He’s a pro.
Australia’s new Prime Minister has made his first appearance on morning television.
Malcolm Turnbull appeared on Channel Nine’s Today show this morning after announcing his new cabinet and discussed his leadership plans with Lisa Wilkinson.
Turnbull talked about inspiration, innovation and creativity as keys to progress in Australia. Joe Hockey, Eric Abetz and Kevin Andrews all lost ministry positions and Turnbull doubled the number of female ministers.
Wilkinson suggested that he had been unimpressed with the previous ministers’ performance, which he denied, but stressed that renewal was important to stay “modern and contemporary”.
“Leaders have to make sure that there is renewal and that’s why you’re seeing new faces, more women, younger people,” Turnbull said.
He said that Abbott’s cabinet didn’t have enough women, with just two out of 19. Now, Turnbull has doubled the amount, with five out of 21.
“It would be good if it were more,” he said, “But the percentage of women in the parliament itself isn’t as high as it should be.”
Next, Wilkinson questioned Turnbull on how long he’d been planning to overthrow Abbott.
“Others can look back, I’m looking forward,” he responded.
Wilkinson asked how Turnbull plans to heal things with the people who were demoted from their positions and now sit on the back bench.
“You should be more sunny and positive and optimistic on such a lovely day!” Turnbull attempted to divert her.
“Come on, answer the question,” she said.
“The ministry has been assembled on merit, and equally there are people who left the ministry, who are close friends of mine,” he said, adding that former Prime Minister Tony Abbott was not offered a ministry position, and that he wouldn’t have accepted one if he had.
You can watch a clip from the interview below. Post continues after video.
Now, Abbott will sit on the back bench.
“It’s a rotten time and he will need lots of support from his family and friends just as I had when I ceased to be leader some years ago. But the show must go on,” Turnbull said.
He wouldn’t say whether he intends to increase funding for domestic violence after previous Minister for Women Tony Abbott stripped it of hundreds of millions. “Watch this space,” he commented, adding that “real men don’t hit women.”
He also said he didn’t like the term domestic violence. “Domestic violence is what it’s often called. Violence against women, I prefer to call it.”
As a known republican, Turnbull might be expected to reignite the debate, but told Wilkinson it has to come from the people.
“The republic issue has to be a genuine popular movement… My own view is that the next occasion for the republic referendum to come up is after the end of the Queen’s reign.”
“Alan Jones told Turnbull live on radio once, ‘You need to get it through your head that you’ll never be Prime Minister.’ Does that make this victory all the sweeter?” Wilkinson asked finally.
“No,” said Turnbull. “It just proves that Alan is mortal and like all of us, he’s fallible.”