The Hon Patrick Gorman MP Television interview – Sky News Afternoon Agenda

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

TOM CONNELL, HOST: Let’s get a wrap of the political agenda that has been this week. Joining me now Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister Patrick Gorman, former Liberal MP Jason Falinski. Gentlemen, thanks as ever for your time. It hasn’t been this week for the Government, dare I say it. We’d better start on the detainee issue. What we’ve learned today, Patrick Gorman, is the Minister’s delegates made a call, in fact, on removing this ankle bracelet. This must mean the buck stops with the Minister, doesn’t it?

PATRICK GORMAN, ASSISTANT MINISTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER AND ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE: Well, what we know is that, obviously, what Ninette Simons has experienced – and her husband, Phillip – is just absolutely abhorrent. That any human being would do that to another human being, particularly an elderly Australian, is completely unacceptable. And if the Australian Government had had our way, this individual would still be locked up in immigration detention. That’s what we wanted. The High Court made a different decision. So of course, we had to legislate and part of that was to establish the Community Protection Board. The Community Protection Board was a mechanism that I voted for, Peter Dutton voted for, the Liberal Party voted for, and the National Party voted for. And that’s to give advice on how to best keep the community safe. Now, when it comes to the delegation of those responsibilities –

CONNELL: – So that’s true, that board doesn’t have, doesn’t have power, though. So you said this detainee would be locked up – the Commonwealth – if the Commonwealth opposed bail in the case of this detainee who is alleged to have carried out this act, he would still be behind bars. That was in your scope, you know, as in the Commonwealth, who’s taking responsibility for that?

GORMAN: Well, Tom, you know as well as I do, that when it comes to public prosecutions, ministers do not give directions on those matters. Those are just determined by the Director of Public Prosecutions. And that’s been the process for decades and decades on that particular matter. And when it comes to the Community Protection Board, they give advice. Obviously, I think there’s a broad community expectation, which I share, that the Community Protection Board lifts its game, and they give more certainty. –

CONNELL: – So it’s all the board’s fault –

GORMAN: – with everything that they have within their powers. They are the advisers that have been appointed, as a result of legislation passed by the Parliament, yes.

CONNELL: ‘Advisers’ being key, they don’t have the total power. Anyway, I want to get to Jason on this. The one thing that we know about this man, who is alleged, I should say, to have carried out this crime is he didn’t have a previous violence conviction. So, he did have a drug supply charge, doesn’t that mean that this violent crime – it was actually difficult to foresee this? Because the legislation passed says if someone poses a serious risk of a sexual or violent crime, then you can loop in preventive detention – that was hard to see in this case, wasn’t it?


CONNELL: Do we have Jason? Seemingly not.

FALINSKI: Yeah, I’m here, sorry. No, no, I’m here.

CONNELL: You’re here. Okay. That was to you.

FALINSKI: Okay, my question, Tom, to Patrick, is: if this was bipartisan-supported, who voted against it?

GORMAN: Jason, you can go to votes and proceedings, as you know, but I think you should probably get back to answering Tom’s question.

FALINSKI: Okay. Fair enough. So we don’t know who voted against it or..?

CONNELL: What’s… what? Do you want to just make your point, Jason?

GORMAN: What I’ve just outlined is that the High Court made a decision –

FALINSKI: – Okay. Um, look, I was just interested in why people voted against this Community Safety Board. But Tom, look, I think, in answer to your question, you know, frankly, we all know the Government wasn’t prepared for this. The minister, being Clare O’Neil, wasn’t prepared for this. When she was asked questions in Parliament about it, she kept flicking them to Adam Giles. I think this is an entirely entirely foreseeable event. And it’s, it’s distressing and no one wants to make or score political points off, off the back of what’s occurred here. And I agree with what Patrick said early on, but, you know, the minister needs to do more and get on top of what’s going on here. And she will have the support of the Liberal Party and the National Party. I’m not sure who’s voting against these these matters. But it would be good to know and I think Australians deserve to know.

CONNELL: Let me get a short, sharp one before we move on. On this Patrick, this happened on Monday. Not a single news conference. From Clare O’Neil or Adam Giles. Would you call that an example of good accountability for ministers?

GORMAN: Well, if we’re gonna start with accountability, I’ll just say, Tom and Jason, it’s Andrew Giles, not Adam Giles.

CONNELL: Good point.

GORMAN: And I think it’s important to note that Andrew Giles has been on radio here in Perth. Obviously, it’s the West Australian community who are feeling the impacts of this shocking, horrific attack quite acutely. It’s in Girrawheen, just north of my electorate. I’ll also note that he has taken responsibility –

CONNELL: – One radio interview all week, is that good accountability?

GORMAN: I’ll continue: the Minister has spoken and reached out to Ninette Simons. He’s spoken to the Police Minister here in WA. And indeed, the local member, Anne Aly, he’s been to visit her. I think that’s a government taking responsibility. And that’s what people would expect.

CONNELL: Well, what about a press conference? Is that getting old-fashioned?

GORMAN: Well, I recognise that there’s probably never enough press conferences, to keep the Canberra press gallery happy. We’re focused on this individual and her husband, Phillip, what they’ve gone through is absolutely horrific. And I’ll just end where I started, which is, if Australian Government had had our way, this disgusting, lowlife individual would still be in immigration detention.

CONNELL: Okay. And never enough, maybe, but anything above zero is a good start, I reckon. Jason, let’s move on. RBA – you’re not encumbered by this silly thing of being a local member anymore. Just call it: no rate cuts coming until after the next election? Is that your hot take here?

FALINSKI: Yeah, I think so. I think that, you know, as we’ve spoken week after week, we’ve got a federal and state Labor governments spending too much money. And when you have too much money chasing too few goods, you have inflation. And essentially what’s happened is the Reserve Bank has no choice but to leave rates higher for longer. And that’s hurting a lot of aspiring working Australians who just simply trying to get ahead.

CONNELL: So, Patrick, we’ve seen Jim Chalmers sort of shift from talking inflation the most to getting the economy going, is that a mistake? Is inflation, you tell us, is it still the number one battle, economically, for Labor? Or have you moved on?

GORMAN: Well, there are a range of things that go into the formulation of the Budget we’re putting together for the 14th of May. Obviously, supporting household budgets has been our priority. That does mean being serious about putting downward pressure on inflation, it means being serious about making sure that there are the jobs that people rely upon. And it means delivering the tax cuts, which we outlined earlier this year. When it comes to where the RBA moves next, I recognise they have their meeting next Tuesday on the 7th of May. They make their decisions independently. But I’m proud of the work that we’ve done to deliver the first budget surplus in 15 years. That has taken pressure off inflation. We’ve looked carefully, where we’ve provided cost of living relief, to do it in a way that doesn’t add to inflation. We’ve done that with childcare support, we’ve done that with electricity bill support. That’s the approach that we’ve taken to do smart things that help household budgets without adding to inflationary pressures, because it is a complex economic environment we have right now. And we will seek to do everything we can to support household budgets, act on inflation, and keep the economy growing.

CONNELL: Jason, big headshake I could see – um – still going –

FALINSKI: Well, where does the economy – but I mean –

CONNELL: Let me ask this, Jason, you can, you know, come off the long run-up, somewhere in your answer you’ll figure out a way to do it. But when it comes to the Liberals’ strategy in Teal seats, I mean, it’s not probably playing the Peter Dutton trump card as Mr. Popularity there, is it just hoping that voters go back because they’re a lot worse off economically? Is that the biggest hope to winning back Teal seats? Nothing you do strategically, but just a change in economic circumstances?

FALINSKI: Tom, Teal seats are no different to any – you know, the people who live on the Northern Beaches aren’t that different to the people who live in Western Sydney. They have the same concerns, the same aspirations. They have the same sense of community and they want to trust in their leaders and their community representatives. And what they see and what they’re feeling is a government that talks the talk, but doesn’t walk the walk. And whether it, you know, whether their Member of Parliament is, you know, says they’re Teal, Green or red, they’re all in the same camp. And the problem here is that, you know, this government has no plan to improve the quality of life of ordinary Australians by getting inflation under control, in fact, actually, everything that Jim Chalmers has said, everything that Daniel Mookhey and all the other Labor state treasurers have said, is specifically designed to drive inflation higher, which leaves the RBA with nothing left to do, but leave rates higher for longer. And you’ve got the market speculating on whether they actually want to increase rates. And you know, what Tony Burke is doing in industrial relations, it’s just throwing fuel on the fire, the CFMEU –

CONNELL: Alright, I can hear our viewers shuddering when you talk about increasing rates. Maybe that’s just me that I hear in my own head. Patrick, we’ll just end on this one, Jason says there’s nothing special about his members – even though they’re there Teal voters now, at least some of them. Are the Teals going to make a play at your seat? Are they eyeing off Perth? I know we were talking about the Greens, but what about the Teals?

GORMAN: Look, I probably follow WA politics a little closer than yourself or Jason. Tom, what I can tell you is that I have heard that the Climate 200-Independents-Teal Party, whatever you want to call it, that conglomerate of completely free-thinking individuals, that just happen to all do exactly the same thing very often, they are looking at the seat of Moore. Where of course you’ve had a sitting member, in Ian Goodenough, under attack from his own party. Dumped and rolled by his own party. So I understand, that’s where they’re putting their energy. It’ll be interesting to watch what happens in that seat of Moore. Labor almost won it last time, we missed out by that much. So, I don’t know, maybe Jason can get on the phone to Liberal candidate Vince Connelly and give him some tips on how to avoid the Teal surge.

CONNELL: Alright, Jason, you can talk to him offline, we’re way over time.

FALINSKI: Well, Tom, I can answer your question, which is: the Teals don’t run against the Labor Party because they don’t run against themselves. So, you know…

CONNELL: Alright. Bada-boom. Yeah, well done. Why would they take on Patrick Gorman? Couldn’t possibly displace him – too damn powerful in that city. Patrick, we gave you a hard time today – tough one for the Government. So things might be easier next week, you never know. We hope you come back on. Patrick, Jason, thank you.

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