Interview Weekend Sunrise – Saturday, 25 February 2017

SATURDAY, 25 FEBRUARY 2017                             

SUBJECT/S: Turnbull/Abbott War

MONIQUE WRIGHT: Joining us to discuss all of this, this morning are our two ‘Yes Ministers”, Coalition Assistant Minister Angus Taylor and Shadow Minster Jason Clare. Good to see you both. Angus if that’s not wrecking, undermining or snipping what is?

ANGUS TAYLOR: Well you know Australians are over all this leadership stuff, Labor were the experts we’re amateurs but the truth is –

WRIGHT: Well you’ve both done it; you’ve both done it right?

TAYLOR: Well people had enough, and look we’ve have had enough and the overwhelming thing you’ve heard from the party room in the last 24 hours is we’ve had enough we want to get over the distractions and move on and focus on the agenda that Australians care about.

WRIGHT: Well that’s true so how are you going to try and stop [Abbott] from talking?

TAYLOR: Well backbenchers, look, when I was a backbencher I spoke out that’s – they have the right to do that the important thing though is people want us to focus on governing and we will and that has to be the focus and look issues like keeping the lights on, keeping electricity prices down, that’s what – tax cuts for small businesses – that’s what Australians want to hear about and that’s what we’re focused on.

WRIGHT: But we’re not.

ANDREW O’KEEFE: That’s right, what makes people like Tony Abbott so convinced that even Liberal voters want their party to be so right wing? No human rights commission anymore, no renewable energy target, nothing that happened in the last 50 years ever happened. What makes him so convinced that people want to live that way?

TAYLOR: Well look Andrew, these policy debates are important but the point is all the leadership stuff is – you’ve heard in the last 24 hours the party room’s not interested.

O’KEEFE: But the policy’s more important than that issue and they’re trying to drag your party to a much more rightist stance.

JASON CLARE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR TRADE AND INVESTMENT, SHADOW MINISTER FOR RESOURCES AND NORTHERN AUSTRALIA: You’ve got to understand it’s not about policy, it’s about personality. This is an old feud.  Abbott and Turnbull have hated each other for years. It goes back to university, they were on opposite sides of the republic debate, Abbott rolled Turnbull, about – what 6 or 8 years ago, then Turnbull rolled Abbott. Obviously this is not the end, he wants his revenge and so you’ve got Malcolm Turnbull running away from Abbott rather than running the country. And we know division is death, people hate this stuff. This is a bad, divided Government and that’s why the people will throw you out at the next election.

TAYLOR: Well Jason is the expert, those guys did it a lot more than us, but look the truth of the matter is what you have heard in the last 24 hours a very clear message, a very clear message from the party room. We want to get on with the job and that has been unequivocal and Jason can try and stir it up.

WRIGHT: It’s sad that you haven’t been able to do that though, isn’t it? Jason if we can just talk about Abbott pointing towards Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton could he become the next Prime Minister?

CLARE: Here’s who I reckon it is, I don’t think Turnbull will be the Prime Minister come the next election. Here’s my bet, Julie Bishop. Julie Bishop as leader – as Prime Minister – and Dutton as deputy. That’s what this is all about, and the big question Angus is who are you going to vote for? Malcolm? Or is it Julie? Or Peter? Or maybe Tony?

TAYLOR: Well Jason you’re an expert in this you did lots of it.

CLARE: Angus we’ve seen this movie before, we know how it ends. And it’s going to end very badly for a divided party like yours.

TAYLOR: We’ve seen the Labor movie, but what we have seen in the last 24 hours is you couldn’t have heard a clearer view from the party room. We want to get on with governing and we want to get on with servicing the [unintelligible]

CLARE: Did you see Eric Abetz last night? You’ve been throwing knives at each other for the last 24 hours instead of running the country.

WRIGHT: Okay, let’s stop the knives now.

O’KEEFE: It does seem like sort of the last 12 years almost, doesn’t it? That everyone’s been throwing knives at each other.

ANGUS: People are over it.

O’KEEFE: Totally over it.

WRIGHT: We are all over it. There is no disputing of that. Thank you both.