Interview with David Koch, Sunrise

19 Oct 2018
Prime Minister
Royal visit; a stronger economy and lower taxes; Wentworth

DAVID KOCH: Prime Minister, good morning to you. Big day ahead, climbing the Bridge with Harry. You scared of heights, have you been training?

PRIME MINISTER: Well I’ll scamper up there, I think he’ll beat me to the top I think though, pretty comfortably. He is well ahead of me on that score. But I’m looking forward to it, it should be fun. More importantly, it’s highlighting this tremendous the Invictus Games which is kicking off this weekend. Which is a great inspiration, not only to all Australians and a great recognition of all of the servicemen and women of the world, but I think it’s just an inspiration to everybody everywhere and I think Prince Harry has done an enormous, fabulous job on this.

KOCH: Look, you’ve declared yourself a monarchist. These young royals - we were talking to Mark Latham and Jeff Kennett earlier in the morning - basically there will be no republic debate after this visit, you’d think? It will be well and truly on the back burner. They have just wowed us, haven't they?

PRIME MINISTER: Well they have and I think they connect with people extremely well. I think they give people a sense of certainty and stability. That’s the reason why I have had the view that I have had, when it comes to this issue.

I think they are great exemplars of that role and what it does for our country and so I welcome them. They’re bringing the rain with them everywhere, Kochie. It’s raining today, it was raining in Dubbo, we want to see that rain. As you know, we want to see it in the drought-affected areas of Australia.

KOCH: Are you taking the girls out of school to meet Harry?

PRIME MINISTER: They’re pretty excited, I have got to tell you. They’ll get to meet Meghan and Harry later today.

KOCH: Oh okay.

PRIME MINISTER: It’s a pretty special day for them.

KOCH: Okay so tomorrow's Wentworth by-election, are you taking Dave Sharma to meet them for a photo opportunity? He needs all the help he can get against Kerryn Phelps.

PRIME MINISTER: Well, the royals are above politics. You wouldn’t expect to see that.

But you’re right it is a very important by-election as we know. Look, I understand David, why Liberals are feeling angry in Wentworth, about what happened a couple of months ago. I was there at the time. As people know, I was supporting the then Prime Minister very strongly. So I understand.

But this is a very important by-election, because as we’ve learned only in the last 24 hours, the lead independent candidate Kerryn Phelps, on multiple occasions couldn’t even say she would support a confidence motion or vote for the government. That can throw the entire government into a lot of uncertainty.

I know there has been a lot of instability and uncertainty, but voting for an independent will only make that worse.

KOCH: Okay.

PRIME MINISTER: So that’s a very serious issue for Wentworth voters as we go into this by-election tomorrow.

KOCH: She says though she believes governments should run their full term. So that has got to be comforting for you?

PRIME MINISTER: Well when she was asked many times on the issue of whether she would support a no-confidence motion, which would come from the Labor Party, or provide confidence to the government, she wouldn’t do it. Now, they are her own words David, I'm not putting words in her mouth. Just this week - you know the Canberra bubble, people talk about all sorts of rubbish in Canberra and I think that is why people switch off politics. There was a lot of talk about gossip and all that sort of nonsense this week.

But what really happened this week is unemployment hit 5 per cent. We passed laws to reduce the taxes for small and family businesses to 25 per cent. We passed one of the biggest trade deals which is going to reach half a billion customers for everybody from our farmers to our high-tech providers. So that is actually what really happened in Canberra and we want to keep that happening. To do that, we need the stability of our government and that means supporting Dave Sharma, who is quality.

KOCH: But also stability in your parties as well. Because yes, we had the ousting of Malcolm Turnbull recently and sort of, people think; "What on earth is going on there?" Now, there are all these rumours that Barnaby’s going to come back. The “bring Barnaby back” from some of your Coalition members, because they reckon Michael McCormack isn’t doing a good enough job. So the electorate goes; “What the hell are you doing now?”

PRIME MINISTER: Well again, that’s just the Canberra bubble going on like it always does.

KOCH: So there’s no basis to it?

PRIME MINISTER: No I don’t believe so and look, Michael McCormack I have worked closely with him both previously when I was a Treasurer and now as a Prime Minister. We’ve got a solid Coalition which is getting these things done. Real things; reducing unemployment, getting jobs, supporting small and family businesses. And Dave Sharma is someone who is quality, who can deliver locally and deliver nationally. That’s why it is important for Liberal voters to support him tomorrow.

I know they’re upset about events of a couple of months ago, just like John Howard said yesterday, but at the end of the day what really matters is the strength of our economy, the certainty of our ability to keep going and pursuing those policies that are delivering that, strengthen our economy. Because if you’re interested in Medicare, affordable medicines, it only comes from a strong economy and we can't put all that at risk.

KOCH: Okay Prime Minister, enjoy your day, it’s going to be a big one with lots of ups and downs. Thanks for joining us.

PRIME MINISTER: Thanks David, can I also just say, all the best of the Telethon also in WA. It’s a magnificent event. I am sorry I can't be here. There’s one or two things on, on the east coast, but congratulations to all involved and particularly to Seven.

KOCH: Yep, I’ll take your good wishes across with me when I go over this afternoon. Prime Minister, thank you.