ABC Radio Perth Breakfast

SUBJECT/S: Pauline Hanson motion, Christian Porter


SUBJECT/S: Pauline Hanson motion, Christian Porter
TIM MCMILLAN, CO-HOST: Let’s go now to Mark Dreyfus, the Shadow Attorney-General who joins us on the line. Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus good morning.
MARK DREYFUS, SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL: Morning – good morning Paula, good morning Tim.
MCMILLAN: Can I ask you firstly, we’ll get to some texts that have come through to the programme in a moment. They are varied, I must say. They are varied but I’ll just get your take first on the motion itself, Mark.
DREYFUS: This is a battlecry of the white supremacy movement. And it’s extraordinary that some 27 government Senators voted in favour of it. That ten ministers in a coalition government voted in favour of it. I say again, it’s a battlecry of the white supremacy movement, Mr Porter apparently was responsible for instructing Senators to vote in favour of it. And if ever voters in Perth needed a reason for getting rid of Christian Porter and putting in the excellent Labor candidate Kim Travers, this is it. And now, we hear that they’re trying to hide behind some kind of administrative error. That’s nonsense too. They had three weeks to look at this motion. And if Mr Porter as the Attorney-General, responsible for the Racial Discrimination Act and other complex legislation isn’t able to interpret a white supremacist-endorsed motion, well he shouldn’t be doing his job. It’s really an extraordinary piece of behaviour by the coalition, it’s what their true values are.
PAULA KRUGER, CO-HOST: Mark Dreyfus, you obviously don’t make much of the government’s explanation on this, but you would have to expect party members to at least follow orders wouldn’t you?
DREYFUS: Well, the Liberal Party is the party that likes to say that they make their own decisions. They’re always boasting about conscience votes in the Liberal Party. Now we’re told they’re just automatons that do exactly what they’re told by their boss Mr Porter and file in like dumb automatons and vote in accordance with their instructions. Is that the kind of Senator that the Liberal Party thinks is appropriate to be serving the Australian people? I think they’ve become a joke. They’re a muppet show, to use Mr Morrison’s words. And they’re showing it on a daily basis. This is a ridiculous piece of behaviour. Christian Porter tweeted last night at a quarter to eight, in support of Pauline Hanson’s motion. Let’s be clear about this. Today they expect us to believe that this was just an administrative error made by some unnamed person. Apparently we’ve now got rogue staffers in the Liberal Party and we still haven’t had an explanation for why he tweeted in favour of Pauline Hanson’s motion.
MCMILLAN: Is it possible Mark Dreyfus that at that point he was still unclear about what the motion actually entailed?
DREYFUS: He had the motion for three weeks. And after voting in favour of it, over protestations from Labor senators who were calling on the Liberals to come to the right side of the Senate, to not vote in favour of Pauline Hanson’s disgraceful motion. If he’s in any doubt, still, the next morning, he’s not fit to be the Attorney-General of Australia. I find this an extraordinary episode. It actually reveals the true values of the Liberal Party of Australia. They want to back in Pauline Hanson, just as they did yesterday in the Senate. They’re now apparently having second thoughts about it which is why they’re resorting to “administrative errors” and wheeling out Mathias Cormann to justify what happened. I want to hear from Christian Porter, why he tweeted last night in favour of this motion. Because we haven’t heard anything from him other than that it’s “administrative error” as well. How can you have an administrative error that goes on for three weeks?
MCMILLAN: To be fair to Christian Porter, I’m just going to read out…
DREYFUS: I’m trying to be fair, Tim, I’m trying to be fair!
MCMILLAN: For the benefit of our listeners, I’m just going to encourage them to make their own minds up. I’ll just quote a chunk of his statement this morning. And this is a direct quote from his statement: “it appears that, of the very large number of motions on which my office’s views are routinely sought, this one was not escalated to me because it was interpreted in my office as a motion opposing racism. The associations of the language were not picked up. Had it been raised directly with me, those issues would have been identified.
DREYFUS: This is the Attorney-General who is in charge of fighting racism in this country. That’s what he’s meant to be doing. If they can’t recognise a catchcry, a battlecry, a slogan of white supremacists then they’re not doing their job. The staff aren’t doing their job and I don’t like to blame them. Most importantly Christian Porter is not doing his job. Does he really expect Australians to believe that Senators, none of the Liberal Senators read this motion? Is he really expecting us to believe that he didn’t read this motion? That there weren’t alarm bells ringing, it’s a motion about race from Pauline Hanson?
MCMILLAN: Do you read every motion that comes through your office Mr Dreyfus?
DREYFUS: I do read every motion very carefully because I am responsible for looking at motions in my policy area that come up in the Senate and we give very detailed consideration. Particularly ones that we have been given three weeks to look at. There is just no excuse and it’s actually trying to shout out to Pauline Hanson’s mob in backing in this motion. And now they want to say we apologise, we were just incompetent. Now on either basis, this is a government that is no longer fit for office and Christian Porter should be turfed out by the voters of Pearce because he’s not up to the job.
KRUGER: Mark Dreyfus I’m just going to quote one of the text messages that we’ve received. It says: ‘I’m not white, but what’s wrong with what Pauline Hanson said?’ And they’re citing freedom of speech. Do they have a point?
DREYFUS: It’s nothing to do with freedom of speech. It’s everything to do with a white supremacist notion, and Pauline Hanson knows very well who she’s giving a shout out to. And Christian Porter who is in charge of fighting racism in this country, should have picked this up. In fact I think they are looking for opportunities to back in Pauline Hanson, and it’s either backing Pauline Hanson or disgraceful incompetence, either way he’s demonstrated he’s not up to the job of Attorney-General. It’s one of the core jobs of the Attorney-General and there is plenty wrong with this battlecry for white supremacists.
MCMILLAN: Mark Dreyfus, Shadow Attorney-General, thanks for your time.
DREYFUS: Thanks for having me.