Sky News Live with Kieran Gilbert > Mitch Fifield, Liberal Senator for Victoria

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42 Florence Street
MENTONE VIC 3194

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Parliament House Office
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600
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22-August-2018

Sky News Live with Kieran Gilbert

Sky News

22 August 2018

7.30am


E & OE

GILBERT:

You support Malcolm Turnbull remaining as Prime Minister. Do you think he can survive after having a vote of 35 against yesterday? It’s difficult.

FIFIELD:

Kieran we took a collective decision as colleagues on Tuesday to rendorse Malcolm Turnbull as leader. What we do now is we talk about what we’ve achieved as a government, the things that we’ve achieved with our freedom agenda, our social policy agenda, our economic agenda and even our communications portfolio agenda. We talk about that. And we talk about the risks of Bill Shorten because we don’t want Bill Shorten to unwind our company tax cuts. We don’t want Bill Shorten to unwind our personal income tax cuts. We don’t want Bill Shorten to abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission. We don’t want him to abolish the Registered Organisations Commission. We’ve done good work on economic policy. We’ve done good work on workplace and industrial relations policy. All that would be at risk if Bill Shorten becomes Prime Minister.

GILBERT:

You had nine resignations of your frontbench colleagues. Two of them accepted. Obviously Peter Dutton insisted he’s on the backbench. Concetta Fierravanti-Wells. The other Ministers have been asked to stay on. Is that olive branch something you think might work to try and heal the wounds of the last few days?

FIFIELD:

Can I say my practice in ballots has been to always be upfront about what I’ve done. And I think it’s to the credit of these Ministerial colleagues that they’ve been upfront about what they’ve done. A number of them have offered their resignations. And whether those proceed or not is a matter between the Prime Minister and those individual ministerial colleagues. But I certainly hope that they can continue to make a contribution.

GILBERT:

What’s your sense of where the support is at right now? Because obviously sometimes momentum goes away from the incumbent. You and Mr Turnbull will be hoping to drag a few back I guess after the events of yesterday. Is that possible?

FIFIELD:

We’ve had a Party Room ballot. Colleagues expressed their view. And so what we do now is we get on with transacting the people’s business….

GILBERT:

But there’s likely to be another one isn’t there? That’s the bottom line when you face this sort of situation.

FIFIELD:

Colleagues respect each other. And colleagues respect the determination of the Party Room. The Party Room is a forum where different views in relation to policy and personnel are resolved. That’s the purpose of the Party Room. And those of us who’ve been in the Party, such as myself for about 32 years, ballots are a part of life. That occurred on Tuesday. And we move forward.

GILBERT:

Do you think the comments of Peter Dutton after his resignation are an indication that he hasn’t given up? Because he’s not ruling out another challenge. He’s not ruling out another tilt is he?

FIFIELD:

First, I want to acknowledge the incredible work that Peter Dutton did as the Minister for Home Affairs. He built on what Scott Morrison did. He stopped the boats. He saved lives because people didn’t put themselves in harm’s way on the high seas courtesy of people smugglers because he busted their business model. So I want to acknowledge his great contribution there. He’s indicated that he’s determined to join us all in making sure that Bill Shorten does not occupy the Lodge and the treasury benches and he said that he accepts the Party Room decision.

GILBERT:

Yesterday. I don’t think many would think he’s given up hope?

FIFIELD:

Kieran, all we can do is respect each other as colleagues, respect the decision of the Party Room and get on with doing the people’s business which is what I’m doing today.

GILBERT:

Minister, thanks so much for your time I appreciate it.

FIFIELD:

Good to be with you Kieran.

[ends]



Authorised by Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, Liberal Party of Australia, Parliament House, Canberra.