For politicians and other officials or leading business figures, there must be few things more terrifying than going head-to-head with Leigh Sales on 7.30.
The Prime Minister did just that last night, facing off against the formidable journalist over the May budget and his threats of an early election.
The pair had a particularly fiery exchange over the possibility of company tax cuts, which Liberal senator Arthur Sinodinos had floated the day prior. As Sales pointed out, the Prime Minister had previously dismissed the notion during a 7.30 interview back in December, labelling such a measure as “an enormous charge on the budget”.
Sales suggested that the Prime Minister was “implying, then, that it was going to be a big ask”. His response was a few stammered words of denial, before Sales pounced: “So, now you think the budget can sustain a company tax cut?”
“Your enthusiasm for putting words in my mouth is commendable,” replied the Prime Minister.
“I just like clarity,” said Sales.
“Yes, and you should let me finish my sentence, then I can be clear,” Turnbull shot back, before offering a long and, yes, uninterrupted explanation about the difficulties of weighing up competing budgetary submissions.
And no, we never did find out about whether those tax cuts will happen.
Watch a Turnbull and Sales exchange barbs below: