Subjects: Malcolm Turnbull, Peter Dutton, women in Parliament.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: The tweet from Malcolm Turnbull stating that Peter Dutton should be referred to the High Court is an extraordinary intervention. It follows revelations in today’s newspapers that Malcolm Turnbull has been lobbying his Liberal Party colleagues to vote for a referral to the High Court. What should happen today is that Scott Morrison should show some leadership. He has shown none in the first few weeks of his prime ministership. He is unable to explain why he was elected Prime Minister and why Malcolm Turnbull was removed.
What he needs to do today is to go to Peter Dutton and say: Listen, it’s not Its not appropriate that the person who is responsible as Home Affairs Minister for administering a range of serious laws relating to national security is himself the subject of doubt when it comes to his legal status to sit as a Member of Parliament in the House of Representatives.
It’s very clear from Peter Dutton’s own statements that he believes there is a conflict of interest when it comes to the issues of child care and we know that arises out of his pecuniary interest. It’s about time that Peter Dutton himself stopped being angry, stopped making wild accusations against other people under parliamentary privilege, and actually acted like an adult and said: I am going to do what others have done’ – refer himself to the High Court and ensure that there is no doubt over his status to sit as a Member of the House of Representatives.
REPORTER: Do you think that the Morrison Government is protecting Peter Dutton?
ALBANESE: Well quite clearly what we have here is Scott Morrison running a protection racket for Peter Dutton. Scott Morrison knows that his own position as Prime Minister is very vulnerable, but he should learn from Malcolm Turnbull, which is that giving in to people in his own team and being weak will inevitably lead to his own destruction from within and that is why he needs to show a bit of strength and refer Peter Dutton to the High Court and he should do it today.
REPORTER: There’s been a lot of talk within the Liberal Party about bullying and perhaps the need for gender quotas. What advice from Labor do you have to the Liberal Party to clean itself up?
ALBANESE: Well quite clearly the accusations from very senior members of the Liberal Party, from Julia Banks, who has taken the step of saying that she’ll remove herself from politics over these issues; Julie Bishop, the former Deputy Leader and Foreign Minister; Kelly O’Dwyer, the Minister for the Status of Women, have all pointed out the issues that related to the challenge by Peter Dutton and Scott Morrison to Malcolm Turnbull’s prime ministership. They have said that they were bullied. They are entitled, I think, to expect much better and the people of Australia are entitled to expect much better.
What needs to happen in the Liberal Party is that those issues need to be addressed and they need to be addressed in a transparent manner. It’s not up to Scott Morrison to have a cup of tea with someone and sort it out in private. It needs to be sorted out transparently. The second thing that needs to happen is the Liberal Party needs to acknowledge that they’ve got a structural problem. The structural problem is they have been going backwards when it comes to women’s representation at a time when Labor has reached almost 50 per cent and we are very confident we will be on 50 per cent or more after the next election. And Labor has done that through a series of rules, by ensuring that the culture is changed, by ensuring that we promote women candidates. And you know what, we are stronger for it because the Parliament should represent the people who are voting for it and 50 per cent of voters are women. Fifty per cent of Members of Parliament should be women as well.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.