Speaking on Radio National’s Drive program, Steve Ciobo, Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, revealed that not only will the government not work with Labor and many on the cross-bench on policy development and legislation, but is also unwilling to include its own members in the process.
In response to questions on the impact of government policy on ructions in the Palmer United Party, Ciobo said: “We engage in good faith with anybody who’s mature and reasonable and willing to have a discussion that puts the national interest first ahead of their own personal interest.”
A Liberal Party spokesperson sought to play down the revelation, declaring that keeping MPs out of policy decisions was a standard practice of most parliamentary parties. “We’ve been doing it since Menzies stole the idea from Labor”, they said. “I mean, could you imagine the mess if we didn’t? Have you seen those people?”
The spokesperson referred to modelling commissioned by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet which indicated that handing policy development and legislative initiatives to parliament would put at risk a number of jobs at News Corp, and could force the closure of the Centre for Independent Studies and the Menzies Research Centre.
“These jobs are vital for our future. Not yours, probably, but definitely ours. And as you will be well aware, Prime Minister Abbott has repeatedly made clear his absolute determination to protect some jobs. A commitment he stands by fully, one hundred percent.”