SUBJECTS: Drone strike; fuel security; abortion laws.
SAM ARMYTAGE: The world’s largest oil refinery in Saudi Arabia was hit by drones – look at these pictures from the weekend. The strike has shut down about half the Kingdom’s oil output, which is five per cent of the daily global oil supply. Iran aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility, but the U.S. Secretary of State has blamed the attacks squarely on Iran, an accusation dismissed by Tehran.
DAVID KOCH: Yes, for their take this morning we’re joined by Nationals MP, Barnaby Joyce, and the ALP’s, Joel Fitzgibbon. Good morning to you both. Now, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has labelled this an attack on the world’s energy supply. Barnaby, tensions between Washington and Tehran are already high – is this rhetoric just going to, to increase the tensions?
BARNABY JOYCE: Yes it will. What we’ve seen in is Houthi rebels – which were backed by Iran – have attacked this major, major oil refinery. It’s about 5.7 billion bales, barrels, around about six per cent of global supply. You will find that Saudi Arabia has other supplies in store – in Japan, in the Netherlands, and in Egypt, and can actually increase production themselves.
But as a sign as the escalation of the crisis around the Hormuz Straits, and what it does say to us Kochie is – we have to be so careful of energy in Australia, and one of the issues that we’re trying to drive at the moment is to invest your powers on electricity prices. We’ve got to secure the cost of energy in Australia, because this might be a sign for things in the future.
ARMYTAGE: Well, this is really frightening to see these pictures. Joel, oil prices now likely to double here, and as Barnaby said, Australia’s already feeling the cost of living pressures. What do we do when petrol prices go through the roof again? They’re already expensive.
JOEL FITZGIBBON: Well, it’s a great concern, but I love the way Barnaby Joyce has managed to make the link between what’s happening in Saudi Arabia and his so-called “big stick” legislation. Look, this is a real issue on two fronts. Obviously, when you have such a supply shock, it’s going to have an impact on energy prices all around the world, and of course, this is an indication of a further deterioration in the geopolitical situation right across the globe. So, it’s a real concern on two fronts, and it will need mature and calm responses.
KOCH: Yes, too right. Now, anti-abortion and pro-choice protestors took to the streets over the weekend ahead of the amended New South Wales abortion bill debate this week. Amendments aimed to restrict sex selection, even though medical experts say it’s not a practice that’s an issue in New South Wales. They also aim to restrict late-term abortions, which represent three per cent of terminations. Now, Barnaby, you’re very passionate about this issue – is the labelling of this slavery debate about time unreasonable?
JOYCE: Well what we have to do, now we’ve got the Upper House in New South Wales responsible for the careers of the Lower House people, because you can see the passion there. Some say up to around about 10,000 people there, 75,000 have signed a petition. I’ve got 25,000 people on mine. People are saying, “You’ve got to understand that there issues in this that we find completely obnoxious,” and when we have the pro-side walking down the street saying, “We will fight, we will win, throw our – throw the foetus in the bin,” it just feels evil.
I mean, it just feels that we’ve got to do something to temper this because it’s so vitally important that, first of all, the population that have concerns for this are respected, and also, if these things are even rare pass the legislation to rule them out and give confidence back to the people have concern about them. Don’t just say it won’t happen, it’s like saying a bank won’t get robbed. Pass the legislation to rule it out.
AMRYTAGE: It’s just so bizarre this whole, this sort of sprang from nowhere, this abortion debate in New South Wales, and that it’s just, it’s, Joel it’s such an emotion charged debate. There are concerns about last ditch amendments having unintended consequences. How on earth do you have a good debate on this very important topic when no one can get any clear?
FITZGIBBON: Sam, what really concerns me now, is that this has become a subject for politicians – both at the state and federal level – to undermine their own parliamentary leaders. This has become an internal civil war in the Liberal Party, and between the Liberal and National parties. Look, our landscapes are burning, our towns are running out of water, our farmers aren’t getting the assistance they need from this Morrison Government, but Barnaby is off fighting a state battle.
I’m very happy to let the New South Wales politicians deal with this thing. More particularly, I don’t want politicians playing politics with women’s health. We should be guided by the science and the doctors’ advice on this issue, and people like Barnaby, and the other people who are using it for their own political advantage should just get out the way and let the New South Wales Parliament do its thing.
JOYCE: That is wrong. That is wrong. That is so wrong. That is so wrong. First of all, we didn’t bring this debate on; it was brought on by the New South Wales Parliament without a proper inquiry. They had a longer and proper – longer inquiry into chooks. They had a longer inquiry into koalas, and of course, what we absolutely need is it deals with human life, of course, it’s going to be important, and of course, people need their views respected, and absolutely we should be talking about something else, but we did not bring this debate on, but so many of us feel we have an absolute responsibility to be a part of it.
KOCH: All right. Okay, we’ll have to leave it there gents.
FITZGIBBON: Stick to your day job, Barnaby, there are big issues down here.
JOYCE: Well, help us with the (inaudible) power prices and you can be part of the first step. Start removing some of those regulations on building dams. You can be part of that step. You can do this, Joel, if you want to…
ARMITAGE: Okay, alright. Gentlemen…
FITZGIBBON: I always said you’d never build a dam, Barnaby…
ARMITAGE: We love a good debate. Wait, there they go. We love a good debate, but we’re running out of time. Thank you to both of them there.