Doorstop – Canberra





SUBJECTS: Cuts to the ABC and SBS; Tony Abbott’s broken promises

JASON CLARE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS: In an extraordinary interview yesterday afternoon on Sky News, Malcolm Turnbull effectively threw Tony Abbott under a bus.

Malcolm Turnbull was interviewed by David Speers on Sky News and he said two things. First he finally admitted that Tony Abbott’s promise not to cut the ABC was a broken promise, and Tony Abbott still hasn’t done that. He should admit that he has broken his word, that he has broken a promise.

Second, Malcolm Turnbull has revealed that Tony Abbott has misled the Parliament. Tony Abbott on Monday said in answer to a question in Question Time that these weren’t cuts, he said that they were “efficiency dividends”.

Malcolm Turnbull contradicted that yesterday. He told David Speers on two occasions that these are not efficiency dividends. This means one of two things, either Malcolm Turnbull is wrong or Tony Abbott has misled the Parliament. If Tony Abbott has misled the Parliament, then he should come into the Parliament and correct the record and apologise.

Happy to take questions.

JOURNALIST: [Inaudible]

CLARE: It’s up to him. This, as I said yesterday, this is bigger than the ABC – this is about trust. Tony Abbott has now broken so many promises people don’t trust anything he says and it’s made worse if he lies to the Australian Parliament. When you lie to the Parliament, you are lying to the Australian people and it seems that what Tony Abbott said in the Parliament on Monday was wrong. Now that may have been an accident or it may have been deliberate. The bottom line is he needs to correct the record and that’s what we are asking him to do today.

JOURNALIST: Would you be willing to compromise on the Paid Parental Leave Scheme [inaudible]?

CLARE: What we don’t think is right is that millionaire mums should be paid fifty thousand dollars to have a baby. This is a twenty billion dollar scheme over four years. We don’t think that’s the right approach and it’s particularly not the right approach when we’ve got a bad budget which is asking people to pay seven dollars to go to the doctor or wants to double the cost of going to university. I think that shows that this Government has its priorities upside down.

JOURNALIST: [Inaudible]

CLARE: I’d be happy to have that debate. My view on that is very clear, I voted in favour of same sex marriage when it was last before the Parliament and I will do exactly the same when it comes before the Parliament again.

I’d also just add this point, I would hope that the Prime Minister and the Liberal Party and National Party would allow their Members a conscience vote on this. I think it is important that all Members are allowed to vote with their hearts not according to the Party that they belong to.

JOURNALIST: What do you make of Malcolm Turnbull’s suggestion in that interview yesterday that the Labor Party and the ABC, when Labor was in Government, were in some form of agreement?

CLARE: I agree with some of the things Malcolm said in that interview but not that. That’s ridiculous and I think that just shows how desperate the Government is. They are desperately trying to distract people’s attention from a broken promise. Whether it’s some of the things that he’s written to the Board and Management of the ABC about or now this, it’s a desperate attempt at a distraction. Trying to distract people from what is a rolled gold broken promise.

Thanks very much.