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Australian Agenda 14 October 2012 Jay Weatherill
Sky News Australian AgendaJay Weatherill14 October 2012
Interview with Jay Weatherill  Australian Agenda program, 14 October 2012Peter van Onselen:Premier, thanks very much for joining us. The Peter Slipper departure, I realise that'sthe federal domain not your area of state politics, but were you surprised by the way itwas handled by the Government?Jay Weatherill:I've said a few things in South Australia about civility in public discourse in our South Australian Parliament and I've just been staggered at what we have been seeing overrecent months, perhaps even years now, in the Federal Parliament. I have got to say Ishare some of Malcolm Turnbull's observations about the impoverished nature of publicdiscourse and I think that reflects appallingly on all of us. If you've got a positiveagenda you're seeking to advance the idea of people behaving in the way in whichwe've seen in the Federal Parliament I think just diminishes the whole political process.Peter van Onselen:
 
Australian Agenda 14 October 2012 Jay Weatherill
Given the revelation of the text messages that was revealed in the media what wouldyou have done if you were prime minister, would you have sacked him?Jay Weatherill:I think the problem with all of this is that all of this was known by the Coalition andthey continued to pre-select the bloke, continued to cooperate. It's just when thingsturned badly for them they decide that these are issues that they want to put in thepublic domain.Peter van Onselen:In fairness, the text messages were after he was already out of their...Jay Weatherill:There was a whispering campaign about Mr Slipper. They had information that...Peter van Onselen:There's a difference between a whispering campaign versus genuine reporting lastweekend of those sort of text messages. Surely the Prime Minister should have sackedhim to avoid finding herself in the funk she's in now.Jay Weatherill:I can understand why they would be resisting calls by an Opposition that had full noticeof all of the things they were concerned about concerning Mr Slipper. To advance a
 
Australian Agenda 14 October 2012 Jay Weatherill
motion of this sort looks pretty disingenuous. But the broader point I make is that theway in which public discourse has been operating at a national level I think is reallydestructive to the political process. Tony Abbott's decided that he's going to take themost destructive possible way of finding his path that he believes he's making to theprime ministership. I don't know what he thinks he's going to have by the time he getsthere because he is, I think, unleashing incredibly destructive political discourse in thisnation. The idea that he would tie himself to the remarks made by Alan Jones, I mean Idon't know where he thinks he's taking public discourse in this nation.Peter van Onselen:I don't disagree with you but about what you say about Alan Jones but I'm a bitsurprised actually that you're not a bit more strong on this issue given just how strongyou were in your own state in dealing with the Bernard Finnigan matter and what youcalled for there.Jay Weatherill:The decision I made in relation to Bernard Finnigan relates to his capacity to dischargehis office. It's not about making any judgments about what he has or hasn't done, it's just a practical matter about given the nature of the public revelations and what's goingto play itself out in the public sphere his capacity to discharge his functions as memberof Parliament. It's a seat that's a Labor Party seat, he's since resigned from the LaborParty or allowed his membership to lapse, and so it's a seat that we believe shouldcome back to the Labor Party. So that's the basis upon which we took that position.Peter van Onselen:

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