Interview on FIVEaa, Breakfast with David Penberthy and Will Goodings  




David Penberthy:         Simon Birmingham is the Liberal Senator for South Australia, he’s also the Education Minister and we have him on the line now. Minister good morning, thanks so much for your time.


Simon Birmingham:     Good morning Penbo, good morning Will.


David Penberthy:         Did you attend as what is being billed as this crisis dinner at the lodge last night? And if so what was the PM’s demeanour like and do you think he has any hope of surviving this current impasse?


Simon Birmingham:     There was a working dinner in Parliament House, which I was a little late for the dinner part of but then the Cabinet had some deliberations and discussions last night which I was certainly there for. Look the PM is as focused as ever, as is the whole Cabinet on how do we make sure that we keep implementing reforms that will bring down energy prices for Australian households, we know that people are fed up with higher electricity bills, that’s why we took on the gas companies and he in particular, Malcolm Turnbull, forced them to act in a way that has brought down gas prices, which is flowing through to lower electricity bills and we’re going to keep pursuing other reforms to also make sure that all of those energy companies are held to account to bring down electricity prices.


David Penberthy:         When you say though that he’s got the whole support of Cabinet, there is a hell of a lot of focus on the Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton. Now, it’s been reported that Mr Dutton has indicated to the Prime Minister that he is not himself agitating for the job but he said he’s got no preference to launch a challenge but he’s given no firm guarantees that he won’t.


Simon Birmingham:     Peter has been quite public in his support for the Prime Minister, the policies of the Government and he has been one of the great team members of team Turnbull and I am confident that we will continue to work as a team on the things that matter. We’ve got a really good story to tell to the Australian peoplerecord jobs growthbringing the budget back to balance–offering and delivering and legislating tax relief for Australian households–driving down energy prices–implementing reforms to the child care system to make sure that it is more affordable for more Australian families


David Penberthy:         But isn’t this the problem Minister, sorry to jump in, but if you have done all of those great things, why isn’t the message getting out and if the message isn’t getting out does it lead to the irresistible conclusion that the salesman who is leading the pitch just isn’t cutting through?


Simon Birmingham:     There is no doubt that when you look at the last week, in particular when you have a handful of individuals who decide to go out and openly speak against or undermine what is an overwhelmingly agreed part of the Government’s policy agenda in the National Energy Guarantee, that that is going to erode public confidence to a degree so we have to make sure that every single member of the team gets back out there and sells those achievements and the other plans we have for the future. Look you can’t say that one single individual, even if it’s the Prime Minister is the sole individual responsible for selling the message of the Government, every single member of the Government has a responsibility to sell the message of the Government and we have a really strong list of achievements under Malcolm Turnbull and they are at risk from Bill Shorten. It is quite the contrast from us–balanced budget–record jobs growth–lowering taxes for Australians–lowering energy prices, from Bill Shorten, the opposite of what will be an undermining of economic growth–lower jobs growth–will see the budget blow out again-will see higher taxes on people’s houses–their wages­–their savings–their retirement savings–their small businesses and investments. It’s a pretty sorry alternative that the Labor party is lining up, we do need to make sure that [indistinct], every member of the Coalition team is highlighting that contrast.


David Penberthy:         Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham, the Education Minister thanks very much for your time and for joining us on FIVEaa breakfast today


Simon Birmingham:     Cheers, guys.