SENATOR THE HON KATY GALLAGHER
Minister for Finance
Minister for the Public Service
Minister for Women
Date: Friday, 21 October 2022
KARL STEFANOVIC, HOST: Liz Truss becoming the shortest serving British PM in history after resigning overnight. Now, the Tories are lining up to replace her including the big man, Boris Johnson. With more, we're joined by Finance Minister Katy Gallagher and Opposition Leader Peter Dutton. Good morning to you both, nice to see you. Katy, first of all, how will this play out in terms of our relationship with Great Britain. Surely, Albo will be thrilled to have Boris back?
SENATOR THE HON KATY GALLAGHER, MINISTER FOR FINANCE: Well look, UK is close friends with Australia, so I'm very confident that whoever replaces Liz Truss will have a good, strong relationship with Australia. That's what matters, I think people to people, government to government, we're doing a lot of work in defence, in trade, in a whole range of areas. And, you know, that continues regardless of some of this political instability. But, you know, I think we look forward to whoever the new Prime Minister is and working on strengthening that relationship.
STEFANOVIC: Goes to show there's a bit of pressure on budgets?
GALLAGHER: In terms of our budget?
GALLAGHER: Oh, look we're working through all of that now. You'll see the results of that on Tuesday. It's been a, it's been a big, long slog but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and look forward to showing people the results of that on Tuesday.
STEFANOVIC: Alright, Katy. Peter and I were chatting about this last night, this turnaround, the resignation, series of embarrassing U-turns. It made Pete miss this.
[Video clip played]
STEFANOVIC: Sorry for sharing that.
PETER DUTTON, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Karl was that off your phone? Is it?
STEFANOVIC: Yeah. It's old school.
DUTTON: Look, firstly, I think it's very sad for Liz Truss personally, she's a good person. She made a mistake. She's paid a huge price for that. But we need stability in the UK. We need our partners to be strong and particularly at the moment in Europe. We need strong leadership because the leaders that are on the rise are those that we don't want on the rise. People like Vladimir Putin. So, I think we work very closely with whoever the leader is, as Katy says, and I think there's also a message out of this for our government as well that they would want to think twice about breaking a very significant promise on tax cuts that they went to the election with, because the public will react very badly.
STEFANOVIC: Another embarrassing political resignation. Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe, standing down over her secret relationship with former Rebels boss Dean Martin. Katy, the things you do for love, huh, did you ever date a bikie?
GALLAGHER: No, I don't have that on my CV, Karl. But I think this issue like, I thought listening to Adam Bandt yesterday, probably his phrase that it was a "significant error of judgment" is probably the understatement of the week.
STEFANOVIC: How would you describe it?
GALLAGHER: Well, you know, we need to understand a bit more of what's gone on here and who knew what when, but I think there's a serious issue here. I think the Senate deserves an explanation. Certainly the committee that she sat on deserves an explanation. And I think there's probably more to go but I don't think it's going to be that easy to just flick it off as a "serious error of judgment".
STEFANOVIC: It's perfect, it's perfect for the new corruption watchdog isn't it? You'd recommend that, wouldn't you?
GALLAGHER: Well that's a matter for the national anti-commission when it —
STEFANOVIC: You'd support it?
GALLAGHER: Well, it's not a matter of whether we support it, those are matters that would be determined by the national anti-corruption commission. But I do think that the Greens political party, always are very quick to have views about everybody else and their conduct and behaviour. I don't think this is one that they can just flick off on a Thursday afternoon. I think there's more to go and it's a serious allegation about her behaviour.
STEFANOVIC: I'd agree with that, you Pete?
DUTTON: Well Karl, I don't think you can argue that Lidia Thorpe is fit to sit in the Australian Parliament when you can't sit in the Intelligence and Security Committee and receive classified briefings in relation to the methodology and what the Australian Federal Police are doing against what they describe as one of the biggest crime groups and importers of amphetamines, perpetrators, of all sorts of crimes.
STEFANOVIC: You're saying resign?
DUTTON: Well, I think she clearly, she should resign. I think Adam Bandt should do that. I mean, you can't receive those briefings during the day and then hang out you know, in nice circumstances of a nighttime with a bike. I mean, it just doesn't add up and Adam Bandt really needs to stand up and yes, it should be the first order of business for any corruption commission to look at this and to probe into what may have been leaked.
STEFANOVIC: Katy, do you think she should resign?
GALLAGHER: I think that's a matter for the Greens. They've got to deal with this. It's a big problem. It goes to their credibility. As Peter said, serious concerns around information she may have had and what she's done with that. I think there's much more to go in this story. This is very, very serious.
STEFANOVIC: What about Medibank? Last week they told the Government no data had been leaked. Now we are learning incredibly private information is at risk of going public. I mean, this is just awful for those people who are going to be exposed. Why don't you just legislate Katy, not holding so much data big for corporates, and delete old data they still have, make it really simple for everyone?
GALLAGHER: Well, this is something before the Government now. I think we have come in, obviously cybercrime is a huge issue. Our focus particularly right at this moment is on making sure we are dealing with what is happening at Medibank and protecting people's information and certainly understanding the level of the attack here, but it certainly raised issues around information, holding information and there's a huge amount of work going on with Clare O'Neil and Mark Dreyfus and others to make sure that we are looking at what we need to do to respond to this and protect people's information going forward because we know cybercrime is going to be a massive issue.
STEFANOVIC: They need to get there and quickly?
DUTTON: They do Karl, the Government has been in there five or six months...
GALLAGHER: Come on.
DUTTON: We would be happy to support legislation that tightens it up, these companies need to disclose very early on whether there has been a breach because time is of the essence. Your identity can be stolen. Loans can be taken out in your name. Credit card debt racked up. And that’s why it needs to be responded to quickly. And the companies have an onus to disclose, to report and as an Opposition we will support the Government every step of the way.
STEFANOVIC: Katy, why are you moving so slowly with this?
GALLAGHER: I don't think we are moving slowly at all. And I would say coming in and seeing and assessing whether there is weaknesses in the legislation after, with all due respect Peter, you had nine years to look at some of these issues and respond. We are responding, people are working very hard. We will work as quickly as we can. The priority right now is dealing with this Medibank situation and making sure we are looking at what we can do to protect people who might have had their information stolen. But absolutely we need to respond to the bigger picture in light of the fact that these attacks are here, they are happening more often and there are serious breaches of privacy going on, then companies being held to ransom. I agree with Peter around the need for companies to make sure that they are doing everything they can, but also being up front about what they understand when these attacks happen.
DUTTON: Well Karl, when we were in government we put in place 11 pieces of legislation to tighten up national security laws. Mark Dreyfus sought to water down or oppose every single one of them. We put $10 billion into the Australian Signals Directorate, people should jump on the ACSC, Australian Cyber Security Centre website to get information that will protect them from this sort of theft
STEFANOVIC: There is a bit on, Katy thank you, appreciate it and Peter nice to see you as well.
GALLAGHER: Thank you.
Pat Cronan 0432 758 224