Transcript - Television Interview - Sunrise - 14 September 2020

Transcript - Television Interview - Sunrise - 14 September 2020 Main Image

By Joel Fitzgibbon

14 September 2020

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE, HOST: Thanks Kochie, the Home Affairs Minister has hit back at the Queensland Government in an ongoing dispute about quarantine exemptions. The state's decision to grant actor Tom Hanks entry without quarantine has prompted strong criticism from the Federal Government. Peter Dutton says he only let Hanks in because the Queensland Government asked him to, and that the state's current border restrictions are not based on health advice but are being used for political gain. Let's bring in Nationals MP, Barnaby Joyce, and Shadow Resources Minister Joel Fitzgibbon - morning to you both Gents. Barnaby, you're no stranger to putting a foot down over quarantining Hollywood royalty; what do you make of this decision by the Queensland Government - one rule for some, another for others?
BARNABY JOYCE, MEMBER FOR NEW ENGLAND: Well, it's in stark contrast, and people can't get to funerals and, of course, that's what aggravates people so much. We've got the AFL in there at first class, we've got Tom Hanks in there, we've got his offsiders is in there, but we can't get a person across to see their dad buried. That that's why people are so upset. And, you know, they've made the request for Tom Hanks to come in. Personally I think the whole thing is a sham, and now people in the regional seats of Queensland are seeing it as a sham. This whole shutdown is just absolutely driving our economic nose into the dirt. We've got to stop it. And this Tom Hanks thing is totally illogical.
ARMYTAGE: Yeah, Joel, what did you think when you heard the Chief Medical Officer of Queensland last week admit she is letting people in on what money they can bring to the state, while a young woman couldn't go to her father's funeral because she's from Canberra?
JOEL FITZGIBBON, MEMBER FOR HUNTER: I think, Sam, what the last week or so has demonstrated is that the political leaders at all levels are having difficulty dealing with these border issues. And of course, the biggest border of all is our international border, and Scott Morrison is totally in control of that, and the controversies are well and truly extending to his administration too. So we've got difficulties in South Australia, we've got difficult in Tasmania, they just simply aren't getting the publicity that Queensland is receiving. Why is Queensland receiving so much publicity? Because they have an election coming next month.
ARMYTAGE: Yeah, there is politics being played here with people's lives. Now changing topics, I want to talk about a column you've written for a newspaper today, Barnaby, and it concerns the New South Wales National Party. Is it time to rethink the National/Liberal Coalition in New South Wales, and perhaps federally? The National Party is there to stick up for the interests of the bush, and that is precisely what John Barilaro is doing at the moment. And the New South Wales Liberal Party is behaving in an incredibly arrogant way toward him.
JOYCE: Yeah, I think they should have a read of some of the comments themselves, some of the so-called senior Liberal ministers. Might I say, in the past being Liberal meant more than just living in a good suburb. It mean believing in private enterprise and then believing in the right of property ownership. What we have with koala regulations is creeping socialism. Basically they find a wonderful term, koala, and then turn up in your place and say see this that you used to own, you don't own it anymore. We own it and we're not going to pay you for it. Now the other thing that should be – the Liberals should be very aware of is numbers. You just won't be the government if the Nationals fall out. If you throw more fuel on this fire, you will not be the government if it all falls apart. So deal with this ridiculous regulations that should have been dealt with ages ago. Understand how, for us out here in the bush – and I live here, you can say it's all around me – we're not going to kill something that our kids have a stuffed toy of. But we don't want the deft hand of government coming in socialising our assets without payment because that's not the reason we vote for this side of politics.
ARMYTAGE: Well, Joel, if you want to look at silly environmental policies from Sydney-based bureaucrats, look at the summer we've just had as a result of policies that are made in the cities that affect farmers and land clearing that end in disaster and then end up killing koalas because all the trees burned down. John Barilaro is simply pushing for debate on this, and he's been hounded out of town by the Liberal Party. Is it time for the Labor Party to join in with the National Party Coalition?
FITZGIBBON: Well, Sam, you won't get any argument from me about city based decisions and how they impact on the bush. But Barnaby has decided to escalate this war this morning - good on him. But what this is really highlighted for the broader community is the two-card trick the Liberal and National Parties played every election. The Nats say one thing in the bush, and the Libs say something else typically in the cities. But when they get to Canberra or Sydney, they join together and vote as one on everything. In other words, the Nats have effectively misled the bush by saying one thing before the election and another thing when they get to Sydney or to Canberra or, indeed Brisbane. So, this has exposed that and good on John Barilaro for finally breaking ranks and saying: I'm mad, I'm not going to take this anymore. I give him every encouragement.
ARMYTAGE: Barnaby, Joel has a point. The bush does feel let down by the National Party. You know, do you need to stick up against your own Coalition most of the time and stick up for the bush to the Libs? How's this going to play out for Gladys Berejiklian at the polls next time because I don't think many country people will vote for her?
JOYCE: Well, I don't think I was ever known as a pushover. And just in last month, the reason we got two seats – two federal seats in the Northern Territory, regional seats – is because I for one said: well I'll just cross the floor, I'll do whatever I have to do to vote to keep those in. And by the way, they are Labor seats. So, that's just in the last month. Now what we could – that's the National Party Senators too, by the way, they did exactly the same thing. So don't say we don't stick up, we do. And once more this has moved off the policy. We do have our fights but we've had to take this fight out into the open because it was never resolved behind closed doors.
ARMYTAGE: Well it was never debated.
JOYCE: And people like Minister Constance said: oh come on, fall in line. That's because he's exempted his own electorate. Of course he's going to say that, he's fixed his stuff up, but he has to fix everyone up, and Koalas are gone because of incineration because the Greens didn't allow burn offs, then starvation, chlamydia – which is a disease they’re dealing with – and predation by wild dogs. What piece of that problem does this legislation fix?
FITZGIBBON: Maybe, Sam, the answer can be found in the Coalition Agreement, which they have at both state level and in Canberra, which they keep secret. What is in this Coalition Agreement, Barnaby? Is there is an arrangement which says that John Barilaro can't do what he's doing at the moment. Is that what is causing the fuss? What does the National Party give up...
JOYCE: Joel how would... how would I know? I'm not privy to the New South Wales Coalition Agreement. But I think the right wing of your party, and our party, are a lot closer together than the left wing of your party and you.
ARMYTAGE: Ok. Gentlemen, we have to go on that note because we're getting way, way off topic here. But I want to let all country people know I haven't seen this issue, Barnaby, covered properly in any media at all since this whole thing started last week with the Nats. And I'm glad you wrote this column today and country people, we haven't forgotten about you.
FITZGIBBON: Yeah, good on your Barnaby.
ARMYTAGE: We got the stupid policy dictated out of Sydney. Ok, thank you to both of you. See you soon, Kochie?
DAVID KOCH, HOST: Joel is stirring from the sidelines.