INTERVIEW WITH SENATOR IAN MACDONALD, North Queensland based LNP Senator
Presenter – Senator Good Morning
Macdonald – Good Morning Michael
Presenter – First of all have you had any sleep?
Macdonald – Just a Normal night in Canberra
Presenter - Not quite a normal night but good to see you have managed to get some rest. Now yesterday when you were talking to Pat on the drive show, you were very critical of this process that it was even coming to this. Have your feeling changed now?
Macdonald – Well Michael I have always had a view that while many people didn’t like Tony Abbott and as you know I’ve had my issues with Tony, I think what the Australian people like less is instability and disunity.
Now it remains to be seen whether that instability and disunity will be overcome, I certainly hope it will. Not for the sake of the Liberal Party or me or Malcolm Turnbull but for the sake of Australia. Because as I have often said on your show and elsewhere, I firmly believe that Australia needs another term at least, of a Liberal government, to fix up the mess of previous six years and having disunity and turmoil if that takes us closer to a Labor government then heaven forbid for the nation
Presenter – Do you think though, having Malcolm Turnbull as leader will prevent that, will cause that ability to be re-elected at the next election?
Macdonald – Well I certainly hope so Michael. All of us in the party and in the parliament have to work toward that end. There will be, human nature being what it is, be recriminations, I would think but hopefully we can all focus on the real job that is providing to Australia good government that heads the country in the right direction for now and for the future.
Presenter – Labor could be the model here and as we know under their movement to replace the leader that proved unsuccessful and the squabbling continued for many years. Was that raised in the party room meeting last night, were people saying don’t do this as it might not work out to be good for us.
Macdonald – Well Michael the party room meeting was very brief. There weren’t any speeches, there weren’t any urging from anyone, Tony Abbott came in and said there had been a request for a leadership spill, and he more or less handed it over to the Whips who conducted the Ballot. So there wasn’t a lot of talk in the meeting and actually there wasn’t that sort of talk between the announcement of the challenge by Malcolm Turnbull and the actual party room meeting. There wasn’t a lot of lobbying to and fro, or not that I am aware of, and I don’t think there was much otherwise. I think that Malcolm’s supporters had known they had the numbers and it was a pretty mundane affair.
Presenter – It almost seems like you have been watching this from the sidelines, do you think you will have a role in a Malcolm Turnbull government?
Macdonald – I assume I will continue in the roles that I have. Malcolm has indicated that in a policy sense things won’t change. We will still be having the plebiscite on Marriage equality issue, we are going to maintain our position on carbon emission and the reduction we propose and the way we propose it, so there will be no going back to an Emissions Trading Scheme and I would assume that the general direction of the government will continue. You see the complaints have not been about the direction of the government, and I think in two short years this government has done a lot to repair the damage of the previous 6 years. What the complaint seemed to be was that Abbott wasn’t able to articulate the direction of the Government and that was the reason for his demise.
Presenter - Who did you vote for?
Macdonald - Well I voted for Tony Abbott this occasion and I voted for Julie Bishop and again, as your listeners would well know, I’ve had my issues with Tony Abbott over a period of time but I just thought it was bad for Australia that we should have this leadership division, and that we shouldn’t put the country through the turmoil of this sort of thing. Of course I, like most commentators, looked at the debacle of the Labor year. Now I certainly hope that we in the Liberal Party can be more mature in the way this is handled from here on in and that will depend on Malcolm Turnbull skills. Now there is no doubting that he has very considerable skills, he is a very talented person, very intelligent person and he has to demonstrate that he has the skills to bring first of all the party together, and then to take the country even further forward on the policy directions that this party has set over the last couple of years and that his party was elected to implement at the September 2013 election.
Presenter - Do you like Malcolm Turnbull?
Macdonald - Oh look I don’t have a lot to do with those on the other side. I had a bit to do with Malcolm when he was leader previously. He was quite good. He didn’t always agree with me but then again very few people always agree with me! I think that he is ok, I don’t have a close personal relationship with him but then I certainly didn’t have that with Abbott either.
Presenter – Senator, good to get your thoughts this morning after a busy 24 hours in Canberra, thank you for your time.
Macdonald – Thanks Michael