WAYNE SWAN MP
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR LILLEY
ABC AFTERNOON LIVE WITH PATRICIA KARVELAS
TUESDAY, 5 FEBRUARY 2019
SUBJECTS: Banking Royal Commission, Liberal Inaction on Climate Change, Women Representation in Parliament and Malcolm Turnbull’s Comments on Flinders.
PATRICIA KARVELAS HOST: Wayne Swan, Nick Greiner Welcome.
NICK GREINER: Thank you.
WAYNE SWAN: Good to be here.
KARVELAS: Malcolm Turnbull issued a bit of a mea culpa this morning admitting that his Government should have called a Royal Commission earlier than it did. Do you agree Nick, should it have been called earlier, was that a blunder?
GREINER: Well I think, in retrospect that’s perfectly obviously the case.
KARVELAS: Well if that is perfectly obviously the case, the Treasurer failed to say sorry for this delay this morning. Should the Government be more transparent about this and own the mistake.
GREINER: Well I seem to recall that when Mr Turnbull and Mr Morrison announced the Royal Commission they confessed the mistake and quite frankly it’s a media game to try and get them to say sorry. I think a fair minded view is what is wrong with the banks has been the responsibility of both governments over quite a long time. And yes it would have been better if we called the Royal Commission a year earlier but fundamentally very little hangs on that.
KARVELAS: Wayne Swan, Should the National Australia Bank chiefs keep their jobs, you’re a former Treasurer who worked very closely with Ken Henry who has been named in the report. What do you make of their position, should they step down?
SWAN: Well, I think all the Chief Executives, all the Board Members of the financial system should seriously consider their positions. Because what the commissioner said is that corporate greed is at the heart of the problem and of course when you get to that you get to executive pay and bonuses and you get to board culture. So, I think there are a lot of people across many institutions that should reconsider their positions. Because if there is one thing about this report, is that we need to go even further when it comes to executive pay and board membership and board practice.
KARVELAS: Okay, they should consider their positions, does that include the man you worked so closely with Ken Henry?
SWAN: I think it’s everybody who has been senior in these financial institutions over a long period of time. Quite clearly there is a culture that has taken grip which needs to be broken and I don’t believe that this Government has got its heart in implementing the recommendations of the Royal Commission. They even ran election ads in the last election criticising the Labor party for calling for a Royal Commission. If it would have been set up when we called for it, it would have been over 18 months ago and the response would have been legislated by now.
KARVELAS: Nick Greiner, do you think they should step down?
GREINER: Look, I don't know I want to go there. I suspect the issue is what happens to change the behaviour and the culture. Personally I don't have this sort of heads of sticks obsession a lot of the media seem to have. I think the important thing is that the future financial services are infinitely better than the past. And I suspect apart from the little political games you would be fairly crazy if you were on the board of a bank or a senior executive at a bank or insurance company and you hadn't got the message that the commissioner’s report and the evidence. But I think that’s where one ought to look not whether, you know someone has stepped down. I’m sure the boards and the executives will as Wayne says consider their position that’s fair enough but it’s not the main point.
KARVELAS: Alright I want to move on to another big issue of course banks have been the focus but let’s talk about.
SWAN: I think there is a very important point here Patricia.
KARVELAS: What’s the point you want to make Wayne?
SWAN: Well I think one of the problems that came out of the GFC was that when those senior executives and boards blew up the US financial system and sent the global economy into recession, and millions were unemployed. People didn't see that justice was done and that the people that were responsible for that were dealt with in a way that was proportionate to what had occurred. And many ordinary people lost their jobs lost their homes. If we don't see some sort of follow through here. Then I think people will become very disillusioned.
KARVELAS: Well the focus has been on the banks of course another big issue around climate change Nick Greiner we have seen a number of independents have put their hands up they want to campaign on this very issue. In fact they are targeting your incumbent MPs, very High Profile MPs and Front Benchers. Should the Government be doing more on climate change to address these issues?
GREINER: My understanding is the Government is looking at the way forward you know I’m not in charge of the Government's policy development, I do think the Government ought to have a robust climate change policy and I believe it will.
KARVELAS: So you expect further announcements to address this issue before the election?
GREINER: I’m not going to say more than I’ve just said. We do need a robust climate change policy of course we do and I believe we that we will have one, yes before the election.
KARVELAS: And do you accept that you don’t have one right now and that’s causing you harm in some key electorates.
GREINER: There is no doubt that pretty much in the inner city seats where this is a significant issue people weight the climate change more heavily then reliability and affordability. That’s not true in very many other seats in the outer metropolitan areas and regional seats. I think you do need affordability, I think that’s number one, I do think you need reliability but I accept that having no sustainability policy would not be an appropriate way to go to an election.
KARVELAS: Wayne Swan, you are of course ALP President do you think Labor should play dead in some of these electorates to boost the chances of those independents?
SWAN: No, I think we will campaign aggressively on our policy proposals particularly when it comes to climate change. Nick's party is full of climate change deniers and climate change is not just an issue in the inner city. Ask everybody in Queensland at the moment who is going through the floods, ask the people who are going through the fires, I think climate change is burning issue ,if you like that its time has come again and will be very significant right across the country.
KARVELAS: And of course the other issue we have talked about before, the three of us all together has been this issue about women’s representation and this has been a big issue for your party Nick Greiner. There are a few seats up for grabs do you think women should be put in those seats, like for instance Stirling in WA.
GREINER: I’m in favour of increasing the Liberal parties’ female representation. I have been saying that the almost two years I’ve been federal president. And in fact the selection of female candidate both in the Senate and in marginal seats in the Lower House has been like a 80 or 90% success rate in recent times you don't get a lot of credit for that. I’m not familiar with the situation in Western Australia but yes the more female candidates in winnable seats the better it is.
KARVELAS: Nick Greiner, Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull issued glowing praise for Julia Banks this morning where you surprised by that?
GREINER: No, I hate to tell you and Malcolm that I haven't heard it and I think Malcolm would be best to follow his own advice that about the best behaviour of former prime ministers.
KARVELAS: Wayne Swan, of course Julia Banks is now running a campaign in the seat of Flinders which no doubt Labor is enjoying immensely.
SWAN: Well we are out to win the seat of Flinders as well because we want to represent the whole of the country and we will be out there campaigning very hard but we are really proud of the record number of women that we are putting forward in this election campaign, particularly here in Brisbane and the northern suburbs. We have got two really talented women, we also won Longman last year with a really talented women and I'm being replaced by a one. So it’s pretty good for Labor and women in the northern suburbs of Brisbane and that’s what is happening right across the rest of the country.
KARVELAS: Nick Greiner you mentioned Malcolm Turnbull basically should say fewer words rather than more but he didn't give a very confident endorsement of the coalition chances at the election. Although he did concede, you know that elections are there to be won and lost you know, everyone is competitive. Do you think the coalition needs to pivot significantly on these key issues, climate change of course I mentioned already in order to be more competitive.
GREINER: No, I am absolutely certain we will be very competitive. I think it is obvious the election is tightening and we believe the most important issue are economics, are taxation and are national and border security, so I don’t accept the line that Wayne was parroting that climate change is a voting issue it is certainly an issue in which people are interested in. I think all the evidence is in most of Australia it’s not the sort of voting issue that some people would like to suggest.
KARVELAS: Wayne Swan I’ll give you the final word because we do need to wrap up. I suppose what Nick Greiner is really saying that is it’s not a vote switcher. Do you contest that, do you think people really, I mean their more likely to vote on their bread and butter issues aren't they rather than putting climate change as their number one priority.
SWAN: If you are a farmer in Western Queensland, if you are a tourist operator on the Barrier Reef or you are running a small business in Cairns. You absolutely believe and know that climate change is a real issue not just an environmental issue but a fundamental economic issue that goes to the core of our future economic prosperity.
KARVELAS: I want to thank both of you it’s always interesting conversation to have with both of you thanks for coming on.
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