DAVID KOCH, HOST: Good morning to you both. The first COVID-19 vaccine, Barnaby, the race to find it is highly contested. To get the IT for this vaccine would be a silver – would be a goldmine for the people who bring it out. Do you believe that it's the catalyst for the [cyber] attack?
BARNABY JOYCE, MEMBER FOR NEW ENGLAND: Well, how do we know? That's the whole thing. It's, it's, clouded in mystery. Obviously, whoever manages to decipher the virology of this and create a vaccine. I mean, they’re going to own Babylon, aren’t they? But the thing is, we suspect - that's all you can do, suspect – that unless someone's got harder evidence, and I guess we’ve got reason to suspect China because of their totalitarian regime and they’ve done it before.
NATALIE BARR, HOST: Barnaby, you’re the Government, haven’t you got any more information that you could share with us? Don’t you know anything more than – you know – us sitting here?
JOYCE: Yes I do, Nat, that for everyone listening here today here comes the secrets of the National Security Committee. No, of course I don’t know. All you can do is probability and the probability winds right down and says, well, who else would do this, where is it likely coming from, what's the size, what's the expertise behind it, who's got a track record of doing this in the past? And start saying it's probably not China? You’re lying. So, but you can say it definitely is? Well, I don't know. It's more than likely, most likely is.
KOCH: Joel, Labor says the Government wasn’t prepared for the attack. Where do you think the Government went wrong?
JOEL FITZGIBBON, MEMBER FOR HUNTER: Well, Kochie, apparently their cyber-security strategy expired in 2016 – I didn’t know this myself until I yesterday and if that’s right it’s pretty extraordinary. I mean, this is a very, very serious matter. There are three types of attacks, of course: one designed to cause disruption in our economy, and another designed to take commercial advantage and the worst of all, of course, is one designed to undermine our national security. So, these are very serious issues which the government of the day should be taking seriously and apparently that hasn't been the case.
BARR: Barnaby is that right? Did our Cyber Security Strategy expire in 2016? Haven’t we got one?
JOYCE: No. But I mean, look, it's a good, it's a good line isn't it? We’ve got the department of signals – Joel knows that. We’ve got a sigs department, we’ve got whole departments that look at this. And, you know, and within the National Security Committee, whether it's signals, whether it's ASIS. There's a whole range of intelligence information that is brought in as well as being part of the Five Eyes, which means the United States of America can give us a little bit of assistance where we think we need it as to where these things come from. As can England, as can New Zealand, as can Canada. I mean it's ridiculous to say… we put a, we made a massive investment in our capacity to be able to oversee the security of this nation, vastly more than the Labor Party put in. Not that I'm… I'm sure they'll ramp it up again if they get into government, but that's, that goes along with branch stacking, I suppose.
KOCH: Yeah. Okay, just speaking of that. Labor MPs are worried about their own espionage threat, following that branch stacking scandal, Barnaby, you're talking about. Some members have requested taxpayer funded security sweeps of electorate officers. Now Joel, are you saying tax payers should improve the security, so you don't get caught out from branch stacking rather than just stop doing it?
FITZGIBBON: I have no idea Kochie. But I can think of a million things that can be done in my own electorate, indeed across communities around the nation, with the money, rather than waste it on scanning electorate offices. I mean people should be able to trust their staff and whose coming in and out of their offices. If you’ve got nothing to hide I don’t really know what the screening is all about.
KOCH: Right, but also they could stop doing naughty things as well, couldn’t they?
FITZGIBBON: Well they could stop doing naughty things, that would be my recommendation.
BARR: So Joel, just for the record, you’re not in favor of taxpayers funding sweeps of offices?
FITZGIBBON: No. If someone’s concerned about who’s been coming into their office or what they've been doing in their office, they can pay for the scanning themselves. But again, I can think of lots of roads and bridges that I could repair in my electorate rather than waste it on scanning people’s offices.
KOCH: Barnaby, can you believe all this?
JOYCE: No well the thing is they got busted, didn’t they? That's the problem - it was never a problem until they got busted. And what's been happening in Victoria has ramifications all the way back to Canberra. How many people are there by reason not they were the will of the party but because they were the will of the branch-stacker? And these people are sitting in our parliament, they’re representing people every day. And if they got there by corrupt purpose, then the motives that they follow - if you call the corrupt purpose I suppose is a corruption of the political purpose. But their motives once they get there are also motivated and corrupted in the way that they act. I mean it's, it's - we laugh about it, because what else would you do? If you didn’t laugh you’d cry. But it's a very, very bad outcome - bad outcome and they basically start to undermine people's faith in the political process and they've got to be dealt with severely by the Party and then they've got to be really honest and say well, who down here has arrived, not because the Labor Party branch rank and file - genuine branch rank and file - elected you, but a heap of your mates who don’t even exist, got you in this seat down here.
FITZGIBBON: Can I just say, let’s remember, this has not just been happening in the Labor Party. I suspect that those asking to have the offices swept aren’t just members of the Labor Party. I think Barnaby would agree with that point.
JOYCE: Yeah, I do Joel. I think, I think you’ve got to root them out wherever they are. If they exist on the Coalition side of the fence and you can ask the question, what - well Johnny or Janey, how did you arrive in politics? We’ve just looked back to your pre-selection and I don’t think Jim Beam, Johnnie Walker and Jack Daniels are actually members of any party.
FITZGIBBON: Let’s not forget the Greens.
BARR: Let's get on to something that's actually going to affect Aussie businesses. There are reports this morning a growing number of coalition backbenchers want next year's planned increase in the superannuation guarantee from nine and a half, to 12 per cent, delayed. Barnaby are you lobbying for that delay?
JOYCE: Well yeah, it's not popular but I think it's practical. We’ve got a lot of small businesses – you’ve got to understand how close some of these small businesses are to going under. I’m really worried about it. And they would have gone under had it not been for JobKeeper. I get that, over and over again, as I walk into shops. But if you go back to them now and say now we’ll pay more money for Super, they’re going to be saying, ‘Do you want us to employ someone, or not?’ Because if you… we are coming from behind, now. we are trying to make up the difference. We are really uncertain what's going on. We hear there's another outbreak of COVID-19 in China, and they decide that - I read in the papers this morning they shutting-up 21 million people. So is your response to that you're going to give us more expenses? I mean, what do you think the outcome is?
KOCH: Ah, Joel, theoretically, the superannuation is taken out of people's pay, so you don't get an increase - employees will have a take home pay cut, if this goes through. So that's just as bad isn’t it, during a recession?
FITZGIBBON: Well remember Kochie that the usual suspects were calling for a cut in the superannuation guarantee long before COVID-19. I mean, small businesses are under enormous stress and Labor has given absolute bipartisan support to all the assistance measures that have been given to small business - JobKeeper, accelerated depreciation, of course, rebates on pay-as-you-go, and that support should be ongoing. But these people take every opportunity to deny low income earners the opportunity to set-up for their retirement income. People on high incomes continue to say these things, but it has a very big impact on low-paid people in particular.
JOYCE: I disagree with that. First recession in about three decades, I think this is an exceptional circumstance.
KOCH: Yep, totally agree. All right, gents, have a great week. Thank you for that.