The Hon Patrick Gorman MP Television interview – Sky Afternoon Agenda

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

TOM CONNELL, HOST: Joining me now, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister Patrick Gorman. No Jason Falinski today, Patrick, but I’m sure the first thing you did was you thought, ‘What’s the Mackellar margin?’ It’s gone out. It’s up to three and a half percent. Look, it’s up about 1% or so. Should Jason still run even though he’s all the way in the US? I’m sure he’s doing something very intelligent and intellectual over there. Are you going to back him even when he’s not on the show, to throw his hat in the ring again?

PATRICK GORMAN, ASSISTANT MINISTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER AND ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE: I understand Jason is scrambling to organise a flight home so that he can hopefully announce what viewers of this program have been waiting for years, Tom, which is that he will make a triumphant return to candidacy in the seat of Mackellar. We know that Jason is fearless when it comes to his policy views. I am sure he is equally fearless when it comes to – regardless of the margin if the people of Mackellar need him – he is ready to serve.

CONNELL: ‘For the Beaches’ was his last mantra, which has this Churchillian ring to it, doesn’t it? I’m sure it’s not an accident. I mean, what will we do with him? If he doesn’t run or gets defeated again? Can we really put someone up to debate you every week? That’s, I don’t know, hasn’t won a seat since way back in 2019. I just haven’t thought about that. What do you reckon?

GORMAN: Tom, I think your viewers know that even if we didn’t have airtime, even if you didn’t moderate – to the best of your skill – this always intellectual discussion between myself and Jason. We would probably just be on FaceTime arguing things in private. So, nothing will stop us, but it will be interesting to see what the Liberal Party do in response to this redistribution. It will be interesting to see what some of the characters in the Liberal Party do. They have obviously had some pretty interesting preselection’s there in the New South Wales Branch of the Liberal Party in recent weeks. So obviously, I think we will be seeing a few more hotly contested fights within the Liberals in the way to come.

CONNELL: What about Kylea Tink, though? I mean, is there anything stopping a Teal MP running against a Labor MP? The fact that they don’t, does it just show that they are only out to get Liberal MPs and they are sort of Labor friends?

GORMAN: Look I do think that Kylea Tink ran against Labor candidate at the last election. Obviously, it was a seat previously held by the Liberal Party, but it was a seat that Labor was also contesting –

CONNELL: – But a sitting member.

GORMAN: There is nothing to stop anyone contesting any seat. That is the wonderful thing about our democracy. When it comes to the Labor Party. I mean, we contest 450 seats. That is how we approach elections – 151 when the Electoral Commission determines that it should be 151 seats – but we contest everything. That is our approach. It is not the approach of the Liberal Party. It is not the approach of the National Party. It is not the approach of the Teals or their finance backers. But it is approach of the Labor Party –

CONNELL: Teals couldn’t afford it. Let’s be honest. The Coalition’s got this funny thing called a coalition where they don’t sort of cross swords. So I don’t know, seems like a cheap one. I’ll just be Jason on that.

GORMAN: Sometimes they do though, Tom. It is always entertaining for us watching on the sidelines.

CONNELL: Yeah, of course. Yeah. You love to do that.

GORMAN: I want political parties to be healthy and democratic. I saw an interesting report this week that we might see the Liberal Party and the National Party here in WA, go up against each other. So we will see where that lands as well.

CONNELL: Yeah, I saw that as well. They are not in great nick over in WA are they? Let me ask you about the John Setka threat. This is him saying basically, they want to try to ‘scuttle’ – call it what you will – blow up any sort of AFL attempted infrastructure. So, you know, might be a new stadium in in Tassie, for example, the Prime Minister’s response ‘We don’t talk about him because it just emboldened him.’ It sounds, that comment, like a Prime Minister afraid to confront John Setka?

GORMAN: I think you could say, and I’m sure there is lots of things that are said on your program about the Prime Minister, but I don’t think there’s any credibility that the Prime Minister is afraid to confront John Setka. We saw here in Western Australia, five years and three days ago, the now Prime Minister actually started the process to kick John Setka out of the Labor Party. The point that the Prime Minister was making today is that those who are giving yet another megaphone to John Setka, is not the Labor Party. We kicked him out years ago, the people giving him a megaphone are the Liberal Party, and some in the media who are seeking to embolden him with his ridiculous claims. For two days now, we have been saying that his requests, his activities are ridiculous. You won’t get any encouragement from me on any of that. But I do note that the more we talk about these things, the more it encourages the sorts of characters like Mr Setka.

CONNELL: Well, let me ask about other consequences then. So that was the consequence for John Sitka for previous sins, if you like. If other individuals within the CFMEU back this and make this sort of thing happen, or they support it, which is seen as a pretty egregious sort of overstretch in terms of power, should they be booted out of the Labor Party as well?

GORMAN: Well, I don’t think this should proceed. I don’t think that Mr Setka has anything to do with the AFL. I’m sure, most sensible people, if they work in the construction industry will come to the exactly the same conclusion. It’s just ridiculous.

CONNELL: And if they don’t, should they get booted out of the Labor Party?

GORMAN: Tom, every couple of weeks, you give me a hypothetical. I normally come back to some form of example of what we do when confronted with a real situation, that’s what I will do today. When confronted with real inappropriate behaviour by members of the Labor Party, we have shown time and time again that under Anthony Albanese, we are more than happy to show those people the door. That is what we have done in the past. I’m not going to engage in a hypothetical about what might happen if Mr. Setka’s ridiculous campaign continues. I don’t think it’s worth airtime. I don’t think it’s worth us discussing. I think it’s silly. I think you know, the best thing you can do for the sorts of people – like the one we are talking about now – the best thing you can do is ignore them. That’s what I encourage you to do. That’s what I do. I just get on with actually doing work for the Australian people, making sure that we deliver the sorts of things that good Labor governments should focus on.

CONNELL: Alright, I still reckon if someone’s making that threat and other union members are backing them in. It’s worth discussing. Anyway, that’s just me. Patrick Gorman, talk again next week. You will have Jason alongside you, I think, so we will get back to normal programming.

GORMAN: About time. He will be coming back for his big announcement.

CONNELL: Well, he might do, he better do it on this show. That’s a good point. I might hit him up on that and he can ignore me. Patrick Gorman. Thank you.

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