Topics: Newspoll, energy security, citizenship
Kieran Gilbert: Minister, thanks so you much for your time, you must be encouraged by some of the numbers in this Newspoll?
Simon Birmingham: Look, Kieran, the Government, wherever the polls go, keeps on with the job as people would expect and over the last couple of weeks, Malcolm Turnbull has been hard at it on the issues that matter to Australian people, in areas where we are investing in Australia’s future, such as Snowy Hydro project, such as the Western Sydney Airport. In relation to Snowy Hydro, also a focus on how we can bring down the cost of living pressures for Australians, and ensure that they are helped in terms of managing those different cost pressures and have security in their future and focusing on the energy market, both in investment and new energy sources and with energy retailers-
Kieran Gilbert: Is that showing up in terms of getting the retailers to write to consumers, that the fact that you’re willing to intervene in this sort of way, is that showing up in those numbers, do you think, today?
Simon Birmingham: I think that what we see is that Malcolm Turnbull is a leader focused on practical solutions for the country’s problems such as cost of living challenges, practical solutions in terms of investment in Australia’s future. And yet in Bill Shorten we still have a leader who just wants to play political games, he wants to play political games here in the Parliament, plays political games with issues, just in my own portfolio space, they complain about the cost of child care, yet voted against our child care reforms. They say they believe in Gonski, yet voted against our school funding reforms. Proposed efficiency measures when they were last in government in higher education, yet oppose our higher education reforms. I mean, this is a very cynical opposition and you can see it right across every position they take.
Kieran Gilbert: But the challenge is now though, you’ve had some momentum, but now coming back to Parliament, Labor will be seeking to raise the legitimacy question in relation to the citizenship issue, particularly Barnaby Joyce.
Simon Birmingham: Well, Labor will be seeking to play more political games. Australians would like to see the Parliament this week focus on how we further tackle energy prices, now we’ve got reforms before the Parliament around new processes, technical rule changes, but ones that will have a very real impact on the way the energy market operates in the future. And the Labor party should be engaging constructively, in questions and in actions, in relation to those types of issues, the cost of living pressures and energy reform, the national investment projects like the Western Sydney Airport, like Snowy Hydro, like other pumped hydro facilities around the country, like major infrastructure projects, like_
Kieran Gilbert: Is it fair to raise the question if the Deputy Prime Minister is eligible to sit in the Parliament or not?
Simon Birmingham: Well, the High Court is going to have a look at that matter. Barnaby Joyce came into Parliament, said he identified something that had never been contemplated before in terms of his citizenship status, volunteered to refer that matter to the High Court. They will look at that, y will decide that, it doesn’t take Bill Shorten and the Labor party playing petty political games. We will focus on the issues and we invite the Labor party to do the same.
Kieran Gilbert: Minister, thanks for your time, appreciated it.
Simon Birmingham: Thank you.