MONDAY, 9 FEBRUARY 2015
SUBJECT/S: Chaos in the Abbott Government
SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE: We’re joined now by Shadow Communications Minister Jason Clare. Jason good morning to you – welcome. Were you surprised by this mornings’ result?
JASON CLARE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS: No, I am not. Tony Abbott is pretty unpopular in the community. He’s made a lot of mistakes. A lot of his own members are pretty unhappy with the mistakes he’s made, so it doesn’t surprise me that you get dozens of them today vote against him.
DAVID KOCH: You have got to be thinking, this is party time – all of the slanging they have had at you guys about changing leaders and now here they are attempting to do it themselves?
CLARE: We got punished for it. People hate this. They don’t like politicians talking about each other or fighting with each other. That’s why we were punished at the last election. I think they will be punished as well as at the next election for the division we are now seeing in the Liberal Party.
ARMYTAGE: Do you think Tony Abbott can hold onto his job for the rest of this term of government?
CLARE: I think it really depends upon whether he is prepared to dump some of the bad policies that he’s put in place. What the Liberal Party need is not a facelift, they need a heart transplant. These unfair policies, like making people pay a tax to go to the doctor or cutting the pension, people don’t like. Now is an opportunity for Tony Abbott to say, “I got it wrong on the GP Tax, on the university increases, on the cuts to the pension, on knights and dames.” Dump the bad policies and the Liberal Party may not come back and dump him.
KOCH: When the Budget came out last May we labelled it “mean”. It was a mean-spirited budget. Yes, you want a tough Budget, but you don’t want a mean Budget and it was. They have got a couple of months until they can really bring in a zinger to actually buy our votes back again. Are you expecting that?
CLARE: Well, the record says they won’t do it. Australians understand that we have all got to chip in to help put the Budget on the right course. So that means that everybody has got to do their fair share. Now, the way that the Budget was put in place, it meant that somebody on a high income had to put in a couple of hundred dollars, but someone on a low income had to put in thousands of dollars. Now, that’s not fair. That is why the people of Australia are angry with the Prime Minister and I suspect that’s why his own members voted against him today.
ARMYTAGE: Labor has got to be happy about going up against Tony Abbott as opposed to what could have happened today, going up against Malcolm Turnbull. We put this to Bill Shorten as well. Malcolm Turnbull is so popular with Labor voters. That has got to worry you guys a bit in the back of your minds?
CLARE: It is a bit like asking the Australian cricket team who would you like to play in the final of the World Cup. The bottom line is, whoever we’re up against, we have got to be better than them. That means we need to make sure we have the right policies in place to lead Australia into the future and win the confidence and the support of the Australian people.
KOCH: Jason, good to see you. Thank you.
CLARE: Thank you, guys.
MEDIA CONTACT: RYAN HAMILTON 9790 2466