Interview on FIVEaa breakfast with Tony Pilkington
Topics: Martin Hamilton-Smith


Tony Pilkington:                     He’s called in the Federal Education Minister, South Australian Senator, Simon Birmingham joins us right now. Senator, good morning, how are you?

Simon Birmingham:                G’day Pilko. I’m great thank you and yourself?

Tony Pilkington:                     Ok, you wanted the right of reply. You’re quoted in saying that as far as you’re concerned Martin Hamilton-Smith is no more than a coward.

Simon Birmingham:                Well indeed Pilko, lets look at the facts, two months after the last election having been overwhelmingly re-elected as a Liberal MP, he deserted ship and joined the Labor Ministry. And he sat there whilst they closed recap hospital in his own electorate and he did absolutely nothing, and then the polls show Martin-Smith is only at five per cent of the vote at the next election and low and behold he decides it’s time to hang up the hat, I mean really this guy has had a 20-year parliamentary career thanks to Liberal party members who supported him, campaigned for his election each and every time, and he turned his back on the lot of them.

Tony Pilkington:                     What about his attack on Christopher Pyne saying that he effectively pulls the strings and Steven Marshall actually reacts whenever Christopher Pyne says yes or no.

Simon Birmingham:                Well aside from the fact the claims themselves are rubbish, they again speak to Martin’s integrity. Here he is going out at his retirement and all he can do is take pot shots at the people who as I say had supported him to be the member for Waite, who had helped him in terms of being elected as the member for Waite at multiple elections, I mean really you have to wonder about a guy who even when he is retiring is taking cheap swipes at his former colleagues and those who have supported him throughout his career and indeed inaccurate swipes at that.

Tony Pilkington:                     Ok, you’re polling would suggest, somebody’s polling suggests he’d get no more than five per cent down at Waite, come that Saturday 17th of March. Do you back that up?

Simon Birmingham:                Well look I can only go by what the newspaper reported those polls to be but I think the anger on the ground in Waite has been apparent from the very moment he ratted on the Liberal party and joined the Labor Ministry. Ultimately, he turned his back on what the voters of Waite said they wanted at the last election which was a Liberal MP and a Liberal Government. He turned his back on that he stood idly by while the Repat hospital was closed, he was part of a Government that has overseen disasters in TAFE, disasters in child protection, disasters in aged care protection, the lights going out, I mean it’s a pretty sad legacy that he leaves behind.

Tony Pilkington:                     How do you get along with him because he said to us ten minutes or so a go, you may have heard it that he likes you and that he seems to get along ok with you?

Simon Birmingham:                Well look I was Martin’s chief of staff when he was a Minister in Rob Kerin’s Government many years ago so I was very happy to work with Martin, serve with Martin and indeed get along with him just [indistinct] whilst he was a Liberal but I think his actions in terms of just jumping ship and ignoring the will of his electorate, turning his back on all of the people, myself included who supported him over the years, really shows the contempt for individuals and shows a really failing in the character of the man.

Tony Pilkington:                     Ok, you’re obviously at logger heads at the moment.