TUESDAY, 7 NOVEMBER 2017
DAVID BEVAN: We go to Mark Butler, he’s National President of the Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy, and the Federal Member for Port Adelaide. Good morning Mark Butler.
MARK BUTLER MP, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENERGY, MEMBER FOR PORT ADELAIDE: Good morning David and Ali.
BEVAN: How close do you think we are to an election?
BUTLER: We just don’t know, that’s the problem. What we thought a few weeks ago is that there were only seven people who had a cloud over them and they’d all been referred to the High Court. But then we had the President of the Senate no less finally confess that he knew he might have some constitutional difficulties, had known for many weeks, had confided in a Cabinet Minister, the Manager of Government Business in the Senate but not told anyone else. Yesterday we had the Prime Minister stand up at a press conference and say he was absolutely confident, he’d been assured by the Liberal party director that all Liberal MPs were in the clear, and within an hour or two we learned John Alexander apparently has some constitutional difficulties as well. So I think the point is that we just don’t know and that’s why Bill Shorten last week offered a process that could have achieved bi-partisan support and start to clear this mess up because it is an absolute mess.
BEVAN: Will the new self-disclosure process the Prime Minister announced yesterday bring matters to a head?
BUTLER: The Prime Minister and Bill Shorten are meeting tomorrow, as I understand it. Certainly from first blush the announcement has a lot of similarities to the offer that Bill Shorten made on Friday, but there is some detail to work through and that will be done over the course of tomorrow, I think. There’s finally a commitment from the Prime Minister to try and clear this mess up. I think what he’s been doing for too long now and particularly did over the weekend is trying to skate though what is a great crisis. You know I was on TV with a Liberal party MP on Sunday night who said over the course of the weekend he’d been doing various electoral events and not a single person raised this with him. Well I can tell you and your listeners when I did several street corner meetings on Saturday and an electorate event on Sunday at every single one of them people raised it with me in a tone of deep frustration, as Simon Birmingham said, that politicians again were focused on themselves rather than the issues that matter to ordinary Australians.
BEVAN: But you’ve been around a long time, can you feel it in your waters? We are so close to an election, we’re so close to government?
BUTLER: I think the point is that we just don’t know.
BEVAN: Are you letting yourself go there?
BUTLER: No, I don’t think we are letting ourselves go there. We are ready for an election whenever it is called or happens because this is a government that is hanging by a thread but we’re not focused on that. We’re focused on trying to clear this mess up to debate the issues that matter to your listeners.
BEVAN: And are you absolutely sure there are no surprises from your side?
BUTLER: We’re very confident about our internal processes, we’ve said that a number of times. I went through them. All candidates have to go through a very laborious process frankly of going through our heritage and any arrangement we’ve had with the commonwealth to deal with Section 44 which is then forwarded to our lawyers for analysis before we go forward as a candidate. So we’ve got nothing to fear from this process. We should nut out the detail with the Prime Minister tomorrow and get on with it.
ALI CLARKE: Mark Butler, Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy also National President of the Australian Labor Party, thank you.
BUTLER: Thank you.