SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND
WEDNESDAY 17 OCTOBER 2018
SUBJECTS: Liberal dysfunction, Pauline Hanson One Nation motion, Israel Embassy move, Wentworth by-election.
ANTHONY CHISHOLM: So what I wanted to talk about is the chaos and dysfunction that we’ve seen from the Liberal and National Party over the last couple of days. Firstly in the Senate when they brought down the Department’s ABC report that basically shed no light on why we’ve lost the Managing Director and Chair. And then we saw yesterday they voted with the Greens for an Inquiry that’s not going to get to the bottom of it and is not as thorough as what Labor was proposing.
We also saw on Monday where they voted for a Pauline Hanson’s racist motion in the Senate then had to come in and backtrack on that yesterday and then as a consequence of that we’ve seen them looking for a result in Wentworth they’ve promised to look at moving the Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, which has also put the Free Trade Agreement with Indonesia at risk. So when you look at their record over the last couple of days it has been absolutely chaotic and dysfunctional. The fact that they are able to make an international move like that on the basis of what is happening in a by-election in Wentworth, shows you how desperate Scott Morrison is as Prime Minister. He is illegitimate, no one voted for him and he’s behaving that way with his reckless behaviour this week.
JOURNALIST: The TPP comes to a vote today, is Labor unified in voting for it?
CHISHOLM: Absolutely. We had a thorough discussion about that in our Caucus room and we will vote for it today, but we do note that in regards to the Free Trade Agreement with Indonesia that it is the Government that has put that at risk with their reckless behaviour this week.
JOURNALIST: Well it sounds like Indonesia while it is concerned is not saying it is at risk and obviously we’ve seen the US President Donald Trump come out and in support of the proposal. So could it possibly actually be an opportunity to improve relationships with the US at a time when obviously they’re retreating from a lot of these international relationships?
CHISHOLM: Look the fact when it comes to the Embassy issue, they hadn’t considered this until they obviously got some bad news about Wentworth. There is no evidence that they were considering this until they voted for the Hanson motion in the Senate on Monday. They obviously needed a distraction. They’ve moved in this way, and that’s not the way to treat sensitive international issues like this is.
JOURNALIST: I mean this was costed by DFAT in June and it’s something that then Prime Minister Turnbull was discussing and other senior Government members were discussing. Is it fair to say that they were considering this before Wentworth?
CHISHOLM: Well the Prime Minister was on the record in June saying that it wasn’t under consideration. So the record speaks for itself. The fact that they announced it when they did you can only be cynical about it.
JOURNALIST: On another matter, Labor Senator Louise Pratt obviously is being looked at right now for a phone call that she received from a Border Force worker regarding obviously the Au Pair matter. Do you think it’s reasonable that Louise was in contact from someone from Border Force, that she’s talking to them about these documents?
CHISHOLM: Absolutely. Senator Louise Pratt was just doing her job holding an arrogant Minister to account. The fact that he is targeting the Department staffer in this way and Senator Pratt in this way shows you that he is unaccountable to the public and unaccountable to the Senate.
JOURNALIST: It’s outside due process. Wouldn’t it be fairer to say raise these things through say a Senate Committee, through you know a fair process?
CHISHOLM: No. We are absolutely confident that Senator Pratt was acting according to her role, to hold the Government to account, to hold this Minister to account in particular.
JOURNALIST: And would you be concerned if Dutton was successful in having these documents unsealed …. [inaudible].
CHISHOLM: That will be a matter for the Senate, but we are very confident that Senator Pratt has acted in accordance with her role. Thanks.
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