Interview with Andrew O’Keefe and Angela Cox- Weekend Sunrise – Saturday, 26 March 2016


SUBJECT/S: Bronwyn Bishop; Arthur Sinodinos; Malcolm Turnbull’s dysfunctional government

ANDREW O’KEEFE: Time to look back at what’s happened in the corridors of power this week and joining us to discuss from the Gold Coast is Liberal’s Steven Ciobo and in Sydney Labor’s Jason Clare. Good morning to you both.



O’ KEEFE: Happy Easter to you too. First up, News Corp reports this morning that former Speaker Bronwyn Bishop is facing the chop at the election if she decides to run. Steve people in Mackellar are saying that they would prefer to vote for Dick Smith if he runs rather than Mrs Bishop. What are you thoughts about that?

CIOBO: Andrew of course we are always sensitive to what people are saying, we look at these things. This preselection hasn’t been decided. Bronwyn hasn’t, I don’t think in a final sense, made clear what she intends to do so we will wait and watch. Ultimately there is a preselection process, the party members of the Liberal Party in Mackellar will have the chance to have their say on who they want to represent them and ultimately that person will take forward the Liberal Brand in Mackellar.

ANGELA COX: Jason are you surprised that she is considering running?

CLARE: Well I think what this story tells us Ang is that if the Liberal Party don’t get rid of Bronwyn Bishop then the people of her electorate will. All of Australia are sick of the rorts, they are sick of the dodginess and the helicopter scandal was just an example of that.

Malcolm Turnbull’s problem is it’s not just Bronwyn Bishop, he’s had to sack three Ministers in the last three months and now it looks like he’s got another Minister in Arthur Sinodinos who’s a problem caught up in this illegal slush fund.

So I can understand why the people of Mackellar and people right across the country are sick of the dodginess, the rorts as well as the division at the heart of this Government.

O’KEEFE: You’ve been pretty vocal about Arthur Sinodinos this week Jason, it doesn’t seem like we have yet got clarity on exactly what’s happened here but you’ve come out swinging.

CLARE: What we know is that Arthur Sinodinos was the Treasurer of the Liberal Party and the Finance Director of the Liberal Party at a time where all of these donations were made to the Liberal Party. The Liberal Party has refused to tell us who the donors were. What I’ve said is if these people were illegally donating to the Liberal Party when Arthurs Sinodinos was in charge of the money then his position really becomes untenable. Malcolm Turnbull has had to sack three Ministers already, now I think he is going to have to sack his right hand man as well.

COX: Steve what’s your response to that?

CIOBO: I think Jason’s had a big cup of cranky this morning from the sounds of it. This is the guy, of course when Craig Thomson was under police investigation the Labor Party ran around saying hang on there should be due process, lets not get too caught up in this. I think Australians frankly are just sick of this bitterness and this negativity that comes from the Opposition.

COX: But even Malcolm Turnbull said, if they’ve got something to say they should put the cards on the table, let them fall where they may – if he has to fall over this.

CIOBO: This is the whole point though, you see, because there is an investigation. Lets not lose sight of the fact that Arthur Sinodinos has already been through an ICAC process. ICAC said basically there is nothing to see here and that’s why Arthur has come back onto the frontbench. Of course the Opposition is going to do whatever hey can to throw as much mud as they can to say everything is awful and everything is bad but when you bring it back to the fundamentals what Australians want to know is this, does their government have a plan, have an agenda to drive jobs, and to drive growth because that’s what Aussies care about and this sort of side show stuff, I just don’t think they get too caught up in it.

CLARE: This is the problem though, you don’t have a plan.

O’KEEFE: Australian’s do want to know what the plan is, we don’t seem to be hearing too much about it at the moment.

CLARE: Where is the plan?

CIOBO: Australia had three percent growth, we in fact had the strongest growth out of any of the G7 countries, we’ve put a $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda down, we’ve had a $1.6 billion Defence White Paper, we’ve put through Senate reform, we’ve made decisions in relation to the second Sydney airport, we’ve got a $50 billion Infrastructure Fund that’s rolling out. Frankly guys this is a government that is doing a hell of a lot. It’s driving the nation forward. We’ve created three times, three times as many jobs, I should say three times as quickly we’ve created jobs in Australia as the former Labor Government did. I get that Jason’s got a job to do but I just don’t get too caught up in it because our fundamentals are strong.

CLARE: Steve I just don’t think the people of Australia like governments that are at each others throats, they’ve always hated disunity and this week, the first week of a three month election campaign, you’ve got Abbott undermining Turnbull, then Turnbull undermining Morrison and now you’ve got another Minister in trouble.

You’ve had to sack three Ministers in three months, now you’ve got another Minister in trouble and on top of that you told everybody they were going to get an income tax cut, now you’ve ditched that and now you’re saying companies will get a tax cut. There is nothing that will upset Australians more than finding out that big companies will get a tax cut and they won’t – and that’s your problem.

O’KEEFE: Well we’ve got a budget to reset that agenda I guess, coming up some time soon so we’ll see how we respond to that.
Thanks gentlemen.