Shadow Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews – Transcript – Sky News 6 April 2023
Subjects: The Voice, TikTok
PETER STEFANOVIC: Let’s go to the Gold Coast. Now, joining us live is the Shadow Home Affairs minister, Karen Andrews. Karen, good to see you. Thanks for your time. So, I pretty much picked this up from you last week, but just to confirm you were with Dutton to formally oppose the voice yesterday.
KAREN ANDREWS: Yes. I was in Canberra yesterday and part of the discussions, but let’s be clear about what the position of the Liberal party in this case is. So we are saying that we don’t agree with the proposal that’s being put by Anthony Albanese. We believe, and I believe that there is overwhelming support or changes to the Constitution that recognises Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islanders as first Australians. And I believe that if a referendum was held just on that it would be successful. And that in itself would be a huge step forward from where we are now. But as a party, the view was formed that the proposal that has been put by Anthony Albanese is not one that we can support because it creates a range of issues and there are way too many unknowns as part of that. So we’ve offered to negotiate in very good faith with the Prime Minister on what the wording should be of any constitutional change that recognizes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the first Australians. But when I talk to people, they’re very clear that they either don’t understand exactly what the proposal from Mr. Albanese is intended to do. But secondly, and in some ways, much more importantly, they don’t believe that anything that is Canberra centric is going to make one iota of difference on the ground for some of our most vulnerable Australians.
PETER STEFANOVIC: Okay. So, you wanna start from the bottom up rather than the top down by creating a, a regional or a local voice. So h how is that going to be any, any more palatable, or how effective would that really be with so many different voices in so many different regions? It that, that just seems to be even more complex to me.
KAREN ANDREWS: Well, I think also if you actually look at the argument that you’ve just put there, I mean the alternative argument is that there would be one higher level body that would then have responsibility for trying to influence for the better the lives of people in remote communities, but certainly spread throughout Australia. Now, how effective can that be? And that’s why the obvious choice for me and for the Liberal party is that this does need to be grassroots changed. And I would also go further to say that there’s a role for local governments and state governments in this solution as well too. But no one can sit in Canberra and say that they have the solutions for the most vulnerable people in some of our communities without taking on board exactly what is happening in that community.
PETER STEFANOVIC: So just back to my point though, if you’ve got a regional voice or a local voice, are you gonna, are you proposing a body on top of that to basically work out which voice or anything like that is the one that you would take to, to politicians? Is, is there an overarching body on top of the, the smaller ones?
KAREN ANDREWS: Yep, and I’ll come back to that point, but I think that what you are demonstrating is that people do have a significant number of questions about how any proposal is going to work. And, I think that if we want to make significant changes, firstly, if we want to change the Constitution, but secondly, and very importantly, if we all want to work together in the best interests of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islanders, there has to be a better way than what we currently have now and what is being proposed. But if you, if you look at everything being local, people are most interested in what is happening in their local communities. And that would be the starting point for what our proposals are to make sure that what is being done is in the best interests of those are very vulnerable people in our communities. So yes, we do need to talk locally and sometimes there will be a regional response to that. And where there is national consistency, absolutely, you know, that would be a very good outcome, but no level of government should be ignoring local views.
PETER STEFANOVIC: Okay. But just to help me understand here, so I mean, so you’ve got local and regional voices. I mean, there’s gonna be so many of them. So before it gets to you, would there have to be another body to decide which ones to take to parliament, or would you just let MPs deal with that?
KAREN ANDREWS: Well, MPs already do deal with those issues. And, we’ve been doing that for many, many years. And that’s irrespective of the party political affiliations or the independence of any MPs and senators. And that happens at federal and state levels as well. So the views of these communities are well represented. And I think all you’ve got to do is listen to the voices of some of the people who do represent these communities. And that includes Melissa Price, the member of for Durack in Western Australia, who has the second largest-
PETER STEFANOVIC: Okay. So-
KAREN ANDREWS: -Aboriginal community.
PETER STEFANOVIC: Sure. So you’re not proposing another body to sit on top of regional and local voices.
KAREN ANDREWS: Our priority is a constitutional change that recognizes in the Constitution very clearly that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were the Australians first people here. So that’s sets the first point in that. Our second point in that is that we are supportive absolutely, of local and regional communities having a huge say in what happens in those local and regional communities. And we want to engage at the grassroots level, and we believe that that is the appropriate way forward. So yes, we support from the grassroots up rather than from the top arm down, and we do not support a Canberra centric model.
PETER STEFANOVIC: Just before we go, Karen, Chris Minns to ditch TikTok, do you support that?
KAREN ANDREWS: Absolutely, absolutely. And I hope the other states do exactly the same.
PETER STEFANOVIC: Right. That’s a little easier for me to understand that point. All right, Karen Andrews appreciate that. Thank you. We’ll talk to you soon.