MP Patrick Gorman Speaks on Sky News Politics Now

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister, Assistant Minister for the Public Service

TRUDY MCINTOSH, CO-HOST: That is the now Prime Minister's view on the old Governor-General's pay rise. We will bring in the Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister Patrick Gorman, Pat, what's wrong with what Anthony Albanese said, there's so much more than what the average worker would be getting a minimum wage increase?

PATRICK GORMAN, ASSISTANT MINISTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER AND ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE:Like everyone in the government, I am pleased that 2.6 million workers who are on those minimum wage and award wages will get a pay increase because of the decision of fair work on the first of July. They will also get a tax cut. When it comes to what we are doing for the Governor-General's salary, I think it's important that your viewers know that this is a constitutional requirement. Section three of the Constitution requires the Parliament set the salary for the Governor-General, and it can't be changed during the term of the Governor-General. The comparator that we have used is to make it as close as possible to the Chief Justice of the High Court, the leading law officer of the land, obviously we then have the Governor-General who represents the King. It is the right thing to do to make sure that we set that salary as it has been set before. When you look at other examples, you mentioned, the unveiling of the portrait of the current Governor-General David Hurley, wonderful portrait. He's done an outstanding job serving the nation, but he was in receipt of a military pension. So he had requested in 2019, that the pay be adjusted to recognise that but at the same amount of money in effect.

MCINTOSH: Did Sam Mostyn request that this amount go to that rate, or this is where the government's decided it goes?

GORMAN: We have used the same comparator that has been used for a number of years. That is the comparator of the Chief Justice of the High Court. That's a figure that's not chosen by government, the Chief Justice's salary, that figure is chosen by the remuneration tribunal, which is a statutory body independent of government.

MCINTOSH: Does it pass the pub test though? Someone sitting at home, say they are on the minimum wage, they get 3.75 per cent on July 1, Sam Mostyn gets 43 per cent more than her predecessor.

GORMAN: Yeah, I think your viewers - even if they don't find that this is something they might have come to the conclusion of themselves - they would respect that what the government's doing with this legislation is meeting our constitutional requirements, and also being consistent with past practice.

ANDREW CLENNELL, CO-HOST: You won't be getting dismissed in a hurry with that sort of pay rise, will you?

GORMAN: Is that a reference to the dismissal? Or another -

CLENNELL: - No look it is an interesting scenario because she gets a massive pay rise. I know what you're saying about it being commensurate with previous Governors-General. If we end up in a hung parliament situation, she'll be called upon to give someone confidence, I imagine. I just, I do wonder how you would feel about the Coalition opposing this pay rise if that were to occur?

GORMAN: I read the speech that was given by the former Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister when the last pay bill was introduced in 2019, as has been done by governments for many years. The arguments that are outlined in that bill are exactly the same as the arguments that I outlined in introducing this bill today. I would hope that we are above day to day politics on something such as this. I would also hope that Members of Parliament recognise they have a constitutional obligation to set the salary for the Governor-General. That is an obligation that we all take on board and those settings have been in place for 123 years.

MCINTOSH: Have you got an assurance, though, from the Coalition or the requisite number of the Greens and the crossbench to get this through the Senate, with just three days left?

GORMAN: I am very confident that members will meet their obligations under the Constitution and recognise that what the government is putting forward is no different to what previous governments have put forward. The only difference being that we have taken into account military pensions and other sorts of Commonwealth pensions in previous appointments. That's the right thing to do. The comparator that we have used being the Chief Justice of the High Court, that's the right comparatives.

KIERAN GILBERT: Barnaby Joyce says that it was treacherous of Matt Kean to take on the role as Chair of the Climate Change Authority. Can you see why he's annoyed?

GORMAN: I think Barnaby Joyce has seen a lot of treachery in his time and the Liberal National Party room. I think he's seen a lot of that in terms of, you know, the rolling wars between him and other so he knows -

GILBERT: So, he knows it when he sees it, is that what you are trying to say?

GORMAN: When it comes to people, once they leave public office, as Matt Kean did. He decided no longer to be in Parliament. He wants to make a contribution in a different way. I welcome his appointment, he is someone who has, as we saw in the press conference with the Prime Minister, he's got a deep understanding of these issues. He's looked at all the alternatives when it comes to the energy options for Australia. I think people know there's a straight shooter when it comes to climate advice. He will give us clear advice. That's the job of the Chair of the Climate Change Authority. I look forward to seeing what he does with that role. But I feel like wherever you go, Barnaby Joyce is always squaring for a fight on climate change. I'm not surprised that he had some questions -

CLENNELL: Doesn't that suggest he is a bit so sort of politically convenient or malleable about issues, Matt Kean? In 2021, I interviewed him, and he said small modular reactors were a good idea. He's basically betraying the Liberals here. Don't you have any concerns that he might do the same to the government down the track?

GORMAN: Well, I don't think when it comes to his views, I think he will give us the views of someone who has got good up-close experience when it comes to looking at a range of these options. I can't comment on everything he said. I'm sure he has said a range of things in his time as a Liberal Party Treasurer and a senior member of the Liberals in New South Wales. I'm sure he said plenty of things that I wouldn't agree with as a Labor MP from Western Australia, I can think of a few different topics on that. But I trust that people who take on these roles, do them seriously. He will give us good advice. There's a whole range of people on the Climate Change Authority, who format advice, his job is to share that body -

CLENNELL: It's a political wedge though, isn't it, as well? I mean, it has that you know, convenient for you that it's a political wedge as well as what you would say an appointment about merit and about someone with expertise as a good communicator, and so forth.

GORMAN: Look if others have chosen to say it that way, that's a matter for them.

GILBERT: How has it been received in WA, that nuclear policy?

GORMAN: I was in Collie -

GILBERT: One of the plants is going in Collie, give us a sense of what the reaction is over there.

GORMAN: I think people have recognised that it is, again, a Liberal from this side of the country kind of trying to impose a will on Western Australia. We had Scott Morrison, the bulldozer, I think we have Peter Dutton, the steamroller. He's going to force this thing onto the community of Collie, which is very close to Bunbury, part of the South West, connected to the metropolitan Perth grid. People are pretty concerned about what we're seeing here. I was in Collie on Friday, I managed to squeeze in a quick chat to Tom while I was there. But there was a lot of questions. The people of Collie know that a lot of the water source they use for the current plants and other things comes from the watering of the coal mines. If you don't have that deep watering, where is the water source for a nuclear reactor? There's a question about if it's a small modular reactor, that's about 300 megawatts, whereas there's already a 500-megawatt battery being installed in Collie. So, are we going to have to upgrade the power lines to accommodate this? Mr. Dutton has said that the West Australian reactor would probably be the last in the series. Why? We spoke about WA meaning 'wait awhile' but why has he chosen to put Western Australia at the end of the queue? There's a huge number of questions.

GILBERT: Sounds like it's gone down well.

GORMAN: I'll tell you how well it's gone. Let me let me put it this way -

GILBERT: Not so well -

GORMAN: It has gone down so well, that Peter Dutton has never in his life been to Collie. It has gone down so well, that when David Littleproud went to Western Australia on Friday and Saturday, he did not visit Collie. I think that tells you how well it's gone.

TOM CONNELL, CO-HOST: You can tell them where it is. Maybe they'll get there. Let me -

GORMAN: I'll drive them myself, Tom. If you want to come along, you can cover it exclusively for Sky.

CLENNELL: I wouldn't mind a trip over there.

MCINTOSH: Sounds great.

CONNELL: Alright, we'll get in a Tarago, we will all head along. Let me ask you finally, Labor Senator Fatima Payman is mulling over crossing the floor over a Greens motion on Palestine? If she does, so just clarify this for me, would she be expelled from the party?

GORMAN: I don't speculate on how my colleagues are going to vote. I definitely don't speculate on how senators are going to vote.

CONNELL: But is that the consequence?

GORMAN: I would expect that all Labor senators know what we have expressed for a number of years. Which is dealing with complex foreign policy questions is not done best, by way of a simplistic Senate motion. That has been our position for a long time. That's normally the reason -

CONNELL: There would be no out, saying this issue is close to your heart?

GORMAN: It's normally the reason we don't vote for these motions, and we don't encourage these stunts by the Greens.

CONNELL: So she would be expelled?

GORMAN: I'm not going to speculate on a hypothetical like that.

CONNELL: I'm just clarifying what the consequences. My understanding has always been if you cross the floor, you get expelled. I saw one issue in 1975, where someone didn't, is that the automatic consequence?

GORMAN: 1975, I know was a pretty politically exciting year. I don't know about 1975.

CLENNELL: Involving the Governor-General?

GORMAN: I will put out there on the Governor-General Salary Act, the one that we amend today in the Parliament that was actually introduced 50 years ago in 1974.

CONNELL: We are nearly at time, but she would be excluded?

GORMAN: I think you're looking for a hypothetical.

CONNELL: Just wanting to clarify.

CLENNELL: That's the rules.

CONNELL: Labor party rules.


GORMAN: I have spent a lot of time, a number of years, on party rules committees and elsewhere.

CONNELL: So then you would know!

GORMAN: That's the rules! That's the rules! I would just hope that every Labor Senator votes as a collective, that's how we approach these things, and particularly on foreign policy motions. We have got a long-standing position of just not accepting that is a good way to conduct the nation's foreign policy.

CONNELL: We want you back, so we will end it there. Thanks Patrick.

GORMAN: Thank you.

/Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) might be of the point-in-time nature, and edited for clarity, style and length. Mirage.News does not take institutional positions or sides, and all views, positions, and conclusions expressed herein are solely those of the author(s).View in full here.