Sky Newsday with Kieran Gilbert Thursday 16 May - Transcript


SUBJECTS: Middle East Conflict; Jobs Figures

KIERAN GILBERT, HOST: Let's bring in the Assistant Minister for Competition Charities and Treasury, Andrew Leigh. And we see images of the protest movement happening in Irvine, California, at the University of California. This motion being moved in the Senate, critical of the statement used by a member of your caucus, Senator Fatima Payman.

Should the Prime Minister be calling your Labor colleague to pull her into line?

ASSISTANT MINISTER ANDREW LEIGH: The Prime Minister has made it clear that that statement isn't acceptable, Kieran. Australia has committed to a two-state solution. We support a humanitarian ceasefire. We're calling for the return of hostages. We have called on both sides to support a two-state solution. The slogan you refer to has been used by extremists on both sides of the conflict. It isn't consistent with a two-state solution which enjoys bipartisan support in Australia.

GILBERT: And the motion moved by Senator Birmingham says that "all Senators - it calls on all Senators to engage in debates and commentary respectfully and to refrain from inflammatory and divisive comments both inside and outside the Chamber at all times." It's hard to disagree with that. Do you think that Senator Payman's comments were divisive?

LEIGH: The Prime Minister has it made clear that the Government's position is not to support that particular form of words. We do have strong support for a two-state solution. We oppose Islamophobia and antisemitism in all its forms.

GILBERT: Indeed. Well, this is obviously a nation of free speech, but there has to be consideration of how it affects others.

LEIGH: Absolutely, Kieran.

GILBERT: And at this point you think, I for one was thinking of your colleague Josh Burns, the member for Macnamara.

LEIGH: Josh has conducted himself admirably through this process and been somebody who has engaged respectfully. There's a diversity of views in the Labor Caucus, as you would expect but we are all committed to a two-state solution and to the peaceful resolution of this conflict.

GILBERT: Now I want to ask you about the unemployment rate. It's up to 4.1 per cent. Bit of a shock there. Does it suggest maybe the Treasury might have been right with that inflation forecast of getting below 3 per cent by the end of the year? It was mocked by quite a few economists.

LEIGH: The latest numbers show almost 40,000 more jobs created and the unemployment rate has ticked up as a result of the participation rate picking up, Kieran. We have 820,000 jobs created since we came to office, a record for any first term government and the Budget forecasts were for unemployment to move slightly higher. So, I don't think this ought to be surprising to anyone.

GILBERT: It's a softness in the economy, though, isn't there? Do you think that some economists have misread how soft parts of the economy are right now in the face of those rate rises?

LEIGH: Well, it depends on how you read it. I mean if you look at the increase in participation at the same time it's not as though we have the raw number of people who are employed going down. We've actually seen an increase in the total number of people with jobs in Australia. That's to be welcomed.

GILBERT: Well I guess it is in a way. You never want to cheer on unemployment but you also want rates to come down.

LEIGH: Look, we've got full employment at this stage. A rate of 4.1 per cent. Viewed in historical context is still a remarkably strong figure for the Australian labour market.

GILBERT: Andrew Leigh, thank you as always. Appreciate it.

Showing 1 reaction

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • Toby Halligan
    published this page in What's New 2024-05-16 16:05:41 +1000

Stay in touch

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter


Cnr Gungahlin Pl and Efkarpidis Street, Gungahlin ACT 2912 | 02 6247 4396 | [email protected] | Authorised by A. Leigh MP, Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch), Canberra.