01 October 2021


SUBJECTS: Political Panel with Andrew Wallace MP; Resignation of the Premier of NSW; Federal ICAC.

KIERAN GILBERT. HOST: Joining me now, some Federal MPs for reaction: Liberal MP Andrew Wallace and Labour MP Alicia Payne. Alicia, first to you. What do you make of this news, big news in politics today?
ALICIA PAYNE, LABOR MEMBER FOR CANBERRA: It is big news, Kieran and I do think she's made the right decision. The allegations around Gladys Berejiklian are serious and as a premier or a member, any member of any parliament, you really need to uphold the highest level of integrity. And that is in question at the moment.
Something positive about it is that in New South Wales, they have the ICAC in order to have an independent body to investigate that. We don't have that in the Federal Parliament and just today we've seen a minister of the Morrison Government with allegations around him, Angus Taylor, get a promotion, with no similar body to do that kind of investigation. And that's why a Labor Government would implement a federal integrity commission with teeth if we were elected.
GILBERT: Andrew Wallace, your thoughts?
ANDREW WALLACE, LIBERAL MEMBER FOR FISHER: Oh, look, I think it's a very sad day Kieran. Gladys Berejiklian has been a tremendous leader for New South Wales. And I'm sure I join with, with many people around the country to recognise her great skill, her great leadership, I think she'll be sadly missed. She has led New South Wales through undoubtedly the worst times since 1945. And she's done that with skill, she's done it with decorum and I think that the New South Wales Parliament in effect, the whole Australian political sphere will be poorer for her absence.
GILBERT: Alicia, that is true, isn't it, Alicia Payne in terms of the popularity of Gladys Berejiklian? The polls say it, we've seen an overwhelming reaction in her home electorate of Willoughby today, online as well, a lot of support. What do you make of that? It's the contrast between that and the statement from the Independent Commission Against Corruption, saying that they're going to continue their investigations, but specifically relating to her?
PAYNE: Well, obviously being premier is an enormous job and she has been a servant of New South Wales and that is a huge job and I thank her for that today. But I would say, I do have concerns about how she's managed the pandemic in New South Wales and,  obviously, these issues that have been raised. So I think that, as I said, it was the right decision that she's made.
GILBERT: Andrew Wallace, does it give more momentum to the argument that there needs to be a federal corruption watchdog?
WALLACE: Look, we have committed to introducing legislation before the end of the year to introduce a federal ICAC, I know Michaelia is working on it. But you know, look, I think we need to just keep things in perspective here. It's not as though, you know, it's carte blanche in the federal sphere. You know, we have the Australian Federal Police. We have numerous investigative bodies at a federal level that are able to investigate, whether it be a judge or a public servant or a politician who steps outside the boundaries.
But I do want to just say more, one more thing about Gladys, and that is that she made it very clear to her ministers that she set the boundaries, the rules around if they were ever investigated by an integrity body, that they needed to step down. And it's clear that, and is a real demonstration of her leadership, that she couldn't step down from the role as premier for 12 or 18 months, however long ICAC choose to go through this process. So she did the right thing at once again, at great personal sacrifice to herself and it really does speak to her intestinal fortitude and her great character.
GILBERT: Andrew Wallace, Alicia Payne, thank you both. On that enormous news today. I will talk to you soon.