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Transcript of interview with Kel Richards and Andrew Bolt: 2GB: 12 October 2012: comments made at CFMEU dinner, Tony Abbott, Nicola Roxon, Julia Gillard, Slater & Gordon, Union



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Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade

Julie Bishop2GB with Kel Richards and Andrew Bolt

12/10/2012

Subjects: comments made at CFMEU dinner, Tony Abbott, Nicola Roxon, Julia Gillard, Slater & Gordon, Unions E&OE…… QUESTION Look, fair dinkum. I know you’ve got to make a serious point about Labor’s double standards and all that, but don’t you just laugh? JULIE BISHOP Doesn’t it just expose the sheer hypocrisy and dishonesty of the campaign being spearheaded by Julia Gillard and Nicola Roxon? Accusing the Coalition of sexism and then they set this standard that - if an offensive remark is made then the Coalition members were failing in their behaviour by not standing up and walking out on Alan Jones. Well, Labor Ministers have utterly failed the very test they set for the Coalition when an offensive remark was made last night about Tony Abbott’s female chief of staff, in the presence of Labor Ministers, not only did they not walk out, they stayed to enjoy the night! QUESTION They made speeches JULIE BISHOP They made a speech. QUESTION Can we just get away from this? [inaudible] Julie, I mean, maybe I’m a bit older than you are, I don’t know anymore. Well I’m sure I’m much older than you. JULIE BISHOP You’re very charming thank you. QUESTION But, Julie do you remember, I don’t know whether you recall it but Stan Freberg did a terrific comedy routine where he started singing Old Man River and he had the [inaudible] by his side, beeping the buzzer when ever he said something rude like, well don’t say ‘old’, say ‘elderly’. The song was completely destroyed. Why are you saying men? [inaudible] it’s just ridiculous everyone’s now jumping on the bandwagon. JULIE BISHOP Andrew, Nicola Roxon, who’s spearheading this campaign of sexism and misogyny against the Coalition and Tony Abbott in particular had a couple of examples of why Tony Abbott was a sexist and she said because he’s not very friendly to her at social functions. Well, Nicola, have a look at yourself. Perhaps he doesn’t enjoy your company. QUESTION I know. She was confusing a general dislike of females with a very specific dislike of Nicola Roxon which I think is quite legitimate. Julie, Can I ask you a question? There’s an interesting parallel between Maggie Thatcher and what Julia Gillard is doing. Maggie Thatcher never once played the gender card did she? JULIE BISHOP Not once. Maggie Thatcher was prepared to be judged on her performance and her competence and her fitness for office. What’s happened with Julia Gillard is she has decided to put up this lame defence of sexism against legitimate criticism. So, she uses gender as a shield against legitimate criticism about her performance, her trustworthiness, her judgment, which have all been called into question; her integrity, her honesty. It’s got nothing to do with her gender. But what she is doing now is she is using this vile charge of misogyny against her critics. All her critics hate women. Now like most desperate excuses, this is a false argument. It’s a vile thing to say about a man, and to say it about the Leader of the Opposition, that he hates women. What an offensive thing to reflect on Margie Abbott - his daughters, his sister, his mother, his wife, who clearly love Tony, Tony clearly loves them and cares for them deeply. Yet Julia Gillard stands up there and says on a national broadcast that Tony Abbott is a misogynist and he hates women. It’s disgusting, she should apologise and withdraw it.... QUESTION

I agree, and I think this campaign has suddenly exhausted itself [inaudible] and hypocrisy. It’s gone into the swamp now. Let’s talk about something more serious. JULIE BISHOP I’ll just give you another example. Apparently, when we ask a question in question time, a question to the Prime Minister, 'can she explain', we are not allowed to use the word ‘she’ because it’s now sexist. QUESTION [inaudible] JULIE BISHOP It’s a subject pronoun, there are only two others. Which would they prefer we apply to the Prime Minister? QUESTION Look, I think people are starting to see through it. I mean, its really [inaudible] feminist of this world. [inaudible] but listen - I was really struck by a topic that the Coalition's been very, very scared of coming near, but which you got up in question time and did approach and I’m wondering why you did it and I’m wondering what the import of it is. As you imagine, my ears pricked up when you got up in question time and said to Julia Gillard about her work for a former boyfriend and client when she was a solicitor. A union official she help set up this union officials slush fund, called it a slush fund, which she then used to rip of some half a million dollars, mainly for his own benefit it would appear. What you said was, what you asked was this - Did Julia Gillard, knowing about these rip offs, not just break up with him as she has said, but notify authorities, as was her duty to the court as a solicitor. Now, you didn’t get a straight answer. What’s the issue here? JULIE BISHOP This goes to the Prime Minister’s character, it goes to her honesty, and her integrity. She’s evaded answering questions about the Slater & Gordon - AWU matter for months, and she did a press conference where she took the Canberra press gallery by surprise and she spent an hour answering the questions in a way that she wished to, but from now on she claims that any questions, any critics of her conduct in that matter comes from nut-jobs and misogynists. Well, I don’t claim to be either, so I have asked her questions that go to her very integrity. I asked her yesterday about a report where about a million dollars of union members fees had been used to buy a house for a union official, and I asked whether or not she had....[inaudible] QUESTION [inaudible] Electrical Trades Union JULIE BISHOP Indeed. I asked whether the Fair Work Act covered that action and what she thought of it. Well she gave an answer that said - if there is evidence of misconduct or if there are claims of this nature and misappropriation of funds and the like, then people should take it immediately to the appropriate authority. So today, I asked - when she became aware of the misappropriation of union members" funds through Bruce Wilson of the AWU, did she then take it to the appropriate authority? She refused to answer, but we know, we can infer that, we also know that, she did not. She didn’t report it to her partners… QUESTION So what’s the issue here for a solicitor? What are the obligations to a solicitor [inaudible] they are an officer of the court, aren’t they? JULIE BISHOP Indeed, and under the legal practice rules at the time in Victoria, as a practising solicitor, she had a number of very serious obligations, including to her partners, to her professional indemnity insurers, to the legal professional conduct board, but also … QUESTION What should she have done? JULIE BISHOP To report the misappropriation of union members funds through a Slater & Gordon trust account. QUESTION But, Julie, would it stop her stone walling if you got up and said in the Parliament - Prime Minister, here’s a question you were not asked at the one hour press conference - and then ask your question, so that she cant come back with the stone wall that ‘I’ve answered every question’ JULIE BISHOP Thank you You should be on our tactics committee. QUESTION Sorry, because it was indeed not asked. I believe it might have been asked in written questions to her by chance, that she hasn’t answered, but not in that press conference JULIE BISHOP

But Andrew, the Prime Minister is incapable of accepting responsibility for her failures, for her dishonesty, for her incompetence, for her errors of judgement and she has now settled on this unworthy defence that any one who questions her or criticises her is sexist or a misogynist, well I’ve seen through that. The Australian people have seen through that and she cannot absolve herself by [inaudible] QUESTION Ok, can I ask one more question about this matter. The documents and evidence that have come to light, you may be across it but if you are not, it is this - some $100 000 of that money that her boyfriend took was used to buy a house for him in Melbourne. Julia Gillard helped him, went to the auction, for example. It was bought in the name of one of his side-kicks even though it was for him. That side-kick, Ralph Blewered, had this all done in his name under a signed allegedly a power of attorney over to Julia Gillard’s boyfriend. That power of attorney was witnessed by Julia Gillard, the signed [inaudible] in whose name it was signed over his power of attorney to her boyfriend, but it now say’s, Ralph Blewett inaudible] that he wasn’t with Julia Gillard when she witnessed the signature, she wasn’t even in the same city, and then in his recollection it wasn’t on the date she swears he signed it. Her signature appears on the specific power of attorney, signing over this guy’s power of attorney to her boyfriend, he say’s she wasn’t there, I wasn’t there, it wasn’t that date. Are you going to investigate that? JULIE BISHOP Well, I certainly am. My understanding of the Oaths Act and any solicitor would be aware of that, is that these are very serious questions. This whole Slater & Gordon matter does go to the question of her character, her honesty and her integrity. I note that Nicola Roxon said the other day that questions about what Tony Abbott did as a university student 35 years ago are relevant. It’s fair game, she said. Well, surely the conduct of the Prime Minister about 15 years ago as a practising solicitor, a senior partner in a law firm, not a young and naïve solicitor, but a partner in a law firm, who’d been in the law long enough to be appointed a judge in the standards of the day - if you’d been a lawyer for seven years you can be appointed a judge, so she was not a young and naïve lawyer - and her conduct in this matter does raise these questions. I’m not aware of the detail of these documents but I’ll most certainly look at them. QUESTION Julie Bishop, it’s been a delight having you on the program. Thank you for that. JULIE BISHOP Thank you Kel, thank you Andrew.