PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
TUESDAY, 25 AUGUST 2020
SUBJECTS: Incompetent aged care Minister; Michael Sukkar and Victorian Liberal Branch stacking; John Howard.
JASON CLARE: If John Howard was still the Prime Minister of Australia, two ministers would have been sacked yesterday. One for incompetence and the other for misusing taxpayers’ money. First is the Aged Care Minister. More than 300 people have already died in aged care from the virus in Australia. That's two in three Australians who have died from COVID-19 have died in aged care. It's the second highest death rate in the world. The first people to die in aged care from COVID-19 died back in March at Dorothy Henderson Lodge. The Government had a report about what happened in April. This is a nightmare that the Government should have seen coming but obviously haven't done enough about it because you've now got more than 300 people who have died in aged care from this virus. We've got a minister who doesn't even have any people have died. How can you have confidence in a minister who doesn't even know how many people have died on his watch?
The second is the Housing Minister. 60 minutes got him cold on Sunday night. They've got a document that shows a Minister signing off on a plan to misuse taxpayers’ money. The partner in this, the bloke who wrote the document, the bloke that the minister says is a “key member” of his team, was forced to resign from the Liberal Party yesterday and the Minister should be sacked today. That's what would have happened if John Howard was the Prime Minister. That's what he did when he was Prime Minister. When something similar happened in the Labor Party, the Minister in Victoria was sacked within a day and forced out of the Labor Party. When it happened in the Labor Party, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said this was corruption. It happens in the Liberal Party, he's walking away from it at 100 miles an hour.
And remember this: Michael Sukkar is the Housing Minister. We've got a housing industry in crisis at the moment. Last week, the Master Builders Association said that the industry is facing a “bloodbath”. There's no other way to describe it. It's their words and you heard not a peep from the minister last week about a bloodbath happening on his watch. Why? Because he's more focused on the bloodbath that's happening in the Liberal Party because of the branch stacking that he's a part of in Victoria.
There was a time where the minimum standard to be a Minister in a federal government was to be competent and honest. Now it seems that's not the case under this Prime Minister. Happy to take questions.
JOURNALIST: Do you think did the PM is subtly trying to take away the power of Mr Sukkar, sorry, Mr Colbeck without formally sacking him?
CLARE: If you can't do one part of the job, then how can you do the whole job? As I said, if you don't even know how many people have died on your watch, how can you have confidence in this bloke to do the job at all?
JOURNALIST: What did you think of Mr. Howard being hospitalised yesterday? It seems that he's okay.
CLARE: It's fantastic to see that he's okay. I think I read in a report it was appendicitis. Mr Howard was one of the longest serving Prime Ministers Australia's had. I think he's the oldest surviving Prime Minister, former Prime Minister of Australia, so it's great to hear that he's okay and I wish him well. But on a day like this where you've got two Ministers, one incompetent and one misusing taxpayers money, I think it's appropriate to remind ourselves what John Howard did in the first year of his prime ministership when you had ministers misusing taxpayers money, they were gone and that's what should happen here. Thanks very much.