Doorstop – Liberals’ division

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Doorstop, Adelaide

SUBJECT: Liberals’ division.

SHADOW MINISTER FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT, AMANDA RISHWORTH MP: Well look we’ve seen an extraordinary interview by Peter Dutton in the papers today that shows the continuing division, dysfunction and chaos that we’ve seen in the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government in the last year is just continuing into the new year. Quite frankly, the comments by Peter Dutton that suggested that Julia Banks is just a whinger suggest that Peter Dutton is absolutely delusional if he does not think that the Liberal Party does not have a problem with women.

In fact it was not just Julia Banks that called out bullying in the Liberal Party. It was also Julie Bishop, Ann Sudmalis, Kelly O’Dwyer and for Peter Dutton just to dismiss her concerns, like he did shows that he is completely out of touch and he has learnt nothing from the events of the last year.

But of course there’s also questions for Scott Morrison- was Peter Dutton just freelancing? Which means he clearly still harbors leadership ambitions and is working to undermine Scott Morrison. Or did Scott Morrison tick this off, did he endorse this interview to go ahead?

Which then clearly means that Scott Morrison agrees that the bullying claims made by Julie Banks was just a figment of her whingeing and not getting promoted which shows that the Liberal Party is just so out of touch.

So what we’ve got is either a Prime Minister that is being undermined by his leadership rival or a Prime Minister that is endorsing Peter Dutton to go out there and make claims against women in his own Party to undermine them and do nothing about the bullying issues that have actually occurred within the Liberal Party.

But what we know with the new year coming up is no matter how many new year’s resolutions that Scott Morrison or Peter Dutton make we are going to see just more of the same – of chaos and confusion, of undermining and division, and that has serious consequences.

What that means for the Australian people is that they are – every day that the Liberal Party spends talking about themselves, arguing with each other and undermining each other, is another day they are not talking about issues that affect the Australian people. That are not dealing with the issues like energy prices, cost of living, access to health and hospitals and good schools in our country. Every day it means another wasted day by the Liberal Government.

JOURNALIST: Why do you think Mr Dutton has launched this attack?

RISHWORTH:  Well there’s either two reasons. One he was sent out by Scott Morrison who endorses everything he says including completely undermining the claims made, and the very serious claims made, by the Liberal women. Otherwise we’ve got Peter Dutton freelancing and actually reheating his leadership ambitions. It was a double page spread, one can only assume that perhaps his leadership ambitions are not done and that he has done this to undermine Scott Morrison.

So I guess that’s a question for Scott Morrison – did he know about this interview, did he endorse it or was he blindsided by it?

JOURNALIST: Peter Dutton says Malcolm Turnbull has little political judgement, how bad was it seeing it from opposition benches?

RISHWORTH: Oh well look all I saw was just complete chaos and dysfunction, not just by Malcolm Turnbull but by the whole show. People constantly looking at their own ambitions and not at the ambitions of the Australian people. Constantly seeing people being undermined within their own government. Take the energy, National Energy Guaranteed for example, this was something that was signed off by cabinet and then you had cabinet ministers actively undermining this proposal.

Quite frankly it was chaos and division from within, and every day that we saw this chaos and division within the whole of the Liberal Party was another day the Australian people got forgotten.

JOURNALIST: On the energy policy topic, Mr Dutton said that Mr Turnbull – or the Turnbull Government sorry – became too obsessed with lowering emissions as part of that policy, what do you make of that?

RISHWORTH:  Well of course it was Tony Abbott and then Malcolm Turnbull that signed up to the Paris agreement, and what we heard from businesses from householders right across the Australian economy is that you need a plan, you need a plan to get there. You need a plan to attract investment and increase supply that not only deals with emissions, but it drives down prices.

And quite frankly the division, the ideological division and personal ambition within the Liberal Party meant that that plan was scrapped and it was Peter Dutton’s personal ambition that led to quite frankly, a travesty in Australian policy, Australian energy policy which saw that that project be, or that program be dumped. This was something that had been worked on, that business leaders had been calling for, householders been calling for experts had been calling for, and instead, Peter Dutton to try and get a leg up in his leadership ambitions trashed the whole policy.

JOURNALIST: You’ve touched on the leadership instability but of course Labor Party’s had their fair share of the issue in the last few years, isn’t a little bit rich to try and politically point score off this issue?

RISHWORTH: Look during the Rudd-Gillard years we certainly have said that we’ve learnt lessons, but the last five years Bill Shorten has led a united team. United in purpose and that is a fairer go for Australians. To actually tackle issues of hospitals and schools to give our children and also people that are not well the best possible services.

We’ve been united when it comes to our tax policies. We’ve been united when it comes to our housing policies. We’ve worked together as a team, we’ve learnt our lessons from the past and we are now I think in a position where I think we are ready to govern. When the election comes we will be putting our best foot forward and then the Australian people will make a decision.

JOURNALIST: Leadership instability has been a plague on both houses if you will, what do you think the election will make of yet another I suppose, discussion about leadership instability between the two major parties?

RISHWORTH: Well look I think a lot of people will be shaking their head at Peter Dutton’s interview and thinking what is he up to. Can’t they just all get along. Why is he undermining Scott Morrison?

Look but when it comes to the Labor Party we just focus on our policies, we’re focused on the future. Bill Shorten has led our team for five years, and we have been doing the work that an Opposition should be doing, and that is getting our policies ready for Government.

There’ll be no surprises when and if we are elected to government, because we have put forward our policies. So if we do get the chance to govern in the future, then there will be no surprises when it comes to our team, our policies and our leader.


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