Topics: vandalism of campaign signs, cost of living, Queensland Premier poor judgement
NEIL BREEN: Home Affairs Minister, MP for McPherson on the Gold Coast, joins us on a Wednesday, she’s on the line. Good morning, Minister.
KAREN ANDREWS: Good morning Neil, how are you?
NEIL BREEN: I’m well, thanks. Election campaigns always bring out some stupid stuff, there’s always a candidate who’s done something on Facebook or said tings in their past. There’s always weird things going on, I’ve been watching this thing in Melbourne where Josh Frydenberg and his seat, his face and everything’s been graffitied with swastikas and now it’s happened in your seat. I’ve got a picture here in my hands of Karen Andrews, McPherson, LNP, Liberal National Party – and your face has a swastika all over the top. What’s wrong with some people?
KAREN ANDREWS: Look, it’s just absolutely appalling. This is actually the first time I’ve had my corflutes graffitied in that absolutely abhorrent way. We all understand what politics is – I’m up for a robust discussion about issues but, you know, this is just a symbol of hate and it’s disgusting and it’s offensive and it really has no place in our democracy so I’m at a loss to understand why someone would do that, it’s appalling and it’s unacceptable.
NEIL BREEN: Just got to be a weirdo. You just have to be a weirdo. If anyone sees signs like that, if you can just take them down and get rid of them. There’s no place for them in our society for someone who puts a swastika somewhere. Karen Andrews, I don’t know if you heard what I said earlier this half hour but this is a fascinating federal election, and Queensland has largely been shielded from many of the debates going on in the election because we don’t have the teal candidates and we don’t have so many high-profile candidates under pressure to win their seats, such as a Josh Frydenberg. Queensland things seem fairly steady, how does the Coalition think it’s tracking in Queensland to hold onto 23 seats?
KAREN ANDREWS: Well, there’s still a couple of weeks out from election day and you know, people have started voting now postal votes are out, pre-poll opens next week. We will continue to engage with people in Queensland as we have done over the last, well, this term of Parliament. We’ll continue to speak with them. Overall, I think the level of confidence in the Morrison Government that we have managed very difficult circumstances through COVID the last couple of years, we’re definitely coming out of it as a strong economy. We don’t take anything for granted, though. So I’ll be out there every day talking to people and pointing out to them the differences and the choices that they have to make on election day.
NEIL BREEN: As I cut through all the seats myself, and I don’t have access to internal polling, I can only talk to people who say they’ve seen it, looking around Queensland – look, Blair is a seat that is vulnerable for Labor because the One Nation vote could do something there, and could tip the Liberals over the line because it was 51-49 to Labor last time, two party-preferred; Shayne Neumann, the sitting member. And the seat of Brisbane, in a three-cornered contest, could be tight for Trevor Evans, who holds the seat for the LNP. Are those two seats the Coalition are particularly interested in targeting here in Queensland?
KAREN ANDREWS: Look, we’re certainly watching it, what’s happening in all of the seats in Queensland. In Brisbane, we have got an excellent candidate – the Member for Brisbane, Trevor Evans, he’s very well regarded. He’s out there all the time talking to people so Trevor I’m very, very sure he’s out there doing everything he possibly can, and will continue to do so. Blair is definitely a seat where Labor is vulnerable, we’ve got a very good candidate standing in the seat of Blair. So it is one that we’re very interested in, I’ve been to that seat myself with the candidate that we have there, so I think that Blair is definitely a seat that is a potential to change.
NEIL BREEN: Yeah, so I think as the next couple of weeks go here on the show, I definitely want to keep exploring different seats and different things that can happen during the election so we can keep an eye on them during the night. The interest rate curveball though, you know, I hate to talk about the smarter people versus people who don’t take that much interest in politics, I suppose they’re people who understand politics, and financial markets and regulations will know what’s happened; people who don’t take so much notice and who are living in the suburbs will look for someone to blame. It has thrown a curveball.
KAREN ANDREWS: Obviously the announcement yesterday by the Reserve Bank to increase the cash rate was expected, it was anticipated that that would happen and there are many people who have already taken pre-emptive action with their home loans – moving from a variable to a fixed rate-
NEIL BREEN: -I did. I did last year. Karen Andrews, late last year I made all the moves.
KAREN ANDREWS: Yes. And so people have been doing all that they can, understanding that the historic low interest rates would come to an end at some point and there was likely to be some rates rises after then. That was anticipated. So people have done a lot to protect themselves and their own circumstances. What I would encourage people to have a look at, is how as a government, how as a nation we have weathered the COVID storm. We have come through this very strongly, we have record low unemployment levels that are predicted to go even lower, that means that we’ve got more people in work. And in fact, every single day, I hear from businesses saying they can’t get sufficient workers. So we also know the RBA was very clear in what they said that they will be starting to see some upward movement in wages, so that’s positive for people as well, too. And this is not the time to look at change, this is where you say, ‘okay, we’ve had good economic management – keep going’ and make sure that Australia continues to be a very prosperous nation.
NEIL BREEN: Karen Andrews, have you ever taken your husband to a meeting?
KAREN ANDREWS: No, I haven’t.
NEIL BREEN: What did you make of it? What did you make of it? Like, it was weird.
KAREN ANDREWS: Look, can I say, I’ll clarify that, my husband has come to the Liberal National Party meetings-
NEIL BREEN: Oh yeah, yeah, fair enough.
KAREN ANDREWS: So, look, have I taken him to a business meeting as a Member or a Minister? No. I have no idea what the Premier was thinking when she did that. I mean, what did she think it was, ‘Bring Your Boyfriend to Work Day’? Honestly. It is just an appalling lapse of judgement and quite frankly, she’s treating the Olympic Games as her personal plaything.
NEIL BREEN: As a plaything. As a fun thing. Yeah. It’s like ‘oh, this is fun, I’ll just take my boyfriend’.
KAREN ANDREWS: Yeah!
NEIL BREEN: It’s billions of dollars! Billions.
KAREN ANDREWS: Absolutely. And she does have some obligations as the Premier and the Olympic Games, yes, are important to us but not her personal plaything, to do with as she wishes and invite whoever she chooses to come along, and as for taking your boyfriend along to such a significant meeting, I think Queenslanders, very rightly, will be saying ‘not good enough’.
NEIL BREEN: Fair enough. Karen Andrews, Home Affairs Minister, talk to you next week.