E&OE

Chris Smith

Well, when the PM returns from his break, he’ll face more than enough drama when he attends to his to do list. There’s the backlash from China after the visit to Taiwan of US Speaker Nancy Pelosi, backlash which today is being directed towards Australia. Then there’s the industrial relations free-for-all he created now that the government is in the process of dissolving the Building and Construction Commission. Meanwhile, Jacinta Price, the Senator has invited the Teal Independents to join her in an indigenous rural community to see what chaos ensues now that they’ve voted against the cashless welfare card. To unpack some of that I’m joined now by Liberal Senator and Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Michaelia Cash. Michaelia, thank you very much for your time.

Senator Cash

It’s great to be with you, Chris.

Chris Smith

China has blasted Foreign Minister Penny Wong for her finger pointing over the PLA’s military drills encircling Taiwan. Talk about a massive overreaction. China overreacts to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, then they overreact because we decided to condemn those aggressive exercises. The government has a right to say what they said, surely.

Senator Cash

Absolutely. And that’s exactly what the former Coalition Government did. We always stood by Australia, and the principles that we are governed by, and in relation to the recent action that we have seen by China and in particular, you know, the escalation of military tactics, the firing of ballistic missiles, not just into Taiwan, but into Japan’s exclusive economic zone. That is a gross overreaction and it needs to stop. And obviously, when it comes to the visit by Nancy Pelosi, I mean, a) obviously that it’s a matter for the United States, but these are just routine visits. People do travel to other countries to actually visit other governments. Certainly that is what we did when we were in government, and we will continue to do that in opposition. So we would obviously- we look actually- we’re pleased to see that the government is following the position taken by the former Coalition in calling this action out.

Chris Smith

Now Labor’s abolition of the Cashless Debit Card is set to be chopped by the Senate next month. But the Greens and Jacqui Lambie Network will use an inquiry to probe what is called potential unintended consequences of the bill’s passage. Now, we’ve had elders in Aboriginal communities, I’ve spoken to mayor’s here, and Senator Jacinta Price condemning the abolition of the card. I thought this government was all for giving Indigenous Australians a voice.

Senator Cash

No, this government is all about talk, talk, talk, press release, press release, press release, and as you and I know, Chris, judge them then by their actions. Let’s look at why this was introduced in Ceduna. 2016, there were kids sleeping in the streets being run over by trucks. And guess what, there was a coronial inquiry that recommended this card. This card, reduces alcohol consumption, reduces drug consumption, reduces gambling, it gives communities a chance to actually feed themselves and feed their kids. Go to these communities, as I know Jacinta Price has done, talk to the people in these communities and see what they have to say. You talked about, you know, the mayors of certain jurisdictions. Well, let me tell you about John Bola. John Bola is the mayor of Kalgoorlie-Boulder in the Goldfields. Now guess what, Chris, he is a former Western Australian Labor member of parliament. His clear message to Anthony Albanese, to the Australian Greens, and to the Teals who appear to be still sitting in their luxurious ivory towers, is you should feel let down. He backs in the Cashless Debit Card. And again, if I’m going to listen to anybody on this, I am listening to my colleague Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price because she reflects what these communities want and need and the disappointment they are expressing in the Albanese Government.

Chris Smith

You made mention of that mayor. I did speak to him and he said to me that when he spoke to retailers of clothing stores, they found it unbelievable that once this card came in, kids were coming in with their parents buying uniforms for school. What a breakthrough.

Senator Cash

And Chris, you don’t even know what to say unless you’ve been to these communities. Unless you’ve seen kids wandering the streets hungry, unless you’ve seen- I was the Minister for Women; I met with these women who were subjected to domestic violence because their partners were intoxicated night after night after night. And then Anthony Albanese, the Australian Greens and disappointingly, those Teals, which one of those Teals has gone and sat with those communities and said, “How has this benefited you?”. Which one of them? I don’t believe next to any of them would have. What a disappointment that one of the first things you would do in government is give the green light for more alcohol abuse, more drug abuse, and more gambling. Why? Because you are just ideologically opposed to something that the Coalition Government did. Well do you know what I say Chris? Shame on Anthony Albanese, shame on the Australian Greens and shame on every single one of those Teals that voted with the Labor Government to abolish the Cashless Debit Card.

Chris Smith

Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. The other unbelievable decision, Michaelia, made by this allegedly integrity focus government, is to dump the Building and Construction Commission which will allow the unions as we know, to run amok and is the antithesis of integrity, right?

Senator Cash

And this is where I have to say, and thank you Chris for raising that, a lot more of the mainstream media need to be able to pick this up. Anthony Albanese and Labor go to the federal election on a platform of transparency and integrity. The first thing they do, abolish the Cashless Debit Card, and the second thing they do is abolish the building industry watchdog and literally hand Australia’s fifth largest industry, which contributes about 9% of gross domestic product employs in excess of 1.15 million people, hands it back over to the CFMMEU. So what do we know about this government? Millions and millions and millions of dollars of donations come in, and then the policy wants and needs of the CFMMEU appear to be answered by the Anthony Albanese Labor Government. They now have trawling the halls of the blue carpet, a former assistant secretary of the CFMMEU. He is now within Anthony Albanese’s inner circle. So goodbye building and construction within Australia. Hello union chaos, bullying, intimidation and thuggery. Why? Because the only accord there now is in Australia is the accord between the CFMEU and the Albanese Labor Government. And again, they will put the wants and the needs of the CFMMEU above the public interest and the needs and wants of the Australian people. They have a lot to answer for.

Chris Smith

Yeah, so much for integrity. And just a footnote on that, is it possible that the Senate might do the right thing eventually on this?

Senator Cash

So in terms of the numbers, Labor and the Greens combined have 38. The Coalition and the crossbench combined have 38. 38 is enough to block legislation. I know the building industry is currently talking to the crossbench. This is not an ideological position, Chris. This is an economic position taken by Peter Dutton and the Coalition. But it is also a stand, a stand against bullying, intimidation and thuggery in relation to the fifth largest industry in Australia. And what about the women, Chris? Anthony Albanese says he stands up for women in the workplace. Well, I think Anthony Albanese needs to go and sit down with some of the female building inspectors and female construction industry workers that have been abused within an inch of their life by members of the CFMMEU. Let’s see what they have to say about the abolition of the only, the only regulator in town that will actually take on the CFMMEU.

Chris Smith

Love your passion. Great to have you on the program, Senator Michaelia Cash, thank you.

Senator Cash

Great to be with you. Take care.