Senator Paterson on the Bolt Report talking NSW abortion laws, foreign influence, and more


Bolt: Joining me is the panel Liberal Senator
James Paterson, former Liberal MP Fiona Scott. Fiona, what’s Berejiklian up to here do
you think? Is she just buying time hoping that, you know, the heat dies down? Or, is
she genuinely trying to find some compromise? Fiona Scott: Yeah, well, good evening Andrew,
I think Gladys Berejiklian is trying to find some compromise, but the shame here is that
the horses have bolted and at the end of the day this was a legislation put together by
the independent member for Sydney Alex Grenwich. Yes, it was co-sponsered by her health minister
and pushed through the house by the leader of the house in Andrew Constance. Now, it
has passed the house, but look, there has been a lot of remarks made in regard to various
parts of the bill that people aren’t comfortable with and the process of it is really what’s
let this bill down. Now, if you look at the way many of these things happen and the processes
that take place in these bills – it is quite a normal process for this type of legislation
to go through a joint standing committee in a federal capacity or a joint select committee
in a state capacity. And, I think in many ways this is what is need. It is needed that
you have the committee speak out about this. I remember as a member myself when talking
about same-sex marriage and the importance there. It’s really important that all the
stakeholders and people who have very strong opinions about these types of issues have
their voice and can be heard. And, like the issue around the gender – Bolt: – Yeah, but this was a take it or leave
it, you know, we’ll tell the public what’s good for them. Look, James, Fiona has talked
about faults in the process but in the end there’s a content involved here – a moral
content. How does the New South Wales government have a Liberal health minister that says yes
to a bill that says we can abort babies up to the day before natural term, we can let
babies who are born alive accidentally an abortion, we can just let them die, and we
can allow killing of babies…foetuses because they are the wrong gender? Senator James Paterson: Andrew, I wish I could
help offer some insight into the thinking of the Berejiklian government or the health
minister on this bill, but I really can’t. It mystifies me as to why they chose to proceed
with this issue so soon after the election and effectively hand over the New South Wales
parliament, control of the parliament over to the crossbench and the greens on an issue
that wasn’t raised in the election campaign. And, as far as I’m aware from my distant
spot in Victoria not subject to a groundswell of demand from the public. Bolt: It’s really weird but Fiona, you know,
there’ll be people saying, you’re men you can’t opine on this. Can provisions
like I’ve just outlined be somehow subsumed into the argument, well listen it really in
the end is the woman’s right to choose and if she chooses those things that I’ve just
outlined six election – aborting a child one day before term, fine. Is that how simple
it is? Scott: Yeah look, Andrew, I’m not quite
across the legislation to know those intricate details in that sort of a space. And, I wouldn’t
really want to comment on that. And, I think that’s the whole issue of this bill. I know
Peta Credlin had Tanya Davies on earlier where she made an observation that there were people
drawing up with pencil amendments to this bill on the floor. Now, these sorts of drafting
issues, when you’ve had a bill essentially drafted by an independent member of parliament
it is going to be a bill that is as holey as swiss cheese. Now, this is one of the challenges
with this bill. No one is debating as to moving abortion from the criminal code to the health
code – that is an important thing. But, surely if the premier was going down this
line surely she would have started with a committee process. It should have been drafted
by the health minister not by some independent left-wing – Bolt: Yeah – but the Health minister ticked
off on it. In the end he put his name to it and – Scott: That’s true – Bolt: – he must bear the responsibility for
that. Now, James, the same question to you. A woman’s right to choose – does that
mean we’ve got nothing more to say? Paterson: Well, Andrew, I saw in this debate
one Liberal MP who supported the bill said that he felt ashamed as a middle-aged white
man that he was even had an opportunity to express an opinion on this. And, I was thinking
well parliament’s probably not the job for you buddy if you don’t feel comfortable
expressing your opinion about things and I’m not quite sure what your age or your ethnicity
has to do with it – would a young black man be more equipped to express an opinion
on abortion? It’s a very strange debate. Bolt: Who was the idiot that said that? Paterson: I honestly don’t recall his name
– Bolt: I’m going to look that up. I mean,
that is pretty sick. I mean, surely a human life is something of interest to all people.
We have all a moral stake in it. I do believe a man is responsible for half of that human
life, although yes a woman’s right to choose is still a big factor for me. But, I don’t
know if it takes away all the other arguments I’ve outlined. Fiona, we’ve seen students
here from communist China stage violent protests, particularly from Melbourne and Brisbane against
supporters of Hong Kong and of the freedom there. But, the Chinese government has now
backed this political activity on our soil and has said, it is totally understandable
and reasonable for Chinese students and other Chinese citizens overseas to express indignation
and opposition against such words and deeds that attempt to separate China, believing
that Hong Kong is a part of China and smear its image. Second, we also hope that while
overseas the Chinese can express their patriotism and the current Chinese government ask Chines
overseas to observe local laws and regulations. What do you make of that statement?
Scott: Look, I’m not sure what to make of that statement Andrew and really, I mean the
conduct of China at the moment in regard to the issues in Hong Kong, in regard to what
they’ve done right through the south-pacific, and the debt crisis that has been so many
of our south-pacific neighbours. Look, but there’s a lot of concerns with the undue
influence that Chinese, that the Chinese government is trying to push right through Australia.
Look, I’m also concerned the way in which the Chinese government reacted to Andrew Hastie
last week whereby they felt that they could, could make comment on what a member of our
parliament has to say. Whether you agree with Andrew or not I think there’s something
wrong where the Chinese government believes that they can just, you know, make comments
or apply pressure to Australia and the way things are run here. Bolt: And, what do you think James, the Chinese
government saying it’s totally reasonable and understandable for Chinese students who
are not Australian citizens, may I point out, to express indignation or opposition and go
out there and show their patriotism in rallies that have at this stage turned to violence? Paterson: Well, Andrew I hope that the Chinese
communist party practice at home what they preach abroad and allow both points of view
to be faithfully and peacefully represented at home in China – Bolt: – So, you think that if I went to Tiananmen
Square and started protesting to, I don’t know – Scott: – I wouldn’t advise you do that Andrew
– Paterson: – Andrew, Andrew, you can only hold
the Chinese government to their own word. They are saying expressing views on public
topics is a welcome and fine thing to do so I’m sure they’ll respect your right to
do that. Bolt: Gosh almighty, it’s a strange world.
But, Fiona, like you’re speaking of China’s growing influence, you know, I’m starting
to get really nervous. Here we have Papa New Guinea now saying it wants one and a half
billion dollars from Australia to help finance this year’s budget, which again is in the
red, or else they suggest helpfully they might have to go elsewhere? And elsewhere, we presume,
means China because a week or two ago the government, this PNG government reportedly
asked China to refinance its entire debt. Essentially, this is blackmail. You know,
give us the money, or we’ll go to China. Scott: Well, well firstly Marise Payne has
said that the report of the ABC today and the $1.5 billion is not completely accurate.
So, we’re not sure what it actually is and the PNG government has said that they do want
this for infrastructure and roads and what have you. Where I’m concerned here Andrew
is that, you know, Papa New Guinea at one state was an Australian territory. We fought
the first VC ever handed out to Australia was of course handed out for, you know, battles
in regard to Kokoda – it’s a pilgrimage. You know, I myself have trekked Kokoda. Now,
there is strategic reasons why Port Moresby and places like Papa New Guinea we would not
want to see have other sort of foreign influences as opposed to being the free country that
Papa New Guinea currently is. And, in many ways if this is true and there is a degree
of this type of money being offered by Papa New Guinea, saying give it to us or otherwise
we’re getting it from the Chinese – that is of great concern. And, once again it shows
the way that the Chinese are really, really standing over so many of our south pacific
neighbours. Bolt: Yeah, well we’ve already had the former
Prime Minister or President of Kiribati say just yesterday of the day before, you know,
if Australia doesn’t come good – we could go to China – that might be the lesser of
two evils. I mean, what on earth is going on here? Paterson: Well Andrew, Australia is by far
the largest donor, overseas aid donor to Papa New Guinea and Papa New Guinea is one of the
largest destinations of our overseas aid – Bolt: – $600 million a year. $600 million
a year – Paterson: Yes – we’re very generous in
our support of Papa New Guinea as we should be as a near neighbour and one of the good
things this government has done is refocus our global aid program back to our region.
We’ve brought it back from the rest of the world where I’m sure it was doing good but
really, our interests lie in our immediate backyard and particularly in supporting our
near neighbours to make sure that we are there to support them and there’s no need to go
elsewhere for support. Bolt: The idea of give us money for our budget
– the money we give, because Papa New Guinea is a fabulously corrupt country is in direct
aid. Like, we direct and supervise our own projects. They want the money for their budget,
which is a slightly different thing. Paterson: Well, I think Australian aid should
both help those that it goes to but also serve our national interests and serve our values
and make sure that you know we have – Bolt: It doesn’t serve our national interest
to give it to Papa New Guinea’s politicians who say if you don’t we might go to China. Paterson: Well, I don’t think we should
ever respond to that kind of negotiation. It’s not a very good way to start a negotiation. Bolt: Fiona, what do you think? Scott: Yeah, look, I agree with everything
James said. And look, I can only take Marise Payne at her word to say that it’s not necessarily
accurate and I’m sure that over the next coming days we’ll get an idea of what is
accurate. But, either way the fact that this has been put into the media cycle – one must
ask where and why and surely maybe there is a sniff of something here where the PNG government’s
really pushing for something. Bolt: Yeah, well as I say, it’s no accident
that it comes a day after Anote Tong from Kirabati suggesting that we stump up for global
warming money or else they might go to China. There is a real concern here. The Morrison
government James, the cabinet today discussed draft proposals for laws to protect faith
based organisation from religious discrimination. Now, the protections involve, apparently,
exempting religious organisations from discrimination laws. So, I presume they can hire someone
who’s not Christian for instance, or not Muslim for instance, or they can say something
that might otherwise…a gender activist might take them to a tribunal for. Do we actually
need more protections like that? Paterson: In an ideal world, Andrew you wouldn’t
need these things. Civil society would just sort it out and we’d accept the reality
of pluralism, which means we live in a society where people have different sets of values
and we leave each other to pursue our own vision of a good life. That would be an ideal
world. Unfortunately, it’s a long time since we’ve lived in an ideal world like that,
if we ever have Andrew. And sadly, there are some people who seek to use the state to enforce
their values on others. They seek to use anti-discrimination law, for example, at the state level to say
you can’t think that, you can’t say that, you can’t act like that because it’s against
my moral code rather than just saying well you go ahead and live your life your way,
and I’ll live my life mine. So I think sadly it is necessary and I think Christian Porter
has done a very good at getting that careful balance right. Bolt: Fiona, do we need them? Scott: Look, I think sadly Andrew we do. And,
you know, it would be great if we could turn the clock back to a point where it was truly
small government but whilst we have pieces of legislation like 18C, which is about race
discrimination, and yes, this has a very low benchmark. I’m sure you’d agree with some
of the early aspects of to offend and insult are very easy to hit. Then, of course, it
opens it up to potentially broadening it to gender, or sexual orientation, or a whole
range of others – Bolt: ¬- Yeah, look, there are just too many
of these laws and I think we should repeal them rather then add more to them. Fiona Scott,
James Paterson, thank you both so much for your time.

2 Replies to “Senator Paterson on the Bolt Report talking NSW abortion laws, foreign influence, and more”

  1. Why dont you stop being such pompous hypocrites and make it illegal for abortion in NSW – rather than the current situation?

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