Issues: Liberal’s smear campaign; Julie Bishop’s meeting with Ralph Blewitt
KIERAN GILBERT: With me now, the Leader of the House, Anthony Albanese. Mr Albanese, thank you very much for your time.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you.
KIERAN GILBERT: Now we’ve heard from Craig Emerson this morning saying that this is all just smear; it was the same message from the Prime Minister yesterday. But if the Prime Minister in helping and providing legal advice in establishing association which is in breach of state law, I put the same question to Craig Emerson, isn’t it entirely appropriate for the Opposition and others to be asking questions of her to explain her involvement in that?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well what we know this morning, Kieran, is where the questions are coming from. Julie Bishop has admitted, outside Parliament this morning, that she met with Mr Blewitt last Friday in a private meeting to discuss the tactics of this week. Here she is meeting with a guy who has admitted that he’s a fraudster, admitted he’s a crook and asked for immunity from prosecution. So she’s meeting as the Deputy Leader of the Opposition with this bloke at a private secret meeting to discuss strategy – meeting with a scumbag to try and bring down a Prime Minister.
This says a lot about Julie Bishop’s values. It says a lot about the Liberal Party. There’s a parallel here. It was not that long ago, that Malcolm Turnbull in one of the acts that killed off his leadership, flew to Sydney and met secretly with Godwin Grech, to devise a strategy to try and bring down the last Labor Government. So this is just unbelievable, really.
KIERAN GILBERT: But on the question of the validity of the scrutiny, it is valid isn’t it to be providing this scrutiny of the Prime Minister’s involvement?
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Let’s have a look at what Mr Blewitt – the star witness according to Julie Bishop – had to say just yesterday. When asked by Michael Smith, ‘is it fair to say that Miss Gillard knew it was a sham?’ Ralph Blewitt said, ‘well I don’t know if she knew’.
So here’s the star witness saying he didn’t know. And you’ve had these extraordinary interviews whereby Mr Blewitt is asked, time after time, there’s questions to answer, what are they? He says no comment.
It is extraordinary that Julie Bishop is relying upon this bloke; this rogue character. And at the same time, Julie Bishop is walking into the Parliament with Peta Credlin, the chief of staff to the alternative Prime Minister of the nation, with a dirt file for all to see. Just so there can be no ambiguity about it, a dirt file with a cover on the top, AWU/Gillard. You don’t see them walking into question time like every other opposition has with a file on policies and alternatives. This is their obsession.
KIERAN GILBERT: But on that file, the Coalition – but the Coalition says they are just simply holding the Prime Minister to account on what she has said and what [indistinct] done. And as Greg Hunt put it this morning, they were late to the party on this issue because of the Prime Minister’s own response. They’re then holding her to account.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: This has been an issue for almost two decades, Kieran. This has been considered in the public domain. This was being raised in the Victorian Parliament more than a decade-and-a-half ago, and every time it’s been raised it’s been found that there’s nothing here; nothing to see here. Nothing of interest in terms of the Prime Minister’s conduct, but a lot of interest regarding the conduct of Mr Blewitt.
Here you have an Opposition reduced to throwing buckets of mud in total desperation. You’d recall yesterday Kieran that they briefed out they were going to move bills in the Parliament. That didn’t happen – it didn’t happen at all. All they did was just obsess with these weak questions yesterday.
Tony Abbott sat in Question Time and didn’t say a thing. I don’t know why he bothered to show up. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition can walk in there with her dirt file and her mud bucket because that’s all they’ve got.
KIERAN GILBERT: Mr Albanese, we’re out of time. I appreciate your time this morning. Thanks for that.
ANTHONY ALBANESE: Good to be with you.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.