SENATOR LOUISE PRATT: Good morning. I’m out here this morning because I want to send a strong message to the House of Representative and the Turnbull Government, and that is to pass marriage equality through the parliament without delay. Labor stands ready to do this job and to do it without compromise. I am very concerned about the talk of amendments that have been put forward which would see conservatives try to derail this important legislation. What’s critical today is that this legislation is passed this week without entrenching discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Australians, because that is not what Australia voted for. Australians voted for equality and it’s time to get the job done.
JOURNALIST: How confident are you that these amendments won’t get up in the House?
PRATT: Well it’s really important that, like happened in the Senate, there are enough members of the Turnbull Government to make sure that we have protection against unnecessary changes to this legislation. The Senate passed good legislation and it doesn’t need any further amendment.
JOURNALIST: Just on the Fairfax poll, what’s your response to that statistic that 71% of respondents would like a Prime Minister to serve out their full term? Does that take pressure off Malcolm Turnbull?
PRATT: I certainly think that the Labor Party understands that leaders need to stay in place. We’re prepared to go head to head with Malcolm Turnbull – his problem is the disunity and dysfunction in his political party and he has a major challenge in front of him.
JOURNALIST: On dual citizenship do you think we will be seeing referrals to the High Court in the Senate today?
PRATT: I don’t know what we are going to see in the audit of MP’s in terms of what’s on the record. We will all be waiting to see who hasn’t really made proper disclosures previously to see what news comes up.
Just back to leadership – I really must say on the question of leadership, what is surprising today is that Turnbull will clearly be unhappy with the result but Julie Bishop really has really come out in front in those leadership stakes which can only cause further trouble within the coalition.
JOURNALIST: Back on citizenship – is there a risk of any referrals being made unilaterally or should there be bipartisanship?
PRATT: The Labor Party is really concerned that the coalition seems to think that they would have a right to refer Labor MP’s to the high court where we’re not given the same right over their MP’s to make those kind of unilateral decisions and that quite frankly is a disgrace.
JOURNALIST: Just on National Disability Insurance Scheme (inaudible)… a new report today says that service providers are struggling to keep up with demand. Do you have concerns about how that project has been rolled out and for the capacity of service providers?
PRATT: Look I am certainly getting feedback from the ground that people are having difficulty with the roll out, both in terms of the timing of getting their needs met and getting their needs properly assessed. We’ve certainly had people needing to be reassessed more than once. So this really underscores the fact that there are problems with the NDIS rollout and the government needs to pay more attention to the detail of the problems within it.