Subjects: People smugglers hopes for a change of Government at the election; Labor’s inability to turn up and answer questions.
NEIL BREEN: Karen Andrews, the Home Affairs Minister and Member for McPherson on the Gold Coast, she’s involved in an election campaign right at the moment. Of course she joins me every Wednesday. How are you Minister?
KAREN ANDREWS: I’m very well Neil, how are you?
BREEN: I’m well thanks. Now you’re busy, because the EP of our show Olivia Wilbury – she’s come in, there’s announcements about the Federal Police and their crack down on organised crime, there’s stories in the newspapers about people smugglers promoting boat trips to Australia, Tom Tate wants to drop a nuclear bomb under your investment on the highway at Palm Beach and reckons that you’re trying to stand in the way of Gold Coast rail. Where do you want me to start?
ANDREWS: Oh look wherever you’d like to start. How about the story about the people smugglers getting ready to start bringing people to Australia if there’s a change in Government?
BREEN: Ok, now I read that story in the paper today – the journo who wrote it is a beat-up merchant, I want to know if it’s true. That journo wrote a story the other day, sitting in his office in Sydney, and said that they were about to a nuclear bomb on Ukraine.
ANDREWS: Well what I would say about people smugglers is that the Coalition Government has always been very concerned about the actions of the people smugglers. We’re very much aware that in the lead up to an election, the people smugglers look for every single opportunity to convince people that there’s an opportunity for them to come to Australia; and of course the words, the comments, and the statements from Federal labour have really given them hope, that if there’s a change in Government in Australia then they will be able to sell tickets on the boats to get to Australia. Of course that is very concerning.
BREEN: Look I’ve got no doubt that the people smugglers are sophisticated; I’ve got no doubt they’re thinking that if Labor wins they’ve be able to have a crack again. That’s their business model and they will have a crack at it. Last week, you and I spoke at length about the extension of the light rail but I’ve got to say, I’m in your corner here, I don’t think the light rail can extend all the way to Coolangatta and reduce the Gold Coast Highway down to one lane each way through Palm Beach. Can you imagine, December 26? You’d be better off walking over the headland at Tallebudgera and walking down the beach.
ANDREWS: It is concerning, and the locals who will be effected by the light rail going down the Gold Coast highway have been trying for years to get the state Labor government to listen to them; I’ve listened to them, the local State MP – Michael Hart – has listened to them, the local Councillor – Daphne McDonald – has listened to them. We have jointly written to Mark Bailey, as the state labour transport Minister, asking him to come to the coast and speak with the locals and he hasn’t. In fact when he turned up the other day he was going to have a press conference in Palm Beach but then some locals turned up and he didn’t like that so they moved his press conference down to the airport and he still wouldn’t speak with locals – that’s not just good enough. They can muckrake, they can throw anything they want at me but the reality is that there are thousands of people on the Southern Gold Coast that should be listened to – and that is the role of their local representative.
BREEN: I see you’ve got an investment property on the Gold Coast Highway, I think it’s in Palm Beach – and that’s being used against you in the argument here, but you’ve had that declared on the register for like a decade.
ANDREWS: Yeah it was declared when I first went into Parliament, so it is on the pubic record – it’s just muckraking quite frankly. There are thousands of people… and there are actually signs up through Palm Beach and down the Gold Coast Highway.
BREEN: Yeah, I’ve seen them. ‘Trams out of Tugun’ and all that stuff.
ANDREWS: Yeah – my own survey that I did – and I asked specifically if people wanted the trams to go down the Gold Coast Highway, there were over 1,100 people who said ‘no they didn’t’ so they can do whatever they want to me, but that’s just a distraction from the real issue, which is that the Labor state government – Mark Bailey – needs to turn up and talk to the locals?
BREEN: Mark Bailey’s too busy on Twitter at the moment, he must be sitting in his office watching Sky News and the election campaign 24/7 – because he jumps on Twitter and criticizes the Government for every single thing that happens no matter what it is – instead of building the Bruce Highway. I don’t know what happened to the inland Bruce but I digress. Now Karen Andrews, you’ve got an election this weekend – Anthony Albanese’s walking out not answering questions, the Prime Minister’s sitting on A Current Affair getting hammered by Tracy Grimshaw; I’ve just done an editorial saying they’re not both getting fair treatment – they’re not. And Labor will go ‘oh it’s bullying, it’s gotcha questions’ – no, it’s detail.
ANDREWS: Absolutely; it certainly is. But Labor not fronting up and taking questions from people is a bit of theme at the moment. Clearly the Leader of the Opposition is not across the detail, and we have seen that – each week of the campaign there’s been one more gaffe by him. I‘m sorry people make mistakes, but if you want to be Prime Minister of this country, you need to understand some key facts and you need to be prepared to take hard questions – we’ve had hard questions for years-
BREEN: For years!
ANDREWS: Yes, for years we’ve had it, and to the Prime Minister’s great credit, he turns up every single day and fights for Australia, good on him! He’s not the one walking out of interviews, he’s not the one shying away from the hard questions. And yes he gets pummelled, but to his great credit, he keeps going in the best interests of Australia.
BREEN: Every single issue – like the treatment of females in Australia… and you know I I’ll get myself in trouble talking about it but he can’t be held responsible, he simply can’t be. There’s court systems… there’s police… look at the police in Queensland with regards to domestic violence in certain cases, and yet people stand up at rallies outside Parliament and go ‘it’s his fault’.
ANDREWS: Yes, absolutely. And you’ve got a series of claims that have been made about how federal Labor have treated at least one individual and it’s brushed under the carpet with ‘oh no, please don’t pick up Labor women’. What a load of rubbish.
BREEN: I know, and even Julia Gillard who’s got splinters on her bum from sitting on the fence and never saying anything about politics, she’s come out and supported one of the mean girls – it’s the only thing she’s done this whole campaign. Hey Karen Andrews, where will you be on Saturday night? You won’t be on the light rail riding through Tugun? Where are you watching the election?
ANDREWS: I will be in my electorate, so here on the Gold Coast, doing what I’ve done at every election – thanking the people who have been out there and supporting me on polling booths. I’ll be there watching the result and cheering for the likes of Josh Frydenberg and others who are under threat from these semi-Labor people and hoping that they get across the line.
BREEN: Well Karen Andrews – Home Affairs Minister – if you’re not Home Affairs Minister next week you’re going to be dumped from the show!
ANDREWS: Am I?
BREEN: I’m only joking!! No matter what happens you’ll be on next Wednesday. Good luck on Saturday night.
ANDREWS: Looking forward to it. Thank you.