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Transcript of doorstop interview: 17 July 2009: Stern Hu; LNP; alcohol advertising; state politics.



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Fri, 17th July 2009

TURNBULL DOORSTOP - STERN HU, LNP, ALCOHOL ADVERTISING, STATE POLITICS

The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP

Leader of the Opposition

Subjects: Stern Hu; LNP; alcohol advertising; state politics

E&OE

MALCOLM TURNBULL:

Well Australians will be very pleased that Barack Obama’s Commerce Secretary, the United States Commerce

Secretary, will be raising the position of Stern Hu with the Chinese government, Chinese government Ministers

directly in Beijing. But they will also be disappointed that our own Prime Minister and our own Foreign Minister

have failed to do precisely that.

What we have seen over the last day or so is the Prime Minister engaging in what he said he didn’t want to do

which is megaphone diplomacy - issuing one press statement after another. Instead of doing what we

encouraged him to do right at the outset, very quietly and very deliberately pick up the telephone, talk to his

counterpart in Beijing and express the very deep concern that Australians have, all Australians have, about the

way in which Stern Hu has been detained.

QUESTION:

The Americans are more concerned about an Australian than the Australian government.

MALCOLM TURNBULL:

Well there is no doubt the Americans have stepped in where Kevin Rudd is afraid to go.

QUESTION:

What do you think of the reports that Rio Tinto are telling their staff to take leave?

MALCOLM TURNBULL:

Well I have seen those reports. I can understand the detention of Mr Hu by the Chinese authorities has raised

great concern among many foreign companies operating in China as it inevitably it will do. This is why it is such a

tragic lack of leadership on the part of the Prime Minister not to have picked up the phone and quietly and

deliberately expressed the very real concern Australia and the Australian government has in the way in which Mr

Hu has been detained without access to lawyers, his employer or his family without any charges being laid, and

to do so in a very deliberate way and to seek directly an explanation straight from the Chinese government, and

they have failed to do that.

We have had the humiliating spectacle just overnight of a very junior public affairs official in the Chinese Foreign

Ministry chastising Australia for daring to express concern about one of its citizens being detained in China.

And you can see, this is the problem of Mr Rudd’s lack of leadership. What signal does it send to Beijing if the

Prime Minister of Australia is not to prepared to pick up the phone and quietly and responsibly and deliberately

and in the most sober language express his concern? It creates the impression that the government is

unconcerned. That is the only impression that can create and that should not be the case.

QUESTION:

You talked about in your speech that the fact that Queensland is going to be a battleground state in the federal

election. Would you like to see your candidates run under the Liberal or the National banners?

MALCOLM TURNBULL:

Well that is a matter for the …we have in Queensland obviously a Liberal and National Party but federally we

have a Liberal Party Room and a National Party Room.

QUESTION:

What is your preference?

MALCOLM TURNBULL:

Just let me finish. The way in which candidates will be branded or will brand their own campaigns will be

something that we’ll work out with the candidates themselves and the National and Queensland organisations.

There will be some, maybe slightly different approaches in different electorates, but the fact of the matter is that

there is one unified Liberal National campaign here in Queensland.

QUESTION:

Isn’t there a bit of confusion though? You’re gonna have a Liberal candidate or a National candidate or a Liberal

National candidate.

MALCOLM TURNBULL:

But we are working together as one team so I don’t think there’s any confusion at all.

QUESTION:

You might have it set in your mind that you are working as one team, but isn’t it going to be a bit of a dog’s

breakfast for the voters?

MALCOLM TURNBULL:

Queensland voters know already that the Liberals and Nationals have come together as one cohesive team, and

we will be one team at the federal election, and that’s the fact. That bridge has been crossed in Queensland.

QUESTION:

So what’s your preference? I understand what you’re saying but what is your preference - would you like to see

your Liberal candidates run as Liberals?

MALCOLM TURNBULL:

The Liberal candidates, those candidates who have sat in the Liberal Party Room will inevitably be seen in the

context of a national campaign as Liberal candidates, but will be seen as working closely together with, and as

part of, a united Liberal National effort. And so you will have National people who used to be members of the

National Party but are now member of the LNP in Queensland working together as part of a team. So it is a

cohesive team. The message we are sending in Queensland is one of unity.

QUESTION:

But what banner will they run under? What will be their branding be? What will there livery be for want of a better

expression? Will their posters be Liberal posters or will they be LNP posters, I mean…

MALCOLM TURNBULL:

Well I imagine some candidates will badge themselves as Liberal National Party candidates and highlight both

Liberal and National. Others will focus on Liberal or National and others will of course, everyone will of course,

recognise the LNP logo here in Queensland. But it is a matter of conveying unity and commitment. That’s what

that meeting is all about. Now you may want…

QUESTION:

But with respect, if you have got someone in one electorate running as a Liberal and the nearby electorate

running as an LNP, and the next electorate running as a National, that’s hardly gonna create the impression of

unity, is it?

MALCOLM TURNBULL:

Well we are a completely unite party here in Queensland and the only question… we have great strengths, we

have strengths from our Liberal roots and strengths from our National Party roots, but we are one Liberal National

Party.

QUESTION:

So how will it be decided? Will individual candidates decide how they’ll be bannered?

MALCOLM TURNBULL:

The precise branding… look, this is part of an election. The precise branding, the design of corflutes or how-to-votes or election literature is something that is worked out within the party organisation and with candidates, and

we’re not going to telegraph all of those punches so far in advance anyway. You can ask the Labor Party how

they’ll design their how to votes.

QUESTION:

When will you be ready to do that, because there is already speculation, and you’ve helped that, of a March

federal election?

MALCOLM TURNBULL:

Well, I don’t think I’ve helped that.

QUESTION:

When will it be decided, so if people want to [inaudible].

MALCOLM TURNBULL:

Look, every candidate, every candidate’s livery and branding will be decided well in advance of any likely election

date.

QUESTION:

The talk this morning of dropping alcohol advertising from sport. Have you got any thoughts on that today?

MALCOLM TURNBULL:

Well look, this goes around and around. What we want to do is encourage responsible use of alcohol. Any

advertising that encouraged irresponsible use or immoderate use of alcohol is obviously undesirable, and there

are advertising standards that prevent that. So I don’t see the need for a ban, or I don’t think it’s appropriate to

have a ban on all alcohol advertising - responsible use of alcohol is something that everybody encourages.

It is quite a different situation to tobacco where there isn’t in fact any responsible level or safe level where you

can use tobacco. Any level of tobacco consumption is undesirable and dangerous.

QUESTION:

Some former inmates of Indonesian prisons who were Jemaah Islamiyah members have been surveyed and

they’ve said that they are still willing to be involved in terrorism against the west. Is that a concern?

MALCOLM TURNBULL:

Well all terrorism is an enormous concern. I have just recently been to be, to visit Australian troops in Afghanistan

in Kandahar and Tarin Kowt where our service men and women are literally in the front line in the battle against

terrorism. So wherever terrorism is present we are opposed to it and we have to be ever vigilant against it

whether it is in our own region or the hills of Afghanistan.

QUESTION:

Do you think John-Paul Langbroek is a good leader?

MALCOLM TURNBULL:

John Paul Langbroek will be the next Premier of Queensland.

Thank you very much.