MERYL SWANSON MP
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR DEFENCE
MEMBER FOR PATERSON
SKY NEWS PAUL MURRAY
TUESDAY, 9 NOVEMBER 2021
SUBJECTS: Alan Tudge; HSC; vaccine rollout; electric vehicles.
PAUL MURRAY, HOST: You may remember the first edition of Inside the Canberra Bubble that was put up by the ABC – the one where they desperately wanted to talk about Christian Porter, but they didn’t. Well, a large focus was on a consensual affair between a Government Minister and a then staffer – that’s their business. But guess what happened? Today it has been revealed that the Department of Finance has cleared the MP, the Minister, of any wrongdoing here. Now Teena, again, adults are allowed to have consensual relationships – whether that has an effect on their family or not is for their family and ultimately for the electorate to decide – but this was a big part of the bucket that was tipped on predominantly Liberal MPs before they were able to get to their real target, which of course was Christian Porter.
TEENA MCQUEEN, LIBERAL PARTY FEDERAL VICE-PRESIDENT: Yeh, this was a horrible program Paul and this particular story – look it is no one’s business – they were two consenting adults. And why the hell do they just pick on our side of politics? I mean, it’s much more fun on the other side, on the Labor side, they should dig a little deeper there because the stories are far more exciting than what goes on on our side. It’s terrible these families and the Members have been affected by the ABC and the story they put forward. At the end of the day, as you said, it’s consenting adults, it’s no one’s business, but why don’t they go to the other side and start point out the flaws there?
MURRAY: And again Meryl, the way all this was put in that program was about, you know, potential power dynamics of the powerful Minister and the helpless staffer. It wasn’t about the blackmail that could happen if somebody knew something personal about a Minister. The Department of Finance has come back and has found here that there were no issues. Do you think that the ABC went too far in trying to basically backfill a show that was really always supposed to be about Christian Porter?
MERYL SWANSON, SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR DEFENCE: Look, the other person involved with Minister Tudge said it was a consensual relationship although she said she had grown to regret it later on. I don’t care what you say, Paul, or what Teena says, there is a disparity of power. There is. And I can tell you that there are a lot of people that work in Parliament House that really want to please the Member of Parliament or the Senator that they work for. And I’m not here to defend Alan Tudge. He said that he had done the wrong thing by his family. But I would say to you tonight Paul that there are thousands of kids across NSW who are studying their guts out – and here’s the Education Minister – I’ve got a 17-year-old in the next room who’s studying for the HSC. And I’d like to say that as a Member of the Opposition, I have not got the time, the inclination or quite frankly the energy to be getting my rocks off in Canberra. And I don’t think Alan Tudge should be doing it either.
MCQUEEN: You may not have the time or energy, but let me tell you, there’s plenty of others on your side that do. So, he’s been cleared of everything. It’s a consenting relationship. Back off. The ABC should apologise. And I’ll defend Alan Tudge to the hilt. So back off and clean up your own side.
SWANSON: Teena, it’s not for me to clean up anything. I’m just saying he’s got a lot of important work to do, to be getting on with securing a better education for our kids.
MCQUEEN: And he’s doing that. He’s doing a wonderful job.
SWANSON: Well, HSC students in NSW tonight would be disagreeing wholeheartedly with that.
MURRAY: But why would they think that it’s the Federal Government’s responsibility when it’s the State Government that locked them down?
SWANSON: Well. I’ll tell you why Paul.
MURRAY: The Federal Government didn’t make them wear masks today.
SWANSON: Hang on. I’ll tell you why. Because these kids are sitting in a situation where, if the Federal Government hadn’t gone cheap on the right Pfizer vaccine from the start, we wouldn’t have had a situation where, kids in my electorate, had Gladys Berejiklian stealing their vaccines to take them to Sydney. So, come off it. This Government could’ve gotten on with it, it was a race, they should have bought more good vaccine, and our kids should have been given access, so they weren’t locked down for months.
MCQUEEN: It’s ancient history now.
SWANSON: Let me finish. So, these kids shouldn’t have had to be locked down for the months that they were, and the buck stops with the Feds.
MURRAY: I appreciate the fire-up. Feel free to let me host. I’m not going to pretend the vaccine rollout wasn’t fast enough – not pretending that that’s not the issue – but to pretend that the NSW Government plays no part in that whatsoever when it comes to the people who actually decided how vaccines were physically handed out, I don’t understand how Gladys Berejiklian’s choice becomes Scott Morrison’s problem.
SWANSON: Well, I can explain for you Paul. Very very clearly. Glady Berejiklian’s choice was because she didn’t have enough supply and what she did here in the Hunter she took vaccines from the Hunter to give to children doing their HSC in Sydney. So, kids in my electorate, people in my electorate, and there were some dreadful stories about people who should have had their second vaccination and didn’t.
MCQUEEN: I’m from that area, and let me tell you, you’re correct, there was vaccine taken from that area, but let me tell you, two weeks later, I know for a fact, it was all replaced. I’m from the Central Coast.
SWANSON: No, Teena, people had to wait for weeks.
MCQUEEN: Oh, bullshit.
SWANSON: Oh Teena, I can actually give you live examples. And that’s why the Prime Minister then had to step in and try and claw some of it back.
MCQUEEN: Do not blame the Prime Minister for this.
SWANSON: I can, and I can tell you that we had a woman who had five children, she was supposed to have her second vaccination, one of her poor little children had to go to Sydney, to Westmead, to receive dialysis. She missed out on that second vaccination and she was put in a terrible situation. And there are oodles of examples Teena. So, I’m just not copping that.
MCQUEEN: Well, I’ve got just as many where people were pleased that they had the vaccine, and it was done in time. Let’s leave it there. It is not the Prime Minister’s fault.
MURRAY: No one gets to have the final say except for the host and I’ll move on yet again here. Let’s talk about the electric vehicles scenario that played out today. Now, look, obviously Prime Minister said something different in 2019. I’m not going to pretend that’s not the case. He made the announcement specifically in Melbourne about more electric vehicle charging stations because, guess what, three of the top 10 electric vehicle owning suburbs are all in one electorate – the Liberal electorate of Higgins. Teena, the Prime Minister is trying to suggest that look, fine, this is the next technology, we’ll help build some of the infrastructure in and around it, but we’re not going to dole out money so people can pay the difference between the $40,000 average new car cost and the $60,000 new Tesla cost, which is the most popular electric vehicle in the country.
MCQUEEN: Yeh, the Prime Minister is all about choice, Paul, in the electorate as you said that has a high ownership of electric vehicles. And moving to the future, they are going to become more available and accessible and he’s moving towards that. I mean a lot of things change in a couple of years and he’s slightly amended his thoughts on this to suit the electorate, to suit the exciting times ahead. But nothing’s going to be mandated. I’m not giving up my car for a long time, Paul. I only got it a couple of years ago and I love it. It’s a good brum brum.
MURRAY: Meryl, again no one can pretend that this isn’t a big leap from where they were a couple of years ago, I won’t pretend that’s not the case. But the Prime Minister trying to say, look we’ll help you build the infrastructure to charge it but we’re not going to help you go off and buy the things, whereas Albo has turned around and said we are going to do a couple of things here and there to make it slightly cheaper, but you would agree, until the actual car companies make them cheaper that’s what’s going to hold people back from buying them? And I don’t have a problem with electric vehicles.
SWANSON: I just want to give you one really clear example. And look, I’m not going to go on about stealing the weekend, Paul, look up Rivian, it tows 11,000 pounds, which is what – two and a quarter pounds in a kilo so it’s towing well over the 5000 tonnes – and it’s amazing. But I just want to talk about this quickly. OK, at the moment we’ve got a situation where people can include a car in their salary, right, but they pay fringe benefits tax on it. So, if your salary is $100,000 say, and that’s a great salary, people can include a car and that might be something that they include in their package. Now, currently FBT is 20%. But utes are exempted. So, we’ve got a lot of people who choose a ute with a bigger motor – say a Ford Ranger for example, when they don’t need to have that size car. Now what we’ve said is, we want to take the FBT off that. And I’m hoping that companies will say that, you know what, we’d be better to get an electric vehicle, and people might choose an electric vehicle. That’s the sort of incentive we need so that more people are choosing electric vehicles and I think it’s a really strong idea. And a lot of the automotive associations have backed it in. So that’s a practical example of how a government can help. We’re not taking away people’s choice – we’re actually giving them more choice. By saying that instead of getting a ute …
MCQUEEN: The Prime Minister said that today, it would be a good idea for fleet cars, what you just said it was the Prime Minister said today.
SWANSON: That’s my idea. That’s what we’re doing.
MCQUEEN: Well, you’ve pinched it off the Prime Minister in the last six hours.
SWANSON: No! We didn’t. We came up with this months ago, Teena.