TODAY Show interview: Neo-Nazi threats; Coronavirus; Weinstein finding

25 February 2020


SUBJECT: ASIO Director GeneralS speech, Coronavirus, Joel Fitzgibbon and Barnaby Joyce, meat-free meat pies

KARL STEFANOVIC, TODAY SHOW: Welcome back to the show, its good to have your company this morning. Well it is the stuff of a spy thriller but unfortunately its real and very disturbing. Foreign agents running a complex network of agents in a foreign country, threatening security, plotting terror attacks and destabilising the foundations of democracy, to discuss, Im joined by Senator Malarndirri McCarthy and Triple Ms Gus Worland. Senator, to you first of all, this is an unprecedented warning from ASIO Director General, Mike Burgess: spies, terrorists plotting to harm our country. It is a huge wake up call, isnt it?

MALARNDIRRI MCCARTHY, NT LABOR SENATOR: Absolutely Karl and I have to commend the Director General for coming out so publicly, and hes only been in the job quite recently, so I think its telling the country that this is the direction that hes going to take in terms of being quite open and transparent about what his concerns are.

STEFANOVIC: Among these threats, hes also suggesting there are neo Nazis in our suburbs.

MCCARTHY: Yeah thats a real concern.


MCCARTHY: Absolutely, and I think thats the thing now isnt it? Its about the conversation with the Australian people about how are we going to curb this real concern and growing threat and I think most Australians need to be very aware, not be complacent about this issue.

STEFANOVIC: Thats true, Gus?

GUS WORLAND, TRIPLE M: Were living in a world very different to perhaps we grew up, our kids and so forth are going to be growing up in this world that is completely scary. And in a way when I heard this, I thought: little old Australia, why would they even want to worry about us and I was quite sort of happy that they had their eyes on us, but now when you think about it and you hear about neo Nazis in the suburbs and all this other stuff, I totally agree with the Senator. Im glad theyve got a bit of leadership here and someone is going to come down like a tonne of bricks.

STEFANOVIC: You know even the coronavirus has reminded us all about how fragile we are and thats smack bang right in your neck of the woods, Senator. How is that going?

MCCARTHY: Yeah, totally. Look, I think certainly for the people of the Northern Territory we've done our best to cater for our fellow Australians who have needed support and weve seen certainly the first load leave from Christmas Island and also from the Howard Springs village there, and we've still got a few people, quite a few people, who are in Darwin but hey we're doing the best we can.

STEFANOVIC: You sure are. Huge developments this morning from New York: disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein found guilty of sexual. Gus, this is a case of the Me Too movement which has sprung from it, has changed not just Hollywood but the entire world, you'd have to think

WORLAND: Absolutely right. I mean have a look at him there, he only brought that walker out when he actually went to court, thats the first thing.

STEFANOVIC: Makes you sick.

WORLAND: It does absolutely make you sick. And this movement which has come out of it Me Too and rightly so and thank god hes going to jail and hopefully therell be sentencing that hell go there for the rest of his life.

STEFANOVIC: When it was announced what the decision was, his lawyer outside court, Malarndirri, said: Well, he accepted it in good grace. He accepted it like a gentleman.


STEFANOVIC: Is it any wonder lawyers have a bad reputation?

MCCARTHY: Yeah, look when I think, if anything, when I heard the news, I thought about the two women involved in this Karl, and I just think, for them, we can have commentary all around the globe, but for those two women, its been an incredible journey and no doubt theyre deeply relieved at the outcome. Sure, it was two out of five charges but they were really significant outcomes of those two particular charges that he's got and obviously sentencings next month, but it's also about the movement across the globe, that you know, this sort of behaviour is just not on, Karl.

STEFANOVIC: Yeah, exactly, right. Gus? Men are on notice.

WORLAND: Yeah, absolutely right. Men are on notice. It's just the right way to deal with people, just be kind to everyone.

STEFANOVIC: And what about this for men behaving badly yesterday?


STEFANOVIC: Malarndirri, its like the two old muppets. Remember those guys who used to sit in the in the theatre and pass commentary and argue with each other.

MCCARTHY: I think they still sit there.

STEFANOVIC: Theyre still there. This, again, is a reminder of why people have such a bad idea of politicians, isn't it?

MCCARTHY: Yeah, look, its certainly unedifying, but I have to say that if Barnaby wanted to come out and be the clown there, he certainly did. And of course, you know, I think Joel Fitzgibbon handled it very well. You know, so, but it is hard. You know, politicians are always walking past each other in the hallways, but this was clearly about an opportunity in the media to have a go. And that's what Barnaby did.

STEFANOVIC: Maybe there should be more of it.

MCCARTHY: Oh, well, I mean, how long did you tune into that for? I mean, didn't you get a bit tired of it?

STEFANOVIC: I gave it five seconds.

MCCARTHY: Yeah thats what I thought.

WORLAND: Question Time is just ridiculous as it is. I mean, the speakers are going: Could the member, could the member! because theyre shouting over the top of each other. No one gives each other a chance to have a proper conversation, so these are people leading our nation!

STEFANOVIC: Its like a rap, isnt it, a bad rap?

MCCARTHY: And maybe someones going to do a rap on it, who knows.

STEFANOVIC: We are finished with this segment except for this little piece here; a Fourn Twenty pie containing absolutely no meat is coming next month made purely out of soy protein. Senator, you have a job to do in the Senate of Australia and you have to rule on that very, very urgently.

MCCARTHY: I think I need to be tested because I love my meat. I mean you just ask my staff and my friends, I love eating red meat in this country and really proud of our meat, especially up north. But I think I'd have to be tested as to whether I'd notice the difference and I think I might, Karl, you know, but I'm not too comfortable about moving away from the good old meat pie.

WORLAND: Senator it is un-Australian. Karl, it is un-Australian. Meat pies, Holden cars, everything going, its done, its all gone.

MCCARTHY: Dont let the meat pie go!

STEFANOVIC: What's happened to this country, it makes me want to cry!

WORLAND: You can have your plant based, but give us our meat pie.

STEFANOVIC: No, I agree with you, just leave us alone. Senator, thank you for that, Gus, you too.