Oct 20, 2020







SUBJECTS: Need for improvements in social housing; manufacturing in Australia; need for a National Integrity Commission; ICAC; Daryl Maguire; Badgerys Creek land scandal.


ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: On the Sunday after my Budget Reply, I visited Nathan Anderson’s home in Adelaide, in the suburb of Findon, with the local member Mark Butler, with Senator Penny Wong, and with Jason Clare, our Housing Shadow Minister. Nathan’s place was, quite frankly, unliveable. It was a huge health risk. There was mould in the bathroom that was literally falling off the ceiling, into the bath and all over the floor. There was a hole in the ceiling of that bathroom that had been cut out and never fixed. It was unliveable conditions. And it had been that way for seven months. But just days after our visit, the Department of Housing came and did an inspection and found Nathan and his family a new home, a three-bedroom home with a backyard, in two hours. I can’t visit 100,000 people who need their homes fixed up. What I have done here is made a difference. And I’m very pleased for Nathan, a terrific bloke who was living in such dire circumstances. But the Federal Government have a missed opportunity. They could create jobs for tradies, immediately fixing up these homes, improving the asset of what is publicly-owned homes, but also making the lives better for these Australian families. But they continue to ignore it.


Can I also say that it is three years to the day since Holden left Australia. That is a tragedy. This Government, that likes to talk about manufacturing, goaded Holden into leaving. And with them, left those jobs and skills, the value-add that happens by having manufacturing in the automotive industry right here in Australia. The hypocrisy of this Government knows no bounds. This is a Government that had an announcement based upon Labor’s 2012 manufacturing strategy, a strategy that they abandoned when they came to Government, which was about the same time as they started saying that car industry should leave Australia. Well, they did leave, and so did the jobs. Today in Estimates and in the Parliament, we will continue to pursue the Government over the land scandal around Badgerys Creek Airport. A block of land worth $3 million, bought for more than $30 million and then leased back to the same sellers for just $1 million. The Auditor-General has referred the matter to the Australian Federal Police. And yesterday, he gave evidence that it was the first time that had occurred. This is a very serious issue. This Government is very flippant when it comes to use of taxpayer funds. They have run up a trillion dollars of debt. They have no pathway to pay that debt back. And what’s more, they have nothing to show for it in terms of assets, which they could if they invested in more social housing or in other productive activity, particularly if they invested in childcare reform. But from this Government there is no economic reform, just a political plan to try to get through to the next election. Thank you.


JOURNALIST: Is it time we had a Federal ICAC?


ALBANESE: What this land scandal shows is it is absolutely beyond time that we had a National Integrity Commission. This Government says it hasn’t got time. But we know that the Cabinet considered legislation way back in 2018 when Malcolm Turnbull was the Prime Minister. We know Scott Morrison said that he supported a National Integrity Commission and there would be legislation soon, two years ago. But nothing. No draft legislation. Nothing whatsoever. They had time yesterday to push through the Parliament without giving a word of defence for university degrees to be pushed up to $58,000 for an arts degree. But they don’t have time to debate a National Integrity Commission. We need to restore faith in our politics and in our processes. And that’s why we need a National Integrity Commission.


JOURNALIST: Scott Morrison was the Immigration Minister at the time Daryl Maguire was caught up in this cash for visas. Does he have questions to answer about this?


ALBANESE: I think there are a whole range of questions to be answered by the Liberal and National parties when it comes to Daryl Maguire. This bloke was running an operation out of his office for personal profit. It’s beyond belief that senior people didn’t know. And we, of course, know that the Premier was aware of some of the issues that have been raised in the ICAC because of the recorded conversations. We know also, that he was running a cash for visa scandal. We know also that Angus Taylor had meetings with one of the people involved in land issues around Badgerys Creek. There are many, many questions to answer here. And that is why we need a National Integrity Commission, which would get to the bottom of it. But I tell you what, a National Integrity Commission, if this Government doesn’t form one, an incoming Labor Government will, and it will be able to examine these issues. Thanks.