Interview with David Koch and Samantha Armytage - Sunrise, Seven

  • Transcript, E&OE
09 April 2018

DAVID KOCH: Joining us is Foreign Minister and Deputy Liberal Leader, Julie Bishop. Good morning to you. Minister, Malcolm Turnbull set the bar at 30 Newspoll losses. Is it now clear the people have made up their mind about him and he should go the same way?

JULIE BISHOP: That's not the test for the leadership of the Liberal Party. The test is who retains the confidence of the majority of members of the Liberal Party party room, and that is Malcolm Turnbull.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE: I just think that Malcolm Turnbull in his quiet moments must really regret using that 30 Newspolls as a mark, because now all the focus is on what happens next. Tony Abbott will now speak out against Malcolm Turnbull a lot more, I imagine, in the wake of this result.

JULIE BISHOP: Well that isn't the test for the Liberal Party leadership. As I said, the test is who retains the confidence of the majority of the party room, and that is Malcolm Turnbull. He promised that he would deliver strong economic management, and that is what he is delivering. Since he became Prime Minister, we have had 17 consecutive months of jobs growth, and we are on track to see the creation of 1 million new jobs since we came to Government. The fact is there are now more Australians in jobs than ever before – 12.5 million. That doesn't happen by accident, it happens by results of Government policies that create an environment so that business is confident to invest, people start new businesses, and people get jobs.

DAVID KOCH: Yeah, but to be fair, you set the bar, the party set the bar for this at 30 consecutive Newspolls loses. That was the trigger to say the electorate had lost confidence in Tony Abbott. You can't change it and water it down now?

JULIE BISHOP: That wasn't the trigger as far as I was concerned. There had been problems for quite some time. It had nothing to do with Newspoll, and the test is who has the confidence of the Liberal Party, and that is Malcolm Turnbull, and as far as I can see he will retain that confidence, because he is delivering strong economic management. We are concluding very significant trade deals that mean that our exporters have the opportunity to sell their goods and services into markets around the world. We are on track to deliver a surplus. We have a budget coming up which will show we have an economic plan to create more jobs and more opportunities for more Australians.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE: Regardless of what is actually happening, unfortunately now all the focus goes back to this leadership debate. Julie Bishop, you are now just one point behind Malcolm Turnbull as preferred Liberal leader. We just had our panel of champions on set here, all women, and every single one of them as they walked out said Julie Bishop should lead the party. Why shouldn't you lead the Coalition to the next election? I think women would respond really well to that.

JULIE BISHOP: I have been elected as the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party. I have been the Deputy since 2007, and clearly, because my colleagues elect me as Deputy, they have confidence in me in that role. I will continue to be Deputy Leader to Malcolm Turnbull and Malcolm Turnbull will continue to lead the party, delivering strong economic management and a focus on national security to keep Australians safe. That's what we are seeking to do.

DAVID KOCH: So you have confidence in the captain?

JULIE BISHOP: Absolutely.

DAVID KOCH: Okay, because there was a poll over the weekend of Australians who said: "For God sake, we don't want another leadership change". We are not some tin pot economy. We are world record holders in terms of consecutive economic growth. Do you think the public is really annoyed with politicians changing all the time just for their own sake?

JULIE BISHOP: I think they are annoyed when politicians talk about themselves and talk about their polling, I think that annoys them.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE: So what does the Liberal Party do? Do you envisage that you will stay the course? That you will keep Malcolm Turnbull as leader, have some consistently here? What do you as a party need to do to beat Labor at the next election? Is that the key?

JULIE BISHOP: I believe that we must maintain consistency and stability, and continue on our plan for economic growth, and national security, and when people come to make a decision, rather than just voicing an opinion, when people actually come to making a decision about who they want to govern, who they want to manage the economy, who they want in charge of national security, I have every confidence that they will see Malcolm Turnbull as the answer.

DAVID KOCH: What is your private polling say? Because with a Newspoll, generally people kick the incumbent anyhow, whether that reflects their vote or not. What is your private polling say about Malcolm Turnbull and the way you are going?

JULIE BISHOP: Kochie, if I told you what it was saying, it wouldn't be private anymore. It is private polling.


SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE: It was a good try, though, Minister.

DAVID KOCH: Come on Minister – I've given you the opportunity to say: "No, no, it's very different to what Newspoll is." So, that would infer that it is worse? It's worse than what Newspoll is saying!

JULIE BISHOP: No, I have great confidence that Malcolm Turnbull will lead us to the next election and that the Australian people will support us in continuing to deliver our economic plan that is seeing record jobs growth under a Turnbull Government.

DAVID KOCH: So if someone tapped you on the shoulder and said: "Julie, the electorate has lost confidence, we want you to lead a leadership challenge", you would say: "No, not until after the next election, if at all"?

JULIE BISHOP: I don't envisage those circumstances occurring at all. I believe that Malcolm Turnbull will deliver us to the next election, and I will continue as his deputy, and the Australian people will make a decision as to who they trust to manage the economy, and to manage national security, and I have every confidence that will choose the Turnbull Government.


SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE: Does it worry you a little bit, Minister, that Tony Abbott is sitting back – well he is on the Polly Pedal at the moment for Solider On – but is watching all of this and quite enjoying Malcolm Turnbull being hauled over the coals here, and that might create friction within the ranks for the Liberal Party? I know you are not going to publicly bag your colleague, but does it concern you a little bit that this could come a bit unstuck because of male egos, perhaps?

JULIE BISHOP: Well, that's another topic for another day, Sam, but I have every confidence that my colleagues will continue to support Malcolm Turnbull and the team, particularly in the lead up to the budget and beyond, as we are unroll policies and plans to continue to drive economic growth, and lead us to the next election.

DAVID KOCH: Alright, Julie Bishop, thank you very much for joining us, appreciate it - and a good slap down.

JULIE BISHOP: My pleasure.

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