On the resignation of Gladys Berejiklian and the need for a National Anti-Corruption Commission

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Friday, 1st October 2021

On the resignation of Gladys Berejiklian and the need for a National Anti-Corruption Commission

Discussing the resignation of the Premier of NSW, Scott Morrison's complete lack of integrity in Cabinet reshuffle and more.

SUBJECTS: Resignation of the Premier of NSW; Scott Morrison's complete lack of integrity in Cabinet reshuffle; international borders; European Free Trade negotiation delay. 

ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: Thank you very much for joining me. I want to begin by thanking Gladys Berejiklian for her service as Premier of New South Wales. It's a very difficult time to provide that leadership for front-line services and Gladys Berejiklian has done her best. I worked with Gladys Berejiklian when we were both transport ministers and we always had a very constructive relationship. And on a personal level, I wish her well for the future. Other matters, of course, will take their course. 

Rules are for everyone and the Premier has made the right decision on what would be a very difficult day for her, personally. These are uncertain times, and Scott Morrison should continue to provide support for the people and businesses of New South Wales. He should reconsider, as he should for other states as well, the statement that he would be withdrawing support, in my view, sooner than is appropriate for the people and businesses of New South Wales going forward. People here are still having a very tough time. Lockdowns continue and now is not the time to be foreshadowing the withdrawal of support prematurely from the Federal Government.

Mr Morrison refuses to apply the same set of integrity that Gladys Berejiklian applied to herself today. It is now more than 1,000 days since Scott Morrison promised to have a national anti-corruption body. Well, tick-tock Mr Morrison. We need a national anti-corruption commission. One with teeth. One that operates independently of government, and is able to conduct its own inquiries. And if you won't give the Australian people one, a Federal Labor Government will do just that. Because we need to have confidence in the integrity of our political system. 

On the same day that Gladys Berejiklian has resigned as Premier of New South Wales over an ICAC investigation, Scott Morrison has announced a reshuffle in which Angus Taylor has been promoted. This is yet another reminder of how so many people in Mr Morrison's Government are walking, talking reminders of the need for a national anti-corruption commission. Of the need to be accountable and responsible for one's own actions. We still haven't heard any explanation from Mr. Taylor, about the issue relating to the Lord Mayor of Sydney, about correspondence that was produced and where it came from that clearly didn't stack up with the facts. And that's before a range of other issues relating to Mr. Taylor remain unresolved. And of course, we know that this reshuffle comes about because the person who was supposed to implement a national integrity commission, Christian Porter, failed to do so. Then of course, had to resign over scandals in which he was involved, including resigning as a minister over failing to disclose where donations came from to fund his personal legal case against the ABC. It is simply untenable for Mr. Porter to continue to sit in the Parliament, having unknown amounts from unknown donors given to him to conduct a private legal matter. It is simply untenable. And the irony of Mr. Morrison announcing a reshuffle to replace Mr. Porter, just minutes before the Premier of New South Wales resigned over an issue relating to the Independent Commission Against Corruption will not be lost on anyone.

I must also say that the reshuffle also goes to the heart of the failure of integrity at the heart of the Morrison Government. Instead of using the reshuffle as an opportunity to give this country the cabinet that it deserves. He's used it as an opportunity to reward his mates in particular, the promotion of Alex Hawke, one of the few people in the Liberal Party, who are actually close to Mr. Morrison, has been rewarded with a cabinet position. But on top of that, Angus Taylor is now the seventh and a half Industry Minister that this Government has had. Mr. Porter was the seventh. And instead of hiring an industry minister, which is a full time job, to create jobs in this country and to support businesses, Mr. Morrison has chosen to promote Angus Taylor into that position on top of his existing responsibilities, existing responsibilities, which have proven too much for him to implement. We still don't have an energy policy in this country, after more than 20 different announcements, not one of them has been landed. We still have a circumstance whereby a government is incapable of committing to net zero emissions by 2050. And yet you have the industry portfolio lumped in with energy and other responsibilities, which Mr. Taylor, has. 'He can't do the job that he's got at the moment. How on earth can he do additional responsibilities?' is what people who care about industry and jobs in Australia will be asking themselves. 

I did want to make a couple of comments about other issues today, including Mr. Morrison, speaking about the international border. Now Scott Morrison promised that Australians who were stranded overseas would be home by last Christmas. Now he's promising they'll be home by this Christmas. And not only that, Australians will be able to travel overseas and come home. No one wants to see restrictions in place for one day more than necessary. But it's about time this Government actually delivered on its announcements, not just had more announcements, on top of previous announcements, announcing the same thing that were announced a year ago. But that's what we have with this border issue. Mr. Morrison has failed on borders because he failed to establish purpose built quarantine. And he failed when it came to the supply of vaccines in this country. And yet again today, we have announcements that bring out hope. Well, there'll be those Australians who heard that they'd be allowed to come home to Australia by last Christmas, who are still waiting after a year to get home. We need to actually start delivering and less announcements. 

And lastly, it's very clear with the postponement of the European free trade negotiations that are taking place with Australia. The fact that they've been postponed just shows how much work Mr. Morrison has to do to repair the relationships so that trust can be restored, not just with France, but with our European partners. The deferment of these negotiations are very regrettable indeed. And it's very clear that Mr. Morrison needs to concentrate more on the detail of negotiations, the detail of relationships, and less on announcements on a day to day basis. Thanks very much. 

ENDS

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Electorate Office

334a Marrickville Road
MARRICKVILLE NSW 2204

Phone: (02) 9564 3588
Fax: (02) 9564 1734
Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

Parliament House Office

PO Box 6022
CANBERRA ACT 2600

Phone: (02) 6277 4022
Fax: (02) 6277 8562

Phone: (02) 9564 3588
Fax: (02) 9564 1734
Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

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