15 September 2015
Transcript - #2015108, 2015

Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB, Sydney Live

SUBJECTS: Leadership, small business

BEN FORDHAM:

The Small Business Minister Bruce Billson joins us on the line. Mr Billson, good afternoon to you.

MINISTER BILLSON:

Ben, how are you and your listeners on a beautiful day in a great city?

BEN FORDHAM:

You are sounding quite chirpy considering the events of last night.

MINISTER BILLSON:

Yeah, they have been character building. But you know me, perpetually optimistic. The team has come together. We have decided we needed a change of captain-coach. We all get in behind that decision and we get on with the job of creating jobs and opportunities for your listeners and our nation.

BEN FORDHAM:

This is despite you giving your vote to Tony Abbott last night.

MINISTER BILLSON:

Yeah, I suppose I am a bit nostalgic Ben. I am one of those that thinks you go home with whoever brought you – in a dance parallel – if I could put it that way.

But as a Cabinet Minister, we have a particular responsibility to and a discipline to get behind the Prime Minister.

That is what I do. That is what I have done. That has been my practice. It might not make me the funkiest dude around town but that is the way I go about doing my work.

BEN FORDHAM:

How do you see this playing out with voters? Do you see your fortunes rising as a result of changing leader?

MINISTER BILLSON:

Well, I think there is an opportunity for that. But it is all about how we go. I mean, we are – to use a sporting analogy, if I may – we are sort of a fair way into the third quarter of the contest and we think we are making some good progress.

But it is fair to say, some of the scoreboard results are not quite what you hope for. But you know we have got positive momentum. There are good signs there; there are some good green shoots in the economy.

We have got a good team and frankly it is in the nation’s interest that we succeed because the other crowd has not got a plan and they are not really putting forward any alternative ideas, so we have got to get on with the job and the proof will be in the pudding.

If people like the outcomes come the next election, they might rehire us. If not, well, we will get to do something else with our energies.

BEN FORDHAM:

You are one of the rising stars of the – well the Turnbull Government now – previously the Abbott Government. I have described you as the energiser bunny of the Federal Government or as mini-Scott Morrison – is another nickname I have given you before.

You have got a style that I think works with people of getting out there and getting the job done and explaining what you are doing at the time.

Do you expect that you will receive a bit of a promotion from Mr, oh I got confused - I am almost saying Mr Abbott – from the new Prime Minister Mr Turnbull? Will you cop a promotion?

MINISTER BILLSON:

Well look, who knows. One of the things that the captain-coach gets to do; and that is pick the team and the position they are in. I have got to be honest with you Ben, I love doing what I am doing with the enterprising men and women of our country.

Many of them are your listeners, who are out there having a go. We are just trying to get the settings right so that there is encouragement for them to keep having a go, to create jobs for others and themselves and to be the real engine room of the economy.

I love that. I would love to keep doing that but that will be a call for the new PM.

BEN FORDHAM:

I am just going to play some of Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott this afternoon.

TONY ABBOTT:

Yes, I am proud of what the Abbott Government has achieved. We stayed focused despite the white-anting. If there is one piece of advice I can give to the media – refuse to print self-serving claims that the person making them won’t put his or her name to. Refuse to connive and dishonour by acting as the assassin’s knife.

BEN FORDHAM:

We heard the words white-anting, assassin’s knife, conniving, dishonour – he is upset, Mr Abbott.

MINISTER BILLSON:

Oh look, it is a raw time. I have great admiration for Tony Abbott. He is an incredibly decent, principled human being who has given his all. No one has worked harder in public office in my memory than Tony Abbott.

He has given his absolute all, he is a class human being and it is fair to say at times I think he is right, he was not given the clearest run that he could have been given and the full support.

Now, that is history now and to show you the class and quality of Tony Abbott as an individual, he has made it absolutely clear he will have none of that and he will do none of that and I think that is the way it should be.

I know at times, journalists ring me looking for a little bit of the skinny- inside information about what is going on. I do not operate that way, when I am talking to the media, it is all on the record, I use my name and I am accountable for my views.

I think that is the way it should be.

BEN FORDHAM:

Keep doing what you are doing. We will talk soon.

MINISTER BILLSON:

Appreciate the encouragement Ben and best wishes to your listeners. Particularly those that are out there – enterprising men and women – we love what they are all doing and we want to be their best friend.

BEN FORDHAM:

Good man, thank you very much. The Small Business Minister Bruce Billson joining us on the line.