THE HON ANTHONY ALBANESE MP
LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY
MEMBER FOR GRAYNDLER
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
THURSDAY, 26 FEBRUARY 2020
SUBJECT: Sports rorts saga.
ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: This Prime Minister treats the Parliament with contempt. There are real questions to answer about his office and his involvement with this sports rorts sage. The fact is that there were 136 emails between his office and Bridget McKenzie’s office. The fact is a list given to his office by the Minister’s office in stage three of which 76 per cent of the projects chosen were not those chosen by Sport Australia. And the fact is, the Prime Minister continues to mislead Parliament. He says that all projects were eligible. What we thought was, ‘Well, what does that mean anyway?’ Because I’m eligible to play the Davis Cup, but I won’t get to play because I am not as good as another 20,000 players who could be chosen ahead of me around Australia. But, this Prime Minister didn’t even get that right. Because we know that in 43 per cent of cases, in terms of this sports rorts saga, they weren’t eligible projects. And we heard that from the Australian National Audit Office. Then we know that there was actually these colour-coded documents that were going between Bridget McKenzie’s office and the Prime Minister’s office. But Mr Gaetjens, the Prime Minister’s former chief of staff, who was investigating as head of Prime Minister and Cabinet, whether the Prime Minister’s office had any involvement, only got one copy of the colour-coded list, which was colour-coded in terms of rort here, rort there. And we saw yesterday, the Prime Minister speak about members making applications on behalf of their electorates. Bear in mind that this was taxpayers’ funds. This wasn’t election commitments. This is something that was in the budget. And he referred to the Member for Lindsay, who of course, wasn’t a Member of Parliament at that time. It just shows that the Prime Minister was saying that this was a Liberal Party and National Party fund, but it was actually taxpayers’ funds. The Prime Minister treats taxpayers’ funds as if they’re his own.
JOURNALIST: Bridget McKenzie has already resigned. What would you like the Prime Minister now to do?
ALBANESE: Well, the first thing he should do is front up to Parliament this morning and correct the record. He’s misled Parliament. And in responding to questions about misleading Parliament, he misleads Parliament further and further again. He needs to tell the truth about what happened here. It’d be nice if this Prime Minister was capable just once of saying that he got something wrong. And this is what happens with this Prime Minister. We saw with the bushfire crises, where day after day, week after week, month after month, he said it was a state issue. He said there was no need for a national response. And then when eventually, there was some movement, he pretended that everyone had forgotten everything that had happened beforehand. Similarly, on the economy, we’ve been speaking about the flat wages, the lower growth, and it’s been downgraded three times, the low consumer demand, the low productivity, the problems in the economy well before the bushfires or the coronavirus issue struck the country. And this Prime Minister pretends none of that’s happened. He’s incapable of actually having a bit of self-examination. And conceding that he’s done anything wrong. Well, the whole of Australia knows that this stinks. The stage two was about women sports rooms and change rooms. And we know that money was redirected as well. We know that the Urban Congestion Fund, $3 billion, 83 per cent went to Liberal National Party seats and to targeted seats. We know that this Government just treats taxpayers’ money as if it’s its own. Thank you.