Q&A In WA | Q&A

(CHEERING, APPLAUSE) Thank you very much. Thank you. What a fabulous audience.
Thank you very much. Now, welcome to Q&A, live
from the Regal Theatre in Subiaco. Answering your questions tonight, Fitzroy Crossing broadcaster
and student Dylan Storer, West Australian
state shadow minister Zak Kirkup, human rights lawyer Hannah McGlade, the federal political editor
of The West Australian, Lanai Scarr, and federal Labor MP Anne Aly. Please welcome our panel.
(APPLAUSE) Thank you very much. Q&A is live in eastern Australia
on ABC TV, iview and NewsRadio. Well, let’s go
straight to our first question. Tonight, it comes from
Sandra Bellini. Sandra? Good evening, Tony. 61% of Australians believe
that the next generation will be worse off
than their parents, which is bad news
for Dylan Storer and Zak Kirkup, the youngest member of the West Australian
Legislative Assembly. What is the reason for this? Why do we believe our nation
will become less prosperous? OK, we’ll hear from all of our…
Thank you. Thank you very much. We’ll hear from
all of our panellists on this. We’ll start with Dylan. Go ahead. Why do you reckon?
Yeah. Young people in Australia
at the moment, I think… I’m really quite honoured to be a member of this generation
at the moment. I think we’re the biggest
and most diverse generation of young people
that this country’s ever seen. Being involved with events,
like from UN Youth and youth media, you know, young people
are really passionate and they’re really switched on, and I think that they can sometimes
get a bad rap in the media. Are they pessimistic, Dylan? Are they…are they angry
with the older people who seem to have everything? Yeah, I mean, maybe. Maybe.
Maybe some people are. And I certainly feel that
at the moment, especially in the debate
around climate change and things such as, you know,
the last federal election, you know, more time spent
on talking about franking credits than there was on anything
to do with substance when it comes to youth issues, when it came to things
such as youth suicide and the mental health crisis
we’re seeing in the country, housing affordability, and we’re not seeing any action
on those topics. So, I think that
young people are feeling a little bit pessimistic
about the future. But at the same time, I’m really optimistic
about the future because I think that young people,
you know, we’re a really amazing generation
at the moment. Great to see you again, Dylan.
Let’s go across to Anne Aly. I think, you know,
all of those things that you mentioned there, Dylan. But, Sandra, I also think,
if you have a look at… When I go out and I talk
to young people these days, there’s very little hope that they’re going to own
their own home, for example. I’ve got two sons – one lives in Sydney,
one lives in Melbourne. They had to leave Western Australia because there was no work
for them here, so they had to move
to the eastern states for work. There’s a lot of uncertainty
around jobs, around job security, around whether or not
they’re going to own a house. But when I go out
and I talk to young people, like the young people
who are here in the audience today from the schools that are here, I do see a generation
much like Dylan – a generation that is full of hope
and full of optimism. And I think that our country is
in really good hands moving forward. So, Anne, does Labor still have plans
to try and level the playing field on this intergenerational
inequity issue? I mean, you had
lots of taxation incentives going into the last election
that didn’t do so well, but are they still on the table? Well, I think, you know,
we still need to look at those big issues of housing affordability
for young people and about inequality. I think inequality
and rising inequality is one of those big issues
that contribute to the pessimism of young people
moving forward and looking at their futures and their ability
to secure permanent and secure work, and their ability
to have full-time work, their ability to purchase a house, their ability to see
the kind of success that perhaps their parents
or their grandparents had as well. Negative gearing still on the table?
I don’t know. (LAUGHS)
Zak? And if I did know,
I’m not gonna tell you! (LAUGHTER) I think there’s always been
an existential threat to every generation, and I think this is just
a reflection of that for us. And I think, like Dylan said,
we live in a great country and there’s a lot of hope
for the future. That idea, though, that
there’s a number of young people who are worried about
what their future looks like, I think that’s probably existed
for many generations. I mean, we aren’t,
at this point in time… We haven’t gone though great wars
and things like that, but there’s other
existential threats that we face – climate change is one of them, housing affordability
is one of them – and I think it’s important that
we have, you know, young leaders who step forward
and young people who step forward – young people
in the audience here today – who are concerned about those issues
and keep on raising them, and that’s the way
that we get action. Why do you think the survey’s
indicating that people, the majority of people, believe that the country
will become less prosperous – so, the country inherited
by the younger generations will be less prosperous? I think a lot of that
is probably tied to what Anne talked about – the asset wealth
and things like that. That’s an obvious concern,
and I understand that, but I also think
we’ve got an opportunity here to forge a new path,
to lead a new way. And I think it’s incumbent
upon all young people – and younger generations,
whatever that might be – to look at
what we can do differently. And I think
that’s just what’s happened. I think there is always
an existential threat for every generation. I think there’s always a worry
that sits out there, and this is one of those. Lanai Scarr?
Yeah, Sandra, you know, I think that the statistic
was really interesting – that 61% think that
they’re going to be worse off. You know, I have four young kids who are under the age of five,
and I… ..you know, I hope that their life and their…the generation that
they grow into is not worse off. I think that we are seeing a lot of global economic challenges
at the moment, and that’s probably feeding into
some of the pessimism that we’re seeing from young people. It is really hard for young people
to get into the housing market, so I definitely agree with Anne in regards to
that being a factor as well. But I think we have to tell
our young people – the people here
in the audience today and, you know, my children
and everyone’s children – that there are great things that they can go and achieve
and there are… You know, it doesn’t have to be that they’re going to be worse off
than we are. Hannah, how does it look
from an Indigenous perspective? Um, you know, I’m just thinking
about, when I was at university, it was actually free education,
and we were so shocked when education became something
that was unaffordable. Education’s been a key
for Indigenous success. It’s a real worry. My son’s of a generation now where the housing market
is quite extreme – that people are graduating,
if they can, from university with big student bills. And I just think that, you know, have we just not watched
closely enough, and inequality and a culture
of inequality has grown? And of course, for Indigenous
people, it’s a real issue, and we are seeing
the gap is not closing. It’s widening in many areas.
We’re going to move… (APPLAUSE)
Thank you very much. Thank you. We’ll explore those issues
much more as we go along tonight. The next question’s
from Ryan Small. Ryan? MAN: Thanks, Tony, for coming across
to Western Australia. We really appreciate you… (AUDIENCE GROANS)
..coming over here. OK, that is not Ryan. You’re just… You’re not here asking a question. You’ve just jumped up
interrupting the questioner, so, please, if you wouldn’t mind,
just sit down. ..religious freedom,
and yet he did not have time… OK, there’s no microphone on you,
so no-one can hear you. It’s pointless.
..fire chiefs. Now… OK.
(AUDIENCE JEERS) It’s pointless. It’s pointless. We can’t hear you.
There’s no microphone. ..actually join… OK.
(MAN CONTINUES INDISTINCTLY) You are not allowed to touch me. That’s…
Ow! You are hurting me! Let me go! (AUDIENCE GROANS)
OK. OK. Ryan? Ryan,
can we get you to stand up and ask your question, please? Thank you very much.
Thanks, Tony. I’m 29 years old and I’m holding down two jobs
to pay off a shoebox house I built through Keystart loans 70km from where I work
in the Perth CBD. Right now, I may be…may well
have negative equity after three years
of mortgage repayments, and I’m one of the lucky ones
to even be on the housing ladder. So, my question is, what was it like not having to worry about
building equity through repayments when houses could be relied on
to continually increase in value? Thank you. Well done, Ryan, for asking that
under difficult circumstances. Thank you very much.
(APPLAUSE) We might come…we might come back
to you. Anne Aly? Well, Ryan, thank you
for your question, and I note, you know,
you’re 29 years old and I think your question
speaks to the previous question from Sandra about pessimism and about the next generation
and the difficulties that they have. The fact that you work two jobs,
that you’re paying off a house, and you’re only barely managing to get equity into your home now, the fact is that, in Perth… And we’ve got
a beautiful Perth audience here. The fact is that, in Perth,
our house prices have crashed. And I’ve got families, for example,
in the electorate of Cowan, who are suffering
incredible mortgage stress because they bought their houses
at the higher prices. Their houses are now worth
a lot less and they can’t seem to get ahead, and it’s all part of
the household debt that people are drowning in. When I bought my first house,
I was in my…I was in my 20s. The house was about three times
what my annual salary was. And the interest rates,
I remember back then, were 16%… ..was the interest rates. I couldn’t keep that house.
I ended up having to get rid of it. But I look now at the prospects
of people like my son, who’s also 29,
being able to purchase a house, and I know that
the house prices now are more than, what is it,
six times the average salary? More than six times
the average salary? I think there are
many people in your position who are trying to make ends meet
who are working more than one job, but cannot get ahead because of
that equity in their homes. I don’t know what to say to you other than to say
that we need something to look at housing affordability, that the cyclical nature of
housing as well – housing prices – is something that we… ..that will, hopefully,
one day, work in your favour. At the moment, it might not be
working in your favour, but that, hopefully, one day,
will work in your favour. And that I understand. I understand the pressures
that are on you. I understand the pressures
that are on families. I’ve been in that situation
as a single parent raising my children –
on Centrelink benefits, by the way. And while that was a long time ago, I hope that I never forget
what that was like. Zak?
So, let me put to you… What’s the Coalition’s answer
to people like Ryan suffering from
terrible mortgage stress? I think, just one point
that I’d like to assert is, just in relation… Ryan, you’re 29? I represent an area
that’s the oldest district in Western Australia –
in Dawesville. A lot of people there
move there to retire there and their whole point was that
their primary residence would be their wealth…
that’s their primary wealth vehicle. That’s where they hope
to have most of their money and they might then downsize
and also sell it. They’re in
a not dissimilar situation. We are all subject
to the market, I think, and that’s a reflection
of where things are at. Anne talked about the time when
she was, you know, starting out, and I think we’ve always had
a similar situation – the market’s gone…fluctuated
quite significantly. I think it’s important
to support a strong economy – that leads to
a strong housing market, gets people jobs where they can
hopefully afford, you know… I think it’s seven times now the average wage
to average mortgage. I think it’s important that
a strong economy helps support that. That’s what I think the government,
the Coalition’s doing very well. Let’s go back to Ryan now. He got a bit of a chance
to take a breather. Ryan, you’ve been listening to this. I mean, is that helpful advice
from your point of view? It is, yes, but I think as well
there’s a follow-on when you’re having to build a house
that far out for something you can afford. It’s the follow-on costs,
like coming from Mandurah to work daily in the CBD –
it’s over $20 on train fare and 800km in a car
if you’re driving, so you’re servicing your car
every three months. It’s those added pressures that also add on
to the mortgage payments that, if you had been able
to build a little bit closer, you might not have had to factor in. Or the other option is that
we take jobs to the outer suburbs. And I think we need to be making
our outer suburbs more livable – places where people can live,
where they can raise their families, where they can, you know, go to
parks, but also where they can work. There is an incredible difference
between people who have to travel an hour, an hour and a half
to get to work and those who work
5 or 10 minutes from their homes. OK, I’m going to go… We’ve got another question –
a related question. We’re going to go to that.
It’s about household debt and the burden of
these higher mortgages on people, which has been a big issue
in the survey. Sophie Thompson? Good evening, Tony. Interest rates are at a record low, yet Australians are feeling
the pressure of high household debt. What are some of the consequences
for families going through this if interest rates begin to rise? How will families be able
to afford their mortgages? And is there anything
that can be done now to help support people and families
if this was to eventuate? I’ll start with Lanai.
This is a huge issue. And as it came through the survey,
it’s a much bigger issue, perhaps, than politicians
have been calculating. Yeah, it is a huge issue and, you know, interest rates,
as you said, are at record lows. So, the concern here
for Ryan and, you know, other people who are struggling
with their mortgages are, how are they going to
be able to afford things when interest rates
continue to increase? You know, when we do see them
to be on the up? And, you know,
I did a story a while ago about the stress
that people were facing in relation to childcare. So, many people – 40% of people – were paying more than their mortgage
on childcare costs. So, you know, people are copping it
from so many different areas, and I think we do really need to look at how we can help
everyday Australians with the costs that
they’re really struggling with because, eventually, we will see
interest rates increase again. Yeah. Dylan, what do you think? And, once again,
you’re looking down the barrel of entering this world soon enough. Yeah. Yeah, sooner rather… Yeah, sooner rather than later. Yeah, it is. It’s very difficult out there. And I think that
a lot of what happens… You know, I don’t want to use
the term of ‘the Canberra bubble’ because I… Yeah, but… (LAUGHS) The Canberra bubble.
Yeah. But, you know, it… People are really struggling,
and I think that people can lose… Everything that happens in Canberra and everything that happens
in these discussions can really lose sight
of the fact that, you know, you’ve got families that are
really struggling out there, kids that are living
below the poverty line, and the fact that, you know, Australia is one of
the richest countries in the world. I think that, you know,
we’re seeing a level of austerity from the current government that’s really impacting
families’ bottom lines and they’re really struggling. There are everyday people
that live in Canberra as well. There ARE everyday people
that live in Canberra as well. You know, there are real people
in Canberra too. Shout-out to all my friends
in Canberra as well. I don’t… Not you. (LAUGHTER)
Hannah, what do you think? I think one of the big risks,
obviously, is increasing homelessness – that people just cannot afford
a roof over their heads. And the impact on men,
women and children – the most vulnerable. Why don’t we start looking
at some countries in the world that have invested properly into public housing stock
and affordability? Because we know that
there are other nations who are doing it much better
than we are. Yeah. Zak, what do you think
about that? And is there a plan
if interest rates go up? ZAK: Well, I… Because if you look at
the level of mortgage stress across the nation, what happens? Yeah, well,
that’s a very good question. I represent…
again, represent one area that has one of the highest rates
of mortgage stress. And 6210, which is the postcode
that I help represent – also where I imagine Ryan lives –
it’s very hard to get a loan there, so the negative equity
in those homes is a real problem. The cost of living is a huge issue
in Western Australia. Bills have gone up immeasurably. $850 a year, plus, at the moment,
under the current government. Homelessness
is a really big problem. I think there’s a lot
of these issues that are… The state governments have
a very important role to play in trying to reduce those burdens
on people. And in Western Australia,
I don’t think that’s occurred. I don’t think that’s occurred. And there’s an important role there to try and ease
that cost-of-living pressure. Because it is – it’s an issue
that’s affecting, I think, across the state,
undoubtedly across the country, and I think states have
an important role to play. What about a state-wide plan
to create affordable housing, for example, which is exactly
what Hannah was talking about? Plenty of other countries
have gotten a grip on this. Australia, not so much. Western Australia is…
is…is a recipient of the Keystart scheme, which was a government-funded
interest rate, low interest rate, sort of moderate interest rate
loan scheme funded by the government. Ryan’s on it. It’s… It’s helped a lot of people
in Western Australia get involved in their own…
in their own first home, and I think it’s something that
should be looked at across the… ..across the Federation.
OK. Remember, if you hear
any doubtful claims on Q&A – I’m not saying that was one…
(LAUGHTER) ..let us know on Twitter. Keep an eye on
the RMIT ABC Fact Check and The Conversation website
for the results. Our next question
comes from Virginia Plas. In Australia, we’d like to think that we’re part of
a classless society, but the Australia Talks survey revealed that
over three-quarters of us believe that the gap between rich and poor
is too large. What implications does this have
on the idea of Australia as a classless
“land of the fair go”? Mm. Anne Aly, start with you. Virginia, was it? Or Eugenia? Virginia.
Virginia. Virginia. I’m sorry, Virginia.
Thank you for that, Virginia. You know, I’ll tell you a story. When my parents came to Australia,
50 years ago… On June 9, we celebrated
50 years in Australia. And my dad was an engineer
in…in Egypt. And when he came to Australia,
he couldn’t work as an engineer, so he took a job
on the factory floor, and then he took a job
as a bus driver. And, you know, that was
a real blow to my family, because of the status –
the status of it, you know? And I remember growing up, my mum and my dad
would always say, you know, “In this country, we’re all equal. “In this country, the bus driver is
the same as the…as the engineer.” Alright? And that was their way
of kind of saying, “Yeah, we had to make
this sacrifice, but it’s OK, “because in this country
there’s equality.” And I guess that’s kind of
why I grew up thinking, and believing, really, that equality and inequality –
inequality in particular – was one of the things that
we should all be fighting against. This… You know, the thing that
three-quarters of people believe that the gap between the rich
and poor is…is… ..and that gap is getting bigger,
I think, is really telling. And I think the first thing
that we should be doing is raising Newstart. I think the fact
that Newstart has been… (APPLAUSE) The fact that…that Newstart
has been kept so low has really contributed to that. Really, really contributed to that. And I think wage growth –
slow wage growth – has also contributed to that. But they’re not the only things. There are a whole range
of other things, including the…the levels
of household debt that we have. What I’m finding in Cowan,
for example, is I’m…I’m really in touch with
a lot of the not-for-profits and the charitable organisations,
and they’re telling me that there is unprecedented demand
for their services, and it doesn’t seem like
it’s going down. In… At… One of those pantries
had 6,000 boxes of food given to families in a single month. So, I don’t…I don’t know
that everyone realises just how tough it is out there
for a lot of people, and how much inequality
is really biting. And when you have inequality,
you also have a fractured society. It impacts on social harmony. It impacts on social cohesion. It impacts on the trust
that we have between each other and in the institutions
that govern us. And in every research
that I’ve looked at, when you have an economy
that is fractured, when you have more inequality, you have more social fracturing. And that’s why
we need to address this as a matter of urgency in Australia. Yep. Hannah, what do you think?
(APPLAUSE) Well, we have had this myth of,
you know, the equal world, that Aboriginal people
certainly haven’t subscribed to. When I grew up, we knew poverty,
we knew homelessness, we knew police
marching into people’s homes. So, I’m actually, in one sense,
sort of happy that there’s a dialogue
about inequality happening, because we really need
to do something about it. We need to increase our
human rights culture in Australia. We have no charter of human rights. And there was a crackdown on unions. Unions were big when I was a girl
growing up, and people had some… ..workers had more rights
than they seem to do now. So, I hope this is an awakening
that’s happening, and that we can, you know, look at ways that wealth
can be redistributed. There is obscene amounts of wealth, and shocking amounts of poverty
and suffering in Australia. (APPLAUSE) Thank you very much. I’m going to go
to a related question, and then bring in
the other panellists. The question is from
Alphonse Mulumba. Not all Australians share
the benefit of prosperity. In some places, like where I live
in Balga, Mirrabooka, Nollamara, unemployment is close to 21%. Youth unemployment is rife, and many older Australians doubt
they could find another job. In WA, high electricity bills have caused a surge…
a surge in disconnections. So my question is this – can hard work really
get you out of poverty? We’ll start with Dylan. (APPLAUSE) It’s…
It’s been a big debate, this one, hasn’t it?
Yeah, it’s a really big question. And I think, you know, we have people that are
really struggling out there. And again,
coming off the point just earlier about…about wealth
redistribution, is, you know, I don’t think that anyone,
in this room at least, or around the world, can say that a billionaire
in this country, such as Gina Rinehart, works anymore harder
than the single parent who’s working three jobs
to try and put food on the table. And I really think that,
you know, overall… (APPLAUSE) ..you know,
we’ve just had more tax breaks get handed to those types of people, and a little bit to
other people in the middle class, but not a lot. And we’re not seeing any
of these flow-down benefits. Again, it comes back
to the big picture. Australia is
a very prosperous country. You know… You know, when you take a good,
long hard look at ourselves, how are we treating people
in this country? How are we treating people
in this country? It’s not fair. (APPLAUSE)
Zak… ..the basic question – can hard work
get you out of poverty? I think it can. I think hard work, and the opportunity to work…
find a job and get up, it will. (SCATTERED APPLAUSE)
I… I have the personal experience
myself, Alphonse. You know, my family’s come from
a very difficult background, a struggling background, and I’m… Although I dropped out of uni, I was the first in my family
to go to uni, and I’m a 32-year-old
member of parliament for the Liberal Party… ..in the greatest state, in
the greatest country in the world, and I think it’s only because of
the opportunities that we have to work hard that we can…
we can get a go, and…and… And I think it can absolutely… You can absolutely help
get out of poverty and get in a situation where
you can, you know, go on to achieve what you hoped to. So, you just heard Anne Aly
call for Newstart to be… ..to be lifted. Well, so did John Howard,
for that matter, and he’s a scion of your party. So, what do you think
about that idea? I think the Prime Minister’s
addressed that, and that again goes
to the importance of having a stronger economy
and making sure… Addressed it by saying,
“No, we’re not going to do it.” Look, it’s about, well…
Without really explaining why. It’s about making sure
there’s a strong economy and making sure there’s jobs,
and that’s the most important thing, I think, is making sure
you’ve got a job. The Prime Minister says
we live in a strong economy. Yeah. So, why can’t we raise
the rate of Newstart… Well…
..to boost…to boost the… Sure.
(CHEERING DROWNS OUT SPEECH) Well, we do have a strong economy.
We do. But raising the base of Newstart, that’s going to go
straight back into local jobs, it’s going to go straight back
into local businesses. Yeah, and I appreciate that point. I think having a strong economy…
But they’re not going to do it. ..and having lots of jobs, having
lots of jobs available for people is what absolutely has
a larger, multiplier effect and helps the economy.
So, Zak, I know you may feel bound to follow what
the Prime Minister says, but do you actually believe
in it yourself? That’s the big question. (LAUGHTER)
Do I believe in a strong economy?! No, do you believe
in not raising Newstart when people are suffering, when former prime minister
John Howard says you should? Look, I think it’s something
that they should look at as part of the overall scheme
for social security. It’s something that
should be looked at in depth. But again, I would still
revert to the point that I think government should
help people get a hand up and not a hand out,
and that sort of… That’s absolutely what I believe in. (GROANING AND SCATTERED APPLAUSE) Hannah…
(BOOING) Sorry. You’ve got to let people
have their opinions, folks. OK. Hannah? So, hard work
and individual responsibility, personal responsibility,
are absolutely critical to success. I worked very hard
through law school. I was homeless
and out of education by 16, and, fortunately, there were special measures
in Indigenous education. At the same time,
there is structural inequality. There is wealth
that is handed from generation that makes it really easier for, you know, certain wealthy sections
of society. So, we can’t, um, you know, talk about hard work,
personal responsibility, without addressing
structural inequality. LANAI: That’s right. Do you think this survey
that we’ve just seen… (APPLAUSE) ..is it sort of belling the cat
on that issue? I mean, it’s not something
we talk about with figures around it,
and now we can. Yeah, it’s giving…giving
a real voice to these issues. Very important.
Lanai? Yeah, look, I think
there definitely are barriers for people to, um, improve,
you know, their situation in life. I think that we do need to do more to help our most disadvantaged
people in our society. But, you know, I was made
a ward of the state at age five, I was in kinship care
and out-of-home care for a period in my life, and I…I…I do – and I did –
work very hard to get to where I was. But that wasn’t without
the help of other people. So, I feel a responsibility
to make sure that I’m giving back. And I think we all have
to do that in order to help our most disadvantaged people
in society. And…and I think that we do need
to look at the structural barriers, and…and we also…we do need
to work hard as well. I don’t think there…
I don’t think it’s a dichotomy. Anne, do you want to pick up on that?
(APPLAUSE) Yeah, I do. Do you know, I…I’ve…
I’ve been through it all, and I’ve certainly
had difficult times in my life – certainly not as difficult
as some people that I meet. And I would say
hard work is not enough. I’ve also… I have to recognise that
I’ve also been incredibly fortunate to have been presented
with some opportunities that I was able to take advantage of
because I was healthy, because I was of sound mind, because I had support structures
to do that. Hard work… We all know people who are lazy and incompetent
and are very successful. (LAUGHTER) ZAK: How many of them are
in the Labor Party, Anne? LANAI: Can you name any of those? And for each one of those people, you probably know 10 more
who are hardworking, extremely intelligent,
and just can’t catch a break. (APPLAUSE)
TONY: OK. Did you want to respond to that,
Zak? No, I’m OK.
OK. OK, you’re watching
a special edition of Q&A. Our next question goes to
one of the most controversial issues in the Australia Talks survey. It comes from Mia Fraser. Changing the date of Australia Day is one of the most
divisive questions in Australia Talks. Do you personally believe we are likely to see
the date change any time soon, and what are likely to be barriers
to making the change? Hannah, let’s start with you. Well, there have been a number of
shire councils around Australia, and I think Fremantle –
I often go down… AUDIENCE MEMBER: Whoo!
..they do not… (CHUCKLES) ..do not celebrate
Australia Day anymore. Um, I don’t know where it’s going. There’s a lot of people,
obviously, from this survey say, very strongly, actually,
they believe in Australia Day. You know, for Aboriginal people,
it still is a day of… You know, there’s reckoning
to be had, you know. We were dispossessed,
Aboriginal people, without treaty. It was unlawful. And we haven’t… Would you personally like
to see the day change? I think it needs to be changed. I think it’s, um… Yeah, it’s a…it’s a… It would be a sign
of a more reflective, caring society, I believe. It was very divisive.
(APPLAUSE) Here’s the figures. Thank you. 43% of people surveyed agreed
Australia Day was on the wrong day. 40% disagreed. And the key is the ones
who strongly disagreed. 28% strongly agree
it should be moved, 30% strongly disagree. So, it’s a very divisive issue.
Zak, what do you think? I don’t think
the date should change at all. I think it’s a reflection
of a need to make sure there’s a much more reflective day,
though, of looking at all contributions
of all Australians. And that’s Aboriginal
and non-Aboriginal. I think that’s the way forward
for us. I don’t think… To be perfectly frank,
I don’t think changing the date is going to change
the rates of sexual abuse and violence that occur
up in the Kimberley. I think we should be talking
about those serious issues… (JEERING AND SCATTERED APPLAUSE) We should be talking about
those serious issues… DYLAN: No-one’s saying we can’t.
No, no. But my point is, though… My point is, though,
that changing the date, I appreciate that some –
and again it’s divisive – that some want it changed,
some don’t want it changed, but I want it to be… I think it should be more reflective
and inclusive on that date. On that date, it should encompass all contributions of
all Australians – Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal. So, when the nation’s clearly divided
on an issue like this, should there be
a kind of public debate, and maybe even a plebiscite? For example,
you decided that was… Or your side of politics decided
that was a really good idea on same-sex marriage. I just wonder if democracy demands
in the same way that people should get
to vote about this. Well, I… Well, if that’s up to the community
to create that…that organisation, if that’s what they want to do,
and start that conversation. I think, at this point in time… I think there are
more pressing matters that should be attended to
by government, like those issues
that I just spoke about. Sure. Dylan? Well, I come from the Kimberley,
and I… Yeah, the situation up
there’s not good. I… Yeah. 100%. The date of Australia Day
is something that doesn’t come up very often in the community. There is bigger issues at play. But I don’t think that the date
of Australia Day at the moment… ..I don’t think that that will be
the day that we celebrate Australia. I think it will change
within my lifetime, probably within
the next decade or two. I think that, you know, 10 years ago
if you asked that question, it would have been a much
smaller percentage of Australians that didn’t support
changing the date… ..that supported changing the date. And it’s already coming up.
So the tide’s changing. It is changing. And, you know, it’s a democracy,
and it will eventually happen. I don’t think that we can’t
have the debate… You know, the government like
to drag this one out all the time. You know, we can walk
and chew gum at the same time. And we can change the date
of Australia Day, and we can also talk about
the rates of poverty, we can also talk about
the structural inequity. But we’re not. But we’re not. But we are.
We’re not talking about it… We’re certainly going to do that
on this program, Zak, that’s for sure.
(LAUGHTER) Lanai, what do you think? I think that, you know,
there obviously are people who do feel hurt
by the date of Australia Day, and there are people
who feel very strongly in support of Australia Day
remaining on the same day. I think we need to have a respectful
national conversation about it. I think, you know,
as the stats in the… ..you know, the survey showed, people are passionate
on either side. So, I think we just need
to make sure that we’re having
a respectful date about it… ..respectful debate about it,
and, you know…and… ..and see whether
we do change it or not. Yep. Anne, what do you think? Were you surprised, by the way,
that it was so finely balanced? Yeah, I was surprised
that it was so…so divisive, because I think that, you know,
in the public sphere, you mostly hear about,
on certain sections of the media, only those who oppose… ..who are who opposed
to changing the date. You don’t really hear that level
of support for changing the date. I just think it’s…it’s…
it’s really sad that we are a nation
where Aboriginal people are hurt and are hurting
when we celebrate this day. I think we need
to have the conversation, but I don’t see a willingness
to include the voices of our First Nations
in conversations about… ..whether it’s about Australia Day or whether it’s about
those big issues that you’re talking about, Zak. And, yes, absolutely,
they’re big issues, but, like Dylan said, you know, right now, this is hurting
our First Nations people. If we want to heal as a nation
and move forward as a nation, we cannot possibly do that
without addressing this hurt. But I think there are sections of…
(APPLAUSE) I think there are sections
of the media that, you know… ..that do include other voices. So, I agree with you
that all voices need to be… Maybe I’m just reading just
one section of the media too much. (BOTH LAUGH) You should be reading
The West Australian more. Yep.
(LAUGHTER) But… But there are sections of the media
that do include all voices. OK. Alright, let’s move on,
because we’ve got a lot to cover. The next question
is from Phillip Pinto. Phillip.
Thank you, Tony, and the panel. Hi, Lanai. I read your columns in The West, and I find them riveting
and discerning. I am a baby boomer and, I believe, responsible for half the problems
in the world. (LAUGHTER) But I think I was raised up right with a ‘spare the rod
and spoil the child’ approach. Do you think this country’s
liberal views on the family in terms of advocacy for changing
the traditional family values is leading to current social
and community issues by slowly fragmenting
and eroding these values? We might come back to you in a minute
to find out a little more about where you’re coming from there. But, Lanai, let’s go to you.
I think the gist of it is right. Once again, it was one of
the big divisive issues, traditional family values. I’m very pleased you’re reading
my columns, Phillip, so thank you so much for that. But I…you know, I don’t think
that I necessarily agree with that. I don’t think that, you know,
the current debate that we’re having is causing issues
in traditional families or issues with the way
that we raise our children. I think there are many
different forms of families. You know, the…the HILDA data
that came out recently showed that, I think,
41% of family make-up are still a couple and a child. So, you know, and I just think…
(SIGHS) ..we all grow up
in different situations. Well, you certainly did.
I did. You grew up in foster care
for the most part. Well, yeah, I was made
a ward of the state at age five and lived with my grandparents,
you know, for a bit, and then went out into
out-of-home care and, you know… Does that give you
a different perspective on this? Well, absolutely. Because I have four children
of my own now – a five-year-old
and three-year-old triplets – and, you know, I…
(APPLAUSE CONTINUES) A round of applause
and possibly a medal! But, anyway, go ahead.
Maybe just some more sleep. Um… But…but, you know,
my motivation with them is to raise them as good people. And I think that that’s
what matters most, is how we’re raising
our next generation, not whether they grow up
in a same-sex family or they grow up
in a single-mother family or a single-father family. It’s about the values that
we’re instilling in our children. So I just think, you know, people will be advocates
of a traditional family, people will be advocates of,
you know, a more diverse family. But I think we all need to raise
our families how we want and care about the children
that we’re raising. So, Hannah…
(APPLAUSE) Thank you. This was another one of those ones
that really split the nation. The question was – the decline
of the traditional family has made… Has the decline of the traditional
family made Australia worse? 46% agreed that this decline
has made Australia worse. 37% disagreed. In the strongly – people
who felt strongly about this – 21% strongly agree it is worse. 19% strongly disagree. So again, in the strong opinions,
it’s very close. What do you think? Again, you can reflect on your own
family life, actually, if you like. Yeah, sure. Look, I had a great-grandmother,
a Noongar grandmother, Ethel Woyung. And, you know, I was just so lucky
to have the love of my grandmother. And in the Aboriginal world, your mother’s sisters
are also your mother. We don’t have
the nuclear Western family. And our families have suffered from
the breaking down of the families through the mission
genocidal history, which lasted up till
the, you know, ’60s, basically, or even since that time. So, you know, the family… The love of the children
in the different… ..the forms and the cultural ways
is so important, and what we are seeing, though, is this continual
sort of interruption and distress to Aboriginal families. And you have a very different idea of what “traditional
family values” mean. Well, that’s right. You know, we have much more
of a communal family make-up and interest. But still, that’s not being properly
recognised and respected. So many Aboriginal children
are being removed without proper family engagement,
actually, and sent into a life of care. I did experience
some institutional life growing up, and it was not safe,
not a good experience at all. We’re very worried about the numbers
of Aboriginal children going into care, and Western Australia actually
leads the way in terms of the removal of children,
Aboriginal children, today. The numbers are much higher
than they were during that terrible history
of the Stolen Generation, and we are trying to fight
for reforms that actually are about empowering
Aboriginal communities, keeping Aboriginal women
and families safe, and having self-determination
at the core to prevent this sort of
breaking down of our families today. I might just quickly go back
to our questioner. (APPLAUSE) Thank you very much. Phillip, you could jump up
if you wouldn’t mind. I just want to go back quickly
to understand what it is you believe “traditional family values” to be. Yes, I do, but…
No, what do you think it is? How would you describe
“traditional family values” from your perspective? Traditional family values for me
would be something that’s… ..values that are
more characteristic of a family that’s more cohesive, and also a bit of discipline. And that can be harsh
in this day and age in the democratic sort of spectre but, traditionally, a family value
for me would be values where the break-ups in families
are minimised, for instance, through love and caring
and all those sort of things, and that’s the way I see it. Thank you very much, Phillip. Zak, what do you think? And why do you think this is such
a divisive issue in the survey? I’m not entirely sure,
to be honest with you. I think a family unit
is wherever there’s love. That’s the whole thing to me –
whatever that looks like, that’s the most important thing,
and those are the values. Love and care and protection
of those around you should be what you impart on
those who are in your family, and whatever the family looks like. And I think Hannah’s right
to raise the point – Aboriginal children
in Western Australia are 18 times more likely
to be placed in out-of-home care than non-Aboriginal children. It’s a huge number. And I think the idea
of empowering Aboriginal women and Aboriginal communities
in particular is really important and trying to stop that happening
and reverse it. That’s a reflection of that love
that exists in those communities as well. Also, Western Australia has very low
permanency rates and adoption rates. So, you know, that makes
a real big difference in a child’s life as well in terms
of getting permanency and stability. So there is a lot of work
that needs to be done here. Dylan, what do you think? I agree wholeheartedly
with everything that’s been said on the panel. I think that, you know,
often the traditional family values get brought out to say, you know,
“You’ve got a mum and a dad “and this and that
and nothing can change, “and if you do that,
society’s going to collapse,” and it hasn’t happened
and it never will. I agree –
it’s all love, it’s all care. I’m extremely fortunate
to come from a really great family. I’ve got two great parents.
They’re watching right now. Shout out.
Yeah. (LAUGHS) And your grandma. And my grandmother,
and family right around. And I’ve been extremely lucky to
have a strong family, and, you know, that is something
that has benefited me. And people that don’t have
that, you know, no fault of their own, it has
a big impact in people’s lives. So I don’t disagree
with that notion. I think that there has been
periods in history that, you know, traditional family
values have been broken down, especially, you know, when we talk
about First Nations people. They’ve been broken down since,
you know, January 26, 1788. And things have started
to break up that way. But things are not breaking up
when it comes to things such as same-sex marriage and things
like that, it’s definitely not. OK. Anne, I’ll just quickly
go to you on this. Do you think that underlying this
division are religious beliefs? Oh, that’s a tough one, Tony. I’m really, to be honest, not quite sure what
“traditional family values” are. Because I was the kind of mother that would have put a tracker
on her sons, if she could. We have a very traditional
kind of family set-up. I kind of do most of the cooking, my husband opens doors for me –
but he’s my third husband. Um, so… (LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE) But I did good the third time,
Tony, just let me say, ’cause he’s just sitting there. So, I’m not really quite sure
what traditional families are. Also, I think these are
very fluid concepts and they change with generations. And they change even as traditional
religious values change as well. I mean, we’ve seen that
with the Church – some churches now becoming more
accepting of marriage equality, performing same-sex marriages
and so on and so forth. So, you know, I just think
these are fluid concepts and that we should be prepared to talk about them
in fluid ways as well. OK. You’re watching Q&A. We’re talking about the big issues,
the ones that matter to Australians. Our next question
comes from Peter Symons. Thank you. Dylan, you come from
the hot north-west and you will have seen the way
that climate change is belting the wide, brown land – the wide, brown, hot, dry land –
that we love living in. Currently, politicians are abusing
each other about bushfires. If you were prime minister
and were dealing in a country that wants leadership
on the really big issues, how would you handle the politics
of the bushfire emergency, the drought emergency,
the extinction emergency, and how they relate
to the climate emergency? Now, Dylan, “if you
were prime minister,” now… (LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE) I think we’re leaping ahead
a little bit, but that’s OK. I’m sure you’ve got ideas
on these subjects anyway. Yeah, climate change is an
existential threat to humanity and civilisation. Especially when we
talk about people. You know, the Torres Strait Islands
are going to go under water. The Pacific Islands
are going to go under water. These are existential threats
to people around the world and here in Australia. It is not political opinion to say that climate change
hasn’t contributed to these horrific bushfires that we’ve seen in New South Wales
and in Queensland. You know, like,
this isn’t a political idea that has come out of nowhere. This is
the Bureau of Meteorology. You know, these are our publicly
funded institutions. Who else are we supposed to believe? So, climate change
is an existential threat. Young people will disproportionately
feel the impacts of climate change, and I think we’ve seen that in
movements such as the school strike for climate action, and,
you know, it is a big issue. It is a huge issue. And I think that we need to
actually have a government that, first, sort of
acknowledges it. That doesn’t have senators
in the back thinking that the bureau is
tampering with temperature data. It’s just… It’s ridiculous. And we need a full…
a revolution, in my opinion, to completely overhaul
our energy generation system. We can start exporting, we can
become a renewable energy powerhouse around the world, and that’s the future Australia
needs to be at the moment. You know, coal’s one of our
biggest exports. We can make that hydrogen, we can make that clean energy, from this massive country with a whole heap of sun and, you
know, we’ve got a huge coastline. We’ve got so many
opportunities here, but narrow-minded people in Canberra
and from particular sections of the media and some commentators,
it really restricts what we can see. And it’s become really ideological,
where it shouldn’t be, because it’s life on Earth. Just a quick one – what did you…
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) I knew I’d have to be quick
to that get question in. Just very briefly, though,
what did you think of the debate around whether or not you
could talk about climate change while the bushfires are happening,
while people are struggling for their lives and trying to save
their properties? Which was the essential
political argument from both sides – both of the major parties, anyway. Yeah, I think that you can have
extremes on both sides and you do need to be sensitive, because people
have just lost their lives and people
have just lost their homes. But I think you can. There was a tweet
from the Bureau of Meteorology in New South Wales the other day that said that this has been
caused by climate change. So, you know, I don’t think
that there should ever be a time where you shouldn’t bring up fact, especially when it’s directly
affecting Australians. You do need to be
sensitive about it, but you can’t put your head
in the sand and pretend that it doesn’t happen, and, “We’ll talk about it when
these bushfires have finished,” because the bushfire season
hasn’t even started. More bushfires are going to start, more people’s lives are going to be
lost, unfortunately. There’s going to be a huge refugee
crisis due to climate change. And, you know, we’ve got
a government that’s… You know, our emissions
are continuing to rise. It’s kind of disgusting. Zak…
(APPLAUSE) So, you’re a young politician on
the conservative side of politics – still plenty of time to create your
own opinions and to make your mark, if you want to go a different path
to some of your colleagues. What are you thinking about this?
You mentioned climate change earlier. What do you think
about the debate around it during the bushfire season,
for example? Well, I think distinguishing it
from the season itself… ‘Cause you’re right,
it hasn’t started. And especially in Western Australia, I think we’re a week or two
away from it kicking off. But I think the comments, when there’s people
literally fleeing their homes and communities are under threat, when there’s an active
fire ground like that, I think calling the government
things like “arsonists” is probably unhelpful. And, ultimately, what we should be doing is making
sure that people are focused on getting out of that situation, so we make sure they leave
those areas safe and that there’s
a recovery put in place. It doesn’t mean that we have to have
the conversation, you know, just in winter, but what it does
mean is that those comments shouldn’t be insensitive
and at a time when it’s done to maximise political impact. And ultimately, whatever cause or whatever sort of misguided
perspective they’re having, it doesn’t actually help them
at all. I think we should make
sure it’s a conversation, and whatever that looks like, with,
you know, dignity and discipline, but it doesn’t need to happen when people are literally fleeing,
you know, got their go bag, and out the door
and running from a fire. Now, Dylan referred to big ideas. And one of the big ideas
I think you were actually borrowing from some of what Ross Garnaut,
the economist, said on this program last week, and has been saying, that Australia could be a renewable energy superpower
if it chose to be. And it could use clean energy
to start processing metals. So, in Western Australia,
for example, where you send huge quantities
of iron ore to China, if you use renewable energy in this
way that Garnaut is envisaging, you could be sending processed
metals, steel, back to China. Would that be a good idea, and is that the sort of thing
that requires major leadership from the very top of government
at the federal level? I think it doesn’t necessarily
require a top-down approach. I think it requires
all of us together. It’s a shared responsibility. To me… I represent… Again, I’m going to
keep going back to Mandurah. Mandurah has the highest rate per
capita of solar panels on the roof. My district firmly believes in
the idea of renewable energy. I think we should see much more of
that take place across our cities, and, yeah, I think
there’s a good opportunity to diversify our economy. And that might mean, you know,
having smelters here and, you know, putting formed steel back up to
any export market, whatever that looks like. I think there is, absolutely, an
opportunity for cleaner energy. I think all of us
want a cleaner planet. I don’t think anyone disputes that. I think there’s the idea
of the renewables and what that looks like
in Western Australia. We have a lot of opportunity here,
a lot of resources, and I think it’s something that’s
a very exciting future for us. I just want to hear from
the other side of politics. Anne Aly, a brief answer, because we
have got so many questions to go to. OK, really brief, because
what I want to do, Tony, is I want to tie in this answer
to also answer some of the issues that Ryan raised and some of the issues
that Sandra raised really early on. What I think we should be doing… Australia’s complexity,
economic complexity… Australia has fallen
in the economic complexity index. It means that our economy
is shrinking in terms of the diversity
of things that we offer, where there is
a real opportunity here for renewables to become part of Australia’s
economically complex system. I would like to see
the outer suburbs delivering things
like renewable hubs and precincts where we develop
renewables, we do recycling. We don’t recycle our glass
in WA, right? We do recycling,
we have a circular economy, we create then jobs in the outer
suburbs for people like Ryan, so you’re not travelling 90 minutes
to get into work. We address issues of inequality,
we have jobs for young people – this is the vision for Australia
for our future, I think. Thank you very much.
(APPLAUSE) Thank you. Got to move on. The next question’s from
Jummana al-Shimary. The results from
the ABC’s Australia Talks survey – the national survey – shows around 90% of participants
do not trust politicians to tell the truth if that truth
will hurt them politically. The lack of credibility
is incredibly prominent in the political views concerning
the recent bushfire outbreak. Australian politics are supposed
to represent the people, so why are our politicians
lying to us in order to promote their own
political ideologies? Lanai, we’ll start with you. At some point, I mean, there is this
general sense that politicians… In fact, 90% of those respondents
believed that politicians were prepared to lie if it was in
their political interest to do so. That’s a pretty shocking statistic. Yeah. I’ve been in the press gallery
in Canberra since 2010, so I have viewed many politicians
over that period of time, and I think that, you know, often
they can be skilled at responding how they want to to a question. So I can see why that would be
the case in the survey, that 90% of people said
that they don’t trust them. I think, you know,
we need to see politicians be more real and give genuine
answers to things, and, you know, advocate for policies that will really make a difference
in people’s lives in a genuine way. I think we do need to really see,
you know, trust reinstalled in politics
because, you know, it all works together, you know. What the public wants,
what politicians want – it needs to be
a symbiotic relationship. So, I think that it is an issue
that we need to fix. I’m going to hear
from our non-politicians on this. So, Hannah, what do you think? Well, we’ve just had so many years
of watching, you know, politicians depose prime ministers, and we’re a bit jaded, really,
I think. And for Aboriginal people,
it’s a really hard fight. I mean, we didn’t actually get
land rights in West Australia even though we were promised it
by the Labor Party, unfortunately. The mining companies were
so powerful in their campaign. We’ve been fighting just for a Deputy Aboriginal
Children’s Commissioner for over 10 years,
following the Gordon Inquiry, sparked by the death
of a young Aboriginal girl at the Lockridge Campsite. And every time someone’s in
opposition, they say, “Oh, yeah, we support that.” But then,
when they get to government, they don’t support it anymore, and this is for, like,
Aboriginal kids who are in a really vulnerable
situation in this state. And we can’t even get
a commitment there, sadly. Dylan? I think that
it does come down to the fact that we are living
in a disconnected, 2-party system. I don’t think that a 2-party system necessarily has to be
disconnected from reality, but I think it is very disconnected
from reality at the moment. It’s concerning, when you
talk to a lot of Australians that aren’t necessarily
interested in politics, that don’t follow politics – they might watch a few news
bulletins before a federal election
or a state election – and they can’t really point out
the difference. They don’t know the difference between the Labor
and the Liberal parties, and they can’t understand
the difference between them. They think, you know, they’re
both as bad as each other, they’re both criminals,
they’re all liars. And that’s something that, you know, goes through all levels
of Australia, and people genuinely
do believe that. So I think that, you know,
to the politicians on the panel, and to the people listening as well,
that, you know, just be genuine. Be honest to people.
People will respect that. You might not win
the Newspoll of the day, but overall people are gonna
respect your authenticity. You know, all Australians from
across the political spectrum love Bob Hawke. And I think that’s because he showed
a level of authenticity. Australia liked that. And from a lot of what we’re seeing
out of Canberra at the moment… You know, I’ve been fortunate enough
to meet a few politicians, and, you know, from all sides of
politics and they’re genuinely… You might be recruited by one of them
one day! Genuinely nice people.
I won’t comment on that one! No, no, of course not.
But they’re genuinely nice people. But I think that the face that gets
put on in public sometimes can leave people feeling jaded, and I don’t think that’s good
for democracy. Thank you very much. Let’s move on
to another challenging issue. Our next question comes from
Alison Gibson. Good evening. Nine weeks ago, my sister Jessica
was killed in her home. Her husband has been charged
with murder. My sister, like so many other women,
especially Aboriginal women, got very little media attention. I’d been interviewed and
photographed days after the event, but the stories were not run. Instead, pages and pages –
front and back – in The West Australian
was about football. Why isn’t mainstream mass media
shining a light on these unnecessary
and preventable deaths? Alison, we might come back to you.
(APPLAUSE) Hannah, we’ll start with you. So one Australian woman
is being killed every week, and we know for Aboriginal women,
this is much higher. Your sister was one of the victims. And why is football,
you know, and sport so much more a priority? There is so much suffering
to the families, the children who are being
left behind as orphans. This is the most serious
human rights situation, I believe, in our country. And we have to do something
about it. And the UN has told us clearly
what we need to do – we’ve been reviewed by the Committee
on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women just last year. We do need national legislation
on violence against women. And we absolutely need to increase
our commitments to Indigenous women, who are about 18 times more likely,
as mothers, to be murdered in this state, and who are failed
routinely by the justice system and by the statutory departments
that have those responsibilities. We, as Aboriginal women, have been
raising our voices for decades, and it’s time that
we were properly heard. So, can I just ask…
(APPLAUSE) Thank you. Can I just ask, what do you think
is actually going on? I mean, do you think it’s elements
of old racist attitudes that mean that people are
disinterested, they see this sort of thing
isn’t news, won’t sell newspapers or whatever? I mean, what is it that’s going on,
do you think, when you hear a story like that? There is some issue here about
whose lives matter, you know, and that for Indigenous women –
and for non-Indigenous women – that our lives aren’t being valued
enough, or that we’re in denial about what’s actually happening
in this country. But, you know, I think all
the evidence is there now, and it’s time that we all take
the blinkers off and demand accountability,
starting from the top, with our governments. Lanai, what do you think? It’s your newspaper
they’re talking about, obviously. Yeah, so… You know, I’m so sorry about
your sister, firstly. I think, you know, it’s horrible
that your family has had to go through that,
and I’m really sorry about that. I would say that, you know, we do care about those issues. You know, we did a campaign –
Kill Or Be Killed? – where Annabel Hennessy, you know,
wrote on the case of Jody Gore, and that resulted in her being
released from prison, because she was subject
to domestic violence, she was jailed for, you know,
killing her partner, which was deemed to be in
self-defence. So, you know, through the vision
of our editor, who backed that campaign, you know,
we really shone a light on that. And I think that you are right, that there does need to be
more of those stories in the media. As we have heard the statistics,
there is one woman that dies every week from domestic violence. And personally, I mean, that’s
something that I really care about and have reported on a lot. So, you know, I think that… ..like I said, it’s horrible
what is going on, and it’s horrible what happened
to your sister, and I think that –
I agree with you – we do need to report on
those stories more. But I would draw, you know,
attention to the example of some great reporting that
we have had in our newspaper. That is absolutely true. Hannah
would like to respond to that. Yes, because I brought that case,
Jody’s case… Jody is my niece Kia’s aunty,
and I brought that case… I only found out about it
late last year, and I brought it to
many journalists, including Annabel Hennessy,
who finally raised it. But the fact is that Jody had been
in jail for over four years, she was an Aboriginal woman who’d
experienced two decades of violence and abuse, and she had the most
horrific and racist treatment by the criminal justice system,
that treated her as a perpetrator, that sentenced her to murder,
a 12-year sentence with no parole, even though she had
life-threatening health conditions. So it wasn’t the benevolence,
necessarily, of The West, but I’m ever grateful, as is Jody,
that the West campaign got on board. But we need to see it more often. And I agree with you, Alison, that there wasn’t enough focus,
you know, on what happened, really, and it isn’t. I will go back to Alison,
’cause she put her hand up. Do you want to just jump up,
Alison? Do you want to respond to that? Just that I think we need to start
looking at community attitudes. And our country loves sport, but
when we get more than five pages, front and back, about football rather than important matters
like this, where I’m actually interviewed
and photographed and stories don’t get a mention, where vigils are held that
attract hundreds of people and they still don’t make
the papers, I think something’s wrong. OK, we’ll take that as a comment, because we’ve got to go
to our last question. (APPLAUSE)
Thank you very much. We’re running out of time,
I’m sorry about that. It comes from Alissa Lovering. The Australia Talks survey
found that 70% say they have not personally
experienced discrimination. Perhaps a more telling question
would have been to ask people if they have personally witnessed
discrimination. What do you think people should do
if they witness discrimination? Zak, we’ll start with you. I think you probably want to pick
up on the last question as well, so go ahead. If I can.
Yeah. Obviously, I have to say, Alison, very sorry what happened to Jessica. That’s a horrible thing,
and I appreciate you raising it here on this platform. There’s not a person in politics,
regardless of the side, and indeed in the media,
that I’ve met, this is not something
they don’t care about. They desperately care about this and want to try and make the world
a better place. And there are committed journalists,
I think, at – Lanai talked about the West – there are committed journalists
in the West that I know about, who absolutely worry about this. And I think it’s a reflection of
the work of Dr McGlade but others who want to make sure they raise
the profile of this issue. We do it in parliament
on a regular basis. So I think it’s really important
we keep having those conversations and raising that,
it’s vitally important. And the question that was raised. With respect to discrimination?
Yeah. I think it’s important
to call it out. OK. Dylan? Exactly, call it out. Everything, especially, you know, when it comes to
gender discrimination. You know, and especially
when it comes to being in a privileged position. You know, if you are a white male,
you know, call it out when you see it. People, you know, so often, will say derogatory comments
off the cuff. And if you just asked them,
“Why do you think that?” They’ll all of a sudden take
a big step back and go, “Whoa! “Hang on.” It makes them think
for a second. And it makes them think and it makes
them question themselves. So, I think, genuinely speak up, because it happens far too often
in this country. Gender discrimination,
race discrimination, discrimination based on your sex
or your gender or your sexuality. And it is wrong, and it is
up to people that are in those privileged positions. Unfortunately, at the moment,
we do need to speak up, especially around our peers
and around our mates, because that’s where a lot of
these attitudes fester. And if someone brings up
that attitude and it’s not countered
and it’s not challenged, there’s a perception that
it is normal, and it’s not. OK. Thank you. Anne Aly. Thank you. And it was really interesting
in the survey that people who said they’ve never experienced racism, but then said, you know,
they believe that Australia has racism and discrimination. And that’s because there’s
a big difference between the racist who’ll call your office
or send you a lovely email or even take the time to write you
a letter and post it or come to your face,
is a very different kind of racism, that very direct racism, very different kind of racism
to the structural discrimination and structural racism –
the invisible kind – that comes back to the questions
that Alphonse was talking about, about opportunity and hard work
and all of those things. Definitely, yes,
we need to call it out. But I think more than
calling it out, I think we really need to have
a conversation in Australia about where we are at with
discrimination and racism. And, you know, there’s a saying
that, you know, if your head is ugly,
don’t blame the mirror. So, it’s really hard…
(LAUGHTER) It’s really hard to be introspective
about the ugly parts of us, the ugly parts of our society. The things that aren’t so nice.
It’s difficult. It is difficult to be introspective
about that. But do you know what? Australia,
we need to move on as a country. We need to heal with
our First Nations people. And we cannot do that,
we simply cannot do that, until we really address
structural and direct racism and discrimination.
OK. Lanai? Yeah. Look, I agree, and I think
that we do need to call it out and we do need to have
more conversations about it. You know, I would draw everyone’s
attention to a story that we did the other day on Sue Lines,
the Labor senator, and her granddaughter, who says that she had been
experiencing discrimination. So I think we need more stories
like that, as well. And we need to tell the stories of
people who are experiencing discrimination. ‘Cause I do think that it does occur
a lot more than we talk about. And I think it’s easier for people
to say, “Oh, no, I’ve never experienced
discrimination.” But when they actually dig
a little bit deeper and look a little bit further,
they probably have, or know someone else that has. So I think that we need to talk
about it more. OK. Hannah, last word to you. Racism is really…
it’s killing Aboriginal people. Let’s be honest. There are Aboriginal people who are
dying at the hands of police. They’re dying because they can’t get
treated in a hospital when they’re really ill. Aboriginal people are experiencing
some sort of, you know, subconscious or stereotyping racism. It’s just become so prevalent.
People are talking about it. Again, this has been a big issue
before the United Nations. We’ve been reviewed by the
Committee On Discrimination, who has acknowledged that
it’s on the rise in Australia, and that we don’t seem to have
national policies that are properly resourced
to have the conversations and we have a constitution
that is bereft of protection. If anything, it possibly allows
discrimination to happen. So we have a lot of work to do. Very briefly, police killings – deaths in custody, all those years
after the royal commission, still happening. It’s shocking, you know? We’re 30 years after, practically, the royal commission
into deaths in custody. When I was a young person, Aboriginal men were dying
at a weekly rate. Now it’s Aboriginal women
being shot. The funeral for Joyce Clarke,
who was mentally ill. Her family called 000 for help
and she was shot in Geraldton. We want answers there. We want answers for the death of
Cherdeena Wynne, in Victoria Park, who was tackled and man-handled
by the police, violently, before she subsequently died. We’ve had a historic apology but we’re not talking about human
rights training for the police, even though we’ve actually got
an offer from the United Nations’
Human Rights Commission to do that work – everyone wants to go with
the light stuff of, sort of, ‘cultural awareness training’. Well, that is not sufficient. And we have to, you know,
really become more comfortable with a human rights dialogue
and our commitments – we’re a member of the council now. Thank you very much, Hannah.
That’s all we have time for tonight. Please thank our panel –
Dylan Storer, Zak Kirkup, Hannah McGlade, Lanai Scarr
and Anne Aly. A big round of applause also
for this wonderful West Australian audience – go ahead. Thank you very much. You can continue the discussion
on Facebook and Twitter. Now, next week on Q&A, we shift
the focus to international affairs, with the former US ambassador
to the United Nations Samantha Power, the Labor Party’s Shadow Minister
for Education, Tanya Plibersek, Israeli parliamentarian
Tamar Zandberg, the foreign editor of The Australian
newspaper, Greg Sheridan, and James Brown
from the US Studies Centre. Until next Monday, goodnight. (APPLAUSE) Captions by Red Bee Media Copyright Australian
Broadcasting Corporation

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