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Transcript of doorstop interview: Thursday, 29 August 2008: small business confidence; leadership.

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The Hon Julie Bishop MP Deputy Leader of the Opposition Shadow Minister for Employment, Business and Workplace Relations


Julie Bishop:

I have heard that this morning the Sensis Business Index has been released. Another day under the Rudd Government, another business survey showing that confidence in this Government has collapsed, and to assist you with understanding the level of that collapse this is the chart showing that business in the Rudd Government has indeed collapsed to the lowest level in 15 years.

The reasons cited include poor economic management and a belief that government policies are working against small business. Now when you look at the stunts the Labor party has introduced over the last 9 months, it is no wonder that small business confidence has collapsed.

FuelWatch is working against independent petrol retailers in Western Australia, in fact many have closed down since the introduction of FuelWatch. There were 200 independent petrol retailers before FuelWatch, there are now 17.

Grocerywatch is a ridiculous stunt that actually promotes Coles and Woolworths at the expense of the independent grocers. The mums and dads who run grocery stores across Australia are having to fight against a taxpayer funded advertising campaign for Coles and Woolies under the name of Grocerywatch.

This Government has also said it will re-introduce the Paul Keating unfair dismissal laws, which work so much against small business. And Julia Gillard has repeatedly attacked small business. She has repeatedly attacked business in the house when she says, and I quote “That employers across this country are looking to sack good workers for no reason”. Now when small business hears a Minister for Employment make those sorts of comments about business, no wonder confidence has collapsed. This is of great concern coming on top of a huge collapse in consumer confidence.

So small business, large business and consumers have no confidence in the Rudd Labor Government.


Did Brendan Nelson talk to you about your endorsement of Malcolm Turnbull on Four Corners?

Julie Bishop:

Whenever I am asked about one of my colleagues I give my opinion, and my opinion is that Malcolm Turnbull is an extremely talented and competent parliamentarian and an party would be delighted have Malcolm Turnbull in their ranks.


Criticism (inaudible) is obviously going paint a contest in (inaudible) aspirations for the leadership?

Julie Bishop:

Well if you asked me what I think of Brendan Nelson I will tell you that Brendan Nelson is an extremely accomplished performer. He is holding this Government to account. He has exposed this Government’s failings and is doing a great job as our leader.


Are you going to the Costello dinner tomorrow night?

Julie Bishop:

Yes I will


Do you expect to hear if this is his farewell dinner?

Julie Bishop: I am looking forward to the dinner tomorrow evening. I understand it is to thank Peter for the work he has done as a great treasurer for this country and as one of the greatest parliamentary performers that we have seen in government. We are now in opposition and I think it is appropriate that the Victorian Division thanks Peter Costello for what he did in Government.

Journalist: (inaudible)

Julie Bishop:

The announcements that the Government made yesterday were in fact a carbon copy of the budget announcements I made in 2007. We had taken to the last election a policy reflecting statements in the Budget, which was that, in the negotiations with the states for schools funding, we would require the states to provide more accountability, more transparency, performance pay for teachers and more funding for schools. So the three pillars of the Rudd policy announced yesterday are in fact a carbon copy of Coalition policy.

But I do point out that taking these policies through the COAG process is not a picnic, in fact when I went to my first COAG meeting I was told that the number one priority for state governments across Australia was to achieve a national school starting age, a minimum school starting age. It had been on the COAG agenda for 21 years and the states had never agreed. So while the Rudd Government has taken our policies, I wish him all the best in taking on the education unions and the state Labor Governments to achieve national uniformity.

Thank you.