4BC AM with Ian Skippen and Loretta Ryan Monday 9 February 2015


Topic: Spill Motion 

Ian Skippen         

Senator Ian Macdonald joins us this morning. What are your thoughts on the spill Senator? 

Ian Macdonald   

Well I’m hoping it won’t succeed. I will be voting against it. I do think that Tony needs a little more time, he is “chastened” as he has been saying overnight. I had a discussion with him  last week (and) he’s indicated he accepts that he hasn’t done everything perfectly in recent  months and he has indicated a whole new approach to the way we govern -  whole new  approach to consultation and interaction with the Australian public. If that happens I think he can go on to succeed. If that doesn’t happen after a period of time then I hope that Tony would do the right thing and step aside. But at the moment I think he should be given the chance to put into plan what he says he is intending to do. 

Loretta Ryan 

So if he does succeed though, what will it be like then for the rest of the team – the Government?  He is still going to lead them but he knows some of them were against him. How will he recover from that? 

Ian Macdonald 

Well that’s not unusual in politics unfortunately. It is fairly unusual in the Liberal Party but it’s not unique. I think people will rally behind whatever the decision is today but this is one of the reasons why I was hoping that there wouldn’t be a spill. Because it doesn’t matter what happens in the spill – you have a percentage of the party who are unhappy with the outcome and I would have hoped that the spill would have been avoided. We could have gone on with a new and different Prime Minister – new in the sense that he understands that the way it has happened in the past can’t continue and it would be life as normal. But I think Tony understands, as I have made it clear to him and others, that if things don’t turnaround in the next few months then we are heading for a very difficult federal election and I would fear for the result in 18 months’ time. 

Ian Skippen 

Senator the polls aren’t good at the moment. Other guys have turned it around in the past – like Keating and Howard – but what is difficult about a concept where you get to the stage where you have criticised a Labor Government over not being consultative the way Rudd - Kevin Rudd - did  things, and yet Tony Abbott has learned nothing form that in not being consultative with the Backbench and the natives are restless…, 

Ian Macdonald 

Well he hadn’t learned that until fairly recently… 

Ian Skippen 

(interjecting) Well how difficult is it to learn? I mean don’t these people talk to each other? 

Ian Macdonald   

Well I agree with you entirely. And as you know and as your listeners may know I haven’t been one of Tony’s greatest fans since the last budget. I was out the next day saying the co- payment was stupid, the PPL was always a silly policy, and a few other things. And I have made my views known – to Tony I might say – and publicly but you know, it takes a while but I think this experience of the last few weeks will lead to a different person, a different approach. Sure he’s made mistakes. He’s admitted that. It takes a big person to admit their mistakes and do something about it and I’m prepared to give Tony the benefit of the doubt at the moment and hopefully we’ll go on to bigger and better things. Because Ian, if I might say, in the end result this is about Australia and I always think Australia – naturally I guess you’d say but I think history shows this – Australia is always better under a Liberal government but unless we change the way we are doing things it won’t be a Liberal government after the next election. And that’s why I think, and I think Tony now accepts, that there has to be a different way of doing things. We have to change our path so that we can get a Liberal government after the next election because that’s what is good for Australia. 

Loretta Ryan 

But we need to get you back governing and get rid of this stuff that’s been going on. 

Ian Macdonald   

Well indeed and that’s why I’m relaxed about the meeting having been brought forward this morning. I think we need to get this over before parliament starts. There is legislation listed for debate at 10 o’clock today. I’ll be speaking on those but I do think we need to have this behind us before the parliament starts. It would be untenable otherwise. 

Ian Skippen 

Ok 

Ian Macdonald   

I’m hopeful of a new approach and a new regime so to speak. 

Ian Skippen         

Ok. We appreciate your time this morning Senator. Thank you very much. 

Ian Macdonald   

My pleasure. 

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