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TRANSCRIPT - Interview – Breakfast with Bern Young, ABC Gold Coast

Topics: 2019 Federal election result

E&OE:

Bern Young: Well, she didn't need a miracle; I think would have been quite the miracle if you hadn't won your seat quite frankly. Karen Andrews, the Member for McPherson and has been Minister of course for Industry Science and Technology sliding into the studio on a busy Monday morning. Good morning to you, Karen. 

Karen Andrews: Good morning, how are you? 

Bern Young: Congratulations on your win. Not unexpected in your local seat this is. 

Karen Andrews: Well, I certainly have never taken my seat for granted or the Gold Coast for granted as well. And I think that what the results shows on the Gold Coast is that the LNP in particular is very focused on the Gold Coast and making sure that we work hard. So we were back on the job yesterday, you know, as people would expect us to be.

Bern Young: You're wearing a bright blue blazer this morning. It's a deeper shade of blue, even on the Gold Coast because the margins in every seat went up.  And this was despite what all the polls were saying, you know, not only was it predicting a Labor win, but it was certainly predicting a swing towards Labor. Everyone believed it the betting agencies were, were on board, the financial markets, thought it was going to happen? The pollsters of course. Um, what, what do you put it down to? Why, what do you think happened out there? 

Karen Andrews: Okay, well, I put it down to a couple of things and, um, and then as you know, I'm an engineer, so I love looking at the numbers and I think that just with polling, there's a couple of things that we should be really mindful of as we look at polls into the future. So Brexit was wrong. The US presidential election was wrong. The New South Wales State Government was wrong. The margin of error is normally around about 2%. So when you're looking at something that's predicted at 48-52, 49-51, it's actually within the margin of error for that to be out. I think there's some issues with polling. It's interesting what people are responding, now when they're asked the questions of who they're going to vote for. So maybe there's a little bit of, maybe people hedging their bets or not wanting to say what they actually are going to do. So I think, you know, polling has its place, but it's not the be all and end all. There were some significant factors in Queensland in particular. And when you got further north, it was jobs, jobs, jobs was the issue. Now that's a big issue for us on the Gold Coast, but it really played out in central and northern Queensland. And that was reflected by the enormous swings, that we saw there because our candidates, our members on the ground had been talking jobs and it was the mining jobs. 

Bern Young: Yeah. Well we saw even here more locally, Forde, which of course borders the Gold Coast and into Logan as well, you know, a much bigger margin there. It was a very marginal seat and now it will be a safe seat. I don't want to say going into the next election because I'm sure you don't even want to think about another election after you've just had one. Karen Andrews, couple of things I want to ask you about now, Annabel Crabb has written quite an interesting piece that's published on our ABC website. I'll just take one quote from it. Um, this is, uh, regarding Scott Morrison, thought by friend and foe alike to be a serviceable nightwatchman. Tinkering around at the crease until light stopped play. Scott Morrison is now the entire shape of the team. It's difficult to overstate the power he now wields internally and it says Scott Morrison has the mandate to do whatever he likes. So what will it be? What will it be? And do you agree with any of that? 

Karen Andrews: Well, look, I really talking to her. And I think she's, she's a very interesting writer and that's a very interesting take on it. Look, Scott Morrison has been Prime Minister for about eight months now and look at where he has led Australia and I think that's really important. Queensland in particular demonstrated that they really relate to Scott Morrison, that they support him, they support the direction that he's leading us in. What he has behind him now is a very united and cohesive team. He has demonstrated to us that, he listens, which he does, but then he will make the decisions that are needed in the best interests of Australia. So I think that that's a very positive thing to do. He's got a really interesting background, certainly tourism, but he has been the Treasurer. He has had the portfolios of Immigration, of Social Services and of course now Prime Minister. So he's got a really good background, but he's very, very focused on the economy because in his view and in our view as the Government, if the economy is strong, that gives options for more employment for people, greater participation in the workforce. But it also gives the opportunity for us to be able to fund things, whether that be health, education or welfare services.

Bern Young: Which is what Labor was trying to do, but they have failed in their bid to win over the voters on that front.  I want to ask you, I know you've answered that very diplomatically by the way, and I know that of you Karen Andrews. So I expect that kind of answer in some respects. I wonder if you will be, and you probably will be just as diplomatic when I ask you this question, but I am interested in your thoughts on Tony Abbott losing his seat. He was a destabilizing force as a former leader. Are you happy he's gone? 

Karen Andrews: Well, let me start that by saying that I got to know Tony quite well and I believe he is a good and decent person. He had a massive swing against him in Warringah. That was predicted that there would be a swing. I'm not sure that anyone thought that the swing would be what it actually was, but it was a significant swing against him as well. He'd been the local member for a long time. Look, I know, and I like Tony. And I absolutely wish him all the best for the future. 

Bern Young: Are you glad you, in terms of being a stable Government going forward? I know the rules have changed around leadership anyway, so he couldn't have done anything in that regard, but he could have been a destabilizer, continuing to, you know, uh, from the back bench be a problem. Are you glad he's gone?

Karen Andrews: Let me answer this by saying, this is an opportunity for Scott Morrison to put his team together and for it to be a new team, a stronger team that goes forward into the future. 

Bern Young: All right, I'll let you go. I won't keep pushing it because I know that that's how you want it. [inaudible] well.

Karen Andrews: I'm not ever going to say anything against Tony because he's always been very supportive of us individually. So he was always someone that you could talk to. He did always listen. He didn't always, um, react the way that we wanted him to. But look, let me tell you that, when the leadership was spilt and, and he lost his position, he actually came and sat next to me because I sat in the front row in the party room and I have no idea, still, what you say to someone who's just lost the Prime Minister's role. It was obviously devastating for him. I mean it
would have been a very difficult time for him to have to go through as well. But he was actually really strong on the night and he continued to be strong for, for many of us as well. So I think you get lots of points for that as well. 

Bern Young: All right. Karen Andrews is the member for McPherson. She has increased her own margin as has every Liberal seat on the Gold Coast.  This is just across the border. Richmond is part of our region and that has stayed with Labor. Um, couple of things I want to ask you about, is ambitions within the Cabinet but just on local issues first of all, you were quoted at a business breakfast leading up to the election around the tram line that it should stop at the Burleigh Heads State School and that's how you'd save money. Do you stand by that where you pursue that option?

Karen Andrews: Well, let's revisit that and firstly I would be very happy to talk to the State Government as soon as they put some money on the table, but they haven't, they have not put a cent on the table and the Federal Government has put $112 million on the table. Secondly, tax payers expect value for money. So the comment that I made, which I do absolutely stand by, is that any project needs to provide that value for money. If the State Government doesn't have sufficient money to be able to do that, they need to look at how they're going to deliver that project then on time and within budget. Now, how are they going to do that? I don't actually know
that they've put a lot of thought into that rather than thump the chests and say someone else should pay for it. So how about they actually go back to the drawing boards and work at how they got to deliver this project? It's not, 

Bern Young: But do you agree that project needs to be delivered. Do you believe that it really needs to go down this next stage? 

Karen Andrews: I have always supported light rail to Burleigh Heads. It's very contentious. 

Bern Young: So it could stop, you feel it could stop at the school if that is necessary?

Karen Andrews: Why not? Why not as an option that then gives it the opportunity to turn right. It does leave open the opportunity that it could go further down. There's been a lot of concerns raised by people about the level of consultation, whether or not their views have been considered. That's a State and a local matter that really the State Government and the Council need to address. What is important is that we do get this project running. But, at what point are the State Government actually going to demonstrate that over a hundred million dollars a kilometre for light rail is the best value and the best price that they can get. If you are renovating
your kitchen, you wouldn't just get three quotes and accept what you thought was the best would, you'd go back and say, well, actually, you know, what can we do to bring this in, you know, a little bit cheaper? How can we modify a design? What can we do to bring that in? When’s the State Government going to start doing that? Because that's one of the critical issues. And quite frankly, I really would be derelict in my duty if I didn't say well, how are you going to get good value for money? 

Bern Young: All right, Karen Andrews, I did want to talk to you about Cabinet, but we might leave that for another day because I think I could almost predict your answer anyway, which will be, you will do whatever's Scott Morris and asks you to do in the Cabinet. Can I ask you one quick question though? Because when one of the newsreaders on the weekend actually introduced a story saying and Scomo says, and then my cabby calls him Scomo. Do you call him Scomo? 

Karen Andrews: No. Actually I don't. When I refer to him to people, I might call him Scomo but I call him PM and we actually had a laugh about this and I told him the story as well, that someone
said to me, do I call him Scomo. Um, no, actually I call him PM and I do. If I messaged him and I do message him and he answers.

Bern Young: Do others call him Scomo like, it's sort of funny that we have a Prime Minister who is Scomo. It's very ocker Australian, isn't it?  

Karen Andrews: Yeah. Look, you know, sometimes we do. Look, Scott is actually a great person and he's very easy to talk to and he's very calm, and if I wanted to call him Scomo he wouldn’t bat
an eyelid 

Bern Young: I double dare you to call him Scomo see where it lands you in the Cabinet. 

Karen Andrews: All right, will do. You’re on.

Bern Young: Send me a screenshot of the text message. Karen Andrews member from McPherson, obviously, jovial after an election weekend, we'll where the final seat lands. It's looking at 75 at the moment. You've got 76 until you have majority government. The next few days will be crucial. Thanks for coming into the studios.

Karen Andrews: Always a pleasure.

[END]

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