THURSDAY, 9 NOVEMBER 2017
SUBJECT/S: Turnbull’s citizenship crisis;
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: I have got total confidence that when we have universal disclosure of all MPs that both Justine Keay and Susan Lamb have satisfied the necessary tests, full stop.
But what is really important here is not the Government’s attack on a couple of my Members of Parliament, we need to resolve the citizenship crisis which is engulfing the Turnbull Government. Now, we had constructive discussions yesterday but we're still apart on two significant issues and my view is that the people of Australia are fed up, they just want to be certain that their MPs are eligible to do the job that they've been voted in to do.
So there's only two differences of an immediate nature between myself and the Prime Minister. One is the High Court set down a standard and it repeated what the old law was but it made a decision recently; we think that when MPs are required to disclose their circumstances it should be consistent with the test set by the High Court, not a lower test. Our concern yesterday was that Mr Turnbull's resolution would create more problems and more questions than it would answer. The second of the two issues that we require a solution on, is the timing. Mr Turnbull wants to resolve this matter at a later date than I do. Now we're not that far apart to be fair, my view is that this MP saga has now rolled on for months. Remember the Prime Minister held that Barnaby Joyce would be fine and he wasn't, and then the Prime Minister said that was the end of the matter after the High Court and the LNP President of the Senate was not fine and has had to stand aside. I think that we need to resolve and put forward all of our information, one rule for all by the first of December. Mr Turnbull wants a later date which would necessitate recalling Parliament in December and quite frankly why should taxpayers pay a single extra dollar because of the Government's problems?
JOURNALIST: Did you take a firm plan as to how Labor would like to resolve the matter into the meeting with Mr Turnbull yesterday?
SHORTEN: By all means.
JOURNALIST: Can you tell us what that was?
SHORTEN: By all means. What we want to do, and it's pretty straightforward, is the High Court has set down the test for the application of the Constitution; the high jump bar. We think the Constitution and the High Court's decision should be respected and that's the disclosure standard which we believe in.
I mean Mr Turnbull though, he perhaps has a little bit of memory loss here, he was happy enough back a month ago to demand I produce documents - I did - but then what's happened is that we've asked for the same standard of disclosure from the Government and thus far they haven't. Now I think it needs to be resolved once and for all, one rule for everybody, not one rule for Labor and one rule for the LNP, one rule for all.
But the crisis in the Turnbull Government cannot go on, we will keep being constructive, I am sure we will resolve this; it's a matter though of making sure that we uphold the High Court's test and we do it in a timely fashion.
JOURNALIST: How do you think the Palaszczuk campaign is going Mr Shorten?
SHORTEN: I think the choice is clear, elections are about choices between values, policies, programs and ideas. I believe only Annastacia has got a plan for jobs, for infrastructure, for health and education, today's announcement in Maryborough is an outstanding announcement. This should be a hub of manufacturing, this should be a place, because of its great rail history, that sees us building rolling stock. The problem is that under the LNP great damage was done with the privatisation and you've seen closure and loss of jobs. Only Annastacia has got a fair dinkum plan for jobs for regional Queensland, that's why I think the choice is clear.