SKY NEWS FIRST EDITION WITH PETER STEFANOVIC
SUBJECTS: Coronavirus Spike in Victoria, Energy Bipartisanship, Novak Djokovich
PETER STEFANOVIC, HOST: Joining me now is Victorian Labor MP Peter Khalil. Peter, good to see you. Thanks for joining us. So is Victoria that bad uncle at the wedding?
PETER KHALIL, MP: G’day Pete? Now, I don’t like the way you said Victoria, we’re not all that bad I’ve got to tell you.
STEFANOVIC: Well, how do you read into, I mean there has been a spike. New South Wales has more numbers, but Victoria seems to be getting out of hand at the moment.
KHALIL: A couple points. First, there was always the likelihood of outbreaks occurring as you ease some restrictions. I think the outbreaks in Victoria – particularly around one family or a couple of families, particular communities – there was talk about the fact that they had language issues and they weren’t understanding all of the restrictions and the guidelines and that needs to be addressed. In fact, in my electorate, I sent out a couple of months ago, a letter out to migrant groups and other groups in the top five languages that are spoken my electorate because I understood that that was an issue as well. People not really understanding the guidelines and making sure that they, they get all the information at their disposal. But there was always going to be these outbreaks. And look, the other States certainly have to protect their residents. Apart from the joking around about the rivalry between Victoria and New South Wales, Gladys Berejiklian is entitled to do that. I note too that Daniel Andrews said that he’s talking regularly with her and they’re working together, which is a good thing because frankly, whether it’s Victorians or New South Wales, people in New South Wales or any other part of the country, all Australians have to continue to follow the medical advice. And we’ve done really well in this country, to suppress the virus, to flatten the curve. We’ve all made massive sacrifices. I know it’s hard to keep the social distancing going. It really is, but people need to continue to do that because there are those risks of a second spike or third spike.
STEFANOVIC: Well maybe this is the wake up call that we needed because I’ve certainly noted that. I mean, just in Sydney, people are definitely becoming complacent when it comes to the restrictions. But just on Victoria, Peter. So you’ve identified some areas in Melbourne where these outbreaks have occurred are in areas where people might not have a hold of English. So in that sense, is the State Government failing in its messaging?
KHALIL: Well, I understand the State Government is putting out information too, and trying to work better with multicultural communities. I’ve got to say this broadly, it’s not a particular criticism of the Victorian Government, but multicultural communities, migrant communities tend to be a bit of an after-thought with respect to these kinds of campaigns. I come from a migrant background, I have a lot of diversity in my electorate. That’s why I made sure to send out information in the five languages that are prevalent in my electorate. I think State and Federal Governments need to do better in reaching those communities because they are Australians as well. Even if they’re recently arrived migrants and they’re learning English, you need to be able to communicate the important information to everyone in the community so that we all understand what needs to be done.
STEFANOVIC: You just referred to this, Gladys Berejiklian saying yesterday – the businesses here, particularly in ski fields, now school holidays are approaching – shouldn’t interact with people from those hotspots in Melbourne. What’s your view on that? I mean, Josh Frydenberg, another Victorian on the show a little bit earlier said that he would be against that kind of behaviour. He’s all for us being together in all of this. He would be welcoming when it comes to Victorians crossing the border and in New South Wales, he said that that should continue. So what’s your view as well?
KHALIL: Well, I’ve got to say I’m going to be shocking myself, that I’ll be agreeing with Josh on this one. We are all Australians, and this state rivalry kind of thing is often joked about in state of origin with you guys and Queensland and us in the AFL with South Australia, Western Australia, but, underneath all that, we’re all Australians. And I would agree with Josh and his sentiments on this. We’re in this together. We can actually get out of it together. We have to work effectively together. So I would agree with him and his sentiments.
STEFANOVIC: Well, here’s something that you probably won’t agree with him about, and that’s Albo’s pitch to end the carbon wars. He’s got a speech coming up later on today at the press club at about 12:30 – it’ll be live here on Sky News when it does. He reckons it’s a pipe dream. Is it? It’s been a war that’s been going on for 10 years now. I mean, are you going to get support from both sides when it comes to this particular topic?
KHALIL: Well, you characterise it as a war that’s been going for 10 years and in that decade, Labor has tried again and again – even the last seven years – I think eight or nine times, Labor have reached out to the coalition and said let us agree on a bipartisan policy to go forward. Take the politics out of this so that we can actually start investing in renewable energy, creating jobs, and actually moving forward to do what’s best for the national interests. And each time the whole thing got blown up by the Liberal Party room where they rejected the NEG, where they rejected their own renewable energy targets, blown up by all the right wingers and the dinosaurs who are climate change deniers in their own coalition, despite us making every attempt in opposition in the past seven years to reach bipartisanship on this. Albo is doing the right thing. He’s reaching out again in a constructive way to say, okay, let’s agree on your most recent, I think the 15th iteration of an energy policy and let’s agree on a bipartisan stance so we can actually move forward and do what is necessary to reduce emissions and to create jobs and to invest in renewable energy. There’s got to be a willingness, Peter. By Scott Morrison and his Party, and the Nationals to actually engage on this, not to run anti-renewable scare campaigns and play politics with this. It’s too important to play politics with. We need to get this right. And I back Albo all the way, and another attempt – the 12th, 14th attempt – to try and get bipartisanship on this very important issue for the nation.
STEFANOVIC: It’s going to be tricky though. I mean, it’s going to be tough, isn’t it?
KHALIL: Well, the toughness is on their side. They have repeatedly blown themselves up when they got close – they got really close to an energy guarantee, they got really close to an energy policy or a climate change policy. And then within their own party, there was a number of them who decided to blow the whole thing up. They need to sort that out because it’s too important for the nation.
KHALIL: Just finally, Peter, I know you’re a one time professional tennis player. I’ve got to get your thoughts on Novak Djokovich. He’s tested positive to coronavirus for this competition that he was, or this exhibition contest that he was organising, I think it was in Croatia. There were a whole bunch of warnings that it shouldn’t go ahead, including from Nick Kyrgos. There was no effort to social distance or anything like that. So Kyrgios has called him a ‘bone head’. What do you think of it?
STEFANOVIC: Isn’t it fantastic to see Nick Kyrgios, our Nick Kyrgios, being the sensible one and showing maturity here. And I think this is not a one off thing. This is probably a development. You remember his brilliant efforts around the bushfires, the money that he raised, he had a really great run at the Australian Open, he was showing signs of maturity. We know he’s had his problems early on, Lleyton Hewitt had his problems early on too when he was younger and he matured and became number one in the world. I remember practising with Lleyton when I was a, as you say, so-called professional tennis many, many years ago, in 98 in London. My claim to fame is that I played in the Australian Open Juniors. Anyway, Nick is mature on this point. He’s right on this point, I think it was very responsible. Well, I know that Djokovich, he has a responsibility being number one in the world, and he’s really got this one wrong, hasn’t he?
STEFANOVIC: Yeah, I think he’s an anti-vaxxer as well. And he said he wouldn’t take a COVID-19 vaccination if one becomes available. It’d be interesting to see whether he’d have it now, now that he’s got it. Peter Khalil, good to get your thoughts, chat to you again soon.