I watched your interview on 730 last week with Leigh Sales.
Can’t say I thought you came out of it particularly well. You finished strongly but the middle parts were particularly weak. To be frank, you really don’t look like prime ministerial material when you do interviews like this.
The problem is a credibility problem. It’s to do with you and the CFMEU. there are also a few problems around branch stacking that you haven’t managed to clear up effectively.
I agree with you that the Royal commission is a political stitch up but it is also managing to shine a spotlight on the relationship between some fairly dubious union leaders and the Labor Party.
And it was by questioning this relationship that Leigh Sales had you skating on pretty thin ice.
She repeatedly came back to the question, “Why does Labor Party except hundreds of thousands of dollars of donations from the CFMEU.”
She kept coming back to it because you didn’t answer it. You’re not at your strongest when you start avoiding the question, particularly on 7.30. For that matter, neither is Malcolm Turnbull.
Sales quoted some fairly damning commentary by judges in cases before the courts which involve the CFMEU. It was a very effective tactic and you did absolutely nothing, (could do absolutely nothing?) to counter it.
So what should you have done?
The first thing is to find out what questions she’s going to ask in advance and be ready.
If you can’t do that, here is Plan B.
Sales: Justice McGurkinshaw said that the CFMEU was “a gang of thugs with no respect for the law who regularly intimidated witnesses. What you say to that?
You: Leigh do you know the outcome of that particular case?
Sales: Well, no. I’m just quoting what Justice McGurkinshaw said.
You: Well I’ll tell you what the outcome of that case was. Despite what Justice McGurkinshaw said, none of the people who are charged, were convicted in that particular case. So your question has no bearing on the question of political donations by the CFMEU to the Labour Party.
You don’t need to be telling the truth. If she challenges you at a later date, you can say you were confused between that and some other case.
Leigh Sales is making “You haven’t answered the question” part of her stock-in-trade. If you don’t answer the question, the audience makes the worst kind of assumptions because her questions are also extremely loaded.
As in “Why does the Labour Party continue to accept political donations from a union that has been condemned for being beyond the law?”
She is not the world’s greatest interviewer, nowhere near as good as Sabra Lane or Sarah Ferguson, but at the moment she is more than your match.
At present, 14% of the population think you should be prime minister and 47% think the Labor Party should be in power. It is probably time to get down and dirty.