11 November 2020

SUBJECT(S): Calls for changes to the National Anthem; Joel Fitzgibbon resigns from the Labor ministry; Allan Tudge and Christian Porter’s sexual indiscretions in Liberal party; State of Origin Round 2.

ALLY LANGDON, HOST: We are “one” and free. That is the suggested change to our national anthem, building significant support, removing the current words, “young and free” which is seen to ignore Indigenous heritage. Let’s discuss this now with Northern Territory Labor Senator, Malarndirri McCarthy and Queensland Nationals Senator, Matt Canavan. Good morning to both of you. Malarndirri, what do you think?
MALARNDIRRI MCCARTHY, SENATOR FOR THE NORTHERN TERRITORY: Good morning. Well, like I said the last time I was with you guys, Ally, we certainly need to have a look at the anthem, as a whole. I mean I mentioned Judith Durham and Kutcha Edwards, and they actually changed a lot of the words in the anthem but did keep most of the anthem. I know that the Premier of NSW is just talking about one line. Can I just say that this the beginning of an important discussion across the country. I think it’s wonderful that the Premier’s coming out and suggesting these things.
LANGDON: Matt, the truth is, our national anthem does create division in this country. The NSW Premier is on board, as Malarndirri just pointed out, is it time for change?
MATT CANAVAN, QUEENSLAND NATIONALS SENATOR: Look, I don’t like this particular change that’s being proposed because I think it unfairly seeks to tarnish our ancestors. I mean, our country, our nation’s not just about the people that live today, it’s also recognising that we benefit from the sacrifices and efforts of others in the past. Now, I don’t think the writers of this anthem when they say “young” are intending any type of offence here. We are young nation. We have old civilisations and we have a rich history over tens of thousands of years, but we are a young country, as a country, as a concept of Australia, and that’s something important to recognise as well.  So, I just think it’s another example of people taking offence when there was no offence intended, and that’s an unfortunate tarnishing of our forefathers and foremothers.
LANGDON: I think it’s that exact argument which upsets a lot of people.
MCCARTHY: No, no, Matt it’s not. Seriously it’s not.
CANAVAN: But I don’t think, those people were never trying to be, they weren’t trying to be racist in any way, Malarndirri. We are a young country, we are a young nation. As the concept of a nation, we are young, so what’s wrong with that?
LANGDON: Malarndirri.
MCCARTHY: This is also about change, it’s about an opportunity for our country to recreate and walk together as First Nations people and non-Indigenous Australians. We’ve got people who’ve come from all over the place and yet we still treat them– like look at our refugees, people who are on Manus island, in our detention centres, on Christmas Island and other places. Come on Matt, this is actually a really good opportunity for our country to go look, let’s have a look at our future
LANGDON: Ok, Matt.
CANAVAN: This is the problem. I mean you just raised in there that we’ve got to change the anthem because we don’t treat refugees well enough. That is an absolute rubbish. We’re one of the most generous--
MCCARTHY: Let’s have a discussion, that’s what I’m saying. 
CANAVAN: Yeah ok.
MCCARTHY: And that’s what the start of this is, Matt.
CANAVAN: Well that’s why I’m concerned about these changes because they’ve been pushed for another agenda which is about trying to tarnish what Australia is, and I think we’re a great country and I think we treat refugees better than almost any other country in the world. Yes, we have strong borders but we also take more refugees than almost any other nation in the world, and we should be proud of that. And I don’t like these sort of changes pushed by people who have another agenda who try to somehow tarnish our reputation as one of the greatest countries in the world.
MCCARTHY: Well that’s really sad, Matt.
LANGDON: Well here’s my view on this one. That there are so many people who are upset by the words “young and free” in the anthem. You’re changing one word. If we change one word from “young” to “one”, it’s probably not going to hurt your life., or make any difference to your life, Matt.
CANAVAN: It never ends there Ally.
LANGDON: No, it will make no difference to your life and it could make a difference to a lot of others. But anyway, it’s why this debate continues. I want to talk about something else this morning because there is pressure building on your leader Malarndirri, Anthony Albanese this morning, after a blistering row in Shadow Cabinet with departing front bencher Joel Fitzgibbon over climate policy and losing touch with blue collar workers. Malarndirri, it’s a dangerous time for Albo right now.
MCCARTHY: Oh look, I disagree Ally, and it’s, I think the pressure here is really on the Prime Minister. He has a lot to deal with. He’s got a cabinet reshuffle that’s got to take place and all of this finger pointing to Labor, always picking the Opposition as the focus only says that this is about distraction of the Government when it should actually be more worried about what’s happening in his own ranks.
LANGDON: Come on, there is division within your party on this one. And it’s tough to see how you get past this.
MCCARTHY: There is certainly, no hang on, I didn’t say there is not division, there’s always differences of opinion but you talked about the leader and his position. I would say that the person who’s got to be more concerned is the Prime Minister Ally. But I will go back to the question of Joel Fitzgibbon, and I would say that we’ve got to remember that these two fellas you know, Albo and Joel, they’ve been around since you know 1994, they’re the two most senior people in the Caucus. They’ve got decades of experience in this and I think that their views will always be different. But I think what happened yesterday, certainly in the Caucus, I’m not in Shadow Cabinet, so I don’t know what happened in Shadow Cabinet, but certainly in the Caucus, Joel Fitzgibbon stood up and basically said to the Caucus, you know, ‘thank you for the opportunities that I’ve had. I will go to the backbench’. And now look there’s always differences of opinion, that’s why we’re in political parties, that’s not new.
LANGDON: And I mean there’s a bit of drama in your side of politics too, Matt, the conduct of Ministers Allan Tudge and Christian Porter accused of inappropriate conduct and affairs. Mr Porter is denying the allegations but this goes to that issue of imbalance between Ministers and their staff. Matt, the PM won’t take formal action, what message do you think that sends?
CANAVAN: Look, Ally, the ministers here have done nothing I think that would amount to them deserving to lose their jobs. Yes, very unfortunate their marriages broke down, and in personal human relationships, people sometimes get hurt but I don’t think we want to set that standard across the country. These are both excellent ministers, they haven’t breached any codes that the ABC or others have brought evidence for. It’s unfortunate circumstances in their personal lives that they have both apologised for, but I don’t think they should lose their jobs over it. And you can’t let me not get away without talking about Joel too, I mean it’s such a sad day for the country, that Joel, one of the very few sensible people in the Labor party is no longer there. Even he can’t cop the crazy lefties that are left and that’s really bad for our nation.
MCCARTHY: Oh Matt, you’re so sympathetic, I can just hear it through my earphones.
LANGDON: You know what because there’s no division in your party, Matt! It’s all nice. But Malarndirri, going back to the issue of the Ministers and alleged misconduct, should we expect more of our politicians?
MCCARTHY: Well firstly, can I just say, Ally, it was incredibly courageous I think for the women to come forward the way they have. It’s not easy whoever you are, wherever you are, to talk about experiences that are deeply personal. But, clearly there’s more to this than any of us probably need to understand. On the outset, though, any woman, everywhere, should feel safe, irrespective of their positions, and of course when there is an imbalance of power, all of us, all of us ,who are in those positions of power, have to be incredibly mindful of the responsibilities that we hold and it’s something we’ve got to do each day.
LANGDON: Alright, and here’s a bit of a change of a pace to end on, cause it’s “woop woop”, Origin Two day and Queensland victory tonight. A Queensland victory would seal the series for the Maroons. Are you feeling it, Matt?
CANAVAN: I don’t want to jinx it Ally, I was not confident last week, so I’m trying to keep the same so we can seal the deal tonight.
LANGDON: I know you’re a Territorian , Malarndirri, but who are you cheering on?
MCCARTHY: Look I was watching the game last week. Well I thought it was fantastic to see Queensland win last week. I know there’s a lot of my family in NSW, who’ll go hey, what’s going on. But you know what, in the halftime break, something happened with Wayne Bennett, right, and those young fellas just came out onto the field and they just took over so good luck tonight, and what do they say, may Rugby League be the winner tonight.
CANAVAN: We can agree on one thing, Malarndirri. We can agree on one thing.
LANGDON: Alright guys, we can talk about it tomorrow morning.