Television interview – Today Show Perth 8 November

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister

ALEX CULLEN, HOST: Well for a deeper understanding on how the Medibank hack is impacting West Aussies, I want to bring in Federal Member for Perth, Patrick Gorman. Patrick, good morning, thank you for being with us. We know hundreds of thousands of West Aussies have been impacted by this. They’re angry and so they should be, but what’s the Government doing to help those affected?

PATRICK GORMAN, ASSISTANT MINISTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER: Well, it is a really stressful time for Medibank customers and I do want to say to all West Australian customers of Medibank that the Government is trying to do everything we can through our Cyber Security Centre, through the Australian Federal Police, through the Department of Home Affairs and others, to do everything we can to help this private company. Bearing in mind Medibank was privatised about a decade ago under the Coalition, to help them through this really difficult challenge. On the legislative side, we are already talking to the states and territories and consulting with them about further privacy protections and putting more pressure on private companies who don’t do enough to protect their customers’ data. And in the next 24 hours, which will be a stressful time for Medibank customers in WA, we’re obviously supporting that business in terms of giving them the best advice about how to deal with such an attack.

CULLEN: Okay, yeah. 9.7 million Australians, it’s far too many people. Let’s hope they sort it and they sort it soon. But moving on – WA’s growing energy crisis Patrick, the Australian Energy Market Operator is now considering spending tens of millions of dollars on diesel generators just to keep the power on. Seriously?

GORMAN: Well we’ve got two objectives. In the very short term we need to make sure that we have affordable and reliable energy for households in WA, but for the long term we’ve got to accelerate that transition to renewables. We know that our summers are getting hotter because of climate change. We know that the cheapest form of electricity is renewable energy. Solar, wind, hydro – these are the energies of the future. And so that’s what we’re trying to do through the Government’s Rewiring the Nation plan to make it easier to put renewables into the WA grid and also investing in little things like community batteries. We’re going to have a few of those in WA, including in Dianella and Bayswater in my electorate. We know that all of these pieces are part of the solution, but we want to make sure that everyone can run their air conditioners, run their households over summer.

CULLEN: Diesel generators, okay, it’s come to that. But it’s not like people aren’t spending enough on power too. Any update there on your Government’s work to bring prices down?

GORMAN: Yeah, well, obviously people are already hurting from Angus Taylor’s secret 20 per cent price increase that he hit before the election. And we’ve had a decade of inaction on energy policy in the last ten years. While the Coalition was in office, Taylor Swift managed to release six albums. Angus Taylor and the Liberals didn’t even manage to release one energy policy. He needs to look in the mirror and say, “Hi, it’s me, I’m the problem, it’s me”.

CULLEN: Okay, I want to get you really quickly on this. Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, he wants to bring back compulsory national service for school leavers. What do you think?

GORMAN: Look, these are debates from the 1920s. We’ve had that debate in Australia. I commend people who choose a career in the Australian Defence Force and I thank them for their service. But what we need is to make sure that we celebrate young people. We shouldn’t be getting the stick out and telling them what to do. We should be making things easier. And when I think about Tony Abbott’s record in office, he made university more expensive, he made TAFE more expensive and he cut funding from schools. This is not a guy who has the best interests of the next generation at heart. I celebrate our young people. I say thank you for all they did during the pandemic, many of them leaving, studying things to go and help in hospitals, vaccination centres. Our young people in WA do a fantastic job. I think we need to support them rather than be telling them they’re not doing enough.

CULLEN: Okay. Freedom of choice for you, Patrick. No worries at all. Thanks so much.

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