The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of David Bradbury

David Bradbury

Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer

14 September 2010 - 5 March 2012

Transcript of 27/02/2012

NO.011

Interview with Ashleigh Gillon

Sky News

27 February 2012

SUBJECTS: Leadership

HOST:

Right now I have David Bradbury with me, a Labor MP who is supporting Julia Gillard in the ballot today. Thank you for your time. By supporting Julia Gillard you're rejecting the opinion polls telling us that Kevin Rudd is far more popular. Is that ignoring the will of the people?

BRADBURY:

Well, no, I don't think it is. I think that one of the important points that needs to be made is that it seems to me that the principal case being made for change is that we can't win the next election.

HOST:

That's a pretty good case though, isn't it?

BRADBURY:

If we track back 18 months before the last election and we look at all of the predictions of people who allegedly know best on these matters, we'll see that their predictions were a very long way from the mark. I've been representing my community in local and Federal Government for 13 years – a third of my life – and the one thing I know is that an election is not won or lost until those final votes start to come in.

To put this into some perspective, last election, I went in on that final day heading into the election with the odds blowing out to four dollars on me in my seat. Now the only way you respond to that is you keep working hard.

HOST:

So you don't think the choice you made is Opposition or Kevin Rudd as leader?

BRADBURY:

Absolutely not, and look, let's backtrack a few years here, let's go to the period of John Howard in office. Halfway through that term – I ran in that 2001 election and I lost – but this far out from the 2001 election, if you did a quick headcount there probably would have been a third of the Party Room supporting Peter Costello. At that point in time, the polls were not good at all for the then Government. But for Governments, when they take hard decisions, particularly if they're decisions that people don't understand or don't appreciate the significance of, then the onus is on the Government to redouble its efforts to explain what it is doing, and good Government, Governments delivering good policy, and that's what we're delivering under Julia Gillard, can win elections. Don't underestimate the capacity of the Australian people to make those decisions over time. If it's simply a case of saying we're actually generally happy with the policies we've got but we think that if you just change the leader then all of a sudden things will change, I think that you're actually misunderstanding the nature of the challenges we face. We've got some challenges but I am confident that we can overcome them and I think Julia Gillard, as a leader who has delivered for this country, is best placed to lead us.

HOST:

What was your experience of Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister? Do you think a lot of your colleagues over recent days have overstepped the mark by referring to him as a 'psychopath', 'liar', saying he demeans colleagues? Did you find he was a demeaning person as Prime Minister?

BRADBURY:

I am not going to engage in the ins and outs of personal discussions or my involvement with Kevin when he was Prime Minister.

HOST:

Are you willing to be critical of your colleagues who have?

BRADBURY:

I simply make this point that I came into Parliament as part of that batch of MPs that won in 2007 and I had run twice before so I was very, very grateful for the efforts of Kevin Rudd in leading Labor and we ran a very good campaign in 2007. But winning campaigns is a very important thing; delivering and running Government is another thing and there is no doubt in my mind that Julia Gillard is someone that can deliver. She's been delivering things that we could not deliver in the last term of Parliament and she's doing that in the context of a minority Government. We get elected to Parliament to deliver for the country and to deliver for our community.

I am very proud to be part of a Government that is doing that. We've got a lot of work to do in terms of communicating that to the electorate and presenting what we are doing, but I'm confident that over the next 18 months, if we have a decisive result today and people get on board we can get there.

HOST:

But if you're wrong and the polls don't turn around, will you expect there'll be another leadership challenge before the election, that a third candidate might come up?

BRADBURY:

As I see, and I think all the parties involved are saying this is the final confrontation here, let's sort it out and move on. I would make this point though, that the colleagues that I talk to across the Caucus I think universally take the view, particularly those in seats like mine, that disunity is death. We all appreciate that you've got to get in, you've got to get united behind the leader and 18 months is enough time to do what we need to do.

HOST:

Do the Ministers, though, backing Kevin Rudd, do they deserve to hold their positions?

BRADBURY:

In terms of Ministries and appointments to the Ministry, they are matters for the Prime Minister. I'm not going to give her any gratuitous advice on what to do. Obviously there's a ballot for her to continue to be the Prime Minister. She needs to win that ballot today, she has my support.

HOST:

David Bradbury, thank you.