TV interview – Nine Today Show

Subjects: Socceroos; National Anti-Corruption Commission; Power prices; Inflation; Interest rates.

HOST: Well, the Federal Government’s promised National Anti-Corruption Commission will now become law bringing Canberra in line with state corruption bodies. Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus joins us now in Canberra with more. Nice to see you this morning. You’ve delivered on the promise but there are concerns around whistleblower protections. Does the law go far enough?

ATTORNEY-GENERAL MARK DREYFUS: It is great to be with you Ali and I can’t let the morning pass without saying: Go the Socceroos! It was great, I’ve been waiting here to get on and just watching that goal again – it’s fantastic! On your question, we are now on the path to establish the National Anti-Corruption Commission by the middle of next year. The law passed through both Houses of Parliament yesterday. It’s a really historic day. On the other bit of your question about whistleblower protection, yesterday as well, I introduced a bill as the first stage of reforms on our whistleblower protection scheme. We’ve got to make sure that people who come forward with allegations of wrongdoing in the public service are protected against reprisal.

HOST: Look, I tell you what, it’s been a huge year for you guys that you’ve got this anti-corruption commission up, it’ll become law sort of middle of next year, IR laws passed and energy bills cut by $275. Well, you know, two out of three ain’t bad, right?

ATTORNEY-GENERAL: That’s something that’s a work in progress. We’ve got to take steps to make sure that we’re putting downward pressure on energy prices. We are fully understanding the effect on households, the effect on businesses, and the Prime Minister is going to be talking to Premiers just next week about this. The whole Cabinet has been working on this. I’m very hopeful we’ll be able to make some announcement before Christmas.

HOST: This is the problem though with Albo talking to the states and territories about, you know, a price cap on gas and on coal. They could well jam him on this one and they certainly seem reluctant to do so.

ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Let’s see. The Prime Minister has shown himself very good at negotiation, working very well with the first ministers of the states and territories. I’m very confident that there’ll be productive discussions next week.

HOST: Inflation lower than expected yesterday. It’d be nice if the RBA gave us a bit of a Christmas present and didn’t increase interest rates next week.

ATTORNEY-GENERAL: That’s for the RBA, not for me.

HOST: Yeah, but it’d be nice though wouldn’t it be Christmas present?

ATTORNEY-GENERAL Anything that makes the cost of living easier is a good thing.

HOST: But just before you go, the Prime Minister too throwing his support behind Julian Assange, telling the US Government that enough is enough. I mean, the US has been pretty clear on this. How do you think this one plays out?

ATTORNEY-GENERAL: We’ve got to keep trying and that’s what the Prime Minister made clear in the Parliament yesterday. He’s been saying for many months since he was Leader of the Opposition, enough is enough, and as he’s been saying it’s a matter for diplomatic effort best done behind closed doors. But he did say in the Parliament yesterday that he is making those diplomatic efforts, as has been the Foreign Minister.

HOST: Yeah, well, I’ll tell you what, it’s been a huge year for you guys. I like that you said celebrating the Socceroos win this morning. We also had Albo tweeting something like you know “Magnificent win by the @Socceroos #woohoo”. Such a dad tweet but it sums it up.

ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Well, it’s a great thing to wake up to.

HOST: Good stuff. Thank you.

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