The Studio 10 co-host and small screen icon unleashed on the Labor leader this morning, just days out from Election Day, attacking a number of policies that she believes will damage Australia.
Kennerley began by slamming Labor’s taxation plan, which targets the “top end of town” in favour of providing broad tax cuts for low-income earners.
“If Bill Shorten gets in, it’s the end of life as we know it,” she said. “Honestly, without question.”
Kennerley also took aim at planned changes to franking credits, which allow retirees to receive a tax refund on dividends.
“Taking money retrospectively, as they will do, that franking credits … this is the way (for) self-funded retirees to not leach off the government pension. They look after themselves. They’ve got a plan. He’ll rip that off them.”
But she reserved her most pointed attack for Labor’s plan to establish a National Gender Centre.
“One thing I’m seriously outraged about, the millions and millions they’ll spend on a Gender Commission,” Kennerley said.
“These kids out there who are gender confused, and there’s a percentage of people out there gender confused, they will put up this Commission and we, like Tasmania, will have a child and it won’t be male or female, it will be gender-free.
“That’ll be national.”
The Liberal Party is in power in Tasmania, it’s worth pointing out. State Parliament passed legislation in April making gender an optional field on birth certificates.
Mr Shorten has not indicated he would adopt such a reform nationally and matters of births, deaths and marriages are controlled by the states anyway.
“And if your child is confused, the rights of your child will go to them, you will have no rights as a parent. That child will go, ‘I want to be either a boy or girl, please give me whatever I need’ and you as a parent will have no choice.”
There’s no suggestion that would be the case based on any of the policy detail released by the Opposition.
Labor hasn’t released significant detail about the National Gender Centre, including its cost, but it says the initiative would provide support and advocacy for transgender people.
Labor would also appoint a Sexual Orientation Commissioner.
In a segment later on Studio 10, Kennerly said she had been contacted by Labor’s media unit to pull her up on her false claims.
“The email says, ‘earlier this morning, Kerri-Anne — spelt incorrectly … fake news on your program, Labor spending ‘millions and millions’ to set up a Gender Commission.”
Labor said the purpose of the centre was primarily an “education and training role to provide awareness of transgender issues in the wider public”.
If I become one of those 60-something white blonde women ranting about shiz I have no understanding of on national TV, like I have some right to be heard on these issues because I used to be relevant 100 years ago, please just lock me away somewhere, away from cameras
Although she said she “stands corrected”, it was hardly an apology from Kennerley.
“Apparently they’re not spending millions and millions, because they haven’t costed it yet,” she said.
Some doctors have raised concerns about unintended consequences of the plan, concerned that their treatment of transgender would actually be made more difficult by new guidelines.
Kennerley said the plan would “screw around with the other 95 per cent that are doin’ OK”.
That’s a popular line among conservative commentators, particularly radio host Alan Jones, and right-wing groups like the Institute of Public Affairs and Advance Australia.
Kennerley got into a heated argument with former Labor Senator Sam Dastyari, who was appearing on the show, and urged parents to “take back control of your child”.
“I do think there’s an issue but making a centre, taking it out of the control of parents and putting it with a whole bunch of people who aren’t parents, is a recipe for danger,” Kennerley said.
“I’m a parent and I want an expert to take my child to. I don’t want some school educating my seven-year-old on transgender issues.”
When Mr Dastyari remarked that the community played a role in education, Kennerley furiously fired back.
“No you don’t. You’re the Labor Party — get out of my private life.”
In her rant, Kennerley also described Labor’s cancer care plan, which aims to cut out-of-pocket costs for Australians in treatment, as “all smoke and mirrors”.
“Throwing money at cancer is just feeding the chooks,” she said. “Don’t believe it. Dig a little deeper. Just dig a little deeper.
“Anybody who believes they’ll be better off if Shorten and the Greens get in is under some whoopy-do cloud. It will never, ever happen. You will tank.”
It was an extraordinary editorial from Kennerley, as the campaign enters its final days.
Co-host Joe Hildebrand, news.com.au editor at large, stuck by his earlier prediction that Labor will win and dismissed commentary that it will be a narrow victory.
“I do not think that’s true. I think they’re going to get in and get in comfortably,” Hildebrand said.
“I think, let’s say at least 80 seats (for Labor). The government has to win three seats just to get majority.”
His colleague Sarah Harris summed up the mood at the end of the segment by quipping: “I don’t know, give me a benevolent dictatorship any day.”
“And let it be me,” Kennerley laughed, raising her hand.
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