SKY NEWS 13 January 2017

16 Jan 2017

Helen Dalley: Should Pauline Hanson disendorse her candidate for a far north QLD seat for having on his website questioning the Port Arthur massacre saying it was a fabrication?

Bronwyn Bishop: Well she’s going to have to make up her own mind what she’s done about it but quite frankly the most amazing thing I’ve learnt this morning is that Graham Richardson was an advisor to Prime Minister Tony Abbott. This is the same Graham Richardson of the Offset Alpine Printing Company, tax avoidance, of cash for comment, of being involved with the Marshall Islands affair, having to step aside as… (interrupted)

Dalley: Just quickly, how did he advise Tony Abbott?

Bishop: Very quickly he says in the paper this morning he advised Tony Abbott on matters that even concerned me, and I thought no wonder we’ve got creeping socialism getting around the place, he is the ultimate socialist.

Dalley: Well let’s stick to the question I actually asked you, do you think Senator Hanson needs to disendorse this candidate?

Bishop: Well I do think that candidate should be disendorsed, yes because quite clearly that massacre was quite clearly one of the most tragic things that ever happened in this country and the people that were on that theory that it was all a trumped up charge are all delusional.

Senator Doug Cameron: Bronwyn you’re getting loopier by the day! I don’t know who’s delusional but this stuff that you’re going on about creeping socialism, I mean this is an issue, these conspiracy theorist going into parliament really do detract from proper debate in the parliament. So I don’t think this person really is of the intellectual integrity to be in parliament.

Dalley: But Doug this is a possible problem for One Nation. We know Pauline Hanson spent many weeks in QLD picking candidates, she’s obviously endorsed quite a number. Would she have gone into their background enough to know that these are the sorts of views, should somebody from One Nation have seen what was on his website?

Cameron: Well the major parties do that, they actually go into people’s background, do checks and sometimes there’s problems there. I’m not actually sure what Pauline Hanson does but obviously some of the candidates she has that don’t believe in climate change, who just want to attack working people, you know it’s a real problem.

Bishop: You can’t put climate change in the same sentence that you put what happened down in Hobart. That is loopy.

Dalley: Let’s stick to this point. What do you think she needs to do Doug Cameron about this candidate?

Cameron: Well probably get rid of her because she’s obviously (Interrupted)

Dalley: Only probably?

Cameron: Yeah look it’s really up to One Nation the candidates they put up.

Dalley: So you’re not outraged by it?

Cameron: Well I am a bit outraged by it. Why would you deny that terrible massacre in Tasmania? Why would you have these conspiracy theorists in parliament? They shouldn’t be there. But that’s a matter for Pauline Hanson and eventually, if she stands, a matter for the public.

Dalley: Bronwyn Bishop I wanted to ask you again about the MP expenses saga, it’s been going on and on. Now some of them are fairly openly defending their position that they’ve charged tax payers, saying ‘my expense is a different one to that expense’ and ‘I didn’t buy an apartment for myself at the same time’. Trade minister Steve Ciobo justified getting tax payers to pay for him to go the AFL, I think it was the grand final by saying that he was asked as Trade Minister not for him personally, that it was a work related expense. Now that logic would say that well he’s Trade Minister every day that he is Trade Minister, and that could be several years, so does that mean that everywhere he goes, everything that he goes to, should be paid for by tax payers?

Bishop: The bottom line is this, there’s a set of rules, if the rules are seen to be inadequate, change the rules and get on with it. At the moment they’re rules; not acceptable. But don’t keep talking about pub tests, have some proper rules in place that work. And they apply just as much to the Labor side but funnily enough it doesn’t come out that way.

Dalley: Alright, well it does because Tony Burke has been questioned about his travel (interrupted)

Bishop: What happened to Tony Burke? Nothing.

Dalley: Well, because travel apparently is allowed for families sometimes, on various occasions during the year. Greg Hunt has also charged a lot, thousands of dollars to tax payers because his family travelled with him. But just on your point about either toughen up the rules or make them clearer, would you say the government has been too slack about the 36 recommendations that it has had for a year since your drama with Chopper gate. They’ve done not much about it.

Bishop: Which I have to pay back, nobody happened to mention that. The thing that’s important is, if the rules are not seen to be working then change them.

Dalley: Yes I’m saying has the government been too lax about not changing them? They’ve had recommendation for a year.

Bishop: Well you’d have to ask the Special Minister of State about what (inaudible) he’s had.

Dalley: I’m asking you as a commentator.

Bishop: Well as a commentator I’d say get on with it.

Dalley: Doug Cameron do you think it needs to be changed?

Cameron: Yes it does need to be changed. Labor said we’ll accept the 36 recommendations. We need to sit down with the government and look at how they should be transferred into legislation, it’s absolutely essential they we don’t have politicians take decisions that bring the whole political process into disrepute and that’s what’s been happening. I think it’s a real problem that you know you can blame your staff for the problem. This is about common sense. The majority of politicians do the right thing, it’s only some that are greedy, it’s only some that are stupid, it’s only some that don’t do the right thing and these 36 changes I think are the way forward.

Dalley: You say some who are greedy, I mean both the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and now Trade Minister Steve Ciobo are very openly justifying their fares and their travel expenses, Julie Bishop to the polo match and Steve Ciobo to the AFL grand final, saying ‘I was invited as this senior minister’. Now is that a good logic to say that they’re working all time they are at the best football match of the year?

Cameron: Of course they don’t. I’m sure at half time they don’t go away and convene a little meeting about you know QANTAS if they’ve been invited there by QANTAS, they don’t do that and that’s the reality. So look people need to understand that the political process is above board.

Bishop: You were a minister Doug. You were 24/7 a minister were you?

Cameron: Of course

Bishop: Of course. You weren’t off duty were you?

Cameron: It’s not me, I just find it absolutely ridiculous that you would be questioning me, you of all people, questioning me. You have got no credibility to question me about anything…

Bishop: Oh yes I have

Cameron: …after your disgraceful performance, after the way you went after the tax payer money. Give us a break Bronwyn c’mon.

Bishop: As I just said to find out that Graham Richardson of that history was an advisor to Tony Abbott is the most amazing thing I’ve heard and that is why I’m so against socialists, because it is the most import thing we’ve got to be concerned about.

Cameron: I know you don’t like Tony anymore, I know you don’t like Tony but that is your problem with Tony.

Dalley: Bronwyn Bishop are you actually more critical of Tony Abbott for asking or whatever he did, to get Graham Richardson’s advice because Tony… do you have a problem with Tony Abbott?

Bishop: I was just amazed to read this morning that he was an advisor to Tony Abbott, absolutely amazed.

Dalley: Yes I know, so amazed that you brought it up when I didn’t ask you about it. But in your view, does it say more about Tony Abbott?

Bishop: No it says a lot about Graham Richardson, who knifed Bill Hayden to put in Bob Hawke and then knifed Bob Hawke to put in Paul Keating. This is advisor to a Liberal Prime Minister? Amazing.

Cameron: The Liberal Prime Minister must have seen something in him to do that!

Bishop: That’s the worrying bit.

Cameron  So I know Bronwyn you don’t like Tony anymore but I think there’s big issues here. There’s jobs, there’s health, there’s education. These are the issues that the public want dealt with, not whether somebody advised Tony Abbott and because you don’t like Tony Abbott anymore you want to have a go at him.

Bishop: It’s got nothing to do with who I like, the thing is I was amazed to read that. You are a classic socialist, as is Graham. He wrote the book ‘Whatever it Takes’, which is the essence of what socialism is all about, which is why I’m so opposed to it.

Dalley: I do want your views very briefly on Donald Trump but particularly the area where some of his choices for the senior cabinet are at odds with him, particularly over Russia.

Bronwyn Bishop, it’s interesting that his choice of Defence Secretary and his choice of Secretary of State have both told the hearings that they have to go through to get their appointment that Russia is a major threat. Now is this something that you think Donald Trump will now take on board himself?

Bishop: I think Donald Trump already knows that Putin is head of the KGB, knows more about most people in the world, that his KGB role previously gave him great information, that he’s a powerful leader.

Dalley: That he’s a threat to American interests, which is exactly what they’re saying. Do you think that Mr Trump will adopt that view now because he hasn’t in the months leading up to the election campaign.

Bishop: I think he will take a view which he thinks is the proper view to take and I think he’s made good choices with the people he’s chosen.

Dalley: So sorry what is that view you think he will take now about Russia?

Bishop: I think he’ll try and see a way that America’s interests are best served by ensuring that there’s no collusion between Russia and China.

Dalley: I see. Ok Doug Cameron what do you think about this? There seems to be quite a disconnect between his choices for these senior jobs, their views on Russia and what they’ve told the Congress and Mr Trump’s views.

Cameron: I think it’s a fasten your seatbelt job with Donald Trump. I also think that Ronald Reagan wasn’t the smartest President that’s been in the US but what he had was smart advisors and good advice and he listened to that advice. That’s what I hope can be done here.

Bishop: He was very smart. Did you ever meet President Reagan Doug? Did you?

Dalley: Does that matter whether he met him?

Bishop: Yes it does because if you’ve met him you can make a much better decision about whether the person is intelligent or not. Did you meet him? I had the good fortune to do so.

Dalley: We do have to leave it there. Thank you both for what has been a bit of firey panel this morning.