Transcript - Interview with Fran Kelly on RN Breakfast

June 17, 2015
Transcripts

TRANSCRIPT OF THE MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS

THE HON MALCOLM TURNBULL MP

INTERVIEW WITH FRAN KELLY

RN BREAKFAST

 

Subjects: Employment, copyright infringement, NBN, citizenship.

E&OE……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

FRAN KELLY:

The Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull launched that report, he joins us now. Minister, welcome to Breakfast.

TURNBULL:

Good morning Fran.

FRAN KELLY:

CEDA is predicting 40 per cent of existing jobs, jobs as we know them, will disappear in the next 20 years. Occupations including accountants, estate agents, health professionals, could all be replaced by computers. Now, hearing that I think people might be a bit scared, be a bit frightened. What is going to happen to all the people who no longer have those jobs?

TURNBULL:

Well Fran, they will have new jobs. Firstly I would say the CEDA forecast is very much talking about potential. I don’t think many people would imagine that all of those occupations will be replaced by machines. But if you go back 100 years a third of the Australians workforce worked in agriculture. Now it’s only a couple of percent. The percentage of our workforce working in manufacturing has reduced to a quarter of what it used to be. Yet despite that we have relatively high employment in Australia, not as high as we would like obviously. We have to put our faith in continued innovation, and one of the most important things that the Government is doing, and we actually just got it through the House of Representatives last night, is to protect our creative industries. As you know our creative industries, actors, directors, producers, writers, have been knocked around by online piracy, by people essentially downloading content – movies, TV shows, music – for nothing online. And a lot of this is being done by offshore pirate websites, and what we have succeeded in doing is securing passage of a bill through the House, with the support of the opposition I should say, which will enable rights owners to get those sites blocked in a very efficient way. And so if someone goes to a Pirate Bay to download content without paying for it instead they will be directed to a landing page which will point out that there are plenty pf places that you can get content online and pay for it, whether it’s Presto or Stan or Netflix or iTunes and so forth.

FRAN KELLY:

So the internet service providers, the ISPs, they are worried about the cost of compliance of this change, how much will they have to pay to block these sites?

TURNBULL:

The cost of compliance, the cost for them of compliance is relatively modest and it is a cost of doing business. Assuming they don’t contest the application in the court they won’t have to bear any of the legal costs. This approach has been operating in a number of other comparable countries, the UK and Ireland in particular, and it gets down to - it becomes a very, very smooth running machine and operation. And the ISPs block sites now, I mean they are asked to block sites by the AFP for example if it's relating to child pornography or terrorism and so forth, so the mechanism is there. This is not about censorship, this is purely about ensuring we preserve those Australian jobs in the future in our creative industries.  And this is something that the Abbott Government is getting on and doing, responding to the challenges of the new technology and getting the mechanism in place to protect jobs in Australia.

FRAN KELLY:

Okay, well talking about new technology we don’t hear as much about the NBN these days, as we used to under the last government. But the new figures are going to be released today showing that more than 1,000,000 premises have now been passed by the NBN, rolled out past these homes. How many of these homes are actually hooked up to the network?

MALCOLM TURNBULL:

Well as of ten days ago there are about 454,000 premises have actually got a paying connection...

FRAN KELLY:

So less than half?

MALCOLM TURNBULL:

That's right. And there's over a million premises where people can actually order a service right now. And this is one of our biggest months, in fact it is our biggest month for starting new work. This month in June work is starting on the fibre to the node rollout in areas covering more than 436,000 premises, on the fibre to the prem network in areas covering more than 25,000 and on fixed wireless, which is a fantastic service that will deliver a 50 megabit per second product down 10 meg up - this is to people who currently have no broadband at all who typically live on the outskirts of country towns, we're starting work on 35 new towers in areas covering more than 9,000 premises -

FRAN KELLY:

I'm pretty sure there are going to be a lot of people who are listening -

MALCOLM TURNBULL:

So we're cracking on with the job.

FRAN KELLY:

Well I hope that's so because I know of two people in inner city Sydney have just moved into upmarket apartments who cannot get mobile phone coverage. Is the NBN going to fix that?

MALCOLM TURNBULL:

No the NBN will not fix their mobile phone coverage. Although we do have, and this is a big distinction with the previous government who spent nothing in six years on mobile phone blackspots, we have a $100 million mobile phone blackspot program and we'll be announcing very shortly, before the end of this month, the results of that and you will see hundreds of mobile phone blackspots in regional Australia, not in inner city Sydney I'm afraid, but in regional Australia getting funding and support for a new mobile phone tower. So we are cracking on with that. I mean there are a lot of issues relating - anyway I won't get into the engineering problems of mobile phones in buildings.

FRAN KELLY:

Please don't go to the engineering problems right now. It's 12 past 8 on breakfast. We're speaking to the Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Malcolm Turnbull, another important issue for all of us and including all Cabinet Ministers are the proposed changes to the citizenship laws. On the weekend I spoke with several senior ministers who said they haven't yet seen the legislation stripping dual nationals of their citizenship, have you seen it yet?

TURNBULL:

Well the legislation is still in the course of preparation as it has been said. I've certainly been in discussions with the Attorney General, Senator Brandis, and the Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, but the legislation is still being prepared in the light of all of the advice government normally gets on subjects like this.

FRAN KELLY:

Should the government have got all of the advice before it went out and said what it was going to do because now we know the Solicitor General has reportedly advised that what it wants to do and what it said it would do is not constitutional. It's a very strange way to go about trying to make laws on such an important issue as this isn't it? Is it too much bravado? And I use this word because you used this word last week - too much bravado to start with?

TURNBULL:

Well, Fran, I think the process; was it Bismarck who said the public will always be disappointed or upset about the making of laws and the making of sausages. The fact is lawmaking is a complex process, there's a lot of inputs into it - public inputs, private inputs, advice sought - the acid test is the bill; when you finally produce the bill that is finally delivered and then debated in the House and considered by committee. So it is a process and I wouldn't want to run a commentary on this. We've got a very diligent Immigration Minister in Peter Dutton and he's very concerned to get all the right advice and make the right calls in drafting the bill and he's getting support from his colleagues, in particular of course the Attorney General Senator Brandis.

FRAN KELLY:

Well the key concern should be to make sure whatever law we bring in makes Australia safer and is legal, is not in breach of our Constitution. Last week you talked about Australia modernising section 35 of the Citizenship Act which automatically strips citizenship from anyone that takes up arms for another country against Australia but if you extended that section 35 to prescribed terrorist groups like ISIS for example, would there still have to be a conviction, would the conviction have to happen before that occurred because Brett Walker, the former National Security Monitor told us this week that his advice to the Government was in the context of a conviction first and then looking at a ministerial capacity to strip people of their citizenship?

TURNBULL:

Okay well let me explain. The Constitution, our Australian Constitution, has a formal separation of powers. The legislative power to make laws is given to parliament, the power to administer those laws is given to the Government, and the power to determine disputes between citizens and disputes between citizens and the government is given to the courts. That’s the judicial power. So the High Court naturally, to whom this judicial power is given, is very jealous of the rights of the judiciary and protecting the jurisdiction of the Courts. So there is often tension between, I mean is the government trespassing on the judicial power and sometimes governments complain that the courts are trespassing on their power but the reality is Brett Walker is a terrific guy, a friend of mine, a great lawyer but the only thing that matters in terms of the Constitution is not what Brett says it is but what the Constitution says and what the High Court construes it as saying. So the High Court’s determination is what matters and we are all of us bound to make sure that our laws comply with the Constitution. Now can I say I made this point yesterday and somebody said that was breaking ranks and can I just say that the proposition that governments should endeavour to legislate in a manner that is consistent with the Constitution is about as revolutionary as saying that laws have to pass the House and the Senate before they can become law.

FRAN KELLY:

I agree but it’s really people trying to understand what that means. For instance we know that the Prime Minister says that requiring a conviction before stripping someone of their citizenship would render the laws on this toothless – do you agree with that?

TURNBULL:

Well the law doesn’t require a conviction now for people that go and fight in an army of another country against Australia. So if you went off and fought for North Korea in the Korean War and you were a dual national your Australian citizenship would cease pursuant to section 35 of the Citizenship Act from the day you entered service of the North Korean Army. Now we don’t concede that ISIL is, Daesh is a state but it is certainly an armed group and you could arguably say that they do have an army, it’s getting close to that anyway. And I think you would only be modernising the section to say that if somebody goes, a dual national leaves Australia, goes and fights with Daesh in Syria their position morally is identical to somebody that goes and fights, went and fought with North Korea in the war against Australia or Japan in the Second World War.

FRAN KELLY:

Except you’ve got to prove it.

TURNBULL:

Well the way to law operates at the moment and just to give you, this is a law that has been on the books since 1948.

FRAN KELLY:

Yep.

TURNBULL:

Right and remember that the object of the Government is not some legal point here. What we are endeavouring to do, as Tony Abbott has said is to ensure that we are protecting Australia. And if people who go and fight as foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq, if they do that, then we don’t want them coming back to Australia other than very much on our terms.  So as a general rule, we don’t want them coming back because of the damage they could do back here.  Now if they are dual nationals and they make a conscious choice of their own to go and fight in an armed group against Australian forces, which is what they would be doing, then I think – you don’t have to amend section 35 very much either conceptually or in language to say, well their citizenship, they have essentially renounced their citizenship.  Under the current law there’s no ministerial intervention, so there isn’t a question of the minister or the executive government trespassing on the province of the judiciary under the Constitution because it just operates by force of law.  So it is in effect, as a lawyer would say, it’s a condition subsequent on your citizenship.

FRAN KELLY:

Malcolm Turnbull thank you very much for joining us.

MALCOLM TURNBULL:

Thank you so much.

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