Transcript: Sky News

2.15pm | December 20, 2018



SUBJECT/S: Stuart Robert Senior’s expo, Andrew Broad, ALP pay equity announcement.
KIERAN GILBERT, HOST: Let's go live to Labor now and get some reaction to that story. Jenny McAllister, Shadow Assistant Minister for Families and Communities.
GILBERT: Is that a fair enough explanation from the Assistant Treasurer in terms of that Senior's expo as far as you can tell?
MCALLISTER: I think Mr Robert needs to put out a very clear written statement that explains what the operation of this Senior's Expo is. I heard his explanation but it's dependant on an assertion that the whole thing operates at a loss. I think that's the argument he is making in the newspaper today. It might be that some of the people who contributed funds to that particular enterprise actually want a little more transparency about how the money was used and really what's going on here. And I will make the point that this isn't the first time that questions have been raised about Mr Robert.
LAURA JAYES, HOST: No, can we ask about Andrew Broad now? These allegations that have come to light in the last 24 hours, do you think the response from Michael McCormack and the Nationals has been adequate?
MCALLISTER: Well it's all a little confusing isn't it? Because he initially said he'd known for a couple weeks, the AFP have now confirmed that they've had it referred to them I think six weeks ago. There are a range of unanswered questions in relation to whether or not taxpayer funds were used in relation to these incidents. The personal dimension of this is really a matter for Mr Broad and his family, but there are a couple of unanswered questions. Parliament has risen and I think it's incumbent upon the National Party and the Prime Minister to really lay all this out so that people can have confidence that taxpayer funds are being expended appropriately.
GILBERT: So, what specifically in that sense in terms of taxpayer expenditure do you think there should be questions answered?
MCALLISTER: I think we are just not certain. I don't actually make any assertion about that but Mr Broad was on I think some form of official travel. I really think that Mr McCormack and Mr Morrison just need to lay out how they see this set of facts and whether or not they think it's appropriate.
JAYES: I know you want to stick to the rules here, but given the allegations that have been asserted and the moralising that Andrew Broad did around I guess the same sex marriage debate and also Barnaby Joyce's personal affairs. Isn't there I guess license to give this a little bit more analysis and doesn't Andrew Broad deserve to give the Australian public an explanation?
MCALLISTER: Look, I maintain the view that people's personal lives are their personal lives. I think we've got a great tradition in Australian politics where we don't actually moralise about other people's private lives. I don't intend to break that. It’s up to others whether they do and you know, these are really questions for the National Party.
GILBERT: Well, they've responded in terms of him resigning. We will seek further questions as to what Michael McCormack was aware of because as Laura rightly points out, this goes to hypocrisy when someone has been moralising on other issues and yet is exposed on this particular matter but yesterday what this did was derail the Government's message on the economy. These are the best set of numbers since the Howard Government, aren't they?
MCALLISTER: Your point is exactly right. This Government is entirely incapable of focusing on the economy, or schools, or health or education or anything else because they are entirely consumed with internal disasters and chaos. They have a real problem getting a message out because every time they try to, some other part of their Government blows up and that's all very entertaining of course for commentators and people who watch politics closely, but there is a real cost because out there people are experiencing flat wages, they are worried about the investment in public schooling, they're worried about hospital and health services. It's actually time to restore some kind of focus to governing. Put the attention on the Australian people, not in the internals of the Liberal and National Party.
JAYES: Well you'll be focusing on the gender pay gap today at the last day at the ALP National Conference. Do you give the Government any credit for having focus on that as well, at least in the last three years because the gap has closed somewhat under this Government?
MCALLISTER: It has, and it is in no way a consequence of anything that the Government has done. In fact when asked recently the Minister Ms O'Dwyer, was completely unable to identify anything that the Government has done to close the gender pay gap.
Gender pay gap has moved around over time but it remains the case that women are earning, when you take into account total remuneration, $23,000 a year less than men on average. It is actually time for some action and I am enormously proud of the announcement that will be made today. The Labor Party is setting out a series of reforms to the Fair Work Commission that will make it easier for the Commission to make orders in relation to low paid feminised industries. That's workers in the aged care sector, workers in the child care sector, workers in disability. We all know that if you are a child care worker you are not being paid really properly for the skills that you bring to the job and it is just so exciting from my perspective to see the announcement that's coming through today. I couldn't be more proud.
JAYES: Jenny McAllister, we will leave it there. Sorry for that delay there. We will keep across the developments on the floor of the National Conference today. Thanks so much for your time. Appreciate it.