Topics: Madi Gras decision; Palestinian Authority & government resign; Stage three tax cut legislation; Home ownership;

07:45AM AEDT
27 February 2024


Pete Stefanovic:  Well, one of our top stories is that New South Wales Police have been uninvited from the Mardi Gras this weekend. Let’s go to Canberra now. Joining us is the Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister, Simon Birmingham, for our regular Tuesday chat. I wanted to ask you about this, Simon, get your thoughts. Given the alleged killer is a member of the LGBT community, is that fair on police?


Simon Birmingham: Well, what we seem to have had occur is, of course, a terrible tragedy, the tragic murder, an instance of gross domestic violence that resulted in the deaths of these two young men. Everybody can understand the pain and grief that would be attached to that. But it is important in these cases to not then attribute blame across a whole class of individuals. There would be people in the New South Wales police service who would be just as distraught as many others at the deaths of these two young men. Of course, there are people in the New South Wales police service who are working hard to bring the alleged murderer to justice and also to find the bodies of these two young men. And so, I think that the Mardi Gras organisation really should reconsider its decision. The Mardi Gras is meant to be about inclusion and about bringing people together. At a time like this, it is more important than any other to bring people together as they should.


Pete Stefanovic: Do you think? Yeah. So, they’ve perhaps made this decision too quickly and not spoken to enough people. Is that what you put this down to?


Simon Birmingham: Look, I am sure that there are lots of emotions that are attached to it and understand that there will be people with very heartfelt concerns and angst. But ultimately, the mission attached to Mardi Gras in this day and age about equality and inclusion. These are messages that should, as I say, seek to work through a difficult time like this by bringing people together and the modern support of the New South Wales Police Service for the Mardi Gras, for those messages of inclusion, I think has been very important in recent years, and there has been a lot of history to overcome there, and it is important to not take a significant step backwards from the overcoming of that history and the opportunity, as I say, to really seize on the opportunity to bring people together at times like this.


Pete Stefanovic: One of the top foreign matters of this morning, Simon, is the Palestinian Authority and the government has resigned. Now, some have seen this as a step towards the body ultimately taking charge in Gaza. Is that- do you see it that way?


Simon Birmingham: Well, Pete. We’ll have to see exactly how it unfolds. It’s not yet clear what replacement steps will be taken, but it is important that there is a governance structure, or if a Palestinian peoples that all can have confidence in. Israel needs to have confidence that those who are stepping up as leaders within the Palestinian community and offering governance will do so in an environment that promotes security, that in no way tolerates terrorism or supports those who promote extremist views. The Palestinian people need to have confidence that there will be a government that puts their best interests first in terms of their economic development, their health, their education needs. And of course, in Gaza, the enormous rebuild and toll that is there. The international community needs to have confidence across all those different spheres around security and prioritisation. And so, I hope this is a first step towards the Palestinian peoples getting a governance structure that can have all of the different stakeholders have the necessary confidence for steps towards longer terms, peace and security.


Pete Stefanovic: And just finally, Simon, the stage three tax cut rejig. Are you expecting any issues this week. Is that going to go through?


Simon Birmingham: Look, the Coalition position is clear in terms of the fact that whilst we deplore the Government’s broken promise, we are not standing in the way of these changes. And so, they should be able to pass the Senate as quickly as the government wishes them to.


Pete Stefanovic: What about, you know, when it comes to housing and the Greens really putting it on Labor now to do more, basically. Otherwise, it’s going to withhold its support, wants it to really crack down on negative gearing.


Simon Birmingham: What I don’t see from the Government is any real comprehensive plan for how to support homeowners and home ownership, and we hear a lot of noise from the Greens who want to talk about rental markets and those challenges. What the Coalition will be focusing on is how we support Australians to get into that home ownership market, and that’s the type of policy work that we will be putting a lot of effort into between now and the next election, because that is how you generate real economic security and empowerment for the future.


Pete Stefanovic: Simon Birmingham, thanks for your time as always. Talk to you soon.