Release type: Transcript


Interview - Today Show


The Hon Jason Clare MP
Minister for Education

SUBJECTS: Nuclear power; Donald Trump Jr visa; banning mobile phones in schools; Robodebt Royal Commission report.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Welcome back to the show. It's great to have your company on this Friday. Opposition Leader Peter Dutton is ramping up his support for nuclear power claiming it would be one of the most cost‑effective ways for Australia to meet its growing energy demands, and he's in the line.

Joining us to discuss, Education Minister Jason Clare in Canberra, and Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp. Morning, guys, nice to see you. Jason, to you first. Peter Dutton says Labor is being mesmerised by the glare of solar panels and wind turbines. Do you support nuclear?

JASON CLARE, MINISTER FOR EDUCATION: No, I don't. If you want to go down this path, you don't need just one of these things, you need 80 of them. So, it's not just in one place around the country, it's everywhere, and they cost about 400 billion bucks and take years and years to build. Follow the money, Karl, and you can see what's needed here. As all the old coal‑fired power stations shut down, they need to be replaced by something, and what the private sector's doing is investing in the cheapest form of new energy, and that's renewable energy.

STEFANOVIC: That's a flat‑out no from Labor?

CLARE: Yeah. I actually think this is a distraction from Peter Dutton, because the only thing that's more radioactive than nuclear energy is the report that comes out today on Robodebt, and he's probably trying to cover it up.

STEFANOVIC: I'll get to that in just a second. But Sally, let's tick the nuclear off. Peter Dutton and the Coalition had a decade to make that happen, they didn't do it while they were in power, but how would people in Victoria and Melbourne feel about it, do you reckon?

SALLY CAPP: Well, Karl, we're certainly pleased that Peter Dutton is thinking of alternatives to coal‑fired power stations. Here I'm at Queen Victoria Market, 1,500 square metres of solar panels that power this market every day. We are very focused on renewable energy here in Melbourne, but we've got nuclear‑powered subs coming, Karl, are we going to be a nuclear powered nation?

STEFANOVIC: All right. Robodebt, Jason, the fallout today, the Royal Commission hands down its finding ‑ findings. It's going to be a pretty big day.

CLARE: Yeah, there's a story this morning in the Nine papers about a woman named Jennifer Miller, and her son Rhys took his own life a couple of years ago ‑‑

STEFANOVIC: I know, terrible.

CLARE: ‑‑ he was being chased for an 18 grand debt that he didn't owe, and he's just one of the people who committed suicide over the last few years over this. There's a whole bunch of other people who tried to take their life, ended up in hospital, still dealing with the consequences of all of this. That's the real human tragedy here. And yes, the report will come out today, it will expose the wrong-doing of the ministers and others involved in this, but just don't forget the people that are involved in all of this and the families that are still hurting.

STEFANOVIC: One hundred per cent. Yeah, the ramifications we'll know in a couple of hours' time. All right. Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil ‑‑

(Playing Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing)

STEFANOVIC: ‑‑ the DJ's late today. She's done a bad, bad thing. She's labelled Donald Trump's eldest son a "big baby" and a "sore loser" over postponement of his speaking tour over what he claims was a visa issue. But then, Jason, Albo, he's getting boring, Albo, he's made her pull it down. Our Home Affairs Minister surely can call people babies on social media and get away with it, yeah?

CLARE: Hang, on hang on, you can't call Albo boring, he's got his own beer. How many people have got their own beer, Karl? Come on. Come on, brother.

STEFANOVIC: What do you reckon? I mean, Clare?

CLARE: Clare deleted it. We don't always get it right, and Clare's acknowledged that by deleting the Tweet, and that's the right thing to do.

STEFANOVIC: You'd be happy to see him here, wouldn't you?

CLARE: To see Don Junior here?


CLARE: Well, we gave him the visa. So, look, I suspect he will be here, but at another time.

STEFANOVIC: You won't go and watch him?

CLARE: No, I've got a few other things I've got to do, mate.

STEFANOVIC: Sally, how do you reckon Trumpy would go in Melbourne? Would he get out alive?

CAPP: Well, Karl, were there dogs involved? I'm still trying to catch up with what happened here, but I can tell you Lizzo's here next week, Tay‑Tay's coming, plenty of American stars find their visas issued and they come to full houses, and we're looking forward to that.

STEFANOVIC: It's going to be huge. After continued pressure from parents and experts, the Queensland government will be banning mobile phones in all State schools in 2024. I reckon this is a good thing. Jason, should we take it nationwide?

CLARE: We are. Most states and territories have already done it. New South Wales does it from October, and then as you say, Queensland's going to ban phones in schools from first term next year. It's common sense, mate. If you're on TikTok in class, you're not listening to the teacher. But it's not just about learning. What students have told me is that if you're in the playground at lunchtime and you've got your phone with you, then you're going to be doing this sort of stuff, you know, just scrolling and looking at your phone. When the phones are taken away, then what you find is that children are talking to each other and they're running around, they're exercising, and they're having fun.

STEFANOVIC: Could you believe it? Could you believe kids talking?

CLARE: Exactly right.

STEFANOVIC: Sally, look, banning mobile phones, you should do you it in your office, because I mean, you work so hard down there, and you need your staff concentrating on all the big events in Melbourne, right, you should ban it in the office, why don't you make a statement?

CAPP: Look, Karl, actually, it's funny you say that, because when we saw this report it was our first response; should we be banning phones in Council Chamber?

STEFANOVIC: There you go.

CAPP: Should they be banned in all of our Parliament Chambers? It's not just about kids interacting and paying attention. I think pollies could learn a lot from that as well. This is a really important discussion, and like most things it's starting in the school playground.

STEFANOVIC: Very good. All right. There's been a dramatic start to The Ashes third test in Headingly with those louts from Leeds, Mitch Marsh's century putting us in a great position. But he was on holidays, guys. So, what's the best thing, Jason, you've ever done on holidays?

CLARE: What's the best thing that I've ever done on holidays? Stopped reading the newspaper, mate, probably the best thing I've done on holidays.

STEFANOVIC: I had to do that too, I had to do that too. Sally, also finally, Melbourne's biggest tourist attractions, one of them is behind you, ahead of a major redevelopment. This is good news, huh?

CAPP: It is good news, Karl. 1.7 billion being spent right here at Queen Victoria Market, bringing more residents, more workers, more tourists. We're really pleased for this ongoing investment in one of our favourite places. I really love talking to you, Karl, but I actually can't wait to get off so I can get straight to that hot doughnut van.

STEFANOVIC: Oh, yes. Tease, you're a terrible tease. Good on you Lord Mayor, lovely to see you, as always. And Jason, good to see you too.

CLARE: Good on you mate.