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Turnbull's leadership on the brink

Turnbull's leadership on the brink

Broadcast: 27/11/2009

Reporter: Chris Uhlmann

Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull is preparing for a party room challenge early next week. Tony
Abbott says he will challenge for the leadership if Turnbull does not back down on his
determination to pass the emissions trading scheme.


KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: Malcolm Turnbull's leadership of the Liberal Party is on the brink
tonight, as he prepares for a party room challenge on Tuesday.

He's adamant he won't resign, and Tony Abbott says he'll challenge for the leadership if Mr
Turnbull doesn't back down on his determination to pass the emissions trading deal he struck with
the Rudd Government.

But there is a strong hope within the party that Joe Hockey can be convinced to take the job, and a
running mate apparently has already been found in Queenslander Peter Dutton.

Here is the day's events from political editor Chris Uhlmann.

NICK MINCHIN, LIBERAL: The Liberal Party is one of Australia's truly great political parties.

CHRIS UHLMANN, REPORTER: It might have one name but it's now two parties.

COALITION MEMBER: It is dysfunctional. And that's why we need to move on from this very, very
quickly. ... This legislation must go through for the future of the Liberal Party.

COALITION MEMBER II: I'm very pleased to see Tony Abbott speaking the people's mind and
representing the people.

COALITION MEMBER III: We can't adopt a position and do nothing on climate change. For the sake of
our kids and grandkids, we've gotta move with the rest of the world.

COALITION MEMBER IV: I think Malcolm needs to recalibrate his approach and I've made that point
directly to him.

COALITION MEMBER V: His leadership is now untenable and he should resign as decently and as quickly
as possible.

COALITION MEMBER VI: Malcolm in the person who's got his heart in for this country to do the right
thing for the environment and is my full support.

CHRIS UHLMANN: This brawl goes deeper than emissions trading or Malcolm Turnbull's leadership. It's
a bitter fight for the soul of the Liberal Party, and increasingly the ideological divide at the
heart of this dispute is being exposed.

MALCOLM TURNBULL, OPPOSITION LEADER: The fact of the matter is we are at a turning point in the
history of the Liberal Party. We can either be seen as a party of tomorrow, a progressive party
that believes in taking action on climate change, or we can go backwards.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Malcolm Turnbull's adamant he won't back off trying to ram the emissions trading
deal he struck with the Government through the Senate.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: We should proceed. We've entered into a bargain with the Government. So it's not
just a question of our political credibility, it's a question of our political integrity.

CHRIS UHLMANN: And his camp was emphatic this morning that he wouldn't step down and would win a
leadership ballot.

IAN MACFARLANE, TURNBULL SUPPORTER: I've told Malcolm Turnbull he has the numbers and it's his
call, and Malcolm Turnbull has said that he will never walk away from a fight.

JOURNALIST: Have your colleagues asked you to put to him that he should stand down?

IAN MACFARLANE: No, they haven't.

JOURNALIST: None of them have.

IAN MACFARLANE: None of them have, and it's not been considered to my knowledge by any of his
closest allies.

JOURNALIST II: Will you still be leader of the party this time next week?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: I believe so, but the party'll make that decision. I've always said the
leadership of the party is in the hands of the party room.

CHRIS UHLMANN: In a day with few light moments, Independent Senator Nick Xenophon recognised an old
character in the Opposition Leader's chutzpah in the face of catastrophe.

NICK XENOPHON, INDEPENDENT: Malcolm Turnbull reminds me a bit like that Monty Python character, the
black knight, who's lost both arms, both legs, blood spurting everywhere and he says, "Just a flesh

CHRIS UHLMANN: Because everywhere in private and in public, the swords were drawn and drawing

TONY ABBOTT, LIBERAL BACKBENCHER: I will be calling on a challenge, but ...

ALAN JONES, 2GB: And you'll stand?

TONY ABBOTT: Yeah. Yeah, I will.

CHRIS UHLMANN: A letter requesting a meeting to spill the leadership was lodged, signed by 10
Liberals. It's scheduled for 9 a.m. on Tuesday. And as the Government deadline for the passage of
the emissions trading bill approached with no sign of an end in sight, tempers began to fray.

CHRIS EVANS, GOVERNMENT SENATE LEADER: Senator Minchin clearly had a plan to delay the bill until
he could get the leader he wanted installed.

CHRIS UHLMANN: The departing Nationals sensed things are turning their way.

BARNABY JOYCE, NATIONALS SENATE LEADER: We are in the ascendancy in this battle, but the battle is
not over, and I say back to the Australian people, "Keep up that pressure."

CHRIS UHLMANN: The Acting Prime Minister called the delay deeply disappointing, and in what might
actually amount to killing Malcolm Turnbull with kindness, heaped praise on the beleaguered leader.

JULIA GILLARD, ACTING PRIME MINISTER: Mr Turnbull has shown great courage and great determination
to deliver this change in the nation's interests.

CHRIS UHLMANN: But she clearly has one eye on locking a post-Turnbull leader into the deal.

JULIA GILLARD: I would also note that Mr Hockey has told the Australian people that he supports Mr
Turnbull in Mr Turnbull's agreement with the Government.

CHRIS UHLMANN: And it turns out the Government's deadline of today for passing the emissions
trading bill is flexible after all.

JULIA GILLARD: I can confirm that the House of Representatives will commence sitting again at 10
a.m. on Monday. The House will be there in anticipation of the Senate passing the carbon pollution
reduction scheme.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Joe Hockey wasn't talking today, but he did emerge on Twitter, and the message
inviting people's opinions on the emissions trading system suggests he's wondering aloud where to
go from here. A growing line of senior figures is urging their leader to go, and the hope is that
he will be convinced to step down and Joe Hockey convinced to step up. Peter Dutton would stand as
his deputy. The new leader would then send the bill off to a Senate committee, but at some stage
he'll have to come up with a credible policy on climate change.

IAN MACFARLANE: We've seen a number of rear guard actions, back door efforts, call them what you
will, by people who are vehemently opposed to this, who've basically set aside all normal
principles of policy-making and launched a very public attack.

CHRIS UHLMANN: One senior Liberal now laments the Senate majority won in 2004, saying it killed us
in Government and now it's destroying us in Opposition. Next week the Government will either have a
bill or a trigger for a double dissolution and an Opposition in no shape to fight an election. The
temptation to go to the polls early will be enormous.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Political editor Chris Uhlmann.

Nick Minchin joins The 7.30 Report

Nick Minchin joins The 7.30 Report

Broadcast: 27/11/2009

Reporter: Kerry O'Brien

Liberal senator Nick Minchin joins The 7.30 Report following another dramatic day for the Liberal
party. Nick Minchin has resigned from his frontbench position over the emissions trading scheme


KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: Nick Minchin is the Liberal leader in the Senate. Until his resignation
yesterday, he was also one of Malcolm Turnbull's most senior frontbenchers. He's a former Howard
confidante and has been a powerful figure in the fight to force a deferral of the Government's
emissions trading legislation until sometime after the Copenhagen summit. I spoke with Nick Minchin
late today.

Nick Minchin, in your time in politics have you seen a bigger crisis for the Liberal Party?

NICK MINCHIN, OPPOSITION SENATE LEADER: Well, Kerry, good evening. When you're involved in
significant events, I don't think you have the opportunity to step back and give it any
perspective. Look, this is a difficult period for our party and for the Parliament in terms of
dealing with extraordinarily far-reaching legislation which will affect every business and every
family in Australia. So these are particular circumstances, but we're focused on dealing with the
legislation at hand.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Is it really only about this legislation, or is there something deeper running
through this? Is this, as some are saying, a battle for the soul of the Liberal Party?

NICK MINCHIN: No, I don't think so. This is about the legislation, but it is very, very significant
legislation. The imposition on Australia of an emissions trading scheme is frankly something that
would be irrevocable. Once an emissions trading scheme is legislated in this country, I think the
reality is it would never be unwound, once you had established under it the property rights
associated with the permits and the whole new industry that would be created around trading in
these permits. That's why so many of us regard this as so significant that it requires very, very
careful scrutiny.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Can you describe the impact that the events of the past few days have had on you and
your colleagues in a personal sense?

NICK MINCHIN: Well, it's been extremely difficult for me personally. I can't speak for others. I
don't like to be self-indulgent.

KERRY O'BRIEN: You've used - well, it's not self-indulgence. This is a very real, tough moment for
all of you, I would have thought. You must have seen and had some extraordinary conversations in
the past few days.

NICK MINCHIN: Well, indeed, and for me I've been in the Parliament 16.5 years, I've been on the
frontbench for 15.5 years and not once have I ever found myself in a situation of "crossing the
floor". And it was with a heavy heart that I went to Malcolm Turnbull yesterday and pleaded with
him to follow the mood of the party room and move for a reference of this bill and its amendments
to a Senate inquiry over the recess, and if that he could not agree with that request that I, along
with Tony Abbott who was with me, would have no choice but to vote against this legislation. Now
I've never done that before, and as someone who's been involved in the Liberal Party for 30 years,
I never thought I'd have to do it. But Tony and I and many of my colleagues regard this as such a
serious matter that we have reached that point. And that's, you know, it is with a heavy heart that
I do it.

KERRY O'BRIEN: This is the sort of emotional schism from which a party does not recover easily or
quickly, isn't it?

NICK MINCHIN: It won't be easy to recover, I wouldn't want to mislead you, no. This is a very
resilient party. It is still Australia's most successful party. We have a responsibility to
represent millions of Australians who support us at every election - Australians on the land and in
business, middle-income families, etc. We are the party of small business and farmers and we have
an obligation to represent them and I appeal to them to stick by this party. We are going through a
tough time, but we have an obligation to represent them and to do our best to ensure that
legislation is properly scrutinised and that's what we're currently doing.

KERRY O'BRIEN: What are the risks implicit in what you are doing in your actions? Malcolm Turnbull
says your way is a road to catastrophe at the next election.

NICK MINCHIN: Well, with great respect to Malcolm, I think that is rather an exaggeration of the
situation. I mean, the problem is that in the party room on Tuesday, a clear majority of the party
room rejected the shadow Cabinet recommendation that we pass this bill this week with these
amendments. Now, Malcolm, as is his prerogative as leader, chose to say, "Well, I'm sorry but my
call is that we pass this bill." That's why we've reached this difficult situation. I put a
compromise proposal in this party room to Malcolm and the party room which I believe has
overwhelming support, that in the circumstances and given the mood of the party, this bill should
be referred to a Senate inquiry. Because, frankly, I only saw these amendments on Tuesday. They are
very significant. They have significant implications for the whole Australian economy. We do need
to give everybody the opportunity to make submissions and come before a Senate inquiry, examine
this bill while the Copenhagen conference is going on. The Government has never given any
explanation as to why this bill has to be forced through this week before the Copenhagen
conference. There is no explanation for that at all, especially given the bill itself, does not
become operative till the middle of 2011. The Government cannot answer that very basic question.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Who is the best person to lead the Liberal Party to the next election?

NICK MINCHIN: Well, I've said today and I repeat tonight that were Malcolm Turnbull to do what I
think is the right thing and reflect the mood of the party and agree that our policy should be to
refer this legislation to a Senate inquiry, to report back in February, there wouldn't be a

KERRY O'BRIEN: In other words, what you're saying is that whoever is chosen other than Malcolm
Turnbull is a lesser prospect?

NICK MINCHIN: A lesser prospect.

KERRY O'BRIEN: What you're saying is that Malcolm Turnbull, if he agrees to what you're proposing,
would be the best person to lead the Liberal Party to the next election, so anybody who takes his
place would not quite be up to the mark that you're suggesting Malcolm Turnbull would be?

NICK MINCHIN: Well I think we have lot of talent in the Liberal Party. There are a number of
Liberals who could successfully lead our party. The party chose Malcolm Turnbull last year, and
Tony and I are motivated by policy and the seriousness of this issue. We said to Malcolm, "Will you
please reflect the mood of the party and refer this legislation to a committee?" He chose not to do
that. Tony Abbott has said that if he won't change the policy, he intends to give the party the
opportunity to change it by changing the leader. Nobody likes leadership changes. I did not agree
with the leadership change last year. Everybody knows that, because I think it is unhealthy for
parties to keep changing leaders all the time. But this is a serious matter of policy and if the
only way to address this fundamental policy issue is to have a change of leader then Tony has the
right to give the party that opportunity on Monday morning.

KERRY O'BRIEN: If Tony Abbott becomes leader on Monday, he will be your third new leader in two
years. That is not a good look, is it?

NICK MINCHIN: It's not a satisfactory situation, and that's why both Tony and I have said if
Malcolm will reflect the mood of the party and adopt this compromise position, there won't be a
challenge, because this is not about the leadership; this is about this policy.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Your party is now all over the place on this issue, is it not? There are the
believers that climate change is real and linked to human development, those who say they're
sceptics, and those who simply reject it out of hand. Your own deputy in the Senate, Eric Abetz,
described himself as agnostic, whatever that means in this context. That is not the look of a
functioning party, is it?

NICK MINCHIN: Kerry, remarkably the Liberal Party reflects the community at large. And I've gotta
say there is a very wide range of views on this matter in the community, and we are a broad church
party and we reflect the community on this matter. The Labor Party's exactly the same. I won't name
them, but there are many, many Labor Party members who don't support this emissions trading scheme
proposal and question the science that underlies it. Now they reflect the community as well. Now,
in our party, we have a formal position of saying that it is appropriate for Australia, with due
regard to the cost and the effectiveness, to take action to mitigate the effects of carbon dioxide
emissions. I know as Finance Minister we spent billions in government on so doing. We agreed with
the Government earlier this year to impose a 20 per cent renewable energy target on this country,
all to do with mitigating CO2 emissions at great expense to the Australian economy. So to suggest
this party is the do-nothing party is ridiculous and does not accord with the facts or the mood of
this party.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Nick Minchin, thank you very much for talking with us.

NICK MINCHIN: My pleasure, Kerry.

Turnbull talks tough

Turnbull talks tough

Broadcast: 27/11/2009

Reporter: Kerry O'Brien

Malcolm Turnbull speaks to the 7.30 Report about the Liberal Party leadership spill due to take
place on Tuesday.


KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: I'm joined now by Liberal Leader Malcolm Turnbull.

Malcolm Turnbull, if we can just clear up, there has been a bit of confusion today about whether
the party meeting's Monday or Tuesday.


KERRY O'BRIEN: I think those seeking the spill have asked for Monday. You've settled on Tuesday.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: It's Tuesday morning 9 o'clock.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Does that mean that it's possible that the Senate could be brought to a vote on this
legislation on Monday before the party meeting on Tuesday morning?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well I suppose it's possible. That's up to the senators.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Wasn't part of your design?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: No, we had a party meeting on Wednesday where there was a spill motion moved
which was defeated, so there was an attempt by Senator Minchin and his supporters to overturn the
leadership of the Liberal Party on Wednesday, two days ago, and that was unsuccessful, and so of
course within less than 48 hours they're moving to have another meeting. So the meeting will be on
Tuesday which is when all of our members can be there. A lot of them couldn't be there on Monday
morning at 9 o'clock.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But it'd quite be critical, wouldn't it, if the vote was actually called on in the
Senate on the Monday before the party meeting on Tuesday, given that that is what this meeting is
all about: trying to organise the deferral of the legislation?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, we had a party meeting this week on Tuesday which agreed with the shadow
Cabinet's recommendations - the shadow Cabinet's recommendation to agree amendments with the
Government. As you know, the history of this was back in October the party room overwhelmingly
endorsed us taking a set of amendments to the Government, to their emissions trading scheme. There
were five weeks of negotiation between Mr Macfarlane and Senator Wong. The Government came back
with an offer which made very, very substantial concessions, concessions which saved tens of
thousands of jobs, which make the scheme more environmentally effective and achieve a great many of
our objectives. That went to the party room. The party room endorsed it. Some people were unhappy
with ...

KERRY O'BRIEN: This is the big dispute and you heard Senator Minchin tonight say there was a clear
majority not to embrace this legislation now.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well that is clearly untrue. There is a - there was a clear majority in favour of
the Liberal Party members and a slender majority of the Coalition party room, including the
Nationals, in favour of the shadow Cabinet's recommendation. But it was in effect, Kerry, put to
the test the following day because there was a challenge to my leadership and it was defeated 48-35
in the Liberal Party room, and that was, as a lot of people said, that was about roughly, within
give or take the fact that some people were absent, was about where the numbers were in terms of
the Liberal Party room the previous day.

KERRY O'BRIEN: This is clearly a deep split in the Liberal Party. You say that your party is at a
turning point in its history. That suggests that this goes well beyond just one policy issue,
albeit an important one.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well it's a very important policy issue. We are expected - the Australian people
expect us as political leaders, as an Opposition, just as they expected us in government, to
protect the future of our planet, the future for our children, the environment, the environment
they're going to grow up in, and they expect us to take action on climate change. And when we were
in government, when John Howard was Prime Minister, he committed us to an emissions trading scheme
which, as he said, was very similar to the one Kevin Rudd has presented. We started legislating for
it. It is in fact never been changed as our policy. Now ...

KERRY O'BRIEN: But Nick Minchin would say that that was defined and the decision taken by Cabinet
in the context that it would depend on what other countries did as well, ...

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well that are is also ...

KERRY O'BRIEN: ... not Australia in isolation.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, I didn't hear him say that, but that is not true.

KERRY O'BRIEN: He didn't say it in this - yes.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: If you look at the policy we committed to setting up an emissions trading scheme
in advance of a global agreement to cut emissions, and the aim was to establish an emissions
trading scheme, start to reduce emissions, and then, as a global agreement developed, to increase
the cuts in emissions. So, if you like, our policy and I think the Rudd Government's policy is
similar in its objective, was to have an emissions trading scheme which was designed to operate in
advance of but in order to promote a global agreement, and that was - that's - the Shergold report
and the policy documents surrounding it from our time are public documents. So what I've said to
you is quite correct.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Do you believe that your opponents in the party room are really about deferral or
are they about knocking this on the head?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: The - Senator Minchin has gone on the public record saying that he does not
believe that climate change is occurring, he does not believe humans have got anything to do with
it. He's described the emissions trading scheme as an abomination. There is - the reality is that
there are a number of people in our party room, and I respect their views, Kerry, I respect their
views who genuinely and honestly say they do not believe climate change is an issue, they don't
accept the science and they don't think we need to do anything about it.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But do you believe what they say when they say to you and to the public that this is
not about opposing action on climate change, it is simply about deferring this package until it can
be properly considered?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Kerry, we have been looking at this emissions trading scheme issue for years and
years. It has been to many inquiries and many committees. And there is an issue of integrity here.
Let's be quite clear about this. With the overwhelming support of the party room - and there's no
question about that - we sent Ian Macfarlane off with a set of amendments, a log of claims, if you
like, to the Government, and they were good-faith negotiations. The Government came back, made
substantial concessions, which we then agreed to accept. And so there was an agreement, a
bi-partisan agreement. Australians expect us as parliamentarians to - not to play political games,
not to run ideological battles, but to work together in the interests of our children and their
children, and that's what we sought to do. We sought to reach agreement so we could protect tens of
thousands of jobs and make the scheme more environmentally effective.

KERRY O'BRIEN: There is anecdotal evidence we like other journalists on this program, we're talking
with your colleagues, a lot of your colleagues all the time on both sides - there is a lot of talk
that the numbers are flowing away from you, that even a number of your own supporters are coming to
you and saying, "You should stand down." How many of your erstwhile supporters are saying,
"Malcolm, you should stand down."

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, nobody has told me to stand down - literally nobody. And I've seen some
reports in the press to that effect and they're not correct.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Julie Bishop, the Deputy Leader, has she asked you to stand down?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Absolutely not. And Julie in fact corrected that report today. She certainly has
not done that.

But let me just say this, Kerry; just bear this in mind: we had a vote on the leadership two days
ago, on Wednesday, and my leadership was confirmed. And within 24, 36 hours of that vote, the
people who had been unsuccessful in overturning my leadership set out to have another go at it.
They were not prepared to accept the decision of the party room.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But they're saying that they were responding in part and a number of others said
that they have had a shower, an avalanche of messages, angry messages from the core base of your
party saying they'll never vote for you again if this goes through, hate this deal, you mustn't do

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, Kerry, the reality is the overwhelming majority of Australians want
Australia to take action on climate change. Now, the fact is we have an opportunity to do that
here. This is a policy which in its general - in general principles, in the sense that it's a
cap-and-trade emissions trading scheme to put a price on carbon and over time reduce emissions,
that policy was our policy when we were in government. I mean, John Howard himself has said Rudd's
scheme is very similar to his.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But, do you believe this anecdotal evidence that there is a sizable part of the
Liberal Party base that is very angry for you for, it seems, getting into bed with the Government?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Look, I think there are more - if you - there are probably more climate change
sceptics and people who do not want to take action on climate change among some of our base than
others than in the community generally, but you have to remember to be an effective and successful
political party, you have to get 50 per cent plus one, right, of the whole community. Now, I'll
just give you one ...

KERRY O'BRIEN: Very briefly.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: ... one measure. Since the press conference last night, I had 850 emails into my
own email, my public email address. 750 were in favour of what I had said, the policy I was taking;
100 were against again. Now, again, that's a straw in the wind, but I'm just saying - I just
mention that because you can get different levels of support via email and correspondence and
really you have to gauge the community mood more objectively.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Is there any chance at all that you will not contest the leadership on Tuesday if
the evidence becomes clear to you from your own supporters that you have lost the race?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Kerry, there is no question that I will be standing if there's a spill. That
spill - that motion will be put. There is no way I'm stepping down, resigning, stepping backwards
or anything like that.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Joe Hockey: do you believe that he will stand behind you on Tuesday, in support of

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, he has always said he will and that's - and I believe he will.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Will he have a right to stand if he so chooses?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, Kerry, I mean, this is a silly line of questioning.

KERRY O'BRIEN: I'm talking in your terms.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: No, no, but the reality is everybody is entitled to stand, and - but the
leadership of the Liberal Party is in the gift of the Liberal Party. And I might say there are some
people who, you know, perhaps Senator Minchin, who would like to spook me into stepping down. I
won't. The fact is the Liberal Party has elected me leader; my leadership was confirmed again on
Wednesday. if the Liberal party room chooses ...

KERRY O'BRIEN: But what is the basis for your confidence that you will win again on Tuesday, that
your support is holding, that it is not beginning to slide away?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, Kerry, it's interesting that you say that. You'd think that somebody that
had won a leadership ballot 48 hours previously would have every reason to be confident. I believe
that I will be retained or endorsed as leader, but it's up to the party room. And it's very
important ...

KERRY O'BRIEN: And you've done no count? Are people counting on your behalf?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Kerry, it is very important - this is not - can I tell you, you guys in the
press, you get very interests in the numbers and all the games and everything; this is about the
future of the planet. It's about our children's future. It's about whether we are taking our
commitment to protect the environment seriously or not. Now, I believe we must take effective
action to combat climate change. There are people in my party who do not believe we should do so. I
respect their views, but I disagree with them, and I just say to all of those sceptics and people
who think climate change is bunkum who are watching us tonight, I say to you, I say to them,
through you Kerry, that they should bear in mind what Margaret Thatcher said back in 1990.

KERRY O'BRIEN: You've used that.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: This is a risk management exercise. If you think there is a chance that your
scepticism may be misplaced, if you think there's a chance that climate change is occurring and
humans are causing it, then should we not take precautions, and as Rupert Murdoch famously said ...

KERRY O'BRIEN: Very quickly. Yeah, well, you have quoted him, yeah.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: ..., "Give the planet the benefit of the doubt." That's what we must do.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Very quickly, have you spoken with John Howard about this predicament and do you
have his support?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: I speak to John Howard regularly and he always supports the leader of the Liberal

KERRY O'BRIEN: Malcolm Turnbull, thanks very much for joining us.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Thanks so much, Kerry.

That's the program for tonight. Coming up next a special edition of 'Australian Story' in which the
family of Australian journalist Nigel Brennan speak exclusively of their 15-month ordeal to secure
his release from Somalian kidnappers. We'll be back on Monday but for now goodnight.