Donald Trump is the President-elect of the United States and this appeared to provoke a sense of general unease among some members of the Q&A audience.
On Monday’s show, the panel wrestled with the issue of where Australia stands in this new world order.
Liberal Senator Eric Abetz, Labor frontbencher Terri Butler, author and columnist Benjamin Law, playwright and performer Nakkiah Lui and foreign affairs editor of The Australian Greg Sheridan fielded questions on our way forward in this post-Brexit, Trumpian reality.
There was a lot to talk about.
Could Trump happen in Australia?
Mr Trump’s victory came as a shock to many, and the panel discussed what effect it could have on Australian politics, and life in general. Could a similar upheaval occur here?
“All professional politicians around the world are saying maybe there’s a key here to turning out what used to be a stable group of voters and turning them into a swing constituency. So of course the Government is using Trump rhetoric, and so is the opposition.
“One thing Trump does show you is to speak in direct language like John Howard did.”
“The simple fact is at the last election we lost 1.7 million votes to more right-wing parties than ourselves. In NSW, the Orange by-election, the National Party lost votes, not to the Greens, not to the Labor Party, but to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, a more right-wing conservative party.
“So Turnbull is right to be concentrating on budget repair, strong borders, ensuring the rule of law in the building and correction sector and so the list goes on. So I believe the PM is heading the country in the right direction by concentrating on those core policy issues that, in fact, are the bread and butter of a centre-right politics.”
Ms Lui: “Australia already rejected Trump’s policies under Abbott. We like healthcare, public schooling, we are vested in our social institutions.”
Should Australia continue to follow the US into conflict?
Former prime minister Paul Keating said recently Australia should “cut the tag” with American foreign policies, focussing more on relationships in Asia. The panel disagreed on whether this advice should be followed.
“We don’t want to normalise the abnormal things he says but we do want to normalise him in his behaviour if we possibly can.