MATTHEW ABRAHAM: Simon Birmingham is a Liberal Senator. Simon Birmingham, good morning… ah, good afternoon, Simon.
SIMON BIRMINGHAM: Habits die hard, Matthew. Good afternoon to you two and the listeners.
MATTHEW ABRAHAM: Senator Simon Birmingham, what’s your… do you feel shattered?
SIMON BIRMINGHAM: Look, it’s obviously disappointing and… to come so close, to win 600,000 more primary votes, to basically be 50-50 on two-party-preferred, to have more seats in the parliament as a Coalition than does the Labor Party… that is very disappointing, but you have to take these things in your stride and it’s upwards and onwards, that’s democracy and you fight towards the next election.
DAVID BEVAN: So what will be the Liberal strategy now? You can’t put these people [independents] more offside, can you? Your strategy, I imagine, will be to focus on driving a wedge between the Greens and Labor.
SIMON BIRMINGHAM: Look, David, I think our strategy is going to be to stand for what we believe in, to fight for the next one, two, three years, however long this parliament holds together, for the things that we hold dear as a Liberal-National Party Coalition, to highlight the failures in this Government and we need to get on with the business of presenting a good, strong, credible alternative. We had a good campaign, Tony Abbott did a fantastic job as our Leader, he took us from a position 12 months ago where nobody saw us as a chance, to very, very nearly forming a government, but we didn’t, and you have to accept that result…
DAVID BEVAN: So is Tony Abbott… is Tony Abbott now the man…
SIMON BIRMINGHAM: … and that means we have to plan for a second term… [of Opposition]
DAVID BEVAN: Is Tony Abbott now the man to take you through the next two, three years? I mean he was the one who was able to knock off Kevin Rudd and he took… he played it hard, he said ‘I’m here to oppose, that’s what Oppositions do’… is that the sort of attitude you need for the next three years, or do you need to find somebody who can be more conciliatory?
SIMON BIRMINGHAM: Well, David, look, I think we outlined some great policies during this campaign as well. Tony did a great job bringing down Kevin Rudd and highlighting the flaws in the Government, absolutely, but he also did a very good job outlining some positive policies and we need to make sure we get that mix right going forward to whenever the next election is, hold this Government together… to account, I should say… it’s up to them to hold it together and that’s going to be a tough ask because it’s a very strange combination of Labor, Greens, left-leaning independents, country independents and so on. We need to hold them to account and we need to outline some positive plans for the future and every election loss requires some soul searching and even though we virtually formed government, we came so close, we did so much better than the Labor Party in this election campaign, the truth is we haven’t formed government and we need to now accept that and treat it as a loss in the sense that we have to work out how we get those extra few hundred, few thousand votes that’s all that it takes to form government next time, compared to what we did in this election.
MATTHEW ABRAHAM: Okay, Simon Birmingham, thank you.
SIMON BIRMINGHAM: A pleasure, guys.