Sky News Afternoon Agenda - 19/11/2021

19 November 2021


SUBJECTS: Political Panel with Andrew Wallace MP; Scott Morrison’s failure on national leadership; Melbourne protests; Victorian pandemic bill; National skills crisis; next Speaker of the House of Representatives.

GABRIELLA POWER, HOST: Joining us live now are Liberal MP Andrew Wallace and Labor MP Alicia Payne. Thank you so much for joining us for our political panel. Look, firstly this morning Daniel Andrews accused the Prime Minister of double speaking, Simon Birmingham has accused Labor of a co-ordinated attack on the Prime Minister. Andrew Wallace. What do you make of all this?
ANDREW WALLACE, LIBERAL MEMBER FOR FISHER: Well, it's just a extraordinary beat up on the part of Labor, Premiers in particular and Richard Miles has joined into the fray as well. It is absolutely clear that the Australian Government and the Prime Minister and everyone down denounces any form of violence or threats of violence against anyone. Whether that be a politician or someone on the street. But, you know, the states agreed to the Doherty modelling of when we get to 80%, double vaccinated, we need to start releasing people from the restrictions that we have held them under, that governments have held them under for nearly two years now. That's what they signed up to. All the Prime Minister is saying is that the states need to deliver on their promises. Nothing more, nothing less.
POWER: Alicia, what do you make of this?
ALICIA PAYNE, LABOR MEMBER FOR CANBERRA: Well, sadly, last night, we've actually seen the daughter of Victorian MP Andrew Meddick actually attacked as part of this. I just hope that she is okay and that family are okay. And I'm so disturbed by seeing this sort of behaviour in Australia. We've seen people protesting bringing gallows and nooses along to the Victorian Parliament, chanting that they want to kill the Premier, this sort of thing. This is absolutely a abhorrent and vile behaviour that has no place in a democracy and no place in Australia. And I think people wanted to see the Prime Minister call that out more strongly, not walking both sides of the street, not saying we can understand why people are acting like this. There is no excuse for this behaviour. And today again we've seen the Prime Minister do what he always does, saying, 'Oh, I did denounce it'. Well, you didn't, not strongly enough, and people hadn't seen that. And we really need to call this behaviour out. Politicians and other people, public servants, like the Chief Health Officer in Victoria, should be able to go about their jobs, knowing that they and their families are safe. And this is something that the Prime Minister should be saying as strongly as possible.
POWER: And Andrew, the Victorian Government has delayed its controversial pandemic bill to avoid an embarrassing defeat in the Upper House, do you think it's going to have to make concessions?
WALLACE: Look, who would know with the Victorian State Government. But just going back to Alicia's comment there before. The Prime Minister in that press conference he gave yesterday, on no fewer than two occasions said there is no place for the sort of threats or physical or actions, such as that against Australia's. In particular, to politicians, elected representatives. He said there's no tolerance for that in Australia. So look, you know, talk about cherry pick what the Prime Minister says in a media conference. He made it very, very clear there is absolutely no tolerance for that in Australia. As to what happens in Victoria. Well, you know, look, you'd be best asked to put that question to Daniel Andrews, and perhaps the crossbench. But one thing is clear, and that is that Australians want their governments to deliver on their promises, and state governments agreed to a national plan. Now, we're not asking them to do anything more than what they agreed to, stick to the national plan and let's get our lives back to normal.
POWER: Alicia, the Prime Minister has promised a homegrown solution to the National Skills crisis is that come to life?
PAYNE: Absolutely. I wouldn't trust this Prime Minister with Australian jobs at all, after what they've done to the skills and training sector over their eight years in government. They've slashed $3 billion from TAFE and we've lost one in five Australian apprenticeships in that time. It can't be trusted. A Labor government, on the other hand, has already made commitments that will help deliver those jobs. In fact, our NBN announcement made just this week is expected to deliver 12,000 new jobs. We're going to invest in new energy apprenticeships in the emerging areas as we transition to renewables. And we're focused on Australians having jobs as we come out of this pandemic. A throwaway line from the Prime Minister does not a policy maketh.
POWER: Andrew, it's reported that you have the numbers to become the Speaker. Will you do it?
WALLACE: Look, time will tell. I've been canvassing my colleagues for a couple of weeks. I am very keen to become the next Speaker of the House of Representatives. It would be a great privilege and an honour. But ultimately, that'll be a matter for my parliamentary colleagues. Both, essentially, firstly, my Liberal Party colleagues and then on the floor of the house. So I'll leave it to my colleagues, to ultimately to their judgement.
PAYNE: Will you still be able to come on this panel though, Andrew? It's the important question.
WALLACE: Alicia, I think you'd understand that if I am elected on next Tuesday, it'd be really boring because, you know, I'd have to be a lot more apolitical than then what I can be right now. So Sky viewers wouldn't want to see an apolitical Andrew Wallace.
POWER: Wishing you all the best Andrew. Alicia, thanks so much for joining us this afternoon.