Transcript - TV interview - Sky News, Breakfast with Jaynie Seale

JAYNIE SEALE, HOST: Governor Margaret Beazley has sworn in NSW Cabinet Ministers at a ceremony at Government House in Sydney. Joining us live is Kristy McBain, Minister for Regional Development and Member for Eden-Monaro.

Thank you so much for joining us. What do you make of the New South Wales Cabinet, Minister?

KRISTY MCBAIN, MINISTER: It’s fantastic to see a New South Wales Labor Government sworn in, especially with over 50 per cent of Cabinet Ministers being female. A number of whom are the first females to hold portfolios, such as finance. It’s quite a day, not only for the Labor Party in New South Wales, but for women across New South Wales seeing this occur.

JAYNIE SEALE: All right. And we heard the news yesterday, Paul Toole has survived a challenge of leadership to hold the position of the New South Wales Nationals. It was a tight race between Paul Toole and Dugald Saunders. But we just spoke to him earlier and he’s ready to get back to work and very happy with the way it turned out.

KRISTY MCBAIN: That probably characterises all of the reasons they lost the election – too busy talking about themselves and not busy enough focusing on what’s actually happening in communities. It’s also a fate that we can see happening the Federal Opposition, where we’ve got Shadow Ministers and backbenchers talking about themselves and where they need to pick up their game, rather than focusing on what people across the country are wanting them to focus on.

JAYNIE SEALE: Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has actively opposed the Government’s Voice to Parliament and is campaigning against it ahead of the referendum. We know it has to have bipartisan support here. It’s very divisive this Voice to Parliament.

KRISTY MCBAIN: I don’t know if The Voice to Parliament is divisive, but I don’t think anyone across the country thinks that Peter Dutton or the Liberal Party is genuinely engaged in any of The Voice discussions so far. We know that Peter Dutton has had seven meetings with the Prime Minister. We know he’s met with the referendum working group. We know that he continues to ask questions, but he’s not listening to the answers. He’s not wanting to be part of the solution. It just characterises what we’re going to see for the next couple of years out of the Liberal Party, which is this constant stream of “no, no, no,” instead of actually listening to what people are talking to them about and what matters most to them.

What people are telling me is that they might not agree with everything in The Voice, but what they agree with is that it is high past time that we recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the constitution, as the First Nations peoples of Australia. They’re asking for a Voice to Parliament so they can have better practical outcomes on the ground. I don’t think a single person disagrees with that premise. What we see in Peter Dutton and the Liberal Party is just more argument, more carry-on. We know that people in the Liberal Party have already said that they’ll cross the floor and vote in favour of this. This is a matter for the Liberal Party. If they’re genuine about being the alternate government in Australia, they need to be putting forward a positive plan, because the Australian people are rightly sick and tired of this continual opposition to everything.

JAYNIE SEALE: And you make a good point about most people wanting Indigenous peoples to have that voice, whether it’s through a referendum or not. I’ve spoken to the Katter Party as well, and they speak a lot to Indigenous peoples, and I guess part of their thoughts are it’s a lot of the Indigenous peoples that are saying no to this Voice to Parliament.

KRISTY MCBAIN: I speak to a lot of Aboriginal people in my own electorate. There are obviously some questions, but they’re not a homogenous group. We’re not going to get a unified answer from all Aboriginal people. Just like you’re not going to get a unified answer from all Greek-Australians or all Italian-Australians. We all have our own views on things, but there is a genuine willingness to see something done differently in this country. The Closing the Gap report show us that our Indigenous peoples are worse off on housing outcomes, on health outcomes, on educational outcomes and on social outcomes. If we’re serious about changing this, then we have to be serious about doing things differently.

At the moment we see Peter Dutton and the Liberals saying, “Design The Voice and then we’ll tell you if we agree with it or not.” If we’re serious about reconciliation and understanding what Indigenous peoples are telling us, then let’s have them design The Voice so that they know it will result in an outcome for them. At the moment the questions are not genuine. There hasn’t been an interest in working collaboratively, and that’s a real shame because this country needs to move forward, and this is the way we can do that together.

JAYNIE SEALE: All right. Great to chat to you, as always. We’ll see you the same time next week. Enjoy Gippsland. Kristy McBain, Minister for Regional Development.

KRISTY MCBAIN: Thanks, Jaynie.