Interview – Channel 9 Today

LISA WILKINSON: Welcome back to the show. Well, as you would well know, it’s been an historic week in Australian politics. Kevin Rudd is back, Julia Gillard is gone, along with Wayne Swan and a string of other high-profile front-benchers. We’re joined now by Minister for Home Affairs, Jason Clare and Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop. Good morning to both of you.

JASON CLARE: Good morning, Lisa.


JASON CLARE: Big week.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Deep breaths everyone.


KARL STEFANOVIC: What’s that date behind us?

LISA WILKINSON: Yeah, what’s going on with that? September 14. Is that something we need to change?

JULIE BISHOP: That’s the election day.

JASON CLARE: We might have to change that date.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Alright. So we’ve got some breaking news on that. Are you willing to concede that now?

JASON CLARE: The Prime Minister said that it’ll be some time this year. The PM gets to make that decision.

JULIE BISHOP: That’s good.

JASON CLARE: It’ll be on a Saturday between now and Christmas.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Now, now, you’re coming in to the warm embrace in today’s show. You’ve got to give us a little something for our family at home?


JASON CLARE: I just have.

LISA WILKINSON: The trouble is, all year, Australia has been gearing up for this date that we were promised. And now all bets are off. But there’s brides that need to know!

JASON CLARE: Exactly, Lisa.

LISA WILKINSON: Which Saturday?

JULIE BISHOP: It’s on everybody’s calendar, they’ve circled 14 September, Jason.

JASON CLARE: That is very true. There are a lot of young women out there who have organised their weddings and are thinking am I going to have to turn up to a polling booth and vote before the big day before they walk down the aisle.

JULIE BISHOP: But, Jason. This is actually serious. We need certainty. There’s so much instability and uncertainly now. The only thing we knew that would remain the same was the election date – 14 September. So tell us, when’s it going to be?

JASON CLARE: That’s not entirely true. The Opposition spent the last few weeks arguing that the election should be brought forward. Now, what Kevin Rudd has said is…

JULIE BISHOP: Well, is it going to be brought forward?

JASON CLARE: … that there a couple of different dates, that there is an option to choose from. And he’ll make that decision over the course I suspect over the next few weeks.

KARL STEFANOVIC: It would have to be sooner rather than later, you can make a decision on that, surely we can’t be talking about this endlessly?

JASON CLARE: I don’t think it’d take too long. The Prime Minister will weigh up all of the available dates and make the decision.

KARL STEFANOVIC: You know what? Three weeks ago, we sat here on the couch and it was almost as if you and I, Lisa, had a premonition about what was going to happen.


KARL STEFANOVIC: Well, it looked like Kevin Rudd was coming back. This was three weeks ago. This is what happened.

[Video footage]

KARL STEFANOVIC: Come on, Jason.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Don’t laugh uncomfortably.

JASON CLARE: Come on. That issue is done and dusted. But what Kevin is saying…

KARL STEFANOVIC: He hasn’t ruled it out.

JASON CLARE: But what Kevin is saying is we need to fight hard for the things that we believe in. And the election’s going to be between Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott.

[Video footage ends]

JASON CLARE: You argued very hard on that day, Karl, for Kevin Rudd to come back, didn’t you, Karl? And I listened to you carefully.

JULIE BISHOP: Jason, Jason, did you rat on Julia Gillard? Were you one who swapped your vote from Julia Gillard having sworn that you would back her. You jumped to Kevin Rudd. Did you jump the ship?

JASON CLARE: I spoke to Julia Gillard, had a good conversation with her.

KARL STEFANOVIC: How do you define good?

JASON CLARE: It was a good conversation. I am not going to go into the details of it. But she’s a woman of incredible grace and class. I made the case to her that I thought we were headed for a big defeat and we have to be competitive at the next election. We weren’t. This makes us more competitive. I could tell that just from yesterday in the Parliament. The Liberal Party’s been very cocky for three years. They weren’t cocky yesterday. They know now that the fight is on and that there is a real competition at the next election.

JULIE BISHOP: But, Jason, nothing’s changed. The bitterness and division continues in the Labor Party. The civil war goes on. You’re still undermining each other. You’ve now just swapped a few sides, the sisterhood. This is what gets me. The sisterhood. Penny Wong and Jenny Macklin and Tanya Plibersek – all those who were out as the vanguard of the gender wars has now – they’ve all dumped on Australia’s first female Prime Minister.

And gone behind the man in a blue tie. This is a recipe for ongoing instability and the Australian people deserve better. They deserve stable, competent government and they deserve to know when the election will be.

JASON CLARE: I thought that anybody that saw what Julia Gillard said the other night would have been extraordinarily impressed. She is a class act. And the things that she said…

JULIE BISHOP: So why did you get rid of her?

JASON CLARE: … and the things that Wayne Swan said makes it very certain that the party can bind together and work in a united way to make sure that Tony Abbott doesn’t become the Prime Minister.

LISA WILKINSON: Jason does have a point there. The tactics have changed. You have got to change your tactics – what are you going to do?

JULIE BISHOP: No, we don’t. Why do we have to change our tactics? We have been expecting this. Everybody knows that whoever the people vote for they don’t end up with. In 2007 they voted for Kevin Rudd and got Julia Gillard. In 2010 they voted for Julia Gillard and got Kevin Rudd. Who knows who they’ll end up – well, it certainly won’t be Kevin Rudd if they vote for Labor?

So, we’ve expected this. We know that the election was going to be tight. We don’t take anything for granted and we are…

KARL STEFANOVIC: It’s tougher for you now though. It’s tougher for you now with Kevin Rudd as the leader.

JULIE BISHOP: I don’t accept that, because the policies are still the same. The boats will keep coming. He’s got no solutions to stop the boats.

KARL STEFANOVIC: You know he’s going to get a bounce in the polls. You know as soon as the next poll comes out there’ll be a bounce in their poll. So there’s a little bit more pressure on you for the first time.

JULIE BISHOP: Well, we have been putting out our policies. We have put together our 52 pages of policies. There it is. The Coalition policies.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Do you carry that around everywhere?

JULIE BISHOP: Yes, I do. Because when Labor says we don’t have any policies, I say – cop that.

JASON CLARE: Oh, come on, Julie. There’s more policies in a Mr Men book than there is in that.

JULIE BISHOP: Now, don’t be like that, Jason. I thought it was going to be a kinder, gentler Parliament. And yet there’s Kevin Rudd standing there with the political blood of Julia Gillard dripping off his hands, attacking Tony Abbott for being negative? Come on. Nothing’s going to change. So, what I think we need is – we need some stability, we need certainty, we need an election date so that the Australian people can have their say on who should lead the country, not the union officials, not the Labor back room. Let the Australian people have their say.

KARL STEFANOVIC: It’s a fair point though isn’t it from yesterday, Kevin Rudd. It’s a bit rich, isn’t it? Him standing up in Parliament saying – a kinder gentler Parliament when he has done that to his own parliamentary leader?

JASON CLARE: I think what Kevin was saying and what the community’s been saying is that they’re sick of the negativity. They’re sick of all of this attack.

KARL STEFANOVIC: But it’s difficult to be convincing and credible when you have just knifed your own Prime Minister.

JASON CLARE: What we’ve got now is an election where we can have a fight about policy. We weren’t doing that before. We were talking about leadership all the time. And Julie holds up the Mr Men book. There’s a choice here between a Government which is…

KARL STEFANOVIC: You shouldn’t be negative.

JULIE BISHOP: Now be gentle and kind, Jason. This is a set of policies.

JASON CLARE: But when you look at this

LISA WILKINSON: Let’s talk policy, Jason.

JASON CLARE: But, Lisa, when you look at that document, all it is – say no to this, rip this out, stop that, condemn this. There’s nothing in it.

JULIE BISHOP: No, no, that’s not right. You haven’t even read it. Our new Colombo Plan there.

LISA WILKINSON: Let’s talk your policies. Things are changing, it would seem. Carbon tax gone?

JASON CLARE: Well, the Government has always supported an emissions trading scheme. We tried to do that in the last Parliament but the Liberals and the Greens stopped us doing that. That’s why Julia Gillard put in the carbon tax. We want an emissions trading scheme. We want to move that as quick as we can.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Do you come back to a floating price there?

JASON CLARE: China is doing that. Key states in the United States are doing that.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Do you come back to a floating price there?

JASON CLARE: Well, as soon as we can do that, we want to do that. Prime Minister Rudd has said that he’ll have more to say about that in the next few days.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Isn’t that a black hole though in the budget, which has significant holes in it?

JASON CLARE: All that I can say on that is that the Prime Minister has indicated he wants to talk to Cabinet about that. But I’d make this other point. Julie, just one minute.

JULIE BISHOP: Jason, if you go to a no, hang on, mate, if you go to a floating price…

JASON CLARE: China’s doing this. Key states in the United States and other countries are doing this.

JULIE BISHOP: Let’s talk about what’s going to happen in Australia. Electricity prices in Australia.

JASON CLARE: The only person around the world that’s not doing anything is Tony Abbott, who says climate change is crap.

JULIE BISHOP: Jason, if you go to a floating price that means you’ve got a big hole in your budget, because you’ve already spent the money you expected to get from the carbon tax at $25 a ton. You’ve already spent that. So you’re going to have to make significant cuts. It will be more in education, more cuts in health if you go to a floating price. Everybody knows that.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Yeah, you need to respond to that.

JASON CLARE: The point I make is this – the party that’s going to cut is the Liberal Party, a $70 billion black hole.

JULIE BISHOP: No, no, no, darling. Please answer the question.

KARL STEFANOVIC: But in terms of that hole, if you’re going to do it, obviously you have got to cost it out. How are you going make that?

JASON CLARE: That’s why you don’t make an announcement on the Today show. You go through all of these things in details, you take them to Cabinet.

KARL STEFANOVIC: The good ones do.

JASON CLARE: Who are they?

KARL STEFANOVIC: Well, Anthony Albanese was here last week saying that he’s going to back Kevin Rudd.

JASON CLARE: Is that right?


JULIE BISHOP: But he did.


KARL STEFANOVIC: Hey, thanks you two.