Minister Shorten interview on Sunrise with Natalie Barr


SUBJECTS: Community Protection Board; RBA Governor comments on cash

NATALIE BARR, HOST: Well, after coping weeks of mounting criticism over its handling of the release of more than 140 immigration detainees, the government has unveiled plans for a new community protection board. It will decide what level of detention is appropriate for each individual, from curfews to supervision and visa restrictions. Since the High Court ruling that found indefinite detention was unlawful, six of the former detainees who've been released into the community have been arrested. For more, we're joined by Shadow Finance Minister Jane Hume and Government Services Minister Bill Shorten. Good morning to both of you. Bill, this sounds like a really good idea, do you think this should have maybe been in place before they got out to prepare for the detainees being out on the street?

MINISTER FOR GOVERNMENT SERVICES AND THE NDIS, BILL SHORTEN: Well, the High Court issued its decision which upended our preventative detention system on November the eighth. So, I actually think after 20 years of having one system where the High Court then says no and turns it upside down, I'm pleased that within about 34 days, 33 days, that we've managed to put together a whole new system.

BARR: So, Jane, do you think that's fair?

SHADOW FINANCE MINISTER, JANE HUME: No, this is shutting the gate after the criminal detainees have bolted really, isn't it? Why wasn't this ready months ago in anticipation of the High Court potentially making the decision that it did?

BARR: Would that have been wasting time, Jane?

HUME: No, that's the role of government is to make sure that you anticipate when things can possibly go wrong and to prepare for it, to protect the community, quite frankly. This board has now met once already on Monday, but in order to get those cases to court, there's no cases that are ready to go. There's no way that these detainees will be back behind bars before Christmas and I think if you read the newspapers this morning, there's already yet another criminal detainee that the Victorian Police are allegedly looking to put back into detention because he has outstanding warrants. This has been such a mess. The Minister, Clare O'Neil and Andrew Giles. If this is a responsible government as you claim it to be, Bill, they need to resign or quite frankly, Anthony Albanese needs to sack them.

BARR: Bill, you can't put them back, can you? I mean, you've just got to manage them out now.

SHORTEN: Well, the High Court made its decision. For 20 years there's been one system of law, then in November, the high court upends everything and now we've created a whole new system in about 30 plus days. I mean, I get the opposition point scoring and hyperventilating, but really, when you look at the radical departure the High Court's done, this hasn't been just a little step to the right or a step to the left. They've changed the whole system and it wasn't the expected view and now we've created a new system.

HUME: You had months to do this, Bill, months to do this and in the meantime, there's 150 criminal detainees out in the community committing crimes and putting the community at risk and that's on your government.

SHORTEN: Jane, you know as well as I do…

HUME: That’s not hyperventilating that’s just fact...

SHORTEN: Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt you, interrupting me, but you know as well as I do that the high court's decision was unexpected and if you think you expected it, then tell me when you thought it was going to happen. Really?

BARR: Look, let's move on to something that is affecting a lot of people right now. The Reserve bank Governor, Michele Bullock, has suggested we might need to pay a fee in the future to keep using our cash. Bill, this is interesting, I know very few people use cash at the moment, but can you see a world where we have to pay to use our cash?

SHORTEN: I certainly hope not. As I understand it, the Governor of the Reserve bank boards was giving a speech where she's highlighted how society is changing. Back in 2007, 70% percent of transactions were done by cash. Now it's down to about 13%. I think she also said that now 75% of us are now called low cash users and about 7% are high cash users and the problem with all of that is that the banks are winding back their ATMs, the two big cash carrying companies, have merged into one and they've said that it's getting more and more expensive to use cash. Anyway, let's hope it doesn't get that you've got to pay cash to use cash.

BARR: Jane and the problem is, do we need it for those just in case moments like the Optus outage when people couldn't pay for anything, and cafes and small businesses had to actually shut down for the day because they couldn't do anything else.

HUME: Well, this is the thing, isn't it, Nat? Cash is still legal tender and Australians shouldn't be charged for the privilege of using their own legal tender. I would hope that the institutions involved take some responsibility for this and make sure that Australians aren't being charged more. It was the last government that made sure that Australians weren't charged for ATM fees. We want to make sure that Australians can use their own money without being charged extra.

BARR: Yeah, as the RBA Governor said, I don't think this will go down well with Aussies if we have to pay to use our own cash. Thank you very much we'll see you next week.

SHORTEN: I agree with both of you.