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Transcript of doorstop interview: Parliament House: 18 November 2013: Griffith by-election, Productivity review into childcare, Repeal of the Carbon Tax, Paid Parental Leave Scheme



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THE HON CHRISTOPHER PYNE MP Minister for Education Leader of the House

TRANSCRIPT

E&OE TRANSCRIPT Morning Doorstop Interview Monday 18 November 2013

SUBJECTS: Griffith by-election, Productivity review into childcare, Repeal of the Carbon Tax, Paid Parental Leave Scheme

CHRISTOPHER PYNE:

…from Griffith under their by-election. He said last week would be his last week in Parliament, but he still hasn't resigned. So I'm calling on Kevin Rudd to resign today, because if he resigns today from the Parliament a by-election can be held on 21 December and the electors of Griffith can have a new member of parliament for the New Year. If Kevin Rudd doesn't resign today, one has to wonder why he's still playing games with the voters of Australia and in particular his seat of Griffiths [sic].

If he doesn't resign today, the by-election can't be held until the New Year because of the necessity to give thirty-three days' notice. And of course that effectively means a by-election more like in February next year, because nobody would welcome being called back from their summer holidays for a by-election during January. So Kevin Rudd has within his gift to give the members of Griffiths a parting gift, a new member of parliament, whether it's Bill Glasson, or anyone else, for that matter. And if he resigns today, he can do that.

If he doesn't resign today, he's effectively consigning the electors of Griffiths to not have a member of parliament effectively for many months, because, of course, now he has resigned. He is leaving the Parliament. So I call on Kevin Rudd to do the right thing by the electors of Griffiths, to resign today, to give his resignation to the Speaker and therefore allow a by-election on 21 December. If he doesn't do that, he will be deliberately denying a by-election on 21 December.

QUESTION:

Are you saying he's been deliberate to this point, playing politics by not resigning earlier?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE:

Well, now that he knows that he's been called upon to resign today, he has all day to have a letter taken around to Bronwyn Bishop to resign. I'd assumed when he announced on Wednesday night that he was resigning last week, he meant he was resigning last week. And I assumed that the letter would be received by the Speaker by now and that therefore a

by-election could be called. He hasn't done that and therefore he has full notice from now that if he resigns today a by-election can be held on 21 December.

QUESTION:

Why does there need to be a by-election before the end of the year?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE:

Well, because voters deserve to have a member of parliament who represents them in Canberra and in their dealings with the ministers.

QUESTION:

[Inaudible].

CHRISTOPHER PYNE:

Well, Parliament sits about eighteen weeks a year.

QUESTION:

But not over summer.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE:

If I could finish. Parliament sits about eighteen weeks a year. Members of parliament keep working, you'll be surprised to hear, in those other weeks of the year. Thirty-four weeks of the year we are working in our electorates. We're doing our jobs as ministers or shadow ministers or committee chairs, representing our electors to ministers, trying to achieve things for our electorates. So the sitting of parliament isn't the only time one needs a member of parliament in your local electorate.

Kevin Rudd, if he fails to resign today, will mean that the electors of Griffiths will not have a member until probably February or March next year. And I think they deserve to have a member and I think they would think that as well. And, of course, once he's announced he's resigning, why hasn't he resigned? What's he hanging around for? He's announced his resignation. If he resigns today, we can have a by-election. Otherwise one has to question why he's continuing to play games with the Australian public.

QUESTION:

Would any delay have an impact on the Coalition's chances of winning the seat?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE:

I don't know. I haven't even considered that. The simple fact is that we…

QUESTION:

So you're not calling for this to be wrapped up sooner because it's not going to affect the chances of Bill Glasson possibly taking over the seat?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE:

I'm calling on Kevin Rudd to resign today because there needs to be a by-election as soon as possible in Griffiths. That's what the electors deserve. He's announced his resignation and there's no reason why he should delay. In terms of who wins or loses the seat, that's less important. Obviously we believe that our candidate, Bill Glasson, is the best person to represent Griffiths. We believed that two months ago, or two-and-a-half months ago, when he had that election and we believe it today. But that's not the reason I'm calling on Kevin Rudd to resign today.

QUESTION:

Is there a risk, though, having it so close to Christmas there could be a lot of backlash, or people just won't be switched on?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE:

I don't think so. I mean, I think the electors of Griffiths can walk and chew gum at the same time. I'm sure they can enjoy Christmas and as well as vote in a new member of parliament on 21 December. This week's also a very important week for Bill Shorten, because he has the opportunity this week to vote through the abolition of the carbon tax. Or he could again stand in the way of the will of the Australian people.

So this week the carbon tax will be voted on, probably towards the end of the week. And Bill Shorten will have to make a choice about whether he supports the will of the people as expressed on 7 September to abolish the carbon tax, or whether he stands in their way and insists on keeping electricity bills higher than they need to be. Keeping prices higher than they need to be.

Continuing to put pressure on Australian industry, particularly trade-exposed industry, and not making the necessary reductions in emissions that would occur if the Coalition could go ahead with its policy of direct action and the abolition of the carbon tax.

QUESTION:

Minister, will the paid parental leave scheme be part of the Productivity Commission review into childcare?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE:

Well, it will to this extent. I mean, it's not the purpose of the Productivity Commission review.

QUESTION:

But why then - why does it need to be included when it was a signature policy at the election?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE:

Yes.

QUESTION:

Could there be changes there?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE:

It has to be included because, of course, when the paid parental leave scheme is introduced and mothers are able to stay home longer with their children because they are financially supported, that will affect the use of childcare. So therefore it's obviously part of the review. It's not the centre of the review. The review is about childcare, but…

QUESTION:

You can't rule out changes then, if the Productivity Commission review makes recommendations that the paid parental leave scheme needs to be altered, well…

CHRISTOPHER PYNE:

No, Laura. The Productivity Commission review is not a review into the paid parental leave scheme.

QUESTION:

So you can categorically rule out any changes to the paid parental scheme that was taken [inaudible]?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE:

There will be no changes to the paid parental leave scheme. The reason that the paid parental leave scheme is in the Productivity Commission review is only insofar as it impacts on the amount of time that women stay at home with their newborn babies, in which case they'll obviously be using childcare less during those six to twelve months. That's why it's part of one of the headings, amongst many, in the commission review. But it's not the purpose of the review.

QUESTION:

But what happens if the Productivity Commission, amongst its recommendations, also recommends changes to the PPL?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE:

Well, it's unlikely…

QUESTION:

And especially if they want a two-hundred thousand dollar cut.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE:

It's very unlikely that it would, because…

QUESTION:

No, but if there was, would the Coalition rule that out? Will it reject the…

CHRISTOPHER PYNE:

Well, look, the Productivity Commission will be looking into how the paid parental leave scheme will have women staying at home longer with their children. It's not actually inquiring into the mechanics of the paid parental leave scheme.

QUESTION:

Will the Coalition support, or consider supporting, any of Labor's amendments to the carbon tax repeal bill, such as the cap on pollution?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: No. Thank you.