Where did it all go wrong for Victoria? For the first time in a century, Victorians will be locked out of New South Wales to stop a second wave of COVID cases from spreading These are uncertain times, at home and around the world And now, our national defence strategy is shifting to prepare There’s lots to talk about tonight, including our drinking habits You’ve got heaps of questions, so let’s get you some answers Welcome to Q+A (APPLAUSE) Hi there. Welcome to the program Joining me tonight – television host, comedian and teetotaller Shaun Micallef, whose now documentary explores Australia’s love affair with booze The Shadow Minister for Environment and Water, Terri Butler, is here Former Defence Minister Christopher Pyne, who’s just released his memoir after a 25-year career in politics – and it’s not called The Fixer – it’s called The Insider And Today show entertainment reporter and Gamilaroi woman Brooke Boney is here as well Please make them all feel welcome (APPLAUSE) It’s great to have some more of you here too And remember, you can stream us live on iview, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram #QandA is the hashtag Please do join in the conversation Our first question tonight comes from Mari Webb Thanks, Hamish My question is for the panel I feel we are on a knife’s edge with COVID-19 We had the Ruby Princess debacle, and now Melbourne is doing it tough Is it pure, blind luck that my home state is fine while Melbourne is not? What can we learn from this? Terri Butler It’s…it’s a terrifying time, isn’t it, for a lot of people And I know that people around the country have been following the events in Victoria, and our hearts really go out Yeah to them I think what’s really important is that we recognise that we’re still in a pandemic that’s got a long way to run before we know what’s going to happen in the future Christopher Pyne, do you have a view as to what’s gone wrong in Victoria? Well, I think they have a different process to the other states For example, in South Australia, at the hotel quarantines, we have not just security guards, but also South Australian Police Force, public health nurses, doctors from the Department of Health, public servants – I mean, it’s a whole full-court press And my understanding – which could be exaggerated – but my understanding is that, in Victoria, they’ve mainly been managed by the security firms And the security guard firms have said that they’ve had very little training in terms of dealing with COVID I think one of the reports was that they had four minutes of training before they were sent in to the front line, if you like And I think that process has clearly been found wanting But the criticism now with these housing blocks is that the response is too heavy-handed I mean, doesn’t this show that it’s very difficult for the states to get it right, no matter what the circumstance? No, I don’t think it’s too heavy-handed I think the states and the nations that went hard early on social distancing – the new term for staying away from each other – have proven to have had the better outcomes And I think Victoria was very much part of that until, obviously, very recently And I think the failures have come from the quarantining in hotels in Melbourne That seems to be where the hot spots have leached from And, I mean, Sweden is another example A lot of people early in the COVID crisis, the pandemic, were saying, “Oh, we should be doing what Sweden’s doing – “they’re not locking everything down, “they’ve still got cafes, schools, and so on going, “and people are making their own choices.” And I said, “Yeah, well, that’s that’s not what we’re doing.” And now, we’ve been proven to be right, because Sweden has the highest fatality rate in Europe of people who contract the pandemic…the COVID virus So, you know, I think going hard early has been a success for Australia We’re seeing what’s really a second wave, led by Victoria I don’t think I agree with Terri – I don’t think that’ll be the end of it I think, you know, other states are going to have similar problems down the track And no-one wants to be too judgemental about it We’ve been lucky, and we’ve been well managed But, you know, we’re certainly not through it Shaun, you’re a Victorian Yes! Is it something that you actually feel scared of, what’s coming? Well, we do a show on the ABC called Mad As Hell And about halfway through the season, which was in about it was towards the end of March, we…we lost our audience And we…we sort of continued on for another six episodes, and then had a break, and things were looking up,
and we were assured that we would have our audience back and things would be back to normal And now we’re about a month away from coming back with Mad as Hell and we don’t have an audience again We’re in no better position than we were when we ended three to four months ago And I think Christopher’s probably right – I suspect this is going to happen until – or if – there’s a until there’s a vaccine Yeah Assuming there is ever one Is there a sense in Victoria, though, with suburbs being, effectively, separated, with housing blocks being separated, that the community is actually being divided over this? Um, well, the Footscray area and I think there are four tower blocks, maybe two lots of four tower blocks in the Footscray area, which is not very far away from where I live, and I get the sense, anecdotally, that everybody’s actually chipping in and helping So I get the other sense – I get the sense that communities aren’t divided, in fact, they’re coming together and being very supportive So…part of me wants to always look for the positive that comes out of the COVID-19 crisis And I think, on a community level, things are pretty good – people are very willing to help each other OK BUTLER: We’re seeing that through the volunteers for Foodbank as well and FairShare, places like that, that are actually getting together There’s just been a really big surge of people wanting to help But do you think that people who are living in those apartment blocks think that the community’s coming together when they can’t leave their apartments or have anyone come in? I mean, I can’t I think it is heavy-handed I can’t imagine walking out of my house and having police standing there saying, “Oh, sorry, Brooke, not today “And, also, no-one’s allowed to come and see you “Oh, it doesn’t matter what you’ve got inside – “we’ll try to make sure that you’ve got the things that you need “within the next 24 to 48 hours.” And, you know, there’s an apartment block across the road from them that looks like a similar volume of people with similar density And I understand from that, from the figures, there were 16 people out of the 127 who were diagnosed overnight That’s…that’s a lot And I think that, you know Is it the best solution to have police there, guarding? Or would it be more effective to maybe have translators or to have the COVIDSafe app in different languages and explain to people from different language groups the best way to manage community transmission? Well, maybe those subtleties will come in time, over the next five days ‘Cause, really, those tower blocks are like giant docked cruise ships at the moment Mm And each of them have got about 5,000 people living in them But how are they different from other tower blocks? Well, they’re the ones, I think, where they’ve found there’s a higher level of infections BUTLER: Mm Alright. Our next question tonight is a video from Sue Kee in Perth, in Western Australia This morning, a federal politician sparked a backlash as a result of comments made about the residents in the public housing estate in inner North Melbourne What can be done immediately to quash and quell any negativity that has arisen as a result of these comments? And more particularly, what can be done to ensure that these residents are readily provided with access to daily necessities that are appropriate to their needs? So, the politician she’s referring to is Pauline Hanson She appeared on the Today show this morning Among the things she said was that “The fact is, a lot of them” – referring to the people in the tower blocks – “are drug addicts as well.” She said, “They’re alcoholics “A lot of these people are from non-English-speaking backgrounds, “probably English isn’t their second language, “who haven’t adhered to the rules of social distancing.” Brooke, how did you feel watching that go out on your program today? I felt completely heartbroken I grew up in Housing Commission And, to me, I was thinking about all of those kids sitting at home watching, all of those people trapped in their apartments, watching and thinking, “This is what Australia thinks of us “This is what the rest of our country thinks – “is that we’re alcoholics and drug addicts.” And that’s disgusting And I’m all for free speech, and I think that, you know, people, when they have different perspectives and different opinions, that most of the time it does help drive argument forward or, you know, debate forward or policy forward But when you use it to…to vilify people, or to be deliberately mean and mean-spirited, it’s That, to me, is disgusting But I suppose it’s not surprising that Pauline Hanson said some of those things She’s got a long record of saying things that provoke outrage, and, some would argue, promote division She’s been on your program, and other breakfast programs, for a very long time Why get rid of her now? The Today show’s said that she’s no longer coming back I think there is a very big difference between saying things that you really, truly believe, and are helpful in representing your electorate And let’s not forget that she’s elected
And if you go and have a look at some of the comments that are around on the internet, there are a lot of people who support Pauline Hanson And those perspectives – you know, they should be heard I mean, I don’t agree with a lot of them, and they certainly don’t match up with my values, but that doesn’t mean that their perspectives are worth any less than mine and that they shouldn’t be heard on platforms like the Today show or Q+A or whatever But when they cross over to being mean and…and causing division, and vilifying a whole group of people, I think that’s a whole other story And I think that that’s where we draw the line I think that’s a bit of a cop-out I mean, she’s been a public racist since 1996 She used her first maiden speech to say that we were in danger of being “swamped by Asians” and she used her second maiden speech to say that we were in danger of being “swamped by Muslims” I mean, we’re talking about someone here who didn’t just wake up this morning and for the first time ever say something racist And shows have been platforming her And, you know, free speech is one thing, elevating racism in the discourse is another And I think what we need and what Labor has been calling for for a long time is an anti-racism campaign – a national anti-racism campaign – to try to deal with some of the things that we’re hearing at the moment, particularly during the COVID pandemic It’s pretty clear what we need Today show’s not the only show that has Pauline Hanson Quite right on it regularly Sunrise had for a long time Mm Quite right So, it’s… I mean And I think she was on this show obviously, it builds ratings But that relationship fell apart over the Christchurch attacks That’s right and an altercation between the host and Pauline Hanson then, and that regular spot was resumed pretty promptly on the Today program The Today show, yeah Do these programs, do you think, just place the ratings over productive public conversation? Well, I think they do – ratings is very much the pre-eminent, um, priority of those kinds of shows, or most commercial television, because they want to sell advertising So Pauline Hanson does very well for ratings, ’cause she’ll say these kinds of totally inappropriate things Racially profiling people in public housing is absolutely disgraceful, and such a thing of the past I mean, it kind of reminds you of Oswald Mosley from the 1930s – it’s sort of bizarre But he wouldn’t do it on television He wouldn’t go to a TV show Well, he wouldn’t have had the chance! He wouldn’t have had the chance But I’m curious – I mean, I appreciate you might not be privy there in the moment, but when Senator Hanson gets up and speaks in the Senate, is there much difference in what she says compared with what she says on the television? I don’t know I haven’t listened to one of her speeches in the Senate, nor read them Is it any more nuanced in the Senate? BUTLER: So… Well, neither I don’t think she speaks a lot in the Senate Christopher wasn’t in the Senate and I’m not in the Senate, but I can…you know, you see the sorts of things that she does to get attention, like wearing a burqa into the chamber to try to provoke division amongst the Australian community Does she see herself, do you think, as a delegate for the people that she represents, rather than a senator? I think it’s a business model I think it’s all about her Frankly, I think it’s about She’s got a party built on a brand The brand is built on her personality Her business model has worked I don’t agree with that I think that Pauline Hanson genuinely believes the things that she says, and she’s been quite consistent about it Consistently bad, right? But she’s been consistent about it But it can be both, Christopher As you pointed out It can be both ’96 to the second one Could be both – depends on the people around her, but Yeah, depends on what you’re using it for I’ve been surprised, watching Pauline Hanson over 20-odd years, that her views haven’t changed very much And to go to your point, Shaun, there’s definitely a cadre of people who believe and agree with what Pauline says Mm And they’ve been the one party from the non-Labor side of politics that’s been actually quite electorally successful in the last 20 years, One Nation But as a politician, she has to be more than just a voice for the people she represents Well, of course. But She has to it takes all kinds As politicians And it’s down to the voters, to be honest, Shaun, isn’t it? I mean Sorry? Who puts her in the parliament? The people who vote for her It’s not just about one woman, it’s about what…what a big slice of the community thinks And they’d be listening to this conversation tonight, saying, “That’s exactly why we vote for Pauline Hanson.” Mm. Exactly Because of those kinds of people, like us, who say that they’re not Go and have a look at the comments on the internet – they support her This isn’t…you know, she hasn’t put herself there No These people elected her They believe what she believes Quite easily elected her, by the way Exactly. And She got two quotas the year that she got elected There may be, you know, a certain portion who are led along by her, but a lot of them wholeheartedly believe what she believes Can we be clear about this, though? Are you happy to see her gone, dumped, from the program? I am so happy to see her gone You know, she says awful things about Aboriginal people as well that really upset me And, you know, it’s not about me being upset – it’s about…someone intentionally being divisive And they’re ill-informed – they’re just not true – the things that she says And that’s what’s really upsetting, because, as a journalist, you know, you sort of try your very best to make sure that what you say is factual and, you know, even when you do give your opinion, you don’t say things that aren’t true
Alright. Our next question is from Sarah Mansour in the studio Thanks, Hamish I’m an Australian of Egyptian background, and I’ve personally been subject to the application of stereotypes based on my colour and my surname So, assumptions have been made about my place of birth, my nationality and my beliefs before I even open my mouth And I don’t appreciate those types of assumptions being made However, I do appreciate a good parody every now and then And the first… Although, I mean, I’m not suggesting that we should be publicising offensive content, but the first question I have for the panel is, where do we draw the line between what is healthy and comical parody, and what is offensive and unhealthy? And my second question is – if we do start to over-censor things, like shows on Netflix, are we actually going to add more to the problem by further making invisible the fact that these stereotypes do exist? Shaun? Mm! Well, that’s a very interesting question I guess because it’s not available on Netflix doesn’t necessarily mean it’s censored, ’cause I suppose you can get these shows – you just have to look a bit harder for them But it helps every now and again to have a bit of an audit of your inventory, I think – whether it be Netflix or, perhaps, even the ABC I know the ABC, in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, have decided to have a look at its back catalogue and make sure that whatever’s available on iview has a sense that somebody’s looked at it and applied some sort of sensitivity to the selection We’re obviously talking about ‘cancel culture’ – a number of individuals have been targeted and ‘cancelled’, as it were As a comedian that’s been working for decades, do you look back and think through what you’ve done and ask yourself, “Have I done things that are no longer acceptable?” Yeah, yeah, certainly When the #MeToo movement started to gain some traction, I think a lot of people did an audit and had a look at themselves professionally and privately, and certainly with the Black Lives Matter movement, I’ve wondered about that myself Because, obviously, a lot of comedy shows have come up for a bit of a hit, and I certainly remember John Cleese talking about Fawlty Towers with the ‘Germans’ episode, and there was a racial slur used by a character in that particular episode And he pointed out that the BBC had, I think, as recently as the early ’90s, decided to snip that particular reference anyway, with his consent and approval And, indeed, when Cleese came over here to Australia to launch the stage version of Fawlty Towers, in which the ‘Germans’ episode featured, he decided to remove it So, I think, as long as the creator’s involved, I think it’s a good idea to revisit things, particularly if they’re still popular I know that if Well, Mad as Hell’s been running 9, 10 years now, and I think if the ABC decided to make it all available on iview, I would welcome the opportunity to sit down with the ABC and maybe just look at things and see how they land now And stuff that’s even older, more so So I think it’s a healthy thing Christopher Pyne, how do you feel about cancelling artistic pursuits from the past, or even recent expressions of art, or even statues? Well, I think you’ve got to be have some common sense about it And I think that there was an example recently of Gone With The Wind being edited, or cancelled, because of the character of Mammy, who was the slave But you can’t actually make a movie about the Civil War in the United States without having black slaves in it It doesn’t actually mean that you are parodying black people as slaves It means it’s a proper historic record of what happened I think it was the way she was portrayed, though The way she was portrayed Hattie McDonald’s performance But that becomes very granular then, you start to say, “I don’t like the way she was portrayed.” But there was also a whole movement to cancel Gone With The Wind But I think that’s different and I would not cancel Gone With The Wind because I don’t think you can make a Civil War movie without black slaves On the other hand, I think the blackface of some of the comedies that have been taken off by the ABC You’re talking about Chris Lilley? Yes I think that’s the right thing to do, because that’s modern, and it’s completely unnecessary, and it’s clearly racially profiling black people in an inappropriate way, and we should know better than that But then, you’ve written arguing that a statue of the former South Australian Premier Charles Cameron Kingston Charles Kingston, should remain Of course even though he was a very vocal supporter of the White Australia policy Well, everyone was, in the 1890s Mm including most of the leaders of the trade union movement So, are you making a judgement call, then, about what you think is acceptable forms of racism? No, my column said that…”Let’s be sensible about this argument.”
I don’t think we should have a statue of a slave trader in Bristol on display But Charles Cameron Kingston was the premier who brought in votes for women in 1894, and allowed women to stand for parliament – for the first parliament in the world – in South Australia He led industrial relations reform that supported the rights of workers He was no right-wing racist Now, most people in the 1890s were in favour of the White Australia policy Some are still in favour of the White Australia policy, sadly But he was no different to all politicians of the time And that is not a reason to remove his statue Whereas I don’t think we should have a statue of a slave trader and I don’t think we should have a ranges called King Leopold Ranges I think it’s all You just said he was no right-wing racist Can you be certain that he wasn’t a racist, given that he was a…? He could have been a racist, but I meant in the current way that we think of racists being right-wing, some of the people in the British UKIP party, etc, some of the things that they’ve said He wasn’t that kind of person His values of being in favour of the White Australia policy I mean, Alfred Deakin was in favour of the White Australia policy, and the left hold him up as a great doyen of interference from government in the economy And he was a liberal, of course, so I support him very strongly, but So you have to actually make a sensible historical call You can’t just say, “Anybody who was in favour “of the White Australia policy, let’s remove their statues.” Brooke? Look, I But it’s different if they’re obviously a slave trader, and Bristol’s a different story I… Thank you for your question, Sarah And, you know, I think all of this ‘cancel culture’ stuff is…it’s happening at a really, really difficult time for all of us There’s so many massive questions I think what they ended up doing with Gone With The Wind was making a little film at the start of it that they showed to provide context Right and then they put it back up So, it was originally cancelled by HBO Max Right. That’s sensible That’s sensible. And MICALLEF: Could you do that with a statue? You put another plaque on the back or on the side? Well, yeah, this is what I think I actually think you could do that You probably could Yeah Because I think that the problem that I have with statues – I mean, not that I walk around Hyde Park and am offended by statues that I see – I think it’s a massive distraction, and I’ll get to that in a minute But I think what would be more helpful to people, and to Aboriginal people, is to have a more complete version of history available And, you know, if we are going to walk around and see statues, then we’ll say, you know, “This person meant this at the time, “and this is the context that they existed in.” Well, I agree with that completely “But, you know, this is the impact that those sorts of views had “on women, or on Aboriginal people, or on whoever, at the time.” And, you know, maybe if we are going to have weird statues around the place, we could put up some statues of other heroes, like Barangaroo or Bennelong I mean Or Pemulwuy Or Pemulwuy Bennelong was the first Aboriginal man to speak English That’s an incredible achievement Like, what an amazing intellect that man must have had And I think that a lot of people would go, “Oh, Bennelong – that’s where the Opera House is,” or, “that’s some lovely restaurant,” or whatever They wouldn’t actually know who Bennelong is And if we are going to have these statues, then it’s important that we tell a more complete story of our history (APPLAUSE) I agree But I also think that this debate is incredibly frustrating, because it’s happening at a time when we’re talking about young people dying Black people dying And, you know, the other day, I woke up from a nap and I saw on Twitter that Ken Wyatt and the Prime Minister were talking about having an Indigenous incarceration Close the Gap target of 2093 And I thought, “How long have I been napping for?!” Like, “What is going on here? This is ridiculous.” And so, you know, I’m not offended by statues I’m a little bit offended by some TV shows, but I don’t really care I’m not offended by, you know, Redskins or Chicos I mean, obviously, I would prefer if they weren’t there It’s obviously awful to walk into the supermarket and see, like, a racial slur written on some cheese and But I would much rather that we’re talking about things that actually make a difference in the lives of Aboriginal people Things like early childhood education rates, things like the, you know, incarceration rates, things like justice reinvestment, that are actually helpful and not just virtue signalling There are individuals, though, sometimes in these cases, that are impacted And we’ve been contacted by Filipe Mahe and his wife Filipe was the individual that is alleged to be the inspiration for the Chris Lilley character Jonah From Tonga They’ve written a question because they’ve received so much backlash in recent weeks over this that they don’t feel comfortable to show their faces on the program tonight But the question is, “My husband, Filipe, had the character Jonah From Tonga “based on him when he was at his most vulnerable “He’s felt exploited for years “Why is it that most Australians feel he should ‘get over it’, “and how does Chris Lilley and the ABC get away with this “without an apology or explanation?” Well, this is what I think the big difference is When you were talking about John Cleese talking about Fawlty Towers and saying, “That was of a time and place, and I regret it” –
edit it out, I don’t care Chris Lilley, that same week when we took all of those programs off air – you know, people can still probably find them in the nether regions of the internet if they want to – but he released an unedited clip or some extra part of Jonah From Tonga, even though this man had said, “This really upsets me “I’ve lost a parent, I’ve got dyslexia, “and I used my culture to try to get through those periods, “which were incredibly tough, and you’ve exploited that for comedy.” He goes and does that? What was in the clip? It was just another clip from Jonah From Tonga or That wasn’t in the original version? That wasn’t part of the show PYNE: That hadn’t been publicised But he shared it on his personal YouTube channel He hasn’t come out and said, “I’m sorry.” He hasn’t come out and said, “This is a learning moment for me.” And so I think that’s disgusting What about the ABC, though? Should the ABC apologise? To Filipe? I think that the producer who worked on it said that she felt really awful at the time I don’t want to tell the ABC what they should and shouldn’t do Shaun Micallef, is there some responsibility here? You said you would welcome the opportunity to go back through your material Should the ABC be publicly reflecting on this? Well, I can’t speak for the ABC, and I can’t speak for Chris either, I suppose, but I can speak for…for myself And, look, if it was up to me, um I would be ringing up and knocking on the door at the ABC and saying, “I’d like to participate in dealing with the reaction “to this situation.” I can’t remember when Chris’s show was on air. Is it…? Was it…? It hasn’t been on air for a few years now Was it as long ago as 2005, 2006? Yeah, I guess so, probably But it surprises me that that show About ’07, I think had that kind of humour in the noughties and…the 2000s I mean, it’s a bit unusual BUTLER: Quite I can imagine how, in the ’60s, they made shows, like, that were racist about…in Britain about people living next door to each other Love Thy Neighbour, I think Love Thy Neighbour I was going to say that, but I thought I might have got it wrong But in the 2000s? I always thought I never really watched the show, ’cause it wasn’t a humour that I enjoyed, but it did surprise me Alright Our next question tonight is from Jasmine Poulikakos Thank you I’m a Year 12 student currently undertaking a research project for my society and culture major work around the role of alcohol consumption in shaping Australia’s national identity What role do you think the advertisement of alcohol in sports such as NRL or AFL has in facilitating the acceptance of alcohol consumption as a part of our national identity? And should there be restrictions imposed on this type of advertising, like those existing for smoking? Shaun? Well… That’s a that’s a very good question And inherent in that question is the answer I think yes. I think that’s the way That’s going to be the way it goes, I think You’ve been on a big journey across Australia, effectively investigating, for a new documentary, Australia’s relationship with booze Yeah, ’cause I had no idea I mean, I Explain why Well, I My parents didn’t drink, and I didn’t have my first drink until I turned 18 and uh, and went to university and felt that drinking just meant that you had to get drunk, otherwise there was no point to it So… And I wasn’t very good at it, you know – three glasses of something and, you know, I was obviously very amusing and charming (LAUGHTER) or so I thought But I was quickly disabused of that notion by my friends So I gave up and, uh didn’t really think about it at all, apart from that idea of just giving it up There was a particular moment, though, that led you to give up, wasn’t there? Well, yes, there…yes, there was And it was a cause of great embarrassment to me It was after work, and I’d had too much to drink – way too much to drink And I wasn’t a charming drunk at all. I was just…a drunk And I was asleep, and my then-fiancee and her mother, and their poodle, came to find me in that state, and I was so ashamed that that was what prompted me just to give it up Now, I’m not suggesting for a moment it was a great struggle for me to give up, and I know there are a lot of people who have struggles with alcohol and they’re far more deserving of some applause than me just giving up, but fast-forward 25 years, and my children are approaching the age where they’re going to be offered alcohol, and I really had no advice for them So I thought, “Why is it a thing? Why do people drink at all?” It seems like such a strange, foreign country to me So I decided to rather than give my children advice, I would actually go around and make a documentary and make them watch it (LAUGHTER) And you went to, of all places, a B&S ball. Let’s take a look Everywhere I look, B&S ball virgins who aren’t me are undergoing various induction rituals,
which principally involve downing as much alcohol from as many receptacles as possible in the shortest space of time Do you want to do one? No, no. I couldn’t, really Thank you, though How many standard drinks would that be, I wonder? About 1.1, 1.2 In a shoe? Yeah MAN: At a B&S, everyone looks after their mates If my mate was drinking and he was throwing up, mate, I’d put him to bed Remember those days when we could get together in a group and enjoy ourselves, apparently? But I wonder whether alcohol may go the way of tobacco in terms of, you know, pictures of cirrhosed livers on labels and things like that Because one of the big takeaways for me, as a result of making this documentary, and I wasn’t aware of it – maybe I was naive – is that alcohol’s a class 1 carcinogen and I wasn’t aware of that It’s pretty dangerous Terri, it’s not just the sporting codes, it’s governments as well, that rely on dollars flowing in from the alcohol companies Do you think we need to have a look at the structures around this, the things that are leading so many of us to drink to excess? Well, it’s something that the Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing…Welfare has looked at, and particularly recently, given the COVID lockdown, isolation, social distancing that everyone’s been through, there’s some evidence there has been a spike in alcohol use And that’s not really surprising when you look at what are the risk factors for people to drink more For women, it’s people who For women, it’s having childcare responsibilities, for men, it’s the loss of a job, and for everyone, it’s stress And that pretty much describes the most recent several months we’ve just been through So, it’s not surprising that there has been an increase in drinking in some households The conservative estimates say about 20% of households have had more alcohol use So, I think that there is, right now, in the context of the COVID recovery – hopefully, there’ll be a COVID recovery pretty soon We all have talked already tonight about how difficult is it to look into a crystal ball and see what happens with COVID, but in the context of coming out of it, I think we do need to think about what that has meant for us, the additional reliance on alcohol through that period, but come to grips more broadly with our drinking culture that we have And I’m looking forward to seeing the documentary to see a bit more about it Politics is pretty boozy, though, isn’t it, Christopher Pyne? Yes, it is And I’m not a teetotaller, and nor am I a wowser And I actually enjoy alcohol, but I enjoy it with meals, I enjoy it with eating I think it really At book launches I know your book launch event in Canberra is called Wine With Pyne Wine With Pyne! A mixer with the fixer For The Insider (LAUGHTER) On Tuesday night Tomorrow night, Annabel Crabb and I are launching The Insider in Canberra – that’s correct – with the Canberra Writers’ Festival So, I think alcohol should be enjoyed I think it should be enjoyed with meals, in restaurants and cafes Are we too dependent on it, though, as a society? I think the problem with alcohol is when you, you know, drink it to ridiculous excess I haven’t seen any statistics that suggest that alcoholism is worse in Australia more recently than the last, you know, several decades We are a high-alcohol-consumption country I think Germany is higher And obviously, you’ll find if you travel to things like B&Ss, you’re going to find a lot of people drinking totally inappropriately Well, per head, since the ’70s, it’s gone down Is it? But oddly enough, per head for women, it’s gone up Is that right? Yeah And during COVID, I think 26% of Australians said they’ve upped their intake by more than five drinks a week, which is a pretty significant amount I wonder if it was if it wasn’t as accessible Because you can, obviously, get your boxes delivered now, and there’s no human interaction, whereas, maybe, as recently as five or six years ago, you would actually have to pop down to the shop and physically present yourself And I think people were busier before COVID Like, you know, if I was at work and I’m driving home at 5:00, and I get home at 6:00 or whatever it might be, you’re not drinking until 6…6:30, 7:00 Being at home for COVID, my wife and I would have a drink late in the afternoon at 5:30 or 5:00 or 6:00, when we wouldn’t normally have ever done that before What would you have? Gin and tonic Gin and tonic? With lemon and lime (LAUGHTER) Which is my favourite drink A lot of women are drinking wine to get through it People who’ve got kids, you know, been homeschooling, so the kids have been at home, they’ve been trying to work out how to do that They’ve had the stress of whether the household income is going to drop, or it already has dropped for a lot of people Sure I think you’re right about the time So people are relying Time can get a bit muddy too Because, you know, there are times when I “Is today Saturday? Is today Thursday?” But just time I don’t think we should be judgy about it. And I think You know, I don’t think that we’ll end up with alcohol being treated the way…same way as cigarettes and tobacco Because you can have Why? ‘Cause you can have one or two glasses of wine and not actually damage your health, but you can’t smoke without damaging your health, so Well, when we But I think that’s the evidence for alcohol now, isn’t it? That there’s no real benefit to drinking, that it is only Well, it is if you like drinking a glass of white wine with your meal, like with your schnitzel Chardy with some ice in it?
There are some new guidelines Sounds gorgeous right now It’s very stressful talking about this There are some new guidelines Or a glass of red with a steak I mean, I do. I’m so sorry about it, but I do. (LAUGHS) It’s fine. No-one’s being judgy But there are new guidelines that are due to come out, and we need to see them I’m going to go out and wear a hair shirt after tonight now that I know how wicked I’ve been I think it’s funny for enjoying a glass of red wine! When we were talking about COVID and how stressful it is, I think when it started, I was thinking, like, “I’m going to do yoga every day I’m going to go for a walk “I’m going to be so hot.” I lost 7kg during COVID Yeah. But then you get to week three, and you’re so bored and it’s 5:00, so you just go to the fridge and have a glass of wine Do you know what I did? The first month BUTLER: I wasn’t bored I looked like a Teletubby after the first month, ’cause I kept going to the kitchen and constantly eating Yep. Yes Yeah And if I’d put a onesie on, I would have looked like one of those Teletubbies So, I thought, “This has got to stop!” What do you mean And I stopped! What do you mean “if” you put a onesie on? (LAUGHTER) Terri’s point Terri’s point’s interesting, ’cause when we were making the documentary, there was some debate about the silhouette of the pregnant woman on the back of a wine bottle And I think that exists now, but there was some question as to whether there should be text BONEY AND BUTLER: Mm And the alcohol industry was reluctant to agree to the text saying, “Warning…” But I think there should be for pregnant women text, a warning Definitely Yeah, that’s right But I think the worry was that the text would take up more of the label, and obviously the label is a very, very important thing on a wine bottle, because it evokes And unborn children aren’t! What’s that? And unborn children aren’t, yeah Yeah, yeah So I’m not sure what the result of that particular to-and-fro was Well, I don’t know what the outcome of the labelling issue is, but the general question of what is safe drinking is actually under investigation at the moment The National Health and Medical Research Council – which you’re well aware of, of course – had some guidelines put out for consultation, and they’re expected to be finalised So what we actually need, I think, right now, is for the current government to crack the whip on that and make sure that people do have the most up-to-date information, particularly when I think it’s pretty clear that drinking has become a bit more prevalent I agree It’s not judgy, it’s not about I was the “How dare you have a drink,” wagging a finger I was the Parliamentary Secretary for Health with responsibility for alcohol, drugs and tobacco Mm And so I was quite across this alcohol issue when they put the pregnant women picture on the labels In fact, I put the hideous photographs on cigarette packets, right? So, I think people should have as much information as possible about what they’re doing and obviously want to discourage everybody from problem drinking, no…clearly But I also don’t think we want to start a campaign against alcohol as though it’s somehow inherently evil But for pregnant women it’s obviously something they shouldn’t be encouraged to be drinking alcohol, and there should be proper warnings on the bottle And there should be an education campaign There should be an education A lot of people I spoke to when making the documentary didn’t know about the link between breast cancer and…and drinking And remember, in the I mean, in the ’50s and ’60s, and ’70s, when we were young Yes We went to univers we went to university I just want to inform everybody that they went to the same university, and there was overlap, I believe There was, by a year. That’s right But women used to smoke while they were pregnant without even thinking twice about it Without even thinking twice about it And, look, happily, we’ve now managed to get education to the point where I don’t think you hardly ever see pregnant women smoking But there is a But in our youth, they were smoking like trains! There is a big difference, though, because smoking cigarettes – I mean, you might get addicted to nicotine, but each succeeding cigarette doesn’t muddy your brain in the way that alcohol does I mean, you might It’s not very good for your foetus Well, it’s not very good for your foetus But you might promise yourself, “I’ll only have three drinks.” But each succeeding drink makes that promise less likely, you are less likely to stick to it It kind of takes away your reason a little bit Unlike tobacco Smoking Yeah. So, you have to approach it a bit differently, don’t you? We’re going to move on because lots of people are telling us on Twitter they’re doing Dry July and would like us to discuss something else! (LAUGHTER) So, our next question is from We’re making them thirsty, are we, Hamish? I like Oct-sober! We’re driving them all to the drink! You lot are always making them thirsty, I’m sure Meredith Williams is in the studio audience My question is for Shaun – now that Mathias Cormann has announced he will leave parliament before the end of the year, what will become of Darius Horsham, and do you think he may stay on as the spokesborg for the next Finance Minister? We are, of course, talking about one of the characters from Mad As Hell It’s not a real person, yes Lovely question, Meredith (LAUGHTER) I’m hopeful In fact, Christopher, you might be able to That is Darius Horsham and, as you can see, he bears no relationship at all to Senator Cormann, although a good friend of yours, Christopher, and I’m wondering what Who’s that? Mathias Cormann Oh, Mathias! Oh, definitely Yeah, I thought you were going to say there’s a good friend of mine I thought, “There’s another one?!” (LAUGHTER) But there’s no reason why Darius can’t hang around, I think, as a political commentator, even though Senator Cormann always claimed never to be a commentator Do you still have that small statue of me on your No, it’s not you I’ve told you this before Christopher Pyne is under the impression that the wobble…the bobblehead of Scott Morrison
that’s on my desk on Mad As Hell is him A lot of people think it’s me Well, I don’t know if a lot of people… I think it’s just you (LAUGHTER) I think you’re projecting You are represented in the show Have you ever seen the show? No, I’ve actually never watched your show, but lots of people have told me why does (LAUGHTER) I don’t watch a lot of television! So now that I’ve retired from politics, I keep laughing at ads on the television between MasterChef I didn’t know there’d been 14 series of MasterChef! I’m completely obsessed with it And I watch these ads and I burst out laughing and the children say, “What’s so funny?” I say, “That ad’s hilarious.” They say, “That ad’s been on television for five years!” “No! It’s so clever!” Well, why did you think you had a wobblehead on the desk if you’ve never watched it? Because friends of mine and yours, mutual friends, have sent me texts saying, “Why does Shaun have that effigy of you on his panel?” It’s taunting you It’s taunting me I think… Like Christopher, I think there’s no reason why Christopher’s avatar on the show, and Mathias Cormann’s avatar on the show, can’t continue, I’d like to think And it was also very nice of Senator Cormann to wait until mid-October, or maybe the first week of October, which is when we finish, so we could still Give your next season a run? Yeah, in fact, I’m hopeful that he can come on and say goodbye to Darius You do write a fair bit about Mathias Cormann and his role in the downfall of Malcolm Turnbull Do you think ultimately that was the end of the game for Mathias Cormann in politics? It’s a good question So, Mathias and I are very good friends, despite the fact that Mathias is much more conservative than I am, but that’s alright In politics, that’s what it’s like And I do write a lot about Mathias in the book – The Insider You’ve got your plug in! (LAUGHTER) I have to. The publishers told me I have to mention it as often as I can Well, you’re done. You’re done What’s it called again? The Insider No more! Fascinating Published by Hachette, Australia And… Because he was the reason about my theory about the solar system ’cause I described it to him at the Commonwealth Club, you know, that the sun is the leader and that the people orbit around the leader, and that the week Peter Dutton came out of his orbit and kind of knocked all the planets about a bit And that Mathias and I were quite happy because we kind of knew where we were in the solar system Where were you? I was one of the planets orbiting around the sun, the sun being Malcolm, of course And by the time Malcolm was the leader, I was Mercury, as opposed to Pluto, which I had been in the Howard government (LAUGHTER) So, you can move closer to the sun And, um…but I do think that was a very traumatic week for a lot of people – Julie Bishop, Malcolm, me, Mathias – because Mathias is an inherently very loyal person You have this story, though, about you and Mathias trying to get a hold of each other during that week We did, on the Wednesday, we spent a lot of time trying to do that and we didn’t, which was very surprising ‘Cause I was trying to find out whether he had changed his mind about Malcolm and he was trying to tell me that I should change my mind about Malcolm Were you avoiding each other, actually? No, we were just texting It was a very When you’ve gone through one of these, and Terri’s been through a few in the Labor Party BUTLER: I have not And when you’ve been through a couple in the Liberal Party, it’s a very fast-moving game What if you’d spoken to him, do you think? Do you think the outcome would have been different? I don’t know, actually That’s a question I pose in the book – The Insider (LAUGHTER) I mean Listen, you’ll be marched off here in a second if you say its name again! That’s the whole idea I feel like Shaun should have a go of saying his documentary name now It is slightly implausible that, given the stakes and given the central role that both of you were playing at that time That we couldn’t get hold of each other? That you couldn’t get hold of each other I know but it’s true because I was actually I missed him several times on the phone, texting, WhatsApp I’m very firmly of the view that Mathias believed that he was acting in the best interests of the Liberal Party, that he believed that Malcolm couldn’t win the next election, and he made an assessment that Peter Dutton would, which I think was wrong, and that’s why I didn’t support Peter Dutton I supported Scott Morrison and the rest, of course, is history But I think he’s an inherently loyal person and a very good finance minister I think it’ll be a real loss to the Liberal Party in government But, you know, everyone has the right to choose when they want to leave, and I did, and he did, and good luck to him Alright. The next question tonight is from Natasha Balderston Thank you, Hamish It seems like ministers in each political party are fully supportive of their party and its decisions while being a minister, but have quite salacious things to say once they’re no longer in the position Do you think it’s fair to the Australian public to be manipulated and lied to for the benefit of the party and, if so, what is the purpose of detailing the ‘truth’ when politicians leave their position? Terri Butler Well, I mean, I wrote a book while I was still in the parliament and I’m sure you’re saving your best stuff until later! When I did that MICALLEF: What’s it called, Terri? No, no, no (LAUGHTER) I’m not going to be a Christopher Pyne! Never mind That was your big chance I guess, for me, the idea is to try to be as open about politics as possible And I’m really quite interested in demystifying politics for people
Because I think one of the great the really big problems that we have right now is a lack of trust in politics and democratic institutions And so sort of speaking out of both sides of your mouth, or being a bit two-faced – that really undermines people’s confidence in our democracy, which undermines people’s confidence in, really, everything That’s the bedrock, right? So I really think it’s important that we try to be as open about politics as possible, and as transparent as we can be And that’s one of the reasons why I want to see a national integrity commission established It’s one of the reasons why I think we need a prime minister that will actually uphold ministerial standards All of those things are about starting to restore confidence in democracy So you won’t see from me, after politics, a different version of politics than you saw from me during it And I think that it’s a good approach to take What happens, though, when you are asked to say something or hold a line, carry a line, deliver a line, that’s not really what you believe? Well, I’ve got to say, I find that, through my time in politics – and the reason I said, Christopher, that I hadn’t been through any leadership challenges like the ones you have is, because, of course, I came in after Kevin Of course. You did You took his seat I did. Well, I didn’t take his seat No I stood for a by-election after he left the parliament And so my time there has been really a great time to be part of the Labor Party And I’m in the party because my values really align And, of course, it’s a mass movement, there’s thousands of people in the Labor Party, the views and positions that we take are an aggregation of so many different perspectives and views and opinions We’re not… Like, if you’re after a kind of homogeneous echo chamber, that’s not the Labor Party So, yes, there is definitely times where we are coming to positions that we’ve reached through really big democratic processes involving thousands of people And part of being part of a caucus is you argue your case, you advocate, and then you accept the views of the majority Is it easy for you to go out and say everything you think and believe about the problems with the factional system and branch-stacking and all of those terrible things that go on in your party? I absolutely think it is And I have done that You know, I’ve talked about the factional system, again, in my book – which I won’t plug I really want to know the name of it now! I don’t want to know the name of any more books tonight, please! But, you know, I think it is important to talk about that But also to debunk some of the mythology You know, like, take, for example, branch-stacking In my state, Queensland, we rooted that out in the late ’90s/early 2000s and I was a big part of that That was…you know, I was a bit younger at the time, but one of the things that really galvanised me to be in the Labor Party was wanting to clean it up And we had, you know, quite a similar situation to what Victoria’s going through now And what you saw is that, when you cleaned it up, when you made the party work well, when it became more democratic, what happened? Well, Peter Beattie was returned in a landslide So, yes, of course, in any big mass movement, there’ll be problems But like with anything – any problem – the real measure of someone is how you respond to it, not hoping that it wasn’t there in the first place Can I ask you something, then? So, when something like that happens – and, Christopher, you can probably answer this as well – that does undermine the trust that the general public has in people in your profession, like, what do you say to your colleagues, to your mates, who, you know, perhaps are doing it, or perhaps are mates with the people who are doing it? Well, I think, like anything I mean, I was a lawyer before I was in politics, right? And so we have really It was a great profession but there were always some bad apples Some people who were dodgy, they would try to take advantage of clients And so the way to deal with that is to be really firm, to be ethical, and to make sure that you have the structures there to pick them up That’s why I say, for politics, for example, you want to have a national integrity commission You want to have People in the public need to be confident that the prime minister of the day will uphold the ministerial standards really, really rigorously, not try to find ways to avoid them applying But surely, on a personal level, you’re just like, “Can you just pull your head in? “Because you’re making us all look bad.” Yeah, of course And you’ve seen that That’s one of the things I say in the book – that it always shocked me, that despite the fact that my colleagues knew that you weren’t supposed to leak from the party room, they would literally sit in the party room – well, some people, some people, I should say – would sit in the party room and, during the meeting, text what was happening to journalists, knowing that it was completely verboten! Who did that? Well, I don’t know I wouldn’t say their names But it had to happen, because Sky was reporting things that were going on in the party room while we were still in the room And people used to hold up their phones and say, “Sky’s just reported what such-and-such said.” I used to think, “How could they be so blatant and brazen?!” What advantage is there in that, though? I don’t know They obviously wanted to undermine whoever the leader was at the time, I suppose And that’s the reason for my book My book isn’t about salacious, you know, lies and stuff It’s because that 12 years that I was in the leadership group, from 2007 to 2019, was a really crazy period in Australian politics We saw half a dozen prime ministers, after the stability of the Howard period, which was 11 and a half years And I thought that sort of needed to be explained from my perspective
Alright. Our next question tonight is from Marika Kontellis Yeah, thanks. The Prime Minister – speaking of prime ministers – Scott Morrison, has warned Australia needs to prepare for a “post-COVID world “that’s poorer, and it’s more dangerous, “and more disorderly” Do you think that’s true? What dangers is the Prime Minister talking about? And where is it going to be “more disorderly”? Putting Scott Morrison’s warning in the context of the recent defence spending announcement, I’m getting the feeling that the Prime Minister is preparing us for war I hope you can tell me I’m wrong Terri Butler Well, look, those were very confronting words, I think, from the Prime Minister And I think, at the moment, when we’re facing some pretty spectacularly difficult problems I mean, of course there is a lot of change in the region and in the world – the power dynamics are shifting between nations We’ve got the United States, which I think a lot of countries would like to see, once again, return to playing a bit more of an active and consistent role in world affairs We’ve got different countries rising in terms of their power and their wealth All of those things, I think, are important At the same time, we’ve also got this global pandemic, which is creating incredible anxiety across the world And, of course, there’s always the spectre of climate change I don’t know if that’s what Scott Morrison’s referring to, but it’s certainly on my mind in terms of major risks facing the planet So, with all of those risks and uncertainties arising, I think there could be a temptation for people to slip into pessimism and despondency about our future I don’t think that’s the right thing to do I think that the best approach is to maintain I’ve got a friend who used to be a He was involved in the UN as a peace negotiator in Cambodia And he used to say to me, “You want to adopt strategic optimism.” As in, not be a Pollyanna about things but, actually, as a strategic posture, believe that things can be better And I think we have to have some strategic optimism in the face of all these uncertainties – that’s really important The Prime Minister, though, compared this point in time to the 1930s and ’40s – he said, “We’ve not seen the conflation of global economic “and strategic uncertainty now being experienced in our region “since the existential threat we faced “when the global and regional order collapsed back then.” Christopher Pyne, is that overdoing it somewhat? No, I think he’s saying that in the 1930s, we had the Great Depression, and then we had the militarisation throughout the ’30s in places like Germany and Japan, and our response then was to focus on the economy and to try and get us out of the Depression So what’s he comparing to the rise of Nazism? Uh, the uncertainty Well, I think there’s two things about the ’30s One is the economic aspect of it – the Great Depression, which is now the pandemic that we have, which is obviously smashing the economy And two – when that happens, in the ’30s, the Australian government decided to focus on the economy and reduced our spending to 1.5% of GDP in defence And we are not going to do that because we face a very unstable Indo-Pacific I mean, there’s just no getting away from it And that statement they made last week, the Force Posture Plan the Force Structure Plan and the Defence Update, the difference between 2016, when the White Paper was delivered when I was in the portfolio, and today, is the acknowledgement that, five years ago, we were more stable than we are today, there are more disputes than there were then, there’s less international cohesion than there was then And the rivalry between the United States – which could have gone in a positive direction – has not gone in a positive direction It’s in a negative direction, and it’s very raw, as opposed to pacific Did you underestimate the amount of change that was going to occur under a Trump administration in the United States, and what that would do for Australia No, I don’t think so strategically? No, I think everybody, when President Trump got elected, wanted him to do wanted him to succeed I think they hoped that the division and discord that is his political stock-in-trade in order to win the election was a campaigning tool, and that that would give way to sensible, calm government And we’ve all been disappointed that that hasn’t been the case OK. Our next question tonight is a video from Jenny Gamble in Holland Park, Queensland While still defence minister, Christopher Pyne met with EY Defence to discuss his post-political career Nine days after leaving politics, he joined EY as a consultant How is this ethical? And why does Christopher Pyne think that this meets community standards for appropriate behaviour?
So, you didn’t breach ministerial rules in this role, but this is a question about the ethics of it How is it ethical to walk out of politics into a job that’s so clearly linked to the ministerial position you had? Well, Jenny Gamble’s not right I mean, I met with dozens and dozens and dozens of people as the Minister for Defence over many months and Minister for Defence Industry I didn’t discuss with EY the idea of working for them at all when I was the Minister for Defence And, um I’m not I’m actually not a consultant at EY, which is one of these great media misnomers that’s been created! (LAUGHS) What do you do? EY is a client of my firm I’m not a consultant at EY But, you know, rather than bother to explain that when nobody wanted to hear it a year ago, I just let that go You consult for them, though? Well, I’m And so what? You know? You’re a consultant No, no. I’m just saying, you are a consultant Well, they’re a client of mine You can see where the confusion might have come from And there was a Senate inquiry into this which found absolutely no wrongdoing on my part None whatsoever But it’s a question Her question is about ethics, not whether you breached the rules Jenny Gamble’s view of what I did – she doesn’t like it That’s fine, it’s a democracy She’s perfectly entitled to be to have her view My view is that there’s a Ministerial Code of Conduct, it has two arms – one of those arms is that I’m not allowed to lobby anybody in the Department of Defence, the Minister for Defence, their officers, for 12…18 months after I retire And I have completely complied with that And I’m not allowed to use information that became available to me as the Minister for Defence for commercial gain, and I’ve entirely abided by that And the Senate inquiry found that Mm But EY’s press release said that it was ramping up its defence capability ahead of this surge in activity, that it wanted to be able to be involved in the $200 billion spend over 10 years “And we’ve engaged Christopher Pyne to assist with this.” So, what do you help them with? Well, the thing about being a politician for 26 years, and being a minister for, um six plus Minister for Ageing in the Howard government, is that you actually get a pretty good idea of how government works Whether it’s defence or any other part of government And it’s that knowledge of the way government thinks that anybody, when they leave politics, would find it useful for firms in business There’s nothing unethical about doing that And you can’t actually, when you stop being a member of parliament, sort of expunge your experience of the last 26 years And nor would you want to, because it’s actually quite a valuable capability in the economy – is knowing how government works, and using those skills Terri Butler, you talked about the importance of trust in politics and politicians It’s not…this is not something that just happens on one side of politics Mike Kelly, who’s just left in Eden-Monaro, said he was leaving due to ill health, and then walks into another job with a military contractor Although we’ve been in opposition for seven years, it’s not as though he was in government and then walked out into a defence job Sure, but he didn’t mention anything about it when he said he was leaving, and there was going to be a by-election No, and you would also be aware that he’s had significant health problems, and that that was what motivated him And, look, parliament is You know, it’s pretty rough on the old constitution, parliament, let’s be honest But do you see why this sort of thing does diminish But to answer your actual question the trust that you’re talking about? Look, the Senate inquiry that Christopher is talking about was really critical of the way that the government had investigated both Christopher’s issue and also former minister Julie Bishop’s post-government employment as well It said, “Look, you didn’t take it seriously enough…” The investigation – so-called – was really just a phone call to each of Julie Bishop and Christopher Pyne, there wasn’t enough investigating with the firms that they were going to go and do work for And, yes, I do think that that undermines trust I do think it does And, you know, I don’t want to talk about Christopher’s particular case, or any particular case I think it’s incumbent on all of us to think about community standards At the same time, it’s incumbent on the community to decide what they want from politicians They want ethical behaviour, they want for there not to be a revolving door between government and the private sector in ways that give rise to conflicts of interest But they also don’t want to give ex-politicians a pension for life So you’re either going to have one of three things happen – either people are going to stick around way past their sell-by date, or you’re going to have to give them a pension, or they’re going to have to get a job And if they’re going to have to get a job, then the rules need to be very clear as well Do you think it’s ethical, Brooke? I think it’s really difficult And I think it’s, you know, difficult at the best of times to attract really excellent candidates into these jobs where they could go into other roles and be paid a lot more, be criticised a lot less, and spend more time with their families And so I do think that there needs to be very clear rules around what can and can’t happen when people leave
But I also know from my time in Canberra that they work incredibly hard, and that they’re really difficult and thankless jobs So, I do, I feel bad for pollies sometimes, because you feel like they get beat up on this side and then beat up on that side You know, I think I’m getting a little bit off-topic there, and I do think that there do there does need to be clear lines and clear rules about it But I also think that, if people want a higher standard from their politicians, then they can demand it You know, be more engaged in the process And ask more of them Because, you know, they’re working for us OK. Our next question tonight is a video from Scott McClarty in Adelaide Satirical platforms like Mad As Hell and The Betoota Advocate are booming in popularity But on a more serious level, their ‘reporting’ seems to be more accurate to what everyday people are thinking Examples are Shaun listing all the things Stuart Robert has stuffed up in his time as MP (TERRI BUTLER LAUGHS) Or The Betoota Advocate suggesting the Sportsbet app was euthanised behind a green fence when it failed on Melbourne Cup Day They’re accurate, funny, cutting, and truly depressing My question is – how have we got here? Is it life imitating art? And do those targeted really care? Shaun, we’re running way over time, so if you can keep it brief, please! Um, look, I don’t It’s very flattering to be thought of in those terms, but I only know what I read in the newspaper and see on programs like this So, I don’t have any special insight All we try and do is present as much information as possible in as fewer words to set up the joke, essentially And it was very easy with Stuart Robert I think we just…we did a cut-and-paste from the newspaper and just read it out (BONEY LAUGHS) Do you miss Christopher Pyne? Well, you know, the thing is – and I hope this is felt from Terri and Christopher – is that there’s never anything personal I mean, I don’t know Terri and Christopher There’s never anything personal in the show And to us, you guys are very entertaining public figures (LAUGHTER) BONEY: What does that mean? I don’t have a bobblehead on the show, so I’m not as entertaining as him I never take anything personally I think that’s a bit of a problem, actually (LAUGHTER) Come on, you said in your book that you took it personally when Julia Gillard went for you You took that very personally No, I just determined that I was going to make her pay for it at some point OK (LAUGHS LOUDLY) Slightly different So I took the Building the Education Revolution apart to the point where she didn’t even mention it in her re-election speech, which I thought was quite a success, ’cause it was $16.5 million But every school in my electorate has a new library, and they love them Great Then why didn’t she mention it in her election campaign? They love them. It’s a shame Brooke, final word to you Umm… What were we talking about? Betoota and Mad As Hell, that’s right I think that it’s really difficult to see mainstream media always blamed for not delivering news content to people that they want You know, we get sort of minute-by-minute breakdowns, we get ratings, we deliver the sort of content that people demand And so, if you want more excellent content, then vote with your feet – buy newspapers And, you know, watch the shows that appeal to you And then there’ll be more of them made You know, this isn’t some sort of secret ploy to, um, you know…for news quality to suffer or something like that You know, people get what they want OK That’s all we’ve got time for tonight A huge thanks to our panel – Shaun Micallef, Terri Butler, Christopher Pyne Don’t say the name of your book! and Brooke Boney Would you please thank them all? (APPLAUSE) Thanks, as well, to those of you here in the studio It’s great to have some of you back Thanks to you at home for sending in your questions Next week on Q+A, a special, a one-on-one with our former prime minister Julia Gillard Don’t miss it. Goodnight Captions by Red Bee Media Copyright Australian Broadcasting Corporation