Subjects: TikTok review, The Voice, cost of living
KAREN ANDREWS: It’s now been several weeks that the Coalition has been asking the government to make some definitive announcements in relation to TikTok. We are very strongly of the view that at the very least, TikTok should be banned from government devices. We have the Minister for Cybersecurity who has been noticeably absent from this particular debate. The time has well passed for action. We are hearing extraordinary concerns being raised overseas about TikTok. And the information that we already know that is publicly available is that TikTok as an app can get your contacts, it can get access to your calendar, to facial recognition, to the characteristics of your voice, to your keystroke patterns. This is hugely concerning for people in Australia to know that effectively a foreign government can have access to that information. Now, national security is a significant issue and the government of the day has the responsibility to keep Australians safe. That means that in the cyber world in which we live, they need to take definitive action to protect Australians. Now, the least that the government should be doing is banning TikTok on government devices, but so far we have the minister responsible deep in a cyber slumber.
QUESTION: What do you think about this, uh, document that’s been put out due to freedom of information that says that we should be cautious, um, uh, effectively offending China? Have you read about that this morning based with the document saying that, um, that the PMO has been advised not to ban TikTok specifically, um, at risk of, I guess, annoying China.
KAREN ANDREWS: Australia’s national security should come first, second, and third to any federal government here. So I would hope that the Government of the day chooses to not follow that advice. Clearly the relationship that we have with trade with China is important to us, but national security needs to be prioritized, and there is very significant data that can be collected through TikTok and the government needs to act in the interests of all Australians.
QUESTION: the constitutional alteration bill with the voice departments going to the House of Representatives today, is the coalition still calling for more information? I mean, where’s the, where’s the stance that at the moment/
QUESTION: The Liberal party is indeed calling for more information on the voice?
What we are seeing from the Prime Minister is just his response to questions, very legitimate questions about the voice. His response is to begin the person who asks the question. Now, if he is that confident that the voice is the right way forward and that he has done the right thing with the wording that is being proposed, he should be advocating for the voice to be passed because of the reasons that he should be outlining now, which he’s failed absolutely to make clear to Australians, and that’s what they’re asking for. What are the reasons that the voice should be passed? He just belittles everyone who asks a legitimate question, and it’s quite frankly, not good enough.
QUESTION: on cost of living inflation, um, slowly looking like it’s moderating, obviously we’ve got the RBA handing down, um, hopefully not a rage, uh, a rate rise on Tuesday. Um, there’s been calls this morning unions one oh 7% increase to the minimum wage. Does liberal party agree with that?
KAREN ANDREWS: Well, this is clearly a claim from the unions that will need to be dealt with by employers or the fair work commission. So that process needs to take place, what we would say is that yes, people do want wage increases because the cost of living has gone up so dramatically, and that is a focus of everyday Australians. They actually do need more money because cost of living is now out of control in this country. They can’t afford to pay their electricity bills. They can’t afford to buy the food that they want to feed themselves and their families. They’re restricting their activities, they’re going to shopping centres in reduced numbers, and they’re spending less. So the solution for everyday Australians is that they need more money to pay for the things that they need to simply live. So, that will be a priority for them. But what we would say is that the cost of living needs to come back under control. And so far we have had a government that has no plan for anything. So they have not been able to enunciate at all what their plan is to reduce the cost of living impact on Australians. So people can’t afford their mortgage going up. They can’t afford to buy a house. They can’t afford to rent a property if they can even find one. This is what everyday Australians are worrying about.
QUESTION: Just lastly, actually, it was a treasurer just being up there this morning. He’s been saying, um, there will be, um, some trimming of spending in the budget. Where would the liberal party or coalition government look at trimming spending if you were in the same position?
KAREN ANDREWS: Well, look, the treasurer has access to the information. He’s got access to guidance from an entire department. What we would say is that there needs to be action taken to ensure that the budget is meeting the needs of our economy. Clearly, we want to grow the economy here. The spending needs to be under control and we don’t want to see money being handed out willy-nilly quite frankly. So we would want to see there being greater rigor where there is government grants that are provided to our businesses. We would like to see full accountability where money is provided to the states. It should not be just a handout. It should come with some clear criteria for what outcomes are required.
QUESTION: Mind if I just ask, today we’re seeing the Constitution Amendment building introduced Parliament, how far off we from seeing the liberal party come to a position on the voice parliament?
KAREN ANDREWS: I think it’s a long way off for the Prime Minister to be able to answer a question about the detail without the detail. Australians are not in a position to determine whether or not they’re going to support the voice, and if Prime Minister needs to stop belittling people who aren’t legitimate questions about the voice. Thank you.