SUBJECTS: Craig Thomson saga; Confidence in government
Christopher Pyne: Well, for three years we’ve been asking the Prime Minister to take action on Craig Thomson and the week before the Temby Report in the Health Services Union is to be released and the Fair Work Australia Inquiry into the Health Services Union is to be released the Prime Minister has finally decided that Craig Thomson shouldn’t sit in the Labor Party caucus; something the rest of the country has known for three long years, but really the Prime Minister’s tricks would put David Copperfield to shame because she’s still going to accept his vote. So nothing has changed. This really is just smoke and mirrors.
Waleed Aly: Now, your boss Tony Abbott has had a bit to say about it this afternoon. I don’t think that will surprise anybody. Here’s a little bit of what he said.
Tony Abbott: The only way right now to restore integrity to our Parliament is for this sad and sorry Parliament to be dissolved and for there to be a new election.
Aly: Now the Government is clearly not going to call a new election. I think we can take that as read. There’s only one way I can see this happening and that is if you bring on a no confidence motion at the next opportunity in Parliament. Are you going to do that?
Pyne: Well, obviously the Opposition has had no confidence in this Government since the last election. The problem is its being propped up still by Tony Windsor and Robert Oakeshott. I think they’re the last two people in the Australian political system who think this Government has any integrity.
Hamish MacDonald: Just to be clear though, is anyone in your party making soundings with those two individuals; Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor, about supporting a no-confidence motion in the Government?
Pyne: I haven’t. I don’t know anybody who’s speaking to Tony Windsor or Robert Oakeshott about a no-confidence motion. It’s up to them.
Macdonald: Are you ruling out that anyone in the Liberal or National Party has done that?
Pyne: I’m not aware of anybody in the Coalition who’s spoken to either of those gentlemen, certainly not with the imprimatur of the Leader of the Opposition or myself.
Anthony Lehmann: Christopher, a slight change of tact. Last week Bill Shorten offered his unqualified support for the Prime Minister. Do you support Tony Abbott regardless of what he says?
Pyne: Look, I don’t want to be as humiliated as Bill Shorten is today from that ridiculous performance on the media from last week, but I support Tony Abbott when he’s right and if he’s ever wrong I’ll try and point it out to him.
Lehmann: On the issue of Speedos?
Pyne: Well, Speedos are not much of a South Australian thing as you well know Lehmo.
Lehmann: Indeed, indeed.
Macdonald: Christopher Pyne, thank you for your time tonight.
Pyne: That’s a pleasure.