ANDREW GILES MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CITIES AND URBAN INFRASTRUCTURE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER ASSISTING FOR IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP
MEMBER FOR SCULLIN
SATURDAY, 8 FEBRUARY 2020
SUBJECTS: Visa Privatisation farce; Scott Briggs donations; Coronavirus; Support for the Chinese-Australian community.
ANDREW GILES, MEMBER FOR SCULLIN: It's great to be here in Melbourne today on such a beautiful Saturday. I'm here to welcome and acknowledge reports in the media today, the Australian Electoral Commission is going to investigate what is apparently a mistaken donation of $165,000 by a company associated by Scott Briggs to the Liberal Party of Australia. This is the same Scott Briggs who's the front runner of the tender to privatise the Australian visa processing system. A tender worth a billion dollars, the same Scott Briggs is a well-known Liberal Party operative and a close friend of the Prime Minister. Labor of course welcomes this investigation by the Australian Electoral Commission.
But this isn’t enough; this doesn’t dispose of what is a very serious matter, which goes to the heart of trust and confidence in our democracy today. Australians know that the Prime Minister is loose with the truth, but now we also see that the Liberal Party reckons that Australians can't handle the truth. Australians need to know what's happened here. Can anyone really believe that the Liberal Party in making important statutory declaration just mistakenly attributed $165,000 to an entity associated with a former deputy director of the party, a person in a running such a big government contract. In the context of sports rorts, sports rorts 2 and the Angus Taylor saga, we can see there's a consistent theme that this doesn't pass the pub test.
This is as dodgy as it gets. Australians need to know exactly what has happened to this $165,000. Australians also need to know that this deal can’t go ahead. For me, it's just not credible that someone as close to the Liberal Party, as close to the Prime Minister could be awarded a billion dollar government contract.
With the Prime Minister simply stepping away from the decision making table doesn’t change the nature of this, but now it's much worse that than that. This is a complete billion dollar farce and as dodgy as it gets, the Prime Minister must walk away from his plans and the Liberal Party must be upfront with the Australian people. This is as dodgy as it gets and it must end now.
JOURNALIST: On to another problem the Coronavirus is hitting the economy, tourism and exports like farmers, what should the Australian government be doing to help those markets? And are we facing a crisis?
GILES: When it comes to the Coronavirus issue, there are a couple of issues to bear in mind. Firstly, this is fundamentally a public health issue and the Labor Party has tried to extend the hand of bipartisanship for the government in managing this and keeping Australians safe. That's something that I’m pleased to acknowledge has happened on this. And there a number of other issues that are concerning here. I spent the day yesterday in Box Hill meeting with traders and other Chinese Australian community leaders, there is real concern here. First of the concerns is that there is misinformation out there and people don't understand what's safe and what's not. So that's something the government's got to get on with communicating, as well as recognising that there's a lot of racism out there adding to the hurt to people already very affected by a very serious issue.
Returning to the broader to the Australian economy, we are concerned with not only with the Coronavirus but with a government without a real plan for the Australian economy. We’ve seen growth stagnate at the moment. The small business owners I met with yesterday are concerned that they don’t see a vision that will support them, and I know that's being played out in other sectors from universities to tourism and then of course our rural sector which is already so affected by drought.
JOURNALIST: In Box Hill is there a message you would have to people to go back to the area? Is it is it fine to be there…?
GILES: Definitely, it is safe to be in Box Hill, I had a fantastic lunch in Box Hill central. It was so sad that there were so few people there. Traders have reported that sales are down by 50 or even 70%, these businesses won’t survive if we don’t back them, people won’t get their shifts at work if we don’t back them. I had some fantastic noodles and I encourage everyone to get to Box Hill and other areas to show our support for people in our communities.