(Virginia Trioli: Good morning … It’s good and important to clarify, I guess, lines of allegiance this morning… it’s fair to say that you’re a supporter of Malcolm Turnbull?) Virginia, I’ve been very clear throughout this debate that I am a supporter of Malcolm Turnbull and I’m a supporter of action on climate change, but there are two things that I guess I would like to make clear at the outset today and that is that this is of course a very sad and sorry day and difficult times for the Liberal Party and to say to our supporters, to our members, to our donors, to our friends out there, please understand that this has come about because you elect conviction politicians to the Parliament, because there are people representing you who have strong views, and on these issues we’ve seen that those strong views have differed, and that’s created a lot of difficulty… but, secondly, that over the coming days of course we will work to try to resolve these very extraordinary situations that we find ourselves in. We obviously can’t allow things to go on as they are. Yesterday was a terribly difficult day for the Party and we need to find ways to work through these issues and work through them in a way that brings us together and allows us to go forward on all of the other issues in which we are in such passionate agreement as a united team. (Trioli: Alright, well let’s try and take those issues in order. First of all, do you believe the emissions trading scheme legislation will pass the Senate, that the Government still has enough support from some of you Liberals to get it through?) Well, Virginia, it remains the policy of the Liberal leadership and the Liberal Party to support the emissions trading scheme. That’s the work that we’ll be undertaking in the Senate today and we’ll continue to undertake that work in good faith, but… (Trioli: And do you reckon that you’ll undertake it successfully in the end?) Virginia, I don’t know. I’m not going to give predictions today and I don’t really want to deal in hypotheticals today. I simply need to work through this issue. We have an interesting situation the overwhelming majority of Liberals agree with action on climate change… support the need for strong action on climate change and Malcolm Turnbull’s rhetoric is spot on in that regard, but there are many issues with the emissions trading scheme. We’ve tried to fix it… we’ve tried to fix it through negotiations with the Government and a majority, albeit a slimmer one, agreed to accept those amendments. However, … (Trioli: Sorry, let me just jump in because time is tight this morning and we want to get to all of your points. Malcolm Turnbull’s right, then, when he says, and I’m paraphrasing here, that it’s a matter of honour for the Liberal Party that having negotiated in good faith and agreed with these amendments that you managed to get through, that you then have to stand up and you’ve got to support this legislation?) Well I’m not sure they’re the words I’d choose to use, Virginia. I believe that yes, we negotiated an outcome. That doesn’t make it a perfect scheme it certainly isn’t a perfect scheme. There will still be many, many changes to come if it passes, and if it doesn’t pass, well we can try to work on more perfect outcomes. (Trioli: Let’s go more directly then to the issue confronting your Party which is the Liberal leadership and many are describing Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership today as untenable given the number of people and the seniority of the people who have quit the front bench. Do you believe there needs to be a leadership spill and that someone else needs to take over the Party?) I believe that Malcolm Turnbull can lead us into the future, but obviously these are extraordinary times and these are difficult times and, as I said before, we’re going to spend some time I imagine over the next few days, over the weekend, working out how we can resolve those issues. Some may choose to bring on a spill that, in the end, is of course their call, their decision if they choose to do so. (Trioli: So you think that’s the right thing to do if they do?) Well, we had a vote the other day. That vote of course chose not to have a spill. That puts us in a difficult situation. Since then we’ve had many frontbenchers resign and obviously the tensions have heightened a lot. These are… as I said, these are difficult times, these are times that the Liberal Party has certainly never seen before not in the very short time that I’ve been here, but indeed in the decades that some of my colleagues have been here in the Australian Parliament, so we need to find ways to heal the Party, to bring it together and to make sure that we can present to our supporters the unified front of passionate conviction politicians that we have, but working in the same direction. (Trioli: Yes, you mentioned before that the public at large should be aware that you’re a group of passionate conviction politicians with strong opinions, but have those strong opinions as they’ve been expressed over the last few days and culminating in those front bench resignations and criticism of Malcolm Turnbull… have they been expressed in the best interests of the Party in your view?) I think over the last not just few days, but few weeks and few months, there have been some remarks made along the way, some contributions that have been less helpful than others to then unity of the Party and that’s terribly disappointing, but I’m not about to lay blame on people. In the end, these are people who hold very strong views. I hold strong views on some issues, they hold strong views around this emissions trading scheme. I respect that, I’ve respected their right to cross the floor, I’m disappointed the way some of the debate has been conducted, our supporters expect better of us and we should deliver better for them and that’s what I hope we can do as we work through these issues over the next few days. (Trioli: If there is a tilt at the leadership, do you believe… just picking up your final theme there, do you believe Tony Abbott is capable of uniting the Party?) I will work with whoever the Leader of the Liberal Party is and I hope that all of my colleagues will do likewise. I hope that Malcolm Turnbull can continue to be the Leader of the Liberal Party, but if that’s not the case, then I will work with Tony or whomever else emerges in that capacity because we need to heal the rifts, we need to offer the Australian people the type of choice and the type of alternative that John Howard so successfully offered for more than ten years. (Trioli: Simon Birmingham, good to talk to you today, thanks so much.) Pleasure, thank you.