Parliament House transcript

SUBJECT/S: Marriage equality; IPSOS







SUBJECT/S: Marriage equality; IPSOS


JOURNALIST: How did your negotiations over the weekend with the Government go, to discuss the same-sex marriage survey rules?


MARK DREYFUS, SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL: We need to have safeguards in place for this unnecessary survey that’s about to start and Labor’s asked the Government for a number of things including an anti-vilification provision. The discussions have proceeded well over the weekend. It looks at this stage like the Government is prepared to agree to an anti-vilification provision and there will be a range of other safeguards, some of them drawn and adapted from the Electoral Act.


JOURNALIST: So are you still expecting that to pass this week? 


DREYFUS: It is essential that it pass this week. The Parliament’s got this sitting week and then there is a four week break and there won’t be any point to this safeguards bill being passed after this week.  We are trying to make sure that there are safeguards in place by the end of Thursday.


JOURNALIST: What is the anti-vilification provision going to look like? 


DREYFUS: We are not yet settled on the final form of that anti-vilification provision. But as I say, the indications are positive that the Government is prepared to agree to an anti-vilification provision.


JOURNALIST: And the other issue of authorisation of ads, is that, does that appear that that’s got the green light as well?


DREYFUS: Just like at election time, people are required to put their name to the things they say in advertising and public statements. There is to be an authorisation provision and that bit at least we have agreed on.


JOURNALIST: Why is Bill Shorten becoming even less popular? 


DREYFUS: I actually think that the only poll that people are looking at is the 19th poll in a row that the Liberal-National coalition has lost. And I know who I’d rather be this week. I’d rather be Bill Shorten than Malcolm Turnbull, who is presiding over a chaotic government, a government in which there are two senior ministers that need to be standing aside, because otherwise we have got immense legal risk that’s being created, basically negligence and recklessness from this government. I’d rather be Bill Shorten than Malcolm Turnbull presiding over a government that is divided over energy policy, with a National Party coalition partner declaring war on renewables. It’s going to be an extraordinary week. Malcolm Turnbull should actually start this week by having an energy policy instead of bullying power companies, which is where he seems to be.


JOURNALIST: Does Labor still have work to do in convincing Australians that you are the better economic managers?


DREYFUS: I think Australians have seen that under Bill Shorten we are a united team, that under Bill Shorten we are bringing forward serious policies, and what Australians are actually looking for is a government that might be prepared to start governing, particularly on energy policy.


JOURNALIST: Will Labor continue to use Question Time to basically push Barnaby Joyce on his citizenship status or do you think you are going to move on from that – it did not seem to go anywhere last week.


DREYFUS: I actually think on the contrary that the point was very, very clearly made. It is not about Barnaby Joyce’s citizenship status, it is about the irresponsibility of a government that is keeping a senior minister in place when there is a risk that every single decision that he is making is capable of being challenged. The government has referred Barnaby Joyce to the High Court of Australia, not the opposition, although we agreed to a referral – it is an all-party referral. The government has referred Senator Fiona Nash and Senator Matt Canavan to the High Court because there is a doubt about their citizenship, because on the current position of the law it looks like they are ineligible to be in Parliament. It is nonsense for the government to be continuing to have Mr Joyce and Senator Nash still in office when they rightly stood Senator Canavan aside and we will continue with this call. These two ministers must stand aside. It is well past time that they did so; it is an extraordinary negligence and recklessness on the part of this government that they are remaining in office. Thank you.