Opening of the Gandel Atrium > Mitch Fifield, Liberal Senator for Victoria

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MENTONE VIC 3194

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Parliament House Office
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CANBERRA ACT 2600
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15-May-2018


Opening of the Gandel Atrium
Canberra
12.15pm
15 May 2018



E&OE


FIFIELD:
It's great to be at the Australian National Museum for the opening of the Gandel Atrium. The Gandel family have partnered with the Australian National Museum to enhance this space at the Museum, as the gateway to the collection. And also as one of the great public spaces in Canberra. The Gandel family are also partnering with the Museum for a tremendous new initiative, being the Defining Moments Digital Classroom. To make accessible to classrooms and teachers nationwide, the tremendous resources of the collections at the Australian National Museum. Today represents a great example of philanthropy by the Gandel family partnering with one of our great national institutions.

QUESTION:
Obviously, the Government contributes to exhibitions like this, why is it so helpful to have philanthropic donations?

FIFIELD:
I think there's something incredibly valuable about philanthropic dollars, about dollars that are given by individuals. The role of government is to direct, on behalf of the community resources to important initiatives, such as the National Collecting Institutions. But you can achieve so much more when private dollars are partnered with government dollars. And there is something very special about private community contributions.

QUESTION:
What do you think of the steps to develop this digital classroom, history, technology; all of that?

FIFIELD:
The National Collecting Institutions such as the Australian National Museum, located in the national capital, have an important outreach role. They're here to serve the whole nation. And what that means is that they have to avail themselves of digital technology. We have tremendous resources here in this Museum. To make them available to school students nationwide, will enhance their understanding of our past, help them to make better sense of the present and be better prepared for the future. 

QUESTION:
With the opening, I guess it’s a good opportunity for the public to have their say on what they’d like to see in there? What moments they would view as the biggest moments to shape our history?

FIFIELD:
The Museum is very open to public input, about what it is that they want to see represented in the Museum. Whether it be the landing at Gallipoli, the Aeroplane Jelly jingle, the Apology, or the Dreaming. It is open to the public, to put their views forward to the Museum which is a great thing.

QUESTION:
Senator, it appears Lucy Gichuhi has been put in an unwinnable position for the Liberal Party in the next election after all the fallout from the Jane Prentice dumping, is it a good look for the government?

FIFIELD:
The parliamentary Liberal Party reserves for itself, determining policy. And the Liberal Party organisation reserves for itself, the selection of parliamentary candidates. We have open, transparent and democratic processes in the Liberal Party. And it's up to each Liberal Member and Senator to continually earn the trust of their preselectors. Lucy has made a terrific contribution in the Australian Senate. And I would hope that she would be endorsed again. As I do all of my sitting colleagues. 

QUESTION:
Sometimes perception is more powerful than reality, though. Are you concerned about how it will look to the public? 

FIFIELD:
Preselections are matters for branch members of the Liberal Party. They join the Liberal Party to have their say. We have open, transparent and democratic processes. And all of us who are in Parliament, put ourselves forward to be the flag-bearer for the Party. And we put ourselves in the hands of the Party members.

QUESTION:
The Prime Minister has endorsed all sitting members for preselection in terms of the Victorian election, should Victorian Liberals heed that?

FIFIELD:
Preselections haven't yet opened in Victoria. But we have great sitting Members in the House of Representatives. We have great sitting Senators. They will put themselves forward in preselection. And I'm confident that the hard-work that they have put in will be recognised by the branch members. 

QUESTION:
And in terms of cuts to the ABC, why is the funding approved for SBS justified, if you're effectively cutting money from the ABC?

FIFIELD:
We have put money in the Budget for SBS, which was to replace a savings measure, which was taken in anticipation of legislation passing the parliament that would allow SBS greater advertising flexibility. That legislation didn't pass the Senate, so therefore we’re simply restoring that funding to the SBS. In terms of the ABC, what we've done is to indicate that there will be a pause on indexation of the ABC's funding over the next triennium. We will pair that with an efficiency review. And we just think that that's good practice, that’s good housekeeping, to make sure that the ABC is the best possible steward of taxpayer dollars that it can be.  

QUESTION:
Is SBS subject to the efficiency dividend, that housekeeping? 

FIFIELD:
We are having an efficiency review of both the SBS and the ABC. It was four years ago that there was the last efficiency review. And in the fast evolving world of media, four years is an eternity. It's appropriate that we, again, take a look at the efficiency of these organisations to make sure that they are the best possible steward of taxpayer dollars that they can be. 

[ends]




Authorised by Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, Liberal Party of Australia, Parliament House, Canberra.