with other approaches? >> well, mr. speaker, i think the honorable member for his question, and we note also the trials and tribulations that people are going through in the aftermath of cyclone debbie. we note also how important the sugarcane industry isn' is in te
air. the queens land added production is about $12 billion, but just around that area is about $1.1 billion in agriculture production. that was i in the 2014-15. year and is over 1000 growers in that area. this is a code of born to $ your interest which the sugar into which goes right and into northern new south wales. this very important we make sure farmers get treated fairly. we believe that we should get a fair return to the farm the gate and to get a fair return in the market and other proper market you need at least two people wanting to buy your product. and if keep up going to buy a product, there are competitive tensions in the market to get the proper transfer to make sure that people are being dealt with fairly. we have said all the way along that while we believe that the federal government has a right
to be part of this process, we wished for the market to come to the old agreement ways. we have been waiting now for a long period of time for them to do precisely that we worked with the state government in queens land to get through a piece of legislation to try and a force of the the farmers, and might i say the australian -- vote against it. i will say with the number independent members including peter wellington, billy gordon and another gentleman, but this approach alone we still reserve the right to underwrite this with the code of conduct. and this code of conduct we have now brought forward at this code of conduct, this code of conduct will be going to the executive council no doubt over the next couple of weeks four important -- we have this confusion within
the labour party. the labour party in queensland voting against ready get these farmers a more fair deal and we have the senator cheering -- chairing a committee suggesting that they do need a code of conduct, saying they do need a code of conduct. so mr. speaker, we believe that we will make sure that we will get the proper market principles in place. ..
>> when democrats sit down at the negotiating table with republicans, with the public outcry over broadband policy be appointed as leverage to use? >> guest: well, this is all part of it because the reclassification effect did both. and i think obviously that if this is the come to pass and again republicans will have something to say about this. what we want as democrats on the committee is strong consumer protection. more and more a handheld device and your laptop, your whole life
are on these devices now. your medical information, financial information, personal and family information. information about your children. people want a sense that the internet service providers and the people handling this data are not using this data strictly to make money for themselves. >> live now to a discussion on k-12 education policy and charter schools posted by the american enterprise institute just getting underway. >> a couple housekeeping items to introduce our panel as -- panelists. w