Mon, 20 Aug, 2018
Leigh Sales' frustrating moment on 7.30: "Not what I asked"
Treasurer Scott Morrison has refused to concede that Malcolm Turnbull’s position is under threat, despite strong rumours of a leadership spill and an extraordinary energy policy backflip.
Appearing on ABC’s 7.30 – after Mr Turnbull declined the interview – host Leigh Sales directly asked Mr Morrison whether there was a “legitimate threat” to the Prime Minister’s leadership.
“I don’t believe so, and the reason for that is we’re getting on with the job and just announced another big change in terms of going forward with the ACCC,” he responded.
“That doesn’t mean there’s not a leadership threat,” fired back anchor Leigh Sales.
“Well no one’s calling me about it.”
Asked repeatedly where the source of the destabilisation is coming from, Mr Morrison deflected, saying: “I don’t know. I would have to ask you and the media who are reporting it.
“Whoever is talking to the papers would know the answer to that question, but I wouldn’t. Clearly, some people are talking to each other and they are talking to the media, so that’s just obvious.”
Sales asked again why he thought there were rumours of a leadership spill, he said: “I don’t know because I’m not part of it. You would have to ask them.”
Trying a different tack, Sales asked what effect a leadership change would have on the government’s support.
Mr Morrison responded by saying he didn’t anticipate a challenge.
“That’s not exactly what I asked,” Sales eventually interjected.
Sales then went on to ask him why the Prime Minister “drastically” changed his energy policy twice, if his leadership was stable.
“I wouldn’t describe it as drastic changes. The policy remains as we took it to the party room with improvements,” said the Treasurer. “We were working through these issues with our colleagues, and at the end of the day what became clear is in the absence of bipartisan support for this policy... we wouldn’t have been able to get it through the House of Representatives.”
Mr Turnbull announced on Monday he would scrap the target from the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) policy, as it does not have enough support to be passed.
“It’s clear that in the absence of bipartisan support, the legislation to move forward the emissions component of the National Energy Guarantee will not be able to pass the House of Representatives,” he told reporters.