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01 November 2021




SUBJECTS: Scott Morrison; Barnaby Joyce; Emmanuel Macron; President Biden; AUKUS; Climate Change.
KIERAN GIBERT, HOST: Kristina Keneally thanks for your time as always, isn't it fair to say regardless of when or how the Prime Minister told the French, the deal was not happening, they would have been angry. Aren’t we simply seeing the result of a deal or a contract being severed?
KRISTINA KENEALLY, DEPUTY LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE & SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS: Kieran, what do we know already know about Scott Morrison? Well, we know he doesn't hold the hose mate. And what have we learned today? That he doesn't do diplomacy. He doesn't do honesty and he just doesn't do his job. He misled President Biden. President Macron has made it clear that Mr. Morrison lied to him. Now, quite frankly, President Macron has belled the cat, he has said out loud what many Liberal MPs already know that Mr. Morrison can't be trusted. You remember when he stood there in the courtyard with his arm around Malcolm Turnbull and said his ambition was for his leader? Well, we know that his ambition was for himself. So, Mr. Morrison has shown to President Biden that he can't be trusted. President Macron doesn't trust Mr. Morrison and many Liberal MPs know they can't trust Mr. Morrison, quite frankly, the Australian people are rapidly realising that Mr. Morrison simply can't be trusted.
GILBERT: The Prime Minister said again in Rome, that he was upfront with the French President that the conventional subs were not going to meet our strategic interests. Isn't that being as upfront as he possibly could have been without divulging the full details of the next deal with the US and the British?
KENEALLY: Is the Prime Minister seriously suggesting, is Mr. Morrison seriously suggesting it was appropriate to end a $90 billion submarine deal by text message? I mean, come on. I mean, people around Australia will know that it's bad form to end a romantic relationship by text message. Here Mr. Morrison broke up a contract, a $90 billion contract by text message. This is the biggest military acquisition Australia will make. And of course, we need to make it in the national interest. But that doesn't mean that diplomacy and leadership and our alliances with some of our closest friends in the world, France and the United States can't be valued through that process. What do we know about Mr. Morrison that when the going gets tough, he gets going, he doesn't do his job. He always looks for someone else to blame. Here he's trying to blame the French president Emmanuel Macron. It's Mr. Morrison's own failure to lead that has put Australia in this position.
GILBERT: Isn’t Labor having a bob each way backing AUKUS and the sub nuclear submarine arrangement, but having a crack at the Prime Minister along the way through and seizing on this for your own advantage?
KENEALLY: Oh, come on, Kieran. Last week, the Prime Minister, Mr. Morrison, asked the Australian people who do you trust? Oh, and now we find out today. President Biden can't trust him, he misled him, President Biden called his whole management of this thing clumsy. I would add to it; It's also embarrassing. We also find out today that President Macron doesn't trust Mr. Morrison. We know that Liberal MPs know they can't trust Mr. Morrison.
I mean, let's be honest here, Kieran. Mr. Morrison has trouble with the truth. You remember when he said electric cars would kill the weekend? Two years later, he claimed he never said it. It's on video for goodness’ sake. Remember when he said he didn't try to invite Brian Houston to the White House until he was forced to admit that he did. Here we have in Mr. Morrison, a person who is unable to be straight, not just with the Australian people. But now we've taken this dishonesty roadshow to the global stage, alienating some of our closest friends. Now, of course, of course, we need a submarine deal. We had a submarine deal. Now if Mr. Morrison is determined it's in Australia's national interest to go into the AUKUS arrangement, he should have handled it like a leader and a grownup on the world stage. What he did instead was send a late-night text message to Emmanuel Macron- as if that was good enough.
GILBERT: What do you say to Barnaby Joyce, his response the acting Prime Minister today saying, look, we didn't steal an island, we didn't deface the Eiffel Tower. Get this into perspective
KENEALLY: Where are the adults in this Government? I mean, come on Barnaby Joyce, acting Prime Minister, not exactly helping here. What we need is clear diplomacy. What we need is clear leadership. What we've got is Barnaby Joyce running around, you know, and now we've got Mr. Morrison jetting off to Glasgow with nothing more than a blue paper brochure he released last week. You know, Australia is missing out on so many opportunities here when it comes to climate change and a transition to renewable and green energy; the jobs, the investment that goes with it. Because all we've got is a Prime Minister, Mr. Morrison who's interested in himself. And that the heart of his government is a focus group. It's a focus group. No principle no values, no belief.
GILBERT: The PMS reduction emissions reduction plan has copped flak from Christiana Figueres, former UN Climate Chief  slamming it as suicidal, irresponsible. But given some leaders like the Chinese President aren't even showing up, isn't that a bit rich to be saying to our Prime Minister when our form has shown a greater reduction than many similar nations.
KENEALLY: But what we're talking about here is the future and how does Australia get to net zero emissions by 2050. Something that in fact, the National Farmers Federation, the BCA, every state and territory government backs. Mr. Morrison can barely bring himself to utter the words and this, you know, blue brochure that he released last week is not a plan, it's a scam. And the only way that blue brochure is going to fly in Glasgow is if he takes it and folds it up into an aeroplane, a paper aeroplane and shoots it across the room. I mean, it is so light on detail. It is without a plan.
It's as if the Prime Minister has just said I'm just trusting that new technology is going to get me there. I don't need to have a plan. Come on, we are talking about not just the future of our economy, the jobs, the investment that will come; we're talking about the future of our planet. And, you know, we don't want those black summer bushfires to become just regular course here in Australia. You know, we need a Prime Minister that holds a hose, metaphorically speaking, and we need a Prime Minister that's got a plan to get us to net zero emissions by 2050. Scott Morrison does not.
GILBERT: We have just finally, international travel now reopened, thankfully, things getting back to a bit of normality. Hopefully, we've got a brighter summer ahead. But does that complicate things for Labor, for your team, your side of politics in terms of your electoral prospects? Because if things are getting back to normal, people feeling good about the world, they probably stick with the incumbent.
KENEALLY: Well, first, let's just hope and pray Kieran that the border reopening goes much better than the vaccine rollout did. And you know, to be blunt, Mr. Morrison, whether it came to the vaccine rollout or fit for purpose national quarantine, couldn’t find a State Premier fast enough to blame – particularly if they were a Labor State Premier, he'd rather play those political games. So, let's just hope and pray that this border reopening goes better than the vaccine rollout and the quarantine system did.
But you know, I'll make this prediction for you: the first time there's a mistake at the international border, I bet you Mr. Morrison finds a Premier to blame rather than taking responsibility. Let me just say this, as someone who has not been able to see my brothers or indeed missed my own father's funeral during the COVID lockdown because I was unable to go to the United States to see my family there, I know that like me, there will be just millions of Australians who've been separated from loved ones will either be welcoming them home –  those 39,000 stranded Australians – or indeed that they'll be able to go overseas and see sick family and friends, celebrate weddings, visit grave sites, whatever it is, cuddle grandchildren, whatever it is they've been unable to do for the past two years. And I really hope those are joyous moments for Australians.
GILBERT: Shadow Home Affairs Minister Kristina Keneally, I appreciate your time this Monday. Thank you talk to you soon.