Interview: Sharri, Sky News




Topics: UNRWA funding, Wang Yi visit, Paul Keating, Lance Corporal Jack Fitzgibbon.


SHARRI MARKSON: Andrew Hastie, thank you so much for your time. Do you think it's possible that Labor has broken Australian law by reinstating funding to an organisation that we know is linked to terror?


ANDREW HASTIE: That's a question for lawyers to answer, Sharri, but it does not pass the pub test at all. As you said yourself just a moment ago, Hamas is a listed terrorist organisation in Australia and there is still an independent review into connections with United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and Hamas. There is no way that we should have reinstated that money to UNRWA before that independent review is complete. I think it's unacceptable. No money at all from Australian taxpayers should go towards organisations that have even a shadow of doubt over their credibility and integrity and at the moment, UNRWA has questions to answer.


SHARRI MARKSON: There are other vehicles for giving aid to innocent Palestinians who are suffering – the United States is doing it from a barge offshore, there's also the Red Cross and other agencies that haven't been linked to terrorism.


ANDREW HASTIE: There are many other options and so you do have to ask the question, why is the government doing this? Why couldn't they be patient and wait? I think it just shows that this government has terrible instincts on foreign and defence policy. I think it has bad strategic instincts but also bad moral instincts. I think they should have waited and until these questions are answered, not a single bit of Australian money should go towards that organisation.


SHARRI MARKSON: Andrew, I've also reported tonight that the Albanese Government and Glyn Davis has removed the head of ASIO and ASIS from its National Security Committee of Cabinet as permanent members. Instead, they're invited in on a case-by-case basis. Do you think this is a good idea?


ANDREW HASTIE: It's a very concerning data point. It's a warning sign flashing red for me. When you're kicking the intelligence heads out of the committee that is responsible for national security in government, that's a big, big warning sign that this government is lost. Intelligence heads – it's not their jobs to deliver good news, they deliver bad news, and their job is to warn the government of challenges ahead. So, to not have the head of ASIS and the head of ASIO in the room is very concerning. It's a reckless decision.


SHARRI MARKSON: James Paterson also used that word, 'reckless' – he gave me a comment earlier in the evening. Paul Keating has been invited to an unofficial meeting with China's Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, this week, and it does look like he has agreed to that meeting. Paul Keating who has a very different view on Australia's national security approach to the bipartisan position, if there is one anymore, but certainly even to the Labor Government, even though it has gotten soft, I mean, Paul Keating is quite pro-China. Is this meeting appropriate?


ANDREW HASTIE: Paul Keating has form. He has attacked AUKUS multiple times over the last two years and I think that this meeting is Paul Keating lifting his leg over the Albanese Government. It's very poor form from him, and I think it undermines the Albanese Government. As a former Labor Prime Minister, he should know better. If you're going to run down AUKUS, you’re free to do that, but if you're going to meet up with the Chinese Foreign Minister, I think it sends a really bad signal and it's at cross purposes with what this Government is trying to achieve. Of course, we welcome dialogue with China and we hope to see the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister raise HMAS Toowoomba, it's divers, and the incident last year, we hope that they can remove the wine tariffs and also raise Dr Yang Hengjun's appalling treatment by the Chinese government. So, for Paul Keating potentially to undermine that, I think it's appalling.


SHARRI MARKSON: That was an interesting turn of phrase there about Paul Keating raising the leg on the Albanese Government. Now, very sad event today that you attended – family and friends paying tribute to Lance Corporal Jack Fitzgibbon at his funeral service. The 33-year-old died during an ADF parachute training exercise. He's the son of former Labor minister, Joel Fitzgibbon. There were over 1,000 people there paying their respect. Devastating day. Andrew you were there, what was the service like?


ANDREW HASTIE: It was a very moving service. Joel Fitzgibbon is a friend and to see his wife, Dianne, and his daughters in their grief, their extended family and friends, was very hard to watch. But it was a funeral that honoured the life of Lance Corporal Jack Fitzgibbon, it honoured his service, and there was a real warmth in the building today as we mourned his passing and farewelled him and I think it was very appropriate. His Commanding Officer from the 2nd Commando Regiment gave a great speech and the family eulogies were very, very touching. It was great to see the Prime Minister there, Peter Dutton there, and then a number of other MPs from both sides. It was an honour to be there.


SHARRI MARKSON: Very, very tragic. A young life lost. Andrew Hastie, thank you very much for joining me tonight.



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  • Andrew Hastie
    published this page in Latest News 2024-03-19 12:14:02 +0800