Subjects: Tax cuts; Agricultural trespass; AFP Raids; Cottesloe beach development
GARY ADSHEAD: And Attorney General, Christian Porter's taken time out of his busy schedule today as parliament gets back into shape this week and joins us on the line. G’day Christian.
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Morning Gary.
GARY ADSHEAD: Okay. Just firstly, any update on tax cuts mate? Where that's at?
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: So, in the Senate as we speak we're confident that it will go through the Senate, but the bottom line is that everyone in the house has been instructed to stay late and if we need to stay late we will be debating them until they're done.
GARY ADSHEAD: Okay. Was a deal done with Jacqui Lambie, have you heard?
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Look I have heard that. I'm sure Senator Cormann is himself engaged in this in the Senate, but of course he works really hard with that cross bench. And look, this is something that we took to the election. It's truly reforming the tax system, 94 per cent of the people will be on the same income tax rate. We effectively end bracket creep, people get to keep more of the money they earned. We took it to a full election and it was widely endorsed. There's no reason why anyone should seriously doubt a mandate to move this through the Parliament.
GARY ADSHEAD: I agree with that. But if Jacqui Lambie holds out her hand and says well I'll give you my vote for $157 million to help out Tasmania - what do you think of that?
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: We've never engaged in that sort of horse trading. I mean, this is a fundamental matter of electoral integrity that….
GARY ADSHEAD: Christian, please. Of course the horse trading goes on.
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: …well we don't do deals of the nature that you've just described. I mean, this tax reform stands on its own merits. And whether its Jacqui Lambie or others they have to support it on its merits, of which there are many, or they have to face their own constituencies - in Jacqui's case back in Tasmania.
GARY ADSHEAD: Hey, something that you're heavily involved in and that's the issue of trespass, the Animal Trespass Bill. Because we've all seen and had enough of vegan protesters trying to take over people's farms and properties. How's that going?
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Yep. So that was introduced this morning. What we've done is we've created two new offences - one; an offence where if you use a carriage service, so basically if you put up a website that incites other people to trespass on agricultural land and you are reckless as to the fact that they may damage the business then you can be up for an offence just as if you were the trespasser with a 12 month term of imprisonment. And another offence which says if you use a website, for instance, to incite people to go and damage a farmer's property then you can be up for five years imprisonment.
And, I mean there are state trespass laws and the state Attorney General's been very keen to see those activated in WA for these idiots, dangerous idiots who do terrible things to the livelihood of hard working farming families. But at a Federal level we just wanted to send a very clear message and provide a deterrent to people who want to go on line and set up these websites. If you can show that those websites are designed and intended to encourage people to break the law then you've got to have a consequence for that. So it's very much part of setting out a clear deterrent to stop this sort of behaviour happening.
GARY ADSHEAD: Are you expecting any blocking in the Senate on that one?
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Look, I would be surprised but we'll wait and see. I mean, I think that there's a pretty bipartisan support for the proposition that all these people who work incredibly hard - small businesses, often farming families - that they don't get their businesses wrecked or destroyed which, you know, there are many examples of because of people who want to impose some kind of food ideology on hard working Australian families and consumers. It's absurd.
GARY ADSHEAD: Now, Attorney General I know that you would hate to think of me going to prison for doing my job and I know that you've been meeting with media executives in relation to the latest controversy - of course, the raids on the ABC and the News Limited journalist Annika Smethurst. Where do you sit on this, because we need greater protection? Do you agree with that?
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Well, it's not an uncomplicated issue but what we have said is that we're referring many of the matters that have been raised by organised media with us, to what's known as the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence and Security - probably the most powerful Committee in Parliament. And particularly they're going to focus on the ways in which journalists can get caught up in investigations, particularly focusing on the way in which search warrants are issued and executed. And, specifically, they're going to look at things like whether or not when a search warrant that has that kind of effect on a journalist is issued, whether it could be contested so that the journalist or their organisation can voice their views on it in court.
This covers a range of issues but it's a complicated space. There are issues around defamation and suppression orders. I mean, I've indicated as Attorney General I'm pretty satisfied with the way the Public Interest Disclosure Act works at a Commonwealth level. So, we are very much hearing, listening, I've got a great deal of empathy for many of the points raised and the first batch of those points are going to the most powerful and important Committee in Parliament.
GARY ADSHEAD: Hey, just before I let you go a bit of a hot button issue here in WA is the proposed redevelopment on Cottesloe Beach and I'm sure you're very familiar with the beach, the stretch of beach. Of course Indiana teahouse, Andrew 'Twiggy' Forest has bought it. He is going to knock it over and build some new monolith. What do you think should be there?
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: To be honest Gary I've got 99 problems, that's not one of them. I live next door to Yanchep Beach Lagoon, about 70 k north of Cottesloe Beach. I love the place but I'm not intimately involved in that issue. I think that you've got to have development that's appropriate and I don't like seeing tired infrastructure on our coasts. But Cottesloe's different from Scarborough and that's different from where I live up at Yanchep. I'll leave that to the developers and to the Council mate.
GARY ADSHEAD: Have they still got that big statue there - the Atlantis one? Is that still up on the hill?
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: My oath they have. They've got it cleaned up. King Neptune has always - and there's - I mean, I remember going up there as a kid and some of the statues there are just utterly frightening I thought as a kid. I'm a bit tougher now as an adult but mate, can I tell you Yanchep is an amazing place to live, the beach is superb….
GARY ADSHEAD: The lagoon. I love the lagoon.
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: It's changed a lot. It's changed a lot. So I warmly invite everyone to come up. And the guy that runs the Lagoon Café used to be the cook on a cruise ship…
GARY ADSHEAD: Really?
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: …and he does an awesome job. Fantastic.
GARY ADSHEAD: Alright. Well I'm going to advocate for the head of King Neptune to be replaced with the head of the Attorney General, Christian Porter. It'd be like the Statue of Liberty there, just to make sure you keep us journo's out of prison Attorney General. Thanks very-
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Now that sounds like damage and trespass itself so be careful.
GARY ADSHEAD: Laughs Thanks for joining us and good luck.
ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Okay. Cheers Gary.
GARY ADSHEAD: Cheers mate.