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(generated from captions) This Program is

Captioned Live. Hello and welcome to Capital

Hill. I'm Lyndal Curtis. The

word "troubled" seems to hardly

begin to describe the now

abandoned tender process for

the overseas broadcaster Australia Network. Accusations

of an acrimonious relationship between the Prime Minister and

the man she replaced Kevin

Rudd, Cabinet has now given perpetuity. The other bidder network to the ABC in

Sky is furious and Opposition

is calling for an inquiry to be

added to the AFP investigation and the look at the

the Auditor-General. Joining me

to discuss this and other

events of the day are Labor senator Louise Pratt and

to you both. Hello. Liberal MP Sussan Ley. Welcome

Hello. First to the tender

process, the Opposition says

the process has been a sham bes

and Sky is push to be

and the ABC is happy. is defending the final outcome compensated but the

and the ABC is happy. We'll

have a list tone those. After

much consideration to end all

of the uncertainty, there are contracts, there

are involved here, so to end

the uncertainty, we decided to make the decision yesterday and

obviously we announced that

last night.

A long and complex process.

We've been waiting for a long

time for it to be resolved T

has been a long wait for our

staff. But we're happy with

critique at the process. Our outcome. Others will judge

challenge is to think through

what does it mean to offer this

service in the time ahead. This

was a decision made at Cabinet

last night, a Cabinet minister

circulated which Mr Rudd received. Many ministers need

to be away from a Cabinet

meeting for a variety of

reasons of the usual process is

they ensure that their views

are represented within the

Cabinet room by the acting on their Cabinet room by the minister

that happened in this case. I'm

not intending to go to Cabinet discussions, but the absolute

usual protocols that an acting minister conveys the minister conveys the view of

the minister who is necessarily absent happened in this

case. Louise, do you have

understanding of how case. Louise, do you have any

process became so badly understanding of how this

botched? Well, clearly there were some leaks that happened that really put the process off the rails. Notwithstanding

that, I'm very happy with the decision that the has made today to give this

Australia Network to the ABC. Do you think that that decision should have happened when you first came government, that the process when you first came to

should not have been put should not have been put out

for a tender if it was eventually going to hand up in

the hands of the ABC in perpetuity? Well, clearly this

government and previous governments under Howard governments under Howard had

sought to really test the Australia Network and have a look at whether it should go out look at whether it should go

Government made a similar

decision, clearly Haas been

much discussed, that process

has come off the has come off the rails. Sussan,

we'll talk to but the tender process in a minister, but what

do you think about the final

outcome? Look, I have no

problem with the ABC running

the Australia Network, nor would I have with Sky News.

Each would have brought their

particular strengths and good

quality to the process. We in

the Opposition have a real is bad, the politics is bad, problem with

the public policy is bad and

it's actually really bad manners

investigation manners too. There is an AFP

investigation into the leaks.

The Auditor-General is also

having a look at it. Sussan, is

there really need for another

inquiry on top of that? inquiry on top of that? Well,

I know we need to get to the

bottom of what really went on, and Stephen Conroy, I's

laughable, he said he was

ending the uncertainty. He

created

create a tender process, you

don't know the outcome and

somehow halfway through if you

shouldn't be engineering want a particular outcome, you want a particular outcome,

shouldn't be engineering that. The compensation claim if

successful will also be very

expensive, so it is a mess. It

is symptomatic of the way this

government does business. Louise, Sky has started talking compensation. Given the expense started talking about

involved in this tender

process, are they due some they've been put through? I

think it would be fair and reasonable that their claim be

assessed but clearly they need to be real cost as attached to their their tender - the failed

tender process and what actual

costs they were subjected to.

So there will clearly be no

false claims here. Sussan, do

you think Sky should be compensated if they've got a case

case for, as Louise said, fair

and reasonable compensation?

Well, of course they Well, of course they should.

compensation awarded Nobody likes to

automatically, but look at automatically, but look at what

they've been put through in

they've been put through in

this idz charade and it is very

expensive to tender. substantial as the Australia

Network, there would have been

significant costs involved.

Just because the minister and

the Prime Minister embarrassed by Cabinet the Prime Minister were

embarrassed by Cabinet leaks

along the way, why should the

taxpayerer have to wear the cost and somehow be told that

this is good public policy?

It's not. It's keeping very bad

faith with the Australian people. Louise, if I could go

to the question of those leaks, there is a lot of suggestions there

that they are the result of effectively the effectively the continuing

damaging fallout of the

challenge to Kevin Rudd, his ousting as Prime Minister.

There was a lot of talk that he

Foreign Affairs Minister. Is preferred the Sky tender as a

this part of the continuing fallout

fallout that your party just hasn't managed to stem? I hasn't managed to stem? I would vehemently disagree with that.

What we know is that there were

leaks in relation to the tender

process and that that unfortunate. We regret that,

but I would suggest it has nothing to do with those of issues. Sussan, there are

leaks all the time in

government. There were leaks

under the Howard Government, leaks in governments before

that. Can you really guess as to the motivations behind to the motivations behind the

leaks when we don't really know

where they came from? where they came from? Well,

no, Lyndal there no, Lyndal there are not leaks all the time, there are not leaks from Cabinet all the

time. We don't have a

persistent leaker generally in

governments so I'm not pointing

the finger at anyone because

how would I know? But this

tender has been seriously

compromised, not just by the leaks but by the ridiculously bumbling handling by the

minister and Prime Minister and

suddenly to release the result last night and say they were

ending the uncertainty after a

couple of weeks before couple of weeks before that

saying they were going to re-do

the process, it only adds

injury to ridicule. It is

appropriate that we have an

inquiry and that we get to the

poor public policy and a lot of government dollars allocated to

an effectively wasted

process. If we could turn now

to the issue of same-sex marriage, Sussan Ley, some of your Liberal Party colleagues

think that there should be a conscience vote in conscience vote in the Liberal Party on this issue, particularly to allow frontbenchers to express their

deeply held view when the issue comes before comes before Parliament. Do awe

agree that this issue should be

the subject of the subject of a conscience

vote in your party? Look, I haven't made up that. There are arguments why

it should be a conscience vote

and arguments why it should

not. I don't think we should be frivolous about

frivolous about what are matters matters of conscience and what are matters of the are matters of the law, and

until we see some legislation rolled out and I can rolled out and I can actually eyeball it in black and white,

I'm not sure that I can meaningfully come up with an answer.

answer. The perspective that I

come from is a determination

that we don't that we don't have discrimination in this area, a

determination that young men

and women in the rural towns that I represent can grow up, if they are

not feeling that anyone in any

way is against them, but I also recognise that this is a

technical legal issue technical legal issue -

marriage is between a man and a woman at this stage under

Australian law. But what I am

going to do in the next few

weeks and what I have been

doing in the last few months is

talking to my constituents.

I've conducted surveys and I've

met many different couples and had that I've responded to

personally, so I'm very keen to

hear from the people that I

represent, not so much from the

people everywhere else in

Australia, and we are all

getting overwhelmed with the

response at the moment, but I'm

here to represent the seat here to represent the seat of

Farrah and I hope to do that

properly. So it's fair to say

you have not made up your mind

if the private member's bill

comes before Parliament? It's

fair to say that and nor

made up my mind if we should have a conscience vote on this and

and I know that might sound like a cop-out, but like a cop-out, but it's not. I

will have stated my reasons

will have stated my reasons and taken a great taken a great deal into account, but I would have seen the black and law the black and law proposed legislation and able to make judgments accordingly. Louise,

do you think it's the case that

at this point in time that if a

private member's bill is put

before before the Parliament it simply doesn't have the numbers doesn't have the numbers to

allow it to pass? It as a allow it to pass? It as a very real

the Opposition are allowed to

do in relation to this vote. I

would think, given the views of

the Australian people, which is

that the majority of them do support marriage equality, that that is the view that would

emerge from the Parliament emerge from the Parliament if indeed all parliamentarians across

across the party spectrum across the party spectrum are

given the ability to vote according to their conscience,

and indeed according to their electorate's views. There may

be a difference, though,

between what an MP might

personally think electorate might be telling

them. How do you weigh the balances of those differences? Well, I will differences? Well, I will be encouraging people who have

been affected by this

discrimination to go and talk

to their MPs because I know

that MPs like that MPs like Sussan are listening to their constituents

on this issue. The reason on this issue. The reason there

is such strong support for marriage equality in Australia

is that these days, most is that these days, most people know someone who has been

affected about I this discrimination. Sussan, do you

think there is a balancing act

to be done if it comes to to be done if it comes to a

question of a conscience vote between an and what their voters are

telling them, or does what your electorate want

out? Look, there is always a

balancing act and I know that some of the votes we've had in the past, around, for example,

RU 486 was very fraught in the

Parliament, but everyone that

watched that process watched that process was confident that confident that people spoke both from the perspective of their own feelings, but they

also took into account the feelings of their constituents

of the so there perhaps is of the so there perhaps is a

little bit of both in conscience vote, but I it's a little bit rich of Louise to say it depends what

the Liberal Party is allowed to do. Remember that in the

Liberal Party if we cross the

floor, we're still in the

Liberal Party. If Louise

crosses the floor, she is no

longer in the Labor Party and that has been an important

factor in why the Labor Party Council on the weekend has

determined the course of action

that it does. I don't that it does. I don't really

want to get political about

this and I know that people who have passions in the area don't

want to see us get want to see us get political,

but remember we do in the

option in the Liberal crossing the floor and Labor Party members the Party members don't. Although

the Shadow Cabinet is bound the Shadow Cabinet is bound by a decision of the Shadow

Cabinet, isn't it? If a Shadow Cabinet wants to cross Cabinet wants to cross the floor, they have to quit their

frontbench job, don't they?

That is possibly the case. To

be honest, I haven't seen it happen. But the important happen. But the important thing is that people on our side of

politics are in the next few

weeks going to talk weeks going to talk very

strongly within our own

partyroom and within our own

communities both in terms of the political views that we

represent and also in terms of represent and also in terms of our constituencies about our constituencies about this

issue. Louise s there a chance

that having such a focus on issue of same-sex marriage may

get in the way of dealing with

the other discriminations which

do exist in the gay community,

in the transgender community

and the intersex community? We've actually made

good progress as a result of

the National Conference on some of those made good progress as a made good progress as a government. We've recent ly done away done away with discrimination

in the issuing of passports, and with transgender people,

much of it needs to be

coordinate ed through the

states in order to fix those

problems. I would say this is

hardly a distraction. It is a

Victoria and is he symbolic

sign that the Australian Labor

Party does stand for

equality. That's where we equality. That's where we have

to leave it. Sussan Ley to leave it. Sussan Ley and Louise Pratt, thanks very much for your time. Thank you.

Thank you. And thank you for joining Capital Hill. Please join us at the same time

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