TRANSCRIPT - SKY NEWS FIRST EDITION - THURSDAY, 20 MARCH 2014

KIERAN GILBERT: Let’s turn to domestic politics now and the ongoing matter around the stood aside Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos, and with me to discuss that this morning is the Manager of Opposition Business Tony Burke. Mr Burke, thanks for your time.

TONY BURKE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE, MANAGER OF OPPOSITION BUSINESS: Morning Kieran.

 

TONY BURKE MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE

MANAGER OF OPPOSITION BUSINESS

MEMBER FOR WATSON

 

 

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
SKY NEWS FIRST EDITION, INTERVIEW
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
THURSDAY, 20 MARCH 2014

 

KIERAN GILBERT: Let’s turn to domestic politics now and the ongoing matter around the stood aside Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos, and with me to discuss that this morning is the Manager of Opposition Business Tony Burke. Mr Burke, thanks for your time. 

TONY BURKE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE, MANAGER OF OPPOSITION BUSINESS: Morning Kieran.

GILBERT: Do you give Arthur Sinodinos some credit for doing what he’s done and standing aside?

BURKE: Well the principle yesterday morning was there there’d been discrepancies between what had come out and what had been said earlier, and our view was Arthur Sinodinos needed to explain to the Senate what the reasons were for the discrepancies. And we thought in good faith there is every chance he may do that, and that may have been the end of it yesterday, that he’d stand up provide an explanation and that’d be that.

Our view was that if he couldn’t provide an explanation then those were the circumstances he’d need to be put to one side. Now the concern is, is for whatever reason, no explanation was given the Senate, but clearly an explanation was given to the Prime Minister, which was enough of an explanation that Prime Minister completely changed his view from where he’d been two days earlier. And the question that we tried putting to the Prime Minister, it must have been three or four occasions yesterday, that he really needs to answer today is what is it that changed? What was the explanation that was given to him that was not given the Parliament or to the public?

GILBERT: Isn’t it the case though that the Government doesn’t want to second guess the ICAC inquiry and they’re simply doing the appropriate thing, having the Assistant Treasurer stand aside and let the formal processes unfold as they do?

BURKE: If that were the only argument that decision would have been made on Monday, because all of those principles have been around or would have been made weeks or more than a month ago. Something changed in the 24 hours leading to yesterday and it’s not like we haven’t given the Prime Minister a chance, he was asked on a number of occasions yesterday simply to explain what’s changed, and I say, when, this time yesterday morning I gave an interview where at that point the full expectation was at 9:30 yesterday Arthur Sinodinos may well have been standing up in front of the Senate providing an explanation and that may well have been the end of it. He did provide an explanation to the Prime Minister, for some reason that completely changed the circumstances.

GILBERT: Isn’t the thing that changed is that fact that Labor’s been focusing on this and using this as a political weapon? And the government wants to cauterize this wound, so to speak, and let the ICAC inquiry happen and then, the Prime Minister says, he’s confident, he’s confident Sinodinos will return to the front bench.

BURKE: Well, if that’s what changed then it’s different to what you put to a me a few moments ago about it being the right thing to do to stand aside while the inquiry is taking place. That might be their reason, it might be, but we certainly know something did change radically in the course of 24 hours, Arthur Sinodinos chose to not tell the senate what that was that had changed, he certainly told the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister took a completely different view yesterday to what he’d taken the day before and I think the public’s entitled to know why.

GILBERT: But there’s still not one direct allegation of wrongdoing is there, against the Assistant Treasurer?

BURKE: Well this is where yesterday I wasn’t there making allegations of that nature. What we had were clear discrepancies, things that had been said to the senate that didn’t match up with evidence that was then being given and, you know, Labor did the right thing, we didn’t jump saying man’s got to go or anything like that, we moved the resolution in the senate saying he needs an opportunity to speak and explain himself and explain the discrepancies, he chose to not do that and at that point the one thing that, you know, people don’t get away with in this place, or shouldn’t get away with, is if they’ve mislead the parliament, so if there’s a discrepancy you get the opportunity to correct it.

GILBERT: Well around this time from memory you were the environment Minister and the Water Minister, I should ask you, did you have any dealings with this company this organisation, what was your contact, if anything, with them?

BURKE: Well I had met with them during that time, it’s also true though that they had never asked for anything, there was no application or decision that ever came before me where they were invoked in any way. 

GILBERT: So, what was discussed or addressed by them? Did they want support?

BURKE: You get a series of companies coming to you who give you a broad brush of issues they’re involved with and, but I remember them acknowledging that it was largely the state government that they were dealing with.

GILBERT: But they didn’t want you to make representations on their behalf to the then New South Wales Labor Government.

BURKE: No, no.

GILBERT: Nothing of that sort?

BURKE: No, no, nothing of that sort.

GILBERT: Tony Burke thanks for your time.

BUKRE: Good to be here.

 

ENDS