Doorstop interview, Canberra
Topics: Polls; Citizenship of Parliamentarians; SA Liberal State Election
Simon Birmingham: Look, what we’re seeing is that Australians recognise the strength of the Turnbull Government’s performance. Performance that indeed is delivering record jobs growth–jobs growth that we haven’t seen since the statistics were started to be collected. 400 000 plus jobs last year, more than 1100 jobs a day. These are the types of benefits that people want to see from the work of government and they’re seeing from the work of the Turnbull Government. Frankly, I think Australians are also seeing through Bill Shorten–they’re seeing that he is phony man–who stands up¬–time and again and pretends he has no citizenship problems in his ranks, and yet then of course he is proven to be wrong, that he stands sometimes to the left, sometimes to the right, depending on the audience he is talking to. Ultimately, we won’t be distracted by Mr Shorten’s sideshows as a Government we’re going to focus on continuing jobs growth, continuing budget repair, making sure we get more money back in the pockets of hardworking Australians.
Journalist: Labor is returning with two fewer MPs, you’ve gained one over the Christmas break, are you surprised the polls weren’t stronger for you?
Simon Birmingham: We are focused on policies; political commentators can focus on polls. We can focus on policy progress, policy momentum. We have a strong legislative agenda this week, we’ve come back and continued with our reforms around online safety measures around ensuring banking executive accountability, these are the types of things they want to see the Government getting on and doing, and that is precisely what we will do in the Parliament.
Journalist: In the Parliament is there any talk amongst, particularly in the House of Representatives, referring Susan Lamb to the High Court, something a lot of your colleagues have spoken quite strongly about, we haven’t gotten to the stage we’ve seen the government commit to actually referring her?
Simon Birmingham: Susan Lamb and Bill Shorten should do the right thing here. The case is black and white. Susan Lamb is a UK citizen, and did not complete the renunciation process. That’s it, the case is clear, she should follow the lead of David Feeney and John Alexander, and Barnaby Joyce ultimately who went to a by-election. Of course the High Court who the matters last year, they made clear what the rulings were. The Government didn’t necessarily like those rulings at the time, but that is now clearly what the interpretation of the Constitution is and all have to live by it. Now Bill Shorten and Susan Lamb and the Labor party have been engaging in a great big cover up since the middle of last year. Where of course Mr Shorten was holier than thou, and completely pious in his behaviour, saying Labor has the most thorough processes in the world. Well clearly they don’t, they’ve got one MP now off with a by-election, they’ve got another before the High Court and they have a third who very clearly is in the same circumstance frankly as David Feeney, is a UK citizen, cannot prove otherwise and ought to do the decent thing and resign. Not waste the Parliaments time, not waste the courts time, just resign.
Journalist: Barnaby Joyce didn’t just resign to start with, secondly if this is so black and white, if this is so clear, you’re the Government why aren’t you upholding the constitution, you’ve got the numbers in the lower house, refer it?
Simon Birmingham: We’re going to give Susan Lamb and Bill Shorten the chance to do the right thing because that’s what they ought to do. This is about not wasting a moment of the Parliament’s time or the High Court’s time, that shouldn’t be necessary. It’s clear cut in this case. Now it’s clear cut because indeed Barnaby Joyce volunteered a referral to the High Court as did others and the court determined what the law was. And as I said, we didn’t like it at the time but it’s now clear and everybody has to abide by the Australian Constitution. Bill Shorten has to abide by the Australian Constitution, Susan Lamb has to abide by the Australian Constitution and so should they.
Journalist: The South Australian election launch yesterday for Steven Marshall, how do you think things are going and what did you make of Jay Weatherill’s new policy involving solar panels?
Simon Birmingham: Well Jay Weatherill’s policy is just a catch-up policy. Steven Marshall announced support for battery installation in South Australian homes months ago and Jay Weatherill is now just trying to catch-up and keep-up with Steven Marshall’s policy agenda and policy lead. I thought yesterday Steven Marshall and the South Australian liberals spelled out a very clearly vision for the state about how to regenerate economic activity, how to recharge the state, how to get investment back into SA, to make it more competitive relative to the other states and of course they spelled out a very strong plan for real change based on detailed policies, detailed policies many of which have been out there for months such as new support for solar battery storage, such as households getting benefits from cuts to the emergency services levy, such as now of course seeing businesses getting the incentive to invest thanks to payroll tax cuts.
Journalist: Thanks Senator.
Simon Birmingham: Thanks guys.