Winter 2017

Dr John Falzon on The Drum

Images of four participants in The Drum.
Left to right: Julia Baird, John Lyons, Annika Smethurst and John Falzon.

The Society’s National Council CEO Dr John Falzon was a guest panellist on ABC television’s The Drum program on Thursday 15 June.

Topics of discussion included elder abuse, three federal government ministers appearing before the Victorian Supreme Court for suggesting judges were going easy on terrorists, and whether an ‘off the record’ impersonation of US president Donald Trump by Malcolm Turnbull at the Parliament House mid-winter ball should have been leaked.

Dr Falzon refrained from saying much about Trump or Turnbull, preferring to give cleaners who cleaned up after the ball the last word. It was International Justice Day for Cleaners after all, ‘and the cleaners at Parliament House haven’t had a pay rise since 2012,’ Dr Falzon said.

Hosted by journalist Julia Baird, Dr Falzon was joined by John Lyons, from The Australian newspaper, Ian Yates, CEO of COTA Australia, and Annika Smethurst, from the Herald Sun.

It was Dr Falzon’s first appearance on the program. In May he was invited by the online political activist group, GetUp, to deliver a few words to the federal government ahead of the 2017 Budget.

Filmed outside Canberra’s Parliament House, Dr Falzon’s short though poignant message resonated far and wide, clocking up as many as 118,000 views on GetUp’s Facebook page within days of the video being posted.

Dr Falzon spoke on behalf of young people and others facing cuts to incomes and essential services, as well as those who had been locked out of the job market altogether. Meanwhile tax cuts for large corporations and the wealthy continue.

“Our economy seems to be based on the perverse notion of ‘to those who have much, more will be given, and from those who have nothing, even the little they have will be taken away,’ Dr Falzon said.

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