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23 November 2021

SUBJECTS: Jacqui Lambie calls out anti-vax sympathising MPs; Scott Morrison’s dog whistling on COVID; Scott Morrison missing in action as a leader; Queensland government testing requirements for interstate visitors.
KARL STEFANOVIC, HOST: Welcome back to the show. Well, it was classic Jacqui Lambie fired up and furious, wasn't it?
SENATOR JACQUI LAMBIE (VIDEO PACKAGE): Being held accountable for your own actions isn’t called discrimination. It's called being, you wouldn't believe it, a goddamn bloody adult.
STEFANOVIC: [raises fist] Here was Nationals Senator Matt Canavan in response.
SENATOR MATT CANAVAN (VIDEO PACKAGE): No government in this free country that I was born in has the right to take away people's right to work and provide for their family.
STEFANOVIC: There you go. The whole debate was forced by rebel MP’s who want the PM to order states to scrap vaccine mandates. Let's discuss with the Shadow Minister for Government Services Bill Shorten who's in Canberra, and in Brisbane 4BC’s Scott Emerson, morning guys. Bill, you've, I'm sure, been revelling in the mayhem, but you'd also be on Jacqui side, wouldn't you?
BILL SHORTEN, MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG: Oh, I like Jacqui Lambie, I've dealt with her over the years, I think she just speaks straight from the heart.
SHORTEN: No, she's true blue. I reckon she was bloody legendary yesterday.
STEFANOVIC: Yeah, this is going to be a tight election and you're going pretty hard on trust at the moment, the PM's trust. Do you honestly reckon anyone thinks any politician is trustworthy?
SHORTEN: Yeah, sure, I reckon all politicians cop a bit of a bad rap. But listen, Scott Morrison, Morrison's taken us to new levels, hasn't he? I mean, for the first time ever, we've got a leader who doesn't want to lead. You know, bad leadership’s disastrous for the country, but someone who doesn't want to lead, who wants to pass the buck to the states on every occasion? That is a recipe for chaos, conflict, almost the decline of the country. So, I just think Scott Morrison needs to turn up and tune in and stand up and stop dropping the ball.
STEFANOVIC: See, I reckon there's strategy behind it. Scott, it seems to me that he's appealing to that 10 percent of the population who are unvaccinated. I mean, is that is that who's going to decide this next election, maybe?
SCOTT EMERSON, 4BC: Well, don't forget, it's not decided by across the whole of the country Karl, it’s decided by seat by seat.
STEFANOVIC: That’s what I’m saying.
EMERSON: And there's certain seats there that that probably resonates with, seats like Flynn in Central Queensland, retiring long standing member there. They need to hold onto that seat. Seats like Longman just north of Brisbane, they're the kind of seats that Scott Morrison needs to hold onto, and possibly, I think we saw a very clear change in his language last week, and I suspect you're quite right, this is all about their internal polling, and he's seeing that there's certain language, certain issues that are going to resonate with those seats.
STEFANOVIC: And Bill, you're walking straight into a trap.
SHORTEN: Well, let's just back up a little bit here and just look at what's really at stake. What we have is the COVID crisis, which has been a terrible and complex time for a whole lot of Australians and businesses and families. And what we have as a Prime Minister, you know, being Prime Minister isn't just a reward for winning the election. It actually carries, that rank carries with it responsibilities. And I don't know, maybe I live in a parallel universe, but when did it become acceptable for a Prime Minister to go missing when we're in the battle of our peacetime lives with COVID? When did it become acceptable for this Prime Minister, Mr Morrison, to say, Oh well, I won't, you know, help business out? There are a lot of small businesses in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, all over Australia who are having to say to people, are you vaccinated, are you're not vaccinated? Have to look at their employees, and they've got to make decisions about the safety of their other employees and customers. And this Prime Minister, he is M.I.A. The guy doesn't turn up. Like, at some point he may think he's a clever marketing guru and you know, he's talking out of both sides of his mouth, and he wants to dog whistle to the people who don't want to be told what to do. But the nation needs a leader. And he is not a leader.
STEFANOVIC: Ok, adding petrol to the fire of confusion - expensive petrol, it's got more expensive, hasn't it? The PM yesterday saying it should now be up to individual businesses to decide whether customers and workers must be jabbed. Scott, how's that going down in Queensland?
EMERSON: Look, every business I speak to, has been on my show, they like the fact that the government is deciding whether someone can come in or not to their business. They don't want to be left with that decision. You can understand the poor workers at the front desk in some sort of cafe saying yes, yes, you can come in. No, you can't. They do not want that situation at all. So, they - actually most businesses like the idea the government is deciding on this.
STEFANOVIC: So, it doesn't make sense that he would just arbitrarily go and do that without some strategy. You know, there's got to be some level of strategy behind it, Bill?
SHORTEN: Well, there might be a political cunning behind it, but that doesn't help those small businesses and the people at the front of the reception or the cafe or the hairdressing salon. I mean, at a certain point, what's wrong with just a bit of old-fashioned leadership? Leadership doesn't mean that you can tell everyone everything they want to hear and that you agree with everyone. You just can't sometimes.
STEFANOVIC: Okay. Our federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, appealing directly to the Queensland Government to scrap this plan to force all interstate arrivals to take a $140 COVID test. Bill, do you think that Annastacia Palaszczuk should drop that?
SHORTEN: Oh, listen, I don't know how long the $150 test policy will remain, but it does sound to me a little bit like Greg Hunt passing the buck. Medicare is meant to cover some of this, and it seems like, you know, behind Greg Hunt's outrage is a cost shifting exercise. The other thing is, when was the last time Greg Hunt said anything good about the Queensland government? [long silence] Okay…. Radio silence [laughter].
EMERSON: Oh, look…
STEFANOVIC: I can't remember.
EMERSON: Look, Bill - I think Bill's pulling your leg there. He knows exactly how long this is going to last. It's going to come in from early December, it's going to go sometime in January.
EMERSON: So, all over the Christmas/New Year holidays, every family that wants to come into Queensland, a family of four, it's going to cost them $600 just to get across the border. They could use a rapid antigen test that goes for as little as seven bucks. So, we're talking about $600 versus $28 for a family.
STEFANOVIC: And I think if people are double vaxxed, I mean, that's the one you want. Just before we go –
SHORTEN: To be fair, I have heard better ideas than this one.
STEFANOVIC: Thank you, Bill. Just before we go. And just between you and I, I'm just going to send you a text about where I'm going for my holidays. But I'm going to leave the name of the place out of that, but I'm going to tell everyone I told you the name of the place. If you can keep the name of the place private because it's a private text, even though I didn't put the name of the place if I was going in a text… where I was going, and it might be made public that I texted you, but not the name of the place, but just so we're clear I'm going on holidays. Merry Christmas. You know what I’m saying?
SHORTEN: Yeah, you should be Prime Minister Karl.
STEFANOVIC: Thanks, Bill. Thanks, Scott.