Karen Andrews on the Medibank hack, visa fraud and winning back women voters

Karen Andrews on the Medibank hack, visa fraud and winning back women voters

Karen Andrews is a former Home Secretary and now oversees that portfolio, which includes cyber security.

With Australians shocked by hackers starting to post Medibank data on the dark web, in this podcast Andrews calls on the health insurer to provide more information.

“There are some very serious questions that need to be asked of Medibank about what it actually did.”

“They have suffered incredible reputational damage. The only way I can see going forward for them to improve their public standing is to be very clear and open about what happened, why it happened, and what they are doing to help their customers.”

On this week’s revelations of widespread visa fraud, Andrews said: “I am not aware that the specific issues being played out in the media have now been specifically addressed by the department [when she was minister]”.

“There will always be individuals out there who will seek to take advantage of Australia’s visa system […] It is not acceptable and I do not condone it and the role of the Home Office is to do what they can to try to be at the forefront […] I can say that I would give all the support I could to get a proper review of what has happened and how it can possibly be fixed.”

Andrews takes an uncompromising line on the government’s repatriation of ISIS brides and their children. “I think it’s a terrible decision that has been handled unfathomably.”

“I sympathize with the children, especially those who were taken there at a very young age and those who were born there, because they have come into quite ordinary circumstances. But there is a level of parental responsibility in there, and they will have to live with the consequences of the actions their parents took.”

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As for the opposition’s task of trying to win back female voters, Andrews says: “Without a doubt, women left the Liberals in droves at the last election.

“In retrospect and even at the time, I think I was of the opinion that we weren’t listening enough to women and the issues that were important to them.

“I actually find it personally offensive that whenever someone talks about what’s important to women, it always goes to childcare. And yes, it’s important to some women at some point in their lives, but it’s not the only issue. “

The idea of ​​gender quotas has been a contentious topic for the Liberals. Andrews says, “quotas are a difficult issue for us […] I think we need to consider quotas. Absolutely. But perhaps the quotas in the first instance must be such that we have more women standing for preliminary elections. So […] we must have equal numbers of men and women in a pre-selection process.”

She says it is important to reclaim what have become “blue-green” seats.

“For the coalition to win, we need to win the best part of 20 seats, which is a large number of seats. We can’t do that, I don’t think, without winning back the majority of blue-green seats that we lost at the last election […]

“Some of them [teals] are quite closely aligned with the Liberals’ values, which means that their constituencies are aligned with the Liberals’ principles.

Now that is going to be a difficult thing to achieve in the short term, but we have to; we have to make sure that we win back these blue-green seats, that we win seats from Labor and that we are in a position to form a government at the next election.”

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