MONDAY, 13 NOVEMBER 2017
ALI CLARKE: We go from one man who is trying to manage his party to another who is the National President of his, Labor’s Mark Butler, good morning.
MARK BUTLER MP, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENERGY, MEMBER FOR PORT ADELAIDE: Good morning Ali.
CLARKE: Do you have those nuclear codes in your briefcase as you wander around?
BUTLER: I think what we have seen over the last 24 hours is a very disturbing turn of events from the Prime Minister. We had a process underway, it was a difficult process I’ll admit, of trying to negotiate an agreed position whereby all Members and Senators would disclose their circumstances to the Parliament, and then there would be hopefully a non-partisan process of sifting through that and referring up to the High Court anyone who had question marks over them.
As I think your listeners would remember there was a little bit of tension between Labor and the Liberals about the finer details. But those negotiations were continuing and I think were leading to an agreed position. What we have seen over the last 24 hours is the Prime Minister send Christopher Pyne out to do a political hatchet job and say “I’m not interested in negotiations, I’m not interested in a robust, orderly, dignified process; I’m going to try and get the numbers on the floor and refer my political opponents up to the High Court.” That’s exactly what George Brandis described only a few weeks ago as a “dangerous precedent.”
DAVID BEVAN: In the meantime your Party will play merry hell?
BUTLER: We still want to negotiate this. It is going quickly from being a serious mess to an utter shambles. If the Prime Minister and Christopher Pyne continue down this path, all we have said is that these things swing both ways. This is not our preferred pathway. We think the community wants this resolved quickly but also wants it resolved in as dignified a way as we can possibly muster given what a mess this has been so far. That requires an agreed position.
CLARKE: Can you even get an agreed position – it is past been dignified. Everyone just wants everyone to get on with the job of power, education, health the whole lot. This has gone well past any chance of being dignified you have to admit?
BUTLER: Absolutely but it is a question of how quickly you can resolve it. We thought that the proper way to do that was by seeking a bipartisan arrangement. A process that would allow Members to disclose their circumstances and there to be a non-partisan way of referring uncertain cases up to the High Court for resolution.
Then as you say Ali, we can get on with talking and debating the issues that are of real importance to your listeners’ lives like power, education and health. At the moment none of that is getting any clear air because you have got a Prime Minister fighting for his political life.
BEVAN: Mark Butler thanks for your time.
BUTLER: Thanks David and Ali.