Subjects: Political correctness; same-sex marriage; Senator Cormann's address to The Sydney Institute; anti-vaxxers; fake ‘Tahitian prince’.
Peter Dutton good morning to you.
Good morning Ray.
I don't know if you heard it when you were coming into the studio or the building, June from the ACT. We've got all this debate today in Sydney particularly about statues. They want to get rid of Lachlan Macquarie, Captain Cook, Arthur Phillip and others.
But 1984 was published – the book by George Orwell in 1949 – that's a long time ago, a long, long time ago. And he wrote, according to June from Garran in the ACT, every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building renamed, every date has been altered and the process is continuing day by day, minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the party is always right.
George Orwell wrote that in 1949 and it's remarkable how it's being enacted, not just in Sydney, but in the world in 2017.
Well these are the campaigns of the Left Ray. I mean they preach some of this stuff in universities, Safe Schools, all sorts of programmes which are based around trying to either diminish elements of our society, segments of our community and it defies common sense.
I mean people have respect for our institutions, they expect the good and the bad of our history to be recorded accurately. And this is what keeps these people employed, these sort of campaigns and as I say much of it run out of some of the universities around the country and left wing causes otherwise. GetUp! is at the centre of much of this nonsense.
I just think this is the time when good, decent Australians, the majority of Australians who are otherwise happy to go about their business, they need to stand up and be heard because the silent majority won't tolerate this sort of reconstruction.
Just on other matters, Australians have until midnight to enrol to vote ahead of next month's postal ballot on same-sex marriage.
Tony Abbot – and he was in with me this week – has had a fair bit to say about problems that may occur based on this vote. That's been disputed by George Brandis and in a moment I'll play you some audio from your colleague Christopher Pyne that went to air yesterday in Adelaide.
But I note there's a story in The Australian today pointing out the states will need to overhaul their anti-discrimination laws if the yes vote does pass, which would offer support to the view that Tony Abbott's offered – and he's not panicking people, he's just saying look there are going to be ramifications if the yes vote is sustained this is what may have to happen.
As well as the yes vote, it won't just be about people being able to marry people of the same sex; there'll be a whole range of other people affected by it. And it's reported on the front page of The Australian and some rather notable legal people are quoted and academics are quoted saying – they don't say it, but I'm saying it for them – Mr Abbott's right, there will need to be a change in state laws or the federal has to override those state laws.
Well Ray, we said at the start of this debate that it needed to be a respectful debate. People have got views, they've got interpretations and it's their right to put those views. Now the respect goes between colleagues of mine who are making contributions as it does for community members and leaders, church leaders, others that are involved in the debate.
People deserve to hear the facts and the consequences. They deserve to understand what a change in the law would mean and you know Tony's expressing a view, others have got different views. But the whole idea is that people's views should be heard now because people should be properly informed when they're making their decision in relation to this very important social issue.
Well I'll just give you one quote from the University of Newcastle in New South Wales. Associate Professor Neil Foster said ‘the states, particularly Tasmania, should be planning changes to their anti-discrimination laws ahead of the same-sex marriage postal vote.’ He said ‘the issue of legal protection for religious beliefs had barely been examined during the debate,’ and it hasn't.
Well we've said that there needs to be protection for religious freedom. People need to be able to speak their mind. If they're employed in an Anglican school or a Catholic school or whatever it might be and they want to preach in accordance with their beliefs, with their religious beliefs, that is a right in our country and it needs to be protected. You don't have to be a person of religious belief to support that.
The fact is, as I say, people don't need to conform to one point of view and people need to have their freedom of speech that needs to be enshrined. If legislation needs to be changed or people need to be alerted to the fact that there's likely change required in legislation then they should be heard. We're not going to shout people down, whether it's Tony Abbott or anybody else, in relation to expressing these views.
Well you mightn't be, but let's have a listen to your colleague Christopher Pyne on 5AA in Adelaide yesterday.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Well the only question before the plebiscite is: ‘do we believe it’s time to change the law to allow same sex couples to marry?’ There are no other issues, Tony Abbott is very good at campaigning, particularly about something on which he feels strongly, he campaigned against the republic and the line that he used is you shouldn’t trust politicians with the republic, in spite of the fact that he was a politician himself. So he will try and find a line to undermine the case for yes for same-sex marriage, I don’t think the Australian public believe this is a vote about anything other than allowing same-sex couples the same rights to marry as non-same-sex couples. I’m not in favour of marriage equality in spite of being a conservative; I’m in favour of it because I’m a conservative. I think more people should have access to the institution of marriage. I think the children in same-sex households should be able to have the stability that that union brings. And while Tony Abbott might well try and muddy the waters and make the vote about something other than what it is, it’s a pretty straight forward question: ‘do you or don’t you agree that same-sex couples should have chance to marry?’
Well there you go. Perhaps it should be about honesty to live your life as your public profile would suggest. He mentions undermine there Christopher Pyne. I would say when it comes to undermining he's the captain, coach and sole selector in relation to undermining. I don't expect you to support that view.
But you've just espoused your views on the debate. There he is trying to shut down Tony Abbott. I hope he gets a front page copy of The Australian today and reads the words of the various academics who have grave concerns about the whole matter and legal protection for religious beliefs haven't been examined, according to Neil Foster, the Associate Professor from the University of Newcastle and many others.
Ray as I say I think people should grab The Australian today and they should inform themselves otherwise in relation to this debate.
We've sort of worked our way into a position now where people are getting 40 or 50 characters on news feeds or Twitter or whatever it might be and that seems to be the basis on which people are making decisions.
I think it is important for people to read widely, to get a proper understanding of the for and against in relation to the same-sex marriage question and if people are properly informed they can make the decision that accords with their own views and as I say there needs to be respect for both sides of this debate and I hope that's the case.
I was happy to see that a Member of your government finally realised last night, in Mathias Cormann, that the Opposition is not within your own Party, it's actually Bill Shorten. He had a fair crack and a long crack at what will happen under Bill Shorten if in fact he forms government sometime in the foreseeable future.
Well full credit to Mathias Cormann. We've been talking about this for a while, but he's really highlighted it last night.
The fact is Bill Shorten has got a tax on houses. I don't think people realise that through the abolition of negative gearing, which is still Labor's policy, if the three rental properties in your street go down in value - that is, the bank devalues those properties - your home, whether it's a principle place of residence or a rental property, will go down in value as well. I mean that's the whole idea of Mr Shorten's policy.
Now Paul Keating tried this a number of years ago and it was a complete failure. It's a disaster for the economy and that's one of the taxes that he plans. This small business tax on trusts is a disaster for small businesses and its part of $150 billion plus worth of taxes that Bill Shorten's announced already.
At least Kevin Rudd had the decency not to talk about the taxes he was going to impose when he was Opposition Leader and just thrust them onto people when he was Prime Minister because Labor can't help themselves, they will always tax and spend and that's exactly what he's doing.
Now a couple of other issues I want to attack. I thought it was a gee-up when I read this the other day that your Department has been called on to stop the self-described world number one anti-vaxxer and I thought it couldn't be anyone called Kent Heckenlively, but apparently there is a bloke called Kent Heckenlively. The exotically named Kent Heckenlively, he's saying he's coming here later this year. Can we stop him before he arrives as opposed to cancelling his visa once he gets here?
Well Ray I can't make a comment in relation to the individual case as you'd appreciate, but my views on this have been well known for a long period of time and these are dangerous people. These anti-vaxxer people are dangerous people because if we don't get herd immunity within kids across society then we will see children dying.
And you know there are some fringe elements of the medical profession in this country – most of them hang out in tree houses in Byron Bay and other parts of the country – that are completely disconnected from mainstream medicine and their message is dangerous.
So I'm having a close look at this case. He's not planned to come here until the end of the year and my view is that we shouldn't have people who are preaching dangerous messages and wherever possible we should stop them from coming here in the first place. So I'm having a look at it at the moment, but I don't want to comment on the individual case.
I did see a story this morning as great concern - you talk about fringe dwelling medical, I guess, professionals of some description - but it goes beyond that because the Victorian Health Department and Victorian Government is investigating three Melbourne doctors - I don't know what sort of doctors they are - for allegedly helping parents get around compulsory vaccinations for their children.
The Andrews Government said the Health Department and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency are investigating the claims the GPs are assisting families opposed to getting their children vaccinated. You'd hardly shake your head in amazement at three medical professionals being involved in this sort of stupidity and their colleagues must be absolutely wringing their hands.
Well you're right Ray. People are concerned when they hear these messages from doctors because they're qualified professionals, but obviously at some stage they've gone off the rails.
Children do die if they're not vaccinated and in particular young babies who don't have vaccinations at the right time can pick it up from other kids in the playground or at child care centres etc. We've all seen the footage and the statements from parents who have lost children and it's heartbreaking and the fact that these people would spread this dangerous message in the 21st Century is absurd.
So I hope that people discount it and don't listen to those views and listen to the 99 per cent of doctors who advise that kids should be vaccinated as quickly as possible.
I know in your home state you're having a look at the notorious fake Tahitian prince Joel Morehu-Barlow – and we won't discuss that because you may be called upon to make a decision on him being sent packing back to New Zealand when he comes out of jail – but there's one thing of the story that's detailed today in the Courier Mail that concerns me.
This is a bloke of course that knocked off from Queensland Health $16.69 million to fund a lavish lifestyle. I mean we're not talking about 170 bucks, we're talking about 17 million. But this is the thing that got me – and you and I talk about this just about every time we have a chat – he was sentenced to 14 years in jail in 2013, 14 years, he became eligible for parole December last year. I mean how do you get 14 years at the top end with a non-parole period of three years for knocking off $17 million of taxpayer's money?
Seventeen million dollars taken out of the health system in Queensland. I mean it could have been spent a thousand times over much better than that and I mean look, what sort of message of deterrence does that send to the next bloke that wants to knock off millions of dollars out of their employer?
It's infuriating, it really is Ray. But look, this guy's going back to New Zealand, he's not going to be out on the streets and the sooner the better in that regard.
Okay well he becomes their problem not ours. As always thanks for your time.
Thanks Ray. See you mate.