Press Conference with the Foreign Minister, the Hon. Julie Bishop MP, Parliament House, Canberra - 21 August 2018

August 21, 2018

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

SUBJECTS: Leadership



Good afternoon. Our job here in this building and as the Government, is to deliver for the Australian people. They’re the people we work for, 25 million Australians. Our job is to ensure that we do everything we can, to ensure their taxes are lower, their energy bills are lower, that the economy is growing, that their businesses have great prospects. That they have a better chance of getting a job, that there are more opportunities and we have the resources to enable us to spend on essential services. We’ve put record amounts into health and education, into infrastructure and to keep Australians safe.

So, Australians expect us to be focused on them, talking about their issues. They don't like us being focused on ourselves or talking about each other.

That’s why it’s very important that today the Liberal Party Room has confirmed my leadership and Julie’s Deputy leadership of the Liberal Party. A reminder of the need for political parties and for governments to be united and determined to keep delivering for the people for whom they work; 25 million Australians.

We know that disunity undermines the ability of any government to get its job done. Unity is absolutely critical. We cannot allow - as I said in the Party Room today - internal issues to undermine our work, to create a risk, a real risk, that Bill Shorten will be the Prime Minister.

Bill Shorten, who would come in with higher taxes on everyone, higher energy prices on everyone, a slower economy, fewer jobs and lower wages.

That is the choice.

United, we will maintain the strong momentum and the great achievements our government has made, in the face of a one seat majority in The House and a minority in the Senate. We’ve been able to get an enormous amount done.

We’ve had record jobs growth, strong economic growth, we have reduced business taxes and personal taxes and spending on essential services is higher than ever.

That is what we must deliver and we deliver it united.


Prime Minister, what do you say to those 35 who say that sticking with you guarantees that Bill Shorten will go to the Lodge?


What I say is exactly what I said to them, to all of my colleagues, that united, we are able to as a team deliver the great results, continue to deliver the great results that we have, for all Australians.

You cannot deny the achievements of our Government. We have delivered lower taxes, record spending on essential services. We have started to turn the corner on energy prices. We’re seeing the strongest economic growth we have had for a long time, and last year was the strongest jobs growth in the country’s history. So, that’s what we’re able to deliver when we work together.


Are you worried about another challenge against you and what do you say to the disloyalty of the Cabinet Ministers who voted against you?


Well, it’s a secret ballot Sharri. Perhaps there are no secrets to you.


What would you say to the overarching sentiment now that you are dead man walking?


I have to say that I can't agree with you there and the results of the ballot demonstrate that.


Prime Minister, what assurances have you sought from Peter Dutton?


Alright, hang on, you have raised Peter Dutton. Now, Peter has done an outstanding job as Home Affairs

Minister, the first Home Affairs Minister in our country's history and I want to thank him for his work.


Have you spoken with him Prime Minister?


If you let me finish, I’ll go back and perhaps if I could just finish what I was saying. So, I thank Peter Dutton for his outstanding service as Home Affairs Minister. I have invited him to continue in that office. However, he has said to me - and we have had a good discussion about it here in my office - he said to me that he doesn't feel he can remain in the Cabinet, having challenged me for the leadership of the party. So, he is resigning. Immediately, pending other arrangements, Scott Morrison will act as Home Affairs Minister.


He said he supported you yesterday, what changed in the last 12 hours before the ballot was held, Prime Minister?


That’s a question I think you’ll have to address to him. We’ll take one more. One more to Murpharoo.


Peter Dutton has obviously challenged you for the leadership this morning and is now no  longer in the Cabinet. If other Ministers, Cabinet Ministers or junior ministers who voted for Peter Dutton this morning, should they follow him and resign?


It’s a secret ballot, Katharine. My job is to do everything I can to ensure that we are united and work together. As you know, I don't bear any grudge against Peter Dutton for having stood up and challenged me today and I invited him to continue in his position. It’s really important that we put these differences - there are always differences in political parties, of course – it’s important that we put differences behind us and get on with our job of looking after the 25 million Australians who have put us here.

That is our job, looking after them. We’ve got to put 25 million Australians first. They hate it when we are talking about each other. Political dramas may be meat and drink for the Press Gallery, but Australians want us to keep delivering lower taxes, lower energy bills, record spending on essential services, strong economic growth at 3.1 per cent and record jobs growth.

Our job is to work for the people who put us here, 25 million Australians. Thank you very much.


One for Julie Bishop?


Yes, of course.


Your position was also declared vacant this morning and no one challenged. Were you anticipating a challenge from Greg Hunt?


The fact is, the result today was an overwhelming vote of support for the Prime Minister. I have seen leadership contests before. This was an overwhelming vote of support for the Prime Minister.




I have seen leadership challenges before and this was a resounding vote of support in the leadership team. We don't take it for granted, but what I say to all those who didn't vote for the Prime Minister; we now have the opportunity to focus on what the electorate want to hear from us. That is, we are directing all our energies, all our efforts into lower taxes and lower costs, particularly energy costs, and more jobs in the Australian people. That is what we are going to continue to deliver.


Press Office of the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister, Canberra

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