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DAN TEHAN MP
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR WANNON
SHADOW MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP
Sign the petition - A petition to protect the Heytesbury Settlement

2GB | AUSTRALIA DAY | WITH LUKE GRANT

December 16, 2022

SUBJECT | Labor undermining Australia Day | 16 December 2022

LUKE GRANT: But first, to Dan Tehan, he's the shadow immigration minister, and he joins me on the line. Dan, good to have your time, mate. Thanks so much.

DAN TEHAN: Luke, it's wonderful to be with you, and can I just commend the station for what you're doing for St Vinnies. As a schoolboy, I used to volunteer for St Vinnies and go to a place called Osmond House in Melbourne, where they do the most wonderful work looking after people who need shelter, who need a shower and who need food. And I used to do it on a weekly basis, and it always struck me what wonderful work St Vinnies do so you've got $200 that I'll be donating to your cause because I've seen firsthand the difference it makes to people's lives, and I'll be happy to help and support.

GRANT: That’s so decent of you and obviously not what we got you on for today. But I'll tell you what, Dan, I've never met you, but I've asked people what sort of bloke Dan Tehan is, which confirms everything I've been told. Thank you so much. It's so generous of you; good on you. On January 26, there is an expectation amongst the vast majority of Australian people about what happened that day. We can do lots of things on that day. We can certainly reflect on our First Nations people. I would argue that we should; it should be a big part of the day. But these loopy councils, which is disrespectful - I was going to say, without being disrespectful, but it is – these loopy councils, it starts somewhere, Dan, doesn't it? And people don't like it. 

TEHAN: No, they don't, and they’re Labor-Green councils, and the real worry about this is that they want to undermine Australia Day and everything that it has to offer. And you're absolutely right; we can respectfully remember everything that’s great and celebrate everything that's great about our nation, but, at the same time, we can also reflect on things that obviously have caused hurt to others. And that's all part of being a nation which can reflect, but also celebrate how we have brought everyone together. And we are the greatest nation, I think, on earth. And these councils do want to undermine Australia Day, and the Government has allowed them to do it. There was a very firm policy in place that new immigrants would have the opportunity on January 26 to have their citizenship granted to them, and they could do it within their local communities. Now we will have new immigrants who won’t be able to have their citizenship bestowed on them on Australia Day in their local community. And I think taking that choice off new immigrants is wrong. And the fact that the Albanese Labor Government allow this to happen, I think, undermines January 26th. Basically, what they have said is it's the same as any other day that week, and it will set on course a path that I think will be detrimental to our nation. 

GRANT: You know what? It's so horribly divisive. And that's what I don't like about it. If I go, and I've heard the argument about changing the date, changing the day, changing the way we commemorate and what we think about on the day, and then everyone at least has an opportunity to be part of that date and to do what they like. And what worries me, Dan is this is the beginning of something. I don't for a moment accept that a progressive government with majorities certainly in the lower house and with the right people in the upper house starts somewhere. What are they going to do next? That's what worries me.

TEHAN: Absolutely, Luke; I'm 100% with you on that. We've already seen it the way they've slowly let the unions back into workplaces and allowed them to get into small businesses. We've seen what they're doing with regards to energy, basically undermining coal and gas in this nation, which is going to mean that our transition is one that's severely jeopardised and now, I think, we face a very potentially bleak winter next winter. And now they've started on Australia Day itself, and that will be to the detriment of us as a nation. As you say, it is very divisive, and there's no need for that day to be divisive. It should be a day where we all come together and celebrate what's great, but also reflect on our past and make sure that we're understanding our history - the good parts and the bad parts.

GRANT: Yeah. You know, giving the control back to councils like the City of Yarra and Darebin City Council worries me because, again, thin edge of the wedge. They see those other councils who might be again extreme left, or whatever they might be, and they think, oh okay, that game is back on again. And it's almost like a cry for relevance. Look what we can do. Look what we can do. How many local councils just don't get it? You know, collect your rates, fix the roads, pick up the rubbish, do all that kind of stuff. Look after the parks and the ratepayers but the other stuff that's played with by federal politicians or even state politicians. So, you get the wrong local councillor looking for attention, and this is how you end up where we are, I reckon.

TEHAN: Absolutely. It's the tail wagging the dog, and it's a failure of leadership of the Albanese Labor Government that they've given in to the tail. They should be saying to councils, no, you should give new citizens the choice of being able to take out their citizenship on Australia Day. And it's a choice that they take with joy. All of us have been to Australia Day ceremonies where the citizenships are bestowed on new migrants, this nation, the pride and joy in which they do it, and they understand the significance of the day, and they want to do it on that day, and now that choice is going to be taken away from certain people in their local communities, and that's just plain wrong.

GRANT: It really is. Just one final thing. Is it right to say you didn't receive the legislation for the government's power price capping yesterday until a quarter to nine or thereabouts the night before? Is that right? You didn't even have effectively 12 hours to look at the detail?

TEHAN: No. That is absolutely right, and it really beggars belief that the government should be rushing an important piece of legislation like that because the reason they couldn't get it to us is that it wasn't ready. And now, in my time in the Australian Parliament, and I was elected in 2010, I've never known a government to get a piece of legislation finalised so late and to provide so little time for its scrutiny. And remember that it isn't going to a committee to be looked at. It won't have the industry providing feedback and input into it. It was delivered late at night, passed, and rushed through the following day. And the sad thing is, the consequences when it comes to power bills for Australians, I think, in the medium to long term going to be really, really bad, and there is no commitment even in the short term that it will lead to your power bill going down. They’re still saying that they're going to go up but not as much. Now no guarantees around that, and remember, there was that guarantee that they made 97 times before the election that your power bill was going to go down by $275.

GRANT: Yeah, well, we don't make it to that number again, do we? And again. Dan, thank you so much for your generosity and thank you for your time this afternoon. 

Media contact | Sandie Gustus 0408 564 232