WEDNESDAY, 7 APRIL 2021
SUBJECTS: Government’s regional rorts; vaccine roll-out; Christine Holgate.
CATHERINE KING, SHADOW MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE, TRANSPORT AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Another day and another scandal from the Morrison Government. This comes after a long list of rorts that we’ve seen from the Morrison Government. First we had Sports Rorts where we had Bridget McKenzie, with her colour coded spread sheet and the Prime Minister’s Office overriding decisions of the independent panel of where to put sports funding. Then of course we had Safety Rorts with Peter Dutton making decisions about where to put safety cameras across the community before guidelines, before the opening of applications. And of course we have a government that spent $30 million on a piece of land at Western Sydney Airport, it turns out was only worth $3 million, and the Deputy Prime Minister saying that this was a bargain. And now we’ve got Regional Rorts. We already knew that 94% of infrastructure projects under the third round of the Government’s Building Better Regions Fund went to Coalition or target seats, we already knew that. Now we actually know why. The Deputy Prime Minister and a secret ministerial panel, just before the 2019 election, overturned departmental recommendations. 112 of them. For a third of the projects, the Deputy Prime Minister overrode the department’s recommendations. He made the decision that these communities were going to miss out. This is now rorting on an industrial scale. There isn’t a taxpayer funded program that this government won’t use for its own electoral advantage. That is what the Morrison Government now is reduced to. A government that is prepared to use taxpayer funds for electoral advantage at every single opportunity. This isn’t a government that stands up for regions, it isn’t a government that is on the side of the regions, this is a government that is prepared to rip off the regions at every opportunity. There are a couple of other stories that are running at the moment but I also just want to make some comments on. This is again about government accountability. The government announced that it would have 4 million Australians vaccinated by the end of March. That isn’t a target that anyone else set other than Prime Minister Morrison and he has failed to meet that target. Instead of coming out and explaining to the Australian community that this is what the problem is, this is what’s happened, this is where the vaccine program is up to, these are the problems that we’re having with it and being straight with people, he’s out there once again, blaming absolutely everybody else. It’s the dog ate my homework. First it’s the states, now it’s the European Union, this government will take no accountability for any of the decisions that it’s meant to take. It is only focused on one thing and one thing alone and that’s retaining power and trying to pretend that it’s all good, it’s delivering when it’s not actually doing so. All announcement and no delivery. We’ve also seen Christine Holgate today come out and talk about how she feels extremely aggrieved about the way in which she was treated and who can blame her. She was literally sacked on the floor of Parliament. The Prime Minister sacked Christine Holgate on the floor of Parliament. It’s not the same accountability that he’s shown or that the same sort of procedure that he’s shown when it comes to his own ministers, where you’ve got Andrew Laming who remains in the parliament, given some of the things that he has been participating in. It seems that there’s one rule for Christine Holgate and one rule for the Prime Minister’s mates.
CATHERINE KING – TRANSCRIPT – DOORSTOP INTERVIEW – MELBOURNE – WEDNESDAY, 7 APRIL 2021