Panel with Clint Stanaway and Scott Emerson, Today Show
17 June 2023
CLINT STANAWAY: Welcome back to Weekend Today on this Saturday morning. This morning, there is mounting pressure on Liberal senator David Van to quit federal politics after a third allegation of sexual harassment. His future to be decided at an urgent meeting of the Victorian Liberal Party in Canberra. To discuss, let's bring in today's talk. As Victorian Senator Jane Hume and media commentator Scott Emerson. Jane, I want to start with you in Canberra where your party leader, Peter Dutton, is calling for the Senator to resign. It must be noted he has denied these claims. Will you be voting to kick him out?
JANE HUME: Well, there isn't a vote to kick him out. Clint. Peter Dutton, the leader of the Liberal Party has acted decisively to make sure that Senator Van is no longer sitting in the Liberal Party room. It's now up to Senator Van to reflect on his position in the Senate and also for the Liberal Party more broadly to consider his position in the party.
CLINT STANAWAY: Do you agree that he should be expelled?
JANE HUME: Well, it's really a decision for Senator Van to reflect upon his position. I certainly have spoken to a number of party members here at the Liberal Party conference in Canberra already and certainly this is a topic of conversation, but it is up to the Liberal Party members to make that call.
CLINT STANAWAY: I'm intrigued. Have you personally seen or heard about any instances of inappropriate behaviour involving the Senator? I mean, you're a Victorian Senator also.
JANE HUME: Look, I am a Victorian Senator. No one has come to me directly with any allegations before this all came to light this week. But clearly there have been things bubbling below the surface. My responsibility, though, now is to make sure that we have a safe and respectful workplace. I'm on the Parliamentary Leadership Task Force that is responsible for implementing the Jenkins Review, which was commissioned by the former government, to make sure that we have independent services for counselling and also for reporting complaints and incidences so that they can go through the appropriate mechanisms. That's where my job is right now.
CLINT STANAWAY: Scott, I want to head to you. It's been an ugly few weeks, hasn't it, in Canberra? Sexual assault allegations have cast a shadow over Parliament. What do you make of the weeks that have been.
SCOTT EMERSON: Oh, look, it's been a terrible week in Canberra. I think all sides of politics will acknowledge that and it's ended clearly with these allegations. And they are just allegations against Senator Van. Should he go? Look, of course he should go. And Peter Dutton has acted decisively. I the Victorian branch of the Liberal Party their executive will meet this weekend and they'll make a decision about that. Clearly they should be talking to Senator Van, getting his side of it. But now you're seeing mounting allegations too public. One hasn't been named in terms of the person who's making the complaint. But and it covers all of politics, you know, stretching from the Greens member to former Liberal assistant minister in Amanda Stoker. These allegations are mounting. Senator Van should go and I suspect that's what will happen. But he's going to remain in Parliament. At the moment they can't kick him out of Parliament. That's going to be the problem. But Peter Dutton had to act He had to act strongly. And let's be very clear here, Peter Dutton has always acted strongly on these issues. He's got a history of standing up for women and to attacking, you know, sexual assaults and those kind of issues.
CLINT STANAWAY: Scott, Jane, very quickly in other news, appears working from home is here to stay. A recent survey showing many Aussies continue to work remotely. That's despite COVID being declared over more than a month ago. SCOTT The option to work flexibly remains highly desirable, it seems.
SCOTT EMERSON: Look, when we've got the kind of unemployment rate we have at the moment, very low unemployment rate, our employees have the whip hand and I suspect they will continue to be the case. But if unemployment starts to go up, maybe there's plenty of employers out there I think would like to see their workers back in the office. I suspect they suspect that rather than working remotely, they're just seeing workers remotely working.
CLINT STANAWAY: Jane, is it the future of the workforce in Australia, do you think?
JANE HUME: Actually, I thought that Ross McEwan from the National Australia Bank's position was very interesting. He required all his senior staff to come back into the office and to not work from home. Because we are social beings. Creating a culture in your workplace requires people to be there together and so maybe we'll see a reversal of this trend in the long term. But look, I'm not one to speak. I got home from work at about 4:30, been up all night. You know, the Senate is hardly the family friendly workplace. It's hardly the family friendly workplace. We would hope it would be.
CLINT STANAWAY: Well, you look great, Jane. Thanks so much, Jane and Scott Emerson for joining us. It's 8 a.m. Here are today's top stories.