THURSDAY, 13 OCTOBER 2016
SUBJECT/S: Marriage equality; Turnbull Government voting to explain its own failures; Government in chaos.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning everybody. It's fantastic to receive a petition of 92,068 of our fellow Australians who say that whilst they want marriage equality, they want marriage equality the right way, not the wrong way. They don't want to see $200 million being wasted on an expensive opinion poll where Australians can be fined for not voting but Mr Turnbull can't even make his own Parliamentary Party agree to.
Most importantly, the plebiscite would have been harmful, the evidence is in from the experts. But we can make marriage equality a reality. There's enough people in Parliament of good faith from all political persuasions. We could have a free vote in Parliament. The message from Australians, these 92,000 Australians and millions of other Australians to Malcolm Turnbull is, let's make marriage equality a reality. Let's just get on with it.
Happy to take questions.
JOURNALIST: Who is running the show in the House at the moment?
SHORTEN: Well, your guess is as good as mine but one thing is for sure, the Government are not running the Parliament. There’s only been 10 sitting days so far. They lost the numbers in the House, which has not happened since 1961. They had a motion where the Labor opposition condemned them for their weak action on international tax fraud and the Government voted to condemn themselves. We have also seen that the Senate has run out of legislation, and when they try and release measures to get down the spiralling deficit, they couldn't even add up their own numbers and were wrong by $107 million.
This is a Government who is not running the Parliament professionally and I do think that Christopher Pyne, as Leader of Government Business, I think the buck does stop with him.
JOURNALIST: What are the ramifications from this historic moment? Does anything actually happen out of it?
SHORTEN: Labor believes that the Government has been a soft touch on multinationals not paying their correct tax in Australia. The Parliament has now passed a resolution which confirms that view. The Government is going to have to explain why they are a soft touch on multinationals not paying their tax properly.
But I think it also goes to the chaos and dysfunction. This is a government who are divided. They're more worried about their own jobs than the jobs of Australians and they are not even doing the job in Parliament properly. This is a complete shambles.
One more question perhaps, we have got to go to Parliament.
JOURNALIST: On the issue of tax, would the Opposition reconsider lifting the threshold to $10 million for some of these businesses?
SHORTEN: Let's call it for what it is; this government doesn't even know what they are voting on, on any given day in the Parliament. I think the Government first need to explain their process and their policies on international tax law. Australia is being treated as a soft touch, big companies are not paying their taxes.
Mums and dads in Australia, and small businesses, they're paying their correct tax but we have got a government who can't even maintain the integrity of our international tax system. I think the Government's got some heavy explaining to do this morning.
The other problem is just who is running the Government? They either don't turn up to Parliament or when they are in Parliament they vote for the wrong things, they've run out of work to do in the Senate, they can't add up basic numbers. What happened last night is the first time in the history of Federation. Since Australia became an independent nation, we have never seen a resolution condemning the Government supported by the Government. The only thing interesting about coming to Parliament now is what's going to be their latest stuff-up.