THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
TUESDAY 11 SEPTEMBER 2018
SUBJECTS: Liberal Party’s division and chaos; Representation of women in Parliament.
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Yesterday, we asked Scott Morrison again and again, why are you Prime Minister? And Mr Morrison couldn't answer that question. In the two weeks since Malcolm Turnbull was rolled, no one's been able to answer the question, why was he rolled? Why is Scott Morrison Prime Minister? Bridget McKenzie, the Deputy Leader of the Nationals, was asked the same question on Q and A last night. She couldn't answer why Scott Morrison is Prime Minister. Yesterday, Christopher Pyne couldn't keep a straight face when he said the Government was getting on with the business of governing. Peter Dutton, the Home Affairs Minister, is too busy doing favours for mates to keep Australians safe. The Liberals and Nationals are at each other's throats, in NSW and all over the country. And day after day there is leak after leak, you see the pay-pack for the deposition of the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, where his supporters, Peter Dutton's supporters, Tony Abbott's supporters, Scott Morrison's supporters, are all leaking against each other, trying to rewrite history. In this environment, it is impossible for Scott Morrison to do what he says he has set out to do, which is make the economy stronger, keep Australians safe and keep Australians together.
Scott Morrison's got nothing to be smug about when it comes to the Australian economy. He is the Treasurer who doubled the debt, doubled the deficit, presided over 1.8 million Australians either unemployed or looking for more work. He is the Treasurer that voted in favour of penalty rate cuts when wages are at historic low levels of growth. When it comes to keeping Australians safe, it is very difficult to see how when you've got the Defence Minister laughing, he tries to keep a straight face when he says the Government's getting on with the business of governing and the Home Affairs Minister is preoccupied answering questions about favours that he's done for mates, it's hard to see how you can keep Australians safe. And when it comes to keeping Australians together, you've got a man who is Prime Minister who, as Treasurer, cut health, cut education, tried to cut the pension, all in order to give the big banks a $17 billion tax cut. At the same, the now-Prime Minister, then-Treasurer, argued that the National Energy Guarantee would bring down power prices, he's given up on that already.
This is a government that is unstable, divided, focused only on itself and only on infighting. In contast, Bill Shorten leads a united team, ready to govern, focused on what matters to the Australian people. A good job with decent pay and conditions, good schools for their kids to go to, a hospital when they need it, an energy policy that delivers lower prices and lower pollution. That's what we're focused on, and that's why we're ready to govern.
JOURNALIST: Minister Dutton keeps saying that Mr Quaedvlieg is working with Labor. Has anyone from Labor been in touch with Mr Quaedvlieg?
PLIBERSEK: I certainly don't know of any contact that's been made. I think it's very interesting that Peter Dutton tries to dismiss these very serious, very serious questions raised by Mr Quaedvlieg by just saying he's a disgruntled former employee. I mean, these are serious questions and reading what's in Fairfax papers today, it seems like there are multiple sources raising questions about jobs in Border Force that Peter Dutton tried to get for mates.
JOURNALIST: And in the seat of Wentworth, Andrew Bragg's dropped out to make way for a woman. What do you make of that? Do you think there's change going on in the Liberals to get more women in the party?
PLIBERSEK: Look, almost 50 per cent of Labor representatives are women. For the Coalition, that's about 1 in 5. So of course we welcome anything that makes it more likely that the Coalition looks more like the community it represents, that's 50-50 men and women. I think it's a little bit sad that it's only in times like this, times of desperation that this becomes an issue for them, when they're looking for electoral advantage rather than actually just trying to do the right thing and increase their representation of women so that their ranks looks more like the community they represent.