Turnbull Urges Optimism, More To Come On Social And Economic Policy

21/09/2015 8:41 AM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Malcolm Turnbull has vowed to focus on tackling domestic violence and return to economic fundamentals in his first sit-down interviews since he took the prime ministership on Monday, as he defended his cabinet reshuffle as a necessary renewal.

Turnbull spent Monday morning on TV and radio defending his cabinet reshuffle amid declarations that the “show must go on”.

Revealing he didn’t offer Tony Abbott a cabinet position after his dumping as PM on Monday, Mr Turnbull said he wouldn’t have wanted one and defended his reshuffle as reinvigorating the government.

On Sunday, Turnbull ran a broom through his cabinet, sweeping away high profile Abbott-era heavyweights including Defence Minister Kevin Andrews and Employment Minister Eric Abetz. Treasurer Joe Hockey announced his intention to resign from parliament.

“Any organisation, a company, a government, department has to have renewal,” Turnbull told Channel 9's Today program.

“And that means that good people, when I say good people, they are all good people, but people who are doing a good job have got to be able to make way for others.”

Reaffirming his support for a republic, Turnbull said he believed it would only become a popular issue again when Queen Elizabeth’s reign ended.

When it comes to tackling domestic violence, the PM said “watch this space”.

“It's been overlooked, to some extent ignored for far too long,” he said.

“We must have zero tolerance for it. The growing level of awareness is vital. Real men don't hit women. We have got to be very determined to eradicate it.

“Now, will we have new measures to announce? Watch this space. That's what I would say.”

The PM said he said he did not offer his predecessor a Cabinet position because he wouldn’t have sought one.

“I know what it's like to lose the leadership of a political party, right,” Turnbull said.

“It's a very tough business. I feel for Tony. I know what he's - I've got a pretty good understanding of what he's going through. It's a rotten time.”

Turnbull would not comment on the possibility of an overseas posting for outgoing treasurer Hockey, who announced his intended retirement from parliament after telling Turnbull he didn’t want to be part of the ministry.

In his speech announcing his intention to challenge Abbott on Monday, Turnbull was highly critical of the government’s economic message.

The PM told the ABC he wanted to get back to economic fundamentals of lifting productivity.

Acknowledging the country had its national security challenges, he said there was every reason for people to be optimistic.

“Yes, there are challenges. There always are,” he said.

“But overall, the prospects for Australia are outstanding. Australians have every reason to be optimistic and excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.”

The Prime Minister said it would be good to have more women in cabinet, after he increased the number of women from two to five on Sunday, including the elevation of NSW Senator Marise Payne as the country’s first woman Defence Minister.

Turnbull was asked if his ascendancy was any sweeter given shock-jock Alan Jones’ demand last year that he get it in his head he’ll never be Prime Minister.

“No, it just proves that Alan is mortal. Like all of us nobody's infallible,” he said.

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