The one thing that Malcom Turnbull and Bill Shorten can easily agree on

Many people have had burning questions for Malcolm Turnbull about his leadership and his policies. The Prime Minister answered those
Photo of Bill Shorten by Peter Campbell.

Many people have had burning questions for Malcolm Turnbull about his leadership and his policies.

The Prime Minister answered those questions during his appearance on Kitchen Cabinet with Annabel Crabb, reports Brisbane Times.

When asked if he is more open to compromise, Mr Turnbull said, “It’s a team business and you have to keep the team together,”

“And when people say to me that I should just do whatever I like as though I’m some kind of dictator, they don’t get it.”

In 2009, Mr Turnbull lost the party leadership to Tony Abbott when he refused to give in to colleagues who wanted to oppose the Rudd government’s emissions trading scheme.

But these days he emphasises the value of collective decision making. “Our system is a collegiate system. I think that’s good, by the way,” he says. “So you have to be able to work with the team and you’ve got to be able to find compromises.”

Malcolm Turnbull appeared relaxed and reflective in this episode of Kitchen Cabinet, where he was joined briefly by wife Lucy, daughter Daisy and grandson Jack, as he concocts his signature passata. He even said with great animation that being Prime Minister is “the best fun I have ever had in my life”.

On the more divisive matters, the Prime Minister concedes one of his critics’ arguments: that he could have more adeptly handled the issue of tax reform after taking the top job.

“I inherited the whole range of things,” Mr Turnbull says. “One of them was a very unfinished, partially conducted review of taxation. I felt that we should just leave everything on the table. We got a lot of flak for doing that. I think we could have done it somewhat differently. But the better approach … is to just put it out there and let people digest it.”

And Mr Turnbull continues to defend the controversial plebiscite on same-sex marriage – a policy he opposed in the party room, along with the then prime minister Tony Abbott.

“Tony and a majority of the party room were persuaded to have a plebiscite,” he says. “That became the government’s policy – we committed to that as a government. And you can’t walk away from that.”

Ms Crabb pointed out that he could, after all she said he is the Prime Minister.

“Well, you could,” Mr Turnbull concedes. “But you see, you’d be breaking your faith with the public. It’s overwhelmingly popular. Every poll shows overwhelming support for the plebiscite.”

About her dining experience with the PM, Ms Crabb said, “The thing that I found interesting about the cooking thing with Malcolm Turnbull was less about the food and more about the actual interaction with his wife and daughter,”

“I think that scene in the kitchen where you see them all interacting is very typical of that family, and they’re incredibly close,” she added.

“You can also see Malcolm sort of deferring to Lucy on all sorts of things. When you see those two interact you know they are more than just a relationship partnership, they’re like a business partnership, they’re like an entity those two,” said Ms Crabb.

At a campaign picnic which featured on the same programme, Bill Shorten was also asked on the topic of same-sex marriage, which is set to become the big policy issue post-election. He says becoming a father showed him that “people’s relationships don’t need opinion polls from other people”, and that children in those relationships ought to feel their parents’ relationships were accepted by society.

“This 1950s definition of what constitutes a family – I don’t think [it] describes not just gay couples with kids, I don’t think it describes blended families, I don’t think it captures single-parent families,” said Mr Shorten.

“You know that old saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ – there is a lot of truth in that. I think what parents don’t need is the judgment of others.”

Like the Prime Minister, the Labor leader faces questions on his party’s daunting history of internal conflict and intrigue, but he too insists his party is now united and that he heeds the lessons of the past.

“We had the horrible years of division,” Mr Shorten says. “What we’ve learnt is that we have to put the team ahead of individuals. Australians are going to mark down a political party that can’t govern itself.”

At least, Mr Shorten and Mr Turnbull can agree on one thing – the value of teamwork.

Who’s your pick?