Transcript by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Peter Slipper, Tony Abbott’s attacks on the Prime Minister and Labor delivering for Australian people: Sky News, David Lipson

Program: SKY News Canberra

E & OE – Proof only

Subject: Peter Slipper, Tony Abbott’s attacks on the Prime Minister and Labor delivering for Australian people.

DAVID LIPSON: Was it a mistake for Labor to install Peter Slipper in the chair?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well we of course we had no knowledge of these text messages some of which were sent some time ago. It is clear they were very inappropriate but I think we certainly didn’t know, it seems the Liberal party didn’t know…

DAVID LIPSON: The Liberal party did warn you many, many times at the time…

JENNY MACKLIN: Well of course…

DAVID LIPSON: They were trying to move him out of their party at the same time.

JENNY MACKLIN: Well of course they were very concerned about what it would do to the balance in the Parliament, let’s be clear about their motivations, but they had in fact pre-selected Mr Slipper many times. I think back to 1984 Mr Abbott had written Mr Slipper a personal reference to his pre-selectors, been to his wedding, made clear he was a friend of Mr Slippers, so let’s be very clear about where the long-term friendship was.

DAVID LIPSON: When these text messages emerged, the court case aside, how can Labor justify trying to justify Peter Slipper, voting for him to stay in the Speaker’s chair and even he in the end decided that those text messages should not stand.

JENNY MACKLIN: Well let’s really have a look at what happened yesterday. The Prime Minister made very clear that she thought that the remarks in those text messages were completely inappropriate. But she finally decided to respond to the abuse and attacks that she has been sustaining from Tony Abbott and others I might say – Alan Jones and many others on that side of politics – she really spoke out for herself yesterday and she said in the Parliament that she was not going to be lectured about (inaudible)

DAVID LIPSON: The question is about the vote and Labor voting for Peter Slipper…

JENNY MACKLIN: And I’m trying to explain what happened before we got to the vote because before we got to the vote we had to listen to nearly half an hour of Tony Abbott’s abuse, we’ve had to listen to two years of Tony Abbott’s abuse – especially abuse of the Prime Minister. He sits there day after day after day hurling abuse – direct and personal abuse – at the Prime Minister. And yesterday the Prime Minister made clear that she was going to speak out for herself and say to the Leader of the Opposition his sexist behaviour is unacceptable. It is unacceptable to her as a Prime Minister. It is unacceptable to the women of Australia and that’s actually what happened. It wasn’t the place for the Parliament to determine what the Speaker may or may not do. He came in and did the right thing last night. Many others have said it is not our place to be a kangaroo court.

DAVID LIPSON: You say that Julia Gillard wasn’t prepared to stand for the sexism against her, why was she prepared to stand for the sexism in the public arena with these text messages from Peter Slipper?

JENNY MACKLIN: She made it plain she didn’t agree with those.

DAVID LIPSON: She voted for it.

JENNY MACKLIN: She did not vote for those remarks. That is completely outrageous for you to suggest that.

DAVID LIPSON: She voted for Peter Slipper to stay in the Speaker’s chair in light of those remarks, with those remarks out there in the public arena.

JENNY MACKLIN: What we voted against was Tony Abbott’s latest attempt to wreck the Parliament. That’s what Tony Abbott is trying to do. Let’s be clear about Tony Abbott’s motivations. He is not motivated by good process, or by making sure the Parliament works well. That’s not Tony Abbott’s motivation. His motivation is to wreck the Parliament, wreck the Government, make out that its not stable, when of course the reality is the Government has got 400 pieces of legislation through the Parliament and worked really, really hard with the cross-bench, getting their support and we’ll continue to do that. I’m building a National Disability Insurance Scheme. The Prime Minister wants to make sure that we deliver for children in schools. These are the things that the people of Australia want us to do. That’s what we are delivering. Tony Abbott of course just wants to wreck the Parliament and yesterday was just another piece of evidence.

DAVID LIPSON: Is it going to be harder for Labor to get some of those reforms through the Parliament now?

JENNY MACKLIN: I don’t think so. We’ve had the last few months with Mr Slipper having stepped aside from the Speaker’s chair. We’ve worked hard over the last two years to get the votes of the Independents, sometimes we get their support and of course that means that we’ve been able to deliver real reforms that have benefited the people of Australia.

DAVID LIPSON: Jenny Macklin, thanks for your time.