THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
THURSDAY, 26 OCTOBER 2017
SUBJECT: Michaelia Cash scandal
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Explosive revelations in the Senate last night show the Employment Minister, Michaelia Cash, misled the Parliament on five occasions. It is extraordinary to have a minister repeatedly mislead in the way that she did, and it is inconceivable that the minister did not know that her office was involved in tipping off journalists about a police raid. Of course, ministers have resigned for much less than this. Ministers have resigned for misleading once. It is absolutely inconceivable that the minister didn’t know about the involvement of her office. She should resign. And I expect that she will have resigned by the end of the day. But if she hasn’t, the Prime Minister should sack her. He should show some leadership, show that he demands high standards of his ministers, and take action himself. Questions?
JOURNALIST: Given the seriousness of the charges, the practice is quite specific in that it mentions deliberate misleading. Do you believe the Senate was deliberately misled?
PLIBERSEK: I don’t know how a minister can be sitting in Senate Estimates all day, have in front of her a phone, an iPad, and a computer, be surrounded by staff, 50 metres away from her office, and not at any stage, have anyone from her staff come and tell her the truth. I don’t know how you can have a morning tea break, a lunch break, an afternoon tea break, and not until into the dinner break, actually think, hang on a minute, maybe there’s something to the fact that people have been asking me all day whether this story is true. It beggars belief that the minister didn’t think until dinner time to press this issue. The only explanation is she knew. If she didn’t know, she ought to have. If she didn’t know, she was deliberately not asking the question of her office. That’s the only explanation. Ignorance has never been a defence. If she didn’t know, she should have. And she should have taken action much earlier in the day to find the truth. It beggars belief that the minister, the staffer who has resigned, met with the Prime Minister before Question Time and this issue didn’t come up. I don’t think anybody’s buying that.