Interview with Danica De Giorgio, First Edition on Sky News
10 January 2023
DANICA DE GIORGIO: Joining me now live is Shadow Finance Minister Jane Hume, thank you for joining us this morning. Is keeping the voice subservient to parliament the best approach? That would give you more flexibility for change into the future, wouldn't it?
JANE HUME: Danica the best thing would be if it were clear what it was that Australians were voting on at this upcoming referendum. Recently, there has been an inquiry into the referendum mechanics themselves, so not necessarily the model, but how the referendum will be conducted. And that will bring it into line with more modern elections, making sure that there are donation laws and particularly laws around flood foreign interference. But the problem is that there's been some substantial changes to the way that we conduct referendum in the past that will make it more difficult for Australians to get information about what it is that they're voting for, for instance, there won't be an official yes or no campaign. And when we asked officials why that was, they said it's a decision for government. But government won't appear to discuss why it was that they've made that decision. There won't be a pamphlet that's been pamphlets in a referendum passed to make sure that people are informed as to what is they're voting for. There won't be a pamphlet there would ever be a pamphlet online, let alone one delivered to people's houses. You would think if you want a successful referendum, and Australians deserve a successful referendum, that you would want to give them as much information as possible so that they can make a fair, full and informed decision about how we change our national document.
DANICA DE GIORGIO: So if there was more information as you're calling for here, would you support it?
JANE HUME: Well, I think we need to be able to see the model before you could make a decision. There's plenty of discussion out there and people are saying it's all there and in lots of reports and in communiques in working groups. But for your average Australian they just want some basic decisions, basic positions answered. And they're the questions that Peter Dutton has put forward. It's not unreasonable to ask for more information. It's not unreasonable to put yourself in the shoes of your average Australian and say, ‘well what is it that we are voting for or against at this referendum and why, why is it so important?’ Those questions simply aren't answered yet.
DANICA DE GIORGIO: All right, let's move on. Now. You of course, coauthored the report into the 2022 election loss. How long is it going to take to turn this around, particularly when it comes to the issue of female representation in the party?
JANE HUME: You're referring to the election review that was put together by Brian Locke known and I at the end of last year, and it's recommended a a 50% target for female parliamentarians within the Liberal Party within three elections or 10. years. But it's also supported that with recommendations about female membership, and also a support network for women within the Liberal Party that will provide them with more opportunities, more opportunities to potentially to be elected, or to become part of that political process. And it's having those recommendations work together that will make them so powerful and so sustainable into the future. Now, that report has been left with the federal executive, it was presented to them just before Christmas, and it's up to them now to decide what is it they want to adopt. But the model that we've put forward is sustainable. It's well funded, appropriately funded. And it is so important because we want to make sure that we are more reflective of the people that for whom we wish to represent for whom we wish to govern. And that's why it's important that we do this.
DANICA DE GIORGIO: And you've called for a fundraising levy for federal employees to contribute to a new women's network. Why do you think that this would be the best way to boost representation?
JANE HUME: Lots of people have great ideas about how to bring more women into the Liberal Party, but the problem is they don't have the funding mechanism behind it to make sure that it's sustainable into the future. It wasn't the only funding mechanism. There is also a diamond at lions fund which raises money for female candidates. There would be potentially a subscription to the network, as well as a fundraising levy pretty notional one that could be imposed on sitting members of parliament and it's important that we all participate in this because it is important for all of our futures, not just the future of women.
DANICA DE GIORGIO: What today's proposed reforms mean for the likelihoods of our future MPs returning like Josh Frydenberg for example, would this then make it difficult
JANE HUME: Well, we're not setting quotas. I should be very clear about that. We're not saying that men aren't welcome the Liberal Party, quite the opposite. We just want to make sure that there are more opportunities for women to participate in the political, in the Liberal Party political process. We've always been a party for women since the day that Robert Menzies began the Liberal Party and included the Australian Women's National League as a fundamental part of who we are. And we've been responsible for so many firsts, whether it be a first member of the House of Representatives, first cabinet ministers, First Minister for Finance that day, Margaret Guilfoyle. We are to whom this network would be named. I think this is our legacy, something we should be proud of, but it's all about the future now and making sure that our party is sustainable in the future and that women are better represented.
DANICA DE GIORGIO: Jane Hume, good to speak with you. Thanks for joining us.