19 July 2016
Transcript - #2016043, 2016

Interview with Karl Stefanovic, The Today Show

SUBJECTS: The Federal Election

KARL STEFANOVIC:

It has been quite a week, hasn't it in politics? The Coalition has finally formed a majority government and Bill Shorten has conceded defeat. Labor giant Anthony Albanese - calling you a Labor giant now…

ANTHONY ALBANESE:

I used to be just a Shadow Minister.

STEFANOVIC:

Well now we are calling you the Greens slayer. And Assistant Treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer is here as well.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

I am also a Greens slayer.

STEFANOVIC:

You are also. Well done to you both and congratulations for being back in office. First of all, when is Tony Abbott coming back? Is he going to be on the Front Bench again – not that you need him, you almost stuffed it last time.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

We have formed a majority government and we have a mandate to govern. The Prime Minister will make an announcement as is the usual process in terms of his ministry and I understand that will be sometime next week.

STEFANOVIC:

Tony Abbott needs to come back though doesn't he, given what happened at the election?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

I don't get into commentary on my colleagues. I find that is not a particularly useful thing to do. But I am sure the Prime Minister will evaluate very carefully his Front Bench team and the roles that everybody can play that will be constructive.

STEFANOVIC:

Do you think you let down the conservative side of the electorate, the really ultra-conservative side of the electorate?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

No, I think the Liberal Party has got a grand tradition of encompassing both the smaller liberal tradition and big C conservatives – it’s a broad church in the Liberal Party. We are strong when we govern for the centre and we embrace those two traditions and we haven't moved away from that that. That is incredibly important. That is what Menzies set up when he set up the Liberal Party.

STEFANOVIC:

Ok Albo, when are you going for Bill's job?

ALBANESE:

We’ve just been through an election campaign.

STEFANOVIC:

Yeah but you’ve got another one now…

ALBANESE:

Nominations close today for the leadership of the Labor Party and Bill Shorten…

MINISTER O’DWYER:

Are you doing it?

ALBANESE:

And Bill Shorten will be elected unopposed.

STEFANOVIC:

Will you put your hand up, though?

ALBANESE:

No, Bill Shorten will be elected unopposed. I am looking forward to serving in Bill Shorten’s Shadow Cabinet. I am interested what is happening on the other side. If Tony Abbott is not in their best 30 to be a minister, then I find that extraordinary.

STEFANOVIC:

It is pretty extraordinary given that he was Prime Minister and you can't find a place for him on the Front Bench.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

As I said, it is a matter for the Prime Minister…

ALBANESE:

Is he in your best 30? Even your best 13, 15, or 18, your best 30?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

I think Albo is fibbing a little bit when you say you are excited to be part of Bill's team…

ALBANESE:

No, no, I have wanted to be a minister, be very clear...

MINISTER O’DWYER:

You have said in the past…

ALBANESE:

I wanted to be a minister…

MINISTER O’DWYER:

You said in the past you won't guarantee that you are not going to run for the leadership. Why aren't you today, tell us?

ALBANESE:

Nominations close…

STEFANOVIC:

And you are not nominating.

ALBANESE:

I am not nominating. I can't be clearer than that.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

Are you going to guarantee down the track that you’re not going to nominate?

ALBANESE:

You just sort yourself out.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

There you go, he won't give the guarantee.

STEFANOVIC:

Well you can’t really, I mean can you guarantee you won't give it a tilt down the track?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

I am not going to run for leader. I can guarantee that!

STEFANOVIC:

But down the track you never know. Alright, let's talk about Malcolm Turnbull and, he is your leader obviously, and he spent $1 million, revelations in The Australian today, significant story this, $1 million of his own money in helping the party get re-elected, was he that desperate, were you that desperate?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

I don't know about party donations. That is a matter for the organisation…

STEFANOVIC:

It is on the front page of The Australian

MINISTER O’DWYER:

Just because it is on the front page of The Australian, as you well know, doesn't make it true…

STEFANOVIC:

I would be going with it was true…

MINISTER O’DWYER:

What I would say with donations, Karl, in the last election the Labor Party and the union movement, outspent us something like five to one…

ALBANESE:

Rubbish, that just a lie!

MINISTER O’DWYER:

That is not true.

ALBANESE:

Are you saying that the Labor Party spent five times more than the Liberal Party in the last election?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

I would like to finish.

STEFANOVIC:

Ok, you can finish.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

With the union movement, when you look at the donations that were made by them to the Labor Party in running their campaign, they compel their membership to support the Labor campaign. We say to individuals if you want to contribute to our campaign you can do that.

STEFANOVIC:

That’s all fine but what do you think about Malcolm spending a million of his own money?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

That is a significant point about whether or not you should have the choice to spend your own money in contributing or whether or not you are compelled to do that because of your membership of something like the CFMEU. If you were serious about giving people choices…

STEFANOVIC:

I don't want to go into the unions, if we can, just your own thoughts on your own leader spending $1 million…

MINISTER O’DWYER:

I said to you I have no idea about who has contributed what to the campaign. That all gets disclosed during the normal course of events. But what I would say is I think the bigger concern is that you have got individual members of unions who are forced to contribute to Labor campaigns. Those scare campaigns which frankly you should distance yourself from.

ALBANESE:

This is a big lie. The fact is that Kelly's little Higgins Club down there that raises money where corporates go to functions paying thousands of dollars each, the shareholders of those companies don't get a say in whether that money is going into that fund that is run in the Higgins electorate and has been run for many years. The fact is Kelly just said that we outspent the Liberals five to one. That is absurd. It is a lie…

MINISTER O’DWYER:

Well that’s not true…

STEFANOVIC:

Ok let’s move on.

ALBANESE:

Malcolm Turnbull, I wish we had someone who had a lazy $1 million sitting in the corner that could just plonk into the campaign.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

That is the CFMEU, the MUA, they all contribute to your campaigns and they ran a disgusting smear and scare campaign right across the country – scaring old ladies and young families.

STEFANOVIC:

Alright, we are not going to have any more negativity on this show, it’s breakfast television, I want to talk about something really positive, about how you are going to get anything through the Senate?

ALBANESE:

More union bashing, that will help.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

Let me say this, we will work constructively with all of those people who are elected representatives in the Senate…

STEFANOVIC:

Name one bill you reckon you might get through?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

I think we will get quite a lot through.

STEFANOVIC:

Which one?

MINISTER O’DWYER:

We'll let the Senate be formed first, Karl. I mean, it hasn't even been formed. The writs haven't been returned, we don't know exactly who is in the Senate.

STEFANOVIC:

You must be thinking “oh that one we might have a chance”.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

We will work constructively, we will work with those people in the Senate who are elected representatives and I think that’s important. The truth is that we have a mandate to govern, you guys would claim a mandate to wreck, unfortunately. I think you should work constructively with us on actually getting through the agenda, through the Senate, and frankly the Labor Party, could do that. They could assist. But if they are going to play the wrecking game…

ALBANESE:

This from the mob who two Parliaments ago said they would wreck the Parliament and every day move a suspension…

MINISTER O’DWYER:

We did not say that…

STEFANOVIC:

We have to go on.

ALBANESE:

Tony Abbott did! He said…

STEFANOVIC:

Hey, hey, hey, you two. You two! Zen like, the election is done, let's move on, let's make this country great. All in.

MINISTER O’DWYER:

We are all in.

STEFANOVIC:

OK, nice commitment. See you soon.

ALBANESE:

See you next week.

STEFANOVIC:

I don't like it when he is grumpy.