Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull appeared on ABC TV’s “7.30” last night for a challenging interview with host Leigh Sales.
Sales challenged Turnbull repeatedly on why, if the government’s economic record was so good, the Liberals dumped a first term prime minister, and his own subsequently poor polling.
The PM said he didn’t pay attention to polling, adding that “I’m not going to be drawn on that kind of introspection”.
“My commitment is to ensure that we are able to take advantage of these extraordinary times,” he said.
The 20-minute interview discussed a range of issues, from marriage equality to yesterday’s shooting of students in PNG and the government’s tax cut for business, with Turnbull rejecting Labor’s claims that big business was the biggest winner from the reduction.
Here’s what the PM said:
The company tax cut over the first three years benefits companies with turnovers up to $10 million and then 25 and then 50 and then after that, it goes to 100, 250, 500, a billion and then it doesn’t actually get to the big companies for eight years. Okay?
Why have we done that? We have done that because larger companies make longer term investment decisions. The reason you reduce company tax is to increase the return on investment so people will invest more. We want more investment. A big company investing today is looking to make a profit on that investment years down the track so what we can do is by giving that signal that company tax is coming down in the future, they will make investment decisions now in the here and now, so you get the benefit of the increased investment now, even though the company tax cut is down the track.
Towards the end of the interview, Sales asked Turnbull about the US presidential race.
“Is it safe to say that a Turnbull government would prefer to deal with a Clinton administration than a Trump White House?” she asked.
At that point the PM used one of the classic lines from the Netflix series “House of Cards”, repeating a line delivered by the central protagonist, Frank Underwood.
“You may very well say that but I couldn’t possibly comment,” Turnbull said.
It’s a line delivered to camera on the show that implies something is true, without officially confirming it.
Here’s the original quote by Francis Urquhart from the 1990 UK series
And US politician who inherited that legacy, in an interview with a journalist
And here’s a real life Australian prime minister blurring the lines between fact and fiction
The PM and the Netflix series are obviously mutual fans, with the show’s Twitter account chiming in earlier this year after the PM announced changes to Senate voting.
.@TurnbullMalcolm I admire your methodology, Prime Minister. If you don't like how the table is set, turn over the table.
— House of Cards (@HouseofCards) March 21, 2016
And while last year, after Turnbull declared “I have very little in common with Frank Underwood”, the show invited him to “stop by any time”.
If the Australian PM did, they could work on lines together.
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