Opinion pieces, speeches & transcripts

Transcript: Kananook Station Saturday 3 July

July 03, 2021



SUBJECTS: Car Park Rorts; the Prime Minister's dodgy spreadsheets; Julia Banks; treatment of women in the Liberal Party.

ANDREW GILES, ACTING SHADOW MINISTER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE, TRANSPORT AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Hi, I'm the Shadow Minister for Cities and I'm here at Kananook Station with Peta Murphy the local member. This is one of the stations among 47 car parks that were promised to by the Morrison Government before the last election. 47 car park stations promised, not a single one of the approved or recommended by the department. 6 including this one have been abandoned because it could have never been built, which shows how rank this proposal was.

We have compared this to Sports Rorts because of the similarities, decisions made on the basis of a spreadsheet, but this is so much worse than Sports Rorts, because in Sports Rorts there were criteria, in Sports Rorts community organisations could apply to make their case. Here, no criteria and the only people who could make application were Coalition MPs or Coalition candidates, the community was shut out, the local government was shut out, the state government shut out. That's why this proposal, this policy, has been a complete disaster, it exposes something that is very rotten in the Morrison Government.

We know now that this is a Government that is addicted to rorting public money, it uses the peoples money as if it was Liberal Party money. We saw that in Sports Rorts, we saw that in the female change room rorts, few of which money went to change rooms. We saw it in the Building Better Regions rorts, we also saw that, of course, in commuter car park rorts.

And $660 million fund part of a nearly $5 billion Urban Congestion Fund, monies that have not been spent in the public interest. This week, this program has been described by public corruption expert Geoffrey Watson as one of the most outrageous examples, he's described the Auditor-General's findings as perhaps the worst report that he has seen. And yet from the Government we have heard almost nothing.

The Prime Minister yesterday emerged from hiding, he emerged from hiding to try and clean up some of the mess he has made about the vaccination rollout and national quarantine.

Today, in Labor we are calling for him to come out again, he's got two things that he has to do, firstly he must come clean. He must come clean to explain his role and responsibility for this shocking rort, he must produce the smoking gun at the heart of it the spreadsheets exchanged between his office and Minister Tudge's office and the then Deputy Prime Minister's office.

The other thing he has got to do is back or sack his Ministers, if his Ministerial standards are worth the paper they are written on, he must enforce them. Bridget McKenzie did the right thing in Sports Rorts, but only yesterday she has been returned to the Cabinet. The Prime Minister must apply his standards and he must come clean , and he must account for himself to the Australian people, and for the commuters here in Kananook about the lies and broken promises that he took to the last election. And Peta Murphy will say a bit more about this now.

PETA MURPHY, MEMBER FOR DUNKLEY: Thank you. Well, I'm very proud to be the Member for Dunkley, but I can tell you my community are sick and tired of the Liberal Government and Liberal Members promising projects and then never delivering on them.

Before the last election and during the election campaign, the Prime Minister and the former Member for Dunkley promised a commuter car park here at Kananook and at Seaford to the tune of something like $14 million, which we now know has had to be scrapped because there was no consultation with the community, no consultation with the council, no consultation with the state government. And it was nothing more than an outrageous play and outrageous call on people in my community who are stressed trying to get to work every morning in the city when there isn't enough commuter car parking.

Labor promised a commuter car park at Frankston station with the state government, because that's where we knew we could build a car park and where the demand is. And the Liberal government instead tried an outrageous bribe on the people of Dunkley. And yet again, a bit like the environment grants, which were announced when the programme didn't even exist in the last term of this Liberal government for Dunkley, we've been sold a pup.

And you do have to wonder don't you? Why, when we saw the Sports Rorts, as Andrew Giles has said, at least the community could apply. The colour coded spreadsheet between the Prime Minister's office and Bridget McKenzie's office led to Bridget McKenzie losing her job at least temporarily, whereas spreadsheets and Auditor General's report, which show that this went all the way to the Prime Minister, and Liberal Members of Parliament just picking and choosing where they wanted unplanned car parks, and the Minister Alan Tudge being in it up to his ears, Alan Tudge doesn't have to go. You've got to ask yourself with everything we know about Scott Morrison, the revelations that come out day after day about how women have been treated, including today with Julia Banks book, whether there's something about the name "Bridget", that means someone has to resign and not about the name "Alan". But I tell you this on the record, I will keep fighting as I have done since the day I was elected to make sure that that money and the car parking is delivered to my community, because a rort or not, a promise is a promise and my community needs that money for our infrastructure needs.

GILES: Thanks very much Peta, any questions?

REPORTER: Tell me why you have chosen to highlight this particular station? What is it about this one that you think is particularly egregious?

GILES: Because, and I'll ask Peta to add to this as the local member, what is particularly egregious about this decision, is that the carpark could never have been built here and if the former local member Mr Crewther and his Liberal mates, Minister Tudge and the Prime Minister had bothered to speak to the council, speak to the local community, or even to look at the very site that we're on, they would have known, there was no way this promise could have been kept. They should have known that they were telling the people of Dunkley a lie at the time of the election, they should come clean about it now.

MURPHY: And that's right here and Seaford, there was no consultation with the community, with the local council or state government for where carparks would be built, whether there was local council or state owned land. And over and over again, we heard the Prime Minister, and the former member for Dunkley saying only liberals will deliver a carpark and we now know that that's a lie because they haven't delivered anything.

REPORTER: Maybe highlight why a carpark would have been needed for this area?

MURPHY: Dunkley is an electorate at the end of the train line. And we know that before COVID by about six o'clock every morning Frankston station was full, because people from the Mornington Peninsula, people from Langwarrin, people from Frankston park there, we then find the overflow parking at Kananook and Seaford. That is why the state government and Federal Labor have been working very hard to try to get commuter car parking at Frankston. Because this is the one train line to get to the CBD if that's where you work. And that is why a promise of more commuter car parking is a powerful promise in our electorate. But what we have seen is they've pulled the money from Kananook and Seaford, it doesn't even exist anymore. They've said that money is gone and they still haven't worked with the state government to deliver a car park at Frankston Station. That's why it's such an egregious mislead of my community.

REPORTER: Do you think when the next election comes around this kind of politics is going to start being played again with promises such as this?

GILES: Well, this Government's got a shocking record. And I think what we see here is the real reason we don't yet have a National Anti-Corruption Commission, something that Labor's been calling for for some time, something this government promised several years ago, but we've seen no evidence of. Commuters are frustrated because this is a really big deal in individual's lives. How you get to work really impacts how your day works, how your physical and mental wellbeing is, and also has a huge impact on our economy. That's why when Labor was in government, we introduced Infrastructure Australia to take some of this cheap politics and rorts out of decision making. I think at the next election, people will look to the side of politics that's serious about the challenge of urban congestion that listens to local communities and promises infrastructure on the basis of need, not on the basis of cheap political rorts.

MURPHY: Can I add to that? Why would anyone in my community believe anything the Prime Minister, and any liberal candidate who might be standing next to him say about what they would deliver for Dunkley, when they can look around for themselves and see what was promised before wasn't delivered. And they can see how hard I've been fighting to get the infrastructure we need. And the government has just walked away. Why would you believe them in an election campaign?

REPORTER: Just on another topic, have you read the excerpt from Julia Banks'?

GILES: Look I have, and again I'll ask Peta to respond to this because as well being a fantastic local member, she has been strident and effective advocate for the role of women in politics for greater respect and greater involvement, she has certainly lead by example. I'll just say this though, every workplace has to be a safe workplace for everyone. And our Parliament should be an example, It has to be a place where everyone can contribute, where no one is subject to the sort of harassment that's been alleged in the papers today. I had the privilege of serving alongside Julia Banks, there were many things that I didn't agree with her part of politics on. But what a loss it is that she feels that she can no longer be part of our national political life. What a loss it is that she has been driven out by the sort of behaviour detailed in the papers today. Peta.

MURPHY: My overwhelming response to reading that excerpt in the paper today was deep disappointment. One of the reasons why I ran for parliament - and I'm so privileged to be in the parliament - and so did many of my Labor female colleagues, is firstly to get things done, and secondly, to show young women across Australia that women can be in these positions of leadership, and that we should be in these positions. To read about the experience of someone who may ideologically on the other side of the fence to me, but is smart and experienced and capable, the misogyny that she faced that led her to leave this career is just deeply disappointing. And when it comes after the way the Prime Minister responded to the Justice for Women march, to the way the Prime Minister and his government responded to Brittany Higgins, to the Prime Minister's multiple promises about reform within the Liberal Party, which we haven't seen, it just, I think, strengthens that sense of deep disappointment and lack of trust in the Prime Minister and his party about whether or not they're ever going to be able to deliver for women.

GILES: Thank you very much.