TRANSCRIPT – Sky News First Edition

 

TRANSCRIPT – Sky News First Edition
Friday 25 March 2022

Subjects: Endometriosis funding, Labor bullying, Jacquie Lambie

E&OE

PETER STEFANOVIC:

Joining me now is Amanda Stoker. Senator, thanks for your time this morning. So we'll start there; how much help do you think that will be for women, and also families?

AMANDA STOKER:

Good morning. It's going to be a really significant change in the lives of the one in nine Australian women who experience endometriosis. For many women who experience it, it leads to daily pain. It leads to difficulty with falling pregnant, and it leads to enormous expense associated with the management of that pain. And as the government who first recognise the significance of this problem, first committed to the National Action Plan for action on endometriosis, and who've been prepared to invest in the on the ground services, the awareness and understanding, the training of doctors to make sure they know what they're looking for in diagnosis and treatment, and in the research that supports good clinical care. I'm just thrilled that so many women that grapple with these really debilitating condition daily are going to have a much more optimistic future.

PETER STEFANOVIC:

Just a few other issues involving female senators, as it turns out. Bill Shorten has this morning said that he doesn't want an enquiry into bullying claims of the late Senator Kimberley Kitching. Is that the end of it, in your view?

AMANDA STOKER:

Well look, it just smacks of labour continuing to put their own political needs over the needs of the people who work in parliament. When there is an issue affecting safety that arises from circumstances on the non-Labor side, they rustle up protests, they don't let up on that on the claims of failing to act to protect women, they go to town. And yet, when one of their own – in circumstances arising from the conduct of members of their own party – appears to have suffered from circumstances so intense, in the course of her work, in the nature of bullying, that led arguably to her death, they close ranks and they don't want to talk about it. If that's the culture of cover up we see in relation to the passing away of one of their own, in the very good Senator Kimberley Kitching, then what would they be like when it comes to the interests of the nation? They're going to continue to put their own interests above the interests of the nation. I don't think it smells right. If you or I, in a normal workplace – a construction site or a shop – we're so bullied that it adversely affected our health, we would have a workplace health and safety investigation. There would be consequences that flow for the people involved. And there would arguably be compensation payable to a person who experienced that terrible circumstance. Why on earth should have been different in this circumstance?

PETER STEFANOVIC:

Speaking of bullying, I'm reminded now by these claims that Jacqui Lambie made. And she spoke about this this morning too; she says she was threatened with jail time by the prime minister if she revealed details of a secret deal relating to refugees. What grounds could that be – in wearing one of your other hats?

AMANDA STOKER:

Look, I don't think Senator Lambie has put sufficient detail on the public record for me to be able to assess that properly. It strikes me that the prime minister plays a very straight bat when it comes to these types of issues and doesn't issue the kinds of threats we talk about. But of course, all parliamentarians get, from time to time in their duties, access to information that has special significance for the safety of Australian personnel, or for Australia's defence or other interests. I don't know if that's the information that we're talking about here, but when we come into contact with that kind of sensitive information, we've got to treat it in the interests of the nation. And sometimes that means respecting legislative secrecy obligations.

PETER STEFANOVIC:

Yeah, but how acceptable is the threat of jail time?

AMANDA STOKER:

Well again, I don't know exactly what she's talking about, but it wouldn't have been at the prime minister’s whim, it would have been something legislated that applies to everybody. So I think it's important to put that in context. These things can't be confected by a prime minister out of thin air. They come from statutes already on the books. And so, if Senator Lambie needs to go-

PETER STEFANOVIC:

So are you suggesting Jacquie Lambie has made it up?

AMANDA STOKER:

No. I say that we are all subject from, time to time, to obligations that exist on Australia's statutes. They apply to public servants who come into contact with certain types of information, and they apply to those in parliamentary service who access information in the nature of official secrets. If she has been privy to that information, in an attempt to brief her to do her duties, then she needs to respect those legislated obligations in the same way that every other parliamentary – and every other Australian – who in the course of their duties came across it would have to.

PETER STEFANOVIC:

Ok. Senator Amanda Stoker, thanks as always for your time.

[END]