ABC Radio with Louise Yaxley – 30 November, 2014

PRESENTER:

Federal Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews spoke to Louise Yaxley.

MINISTER ANDREWS:

In Victoria you have to go back to the start of the government, the reality is that at the last election, the one before this, the Coalition didn’t expect to win this the Labor party expected to hold on then we had a period frankly in which nothing seemed to happen much in Victoria for a year or two and at the end of that Mr Napthine replaced Mr Baillieu as the Premier.

By the time Mr Napthine got there he was embroiled in this Geoff Shaw imbroglio which effectively made his government a minority government and I think it became impossible for him to get rid of that problem and get some clean air as we say in politics to actually go out and promote his policies and in the meantime, the Leader of the Opposition who will be the new Premier Mr Andrews was able to completely recast his image.

LOUISE YAXLEY:

But Labor has focused very heavily on linking this to the Federal sphere; it even had Bill Shorten introduce Daniel Andrews last night and lots of pictures of the Prime Minister outside polling booths to try to tie this to the Federal sphere. Why did they do that?

MINISTER ANDREWS:

Well of course they’ll do that Louise, I mean that’s politics. Last night I was watching the telecast and both the former Premier Steve Bracks and the, it will be the new Deputy Premiere in the Government James Merlino, were both saying this was largely brought on by state issues.

LOUISE YAXLEY:

But Labor must have believed that there was value in putting lots of pictures of Tony Abbott outside polling booths and particularly that one of Mr Abbott hugging Denis Napthine, they saw political value in that.

MINISTER ANDREWS:

Look they run the campaign according to the way they think it works but if there was federal factors at play it doesn’t explain, in fact it’s counter intuitive to what’s happening in New South Wales and Queensland where you’ve got governments who are getting on with the job making tough decisions and they are eight to ten points ahead. I think the problem in Victoria was that for a long period of time the government wasn’t seen to be doing things. I think there are two basic rules in politics; one is to keep reminding people of what you are doing and secondly to remind people of what your opponents have done, if you think they’ve done a bad job. Now none of that really occurred for at least the first two years of the previous or the current government up until last night in Victoria.

LOUISE YAXLEY:

And that was the time that Ted Baillieu was the leader, he’s now gone from the Parliament but you are obviously being critical of his role.

MINISTER ANDREWS:

I’m just saying it was a general observation in Victoria and it was borne out by the fact that the State parliamentary party seemed to think they needed to change leader. They didn’t seem to be making any traction at all despite doing some good things. I mean the reality is in Victoria is they have the best economic rating of all the states in the Commonwealth, they have done some good things but there was this silence of telling people what they were doing.

LOUISE YAXLEY:

Does that mean then that the Federal Government doesn’t need to make any changes in relation to this state poll?

MINISTER ANDREWS:

Well we should take things carefully and cautiously. As I said the next election in the national Parliament will be about entirely different issues, the next election will be about who can actually be trusted to run the economy in a way which is going to get us back in the black. Mr Shorten at the moment can effectively swan around and criticise and be irresponsible but when it comes to the next election he has to explain the same sort of questions that we have to explain and that is going to be how are you going to get rid of the deficit and the debt.

PRESENTER:

Federal Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews.