The Freedom to Fund Yourself | Q&A

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) Good evening and welcome to Q&A.
I’m Tony Jones. And here to answer your questions –
small business operator, committed Christian and
people’s panellist, Ash Belsar. The Shadow Minister for
Infrastructure, Catherine King, Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick, who will play a critical role on the
crossbench when parliament resumes, the executive director
of, Sally Rugg, and the re-elected federal
Minister for Education, Dan Tehan. Please welcome our panel. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) Thank you very much. Q&A is live in eastern Australia
on ABC TV, iView and NewsRadio. Well, there’s plenty
to discuss tonight. Let’s go straight
to our first question. It comes from Tony Murname. My question is for Dan Tehan. Dan, as a Catholic,
can you see that Israel Folau, quoting the Bible on social media in relation to
the various types of sin, and given that he fully believes
what the Bible teaches, is actually attempting
to help people, to help them repent
so as to be saved and, therefore, avoid hell, so that what he was doing cannot be
so much classified as hate speech, but rather the opposite, and is,
in fact, a brave act of love for those he is trying to help
come to God? Well, I think what
the Israel Folau case shows us is that we need a religious
discrimination act in Australia. Because what isn’t clear
at the moment is how we define the boundaries
about what is… ..well, what we should be free
to say, and what we shouldn’t, especially when it comes to
our religious faith. We have it for
sexual discrimination, we have it
when it comes to disability, we have it when it comes to age. But we don’t have anything which defines the boundaries
in Australia properly when it comes to
religious discrimination. And I think that’s
the key take-out and key lesson from the Israel Folau case and it’s why the government took
to this election a policy where we wanted to see a religious discrimination act
put in place. And my hope is that
we’ll be able to see that done through this term of parliament. So, Dan, the obvious question – if the kind of
religious discrimination act that you wanted to see was in place, would it stop Rugby Australia sacking
Israel Folau for saying what he said? Well, that’s a hypothetical, Tony,
and one I can’t answer because we haven’t got the religious
discrimination act in place. In a case like this, what would be
the point of the law? That would be the key question. Well, the key point would be
that we would have a law which would set some parameters
and some boundaries, and we don’t have that
at the moment. And that’s why we need it. We have it when it comes to
sexual discrimination, we have it when it comes to
age discrimination, we have it when it comes
to other forms of discrimination, but the boundaries are not clear
at the moment when it comes to religion. And that’s why I think we need
a religious discrimination act. OK, where are they in your mind, as
the potential author of such a bill? Where are the boundaries
in what Israel Folau said, that homosexuals and a variety
of other sinners, in his mind, were going to hell? Well…
So, I mean, he said that publicly. It’s been construed as hate speech
by some. How do you construe it? Well, we’ve got to look at, finally, what the parliament would say
are those bounds. And my point is, at the moment, we don’t have
those boundaries in place. So we don’t know… But you’ll be in government
and you’ll be making decisions… Yes.
..on what the legislation says. So, what you’ll be pushing for
at least, unless it’s amended. So, in this case, would it be OK
for someone to say what he said? Well, let’s wait and see
what the parliament decides. Let’s wait and see
what the cabinet decides the final make up of
a religious discrimination act would look like. Let the parliament
set the boundaries, then let the courts test it, let the workplace relations laws
test it, and then let’s see, as a society,
where we should draw the bounds. But at the moment,
we don’t have those bounds. And the United Nations
clearly sets out that one of the fundamental rights
is the right for religious freedom. Yet we don’t have that set
in our laws here in Australia. OK.
And that is what we should be doing. I’m going to press you one more time.
Yeah. Do your instincts,
does your conscience, tell you that he should have been able to say
publicly what he said without recriminations? Well, I haven’t seen his contract
that he has with Rugby Australia. I’m talking about what he said. Well, he has the right to say and
to practise his religious beliefs, and that’s what he’s done. Now, I don’t know what
the contract was that he had with Rugby Australia, so I can’t go into
the rights and wrongs of that. And I think that’ll play out
in the courts. But he should have the right
to practise his religious beliefs. That’s been a fundamental that
we’ve taken as a given in Australia, but what we’re starting to see is that we haven’t got
clearly defined boundaries anymore when it comes to
religious discrimination, like we do with
sexual discrimination, like we have with
age discrimination, like we have with disability, and that is why we need a religious
discrimination act in Australia. OK. Sally Rugg, what do you think
about a religious discrimination act which could potentially make legal,
completely legal, what Israel Folau said
in his Instagram feed when he said, homosexuals, and a number of other
sinners, should, or will, go to hell, because of the sins they’re
committing, unless they repent? Mm-hm. Um… So, I do want to answer
that question about a religious freedoms act. But I just kind of want to pause
for one second ’cause I feel like
we’ve been doing Q&A for, what, like four minutes now
and already we’ve had, like, several people repeat the claims
that someone like me is going to go to hell
unless I repent, or there was something vague
about me needing to be saved, and that was an act of kindness for someone to say
that I would need to be saved. And I think it’s really important… You know, we kind of bandy
these words around and these ideas around, as if it’s some sort of
philosophical argument and as if… if these words don’t mean
things, and they don’t do things. What do they do for you
and other people from, let’s say, the lesbian
or the gay community? Sure. I mean, I’m not
going to repeat the… know, some of Folau’s words, but he made a disgusting comment
about transgender children. And that comment
doesn’t just exist in a vacuum. That comment exists in a reality where, if you’re a teenager
in Australia who’s transgender, you have a one-in-two chance
of attempting suicide. One-in-two. And the words that Folau uses about
gay Australians, people like me, they exist in a context
where the Morrison government is currently looking at whether
people really care or not that religious schools can exclude
LGBT teachers and students. So how do they make me feel? They make me feel… They make me feel a bit sick,
they make me feel tired. I feel confused as to why, in 2019, we’re having this sort of like
esoteric discussion about whether it’s…
whether it is really harmful for these words to just sort of
be bandied about in our society. A national debate started by
a rugby player… That’s right.
..which is quite unusual, I think. Yeah. But in terms of
a religious protections act, I mean, protections are there
to protect people, protections are meant to be shields. And so I wouldn’t want to see
any sort of religious protection act that takes away
the protective shield that anti-discrimination laws have
for people like me and the more vulnerable members
of my community. OK. I’ll go across the panel. Ash, what do you think? The question was, were Folau’s
actions a brave act of love for those he’s
trying to help come to God? You’re a Christian.
What do you think? Yeah, yeah, very good question,
thanks, Tony. And I guess it’s no surprise
that Christians and a number of other religions
and people of faith do have those beliefs. We do hold it very clearly. And we don’t just hold it for other
people, we hold it for ourselves. We do hold ourselves accountable. I think Israel Folau’s list,
as you would have seen, was quite extensive. If it was a list for me, it would have been three pages long,
I can guarantee you. And my wife’s here to verify
how often I trip up. And it is a strict kind of a rule. And I do feel Sally’s pain,
because words can hurt. I agree with that.
We can’t just brush it off and say, oh, freedom of speech. And I am a clear believer
in freedom of speech and we do need to be thoughtful. With rights do come
responsibilities. But the hurt and fear
actually does go both ways. I was talking to a friend
recently, and she was involved
in the marriage campaign. She had just received a promotion. She’d just had a… her contract
was about to come to term… They said, “Don’t worry,
there’s heaps of work.” She was involved
on the No side of the campaign. She got back…
it was a government entity, and they cancelled her contract. Well, not cancelled – it had
finished. But, “Sorry, no work.” So the fears are actually
a little bit both ways on this. Many of us people of faith go, “Well, what is going to happen
if we speak out? “Can we lose our jobs?
And where is the boundary?” It’s actually quite confusing. But I guess for a lot of us, these are issues that go
to the depth of our conscience. And, I mean… So, what does your conscience
tell you about the notion that someone’s nature,
that is their sexual nature, could condemn them to eternal hell, which is essentially what
he’s saying, in a Christian…? And that is a fantastic question,
because all of our essential nature sends us directly to hell,
according to Christ. And the whole thing is, Jesus said, “I came not to condemn the world
but to save it.” But then the question becomes, what? And so, for a lot
of our point of views, whether you agree with us or not,
we often look at something and go, is that harmful? And I actually tend to think, even if I look like an idiot
or a fool, or lose my job for it if I don’t want something,
I actually feel the weight of that on my conscience that I actually
didn’t say something. So I think that’s where Folau’s
probably coming from here. And I think that’s where a lot of us
come from on this situation. OK. Catherine King,
what do you think? And we need to reflect on
the notion of a new act, a religious discrimination act.
Sure. Well, the first thing,
I would reiterate Sally’s points, that, you know, these words
do do great harm. The fact that people, and children
and young people from LGBTIQ, you know, have more mental health
problems because of discrimination is a very serious issue. And you can’t just dismiss that. We do have protections for people
practising religion. It’s enshrined within
the Australian Constitution. And there have been a number
of High Court cases that say, when are you practising
your religion and when are you not? And with any issue of rights,
there is always a balance between an individual’s rights
to practise their religion and an individual’s rights
then to, you know, discriminate or not be discriminated against. I think the balance is right. I think this debate that is fuelled,
obviously, by Folau at the moment, I think is stirring up,
again, a huge anxiety amongst a group of people,
lots of people, that I think is really unnecessary. Go back to what
the Australian Constitution says. We have yet to see what
the government is proposing. I think it’s going to be
very difficult for the parliament to say this is what you should
be able to… can say and you can’t say. I think it will be almost impossible for the parliament
to actually do that. I think it is enshrined
in the Constitution. The High Court has already
interpreted it a certain way. So, just very briefly… Ash wants to jump in.
I’ll come back to him. Just very briefly, are you saying
that Labor’s position, in principle, would be against
a religious discrimination act? We’ll have a look at whatever
the government proposes. But I think it will be
really difficult for the parliament to say, you know, what is it that you can’t say now
that you want to be able to say, that potentially will infringe on a whole group
of other people’s rights and potentially do harm? That’s the question
the parliament will be asked, is, what can’t you say now
that you want to be able to say? And from my point of view, if it is something
that harms and discriminates against another group of people, then I don’t think that
we should go down that path. Well, we know precisely
what Israel Folau said. Yeah, I think
what he said was wrong. What he put on his Instagram.
I think it was wrong. And I don’t think he was practising
his religion by saying it. I just don’t. But if there were
a religious discrimination act that said it was right, it would be in conflict, potentially,
with the employment code… Yep, absolutely.
..that Folau signed up to. That would mean
it would actually end up going to the High Court
for a decision. Absolutely. That’s true.
Yep. SALLY: I just want
to quickly remind… Like, we have been repeating
Israel Folau’s allegation this evening
on national television… Like, people still have the right
to say that I am going to hell. Like, this isn’t something
that is currently illegal and we’re trying to make legal. People can already do that. (APPLAUSE)
Yeah, OK. Quite a few people
in this audience, potentially… Yeah. ..and more broadly, would also be
going to hell, according to Folau. Ash, you wanted to jump in?
And then I’ll come to Rex. Yeah, no, one of things – and you may need
to clarify this on my behalf – I believe the Instagram comment
was actually private. And I am assuming
someone trolled to find it. I don’t know that, I just…
No, I don’t think that’s correct. OK, that’s fair enough.
I’ll leave that. What’s more, he seems
to have chosen a time to do it… OK, that’s fair enough. ..when he became the highest
try scorer in Super Rugby and that very evening,
having achieved that milestone he put out this Instagram, um, feed. But anyway, let’s move on. Rex?
SALLY: Very loving. Yeah, so, I disagree
with what Israel Folau said. But nonetheless,
these are very tricky issues. Trying to balance freedoms
with tolerance. There are always boundaries. Freedom of speech – we have seen some
boundaries crossed, in my view, with the government recently
initiating raids on journalists. So, that’s a freedom of expression
constraint that’s been playing out in the media
over the last week or two. We’re going to come to that
in detail in a moment. I understand that. So, we find that if, for example, it’s speech which incites violence, we have little tolerance for that. If it’s to do with defamation,
we find there’s a different line. So, there’s no easy answer on this. And the parliament
can attempt to legislate but, of course,
it is always going to come down to the circumstances of the case. One quick example – if you’re standing in front of
a group of schoolchildren in a religious school and you say that,
“In accordance with my faith, “marriage is between
a man and a woman,” most people would say that’s OK. If you then suggest it’s a sin, it starts to get perhaps
a little bit more confrontational. And then, if it gets carried out
into the schoolyard by kids calling someone who’s LGBTQI
a sinner, it has a different context. Or possibly suggesting, “My football
idol says you’re going to hell.” Yeah, all those sorts of things. So it’s very difficult. The parliament is going to have
a struggle to get this right. Generally, what we see happen
is general boundaries are set. And then places like courts
then interpret it, looking at the circumstances
of where the speech took place, and making a decision
that guides people. Alright, so, you might be
sitting on a crossbench which has the duty to decide whether to allow a religious
discrimination act to become law. How do you think
you would resolve that issue? OK, so, once again,
haven’t seen any legislation. We’d have to look at that. But I can almost guarantee people that when such a bill
came before the Senate, we would refer it
to a Senate inquiry and we would ask to hear
the perspectives of all sorts of people, whether they were religious, LB…, LBT… ..LBTQI? LGBTQI. Sorry. Hearing from institutions, hearing from schools, hearing from mums and dads,
hearing from kids. And that’s the sort of thing we will do in the Senate. We will send it to a Senate inquiry and we will examine
everyone’s perspective and try and find where
the unintended consequences are and try and strike
the right balance. Sally…
Yes. could find yourself
having to give evidence at a Senate inquiry. Would it be a sense of deja vu, in the sense you had to be involved in a big discussion
about same-sex marriage not that long ago? Oh, right. Yeah. It wasn’t that long ago, was it? Um… How would I find
the Senate inquiry? Well, you might be called
as a witness as to whether something like
a religious discrimination act could cause offence if it allowed comments like Folau’s to become, basically, legal tender. Yeah. I mean, I’d love to. Yeah. I think I would have
some useful things to say. What might you say? I think I would talk about
how words do things and words mean things, and that people can have as much
religious freedom as they like, as long as it doesn’t encroach
on other people’s freedom or other people’s safety. I think we have the capacity
to get the balance right. Um… Yeah. OK. Let’s move on.
We have another question. It’s also related
to free speech issues. It comes from Keith Foster. My question is for Dan Tehan. Your recent review concluded that
claims of a freedom of speech crisis on Australian universities
was unsubstantiated and characterised the problem as –
and I quote – “A relatively small number
of high-profile cases “which have attracted publicity”. However, I’m a casual academic
at a large university and an advocate for free speech and it’s clear to me that there is a loud minority
of activists on campus, aggressively censoring free speech. Now, I don’t think the
recommendations of the report address how to change the culture
at the grassroots. So, what can you do about that?
Dan Tehan. It’s a very good question. And I think trying to change
the culture of universities, if free speech is being impinged, is going to take a lot of work and a lot of effort, but the reason
that I asked Robert French to undertake his inquiry was because it was put to me that there were concerns that free speech
and freedom of academic inquiry weren’t getting the freedom
that they deserved, and that it needed to be looked at. Robert French did a very good,
thorough review. We should make the point
he’s a former… Former Justice…
..Chief Justice of the High Court. Former Chief Justice
of the High Court. And he did a very thorough review. And you’re right –
he said there wasn’t a crisis, but he said there were
over 110 laws, codes, regulations which each, in a way,
could impinge on freedom of speech or freedom of inquiry,
and that’s why…. So, Dan, just to sort of
condense it a little bit, he’s recommended a model code. That’s right. Under his code, as I understand it, he concludes that universities would have the duty to protect staff
and students from discrimination. So, does that mean, for example, that if Israel Folau
were invited to talk at a university and say the things he said
in his Instagram feed, that that could hurt members of staff or students at the university, as Sally has suggested, and therefore the universities had every right in the world,
under the French Review, to stop him from speaking? Well, my hope would be that under such a model code, where freedom of speech
was paramount and if Israel Folau was there, and he was there saying
that these are HIS beliefs, and that is why he wanted
to express those views, that under a model code that he would be able to express
those views at a university campus, under the context that he was there. Because in the end, that code, freedom of speech and freedom of academic inquiry
is seen as paramount. But what I’m saying is
that the French Review code actually gives the universities
the right to say, “No, what he’s saying is going
to hurt members of staff, possibly, “and students, possibly, “so he shouldn’t speak.” So, the code actually
gives them the leeway to stop him from speaking. Well, it would depend
on the circumstances on which he was on the campus, and it would also depend
on how it was interpreted. But my hope would be that he would be able to go there, and express his fundamental beliefs
on that campus, and do so. And my hope would be that
someone like Sally could be there and could express
her fundamental beliefs if they were contrary
to what Israel Folau is saying. We have to be able to…
especially on university campuses, to be able to have
these types of debates, and that is my hope, that we will see that
as a result of this code, because if we can’t have them
on university campuses, then I worry that free speech
will be stifled in other places, and future generations
will suffer as a result. What if I came along…
(APPLAUSE) What if I came along to express my view but I brought a whole bunch
of my mates with me and they expressed the same view
all at the same time, maybe we have
some signs or something, someone’s made a petition, and we’re all expressing our view
all together online at once. There is hundreds of thousands
of us. How come we’re not allowed
to do that? How can we have this thing
called free speech without the freedom of protest? Of course you can do that. No-one is saying you can’t do that. You should be able to do that. I mean, that is so fundamental
to our democracy. You should be able to do that.
Thank you so much. So… (LAUGHS) Well, don’t thank me – thank the Australian people,
thank the Australian Constitution, thank all those
who have fought long and hard for liberal democratic principles. This isn’t about me,
it isn’t about this parliament, this is about something
we should cherish which has made this country
the thing it is today and made Western democracies
what they are today. And we have to hang on to that. Let me just go quickly back
to our questioner. I’ll come to you in a second, Ash. (APPLAUSE)
Our questioner asked… So, you’re an academic
at a university. You’re worried about free speech. Could you imagine your institution
allowing Israel Folau a platform to say the things
that he said on Instagram? Uh, I would find it hard that
they would let him on campus. I think there would be… ..he wouldn’t be allowed,
but I can imagine… Because he’s a rugby player
not an AFL player? (LAUGHTER) If he was going to speak
about what his tweet was about, I don’t think he would have much
chance of getting approved. So, you’ve had a look
at the French Review? It seems to me
that would give the university the right to stop him, if anything
that he said would hurt the students. That would give…
That’s a pretty… My personal view is I think that’s a pretty
restrictive view of the code and what Robert French
is saying in that code. I think, look, it would depend on maybe some individual
university policies, but I think the code is broad enough and that paramount freedom of
expression, of academic inquiry, I think in most cases
would allow Israel Folau onto a campus. If he was invited onto that campus by a group from that university, then I think he would
be able to come on and we would be able to have
the type of debates we need to be having in this nation. Ash, you wanted to get in? Then
I’ll hear from the other panellists. Yeah, thanks for that, Tony.
It was just to direct… ..just to answer this gentleman’s
question more directly or add something to it. It’s kind of funny. When I was at university
I was a fine arts student. You could say whatever you want
and get away with it. I’m still trying to
figure out years later why we had to study
Marx’s Das Kapital for art history. But I think they wanted me to share
my paintbrushes or something. Um… But to your question more directly, I was speaking
to someone yesterday who actually raised the same thing. It was at church, so maybe it was
a ScoMo miracle for this question, but he said he knew people
in your situation. But looking a bit further into it, I was just reading about the scientist Peter Ridd,
I believe his name was, from, I think it was
James Cook University. Now, he was speaking
on an issue of science and he was a professor
in that faculty, to the best of my knowledge. And he’d critiqued
some of the work on the Reef, or the Reef bleaching, and for that he was sacked. Now, he’s won his case, but I do wonder
how many other people are afraid to speak out
in case they lose tenure. Now, for my business
and my lifestyle, I’m completely outside –
that’s what I do, I’m an outdoors person, I run
an outdoor activities business. And the environment,
and a clean environment, is so important for what I do. But I do wonder, as we’re trying to move ahead
with environmental issues, climate change, whatever,
that there’s a very fair, reasonable, and justified suspicion
with people in the public, that we’re not getting
the full picture, and that if someone had an
alternative view on climate change maybe it’s not heard. And the fundamentals of it
with science is, if science isn’t questioned,
and it isn’t scrutinised, it’s clearly not real science. But my thought is…
on these sort of issues is that maybe one
of the best ways ahead is potentially to open up
the marketplace to new universities. Maybe ones with fresh ideas. You may have students come along
who buck the trend, challenge the status quo, but I would’ve thought that’s
what universities are all about. Uh, Catherine, let’s start
with the potential model code… Yeah, sure. Yeah, sure.
..and the French Review. Again, this is… You know, we’re
having a discussion about rights, which is terrific, ’cause we should
be having a discussion about rights in this country, and about,
you know, are our rights protected? You know, universities… Free speech is incredibly important,
but again it goes to that issue. You know, if we’re then allowing
hate speech on universities, if we’re allowing speech
that can do great harm, then we do have to think about
what is the balance of what we’re provid…
you know, is actually being allowed. So are you saying that deplatforming
is OK in certain circumstances? Well, I think that… I mean, I don’t know what this
code…what it would look like. But I think it’s important to… ..again, if you’re having
a discussion about rights, it is always about balance, and about the, you know, individuals
versus the greater good – all of those things
are really important. And if that’s what you’re trying
to do at universities… I know a number of universities are already sort of developing
their own codes. So long as you’re not
allowing hate speech, you’re not actually allowing harm
to be done to people… And the Folau case, you know, I think you have to think
about that – about the harm. And I think, you know, people
are not really understanding the harm that that does. That then…then, you know… It’s good to have a discussion
about these things. Tony, I just need to be clear –
this isn’t about hate speech. Well, sometimes it is, Dan.
Well…I mean… That’s the problem. of these issues in like…
is, you know, eye of the beholder, and that’s one of the issues,
and that’s where rights compete against each other. But I… The… Hate speech isn’t in the eye
of the beholder, though. That’s something that is,
like, a classified…speech. No, well… Like, hate speech,
we don’t want to… ..hate speech of any kind,
that’s absolutely… But it’s very easy for people to say a certain amount of speech
is hate speech to try and then
impinge on that speech. So once again, how do you define it? And my view is, if you wanted to have
a discussion about religious freedom on a university campus – so, you’re talking about people’s
fundamental religious beliefs – you should be able to, if you’re
a group on that university, if you wanted to…
is ask Israel Folau to come along and debate that topic. And I think, you know,
it’s just as much of a right that you can be there
to put your point of view. But Dan, is that group allowed to protest around the
university campus en masse, holding up protest signs…
Of course. ..saying that if you’re
an LGBTI, you know, student, you will go to hell. That’s what Sally just…
Then what’s changing? It feels like this
is what is already happening. People go… Controversial
speakers sometimes come, there’s sometimes protests.
What is the… What are you proposing to change? So, what we’re changing
is we’re making sure that that freedom of speech
is paramount when it comes to universities, so that type of activity
is enshrined. Because what the former Chief
Justice of the High Court showed was that we’re getting rules
and regulations, over 110 of them now, which could be impinging
on freedom of speech. So, therefore,
what we need is a model code which clearly defines
that this is the type of practice that can occur so that
free speech is protected. I’ll make the point, Dan,
one more time, and I think there is a little
bit of confusion around this, but it does seem that the model code
allows universities to say, “This speaker could harm
staff or students, “therefore we’re not gonna
allow them to speak.” So, in fact, the model code might…
“Could.” Well, it could. Because
that gives the universities the right to decide,
isn’t that right? Yeah. But there is a delineation
between whether a group on campus, a…someone who is a member
of that university, invites that person
onto the university, or whether an outside group
or an individual invites themself to speak
on that university campus. Alright.
And that is… I’m gonna move on
to just another aspect. Ash… Sorry. OK, quickly.
You can come in. Well, no, I was just gonna ask
something across to Sally. It’s kind of funny,
I feel like I’m on the far left and you’re on the far right
on this one, as the audience looks. But anyhow, when it comes to when
you’re talking about protests, I 100% agree, everyone
has the right to protest, because it’s so important
to a functioning democracy. It’s where you draw the line
between protest and obstructing other people’s
freedom to speech. And also their freedom to associate,
which I’ve felt. I’ve been to events before
where they’ve tried to block me and hit me for going and whatever. But on the flipside of that, in Victoria in the last few years,
around abortion clinics, for example,
you can’t protest within 150m. CATHERINE: Good. Good.
But would you… Thank goodness for that. But the thing is,
would you be happy for that if a speaker of another nature
that you didn’t appreciate, you couldn’t protest within 150m. Should we make it fair both ways? I don’t think you can compare,
like, transphobic YouTubers to women accessing health care. Yeah.
(APPLAUSE) But we are talking… But we are talking about
a democratic…a right that… And the whole thing is, whether you agree with someone
or don’t agree with someone, it’s a right
that’s fundamental to democracy. And if you take this away, you actually move away
from democracy into more of a groupthink, where
anyone who says the wrong thing, they don’t even get a choice. Because if someone believes
the wrong thing to you, how do we decide who’s believing
right and who’s believing wrong? But the fundamental right
to protest is very important, providing it doesn’t include
obstructions. OK, I’ll tell you what I’m gonna do –
I’m gonna put a line under this one, because we could go
all night on the one subject. Sorry. Thanks.
The next question – again, it’s kind of a moral issue about freedoms and individual rights,
from Katherine Coffey. Thanks, Tony. I support the new assisted dying
laws in spite of the fact that I was brought up
in the Catholic faith and am a retired nurse. In my experience,
the best palliative care doesn’t always make for a dignified,
peaceful, pain-free death. I therefore respect
people who make this choice, especially if they are suffering
from a terminal illness or a degenerative condition where they no longer have quality of
life or are totally incapacitated. Surely, if a person of sound mind
takes this option, it is their human right
to die as they please. Why doesn’t Ash support
this assisted dying legislation? So, Ash, we’ll start with you.
You’re back on deck. ASH: Thank you so… Yeah, like I don’t like
speaking as it is. But thank you so much
for the question, it’s a really important question. And more to the point, I used to be
like, “Why should I even care? “It’s someone’s freedom of choice. “I might morally disagree with it,
but it really is up to them.” And to be honest, when I looked
into it just a little bit further, I did have a few concerns
on this issue. And one of the issues
that really came to my attention that I was quite
frightened about is, currently, we have safeguards
in place yet, initially, when Belgium
put this into practice, I don’t know
if it was 20-odd years ago, they also had the same safeguards,
I imagine, in place, but that has slidden down and, I was just reading,
children as young as nine have been able to access euthanasia. One of them, I believe, it was because they had
maybe spina bifida, and the life expectancy
was only 30 or 40. And that’s, A,
where I’m afraid to go. But the other thing in my mind… Ash, you realise that we are talking
about the law in another country, and the Victorian laws
are extremely different, with many safeguards that would
prevent that from happening? I am very suspicious on anything
that calls itself a safeguard. It’s my nature. So you’re slippery-slope
argument then. I am a slippery slope, but it’s not
slippery slope in the fallacy sense, in that I’m looking
at another country. And I think we’re following
roughly the same ideology, or the same fashions or fads, if that’s not a rude word –
I do apologise. But I guess the other feeling
I have on this issue – if my grandmother,
or whatever, is ill, I’d feel I was taking her
to the vet. That’s what we do with our pets
when we put them down. I just think there’s something
fundamental about the human dignity – and once again, I’m a Christian, made in the image
and likeness of God – that we care for our people
at all costs. OK, Ash, I’m gonna just
pause you there because I’d like
to go back to Katherine. You were talking about dignity,
and the dignity of people who are dying in terrible pain without the right to decide
“this is enough.” KATHERINE: That’s right. So, how does it feel listening to Ash
talking about dignity? Um, I feel that… my experience the people
don’t die with dignity. And I think with this new
assisted dying law that they will be allowed
to die with dignity, because it’s their choice
to seek this option. So I’m not really sure what you mean
about that line in that part. Yeah, I think there’s something about the fundamental respect
for human life, and the Hippocratic oath
with the doctors, that separates us. And I do think humans do sit
in a different category to the rest of life on Earth. And, you know,
maybe that’s just my opinion. And it does shock me
that safeguards are not… I am worried where it could go. But on that, I’m also worried
about other people accessing health care in Australia
and how they may feel about that. I remember, 20 years ago when it was introduced
to the Northern Territory, Indigenous people and also people
of some of the ethnic minorities were very afraid
to then access health care, because they were worried
about what the potential might be. OK, Ash, I’m gonna draw it
back to the other panellists. And Catherine, I’ll start with you. Yeah, look, I support the Victorian
voluntary assisted dying laws. I think that, you know,
there are 68 safeguards in place. They are very… You know, the model that’s being used
is a very conservative model. I think anyone who has seen anyone
dying of motor neurone disease, a…absolutely hideous disease, has seen some of
the circumstances of death. It’s not pretty. It’s horrible sometimes for people
when, you know, you hear descriptions of people
bringing up faeces constantly because they’re unable
to actually defecate anymore. It’s horrendous. And the reality for many people’s
deaths is terrible. And I think as a nurse, Katherine,
you would’ve seen many of that. The laws are very, very narrow. You do have to be able… You have to be of sound mind, you have to have had people
signing off that you know
exactly what you’re doing. You have to, you know, be dying
within the next six months, and 12 months, depending
on the two narrow areas. And the role of doctors. And the role of doctors
is absolutely critical. I heard someone on the ABC
just the other day, a doctor who’s
done the training recently, and, you know, he talked about
what an act of courage it’s gonna be to actually do this. He’s nervous about it,
he’s worried about it, but believes very much
for his patients that this is part of the continuity
of care that he can provide. I think it’s been
a really brave step for Victoria
to go down this pathway, and I think we’ll see
other states follow. Yeah, Rex, what do you think? Will South Australia go down that
path, for example, at some point? Will other states follow? Well, I think we’ve recently seen
in the federal parliament, where we tried to give the right
back to the Northern Territory to adopt similar laws – unfortunately, that didn’t pass – this is a matter of choice
for people. As long as there are
safeguards in place. We already have a situation
where people get medical care that then switches across
to palliative care, and I think, you know,
this is just the next step. And I don’t want to see
anyone suffer, and as long as they are cognitive, and making their own decisions, I think people should have a right
to make a decision to end what might otherwise be a very
painful and uncomfortable life. Dan, what’s your view? It concerns me, Tony. I think the palliative care system
in Australia works extremely well. I don’t think there was a need
to take this extra step, so I’m not in support
of the euthanasia laws here. And there’s nothing
the federal government can do to intervene, is there? I mean, there must have been
a discussion. Obviously, there was an intervention in the Northern Territory
and Canberra. But the states have the absolute
right to decide, do they? There’s no discussion at the Attorney-General level
of federal intervention, is there? That’s my understanding… Well, no, Dan, the Health Minister
did say that, potentially… terms of the approval
of the drugs through the TGA, that there was some potential that he may wish to do
something around that. So, you know, federally, there was
some talk from your party, from your Health Minister, that there might be a chance
to do something about that, so… OK. I’ll just finish
answering the question… Yeah, sure.
..if that’s alright, Catherine. So, with regards to the NT,
it was very much, you know, we had the ability to
because it was a territory. So my understanding is
we don’t have, on that basis, the right to look
at what Victoria’s done and in any way influence it. When it comes to medications
that are used and getting approval for those, there might be some ability
to do that. But I’m not sure how widely
that’s been discussed, looked at or addressed. And if this trend began to… ..well, new legislation
took root in other states – Western Australia,
possibly South Australia, unlikely Queensland
but possibly Queensland – would you then start to feel
that this was a national problem that your government would need
to do something about? I don’t think you would call it
a “national problem”. I think what you would look at
and say, OK, well, each state…
states have their rights to bring in the laws
as they see fit. But I think what you would find is
people would look at this and say, “OK, well, what is the direction
that we’re heading in?” You know, should we be
looking at palliative care? Is that a better option
than euthanasia? I’m sure that, as a nation,
we would have discussions. One of things that was very clear when the Victorian parliament
debated this…that it was… ..a lot of thought, time,
and effort went into the debate. It was a debate that went over
a period of days. So, there was obviously
very deep consideration that was given to this step. Because, in my view,
it is a major step. We have crossed a threshold. Now, it’s not one that I agree with. It is one that we should be
thinking very carefully about. I think that…you know, my hope is
that other states and territories won’t follow
what has occurred in Victoria. Sally? I mean, I think we should be doing
everything we can to keep people alive. You know, I think we should
be funding hospitals, I think we should be
putting drugs on the PBS and making surgeries,
you know, available on Medicare. I think we should, like,
look at keeping people alive. And then, when that doesn’t work, we need to allow people
to end their suffering. And I think it is, like,
a deeply personal decision that people make as individuals
and with their families. And I wish that the church would
stay out of other people’s lives. (APPLAUSE)
OK. We’ve got to go to other questions. We’ve got politics to deal with,
among other things. So if you’ve got something to say
while watching Q&A, you can join the audience,
send a tweet, or put your hand up to become
a people’s panellist. We’re looking for articulate citizens
like Ash to join the panel each week. So go to our website to find out
more about how to do that. Our next question comes from
Jenny Fowler. Thank you. My question
is addressed to Catherine King. We now have the Labor Party saying
a wage of 200,000 is not the top of the town,
it’s aspirational. Is Labor in danger of overreach in trying to placate
the electoral base? Are we seeing a real shift
in the Labor ideal of a fair go for all Australians, including those on very low wages if it agrees to the whole package
of tax cuts? Yeah. Thank you very much
for the question, Jenny. I think there’s a couple of things. Labor is deeply concerned
about wealth inequality. We are deeply concerned about it. So when you hear us talk about what
is happening with different incomes, it is about wealth inequality. Now, we’ve obviously got
a tax package that the government’s legislation
is due to be, as I understand it, debated in the first week
back in parliament, on the Thursday. We’ve accepted that stage one –
we’ve said that all the way along – stage one for low-income earners
is actually really important. Today we’ve said on having finally
got together to have a discussion with our Shadow Cabinet about it that we think stage two… particular, we think part of
stage two should be brought forward. The reason we think that
is that despite the fact that the government told us
through the election campaign that the economy was strong, it is absolutely clear it is not. We are in trouble. We have seen wages
continue to stagnate, we’ve seen again the Reserve Bank
drop interest rates again, to low levels. This is not something we’ve seen
since the global financial crisis. So you want to see –
just to put that in a nutshell – you want to see
the economy stimulated quickly… Yeah, absolutely. tax cuts quickly… Tax cuts more quickly.
..but today you’ve said… You’ve ruled out the passage of the 95 billion stage three
of the tax cuts. We haven’t ruled it out. What we’ve said is
we think the most urgent thing before the parliament at the moment
is to deal with stage one, which was already meant
to be in place. Stage two is not due to come
into effect until 2022. That’s when the next election
is due. That…we think,
if you bring part of that forward, will act as a stimulus
to the economy. We also think the government, that has got a whole lot
of infrastructure promises that will not happen
for several elections away… ..we think you should bring
some of that forward and we think you should defer
the decision about stage three. But remembering that, in fact,
the decision… The parliament has already made
the decision to flatten the tax rate between 90,000 to 200,000. That legislation has already passed. What the debate about stage three
is about is the rate, whether it goes from 32.7% to 30%. That’s what the legislation
would be. That flattening of the rate,
it got legislated already. That’s already passed
the parliament. What the government wants to do does
not come into effect until ’24-’25. We’re saying that’s not urgent…
The politics… The politics are
that the government is saying they will not split up
this effectively omnibus bill, they won’t do that. So, you’re saying you’ll hang tough,
all the way through, and stop… We’ve said… ..the tax cuts from going through
if necessary? Is that right? We’ve said,
“Here is a negotiating position. “We think the economy is in trouble. “Come and negotiate on this bit,
which is due…you know, “which are immediate and ’22. “Bring that forward.” The ones for ’24-’25, I mean,
it’s pretty heroic to try and say, “This is what the economy
is going to look like.” We’ve said, “Can we defer
discussion about that until later?” Even later in the next
parliamentary session? Let’s get these two stages
through first. Let’s hear from the
government representative. Dan, will you split up the bill
in order to get quick passage of a series of tax cuts,
which will stimulate – potentially stimulate – the economy? Can I just say
it was a very good question? I think what it showed was
that the Labor Party’s approach to class warfare has completely
and utterly backfired on them. I think it’s a good thing
for this country now we’re talking about aspiration, rather than terms like
“top end of town”, which was trying to drive envy. We took a plan – a long-term plan – to the Australian people
about cutting taxes. Now, a lot of people have come up
to me and said, “Why do governments take such
a short-term approach to things “because of the electoral cycle? “Why don’t you set out
a five-year plan?” Well, that’s exactly
what we’ve done. We set out a five-year plan
to reduce taxes. We took it to the Australian people. The Australian people
have elected us. We now want to implement
that passage. We want to implement our plan. And I would say to Catherine – and I know there’s now indecision
in the Labor Party… There’s no indecision.
..about stage three and whether to support it or not,
and that’s been left unclear, just do the right thing
by the Australian people and let us implement our plan. Dan, you keep talking
about this mandate, but if I look at my seat – where there was a swing to Labor
in my seat – I now hold my seat
by more than you hold your seat by, the neighbouring seat. So, what’s the mandate?
I mean, seriously… Like, I am doing the right thing
by the people who voted for me and they are concerned
about wealth inequality and they’re concerned
about their jobs and their wages. Catherine…
Sorry, can I… No, Tony, this is important.
Go ahead. I just wanted to tell Catherine
the Coalition won the election. Yeah, yeah, we got that. I got that.
(APPLAUSE) We know that.
I don’t think you have. Catherine, we don’t do “My majority
is bigger than yours,” anymore, OK? (LAUGHS) We know that. The thing is, you’re going to
have to come to a decision as to whether to hang tough
and reject the full bill or not. And it seems to me you’re saying
it’s a negotiating position which gives you the option
of actually coming back and supporting the full bill, which
goes back to the question, actually. So, are you in a position
to back down or have you locked yourself in a
position where you can’t back down? We haven’t had a discussion
about stage three. We haven’t had that decision.
There’s processes for that to do. We’ve made an offer
to the government in good faith about a negotiating position. It is now in the government’s hands to determine whether people
will get tax relief quickly or whether they won’t. That’s their decision. Rex, you’re sitting here
in the middle of these two warring parties. ASH: Keep ’em honest, mate! Now, you’ll be one on the crossbench that may actually again
have to decide whether to push these tax bills
through the Senate. That assumes that some sort of deal
is done with Labor. Yeah. Look, we have been… Well, actually whether some deal
is done with Labor or not, in fact. Sure. Look, we’ve been through
this before with the previous… ..this ending parliament where we had three stages
of tax cuts. We rejected the third. Sent it back to the lower house,
and the government said, “No, it’s all or nothing.” I’ve spoken directly
to Mathias Cormann on a number of occasions. And we’re being told – and
I have no reason to disbelieve him – that it will not be split up. And it’s for that reason that Centre
Alliance is now looking at ways in which we can move forward, making sure that with
this very, very large decision we don’t end up in a situation
where down track we end up cutting services
to education… CATHERINE: Exactly. Yep. and to aged care. And, uh… So you are saying one again
there’d be a Senate inquiry, it would last a very long time,
presumably before… No, not at all.
So we’re in discussions. One of the areas that we have
great concern is with energy costs. Pretty much, energy affects
every sector of the economy. It doesn’t matter whether you’re
making fish and chips for a living, whether you’re running a TV station or running a very large
chemical company. We’ve got very, very high
energy prices here in Australia, particularly in my home state
of South Australia. So we’ve been focusing
on making sure that if we do move forward
with the tax cuts, the Reserve Bank Governor
has indicated that’s important to get disposable income back
into the economy to stimulate it. But we don’t want to
have that happen and then energy companies
just gobble up all of the tax cut. We also don’t want an economy
that is inefficient and uncompetitive
because of our energy prices. So we have been involved
in a discussion with the government. And I have had a discussion
with Minister Cormann and, indeed, Minister Canavan,
about energy, and they’re working through
some solutions that may get us to a point
where we can support this package. OK. I’m gonna just ask the next
question and come back to you. The next question comes
from Scott Nash. It’s kind of related
to what we’re talking about. Scott, go ahead. Despite this country being
one of the largest exporters of natural gas, Australian consumers
and manufactures are paying up to 40% more
than Japanese users for the same Australian gas. Even energy company AGL
thinks it can make money by building a gas terminal
in Victoria and reimporting gas. As our manufacturing
continues to dwindle and pensioners shiver
through the winter, is it now time for serious action to bring the Australian gas cartel
under control and restore sensible energy prices
to our energy exporting nation? I’ll go back to Rex to start with,
and then along the line. Sure. Great question. You’re right – we are paying more
for our gas here in Australia than our Asian friends
are paying for our gas that is exported to them. Back in 2013-14, Australians were paying between
3 and 4 per gigajoule for gas. We then entered into contracts and constructed some LNG trains
in Gladstone. We are now exporting
a substantial amount of gas. A couple of years after that, I was dealing with
South Australian constituents who weren’t saying to me, “Rex, the price is too high,” they were simply saying,
“We can’t get an offer.” The exporters took so much gas
from the domestic market, we couldn’t even get gas. Now we’ve got a situation
where we’ve managed to control through something called the Australian Domestic
Gas Security Mechanism, something Nick Xenophon
and myself negotiated with the government back in 2017, that has made sure that
we do have supply, but it’s tight. It’s a tight supply. And the cartel
you were talking about – they’re quite happy to keep it tight
so that the prices are high. We have to do something about this. It is hurting individuals. It doesn’t matter
whether you’re a pensioner, whether you’re on Newstart,
whether you work hard for a living, whether you’re a small business
or a large business – these high gas prices are hurting. Yeah, Catherine, go ahead. Look, we’d support moves
to have and develop a gas plan, as part of a broader energy plan. I think the government, frankly,
has failed to develop a broader energy plan, which includes, clearly,
renewables as well. We’ve noted the comments
that Rex has been making around gas, and, obviously, the strain
that is on, particularly, our manufacturing sector
here in Victoria, I think that will continue to be
a substantive issue. It would seem
a sensible thing to do, to actually start to develop
a proper gas plan for the nation. Again, not something we’ve seen
from the government so far. Ash? Yeah, it’s just an interesting one
on gas, ’cause apparently gas is
about half the amount of carbon of some of the other fossil fuels, apparently it’s a fraction
of the fine particulate pollution, and, actually, listening to
Radio National the other day on ABC, I heard the presenter there suggest
that in the US, even after Trump’s pulled out of
the Paris climate agreement, that their emissions
have kept going down purely because they’ve
started developing the gas further. So, in terms of the environment,
it may be a good middle step before our renewables become more…
I suppose, more accessible, cheaper to use, and more reliable. It could be a good middle step,
affordable step and something that’s better
for the environment, so it could be quite good all round. Very quickly – it is supposed to be
the transitional energy from coal… This is what I thought.
..through to renewables, and we have priced ourselves
out of that. It’s ridiculous. Dan Tehan, is it time
to do something about this? It’s an obvious… It’s a strange phenomenon that you
can buy Australian gas in Japan cheaper than you can in Australia. So, we are doing something about it. I know that Rex
has had detailed conversations with Matt Canavan, Angus Taylor
and Mathias about this, about our plan
to drive gas prices down. We’ve seen a 20% decrease
in gas prices in Australia. What has led to…
the last four months, there’s been a price reduction
in Asia, which is less than what we’ve got
here in Australia, it’s being produced by the US and the amount of gas
that they’ve brought on to the international market. Now, our hope is that that will see
parity also here in Australia, so we’ll see a further decrease
in prices here in Australia. We will continue to work with
the gas companies to put downward pressure
on gas prices. We need to do that. But we do have a plan
to get prices down and I know there has been
very detailed negotiations and discussions with Rex on that because we appreciate
his interest in it. OK. Remember, if you hear
any doubtful claims tonight, let us know on Twitter. Keep an eye on the RMIT ABC Fact
Check and the Conversation website for the results. Time for one last question.
It comes from Niamh O’Connor Smith. Niamh.
Hi. As a rural school student, my local high school,
Castlemaine Secondary College, struggles to pay for basic things
like educational materials, and maintaining the buildings
and grounds. We have a limited range
of subjects offered and we have no functioning ovals
to play sport on. I look at other schools
with so much more and ask, “Why doesn’t the government
properly support public education?” Dan Tehan.
Well, we do, Niamh. We’re putting extra funding,
we’re putting record funding, into public education. I, last week, signed
a bilateral education deal with the Victorian state government, which provides them,
from the Commonwealth, record levels of funding
for public schools, for independent schools
and for Catholic schools. And one of the key things
about that negotiation was making sure that the Victorian
state government does its bit, because what tends to happen – and this is why we’ve
entered into agreements – the more the Commonwealth puts in, and the faster we grow
our expenditure into public schools, the state has a tendency to reduce
the level increase of its funding. So, what we’ve now done
is tied them into an agreement where they have to increase
their funding for public schools. And the sad reality is, in Victoria, the Victorian state government
is the lowest funder per student of public schools in the country. Now, we want them to lift that. We’re putting in record funding, we want them to lift
their level of funding. And my hope is now that we’ve got
this agreement in place, you’ll see more funding
flowing through your school… Just a quick one, Dan. What percentage of the funding
that you’re… The extra funding
that you’re talking about, what percentage of it is
actually earmarked to go to public schools? So, we are seeing
a 60% growth in our funding for public schools in Victoria. So, that is how much
we’re providing for them. Now, obviously state governments
are the predominant funders of state schools, and one of the things that
we always have to do – especially from
the Commonwealth level – and Catherine would know this
from the health portfolio – is there is a tendency with the more money
the Commonwealth puts in, the states will find ways to… ..if we don’t put in place
agreements, to reduce the level of growth
that they put in to their system. So that is why we’ve had a lengthy,
detailed negotiation with Victoria. But I’m pleased to say
that although – currently – they are the lowest funder
on a per student basis of public schools in the country, what we’ve done
will see that start to increase. Catherine? Again, we’ve been through
an election where the reality was
the government, despite… This is how they describe it – is that they say
their funding is going up. And everybody can say that because the way in which
the agreements work is that the Commonwealth’s share
is meant to be going up. But when you go back to what
they said they were going to do, back in the 2013 election campaign, it’s about 14 billion less than what they said
they were actually going to do. We know that public schools
need more resources. The government has taken a decision, in fact, actually, untied
the agreements with the states and you’re now tying them up again,
which is good, to make sure that those state shares
continue to go up. But it is less money
than they promised when they first got into government. And that’s what we’re seeing across
the country is there is less money than there
should be for public education because we haven’t followed
the needs-based funding model that we worked hard
when we were last in office to actually do and develop. We’ve had… As Dan quite rightly
points out, we lost the election. We went to the election
with a very strong platform to put that 14 billion
back into education. We’re not able to do that
from government. That is part of the consequences
of the election, is there a less money
for public education than there would have been
under Labor. Ash…
Tony, can I just say… Yeah, sure, you can.
You have to be brief, though. 310 billion of extra funding
is what we’re putting in. Ash?
You’re going to me on education? Well, my kids
do go to a state school, down on Phillip Island. It’s a fantastic school,
it is very well funded, so I guess I’m not as familiar
with it. I do think funding needs to be
very fair, obviously, across the board. I am… I guess I could be concerned
that where is the money going? Can we take money
out of other programs that are less necessary
and put it where we need to, into the proper infrastructure
and whatever? But, yeah, I suppose
I feel unqualified in that when I look at
my local public school, it actually runs quite well. They’re doing works at the moment. And I guess
this is one of the debates that Rex has alluded to as well,
about the tax cuts. When you go back to that, if the government
has less revenue in 2024 to spend on things like education,
health, aged care services, and they’re the decisions
that you’ll have to make in 2024… But, Catherine…
Hang on, Dan. That’s the reality…
Ash wants to jump in. I do, I do. It’s just ’cause
when it comes to tax cuts, why don’t we grow the pie? I actually don’t get it.
I run a small business. But growing the pies
means more taxes… Well, no, it actually doesn’t. If you get more people into work,
and if… Sure. If you’re a business like myself,
you cut the tax on the business, I can actually put more money
into investing, I can put more staff on.
Sure. It’s less people paying more tax. You actually disincentivise work
if you put the tax creep up. It’s ridi…
I get quite emotional on this. I actually don’t work a lot of hours
’cause it is a seasonal business, but I’m not even slightly jealous
of someone who may want to earn
200,000 a year. And you can check with my accountant
there, my wages are quite low. But you do disincentivise work
if you put it up. I’m quite happy for someone who wants to put
the extra hard work in – they already pay more tax simply because they earn more
dollars than me. Why should they have to pay more tax
per dollar? OK, Ash, that was the answer
you didn’t get to make earlier. (APPLAUSE)
Appreciate you having the chance… Tony…
Hang on a sec. Rex, I want to hear from you, and the priority
of education funding, particularly in public schools
in the regions, was what the question was about. Well, I actually think there’s
lots of problems with regions and the government hasn’t focused on
regions enough. We’re seeing all sorts of declines
in services in regional areas, and that has to be addressed. What I can say is that as any legislation
comes through the Senate that seeks to cut education,
it will be getting a no from us, and we’ll be putting pressure
all the time on making sure that
we get these services – get improvements to the services, get improvements where we can. It’s one of the things the
crossbench does extremely well – keeping an eye on government and making sure that that we get
extra funding to schools like yours. Dan, I’ll give you 30 seconds
because we’re out of time. We have guaranteed education funding
for the next decade. I’m happy to step you through it,
Rex. There will be no cuts. Guaranteed education funding
for the next decade. OK. On that little bit of
cross-party negotiation, we’ll have to leave it for tonight. Please thank our panel –
Ash Belsar, Catherine King, Rex Patrick, Sally Rugg,
and Dan Tehan. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) Thank you very much. You can continue the discussion
with Q&A Extra on NewsRadio and Facebook Live where Tracey Holmes is joined by
Sam Crosby of The McKell Institute. Next week on Q&A, Victorian
Liberal Senator James Paterson, Labor frontbencher Clare O’Neil, columnist and commentator
Grace Kelly, author, editor and podcaster
Jamila Rizvi, and people’s panellist Greg Day,
a former Air Force engineer who, like many Australians,
is concerned about short-term thinking
in politics. Well, until next Monday, goodnight. (APPLAUSE) Captions by Red Bee Media Copyright Australian
Broadcasting Corporation

84 thoughts on “The Freedom to Fund Yourself | Q&A

  • What Israel Folou said was wrong and The Australian Christian Lobby should not be standing up for his right to say it and those Christians who agree with me should stand against Israel Folou and The Australian Christian Lobby.

  • A re-upload by the abc? Obviously didn't like the comments section where their fake news was debunked.
    Free speech attacked yet again. Feelings > Facts according to the abc.

  • Well of course you should have the freedom to fund yourself, unless it’s something I disagree with…

  • No group of people should be protected from discrimination,if your feelings are hurt from anothers point of view then you really should reevaluate yourself as a human being. This soft modern society is creating people that arn't capable of handling critical life situations and that can be very dangerous in the long run.

  • we need a religion discrimination act? but only christians seem to have too fight every time they air a view. Is the islamics still able to crowd fund, and air all their views of death to the infidel, and pursue jihad ?

  • Priests. Pastors. Church elders already say all of Israel’s statement on a daily. On social media everywhere. Are we to do the same?

  • Hate speech? What a wussy  bunch. Cry babies. If you don't like what someone says,  don't read it or switch it off or ignore it. Simple and get a life. That Rod Bower bloke needs to be reigned in. Hiding behind his cassock. His messages are out on the roadside.  Creepy. But he has the right to say it. Offence is not given it's taken. Shrinking violets everywhere.

  • Isreal breached his contract and was let go because of it, pretty fair. If it wasnt in his contract and they let him go, I probably would support his religous freedoms.

    The religious argument is simple if your not religious and isreals words trigger you… Why are you even offended in the first place, by a concept of a god that doesnt exist?
    Furthermore,if you were religious, why be a part of a religion that actively discriminates agaisnt you? (Ie. Abrahamic religions).

    Free speech is all about accountability and acting like adults. For example someone could say that, 'They dont like "insert group here" for reasons X, Y, Z. It would be up to us as the veiwers to either take what is said at face value, or we can discuss with them why they feel that way, or even to outright ignore them. Its up to us as individuals to choose what we like or dont like. It shouldnt be the governments job to intervene because someone doesnt like what is said (unless they are actively advocating for violence).

  • Is it not that Folau Breached his Contract by putting out those comments Again?After agreeing not to put it out again.He has the Freedom to practice his religion & freedom of speech.

  • I bet I am about to watch the Intolerant gay and leftists bullies tell everyone how intolerant they are…Hypocrites…

  • ABC snowflakes at it again. No one cares who you have sex with. If Joyce didnt sleep with other males, this whole thing would never become an issue. WORDS ARE NOT VIOLENCE, get over urselves gay ppl no one cares. OFFENCE CAN ONLY BE TAKEN, NOT GIVEN.

  • Hate Speech? What is that? Oh, that's right, everything the left don't like is hate speech. Riiigghhtttt! The Irony of the Leftist thinking they have the Moral High ground when they are as Feral as any human can be.

  • "I wish the church would stay out of peoples lives" The church is made up of the people. Hence over a million dollars in 24hrs for the people to support Folau… I wish the leftists and gays would stop bullying their way into my life!

  • If i may borrow a quote from Jordan Peterson." If you want the the right to have true freedom of speech, them you must accept that you going to risk offending individuals or groups". Basically if you water down the rights to freedom of speech and legislate what you can and cannot say to an individual or group, it is no longer freedom of speech, it is CENSORSHIP, pure and simple. There is already very adequate laws in place to deal with hate speech which i support, but if freedom of speech laws are watered down any further, it will come to the point where you cannot have a frank and open discussion with anybody on any topic.

  • When will these people learn that there are views and expressions out there in this world that your not gonna agree with. Firing, deplatforming, shaming, brow-beating, intimidating and bullying don't work!

  • Spewing the beautiful brunette is lesbian i envy the carrot flavoured turnips that get to absorb the lovely woman's essence

  • A one off tax cut is BS and going to do nothing long term. What with the looming global downturn, the gig economy culling future jobs in favour of automation, and the current casualisation and under employment of jobs in this country, we need to seriously consider introducing a Universal Basic Income. Is anyone talking about this?

  • The ostensible Australian Secular Democracy, addressing the old 'sticks and stones' with a law, wow we have become a nation of weaklings & cry babies.
    Why is the LGBT so shocked, read the bible, it's only been in there for a few 1000 years, If you think what your doing isn't wrong why would you care anyway?

  • Calling out Sally Rugg for lying. Folau did not say anything against transsexuals. He spoke out against government intervention in gender transitions.

  • Sexual, age, disability, trans, gay etc discrimination are all real things and can be classified and defined.
    Religion is a belief system that can't be proved and do all religions get the same protections?
    Keep your backward beliefs out of public life and policy.

  • 7:30 If transgender teens have high risk of commit suicide it is not because they are discriminated but because they are fighting against their own nature and biology. They are fighting a battle that was lost since the beginning and their frustration and failure lead them to commit suicide.

  • the LGTBBQ chick is a fool, she wants no one to be able to sat anything because feelings, sorry, facts don't care about your feelings, reality doesn't either.
    we can protect children to some degree, but adults? no, grow up, if you're weak, get stronger or fail, we do not have to and will not be forced to lower society and humanity to protect your feelings, protect yourself and enact freedom of speech, hate speech is anti free speech.

  • 20:44 "my hope would be" no, no, your hope of legislation and rules being carried out in the spirit of them rather than authoritarian nut jobs running uni's stop speech from happening is NOT ENOUGH. it's perfectly clear we need freedom of speech under the constitution now, the far left and right nut jobs want everyone but what they like cut off, and it's happening.

    and right after this, the cazy left woman shows her tru colours, "why can't we shut down their speech with bullhorns and numbers and violence?" maniacs

  • "if we're allowing hate speech on our universities" "speech that can do great harm" hate speech according to whom dear? whom is making those decisions? you? the radical feminist? the religions zealot? who? this is the problem with supposed "hate speech" there is can can be no clear definition, it's is intentionally vague so anyone can declare anything they don't like to be hate speech. and I'm sure someone will argue "harm" and then the slippery slope.

  • 56:59 "we are putting record levels of funding into education" yes, to private schools, while the PM declares he wants to gut 1.5 Billion out of education for an "emergency fund" yes… these two things don't line up for the liberals…

  • What Israel did is an example of threatening violence by proxy(genocidal God), under the law threatening violence is illegal. In Australia at least free speech ends there!! "Religious Discrimination Act" Anyone happy to have in our midst, for example, Headhunters of the Amazon who believe that if they take the life of a person outside their tribe that they will supernaturally be endowed with that person's strength? Criticism of religion has to be allowed and even discrimination based on religious ideology in cases where what people believe is the impetus to threaten or cause others(human & non-human) to suffer unnecessarily. Therein lies the issue I have with the Israel Folau.

  • 5:20 "He[Israel Folau] has the right to say and practise his religion." Criticism of religion has to be allowed and even discrimination based on religious ideology in cases where what people believe is the impetus to threaten or cause others(human & non-human) to suffer unnecessarily. Anyone happy to have in our midst, for example, Headhunters of the Amazon who believe that if they take the life of a person outside their tribe that they will supernaturally be endowed with that person's strength?

  • That education isn't free speaks volumes to the sad state of affairs in the economy, in so much that employers do not seem to need educated young people, if they did then much of their money would go to funding education. The more educated people are the better everyone's life will be.

  • 11:54 What is practicing ones religion? The Bible unequivically tells Chritians to proclaim what is recorded in it!! Yes and I'm anxious about practising my religion and I might just see if I am not permitted to, I will go and commit suicide, as a person (white male) who belongs to the group who has the highest suicide rate in Australia!!

  • If you're "hurt by ideas" then you have no place being on a university, end of story. Go serve hipsters soy lattes for a living.

  • The bible is a fantasy novel . And I really don’t know why the Gay community took offence, instead of laughing it of and mocking the stupidity of Christianity. Instead they’ve given Folau a platform. Chock Mundine said far worse on the same topic of sexuality calling for Capital punishment for same sex couples , and the MSM said jack .. the whole thing is a absolutely quagmire. “ I’m offended and I have rights “” nothing happens when your offended. You don’t grow spots or an extra ear . All sides just need to grow up . Dear Gay people,, this guys imaginary Friend isn’t going to put you in his sons BBQ for all Eternity ?? I’m just reminding you that you’re getting offended about something that is never going to happen. What’s actually going to happen is you’ll close your eyes one day and never wake up just like everrrrrrrry one else . Then your body will either get buried and the Worms will eat you . And that’s it lol

  • I’ve listened to this for 35 minutes and 49 seconds, to be exact, and don’t have the time to finish because I want to say something and go on with my day. I don’t watch a lot of the Q&A program or know what they’re about but I thought the facilitator is biased in his line of questioning. My point I guess is why have a panel to discuss free speech if you’re going to, seemingly, limit the chance of one side to finish their point for another. May be just share your own opinion and not have a panel:) But will return to finish the video, just to be fair and adjust comment should the need arise:) wonderful that we can voice our opinion freely. God bless

  • You say the church should stay out of peoples lives, yet you want the church to accept what you believe and change the way the interpret scripture.. what a hypocrite.

  • "they make me feel sick,they make me feel tired" putting the suggestive programming to the masses at home that this issue is contentious and will discomfit them to engage with or even listen to, Im terrified of what you people are doing to the public's remaining consciousness,ignoring the fact the Australian people are really just an inconvenience to the experts and think-tanks( look into what think-tanks are*spoiler its Orwellian often funded from the bowels of the EcoSmartNewWorldOrderQI+* )
    i voted yes on gay marriage, it was just about two people and love right? now its certainly gotten interesting fast,its not going to get better either ^ they work by PROBLEM>REACTION>SOLUTION or if your in plebeian earshot CRIME>LAW>ORDER it goes further back the Hegel but the dialectical materialism seems to have stuck itself to his name so thats a good place to start if your interested in finding out what the actual Fark is going on.

  • Listen – the mental health system in Australia persecuted people on the basis of same-sex attraction, until 1973, the mental health system still continues to deprive people who are lesbian or gay of liberty/ freedom from forced psychiatry, but under other terminology. The violent discrimination under government legislation hasn't stopped. Quit talking up the idea that disenfranchised gay/ lesbian people have ‘mental health problems’. The problem is the Mental Health Legislation, that allows discrimination of the basis of accused disability, a loophole that persecutes human diversity, under the Mental Health Act of each State/ Territory and subjects millions of Australians to exploitation: vile, cruel forced human research. Psychiatric drugs forced into people, that render scholars into dunces, and athletes into slobs. Arbitrary detention on the basis of accused disability, that cannot be proven with any legitimate scientific test, and even if it could, why is legislation discriminating in this vile cruel way on the basis of disability?

    The DDA does nothing to stop the MHA of each State/Territory – do you think that a Religious Discrimination Act would allow people to refuse forced psychiatric drugs, electro-shock and other cruel inhumane procedures inflicted on millions of Australians for the profit of pharmacists, psychiatrists & government coterie?

    What signifies ‘religion’? Does it have to be organised, or can it be a belief that an individual holds to be their belief? Who is going to decide what is a legitimate belief? Say, if a person believes that boycotting a pharmaceutical company that manufactures a substance that kills bees/ platypus – does that mean that psychiatrists could be sued for forcibly injecting a person who asked not to be injected with a chemical made by that company that they are boycotting? Is that what a Religious Discrimination Act would include – Conscientious Objection – to products/ procedures? Surely it would be better to have a Conscientious Objectors Act, but here’s the thing, then an employer can object in any way they wish too.

    And I should be able to work for ABC… and say: ‘please do stop vilifying gay/lesbian people by mentally-illing them and saying they’re suicidal wretches you patronising shmucks! It is not supportive.’ yeah but nah but yeah but… discrimination due to funding issues? Government funding issues. Boss ties with money tied up with pharma-medico mental health association businesses.? oh. And the propaganda that the government demands a business like ABC peddles, whitecoat propaganda with ties to the churches so thick with money from their industries, and demands that the people exploited by psychiatrists then volunteer for their church 'charities', to prove they're a person worthy of being no longer subjected to a forced mental health order.

  • Trial of the quick-death drugs, new on the TGA list. Good results, immobilizer assures that the person is still, and too all watching 'resting peacefully' (though perhaps terrifying for the person injected, who now cannot speak or move.) – quick death drug being trialed, could feel like being boiled alive, but they're not going to say anything, and apparently they chose this, and they die, so no complaining about the quick-death drugs anywhere. Win-win for all those paid to put people to death. So, how to get more clients and expand this industry? Medicine and pharma are notorious in their want to move product. 'Safeguards'… oh yeah about that 'safeguards' is what Australia keeps using as an excuse to keep legislating forced psychiatry, when the UN CRPD committee questions them.

  • Freedom from physical harm ought to be paramount in a public place even if that means curtailing some kinds of speech in that public place. For example, inviting a anti-Jewish spokesperson to advocate for the extermination of Jews in a public university ought to be open to university veto to prevent it from happening on their campus.

  • It 's interesting and ironic. In the past many people used to be frightened that some nation with an alien ideology would invade us and try and change everything that we believed in. The irony is that the alien ideology grew from within, now leftist radicals want to persecute Christians, suppress free speech, and get us to worship gays and demons, introduce transgender brainwashing in the education system amongst other crazy notions. We probably need to be invaded and have someone make us normal again.

  • What a load of rubbish, there is only one Religion they want to limit within boundaries and that is Christianity.

  • Rugg talks as though it was illegal to say what Folau said – it is not and unless we completely lose the plot never will be – so people will have to deal with whatever upset that causes. The question is can you lose your job for saying it, and also whether is it possible for you to lose your free-speech rights through a contract,

  • Only a Christian could see hate speech in the bible has helpful to the LGBTI people – all that amounts to is spin and lunacy! these people are devoid of rational thought! so don't bother having an argument with them! waste of time! Folau must stay gone! that's the go! He had a contract and he blew it- I hope he gives up on wasting Rugby Australia's money – its really selfish to try and ruin the organisation- the government will bail them out I suspect- if not the people will have to- the government used tax payers money – so either way- the people will bail out Rugby Australia!

  • Qantas Alan Joyce has started the "Domino Effect" (YellowVest ) in Australia all because he was (wait for it) OFFENDED. He should have stayed focus on AIRLINE business instead this small little boys "FEELINGS" took over. He exercised HIS FREESPEECH/opinion but won't let others VOICE theirs. The Board of Qantas must look at the bottom line now and FIRE him. Every News Journalist "sells us" their view /opinion/ideology on an issue. I can switch them OFF and go to another channel if I choose. is call FREEDOM of CHOICE. Channels like CNN have fallen into the red (why)because their ideology/twisted schemes have OFFENDED people and people now support other News Channels. Israel Falou was a excellent job performer/rugby player who respected and played as a TEAM member. Out of office hours he expressed his FREESPEECH rights and ended up being FIRED. YOU COULD be FIRED tomorrow. YES, TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY. Think of it…. No mortgage payment, school fees, no bills….your whole livelihood GONE (wait for it ). ..NO VOICE anymore/vote removed.
    "Domino Effect" (YellowVest) started by OFFENDED Qantas Alan Joyce! God Bless Australia!

  • Just saw an AUSLAN interpreter in the wings signing away furiously. Q&A should have him inset (bottom right side of the screen etc.) during the show so it's more accessible to the hearing impaired. If you've already got it, why not show it?

  • What if he was Muslim and spoke about Allah? Would everyone still be up in arms, citing 'religious freedoms' then?

  • Its a free society…if you want to fund somebody get on with it and not be bothered with Vegans or soy-a-boys…..

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