DOORSTOP: Citizenship, same-sex marriage debate

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

DOORSTOP

CANBERRA

WEDNESDAY, 6 DECEMBER OCTOBER 2017

SUBJECTS: Citizenship, same-sex marriage debate

STEPHEN JONES, SHADOW MINISTER FOR REGIONAL COMMUNICATIONS, SHADOW MINISTER FOR REGIONAL SERVICES, TERRITORIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT: Good morning. Well a few weeks ago, Labor agreed with the Government on a process of show and tell. Overnight, we have seen that only Labor has done the show and tell.

The Government is doing tell but no show. Frankly, it is bullshit.

We cannot have a process that the Government agrees to and their own MPs refuse to show the transparency that the Australian people deserve.

JOURNALIST: Isn’t there an argument that if these MPs are going to be going to the High Court then they don’t need to release their legal advice ahead of time? Shouldn’t there be protection over that?

JONES: Let’s be very clear about this. The Government agreed with the Opposition on a process of show and tell. Labor did the show and tell; the Government has done the tell and no show.

JOURNALIST: Do you expect to see the five Labor MPs heading to the High Court by the end of this week?

JONES: We have already been quite clear about it. In the case of David Feeney; David has been very clear – he signed the documents and revoked his citizenship when he first ran for the Senate – if he is unable to provide the documents in accordance with the agreement we struck with the Government then he will refer himself. Labor will refer our own MPs in the circumstances where we are unable to satisfy the proof. We are calling on the Government to do the same thing.

We are calling on the Government to ensure it honours its deal and it provides the documents to satisfy the Australian people, to satisfy the Parliament that all of its MPs that have a cloud over them are in the clear.

JOURNALIST: How about other Labor MPs such as Justine Keay?

JONES: Have a look at the declarations that other Labor MPs have put forward. In the case of Susan Lamb – there is reams of documents that have been disclosed. We are calling on the Government to do nothing more than what they have asked the Labor MPs to do and show the documents.

JOURNALIST: Doesn’t the question of reasonable steps need to be tested in the High Court so that Australians can have confidence that everyone who is in Parliament, should be in Parliament?

JONES:  I have no doubt that by the end of the week that there is going to be referrals from Parliament to the High Court. We have, through our process, a pretty clear vetting arrangement. We fulfilled all the steps that were consistent with the case law. There has been several other cases since that time. Only the High Court is going to be in position to determine whether our MPs and the Government MPs have met those tests.

JOURNALIST: So, do you think that all MPs in similar situations will be referred or is Labor likely to just pick one to be a test case?

JONES: Labor will do the right thing. We are calling on the Government to do the right thing in respect to its MPs.

JOURNALIST: In relation to the same-sex marriage debate. How are you feeling? You had a Bill in 2012 that, ultimately, failed in the House. How are you feeling about how things are going this week?

JONES: In 2012, there was only 42 people who voted in favour of my marriage equality Bill. They were Labor MPs. I’m very pleased to see that not only has the attitude of the Australian people changed but that the attitude of Parliament has changed.

I’m confident that by the end of the week marriage equality is going to be law in this country. That is going to be a great thing and something that the whole country can celebrate.

Thank you.

ENDS