E&OE…

KIERAN GILBERT

Let’s go live to Darwin, the Assistant Social Services, Zed Seselja, joins me. Minister, it would be in the Government’s interest, no doubt, to have this dealt with ASAP.

SENATOR SESELJA

Well look obviously that’s what we’re hoping for, we’re very confident of the legal position which has been put to the Government, that those individuals, Barnaby Joyce, Matt Canavan, Fiona Nash, will be found not to have breached section 44 but obviously it is important that we see this resolved very quickly because obviously this is something that probably no one would’ve ever seen coming and the sooner it’s resolved, the sooner we have clarity, I think the better for everyone and for governments going forward.

KIERAN GILBERT

In your travels around the country as a minister and talking to voters do you feel that this is having a political impact on the government, this sense of chaos of around the parliament?

SENATOR SESELJA

Well I think it’s certainly a distraction and it’s not a distraction, obviously, that we asked for but it is what it is and that’s why it’s important that it’s dealt with as quickly as possible. Obviously in terms of the Government’s priorities, national security continues to be at the forefront and we’ve had announcements in that space in recent days and of course the economy and things like energy prices. So that’s been the focus of the Government, these are obviously distractions, they do need to be dealt with but we’re not letting those distractions stop us from getting on with that important business of government, which is really about making sure that we grow the economy, we have policies for that, we have a great suite of policies, we’ve seen almost a quarter of a million jobs created in the last 12 months. So the runs are on the board, the alternative, in Bill Shorten, is a return to socialism, bringing everyone down in order to try and make them equal so that stark contrast will be there and these things will be dealt with by the courts.

KIERAN GILBERT

Now we’ve got today the deadline for same sex marriage postal plebiscite for enrolments to be lodged by midnight tonight, there’ve been tens of thousands of new enrolments. You’re campaigning and you’re advocating a No vote. What’s your sense on the new enrolments, obviously most people, assuming it’s a younger cohort, therefore more in favour of change in this regard.

SENATOR SESELJA

Well look who knows. In the end that’s a matter for those individuals and it’s a great thing, in a democracy we want the most number of people to have their say and that’s the great thing about this postal plebiscite, is that everyone, every Australian who in on the electoral roll who wants their say, can have their say, and so that is democracy in action, so whether it’s young people, and obviously it’s not a universal view amongst young people, we will see whether it’s other groups who have encouraged people to register. Fundamentally, it doesn’t matter, what matters is that we give the Australian people their say and that we actually are mindful of the result and we adhere to the result. What’s really interesting is that the Labor Party has, having bagged the plebiscite, has now absolutely endorsed it, they have been campaigning, they’ve been campaigning to get people on the roll, and they’re campaigning for a Yes vote. If you’re going to do that, and this would the question for Bill Shorten and any members for the Labor Party, if you’re going to campaign for a Yes vote, the question that journalists are going to have to ask is what are you going to do if it’s a No? Obviously you are accepting that this will be the will of the Australian people and I would expect that Bill Shorten should be asked some questions about that, if it doesn’t go his way.

KIERAN GILBERT

Well he’s made it pretty clear what he’s going to do, he’s going to legislate to legalise same sex marriage within 100 days of any election if he is successful. So this is the problem for those on your side of the debate here Minister, that regardless of what the outcome is, even if it is a No vote, that within a year or two, potentially if Shorten does win the next election, this issue will be, same sex marriage will be legalised regardless.

SENATOR SESELJA

Well this is the problem for Bill Shorten, I would say to you Kieran, that, and this is something that I’m sure members of the media will start to ask him, how can he be in a position where he is advocating strongly for a Yes vote in the plebiscite but saying it doesn’t matter if you vote No because he’s going to ignore it anyway. How can any political leader take that view of the Australian people? So this will be a growing issue for Bill Shorten, that is an untenable position, for him going forward, to suggest that everyone needs to vote Yes according to Bill Shorten but if, just in case they vote No, well it doesn’t matter because Bill Shorten doesn’t actually care, he’s not going to listen to the Australian people. I think that’s untenable.

KIERAN GILBERT

James Campbell in the Herald Sun writes this morning about the potential positive for conservative Christian organisations, that there is already a Coalition for Marriage that’s been organised but the database that can be established, via these various groups, together, would be quite a powerful political set of information and might even rival the sort of thing that we see with GetUp! on the left of the political spectrum. Do you think that that’s maybe an opportunity, in all of this, for your side of politics?

SENATOR SESELJA

Well look I haven’t read that particular piece but what I’d say is Kieran is that obviously, regardless of which way this vote goes, that there are issues that the centre-right of politics, that the conservatives in Australia will fight for one way or another and I think there is no doubt that the left, when it’s come to far-left organisation like GetUp!, funding by the Soviets, funded by the unions, funded by Bill Shorten and the Greens, that there is no doubt that the Left have had those arms. I think that the centre-right of politics absolutely needs to be campaigning on issues and I’ve got no doubt, regardless of which way this vote goes, that that will certainly emerge.

KIERAN GILBERT

And finally, Bob Katter says that he’d  like a one on one talk with Tony Abbott. This looks like a bit of a grab for attention, he didn’t think of a burqa stunt so this might be his version of it.

SENATOR SESELJA

Look I haven’t seen what Bob Katter has had to say, I have seen what Mathias Cormann had to say in relation to Shortenomics and I think what’s going to be happening over the next weeks and months is that Bill Shorten’s going to be under pressure on his economic policy, or lack thereof. He only has policies to tax Australians more, we’ve got policies to keep taxes low and grow our economy and that will be the emerging difference between our side and their side. These kind of distractions, whether Bob Katter wants to talk to Tony Abbott, isn’t really high on my radar.

KIERAN GILBERT

Well good pivot anyway. Got the Cormann analysis in there. We’ll talk to you soon.

[ENDS]