Transcript - Radio Alice Talkback on 8HA - 15 August 2013 > Mitch Fifield, Liberal Senator for Victoria

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15-August-2013

Transcript - Radio Alice Talkback on 8HA - 15 August 2013

Radio Alice Talkback on 8HA

With Eli Melky
Alice Springs

15 August 2013

12:10pm

E & OE

Subjects: Rudd’s special economic zone, Lingiari, Tina MacFarlane, NDIS

ELI MELKY:

 

I want to go straight to the interview. We’ve actually got the Senator, who’s been good enough and literally just hopped off a plane. Senator Mitch Fifield is on the line, but by way of introduction he is the Shadow Minister for Disabilities, Carers and the Voluntary Sector and Manager of the Opposition Business in the Senate. He’s a Liberal Senator for Victoria. Before entering parliament, a little bit of background, Mitch worked as a senior political adviser to the former Federal Treasurer Peter Costello and held senior advisory positions in the Victorian Kennett Government and New South Wales Greiner Government. Mitch has served as reservist in the Australian Army Psychology Corps. Let's get straight into it. Mitch Fifield welcome to Alice Springs, how are you?

 

MITCH FIFIELD:

 

Terrific Eli, it’s great to be in paradise.

 

ELI MELKY:

 

Well you’re absolutely right. Paradise. It's a very appealing place to be right now. We’re trying to find ways of having a bit of fun with that sex appeal business as well Senator if you don’t mind. Somewhere in between this conversation let’s have a bit of fun with that.  But Senator, you may not know this but I’ve just received breaking news on the email. Federal Labor will set up a special economic zone in Northern Australia if re-elected, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has said in Darwin literally a few minutes ago. Mr Rudd says companies based in the Northern Territory would have a lower corporate tax rate, simplified investment rules and streamlined regulation. His personal objective for the Territory is it would be great to have a company tax rate here one third lower than that of the rest of the country. It goes on and on.  Senator, you’re in an election, you’re in Alice Springs the place in Australia right about now. What’s your position on this particular media release? Notwithstanding you haven’t had a chance to have a look at it properly?

 

MITCH FIFIELD:

 

I haven’t seen the full details of what the Prime Minister has announced. But I just make the point that with Kevin Rudd, if he promises something and it seems too good to be true, well it probably is. And even when this government has had good ideas, they’ve been really bad at competently implementing them. Our economic team will take a close look at what’s been announced today and the Coalition will respond formally later.

 

ELI MELKY:

 

Tell me, what are you doing in Alice Springs if you don’t mind me asking?

 

MITCH FIFIELD:

 

I’m here with Tina MacFarlane, our candidate for Lingiari and my good colleague, Senator Nigel Scullion, who’s in the studio with you I understand.

 

ELI MELKY:

 

Sitting right here next to me with his arms up in the air. He’s about to bear hug me. I better be careful.

 

MITCH FIFIELD:

 

He’s a handsome man. I think we’re allowed to say that.

 

ELI MELKY:

 

Yeah look, he’s got plenty of sex appeal. Let’s just say that out loud.

 

MITCH FIFIELD:

 

But we’re going to be having a working lunch with a range of disability groups, with Robyn Lambley, the local member. And we’ll be taking part in a community forum later in the day on disability issues, but also a wider range of issues. It’s really important with the prospect of the National Disability Insurance Scheme that as the Shadow Minister for Disabilities, I get out, I talk to people with disabilities and the organisations that support them to hear what they have to say about how they think the scheme should best be implemented.

 

ELI MELKY:

 

Fantastic. Of course Lingiari is an important seat, as all seats are. But Lingiari got very, very close to becoming a Country Liberal seat. A gentleman by the name of, who’s also in the studio as always on a Thursday, Leo Abbott, who was the candidate for the Country Liberals in 2010. Got within about 2,500 votes of taking that away from Warren Snowden. And of course Tina MacFarlane is the candidate. We have had an opportunity to speak with her. We do wish her well, as we wish well all the candidates.

 

How are you seeing her progress go in this particular campaign for the seat of Lingiari?

 

MITCH FIFIELD:

 

She’s a local in Lingiari. She’s someone who’s on the land. She’s got a good understanding of the challenges that face business. So she’s a very strong community candidate. And in the national parliament you need members of parliament who aren’t shy. You need members of parliament who are prepared to rattle the tree and say ‘look, this is what my community wants’. And I think Tina would be an extremely strong advocate.

ELI MELKY:

 

Tony Abbott has said that Lingiari plays an important role and if it comes down to a very tight election, which everyone is predicting, you’d hate to miss out on this seat. What else is the Federal, from a Federal level, what else is going on to support that particular campaign and to support Tina to get her across the line given that it’s virtually a marginally seat thanks to Leo Abbott?

 

MITCH FIFIELD:

 

It is a real contest in Lingiari. And Tina’s been getting a number of frontbench colleagues in here. I know Warren Truss was here very recently. She’s trying to get our frontbench colleagues here so that she can make sure that we’re aware of the issues that matter in Lingiari, so that she can have a say in the formation of policies we take to the next election.

 

ELI MELKY:

 

Look, I do have Senator Nigel Scullion in the studio and I reckon he’s chipping at the bit to get stuck into the discussion. Might invite him in the discussion just because he’s sitting here and he’s damn charming and good looking. And you can’t leave a man like that out of the conversation. Senator Nigel Scullion, welcome to the studio as well.

 

MITCH FIFIELD:

 

Don't want him to feel neglected.

 

NIGEL SCULLION:

 

Thanks very much, it’s great not to feel neglected.

 

ELI MELKY:

 

Look, I can give you a picture Senator Fifield. We have Leo Abbott in the studio, we’ve just had John Bridgeford join us, my producer. You see it’s a very jam-packed, tiny little room, full of microphones and we’re enjoying the conversation.

 

So your role today will be that you’ve got a two to four o’clock forum here in town as well, you mentioned that earlier.

 

MITCH FIFIELD:

 

That’s right.

 

ELI MELKY:

 

You’re inviting, is it for, is it open to the public for people to come out and have a look.

 

MITCH FIFIELD:

 

Yes absolutely. It’s at the Gillen Club in Milner Road, from memory. The more the merrier. We’re here because, sure, we want to talk a little bit about things like the NDIS, but more than anything we’re here to listen and to learn from the local community.

 

ELI MELKY:

 

Senator, I might let you go now because I know you’re heading straight into a round table meeting as well and you’d probably be, you’re driving as we speak, so, well you’re not driving but you are certainly a passenger and not breaking any laws, we wouldn’t want that.

 

MITCH FIFIELD:

 

Definitely not.

 

ELI MELKY:

 

So, we wish you will in your stay here at Alice Springs. Thank you for taking the time out to speak with us and I’m gonna go to a break.

 

MITCH FIFIELD:

 

Great to chat.


ENDS