Wednesday, 22 September 2021
PETER STEFANOVIC, HOST: Joining me now is Amanda Rishworth, Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education. Amanda, thanks for your time, as always. Just stepping outside your portfolio and peering across the border into Victoria, you would have seen those pictures yesterday. What’s Federal Labor’s position and take on that this morning?
AMANDA RISHWORTH, SHADOW MINISTER FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT: I think that anyone who saw those images felt really disturbed by them. There’s just no role for violence. There is no doubt that lockdowns are frustrating, certainly Victorians have been through a lot, as many other people around the country, in New South Wales. But that type of action and violence just has no place, and I think it was deeply concerning. It was deeply concerning also to see some of the images of far right extreme slogans and images, and that is deeply disturbing as well.
STEFANOVIC: Do you have any concerns that this catches on and then creeps into other sectors?
RISHWORTH: Firstly, I’d have to say there needs to be a strong stance from leaders against misinformation, against the sort of use of the internet to bring together extreme right wing, anti-health measures –
RISHWORTH: Yeah, anti-vax. There needs to be some real leadership from the government about countering some of this misinformation, to ensure that people are getting the correct information. Because if you go onto the internet, sometimes it can take you down a dark hole. So we need to have some clear counter factual information. The likes of Craig Kelly, and the misinformation he’s spreading, needs to be stood up to, and needs to be condemned.
STEFANOVIC: George Christensen too?
RISHWORTH: Absolutely. These are members currently that sit in the parliament, George Christensen sits with the government. This is doing damage. This does damage when you have elected Members of Parliament just spreading misinformation. And we need the government to do more. We need more of a public information campaign. And we need the government to clearly stand up to the likes of George Christensen and Craig Kelly, to denounce the misinformation.
STEFANOVIC: Construction is one of the key drivers of the national economy. Do you support it being shut down, though? Whether it’s for a couple of days, or whether it’s for a couple of weeks?
RISHWORTH: Well look, I’m not a health professional, I can only go by the health advice. And if the health advice suggests that there is significant spread within the construction industry and that measures need to be taken, then absolutely I support those public health measures. It should be done as an absolute last resort, because as you said it is critically important to the nation’s economy and should never be done lightly. But you know, we are in a pandemic. So I think that we need to have confidence in our health advice and we shouldn’t we shouldn’t be doubting that. Leaders need to stand up and back in that health advice, acknowledging this as really important and should only be done as a last resort.
STEFANOVIC: Amanda Rishworth. Appreciate your time this morning. Thanks so much for joining us. We’ll talk to you again soon.