Anika Wells MP on 4BC with Scott Emerson


SUBJECTS: Hospital funding, social media bullying, Brisbane’s second NRL team.

SCOTT EMERSON, HOST: And for our first Question Time segment here on 4BC Drive I’m now joined by Labor’s Member for Lilley Anika Wells and the LNP member for Ryan Julian Simmons. How are you both?
ANIKA WELLS, MEMBER FOR LILLEY:  Good to be with you.
WELLS: We have an RSPCA rescue. His name’s Don and he’s a kelpie cross weimaraner so we didn’t make the cut.
EMERSON: I used to train dogs for the RSPCA so well done in terms of getting it Anika. And what about you Julian? 
SIMMONDS: Yeah just a bitzer, she’s called Bonnie. Which I think is a good solid dog name but she’s part malamute so she sheds everywhere. It’s a lovely dog
EMERSON: Yeah we all love our dogs. We’re dog people here. So I don’t know if you’re cat people out there sorry. Cat people you’re not getting a guernsey today at all.
SIMMONDS: Sorry, can’t help you.
WELLS: Good luck next time cat people.
EMERSON: Indeed, that’s very much the case. Alright then let’s start with some of the big issues of the week. I think Queensland hospital, the battle between the feds and state seems to have been the significant issue this week. Let’s start with you Anika. Look, how much more money do you think the Federal Labor would give to Queensland if they were in power at the moment.
WELLS: Well, we aren’t. We aren’t to my eternal despondency Scott. But I mean it’s not something that Julian and I are going to solve around the campfire this arvo is it? I’m sure back from your days in politics, Premiers and Prime Ministers were fighting about hospital and health funding. But back to first principles. We need enough money to adequately resource our hospitals through Covid. If we’re going to expect a spike in cases across the summer I think first principals Brisbane people want to know their hospitals can cope with that. The Prince Charles is in my electorate of Lilley. So you know we’ve got so many health workers who have been doing the hard yards over 18 months. And you know wearing my partisan hat, I don’t think what the health minister has asked for is unreasonable, she’s asked for a genuine 50/50 split of funding which the Federal Government {inaudible}.
SIMMONDS: How long does Labor, how long does Labor have to be in government in Queensland before they take responsibility for their own health system Anika at the end of the day?
WELLS: A 50/50 split is taking responsibility isn’t it? A 50/50 split of funding that the government, the federal government isn’t ensuring. And there was a funding guarantee which the Federal Government put in but it expired 30 June. And if Delta’s going to get worse, if our hospitals are going to be under increased strain over summer at the end of the day I don’t think Brisbane people really care about this kind of tit-for-tat {inaudible}
EMERSON: But Anika, Anika Wells isn’t there an issue here. Because we were talking about the future in terms of what might happen with when the borders open. But from what we’re seeing here our hospitals are already under pressure. We had more than 30 code yellows last month alone. Now as Julian Simmons just said Labor is been in power for for quite a few years in Queensland and for a lot of years over the last three decades. Isn’t it their responsibility that the hospitals aren’t performing at the moment, even without Delta. 
WELLS: Well I would say that this isn’t a unique situation in Queensland. We can talk about the Queensland ramping and everything and like what you said the yellow cases over the weekend but every single state wrote to the Federal Health Minister about needing more funding. This isn’t unique to us and it isn’t a review of the Queensland Government’s performance. Every single state has written in unity to ask for more funding. So you can’t blame any particular State Government if it is the case across the board. 
EMERSON: Julian Simmonds isn’t that a reasonable point from Anika Wells? It’s not just Queensland, it’s all the States complaining about the lack of funding.
SIMMONDS: Well, well no I don’t think so. The difference here is it’s being used as the latest excuse in a long line of excuses about why the Queensland Premier can’t follow through the national plan which she committed to to the Australian people and which she’s not delivering.
EMERSON: But the other states are also asking for more money Julian Simmons so it’s not just Queensland saying they need more money the other states are doing it as well.
SIMMONDS: But there has to be a recognition that you know the Federal Government’s put in. Over time that we’ve been in government we’ve increased funding to Queensland hospitals by 101 percent. The same period Queensland Labor has increased by 53 per cent. So there has to be recognition that Queensland Labor has to come to the party with their own hospital systems. And frankly if if the Queensland Premier has had 18 months to prepare her hospital system as part of a pandemic and they’re still not ready well when will they be ready? And that’s an indictment on the Queensland Premier. Not not the 101 percent increase that we’ve given it as from the Federal Government. 
EMERSON: Let’s just move on another issue. Anika we’ll just move onto another issue there. Social media, a crackdown on social media. You’ve both experienced this. You’ve both been in parliament, you’ve been in for a couple of years now. How do you find dealing with social media and the online trolls? I’m sure both of you face this online. First off you Anika?
WELLS: Absolutely, every day. And it’s worse overnight. But I think you know our experience is probably a pretty universal one. Where some people that say the most abhorrent, vile things to me in comments online, then front up to my mobile office the next week and you can manage to have a fairly civilised conversation about that same grievance. And I think everyone who uses social media has to take responsibility for their own behaviour. And I think our standard in Australia is you can’t pretend to be a decent person at work and pop out for sandwich at lunch and conduct yourself in a civilised manner but then go home and and under the guise of anonymity you say the most horrendous and vile things online. But that is what people can get away with at the moment. So despite the fact that the horse has really bolted and it’s going to take some big cultural change, we need to do it. I’m glad that there is movement in forward in this space.
EMERSON: What about you Julian? 
SIMMONDS: Oh mate, look it’s a bloody sewer. That’s my view of the thing. I talk to a lot of parents who rightly concerned about it for their kids. And you know, I do have to you know it comes as some shock that they don’t have to be helpless. There is some things they can do. We’ve implemented as the government the E-Safety Commissioner. And if if if they report that their kid has had a photo shared online that they didn’t give permission to or they are experiencing bullying, then our E-Safety Commissioner can issue takedown notices. And they can get that material off social media but but mate so so we’re doing more to keep people keep family safe on social media. But mate, so we’re doing more to keep families safe on social media but it’s not enough. At the end of the day I would really like to see these social media companies held responsible as publishers which is what they are. And if people see something defamatory about them and they ask Facebook to take it down and they don’t do it within a timely manner, like within 24/48 hours, well then they should be considered a publisher and sued for defamation. People just want the same laws that exist in the real world to exist online and that’s not an unreasonable expectation.
EMERSON: Alright let’s turn to the other big issue of this week. And we probably find out in the next couple of days maybe early next week, who will be the 17th team for the NRL. The Jets? The Dolphins? The Firehawks? Julian Simmons who are you backing? Who do you want to get into the comp?
SIMMONDS: Well look I’m a Brisbane Broncos fan. I have to say that upfront and I have been for a long time. But you know I’m a proud western suburbs boy, I went to school out at Ipswich so if I have to back a horse I’d say The Jets would be a great candidate 

EMERSON: Alright what about you then Anika?
WELLS:  Scott, the northside’s abuzz. We talk of nothing else at the Geebung RSL.  I have pledged my allegiance to the Dolphins. I did that back in May. I think we’re looking very good. The bonus to me is that my beloved Brighton Roosters are a feeder club for the Dolphins.  And a shoutout to the Devils you know who are in the grand final at Dolphin Stadium on Sunday. Minor premiers going up against the Seagulls who I hope they absolutely flog. Sorry to your Wynnum Manly listeners. Hope we get some good news for the Dolphins. 
EMERSON: Alright then Anika Wells and Julian Simmons thanks for being part of Question Time. Will catch you again next week.
WELLS: What a blast. Have a good weekend.
SIMMONDS: Thank you.