Economic Policy

Transcript | Sky News First Edition | 06 June 2024

June 6, 2024

Thursday 06 June 2024
Interview on Sky News First Edition
Subjects: Benbrika, miserable economic numbers under Labor, Rampant anti-Semitism in the Greens

PETER STEFANOVIC: The Opposition leader will be referred to the national security watchdog over documents buried by the Home Affairs Department under the former Coalition government. It's understood Home Affairs did not disclose a report to the legal team of convicted terrorist Abdul Nacer Benbrika without the report. The Commonwealth decided to place Mr. Benbrika under a supervision order rather than continue his detention. The Victorian Supreme Court has labelled it a serious interference with the administration of justice, saying it should never have happened. On that note, let's bring in the Shadow Home Affairs Minister, James Paterson. James, good to see you as always. Has Peter Dutton got questions to answer here?

JAMES PATERSON: Good morning Pete. Two issues with this report. Number one, Abdul Benbrika is one of Australia's most serious ever convicted terrorists. He was jailed for 15 years for being the leader of a terrorist organisation that plotted a range of attacks against Australians. And under our government, he was kept in detention through a continuing detention order. Under this government he has been released from detention under a extended supervision order. Courts have granted those measures because they regard him as being still a threat to the community. The second issue is that the report in The Age this morning on this court proceeding completely misunderstands the role of the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor. As the name suggests, the role of the INSLM is to inquire into legislation and provide advice to the Parliament on its effectiveness and proportionality. It is not an investigator of agencies or departments, and it is certainly not an investigator of ministers. A cursory look at the legislation which established the INSLM would demonstrate it has no power and no authority to do so. So Peter Dutton will not be investigated by this body. And it's absurd that some of the media has suggesting that that's the case.

STEFANOVIC: Okay, let's get to these economic numbers. Yesterday, I think I was talking to Evan Lucas short time ago. And he suggests that it's not unreasonable to suggest that we are, on the precipice perhaps, of a recession. After those numbers yesterday, the government, Jim Chalmers this morning is still running defence on its economic policies. Say that this shows that it's working. But what do you make of it all, James?

PATERSON: Wow. If this is working I would hate to see what failure looks like, because this is an absolutely miserable set of economic numbers. We have the economy slowing, we have inflation rising, we have households going backwards, five quarters in a row of per capita recession. And if you get many more numbers like this in a row, then we're going to start having to have a conversation again, as we did in the 1970s, about stagflation, which is when you have rising unemployment and inflation. And history shows us that the only way to defeat stagflation is with punishing interest rate increases, which leads to a serious recession and a serious increase in unemployment. That's how bad things are out there. And unfortunately, everything the Albanese government has done, particularly in its last budget, exacerbates that because Jim Chalmers has lost all fiscal discipline, he's let go of the purse strings, and that increases pressure on inflation and therefore pressure on the Reserve Bank to increase interest rates to bring it under control. Households are really struggling.

STEFANOVIC: So with that said, with the extra money folks are going to have in their pocket come July 1st. Is that going to help things?

PATERSON: Well, it will provide some relief for individual households, but the Reserve Bank governor appeared at Senate estimates yesterday, and she obliterated one of the centrepieces of the budget, which is Jim Chalmers accounting trick of providing people with energy subsidies as a way of kind of artificially or mechanically reducing the inflation rate. She said the Reserve Bank will completely ignore that when considering setting interest rates, because it's completely transitory and not a permanent change. It doesn't fundamentally change anything about our energy market, which is increasing costs for households and small businesses. And so Jim Chalmers budget has fallen at the first hurdle. It hasn't even achieved the tick of approval from the Reserve Bank Governor who is going to completely disregard it when setting interest rates and could increase interest rates. We know for sure that interest rates are going to be higher for longer than they otherwise would be because of this budget.

STEFANOVIC: Okay. Meanwhile, a rare unity ticket for Peter Dutton and Anthony Albanese yesterday, James. Condemning the actions of the Greens. The Greens say they are not anti-Semitic, but then went on to argue for an end to military trade with Israel. Your thoughts on this?

PATERSON: Well, the Greens are a political party which tolerates and harbours anti-Semitism. That's very clear following the scandal involving Jenny Leong. the New South Wales Greens MP last year, in her horrific anti-Semitic comments. It's a party which claims to be anti-racist. But racism against Jewish people is tolerated in the Greens. And I think it's very welcome that the major parties stood up and condemned the Greens, although frankly, I think it's eight months too late. The Greens have been engaged in a totally unprincipled and dangerous escalation of rhetoric around the conflict in Gaza, here in Australia, it is straining community tension and social cohesion. And frankly, it's taken some pretty concerning attacks on electorate offices of Labor MPs for the Prime Minister to finally call this out. The Jewish community has been suffering for months now and calling out this and the Prime Minister has been nowhere to be seen.

STEFANOVIC: We will leave it there, James. James Paterson, the Shadow Home Affairs Minister, appreciate it. Talk to you soon.


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