ABC TV Victorian Election Coverage – Saturday, 29 November 2014

GUY STAYNER:

Kevin Andrews what has gone wrong?

MINISTER ANDREWS:

Well I think this goes back to the beginning of the current government in Victoria. They didn’t expect to win at the last election and then there was a period I think of uncertainty and not a lot of activity for the first couple of years and when Denis Napthine became Premier he was embroiled in the whole imbroglio concerning Geoff Shaw and was essentially a minority government and I think that’s been difficult for them over the last year or so.

GUY STAYNER:

A number of people have already identified this as not just about state politics but also a protest vote against the Federal Government. How do you see that?

MINISTER ANDREWS:

I think we have to separate fact from fiction. Let me just refer to three facts. Firstly if you look at the recent Ipsos poll in terms of whether the federal issues were at stake here, about three quarters of people here said they weren’t and that includes Liberal voters, Labor voters and all other voters.

Secondly Newspoll for the last three years has been about the same place for the Victorian Government, the Victorian parties it hasn’t changed at all.

And then thirdly if there were a federal factor in place here then why is it the case that in NSW, which also lost a Premier, which has got about eight or ten of the current Government members in real trouble because of the corruption proceedings has got Mike Baird trying to sell the electricity supply and yet the Liberals and the Nationals in NSW are ten points ahead of Labor. And equally in QLD where Campbell Newman has done a lot of tough things and yet he’s leading by eight points there, so if it was a Federal factor it would play out in NSW and QLD.

I think as James Merlino and Steve Bracks said earlier this election is fought largely on state issues, on health, on education, on ambulances on those sort of factors and that’s what’s been in play over the last few weeks.

GUY STAYNER:

But it certainly doesn’t help when you’ve got issues like an increase in fuel excise just on the cusp of the election, in the middle of the campaign confirmation of broken promises from the Federal Government, it prompts many people to ask the question with friends like these who needs enemies.

MINISTER ANDREWS:

Well again let’s separate the fact from the fiction. At the time of the budget, (inaudible) petrol prices in Victoria are about 17 cents a litre lower, if you look at the fuel prices in Victoria over the last four weeks then fuel prices are I think 15-17 cents lower so…..

GUY STAYNER:

But it’s not just about fuel prices I mean there’s been a dramatic collapse in the oil price…

MINISTER ANDREWS:

What I’m saying is there’s always a lot of spin about you know, commentary about things but we need to go back to the facts and the facts are that polls in Victoria have hardly changed for the last three years. Newspoll in NSW and QLD has the Coalition 8-10 points ahead that suggests to me on the basis of fact rather than on commentary or supposition that in fact any federal factor is very little in this Victorian election, and if the size of the swing has been indicated now are the case then of course we’ve got a lot of pre-polls to count and that may change things. But if there is a substantial swing, then any federal factor would be very minute.

GUY STAYNER:

Christian conservatives played a significant role in preselecting Geoff Shaw for the seat of Frankston; they also played a significant role in helping to undermine Ted Baillieu and also Mary Wooldridge, on the panel. To what extent do Christian conservatives take responsibility for fracturing this government?

MINISTER ANDREWS:

Oh look I think that’s total spin and totally inappropriate, you look at some of these swings in places like Morwell and Shepparton and the like and then what you’ve also got to look that at in the six to eight seats that have been the key seats. You know those sand belt seats and that we have seen a massive and unprecedented campaign by the unions in terms of those seats as well. So good members that you have in those seats have been facing a really difficult campaign and if they lose the seats I think that’s a big factor in terms of this as well.

GUY STAYNER:

Kevin Andrews thanks for your time tonight.

MINISTER ANDREWS:

Thank you Guy.