Interview: Chris O'Keefe 2GB



CHRIS O'KEEFE: Andrew Hastie is on the line. Nice to speak to you.

ANDREW HASTIE: Hey Chris and hello to your listeners.

CHRIS O'KEEFE: Mr Hastie, honestly, Mark McGowan. Is this bloke serious? Is he on team Australia?

ANDREW HASTIE: He's out of his depth. He's out of his intellectual depth, Chris, because if he'd read Penny Wong's speech a couple of days ago, he'd understand that our strategic circumstances have changed dramatically. Penny Wong said we are in unprecedented circumstances and that's requiring an unprecedented response from the Australian Government in coordination and the scale of our ambition for our statecraft. So he's completely out of touch. He's out of depth and as I've said a couple of times today already, he's a prison guard looking for work after the pandemic. He's out of tricks and so he's off over in China trying to try to do a trade junket and he's running down Australian MPs. And I just think that's not in the national interest. When you're overseas you always look after your fellow Australians. I've traveled overseas with Penny Wong multiple times to the US. This was when she was in opposition and I was the Chair of the Intelligence Committee and I've got to tell you, never once in front of anyone that we run each other down. And that's the standard and so he's broken that standard. But what else, Chris, is concerning is that he's neglecting a lot of problems that we have in Western Australia. We've got a hospital crisis, we've got record ramping figures, we have a housing shortage -I've got kids in my electorate who are living in caravan parks because they can't get into a home, or the parents can't get into a home - and there's also a need to prepare our state for AUKUS which is coming pretty quick. We're going to have five US-UK subs on a forward rotation in Perth from 2027. He doesn't want to talk about that because of course, he's probably worried about upsetting the People's Republic of China. So yeah. I think we're in furious agreement here, Chris.

CHRIS O'KEEFE: I've been on lots of these trips myself with you guys, Andrew Hastie, and one of the things you're told is DFAT, whether it's a state politician or a federal politician, DFAT and the consulates and the embassies, they set everything up. And it's not only just an unwritten rule, it's just a rule. You go over there and you don't talk about anything that's going on in Australia because we are representatives of Australia. For Mark McGowan to sit there at that table, presumably with people who are members of the Chinese Communist Party surrounded by him, and talking openly about Australia's view of the Chinese Communist Party is really beyond belief.

ANDREW HASTIE: It is Chris and look, he said I'm on some sort of Cold War medication, 'Cold War pills'. Well, he should pick up the phone and he should ring the Minister for Defence, Richard Marles, he should ring the Foreign Minister, Penny Wong and ask them if they're on the pills too, because like I've said, we've worked very hard as the Opposition to take a bipartisan stand with the Albanese government on national security. AUKUS is truly bipartisan and it's going to take three decades to realise. That's going to require us to put aside politics and to focus on delivery. That's what we've done. And so if he's accusing me of having cold war pills, he needs to also clarify if Richard's taken the same and Penny's taken the same.

CHRIS O'KEEFE: Sounds like he needs a Panadol, Mark McGowan, fair dinkum. But what I would say, Andrew Hastie, is that you're in a situation where national security is bipartisan in this country, and so it should be, yet Mark McGowan as a Premier thinks it's not.

ANDREW HASTIE: This my point about him being out of his intellectual depth. He thinks that trade is something that just happens on its own, whereas our interests often are tightly woven together. So yes, we are a trading nation, we export a lot of food, a lot of our resources to Asia especially. But we also have national security, we have a defence policy and a foreign policy and all those things are woven together. So you cannot focus on trade to the exclusion of national security, and you can't focus on national security to the exclusion of trade. And this is why this bloke is playing above his pay grade, because he just doesn't understand that and that's a problem. So I think he's damaged his own standing and like I said, it's contrary to the national interest to be running down fellow Australian MPs.

CHRIS O'KEEFE: Were you offended by it?

ANDREW HASTIE: As I said, I'm a grown man. I've sort of priced it in with Mark McGowan. He's had some extraordinary sprays over the last 12 months, he's attacked Peter Dutton on numerous occasions. One of the things I will say to your listeners about Peter Dutton, he's a man of incredible restraint and I think that demonstrates the strength of character. A couple of times he could have come out and really responded to Mark McGowan but he hasn't. But enough is enough. This guy has had six years at the helm, he's believing his own press. I think the throne sends you a little bit mad and I'm taking him on. That's why I've drawn the line in the sand today.

CHRIS O'KEEFE: Well, Mark McGowan's ego is as big as one of those bloody Chinese spy balloons. Seriously, someone needs to shoot it down. But what I wanted to ask you, too, is we're broadcasting here in Sydney, right? We're on the East Coast and we look at Mark McGowan and we look at the people at WA and we think, what are you guys thinking? How did you elect him?

ANDREW HASTIE: This is the thing. I think there was a lot of fear at the time. We are a very isolated state. There are a lot of good people in Western Australia, a lot of good people, a lot of people with connections overseas. My wife was born in America, I was born in in Wangaratta. Victoria. I've lived in most places in Australia and so there's a lot of people in WA with an international and a national perspective -

CHRIS O'KEEFE: - Mark McGowan's from Newcastle.

ANDREW HASTIE: - Correct. This is the thing that's most bizarre. So he weaponised a really bad rhetoric I think against the East Coast specifically during the pandemic which I think is very unhealthy. The times have changed, we need fresh leadership and we're out there recruiting for the Liberal Party in WA because we need to provide a good opposition and we need to provide a good alternative to people. And I'm proud to be part of Peter Dutton's team that's rebuilding to take on both state and the federal government.

CHRIS O'KEEFE: Where to from now for you, are you expecting some sort of apology from Mark McGowan? Has any of the Labor guys rung you and said, hey, look, that's not on?

ANDREW HASTIE: No, and I don't expect an apology. But I am putting him on notice. I'm putting on notice on behalf of the West Australian people specifically to come home, get on with the job, fix the hospitals, fix the housing crisis, and start caring about the cost of living crisis because it's just not good enough to be running your mouth off overseas against Australian MPs.

CHRIS O'KEEFE: Final question but do you feel disrespected as a former SAS troop commander and someone who served this great country especially six days from Anzac Day?

ANDREW HASTIE: Yeah, look, it's not good but I've got to say I'm going to say Chris, there's a special delight in living rent free inside his head.

CHRIS O'KEEFE: Well keep living it and you know what, I'll pay the rent for you because I want to get inside his head too, he drives me mad.

ANDREW HASTIE: No worries, Chris. Great to talk to you mate. Appreciate it.