Doorstop Interview – Parliament House, Canberra

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister

Peter Dutton is playing hide and seek with the Australian people. He is hiding from the voters of Aston, while seeking their vote. Peter Dutton is hiding his policies, while seeking to undermine the policies of the Government. And Peter Dutton is hiding behind his front bench, while they seek to undermine progress towards a constitutionally enshrined Voice.

But one thing that Peter Dutton can’t hide is his friendship with Clive Palmer. We’ve seen reports in the Courier Mail that Peter Dutton and Clive Palmer are good friends. But what we see today in the West Australian is that Peter Dutton’s friend, Clive Palmer, is suing the Australian Government for $300 billion. And who’s helping Clive Palmer sue the Australian Government for $300 billion? Peter Dutton’s other friend, the former Liberal Attorney-General, now the former Liberal Attorney-General has sided up with Clive Palmer. He wasn’t happy just backing Clive Palmer when he was in this Parliament. He’s now working for him on his payroll, trying to make sure that the Australian Government has to pay $300 billion because of this billionaire bully’s attempt to undermine Australian democracy.

So, there’s a test for Peter Dutton on this, does he actually pick up the phone to his friend Clive Palmer and say, ‘Stop attacking your own country?’ Peter Dutton when he was on the Expenditure Review Committee gave Australia a trillion dollars of debt. If Peter Dutton’s mate gets away with this, it will add an extra $300 billion of debt, to that Liberal debt that we’re already working to pay off. So, my simple call to the Liberal Party is to finally end their addiction to friendship with Clive Palmer. For Peter Dutton to pick up the phone and say, “mate, you’ve got to stop this.” And I think it’s really telling that the first thing that Liberal Party politicians do when they get out of Parliament, is they go and side up with people like Clive Palmer, to undermine the Australian Government.

And speaking of people leaving Parliament, I think there’s a question on the minds of a number of Liberal Party members today. And that question is, is this Scott Morrison’s final day in this Parliament? We’ve already got the Aston by-election well and truly underway. But do we have a Cook by-election later this year? Will we have other by-elections? Will there be a Fadden by-election? But I think there’s a question as to whether we will actually see – the Budget’s only 40 sleeps away – will Scott Morrison be here for that Budget sitting in May? I think it’ll be interesting to see. And so, while the Liberal Party are busy playing hide and seek and footsies with Clive Palmer, the Government has been getting on with the job.

Getting on with the job of progressing the Safeguard Mechanism, negotiating in good faith, and I thank the senators who’ve been doing long hours making sure that we get this policy done, because that’s what the Australian people voted for. And then we look at getting the work done on the National Reconstruction Fund, a big $15 billion commitment to back Australian manufacturing. Again, what the Australian people voted for.

And this morning, in the House of Representatives, the Albanese Labor Government, the Attorney-General, the Minister for Indigenous Australians, will be there to do what the Australian people voted for in enshrining the Uluru Statement from the Heart in our Constitution through a Constitutionally-enshrined voice. This is a big moment, what we’re going to see is a constitutional amendment put to the Parliament. Nine o’clock this morning.

Many people have come to this Parliament and left this Parliament without ever seeing a constitutional amendment put through the Parliament. It’s going to happen this morning, delivering a huge step on that commitment towards reconciliation, a huge step on that commitment to implementing Uluru Statement from the Heart and a big moment for our nation. I just encourage every Australian to watch the speech this morning. To read the explanatory memorandum. I don’t think I’ll ever say that again. I don’t think I’ll ever encourage every Australian to read an explanatory memorandum. But on this one, it’s worth doing. This is a big moment. All 17.3 million Australians will be eligible to vote later this year. It’s a big decision. But we’ve got to get this done. Thank you.

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