SUBJECT/S: Liberal leadership; Newspoll


MICHELLE ROWLAND, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CITIZENSHIP AND MULTICULTURALISM AND SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS: Happy New Year, everyone. Today the vote that happens in the Liberal party room is actually quite irrelevant in terms of who it elects leader today or tomorrow. The reality is that it’s the unfair policies of this Government that have turned Australians off this Government completely. Their refusal to even acknowledge the unfairness of their Budget. And while all these shenanigans are going on, we have a government that has simply stopped governing. We have a situation where the most brilliant young scientist in Australia has turned down the most prestigious scholarship that can be awarded because in her words, there is no future for science in Australia.


No future for her with the current policies concerning higher education or funding for science. We have unemployment going up and up under this Government, the promise of a million jobs being created simply not being able to be met. We have broadband in this country, an absolute laughing stock compared with the rest of the world where we have continued to drop behind in the latest broadband rankings. We are even behind many of the countries in Eastern Europe. And we also have young people who have gone to enrol in TAFE to find that their TAFE fees have, in some cases, tripled. This is not a government about growth. Their Budget was not about growth, their Budget was not about innovation and the future. These are inward looking people, and irrespective of what happens in that party room, this is a government - and all of its members, all of its ministry and all of its backbenchers, committed to their Budget of unfairness and taking Australia backwards.

JOURNALIST: You must be quite pleased with today’s Newspoll, Labor’s 14 point lead over the Government?

ROWLAND: I think when you look at these polls, as a person in Opposition, and as someone who has always put her electorate first, the reality is that you only have to listen to people who are talking to you to know that this Government is on the nose. So I don’t need any polls to tell me what people think about this Government. People on the street tell me all the time. This is a government of unfairness, this is a government of arrogance. Let’s remember this is a government that is barely over one calendar year old that came in with a massive majority whose members are on massive margins, and it’s been their arrogance, their hubris that has taken them to this point.

JOURNALIST: What’s the mood on the Labor front bench, are they hoping the motion will fail?

ROWLAND: I think the mood on the front bench, from the colleagues I’ve spoken to, is that we need to remain focused on the policies of this Government and us as the alternative government. We are the only side of this Parliament at the moment that is actually devising policy and thinking about, listening to people, about what’s good for Australia. We are the only people in this Parliament doing that.

PETER HELLIAR: Is this spill making you guys feel a little nostalgic?

ROWLAND: Not at all, I think we learnt our lesson Peter from the events over the last Parliament and we took action on it. We actually changed our rules so that it can’t happen again. The reality also is that this didn’t happen twenty years ago, this happened in the very recent past. Australians have made it clear, as Tony Abbott told us when he was Opposition Leader, that Australians were sick and tired of this kind of circus. And now they have brought the circus back to town, and they’re talking about ‘oh we want to take people with us’. People have jumped on another bus – they’re at the other end of the city. No one is being taken with these people. So I think for this Government to say they’re turning over a new start, I wonder if Tony Abbott is going to come out and say it’s “Back to Work Monday” before he realises most people just call it “Monday”. I think this is a government that is simply displaying its arrogance and inward looking nature.


ROWLAND: Pleasure.