Dec 4, 2015

Transcript – Today Show – 4 December 2015


Subjects: Ian Macfarlane; Mal Brough; David Speers Walkley Award for “fixer” interview with Pyne.

LISA WILKINSON: Well joining me now is the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne and Shadow Transport and Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese. Good morning gentlemen.

CHISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Lisa, good morning Anthony.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: G’day Christopher.

WILKINSON: Get the niceties over, a bit Brady Bunch style but that’s ok.

PYNE: I hope you enjoyed the Walkleys while I was working in Canberra.

WILKINSON: We’ll get to that in a second. Now Christopher, Ian Macfarlane says he’s jumping ship to the Nationals with another MP rumoured to follow. This is surely a sign the Government is far from united.

PYNE: Look this is really just an internal Liberal / National Party Queensland issue. Whether Ian Macfarlane is in the Liberal Party room or the National Party room he’s still part of the coalition and he’s a valued colleague. I’m sorry he was disappointed that he was asked to retire from the Cabinet but he has been in the Cabinet since 2000 so he had a pretty good run in the Cabinet, but I’m sorry that he was disappointed and if he wants to be in the National Party room well you know, he goes with our best wishes but he’s still part of our Coalition.

WILKINSON: Yeah but it doesn’t sound like a very united Liberal Party. When did the PM find out the McFarland was defecting?

PYNE: I don’t know the answer to that Lisa but I don’t think it was very long ago.

WILKINSON: When did you find out?

PYNE: Yesterday.

WILKINSON: Ok, were you shocked.

PYNE: Look, I was disappointed but the LNP in Queensland is different to the rest of the country. In every other part of the country there’s a Liberal Party and a separate National Party, in Queensland they are in the same party so it’s really just an internal party dynamic and I don’t think that the public think it’s very important, it’s neither here nor there. Ian McFarland is a good friend of Malcolm Turnbull, there’s no angst between those two and we’re getting on with trying to create jobs and growth. We passed three bills last night through the Senate, the Citizenship Bill the Labour Savings Bill and the Multinationals Tax Bill that Labor tried to block. So we’re just getting on with the job.

WILKINSON: You have had a heck of a week.

PYNE: It has been a big week.

WILKSINSON: Special Minister of State Mal Brough remains under pressure over his involvement in the Peter Slipper affair after this week completely contradicting his previous statement to 60 Minutes. Take a look.

LIZ HAYES: Did you ask James Ashby to procure copies of Peter Slipper’s diary for you?

MAL BROUGH: Yes I did.

MARK DREYFUS: Did you ask James Ashby to procure copies of Peter Slipper’s diary for you?


WILKINSON: Christopher, Mal Brough clearly hasn’t told the truth here.

PYNE: Well Mal came back into the Parliament after that answer and he explained that he was a confused and that he was sorry if he’s confused the Parliament.

WILKINSON: What part of that question was confusing?

PYNE: Well the question, according to Mal and what he told the Parliament was that the question had several prongs to it…

WILKINSON: Oh hang on, I’m sorry, please, we’ve seen the unedited version. There was a small stumble but that question was absolutely clear. And after telling Liz Hayes that he did do it, he then spent three minutes justifying why he did it. Not whether or not, or if he did, procure private diaries of Peter Slipper. To then stand up in Parliament when the heat is on and say that he didn’t do it, as a federal minister he has misled parliament.

PYNE: Well you know there is an investigation into the AFP into this matter…

WILKINSON: There is so as Special Minister, someone who is meant to be upholding ethics and standards of the Parliament, why doesn’t he stand aside while this police investigation is going on?

PYNE: Well if there are any charges laid he will but you can’t have ministers or leaders of the opposition standing aside every time a claim is made against them. Bill Shorten was investigated by the Victorian Police for 12 months. The Government didn’t at any point ask him to stand aside because he was eventually cleared and I was the first to congratulate him for being cleared because it would have been very traumatic for he and his family for that 12 months.

WILKSINSON: Ok, let’s let Anthony have a say here.

ALBANESE: That is absolute nonsense Christopher. What we are talking about here is something that we know that he did. He misled Parliament. That’s why his position as a Minister is untenable. Very separate from any AFP investigation, that will take its course. But what we saw this week was Mal Brough each and every day mislead the Parliament so clearly that there wasn’t anyone in the Government, including Christopher as the Leader of the House, prepared to defend him. I’ve seen government’s gag and stop oppositions speaking before. I’ve never seen for a whole week a Government gag itself and move that motions be put so that it didn’t have to defend Mal Brough and this is connected of course to Ian Macfarlane and the chaos that is there, because now the National Party will be entitled to Mal Brough’s position when he goes. Because it’s not a question of if he goes, it’s a question of when he goes.

WILKINSON: Alright we will have to leave it there unfortunately we’ve run out of time but I have to quickly before I go congratulate you Christopher Pyne, you sort of won a Walkley Award last night for the “fixer” interview with David Speers.

PYNE: I was the subject of the Walkley but I am very pleased and congratulate David Speers on winning a Walkley on the back of an interview with me good luck to him. Well done.

ALBANESE: Christopher, they were laughing at you not with you, a very important distinction.

PYNE: Don’t you be nasty Anthony at the end of the interview.

ALBANESE: David Speers was laughing at you not with you. Just saying.

PYNE: You try and be nice. Try and be nice.

WILKINSON: You both try and be nice.

ALBANESE: Why don’t you try and be nice to your Coalition colleagues, you’re falling apart.

PYNE: You’re now being nasty this morning. It’s too early to start the day grumpy Anthony.

ALBANESE: You’re falling apart. Bye bye.