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Transcript of doorstop interview: 26 September 2012: Lindsay Tanner; Mike Rann's partisan comments in the media; State Labor leadership; Gallipoli ballot

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Doorstop Lindsay Tanner; Mike Rann’s partisan comments in the media; State Labor leadership; Gallipoli ballot

Posted on dSeptember 26, 2012 c0 comments

SUBJECTS: Lindsay Tanner; Mike Rann’s partisan comments in the media; State Labor leadership; Gallipoli ballot


Pyne: Lindsay Tanner has belled the cat today on the Labor Party that has not got over the Kevin Rudd political assassination. Essentially they are a divided and dysfunctional rabble in the Federal Labor party and Lindsay Tanner has highlighted that the execution of Kevin Rudd two and a half years ago has not ended, they are still questioning themselves, arguing amongst themselves. There has been a lynch squad sent out to sink the boot into Lindsay Tanner today led by Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan and Bob Carr and Mark Butler and quite frankly it’s time that the Australian public didn’t have to put up with a Government that is a pantomime in Canberra, it’s time that Labor had time out on their own time rather than on the public’s time and Lindsay Tanner has highlighted that today in the remarks he has made.

Journalist: So are you saying that Labor should call an election?

Pyne: Look it’s high time that we put the Australian public out of their misery with this Parliament. Clearly Lindsay Tanner has raked over old coals and opened up old wounds over the Rudd assassination. Labor Ministers have responded. They are not focussed on cost of living, they are not focussed on electricity prices or border protection or the Prime Minister’s integrity or where the money is coming for all their latest promises. They are again internally focussed, entirely obsessed about who is winning and who is losing in the Labor Party. It’s time the Australian people had a government of adults in Canberra who are putting them first, rather than themselves first. We need an election to be able to do that, clearly the government doesn’t have a budget surplus they want to avoid a budget next year, why not put everybody out of its misery and call an election now so that we can get a government in Canberra that is focussed on the Australian public, rather than on the last battle for the Labor leadership.

Journalist: Tony Abbott has also said that every day the Labor Party is concerned with infighting that they are not concerned with the welfare of Australians and focussing on the welfare of Australians, but isn’t this simply adding to that? Calling this press conference to talk about this issue?

Pyne: Well I would love it if the Opposition didn’t have to spell out the truth to the Australian public every day about how terrible this Government is. It would be great if the Government was getting on with protecting our borders, reducing the cost of living pressure, taking away the carbon tax that won’t reduce emissions anyway. It’s up to the Opposition to say it as it is so it’s high time the Labor gave up this pantomime that passes for a Government in Canberra. Tony Abbott is absolutely right, everyday Labor is fighting amongst themselves as they are today, as they often are in Canberra while they’re looking over their shoulders at Kevin Rudd and while Lindsay Tanner is highlighting the dysfunction and division at the heart of this Government, they aren’t focussing on the bread and butter issues that Mums and Dads, single people, pensioners and self-funded retirees across Australia care about.

Journalist: So isn’t it time that the Opposition gave up that pantomime too?

Pyne: Well it’s not the Opposition’s job to make the Government look good. It’s the Opposition’s job to hold the Government to account. This Government is a failure and this Parliament is a failure. It’s time the Australian public had a government in Canberra that was focussed on their issues, now a Tony Abbott led Government, a Coalition Government will abolish the Carbon Tax, abolish the Mining Tax, reintroduce the border protection policy that stopped the boats, bring back the Australian Building Construction Commission, have the most generous maternity leave policy in Australia that’s currently on offer, relentlessly focus on teacher quality that’s the kind of Government we want in Canberra. What Lindsay Tanner has exposed is that we have a Government of hacks and retired union leaders in Canberra who are campaigning every day for re-election rather than focussing on good Government policy.

Journalist: Mr Rudd came out recently and said in an interview since the leadership spill earlier this year and of course we’re seeing Lindsay Tanner coming out, do you think there’s something going on here, some sort of play to get Mr Rudd back into the spotlight again.

Pyne: Well I think that Lindsay Tanner is a very honest and decent man. He’s written a book, he’s written as he’s sees it. I think the fact that there has been this volcanic reaction from Labor Cabinet Ministers today just shows how sensitive they are to the reality of what they did two years ago when they politically executed Kevin Rudd during his first term as Prime Minister. Lindsay Tanner simply told the truth. If you tell the truth in the Labor Party these days, you get the hobnailed boots sunk into you by your former colleagues.

Journalist: If Mr Abbott becomes prime minister, could you guarantee then that he would not be politically executed?

Pyne: Well the Coalition had John Howard as Prime Minister for eleven and a half years. Tony Abbott has been the leader since December 2009, Malcolm Frasier was Prime Minister for seven and a half years, Robert Menzies for sixteen years in his second stretch. I think it’s fair to say that we have a record of stability in government which I think most Australians would really like our current government to have.

Journalist: Given that Mike Rann was recently appointed High Commissioner in London, do you think that it is appropriate that he has made political comments on Sky News today?

Pyne: Look I think it is a very unusual move for a person who has been appointed High Commissioner for London, which is a diplomatic post, to then take to the air waves to sink the boot into the Australian opposition and to make political comments. The appropriate course for Mike Rann, is to step back from politics, to assume a diplomatic air, rather than a politically partisan air, and I think it is highly inappropriate that he went on Sky Television today in a politically partisan interview. I think that he shouldn’t do that again, he should apologise for doing that and he should refrain from making any political comments in the future. He is in a new role now, he has to step aside from his 30 years as a partisan Labor operative and realise that his job is to represent the Australian Government and remember that if the election comes in the next twelve months, and hopefully sooner, that he will be serving, potentially, if the Coalition wins, a different master than Julia Gillard and her cabinet, he will be serving a Coalition government and a partisan political stance is quite inappropriate for a potential appointee to London.

Journalist: Mr Pyne, on the matter of the state Liberal Party, obviously there is still some speculation about the leadership of Isobel Redmond by a fairly positive news poll, certainly in terms of the two party preferred vote. Have you been in touch with her at all and have you suggested that she should perhaps step down?

Pyne: No I haven’t, but I think all the leadership issues are on the Labor side in this state. Olympic Dam has fallen over, we have lost our AAA credit rating with Moody’s, we have lost our AA+ credit rating with Standard and Poor’s today, we have the highest deficit and debt, even worse than when the State Bank collapsed in 1993. Jay Weatherill is an insipid and weak premier, the public knows that, and that has showed up in the news poll. So clearly the Labor party need to be thinking about whether their political execution of Mike Rann here in South Australia is paying the dividends that they expected, especially since they told the South Australian public at the next election that Mike Rann would serve a full four years. I think the Jay Weatherill experiment has been an unmitigated failure and I think the brothers of the Labor party, the faceless men of the Labor party will be gathering to determine whether they need to change the state Labor leadership here.

Journalist: So you haven’t spoken to Isobel Redmond about her leadership?

Pyne: No.

Journalist: At all?

Pyne: No, has somebody told you that I have? Because I haven’t.

Journalist: So you will continue to support her as a leader?

Pyne: Sure, every comment I have made has been in support of Isobel Redmond, so I’ve never talked to Isobel Redmond about her leadership…

Journalist: Just on one other…

Pyne: … Other then in positive terms of course over the last three or four years.

Journalist: Just on one other issue, federal politics again, Warren Snowdon has come out today and released, well told the public that there will be a ballot system for the 8000 or so Australians who will be allowed to attend the Gallipoli dawn service in 2015. Does the opposition have a position in relation to that balloting system because the RSL in South Australia has been quite critical of it and said that they believe that it needs to come to descendants of those who served in Gallipoli.

Pyne: Well that’s an interesting question I’m the descendant of two people who served in Gallipoli, one who was killed unfortunately and the other was then later killed on the Somme in Western France, and I don’t know what our position is on the ballot, but I’m sure our shadow minister Michael Ronaldson would be able to give you that answer. But unfortunately I don’t think I should respond until I know the facts.

Journalist: No problem