Hon Patrick Gorman MP Television Interview

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister, Assistant Minister for the Public Service

TOM CONNELL, HOST: Welcome back. Well, sad news today for Australian politics and Labor Party. Senator Linda White has died after a battle with an illness that was, well, her leave, her medical leave only starting in February. Joining me now is Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister, Patrick Gorman. Thank you for your time. It has been sad news. She wasn’t a Senator for long, but part of the Labor movement for quite a long time.

PATRICK GORMAN, ASSISTANT MINISTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER, ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE AND FEDERAL MEMBER FOR PERTH: It’s terribly sad news, Tom, and it is actually hard to believe that Linda’s no longer with us. And I think everyone in the Labor family is missing her today, and thinking for all of her other family and friends who are also no longer with this wonderful human. Who some of your viewers may not know the amount of impact that Linda leaves behind, but she was crucial for making sure that the National Anti-Corruption Commission got up and running. She’s been a champion for women working both in her work with the Australian Services Union, but also in her work making sure that women get a decent share of superannuation. She was on the National Executive of the Australian Labor Party for decades. That’s where I first met Linda. It is incredibly sad and, yeah, we’ll miss her greatly.

CONNELL: It’s a splinter free program, so we need your prediction now on Dunkley. We’ve heard the Prime Minister talk about the average swing against a government in a seat held by government is 7 per cent. That’s a very specific stat to pluck out. It only applies to the last 50 years below, by the way, not the last 15. 7 per cent swing – that’d be a bad result for Labor, wouldn’t it?

GORMAN: Well, Tom, when we’re talking statistics, that in psephology, in terms of election studies, if it’s 7 per cent, it’s 7 per cent, and that is the average swing against governments in a by-election. So, that’s kind of the yardstick through which you measure how these results will go. I think everyone who’s been on your program today and been looking at this over recent days, acknowledges it is going to be a close contest. In those circumstances, I’m really proud of what Labor’s done, which is to get a genuine local in Jodie Belyea, someone who’s a local Frankston mum out there talking to people, someone who will vote for things like Help to Buy, which will help people in the electorate of Dunkley get into their own home. Someone who the late Peta Murphy herself found and suggested she get involved in the Labor party and put herself forward for this seat, should it, as it sadly has, become vacant. I’m proud of what we’ve done in this campaign, and I’ve also found some of the activity from elsewhere a bit interesting, as I’ve observed the election campaign.

CONNELL: Yeah, I’m just going to mention as well, I’m not going to shift you on this, but I am going to mention for our viewers, that average is only government held seats in the past 50 years. Go back to the last 15 years, the average is 0.7 per cent, even if you strip out citizenship elections. And the Aston by-election, it’s 2.7 per cent. So, there are some other stats. I won’t shift your mind, Patrick, but I’m putting them there for the viewers.

GORMAN: Well Tom –

CONNELL: You were alluding to activity. Let’s get on quickly.

GORMAN: I’ll just say, I’m sitting here in WA. The Canning by-election, I think we had a 7 per cent swing against an incumbent government. I came in at a by-election where I can’t even tell you what the swing was against the Liberal party because they didn’t choose to stand.

CONNELL: Canning, the Liberal Party had just ousted Tony Abbott. There was a bit going on. I’m going to move on. I was putting them out there. I’m going to move on. You mentioned activities. Advance Australia has got the sort of ire of Labor MPs. Are they doing anything wrong or are they just annoying you because they’re the conservative answer to Get Up?

GORMAN: It’s a democracy, Tom, and in a democracy, it’s important that we all put our views out there. My view when it comes to Advance Australia is that they haven’t been particularly transparent about where all of their money is coming from. And Advance Australia, they’re one of the most – I used to say that Peter Dutton and the Liberal party were the most negative outfit in Australian politics. You’ve now also got Advance Australia, their running mate in this election, who are just as negative. Advance Australia have not put out one single policy idea in this by-election. Not one. They’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on negativity, attack ads, all that stuff, but not a single positive idea. They’re just doing Peter Dutton’s dirty work and I’m pretty comfortable calling that out.

CONNELL: Have they put out anything as deceptive as the ‘Mediscare’ campaign?

GORMAN: You talk about Peter Dutton’s plan to privatise Medicare when he was Health Minister. Peter Dutton did indeed put forward that plan at the same time he was putting forward a plan for a $7 GP tax for every Australian to see a doctor.

CONNELL: The Medicare payment scheme. Come on, that wasn’t privatising Medicare. It’s not a company. It’s not worth anything. It was outsourcing or privatising the payment scheme, not the whole thing.

GORMAN: Well Tom, even Peter Dutton’s cabinet colleagues recognised it was such a stinker of an idea that they dropped it. I mean, that tells you something, that the idea that Peter Dutton thought was so good, his other cabinet colleagues had to get around and say, mate, this is a bad idea. And they never proceeded with it because it was terrible policy, initiated, campaigned for, pushed for, by Peter Dutton.

CONNELL: All right, was it outsourcing of the payments? To clarify. The final topic, I’ve let you pick this one. I’m doubting myself even bringing this up. You’re on a State of Public Service Roadshow. Look, we need the public service. But what’s this? Everyone patting themselves on the back for the job they’re doing?

GORMAN: This is about government hearing directly from public servants. It is something that happened under the former Coalition government. It obviously paused during the pandemic years. And we’re back in person talking to public servants. I’ve just come from 400 West Australian public servants here in WA, giving us their views about the future of the public service and how do we make sure that people get good quality advice and services from the Tax Office. Good support from Services Australia. The specialist supports people need from the National Disability Insurance scheme. Across the country Tom, there’s 170,332 public servants in the Commonwealth. I’m happy to go and talk to just a few of them to say thank you for the work they do.

CONNELL: All right, maybe we need a few more at Centrelink, impossible to get through to those particular ones, but anyway, maybe it’s not their fault. Patrick Gorman. Talk next week. Thank you.

GORMAN: Thank you, Tom.

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