Transcript - Sky News Interview - Wednesday 24 May

SUBJECTS: Coroner’s report into Lindt Café siege, Manchester, budget.


DAVID SPEERS: Now to our panel this afternoon, Joel Fitzgibbon and the Government’s Craig Laundy.  A very good afternoon to both of you. There is a lot of sombre news around this week of course and today we saw the Lindt Café siege Coroner’s report released.  A lot of this has to do with NSW jurisdiction and mistakes that were made by police.  We have heard the Police Commissioner acknowledge they should have gone in earlier for example. There are some issues though when it comes to information sharing with the Federal Police.  Anything that jumps out at you Joel Fitzgibbon, that says we have got to fi this?

JOEL FITZGIBBON, SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES, FORESTRY AND RURAL AND REGIONAL AUSTRALIA: Obviously it is disappointing that the operation didn’t go as well as it could have, poor decisions were made. But I am not going to be critical. These are highly charged situations. I wouldn’t like to be making the decisions. I suspect there are few who would. Let’s see what the final report inquiry says, but it must be very disappointing for the families.

SPEERS: Yes, you are right – a very difficult period for families.  It must be difficult, as the police keep saying, for them as well, they have got to live with the decisions they took at the time and in hindsight they would have done things differently.  But as the Coroner stresses the fault here lies with Man Haron Monis, but Craig Laundy what do you think about this particular incident, what we now see in the Coroner’s report, is there anything you think on behalf of the Federal Government needs to happen?

CRAIG LAUNDY:  I think the key David, you said it and so has the Coroner, you are operating in the moment, at the time, we are obviously now analysing with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.  The key is that we learn if there were any mistakes made, what they were and that you fix them as expeditiously as possible. If that has to do with communications between the State and the Federal Government I have no doubt that the Attorney General and the Justice Minister will looking at the outcomes and working with ways we can do that.  What I will say, and this was played out during the Coroner’s review, is don’t forget at the time, they were working with the supposition that there was at least one bomb involved.  And there were potentially others located around Sydney with detonators back to as well if my memory serves me correctly. You can’t but imagine – the stress the police were under -

SPEERS:  There was also the issue as to why he was out on bail at all.  One thing that struck me in the Coroner’s findings, so apparently psychologists can only tell police that their clients are a danger if they are threatening a specific individual but not if they are a general threat of harm involved, ie a terrorist. Sure that has got to be fixed.  If their client has the potential to carry out a terrorist act you have got to be able to share that information.

FITZGIBBON:  Not my area of expertise but I think a common sense test suggests that that doesn’t sound very clever. [inaudible] in some of the criticism of the police, but if there is any opportunity to lower the barriers to bringing in TAG East team – those Special Forces soldiers - 

SPEERS:  Do you think they should?

FITZGIBBON:  I don’t know but if there is anything that makes that difficult, any barriers, that should be a ready option for anyone making the decision. If there are any restrictions, or in capacity to call them and call them in quickly - that should be addressed. These guys train for this sort of environment, this sort of operation every day. They are very good at what they do and they -

SPEERS:  The Coroner was pretty clear this remained the police’s job to resolve, but you are right they are highly skilled, the SAS, in this sort of situation.

FITZGIBBON:  And so too are the police, I am not suggesting they are not.  But if there is any barrier to taking that option that should be investigated.

SPEERS:  Also we are seeing this week the latest incarnation in terrorism in Manchester, it raises questions about mass public events, be it a footie game, a concert, this sort of thing.  What do we need to do that we are not doing to prevent against something like this?

LAUNDY: I think we need to keep working in the broader community. The actual security conditions inside different events, they are matters for experts not for politicians and for running commentary. In terms of building bridges and relationships and communication flow from certain parts of the community, working with local law enforcement and Federal police, those relationships are strong and they should continue to be worked on and fostered because our best source, and we saw this the Attorney General yesterday spoke about an incident that was stopped from happening in Federation Square, we need the intelligence from the community as well as the data that comes from the policing side of the fence.

SPEERS: This bomber was apparently the son of Libyan migrants to the UK so it’s this issue of the second generation being radicalised at some point. Is this a particular problem and what do we do about it?

FITZGIBBON: Well it certainly is. The best intelligence, whether it be human or electronic intelligence, the best security agencies in the world and the best response teams in the world do not and will never allow us to prevent every attack. It’s important as all those things are that is just the reality and we have to address these things at the source and the problems that are causing people to radicalise people. That is easier said than done of course. Obviously the people most vulnerable to being radicalised hugely, and I’d like to see a profile been done on more recent terrorist attacks, but usually you would expect they would be marginalised type people and those vulnerable to radicalisation.

SPEERS: Young Muslim men, that’s the profile.

FITZGIBBON: There are a whole range of things that we need to be doing as a community and as a society to address that.

SPEERS: Let’s get to some of the budget debate that has been dominating Parliament still. The bank tax, do we have a $200 billion hole in the budget or not?

FITZGIBBON: Of course we do.

LAUNDY: No. In the red corner Joel Fitzgibbon in the blue corner, me.

SPEERS: Here we go.

FITZGIBBON: Scott Morrison is now completely isolated. He’s claiming one number but the whole world is saying something else. All the relevant banks and economists are reporting to the stock exchange something quite different. Someone is wrong. Look for the bloke who is standing alone and that person of course is Scott Morrison.

LAUNDY: Except he has the treasury standing right behind him.

FITZGIBBON: No Treasurer has ever encouraged treasury to embellish either revenue measures or indeed…

SPEERS: So how do you explain the discrepancy Craig Laundy between what the banks are saying they will pay and what the treasury reckons they will pay?

LAUNDY: I don’t know what calculations they are looking at because the legislation hasn’t even been released.

FITZGIBBON: The banks have seen it.

LAUNDY: But what we are doing is looking at that legislation, I haven’t seen it, what we are doing is looking at the legislation the treasury deals with the Treasurer on the legislation, comes up with the numbers they go into the budget. Treasury has done this since Adam was a boy in budgeting and the Treasurer tells me they are the numbers and I agree with that.

FITZGIBBON: Can we be sure there was no change to draft legislation in between the printing of the budget and the time of which it was provided to the banks? That’s an obvious question. But the banks have now been given legislation…

LAUNDY: So we are now conspiracy theorists?

FITZGIBBON: They have given it to the accountants, and they have said these are liabilities and that will be our tax liability and this is (inaudible).

SPEERS: Can you say confidence Craig Laundy that the legislation was all written, detailed and finished before we saw the budget number of what is going to raise?

LAUNDY: David I have no involvement in that, but yes, you would assume that that is how it works, you sit there and you work the Treasurer and the treasury would have worked out what they wanted the tax to be.

SPEERS: You don’t put the number in the budget then (inaudible) know you’re going to get that revenue?

LAUNDY: No, no the budget is planned months out. It doesn’t just arrive from it being delivered last Tuesday and now getting knock ups in legislation on the back (inaudible) numbers, it’s just not how it works. For Joel to come up with a conspiracy theory having run treasury benches in the not too distance past.

FITZGIBBON: We’re just helping you try to explain the discrepancy. I have the greatest admiration for the treasury but they have made their forecasts and they have made their best assessments of what it will raise and what tax deductions will be available. The banks though, they know their numbers (inaudible) they are not going to make it up as they go along David. They know their internal numbers and they have got the legislation, they have calculated that this will be their obligation and my money is on the banks.

LAUNDY: Well that’s a good endorsement for treasury. The treasury know their numbers.

FITZGIBBON: They make assumptions.

LAUNDY: The treasury know their numbers Joel they put these numbers down in the budget and there is a cash component and there is an accrual component. That is what has been confusing the Shadow Treasurer as the Treasurer has pointed out over the last 48 hours.

SPEERS: We will see the legislation next week presumably?

LAUNDY: I’m not in charge of legislation mate, I don’t know when it’s coming.

SPEERS: Well when we do, I guess all of this…

LAUNDY:  Well it won’t be far away obviously.

SPEERS: We have to go, Joel Fitzgibbon and Craig Laundy, good to see you both. We are going to take a quick break. 


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