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Transcript of interview with Ashleigh Gillon: Sky News: 12 September 2018: Women in the Liberal Party; Peter Dutton and the au pair affair; The Liberal Government's bungled child care changes

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SUBJECTS: Women in the Liberal Party, Peter Dutton and the au pair affair,

The Liberal Government’s bungled child care changes

ASHLEIGH GILLON: I am joined now by the Shadow Minister for Early Childhood

Education, Amanda Rishworth. Amanda Rishworth, good to see you, thanks for

your time. We have seen Labor and I see you have been out this morning on the

doors of parliament accusing Scott Morrison of bullying over this GST story. We

are seeing denials from Scott Morrison and now from the Tasmanian Treasurer

that the words reportedly used from Mr. Morrison they say were incorrect. Are you

worried that there is this wide spread culture of bullying in Canberra or is this just

apart of politics?


DEVELOPMENT, AMANDA RISHWORTH MP: There have clearly been a number

of women that have stood up in the Liberal Party and said they believe what

happened during the leadership spill went across the line and was much more than

the rough and tough tumble of politics- some actually had their preselection’s

threatened and I think what has been most concerning is that Scott Morrison

seems to be- as the new Prime Minister- in denial about this. He seems to

regularly be saying that this didn’t happen, that there was no bullying. I think any

organisation that is in denial about bullying within their organisation won’t go at all

to solve the problem. I think it is a pretty big concern that Scott Morrison isn’t

dealing with this and the Liberal Party isn’t dealing with this- I think people would

expect some leadership from him.

GILLON: Is the Labor Party though, taking too many leaps when it comes to some

of the attacks you have been using? As I mentioned, you and your colleagues

have been quick to make this bullying link to Scott Morrison over this GST story

that has been denied by the Prime Minister’s office. Then there is the Peter Dutton

case- Labor has been hard on the attack over that situation despite the fact that we

have seen the former Home Affairs boss, Roman Quaedvlieg being discredited, in

terms of some of the information he has put forward on the public record has been

found to be incorrect, to be false. Mr. Morrison has launched a very strong defence

of his Home Affairs Minister this morning, Labor is continuing to pressure him to

resign over some of these issues.

RISHWORTH: I think I will start with Scott Morrison and the descriptions that were

in the paper this morning about him calling Tasmanians beggars. Now, whether

that is true or not, of course we have got some reports out there but of course what

he hasn’t denied is that Malcolm Turnbull had to put him aside and actually step in

on the GST negotiations because he wasn’t listening to his colleague in Tasmania,

he was not able to do the deal and so it was actually Malcolm Turnbull who had to

set him aside. That is a pretty damming description of the negotiations and very

concerning for Tasmanians who rely on a fair share of the GST to ensure they can

get the services they need. In terms of Peter Dutton; does any of what Peter

Dutton has said actually answer the questions that Australians are asking? Peter

Dutton and his description of events just don’t pass the pub test. When we talk

about the information out there, this is all on the public record, Labor has been

asking questions about documents that are in the public record and I think

Australians what to know they have a transparent, accountable government and

that is clearly not the case when it comes to this Morrison Government.

GILLON: You are not worried that Roman Quaedvlieg will turn out to be the Labor

Party’s Godwin Grech? That you are relying on his word too heavily on this issue?

RISHWORTH: What the Labor Party has asked questions on- and rightly so- I am

sure the Australian people would expect, is on public documents and a Senate

Inquiry as well as the Minister’s own published email. Let’s be really clear; the

Minister has said he did not know this person and the email suggests otherwise.

There are serious questions for the Minister to answer. He needs to be

accountable to the Australian people. Australians are sick and tired of Ministers

skirting and not answering questions and not being accountable to them. The

Minister is really trying to deflect answering the questions, trying to distract

everyone from the fact that he has some serious questions to answer and the

events just don’t pass the pub test and I think Australians do expect more and I

think they expect more from the Prime Minister himself. Why isn’t he taking some

leadership and demand that Peter Dutton clearly explain the events that happened

instead of just defending him which is what he is doing.

GILLON: Well, I think we will hear more about this in a couple of hours in question

time this afternoon. I do just want to look at your portfolio. I have seen this report

today in the Courier Mail suggesting that a technical issue with the government’s IT

child care subsidy system means that at least one child care centre is saying, look

we aren’t going to be able to pay our workers on time because the subsidies have

not come through on time. Is it really fair for you to be out pressuring the

government on this issue? The government doesn’t own or operate child care

centres, it isn’t responsible for paying the wages of workers in individual centres.

This case does appear to be one anomaly. The government says overall the new

system is working very well.

RISHWORTH: It is the government’s IT system which they introduced. A new

payment system which they indeed failed to test before they went live. There was

very little work done with providers to prepare this, despite having a large lead in

time. So it is the government’s responsibility to make sure they are paying the

providers and paying the families. What we do know is this is not just an isolated

case, I have got numerous examples of whether it be families that have been

struggling to get on to the system and have not been backdated payments or

whether it is providers that are struggling to get payments from the government,

whether it is families or providers struggling to meet the new requirements-

whether it be the activity test or indeed the children at risk test; there are problems

with this IT system which was the government’s own design interfacing with the

software that providers use. It has been a complete shambles and a complete

debacle and it has been disappointing the government has been so focused on

itself and not the workers that aren’t being paid as a result or the families that can’t

get on to the system. Quite frankly it is time the government stops focusing on

itself, focusing on who is Prime Minister for the day, who is knifing who in Canberra

and actually get on with the job with actually providing these payments to child

care centres, to educators, to workers and indeed families because at the moment

this isn’t an isolated incident- we continue to hear stories where people are unable

to get on to the system and centres are not being paid.

GILLON: Amanda Rishworth I have done a few interviews with you in recent

months since this new child care subsidy kicked in and you have raised a number

of concerns in various areas about how this system is working. You have flagged

there may be some changes from Labor, when will we see Labor’s child care

policy? Why is it taking so long for you to announce it to Australians? You are

talking about the need for transparent and honest and upfront about what their

plans for the country are, surely this is a pretty key policy from Labor we haven’t

seen yet?

RISHWORTH: Ashleigh, I would say Labor has been on the front foot in

announcing many many different policy areas- just last week I was with Bill

Shorten to announce Labor’s commitment to a Military Covenant in my other

portfolio. I am working very hard. Last week I had a meeting with a number of

educators who continue to point out holes and problems with this new system and

so I want to present a comprehensive early education policy and I will do that along

with my Labor team but we are working to make sure we address the problems

that continue to arise under the government’s scheme. I am not going to announce

it here on your show today but I can assure you Labor will have a thought out and

detailed child care policy- early education policy that will make sure that child care

is available to Australian families.

GILLON: Well, we all look forward to seeing it- hopefully sooner rather than later.

Amanda Rishworth thanks for joining us live there in Canberra. Thank you.

RISHWORTH: Thank you.



Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra.