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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 40002

Transcript - Sunrise

Photo of Turnbull, Malcolm

Turnbull, Malcolm

Period of Service: 15/09/2015 to 24/08/2018

More information about Turnbull, Malcolm on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 21/09/2015

Release Type: Transcript

Transcript ID: 40002

Subject(s): New Ministry, Climate Change, Republic, Same Sex Marriage

DAVID KOCH: Joining me now is Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.  Congratulations, welcome to the program.

PRIME MINISTER: Good morning.  Yeah, thank you very much.

DAVID KOCH: Prime Minister, five prime ministers in five years. Four preceding you, sitting in exactly the same spot, promising the earth and a short time later just haven't delivered. How do you convince the Australian public that you're different; that we can believe what you're predicting about this 21st Century Cabinet?

PRIME MINISTER: Well the substance is there Kochie.  This is a 21st Century government. This is a modern ministry and if you look at the degree of renewal here, new faces, younger faces, many more women into the Cabinet, you don't have to take my word for it you can just see who's there and I think that's why so many people have reacted so positively to the changes.

DAVID KOCH: Australians are crying out for a vision, a vision for this country.  What is it? What's the Malcolm Turnbull vision for Australia?

PRIME MINISTER: Well this is the most exciting time to be an Australian and there is no more exciting place in the world than Australia.

DAVID KOCH: Why?

PRIME MINISTER: Because we are sitting here in Asia. We are a multicultural society; we are a highly educated society; we have the capacity to be more innovative, more productive.  We've got extraordinary lifestyles,we've got great cities, we're a great place to live and we've got to make sure our cities continue to be liveable and sustainable.  All of those are great priorities.

This is the Asian century or the Pacific century and we are perfectly positioned in it but we have to be - Kochie, we have to be optimists. We have to be committed and confident in ourselves.  We have to not fear the future but embrace it and that's the critical thing.

We need - optimism is absolutely critical.  It can't just be based on rhetoric; we have to make sure that we make the changes to promote innovation, promote science, promote technology to ensure that we deliver the jobs of the future.

DAVID KOCH: Which has been your background.  You're an entrepreneur, a self-made man. You're one of the founding investors of OzEmail, our first internet service provider. It's in your blood, but when you look back at how this was done I just want to take you back to comments you made about Labor's dumping of Kevin Rudd.  This is what you said about him after he'd been removed as prime minister.

PRIME MINISTER: [Excerpt from video clip]

The betrayal of you as leader of your party was one of the most shocking events I've ever witnessed, and I would think, Madam Speaker, any of us have ever witnessed.

[End of excerpt from video clip]

DAVID KOCH: How does what happened to Tony Abbott last week compare?  How are you different to what Labor did to Kevin Rudd?

PRIME MINISTER: Well I think there are some very big differences. The removal of Kevin Rudd as leader of the Labor Party came as a complete bolt from the blue, as a surprise.  He was actually ahead in the polls when it happened.

As you know, there was a spill in February this year. Tony accepted that he'd been given - I think he said it was a warning shot across the bows, so there was clearly an issue that he was given time to change the party's or the government's fortunes. As it turned out the party room concluded that he had not done that, and that's why he was replaced.

So I think there was a very - the process, if you like, was very different. Now that still means it's very tough on Tony.  I know what it's like to be removed as leader of the Liberal Party.  It's horrible.  It is a dark, black experience. It's awful that sense of rejection and I deeply empathise with him.  I'm one  of the few people that actually has a pretty good insight to how he feels.

DAVID KOCH: Did you offer him a Cabinet position?

PRIME MINISTER: No, I did not, no.

DAVID KOCH: Okay. Did you offer Joe Hockey Defence?

PRIME MINISTER: No.  Joe, as you know Kochie, said to me that he did not wish to be included for - did not wish to be considered for the ministry and that he was planning to retire from parliament. So, no, he was not - he asked not to be considered.

DAVID KOCH: Okay. When will you announce his appointment as Ambassador to Washington?

PRIME MINISTER: I can't add to what I said yesterday which is that I expect that he has more service to give to our nation in the future.

DAVID KOCH: What would you like him to do?

PRIME MINISTER: Well it's entirely up to him of course, but I really can't - I can't add to what I said yesterday.

DAVID KOCH: Okay. Some really key differences between you and Tony Abbott: same sex marriage, republic, climate change. Can we expect major policy shifts in those three areas over the next six months?

PRIME MINISTER: Well let me go through them all in order. Let's start with climate change.  Now the government under Mr Abbott's prime ministership - and this was a Cabinet decision. This was not his decision, a Cabinet decision agreed to take to the Paris Conference at the end of the year a 26 to 28 per cent cut in emissions from 2005 levels. That remains our policy --

DAVID KOCH: Okay. So you're happy with that?

PRIME MINISTER: -- hang on, hang on, I am, I am.  Hang on just let me finish.  In order to get there of course we have a set of measures which were developed by Greg Hunt which is a very sophisticated set of arrangements, which Greg and the Cabinet are satisfied will get to that level of emissions cut.

So I don't - you can't rule out changes to policy in the future, but at the moment our policy is there and everything indicates that Greg's policies are working. So you should not assume there'll be any change to those targets or the measures.

DAVID KOCH: Republic - will you speed up the vote for a republic?

PRIME MINISTER: Well this has got to be a peoples' thing.  I was chairman of the republican movement as you know and it's got to be a, politicians have got to have a role in it obviously and to have views on it, but it really has to come from the people, just as the ARM of which I was chairman cranked up the campaign in the lead up to '99.  If there is to be a future referendum it really has to be seen to come from the people.

DAVID KOCH: So when will you give the people a chance to express their view?

PRIME MINISTER: Well I've got to tell you I spent a lot of time getting around Australia in all sorts of environments; very few people are raising the republic with me. I'm not suggesting it's not important but the priorities of the government and the priorities of most Australians are much more immediate, and they relate to economic growth and jobs and so forth.

DAVID KOCH: So not in the near future. Same sex marriage?

PRIME MINISTER: Well there will be a decision taken on same sex marriage and our policy is that there will be a plebiscite, a vote in which every Australian can participate, after the next election.  Now that's a thoroughly democratic process.  It is not - it's unusual in the sense that it's not part of the - historically our tradition.  Normally an issue like this would be dealt with by a free vote in the parliament, but it is there. You can say it costs too much or it takes too long, but you can't say it's not democratic.  It's as democratic as you get.

DAVID KOCH: Dump dames and knights?

PRIME MINISTER: Well again you've rightly surmised that I'm - what my own views may be, but again this is a matter that will be considered by the Cabinet in due course.

DAVID KOCH: You're being very cautious. It's a new Cabinet; you can chuck out all the old policies.

PRIME MINISTER: It is a new Cabinet, but it's a Cabinet that is going and a government that is going to be managed and run as a traditional Cabinet government, and that means that the prime minister doesn't get on television, even with as seductively eloquent a host as you and starts making decisions left, right and centre.

Matters that are for - look it's my decision to choose the ministry, that's my call –

DAVID KOCH: You and Lucy have been dubbed the new power couple; very similar to Francis and Claire Underwood in House of Cards.

PRIME MINISTER: [Laughs] Please.

DAVID KOCH: Do you see that as an insult or a compliment?

PRIME MINISTER: [Laughs] I've got nothing in common with Frank Underwood other than that we both use a rowing machine.

DAVID KOCH: [Laughs] It has been noted...

PRIME MINISTER: I've got a different model actually, I've got an ERG, one of the more traditional ones.  It's rather interesting the one he has with the big bottle of water in it.

DAVID KOCH: Yeah, water, yep, alright. We all notice you're not wearing a blue tie, you've changed to red, so that is a major shift in this Cabinet --

PRIME MINISTER: Well can I just say to you Kochie, as I've always said, I decide the colour of my ties and the manner in which I wear them.

DAVID KOCH: [Laughs] We admire you for it.  Thank you for that Prime Minister.

ENDS

Transcript 40002