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Kevin Andrews joins the 7.30 Report -

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Kevin Andrews joins the 7.30 Report

Broadcast: 25/11/2009

Reporter: Kerry O'Brien

Liberal leadership challenger Kevin Andrews speaks with Kerry O'Brien following a tumultuous day
for the Liberal party.

Transcript

KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: The 35 votes in favour of a spill in the Liberal Party room today were
votes leadership challenger Kevin Andrews could reasonably claim as a measure of his support and at
least 35 Liberals who want Malcolm Turnbull to change the way he does business.

So what exactly do they want him to be? I spoke with Kevin Andrews earlier tonight.

Kevin Andrews, I think it was Abraham Lincoln who says a man makes his own face by 40 and George
Orwell said that by 50 every man has the face he deserves.

Do you think Malcolm Turnbull can change the way you want him to change at this stage in his life?

KEVIN ANDREWS, LIBERAL LEADERSHIP CHALLENGER: Look, I think Malcolm is a very talented person. He
has shown that in many aspects of his life. He's obviously quite ambitious personally and for the
job that he's doing for the Liberal Party.

And I think if he takes into account things that have been said and I believe he has because he's
made some comments after the meeting today which he said he'd accepted some of the things that had
been said and I think Joe Hockey said he had been humbled by the experience.

So if Malcolm can reach out and embrace his colleague, I think we can move forward.

KERRY O'BRIEN: What was the worst aspect for you of the way Mr Turnbull declared party room support
for the carbon emissions deal last night?

KEVIN ANDREWS: Well many of us kept lists of the people who were speaking and whether they had
supported or opposed it. And it was quite clear to me and to many of my other colleagues that of
the people who spoke in the party room there was a majority who were in favour of either deferring
consideration of it until next year or opposing it outright.

And to stay that this was the opposite I think caused some frustration and perplexity on the part
of many people in the party room.

KERRY O'BRIEN: So was he just not able to count on the night or was he being dishonest?

KEVIN ANDREWS: I think what's come out is that he was adding the numbers from the Shadow Cabinet to
those in the party room to reach the numbers that he had got.

But as I had understood the convention was that Shadow Cabinet made a recommendation to the party
room and then if the party room decides to reject that recommendation then in the past it's usually
gone back to Shadow Cabinet for further consideration and that was the understanding that I and
many of my colleagues had.

KERRY O'BRIEN: So how deeply felt is the anger and frustration in the party right now?

KEVIN ANDREWS: Well it was quite clear last night and this is no secret, Kerry that there was
palpable frustration about the process and the outcome. And I think that is what in large part led
to the evens we've seen today.

KERRY O'BRIEN: And is that sentiment felt strongly within the frontbench as well as the backbench?

KEVIN ANDREWS: I think it's fair to say there is mixed views across the whole party, which include
both the front and the backbench.

KERRY O'BRIEN: What exactly is it that you want Malcolm Turnbull to do from now on that he hasn't
been doing?

KEVIN ANDREWS: I think there's two things which are important for us. And what we have to achieve
now, all of us, is to achieve some unity within the party, to come together, put behind us the
events particularly of this week and the last few weeks.

I think two things are required in particular; one is to be leader of a political party,
particularly one which is a broad amalgam such as the Liberal Party, requires infinite patience on
the part of the leader to listen, listen and listen again to colleagues.

And secondly I think it's important now that Malcolm and the leadership reach out and embrace
people like Nick Minchin and myself as having a valid voice in the party and that we somehow have
to come to agreement across the party and across the spectrum of views about any issue that's going
forwards.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But when you've got roughly 50 percent of the party room that's in favour of this
particular policy, and 50 percent that is opposed, the leader does have to make a call at some
point.

How is he supposed to please everyone in a circumstance like that?

KEVIN ANDREWS: Well, there was a proposal put forward and there may well have been others, had we
time to think about it, by Nick Minchin to say, look, let's pause.

We've just got the amendments, why not give them, for example, to the Senate economics committee,
allow it to go away for a few weeks, have a look at it and let's come back in the cold light of a
new day or a new month and look at it all again.

But my point is basically this requires constant discussion and conversation, not just over the
last couple of days on this issue but over a period of weeks and it requires an embrace of all the
people within the party.

KERRY O'BRIEN: The next election is now less than a year a way an the closer you get the harder it
will be for the party to contemplate a leadership change from now on. You'd have to acknowledge
that, would you not?

KEVIN ANDREWS: Well that's true. And I don't think people likely contemplate leadership changes. My
experience in Parliament of nearly two decades now is that people are reluctant to actually embrace
the leadership change, unless they feel that it has to be done.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Well after the Howard years and the last election defeat, don't you think that the
Liberal Party needs renewal, needs a fresh look? Doesn't Malcolm Turnbull have a responsibility to
lead in that regard?

KEVIN ANDREWS: Well, the leader has a responsibility to lead and part of leading is to understand
that you can only lead with the consent of those whom you seek to lead. Now, that brings me back to
what I say is important now we've got to pull together in unity. Everybody should be embraced in
the fold of that.

There should be rejection of a person because they've got a different view along the political
spectrum of the Liberal Party remits. We have to come together. That is a responsibility not just
on Malcolm but a responsibility on me, it's a responsibility on me, it's a responsibility on all of
us.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Is it possible that the thinking you represent in the Liberal Party is the real
problem rather than Malcolm Turnbull? Is it really a good look to be aligned with Wilson Tuckey in
this?

KEVIN ANDREWS: Look, there's a range of views in the Liberal Party that used the expression that
Howard used many times, "the Liberal Party is a broad church." It's an amalgam of classical
liberalism and conservatism.

And that means that in order to be successful, a balance on any matter has to be found. And that
means embracing people across the spectrum and bringing in as many as possible into the fold in
terms of a solution to go forward.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But right now it's presenting itself as a party in great disarray with great
division.

And that's why there's a responsibility from the leader, down, on all of us now to work towards
unity, to embrace everybody within the party, to reach out to all and to engage in a genuine
conversation about whatever policy issues we're faced with in the future.

KERRY O'BRIEN: And if you can't unite now, do you accept that the next election is the risk of
annihilation as a party?

KEVIN ANDREWS: Well, Bob Hawke I any said it best when he said if you can't govern yourselves you
can't govern the nation. That ought to be a timely remind tore me and to all of my colleagues of
the challenge ahead of us.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Kevin Andrews, thanks very much for talking with us

KEVIN ANDREWS: My pleasure Kerry.