Topics: Prime Minister Turnbull
Our next guest, we believe is still the Federal Environment Minister. Greg Hunt, good evening.
And good evening Tom, talking of combat sports…
Now, have you – well, that's right, I mean there was a lot of blood let in Canberra last night. Okay, which way did you vote?
Look, when Malcolm Turnbull was leader and things were moving away from him and a transition was imminent, I was part of his Shadow Cabinet and stayed with him to the very end.
When Tony Abbott was leader, I made the same choice on the same principles and I've been upfront about that.
Just simply as a member of a Shadow Cabinet, and then as a Member of a Cabinet, on each occasion I have stayed with the leader. Those are the particular sets of values that I fall back on.
So you voted for Tony Abbott?
That's exactly right. I've said that. But it was a position that I've taken as a Member of Shadow Cabinet, and Cabinet.
But looking forwards, what I think we're at now is an extraordinary position where we'll have somebody who is going to champion the values of compassion, of opportunity, of innovation, of understanding the 21st century, of being able to help build jobs and help people secure their jobs.
And so you get this package of somebody who understands the trends of the world. And I think that that's going to be a huge opportunity for Australia.
But maybe it will – but okay, okay. So you were loyal to Tony Abbott and I think that's a good thing. But I mean, were you disappointed that a majority of your parliamentary colleagues were not loyal to the Prime Minister – the former Prime Minister?
I accept and move on, as I did with the previous decision and with this. I take a particular set of values for myself, but I don't try to project them onto anybody else. What I do care about now…
Will you keep your portfolio?
Look, I am very comfortable and I love my portfolio. I'll let Malcolm decide.
But let's be clear – what he's been saying today is that one of the signature successes of the Government has been the way in which we are actually reducing emissions without a huge complex bureaucracy, reducing emissions without an electricity tax.
So it’s been very, very positive.
Okay, but on that, Malcolm Turnbull is a known supporter of an emissions trading scheme.
Do you think the Liberal Party will now turn back to that policy, which Mr Turnbull championed back in 2009?
No, and categorically no. And the reason I say that is that he has already committed – expressly, clearly and absolutely – to supporting the Emissions Reduction Fund.
And as he said on the floor of Parliament today, it's working. It's reducing emissions. It's not ideological.
And what we saw by contrast under the ALP – Pink Batts, Green Loans, Cash for Clunkers, and a massive electricity price rise. They didn't get the job done.
We are doing it – without chaos, without that human impact. And we're doing it at a very low cost, effective way.
And so we'll work together on the vision regarding renewable. But at the end of the day, the carbon tax is dead under us, it will come back under Bill Shorten.
I was very disappointed at last night's leadership challenge because I was critical of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years – the way the Labor Party chopped and changed between leaders.
It now seems to me – irrespective of the merits of Malcolm Turnbull or anybody else over Tony Abbott – that the Liberal Party is no different.
You get a series of bad polls, and someone's knifed and someone else is brought in. Do you see it that way?
Look, I respectfully don't. I think that there is one critical difference. And there are a couple of very important historical analogies from the last 30 years.
Bob Hawke, in his early years, was a successful Prime Minister – in large measure because Bill Hayden didn't seek to destabilise after he lost the job.
John Howard was a successful Prime Minister throughout his four terms in large measure because Alexander Downer didn't seek to destabilise after he lost the leadership – and became a backer and supporter.
Tony Abbott will, in my absolute judgement, back and support Malcolm Turnbull. He wants us to succeed.
And Malcolm Turnbull has this extraordinary, once in a generation capacity to understand the trends of history, to harness the energy of the country, to apply the vision.
And he has that clear air which I am as confident as any human could be will be provided by Tony Abbott because of his immense personal decency.
Then I think we will have a significant and long term period of stability, which the Australian people crave.
Alright, okay, you've listed these examples of leadership changes where, in the Coalition – and you mentioned Bob Hawke as well – the former leader has given the new leader clear air. Obviously that didn't happen under the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years.
But hasn't Malcolm Turnbull been plotting this ever since he was overthrown by Tony Abbott as leader, back in 2009? Has there behind the scenes been destabilising things?
I respectfully don't agree with that. I know that in February, it was a complete surprise to everybody who was at senior levels because there was an upwelling from some of the backbench. And I understand and respect their views. So that isn't the genuine history here.
And so going forwards, we'll have the clear air of a former leader and Prime Minister in Tony Abbott – who was, is, and will be just extraordinarily and immensely decent.
That will allow Malcolm Turnbull to be his finest and best self.
And my view is that against that background, all of his skills and his capacity to envision the future and to harness Australia's energy – that will give us the opportunity to really be one of the finest, most innovative, creative nations in the world.
And that means jobs for families. It means we can be more efficient, it means we can reduce emissions without increasing electricity prices, and it means businesses can invest with confidence.
So final question – this time in two weeks when you and I have our – the next of our regular chats, will you still be the Federal Environment Minister?
Look, it's dangerous to predict but I would be delighted to be that, if that's what were offered.
Greg Hunt, thank you for your time.