THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
PARLIAMENT OF AUSTRALIA, CANBERRA
WEDNESDAY 12 SEPTEMBER 2018
SUBJECTS: Divided and unstable Liberal Party; Stable and united Labor team; Peter Dutton scandals; Bullying of women in the Liberal Party; Liberals’ $2 billion cut from aged care.
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Well today we see the beginning of another day of chaos and division from the Liberals. You've got a Prime Minister who can't answer why he is Prime Minister, why he knifed the previous Prime Minister. In fact, Scott Morrison yesterday tried to pretend that greatness was thrust upon him, he didn't seek greatness it was thrust upon him. You've got the Deputy Leader of the National Party Bridget McKenzie, when she's asked can she explain why there's been a change of Prime Minister 'no', you've got Christopher Pyne, normally such a strong defender of the Government - he can't even keep a straight face when he says that the Government is getting on with the business of governing. You've got internal fights, Liberal leaking against Liberal, new leaks every day. You've got the Liberals and Nationals at each other's throats, you've got a Home Affairs Minister completely distracted by accusations that he's done favours for mates, getting jobs for mates, getting au pairs for mates and all this time what this Government can’t do is focus on the needs of the nation. In contrast Labor is united and disciplined, we're focused on making sure Australians have a good job, with decent pay and conditions, a great school to send their children to, a hospital when they need it, lower power prices and lower pollution in an energy policy that really delivers. Thanks, any questions?
JOURNALIST: Has Peter Dutton gone too far when it comes to Parliamentary privilege with his comments yesterday about Roman Quaedvlieg and the term grooming?
PLIBERSEK: Well I think you saw in Peter Dutton's unhinged performance yesterday, a man under desperate pressure - cracking under that pressure. It's important for Peter Dutton as a Minister of the Crown to be prepared to answer questions about whether he has used his ministerial powers correctly, that is standard, every minister should face that level of scrutiny and they should do it with better grace than Peter Dutton did yesterday.
JOURNALIST: Is he Labor's Godwin Grech?
PLIBERSEK: Well, it's really interesting, isn't it, how Peter Dutton is trying to make this Labor's problem. Mr Quaedvlieg has made statements to a Senate Enquiry, properly constituted Senate Enquiry into his actions, but he's not the only one who's made statements to that Senate Enquiry. By using publicly available information Labor has asked reasonable questions that relate to Peter Dutton's responsibility to be accountable for his decision making, that is a basic foundation of the Westminster System of government, that a Minister in Question Time should be able to and prepared to answer questions about how and why they have made certain decisions. I think Peter Dutton's extraordinary behaviour says more about him than it says about anything else.
JOURNALIST: The Government is bringing forward aged care funding, does Labor welcome that announcement?
PLIBERSEK: Oh you've got to be kidding me? This Government cut $2 billion from aged care and now they're throwing in a few million extra and people are supposed to applaud them. They cut $2 billion from aged care, you've got hundreds of thousands of people on waiting lists for either home care packages or for residential aged care. This Government's record on aged care has been truly appalling and if they think that people will forget $2 billion worth of cuts when they throw in $16 million for some little program, they are absolutely kidding themselves. Before the last budget the Government went out all excited about how they were going to increase the number of care packages and what we found on Budget night is that they shifted funding from one part of the aged care system to another part of the aged care system, they bedded down, locked in their $2 billion of cuts and just shuffled money around within that smaller budget.
JOURNALIST: Scott Morrison has said that he has not received any bullying complaints from members of his Party, is it disappointing that Senator Lucy Gichuhi is no longer it seems planning to name names under Parliamentary privilege?
PLIBERSEK: I think it's phenomenal that five women now, or is it six, have made public comments about the Liberal Party's culture and that the Leader of the Liberal Party says he hasn't had any complaints. He's also said, just incidentally, that he’s referred complaints to the Whip or that the Whip is investigating complaints - I don't know how he can say that there are no complaints but the Whip is investigating, but he doesn't believe any of the complaints anyway. This is part of the problem with the Liberal Party when you've got only about a quarter of your Parliamentary representatives being women, the culture is a very difficult culture for those women when they do speak up. Thanks, everyone.