2SM MARCUS PAUL IN THE MORNING
TUESDAY, 21 SEPTEMBER 2021
SUBJECTS: Victorian construction industry; Christian Porter
MARCUS PAUL, HOST: Andrew Leigh - good morning to you, Andrew. How are you, mate?
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR TREASURY AND CHARITIES: Terrific, Marcus - the better to be with you.
PAUL: Nice to talk to you. What's going on in Victoria, because yesterday the CFMEU, you would have seen all of the vision there. This isn't the Australia that I know. I mean, I'm seeing now people are sending me videos of some of these mugs, these morons, kicking dogs, for goodness sake.
LEIGH: Some of that behaviour has just been appalling, and the idea that you'd get together in a large group without masks at a time like this just baffles me. Now, we ought to all be working together to kick this virus and to get Australia back to normal. We don't do that by having large mass gatherings or by opposing vaccination.
PAUL: I mean, I wonder what the concern is, because Daniel Andrews has been very clear that if people want to work in certain sectors - and he's not the only one - they need to be vaccinated. I knew there was going to be pushback, but I didn't think it'd be this violent and this sudden. Who I worry about and who I'm concerned for now that it's all gone to hell in a handbasket in the whole construction industry in Victoria has effectively been shut down for two weeks, I worry about those that have done the right thing. What about those laborers, you know, on 20 odd bucks an hour who won't have any work over the next couple of weeks because of these idiots behaving the way they did yesterday?
LEIGH: Absolutely, and you look around the world and it's very clear that in many industries mandates are going to become a fact of life. Of course, we need appropriate exemptions for people who aren't able to get vaccinated for health reasons, but this is a normal state of affairs and it's going to become part of the way in which we're able to quickly return to normal.
PAUL: Christian Porter, if I may? Yesterday, the Acting Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce - let that sink in - Barnaby Joyce yesterday said Christian just needs to cool his heels a little on the back bench and before you know it he'll be back bigger and stronger than ever, and he still has a part to play in federal politics. What's your take on that?
LEIGH: Well, Barnaby Joyce is suggesting Christian Porter can join that revolving door of recalcitrants. Sussan Ley, Bridget McKenzie, Stuart Robert all did a spell on the back bench and then came back for more. Of course, Barnaby Joyce himself has followed that playbook. The fact is that Christian Porter has behaved in a way in which no MP should be allowed to behave. It's an incredible privilege to have a job like this, and one of the things that comes with it is that you have to disclose all gifts you receive over $300. You can't simply say 'well, it was in a brown paper bag on my front doorstep and I'm not going to ask any further questions.'
LEIGH: That's inconsistent with the role of being an MP. You know, if that sort of arrangement worked then you'd be talking about Premier Barry O'Farrell rather than Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Barry O'Farrell resigned because he failed to declare a gift that he'd received. Christian Porter can't simply take a million dollars for his legal fees and think that it's OK to continue as an MP.
PAUL: All right. Even the boss, Albo, says Christian Porter may have stepped down as a minister but he's still a member of parliament, and we can't have members of parliament accepting anonymous donations of cash. He says the Prime Minister has failed another test of his leadership. There are still so many questions that the Prime Minister needs to answer. Who provided this money? How was it provided? Is there any conflict of interest? Does anyone who provided money have contracts with the Government?
LEIGH: It doesn't pass the pub test. It doesn't even pass the comedy club test. I mean, this is a guy who's failed the ministerial standards. He stepped down because he breached the ministerial standards, but he's now breaching the standards that apply to all MPs. No-one knows where this money can come from. As my colleague Mark Dreyfus has pointed out, if this arrangement was allowed to stand then people could effectively buy MPs. It just can't be allowed, and Labor will be referring it to the privileges committee and taking it up in the House.
PAUL: Alright, Andrew we'll have to leave it there this morning, mate. Thank you very much for your time as always. We'll talk again next week. Appreciate it.
LEIGH: Terrific. Thanks, Marcus.
Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra