ABC Radio Brisbane Drive

Assistant Minister for Women, Assistant Minister to the Attorney-General, Assistant Minister for Industrial Relations

Steve Austin:

The Premier and other ministers have jetted around to different regional centres today to push home the message that you need to get vaccinated in the roadmap.

Now I’m grateful for Jason in Springfield, who has sent me a text copying in the government’s own roadmap and alerting me to what you might call the fine print. So Jason points out that any Queenslander who travels after the 17th of December does face a risk of restriction. Jason says “My local Member of Parliament today pointed me to information confirming that anyone double vaccinated that fails the Covid test 72 hours before returning will either be locked out of Queensland or forced into some sort of hotel quarantine.”

And he’s provided and highlighted the element of the government’s own documents that meet that. So we know that the December 17 date is the date that you’ll be able to drive or fly into Queensland, and you won’t have to quarantine. However, you have to have a negative Covid test 72 hours prior to flying in. Now, you’ll have to pay that, by the way, but you can arrive by air or road. But the fine print says, and I quote: “If you do not meet this criteria, you will need to meet the relevant requirements for entry and will be required to undertake a period of quarantine in a government-nominated facility.”

So bare that in mind. That December date – when 80 per cent of the Queensland population is expected to be vaccinated – you can drive or fly into Queensland from that date, as long as you’ve had a Covid test 72 hours prior. However, if you don’t meet that criteria, you will not be allowed free movement. In other words, you will be required to undertake a period of quarantine in a government nominated facility.

Let’s move on to federal politics. Yesterday, I spoke with Federal Labor’s Jim Chalmers. Jim Chalmers is the Shadow Treasury Spokesperson. Today, it’s the Queensland LNP Senator, Senator Amanda Stoker. And from today, women and children leaving a violent relationship will have access to a one-off payment of up to $5,000 under a new trial scheme run by the Federal Government. The support will include $1,500 in cash, with the remainder of the money available for goods and services or direct payments of bonds, school fees, or other essential items, to help establish a safe home or a safe place. The Escaping Violence Payment, as it’s known, was announced in the May Budget. It’s part of a $1.1 billion Women’s Safety Package of programs, and it comes into effect from the Federal Government today. I spoke with the LNP Senator for Queensland, Senator Amanda Stoker, who is also the Federal Assistant Minister for Women, and asked her to tell me and explain the Escaping Violence Payment program that starts today.

Amanda Stoker:

Hi, Steve, thanks for having me on your program. We are a Government that’s really committed to making sure that we make a meaningful impact in the lives of women who experience domestic violence. And indeed, blokes; anyone who has this experience in their life deserves the help of the community to get back on track and to help their lives improve. So that means that from today, anyone who is in a position where they need to leave a violent relationship will have access to a one-off payment of up to $5,000 to help them to establish a life free of violence. Now, obviously you’ve got to show it’s legit, but if a person is in this situation, they’ve got the opportunity to go through the Uniting Care Network and get this government support. And it’s not just dollars, it’s about connecting people with the support services they need to charter pass through this difficulty into safety, and to be able to look with optimism for their life ahead.

Steve Austin:

And so when can they start receiving or apply for that particular money?

Amanda Stoker:

They can apply from today. They’ll need to show that they are looking to leave a violent partner, or have recently left a person who has been a violent partner. And they need to show that they’re struggling with their finances to be able to live their life in safety. So they can immediately get access to up to $1,500 in financial assistance, and get vouchers for essential items like removalists, or a bond, or the basics they might need to set up in a new place, so that they or their children are able to be safer than they were before and take the steps they need to be able to get life back in the way that it should be.

Steve Austin:

How do they apply for this, is it through Centrelink or somewhere else?

Amanda Stoker:

It’s through Uniting Care. So anybody can go on to the Uniting Care website, and that’s at www.unitingvictas.org.au. But if you just Google the Uniting Care Network, it’ll bring up the information that’s needed. And there’s a really good, sort of step-by-step Q and A on how to get that help. But it’s designed to be one where you’re not tied up in red tape, if you can provide really any kind of evidence to show this is the situation you’re in, we’re going to extend the hand of help and make sure that that financial, but also pastoral, and emotional, and legal support is something you’re able to connect with. It’s a great way to sort of triage people at an early stage and make sure they’re getting the support necessary to emerge from these difficult situations.

Steve Austin: This is ABC Radio Brisbane. Steve Austin is my name. I’m speaking with LNP Senator for Queensland, Senator Amanda Stoker. Senator Stoker is Assistant Minister the Attorney-General, Assistant Minister for Industrial Relations, and Assistant Minister for Women.

Yesterday, I spoke with Labor’s Jim Chalmers, who was very critical of the LNP, in particular, for basically waiting on the Nationals to come to a decision about what they will accept in the coalition agreement for reductions in carbon emissions. Has any further progress been made today, Tuesday, 19 October, on this, Senator Stoker?

Amanda Stoker:

Look, Steve, I think it’s a bit rich for Jim to be so complaining in circumstances where Labor doesn’t have a clear pitch for what their policy is on the issue. But I don’t think-

Steve Austin:

But you’ve been in government for eight years, and if not nine years now.

Amanda Stoker:

Yes. And let me tell you the enormous things we’ve achieved here, because we are well and truly on track to achieve net zero, whether or not there’s a symbolic commitment. If instead of getting the hyperbole and catastrophizing that they get from Labor- they got some of the facts. Like: since 2005, Australia has reduced our emissions faster than Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the USA. And our emissions in 2020 were more than 20 per cent lower than in 2005, which was the baseline for the Paris Agreement. We met our Kyoto Protocol requirements. We are meeting and on track to beat our Paris Agreement commitments. And we are doing all of this using an approach that doesn’t inflict a big government bureaucracy that’s about policing how much carbon you produce. We’re not doing it through a carbon tax or a sneaky tactic that looks like a carbon tax. We’re doing it using technology instead of taxes. And that means-

Steve Austin: So this is technology taxes, but there is a concern from the Business Council of Australia and other groups that unless the Government does more, that Australia will be subject to tariffs from groups like the European Union, the EU, and the United States. Jim Chalmers from Labor says that is a potential danger. Is the Australian Government factoring that into your calculations?

Amanda Stoker:

Look, in many ways, it’s a bit rich for some of these European nations to be talking in grand terms about climate change action, in circumstances where we are smashing their performance out of the park. We are doing so much better on our real on the ground performance. They might have big promises in the never-never, but we’re actually doing it. We’re doing it now, and we’re doing it in a way that fits with our values. Because our values involve us not sacrificing the jobs of people in heavy industry for a climate virtue signal. Our values say we need to make sure that people in regional communities still have a future and a job for them to look forward to and for their children to aspire to.

Steve Austin: The argument is they could have new jobs – new economy jobs – by transitioning out of coal and into other industries. You don’t agree?

Amanda Stoker:

Well actually, I’m saying that $80 billion of public-private investment is going into new clean technologies. So we are drawing those jobs into Australia, and particularly into Queensland. 160,000 jobs we’re expecting in this sector as a consequence of that investment. But we’re doing it in a way that enables private sector investment, that isn’t about governments mandating from on high how much people need to justify their emissions this week. We’re doing it in positive ways that incentivize people to do the right thing, so that that transition happens in a way that is sensible and in a way that doesn’t prejudice either the cost of living or the jobs of people in Queensland who need them.

Steve Austin:

So if what you’re telling me is correct, Senator Stoker, why is it so hard for the Nationals to weigh up adopting a net zero target? Why is it such a tortured process? I mean, it’s torturing you, let alone anyone else.

Amanda Stoker:

Look, I think in many ways, it’s a beat-up that’s affected from elsewhere. Because everybody in the Coalition can see that we are really performing on these measures. And if we keep performing on these measures – as we have committed to – net zero is basically a fait accompli.

Steve Austin: Well, no one says you’re outperforming. The only people who say you’re doing well is the LNP. The Business Council of Australia, a range of different groups of lobby groups are all very critical of the Federal Government’s position.

Amanda Stoker:

And yet, not one of them has said any of the facts I have told you here are false. They are-

Steve Austin: Well, they say they’re not enough. They say your targets, your achievements, are not enough.

Amanda Stoker:

Well, our targets – our achievements, I should say – are not just meeting, they are beating the performance of pretty much every industrialised nation in the world – that “pretty much” is important there, I’ve listed the nations involved. But we are really doing well on this front. And so we shouldn’t be tying ourselves up in knots here. Australians can hold their head high and know that we are making a difference where it matters here, and we’re doing it in a way that is consistent with maintaining stability for people in our regions, and jobs for those in heavy industry. And we’re making sure that it doesn’t adversely affect the cost of living. Because we know that measures that do that, like carbon taxes, or like targets that are put in the too short term, they prejudice those people in our community who are most doing it tough, the people who are most struggling to pay their power bills, or the people who are most busting to get into a new job. We’re not going to do that to them. Instead, we’re going to do it in a way that brings together, in partnership, the private sector and the public sector to achieve these things together. And we’re on track to do it.

Steve Austin:

So then this says to me that when the Prime Minister goes to the COP26 summit in Glasgow in a couple of weeks’ time, he won’t be taking anything new to that conference; anything more. He’ll simply just be restating what you’ve told me already.

Amanda Stoker:

Well, I haven’t read the PM’s speech, if it’s in draft, but I hope that he will go to Glasgow and, in many ways, show these other nations the way that, by investing in technology, we can deliver meaningful reductions in emission, in emission levels. And we can do it in ways that lift and assist those most doing it tough in our community, rather than beating them down in the name of making people who are much more well-off feel good. That’s not a conscionable thing to do. We’ve got to make sure everybody comes out of this in the way that they should. And technology, rather than taxes, is a very good message for him to take to Glasgow.

Steve Austin:

Senator Amanda Stoker, thank you.

Amanda Stoker:

Thank you.

Steve Austin:

LNP Senator for Queensland Amanda Stoker is Assistant Minister to the Attorney-General, Assistant Minister for Industrial Relations and Assistant Minister for Women. I pre-recorded that interview with her earlier on this afternoon.

/Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).View in full here.