Dec 3, 2015

Transcript of doorstop, Parliament House


Subjects: Mal Brough; multinational tax; Malcolm Turnbull; Coalition infighting

ALBANESE: Mal Brough’s position as a Minister in the Turnbull Government is simply untenable. It’s very clear from his confession on 60 Minutes, when in response to the question, “Did you procure Peter Slipper’s diary through James Ashby?” he gave a three word answer; “Yes, I did.”

It’s quite extraordinary that you have a confession on national television that a minister then purports to deny. What’s clear also, if you look at the 60 Minutes interview on Channel 9 is that he went on to explain why in his judgement it was a smart thing for him to do that. This is a person who Malcolm Turnbull deemed to be fit to be appointed in charge of government integrity.

This is the person who’s responsible for oversight of all of the parliamentary offices, both electorate offices and here in Parliament House. This is the person who is responsible for the Member of Parliament Staff Act and this is a minister who should go and should go this morning for his consistent misleading of the Parliament.

Those misleads have built on each other and yesterday the government clearly told him “say nothing”. Because every time he says something, he gets into more and more trouble. There’s an old saying, when you’re in a hole, stop digging. Well, Mr Brough should stop digging and should simply resign. But this is an issue about Malcolm Turnbull’s judgement.

Tony Abbott was aware of these issues and I assume that’s one of the reasons why he didn’t appoint Mal Brough to the ministry even though Mal Brough was a former Cabinet minister. Tony Abbott showed much better judgement than Malcolm Turnbull.

Malcolm Turnbull’s judgement is the worst judgement shown by a political leader since Malcolm Turnbull last time, as Liberal Leader, decided to stake his entire leadership on a false email from Godwin Grech.

REPORTER: Some members from within the Coalition are suggestion Labor is clutching at straws. You’re losing the debate in other policy areas, economics and whatnot and that’s why you’re going hard on Mal Brough and trying to get him to resign. What do you say to that?

ALBANESE: There isn’t any debate in this Parliament. This is a Government that’s run out of business. If you have a look at the agenda today, they’ve actually allocated as they did yesterday a ministerial statement on infrastructure being debated on the floor of the main chamber of the House of Representatives.

They don’t have any legislation. They’ve got nothing to do. That’s why yesterday I gave two responses to ministerial statements that didn’t really say anything at all because they’re having to filibuster their own parliamentary time. This is a government that does not have a sense of purpose.

Under Tony Abbott, it didn’t have a reason for being other than for occupying the seat of power in this country and under Malcolm Turnbull, all that’s changed is the vibe. There’s no substance change.

This is a government that is at war with itself. It has two tribes; the Tony Abbott tribe and the Malcolm Turnbull tribe, sniping at each other, disagreeing, fighting in the party room, backgrounding against each other and of course, making statements against each other because it’s looking backwards.

Not only is this a government at war with itself, the real problem is that Malcolm Turnbull is at war with himself. Malcolm Turnbull is at war with his own position on climate change, with his own position on marriage equality, with his own position on public transport, with his own position with regard to so many issues because he was prepared to sacrifice his principles in order to secure the Prime Ministership.

What that means is that there’s no change of substance, just a change of style. And that wears thin very quickly.

REPORTER: Can I just clarify, the government’s wanting to get its multinational tax bills through Parliament. Is that something Labor is supporting?

ALBANESE: That’s a matter for the Shadow Treasurer, Chris Bowen. What I would say is that Labor’s presented a plan on multinational tax as one of the measures that we’ve put forward. We’ve put forward more policies than any other opposition has at this stage in the cycle.

Just last week, we were putting forward a position on climate change that is closer, I think, to what Malcolm Turnbull used to talk about than what he talks about now before he went to Paris. Labor has been engaged in the policy debates.

The government has been too busy fighting with itself to worry about the interests of the nation and I note that you don’t have to take my word for that – have a look at what Malcolm Turnbull said in the party room yesterday where he said that the government needed to stop talking about itself? How do we know that? Because the party room leaked, as it does every week. Thanks very much.