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Early Agenda -

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AM Agenda

2 December 2009

KIERAN GILBERT: Welcome back to AM Agenda and our panel Bill Shorten and Scott Morrison both join
me from Canberra. Scott Morrison first to you, you're a supported of Malcolm Turnbull, you've been
on the Liberal front bench, gees it must've been a difficult week for you?

SCOTT MORRISON: I think it's been a difficult week for the Liberal Party, it's been a difficult
week for Liberal Party supporters I think over some time but we have some resolutions and clear
resolution of this issue now. We're very appreciative of the incredible sort of commitment Malcolm
has given to that job and, you know, sincerely thank him but in politics at the end of the day we
have to think about the people who don't sit in this Parliament, but we have to think about the
people who sit out there in our communities and at the end of the day there was an overwhelming
view, at least in my opinion in our community about Kevin Rudd's forcefulness to try and drive this
through this Parliament. There's no viewer really that says that we shouldn't do something, it's
what the government will try and say, that's what they'll try and assert, but in my community they
wanted us to wait, they wanted us to listen, they were concerned about what was being proposed and
they wanted us to take a breath ...


SCOTT MORRISON: ... and that's what we've done and we'll go forward with Tony.

KIERAN GILBERT: Scott, you know, you say you go forward with Tony, the vote was 42 to 41, it's
going to be such a tough job for him to unify the party and I suppose the good will isn't flowing
just yet. We've seen Peter Costello this morning in the Herald and The Age newspapers basically
saying that the Turnbull experiment, is over, it's not surprising, the last year needs to be buried
and forgotten along with the madness of the Hewson and Latham eras, this is the former Treasurer
and long serving fellow minister alongside Malcolm Turnbull in the Howard government.

SCOTT MORRISON: Well, look I don't think that sort of commentaries helpful, I mean the task of the
Leader is to bring our party together, to take us forward, for us to be unified and arguing
strongly about what Tony calls, and is right, a great big tax. And, the great big lie about the
great big tax is that Kevin Rudd's scheme is the only scheme that's out there, it's the only
option, it's the only thing you can do and it all has to be done before Copenhagen and before
Christmas. And the Australian community is saying no, no that's not what we want, what we want is
for our leaders to bear us in mind, to think about what our concerns are and not try to pursue
their own agendas over and above those of the community.

KIERAN GILBERT: Bill Shorten, Barnaby Joyce says bring it on, bring on the early election, he's
happy to fight on this issue. Penny Wong was sort of dancing around it a bit, wouldn't, you know,
comment on the prospects, you've watched politics for a enough time, do you think you'd, you'd be a
lay down misere at an early election?

BILL SHORTEN: Oh, I think that what's important today is to see if there's any remaining Liberal
senators who can vote with their conscience as opposed to the dictation of the hard-right. I
listened very carefully to what Scott had to say then and, you know, it, I must live in a parallel
universe along with most Australians to that of the Liberal Party. Last week Ian MacFarlane, who, I
think, did a good job, and Malcolm Turnbull, who was the alternative Prime Minister of Australia
according to the Liberal Party until yesterday, they said last week we had a deal, now this week
apparently there was never a deal. So, I think that what's important is to focus on the
legislation, urgent action on climate change, I mean as for what Barnaby Joyce says, he has a lot
of things to say but whether or not they're all serous I'm not so sure.

KIERAN GILBERT: So, Bill you're not going to give me a straight answer either on the prospects of
an early election?

BILL SHORTEN: Oh no, the Prime Minister has made it clear that he would like to go the full term,
in addition what we would like to do is see urgent action on climate change passed. Scott Morrison
said that 'oh there's more than one plan, more than the Prime Minister's plan' well then what were
these genuine negotiations that were going on? Like, the plan which we were submitting which is
being submitted in the Senate was the best efforts of the Labor government and then we had the
Liberal's claiming credit for modifying the legislation. This was a joint deal, now we're seeing
some rogue action which is actually a successful coup d 'etat within the Liberal Party and the hard
liners have won.

KIERAN GILBERT: Tony Abbott joined David Speers last night here on Sky News; I want to play you a
little bit of what he had to say about the prospects of a Coalition policy on climate change.

TONY ABBOTT: "I'm not making promises about specifics but we will have a strong and effective
climate change policy, it's just that it won't mean a great big new tax."

KIERAN GILBERT: Scott, how much, how important is it for people like you in seats like Cook where
I'd understand there would be strong support for action on climate change, that Tony Abbott is good
to his word on that?

SCOTT MORRISON: Well, I'll tell you what there is in Cook. There is a strong view that we need to
give the planet the benefit of the doubt, but that doesn't mean we need to give Kevin Rudd the
benefit of the doubt. And, frankly the way the Prime Minister has been going on about this, trying
to play up the politics of this issue over a long period of time, I'm sure he'll now say all these
wonderful things about Malcolm Turnbull but where was he saying these things when he was trying to
get some agreement? Instead of actually trying to make this thing get to yes, at the end of the day
what they did on that side of politics was completely play up. Now, he's always been about the
politics on this issue, not about the policy, he sort to wedge the Opposition now he's going to
have to explain for the Australian people he's great big tax and the great big lie about that great
big tax.

KIERAN GILBERT: Scott, Tony Abbott is going to apparently announce a new look front bench next
week, will you be hoping to keep you're job on the front bench? Apparently Tony Abbott's going to
offer an olive branch to moderates, Turnbull supporters and so on. For example, he wants Joe Hockey
to remain where he is, are you confident you'll keep your spot?

SCOTT MORRISON: Well, look I really want to see Joe stay as part of the team, I think Joe's an
extraordinary talent, he's doing a great job as Shadow Treasurer and I think all colleagues want to
see Joe continue in that role. For all the rest of us, you know, we come together, we support where
we're heading as a team and we go and take this fight out there to the Australian people. At the
end of the day our community is always more important than any deal or any one individual and our
party, it's the same for our party. We're going to go out there and support what our people are
saying to us, reflect the broader concerns that are out there in the community and give voice to
that. And that's what I think one of the key developments has been over this past week. We can all
get very focused on what happens inside this building but at the end of the day it's not about us,
it's about the people out there in our electorates and that's what we've responded to over the
course of the past week.

KIERAN GILBERT: Bill Shorten, Tony Abbott is a plain speaking politician, he says it as it is and
is widely credited for being like that, do you think that that might be a bit of a threat out there
politically compared to the Prime Minister whose not often described as a plain speaker?

BILL SHORTEN: Well, our Prime Minister said that we should have action on climate change; we've
been working hard with legislation. Yet again I have to say in terms of what Scott said, we had a
deal last week, I remember Malcolm Turnbull and Ian MacFarlane and others saying we had a deal. So,
to say that, for the Liberals when they say we want to give the planet the benefit of the doubt but
not Kevin Rudd I can't help but think they're just words. Don't judge a political party by their
words judge them by their actions. We want action on climate change the other side say they do, in
fact we thought they had a deal, in fact before the last election they went with an emissions
trading system to the electorate but now when it comes to at the rubber hitting the road they've
gone missing. So, in terms of Tony Abbott and being a straight speaker, yesterday he said that we
can't talk about WorkChoices, we'll never see that phrase again but he used those words, to me
that's a bit of double speak. I think he is interested in more hard line industrial relations so I
think that, and I think another act of plain speaking with a topic you discussed with Scott then,
who he puts on his front bench, now that is a matter for the Liberal Party but I think that it's
going to be interesting. He won by one vote. If he has real control of the party room I'm afraid to
see some moderates will get dropped off the front bench. And I've got a little test, I call it the
Morrison, Ronaldson, Briggs, MacFarlane Test; will Minister Abbott have to reward some of his hard
right wingers and promote them or will he keep a line up of moderates and party balance. If he, I
think that there's plenty of issues there to see if he means what he says or if the party's become
very right wing.

KIERAN GILBERT: Normally we would've discussed this a lot earlier than now on the program, we've
only got about a minute to go but Bill Shorten, the interest rates were up again yesterday, third ...


KIERAN GILBERT: ... third time in as many months, it's not going to go down well in Maribyrnong and
other seats around the country; politically you should be under a bit of heat at the moment.

BILL SHORTEN: Well, the interests rates going up, you know, that's real money by the same token in
August of last year interest rates were 300 basis points higher. The truth of the matter is that
we've had interest rates at the lowest level in 49 years; it was always going to be some upward
movement. But, I do think that what Westpac has done by taking opportunistic advantage of an
increase in .25 per cent of the cash rate and then increasing interest rates much higher is really,
really not appropriate conduct at all and I think that Westpac should, you know, have some
explaining to do, taking advantage of a 25 point increase and slugging mortgage holders, their
mortgage holders much higher, it's really not on at all.

KIERAN GILBERT: Bill Shorten and Scott Morrison appreciate your time this morning, thank you both.

SCOTT MORRISON: Thanks, Kieran.

BILL SHORTEN: Thanks, Kieran.

KIERAN GILBERT: That's all for this addition of AM Agenda.

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