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Parliament House Doors

23 Nov 2016






SUBJECTS: Tony Abbott’s book; family violence; hate speech; backpacker tax; fuel excise.


TIM HAMMOND, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSUMER AFFAIRS: Good morning. Before I get on to some of the more serious topics I’d like to discuss, following the week that we’ve had in Parliament, I thought I’d just let you know about a couple of suggestions I have for Tony Abbott. I couldn’t help but see on the newswires overnight that there is some talk of Tony Abbott writing a new book as a sequel to his previous epic tome Battlelines. Whilst there’s been a suggestion that the sequel could be called ‘Battlescars’. On the way in I gave it some thought and have a few suggestions for Tony myself.


A couple of the ones that made my shortlist, that could be used perhaps for Tony’s new book include these:

  • Tone Quixote; or
  • Of Mice and Malcolm
  • Warringah and Peace
  • The Far-Right Stuff

My personal favourite:

  • The Audacity of Nope
  • The Onion
  • The Life of Blue Tie
  • For Whom the Bell Newspolls; and finally
  • A Knight’s Tale


Those who might have some suggestions that they think top those for Mr Abbott I understand there’s a hashtag that’s running hot at the moment, which is #TonyAbbottBookTitles, so do your best.


Moving to the more serious topics in relation to some of the issues that have come up today, I’m incredibly proud as a member of the Labor Party to be standing alongside two brave colleagues, and dear friends, both of whom form the Class of 2016 alongside myself in this place. And that is of course Dr Anne Aly, the Member for Cowan, and also Emma Hussar the Member for Lindsay. We’ve seen already, as we come to White Ribbon Day, some decisive action from Bill Shorten in relation to meaningful ways in which we can help reduce the scourge of family violence. By reducing the scourge of family violence in the workplace, by seeking amendments to national employment standards to include compassionate family violence leave. To reducing the scourge of family violence through technology by making sure we harmonise our laws in relation to so-called revenge porn to make sure that this insidious crime is treated with sufficient seriousness in the same way, all across the country.


And very importantly we’ve seen from Bill Shorten and the Labor Party real leadership here in relation to addressing the scourge of family violence in the courts, by taking practical steps to ensure that those vulnerable witnesses in domestic violence and family violence cases are protected in the context of self-represented litigants by increasing the much-needed funding to Legal Aid.


The impact on family violence on all of us was very much writ large in the Parliament yesterday, and I’d like to take this moment to pay tribute to the incredible bravery and strength of my colleague Emma Hussar, who summoned such compassion, such dignity, such grace, and such bravery by telling her personal story about family violence, and how it’s affected her, on the world stage. And it’s those sorts of reminders that make people like me constantly vigilant every day; that we should stand up, that we should speak out, that we should act at all times and I was proud to stand alongside Emma Hussar.


In relation to what we’ve seen with these terrible and unfair slurs on immigrant Australians from Peter Dutton this week, again, it has shown this Government up for what they really are. Firstly the unfair and inaccurate slurs in relation to so-called second- and third- generation immigrant Australians, when really these members of our community have contributed so much to making us who we are as an inclusive culture. It has created division within the Liberal Party, it has shown Malcolm Turnbull up to be the weak leader that he is. And, most concerningly, what it has shown is that it has created a licence for those out there in the community to engage in hate speech, specifically seen in the Facebook page of, again, my friend and colleague Dr Anne Aly, who again has shown incredible strength and incredible bravery for standing up and calling out this hate speech when she has seen it. So all I can say is that it is an incredible privilege to stand alongside these brave and strong women who are providing a voice for so many other Australians.


Happy to take questions.


JOURNALIST: Just on inclusiveness, did you think it was appropriate yesterday the Labor Senator joking about the Minister for Women, her appearance and calling her a zebra?


HAMMOND: I think what you’re referring to is a Labor Senator who has indicated that that’s not what he was doing at all. What is most important here is that what we see is the Labor Party taking meaningful steps to call out inappropriate family violence when it is seen and to act on it straight away.


JOURNALIST: Doesn’t really pass the pub test though does it? He was sitting directly opposite her, clearly in a black and white striped outfit, you didn’t think those comments related to what she was wearing?

HAMMOND: I think it’s been made clear that the Labor Senator has indicated that’s not what was the subject of his remarks. And again I think that position has been made perfectly clear by the Labor Senator.


JOURNALIST: Just on the backpacker tax, is Labor willing to accept a 32 per cent tax if the revised 19 per cent doesn’t pass the senate today?


HAMMOND: Well it’s really quite perplexing that the situation in relation to the backpacker tax is entirely a creature of the Liberal Party’s making. The Labor Party at all stages has indicated a complete willingness to sit down and negotiate a reasonable outcome which sees certainty and stability particularly in the agricultural sector to make sure that farmers of this country have certainty going forward in relation to labour supply and also an opportunity for those who come to this country to work. Labor has struck the right balance; we’ve indicated a willingness at all times to sit down and negotiate a fair outcome. We call upon the Government to do so.


JOURNALIST: Are those opposed to the 19 percent tax playing politics with the livelihoods of farmers?


HAMMOND: I don’t think at any stage the Labor Party has taken a single step that would indicate that they are playing politics with this incredibly serious issue. We have shown every step of the way through Joel Fitzgibbon’s action, the actions of the Senate and the actions of the Lower House that we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with farmers of Australia in relation to this issue, by delivering certainty with labour supply in a way that is fair for all.


JOURNALIST: The government’s considering a review of the fuel excise. Would you support a change so that it’s per kilometre rather than per litre of fuel that you use?


HAMMOND: Well I think it’s very early stages in relation to fuel excise and in due course of coming week of the Parliament the Party will sit down and consider options.


Thanks very much.


MEDIA CONTACT: Laurence Coleman 0409 797 311

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