Minister Rishworth interview on Today Show Newschat


Topics: Greater Sunrise gas project; Josh Frydenberg and Kooyong preselection; Rupert Murdoch’s wedding

KARL STEFANOVIC, HOST: Well, Australia has offered the Timorese government a massive incentive to fast track the Greater Sunrise gas project off the coast of Darwin. Not sure why they're going with Sunrise. We're number one in that month. Joining us to discuss today's headlines is Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth and Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie. Ladies, good morning to you. All right, Amanda, you’re first up, a $50 billion lifeline bribey thing. You really are desperate to hold on to them. Is the deal worth it for us and will it be enough?

AMANDA RISHWORTH, MINISTER FOR SOCIAL SERVICES: Let's be quite clear. The East Timorese are very close partners and friends. They have been for a long time. And of course, we want to see the economic security of East Timor to be developed and we want to see the Greater Sunrise project developed as quickly as possible to secure the future of East Timor. So I'm not going to go into any details of the arrangements. That's obviously confidential. But East Timor is a country many Australians feel very close to and would like to see their success.

KARL STEFANOVIC: I know, but China's the big elephant in that room. Right?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: I think we've had a longstanding relationship with East Timor. We help secure their independence and we support them. And part of this Greater Sunrise project is something that we can, as both countries, mutually benefit from. But of course, importantly, can secure the East Timorese's future.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Ok, Jacqui is going to lay it on the line for us. It's on at the moment, isn't it, Jacqui? It comes as security experts warn the Government they're not spending enough on defence. What happens in the next ten years with China?

JACQUI LAMBIE, SENATOR FOR TASMANIA: Oh, God forbid, don't ask, because if they come down this way, we're gone, let's be honest. But I have to say, when it comes to East Timor and going over there and helping them in the 2000s, I think that we certainly, we owe them. And we should acknowledge that from the spying games that went on quite a few years ago, that they got very upset about, about gas. So, I think it's only fair and it's something that probably should have been put on the offer or put on the table a very, very long time ago. But certainly right now we need to be building our allies up wherever we can. That includes them, our Pacific Islanders, and making sure that we keep China well away from them.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Well, they're pretty close. I mean, the horse might have bolted. Let's wait and see. Moving on, former liberal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is said to be considering a return to politics, potentially running for the Melbourne seat in Kooyong, which he lost in 2022. Amanda, you worried about Josh coming back to the Coalition?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: Firstly, I would say that there's been a preselection for the Liberal Party in Kooyong and there's a candidate there that's, from all accounts, has been working. So, I think all this talk about Josh coming back somehow suggests that the Liberal Party are scratching around for a leader. I mean, they're obviously desperately trying to find someone else other than Peter Dutton. But look, if I was the candidate that had been working there, I'd feel pretty annoyed that you know, Josh Frydenberg because it looks a bit better, maybe? Maybe he's more likely to get elected, would come and try and overturn a pre selection. And it's certainly not going to help with the Liberal Party getting more women into parliament.

KARL STEFANOVIC: There's an awful lot of speculation about Josh and maybe he's just too busy making money at the moment to come back. Well, maybe just deep inside of him there's a desire to be a Prime Minister. Who knows, Jacqui, if he does kick a really good female candidate out, it's not optically good for the party?

JACQUI LAMBIE: I don't think it's optically good at all. And you just handed Monique Ryan her seat back and good on him if you want to do that. But seriously, we've already heard enough about the Liberal Party and the way that, you know, they don't have females. Females aren't exactly lining up to join their party, apparently. What I'm hearing is you have a fairly good one on the ground there. They've been through the preselection process. They've won that fair and square. So, for him to come in and that be given to Josh, I don't think that's going to go down well and that's not going to help you win your seats back, especially against someone like Monique.

KARL STEFANOVIC: All right. I'd like to talk about love with you, Jacqui, on a Monday morning. And Amanda, you might be new to this, but on a Monday morning, I just love love. Rupert Murdoch has tied the knot at the ripe old age of 93. Amanda, this marks his fifth wedding. I mean, he is just one hopeless romantic, is he not?

AMANDA RISHWORTH: Well, I do love love.


AMANDA RISHWORTH: I’m a big romantic. I do love watching a rom com. It's one of my favourite wind downs. So, look, I think this is just wonderful. There's hope for us all as we get older, that love is never out of reach.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Okay. Jacqui, can I ask a personal question? Would you?

JACQUI LAMBIE: I am getting desperate. It's been a while, Karl.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Maybe you could be number six, seven?

JACQUI LAMBIE: Do I get any cash out of it? Fair dinkum. What do I get out of it, mate?

KARL STEFANOVIC: Well, he's still a good looking guy.

JACQUI LAMBIE: What do I get out of it in return?

KARL STEFANOVIC: All right, ladies, have a good week. Appreciate you being on.