After the events of last week unfolded it came down to the fact that Malcolm Turnbull had lost the confidence of the party room. He was ousted following the decision of the party room to move to the spill. What followed was the selection of Scott Morrison as the 30th Prime Minister of Australia.
At just after 2 pm on Friday 24 August Malcolm Turnbull fronted the Parliament House press gallery for the last time as Prime Minister to give his farewell address.
Turnbull then invited a select group of the media to ask their final questions to the 29th Prime Minister of Australia. Not long after the last goodbye Turnbull headed to Government House to tender his resignation. Below a video filmed by Keating Media which shows the press conference.
Below is a transcript from the press conference
Malcolm Turnbull – 29th Prime Minister of Australia: Well good afternoon it may surprise you
on a day like this but I remain very optimistic and positive about our nation’s future and I want to thank the Australian people, for the support they’ve given me and my government over the last nearly three years.
We’ve been able to achieve as a progressive government as a progressive liberal coalition government enormous reforms and very very substantial achievements. You know the foundation of everything you do in government is a strong economy and we have delivered as we promised jobs and growth, you may have heard that before.
We’ve got record jobs growth in Australia last year we have a strong economic growth 3.1 percent as you know, higher than any of the G7 economies and that is enabled us to do so much more despite the minority position in the Senate and the one streets, one seat
majority in the House of Representatives.
We’ve been able to deliver substantial taxation reforms, much more than any many of you probably any of you thought possible, substantial personal income tax our reforms the biggest in more than 20 years. Tax reductions for small and medium businesses overwhelmingly Australian family-owned businesses.
We’ve also been able to get on with the job of important historic infrastructure. I’m very proud that we are underway with
Snowy Hydro 2.0. I know sometimes my opponents in the Labor party say that I’m not committed to renewables well I tell you we’re building and we’re going to build the biggest single renewable project in Australia since Snowy Hydro 1.0. So I would say that is a substantial commitment whilst we’re getting on and building the Western Sydney Airport, the inland rail and we’ll build a railway too
from Melbourne out to Tullamarine. So many other big infrastructure projects we’ve been able to do it because of strong economic growth.
We’ve also taken a different approach.
I have been a reforming Liberal prime minister at course you know one of the many difficult political challenges that we’ve faced particularly in the coalition has been the issue of marriage equality, now we have delivered that same-sex marriage is legal. We went
through a postal vote as you know which was hugely successful again much more successful than many thought and we have delivered that historic reform. A very substantial one.
We’ve also established a national redress scheme for the victims of child sexual abuse. We’ve provided record support for mental health
services and indeed for health services right across the board whether it is hospitals, Medicare, Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme none of those things could have been done without the strong economy that we’ve delivered.
Our childcare reforms have also been once-in-a-generation reforms but I have taken a different approach as a federal leader as a federal government to the way we engage with cities, as you know historically federal government’s played a limited role as sort of an ad-hoc role with cities and very often you had federal government, state government, local government often moving in roughly
the same direction but being a bit like ships in the night. The city deals program has been a real innovation they very very welcome perform and working very well enabling the first time to see federal government money systematically going into work in partnership with communities so that you agree on what your vision is and then get on and do it.
I want to say also that the keeping Australian safe is the obviously the single most important priority of government. I’ve had outstanding ministers in that area particularly Marise Payne the Defence Minister and the Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne and we have embarked on the largest investment in our defence capabilities ever in peacetime and of course it’s not simple
a matter of ensuring that our men and women in the ADF have the capabilities both to give them the force they need and to ensure that they are safe in all of the circumstances they’re engaging in.
But it also is part of an agenda to ensure that defence industry these advanced industries provide the lead the opportunities to build the Australian economy it is all part of our economic plan.
Clearly, as Prime Minister I’ve had a great deal to do in terms of our international agenda we’ve been able to secure again the reform or an
achievement that many people thought was impossible which was the trans-pacific partnership, when Donald Trump pulled out of that everyone thought it was dead and I was I was mocked as you know by some for keeping at it. But we managed to
secure the TPP 11 trans-pacific partnership continued and the fact that it has continued not only creates export opportunities for
Australians but it also provides a foundation for a trade deal for the US to re-enter at some point in the future and for others to do as well
we’ve also, of course, I was able to secure and then maintain the resettlement deal with the United States for Refugees on Manus and now rule that that was a chat was a challenging exercise to maintain that but of course hundreds of refugees are now being resettled without providing the incentive for the people smugglers to get back into business again and maintaining that strong border protection has been critically important.
We’re also able I was also able to ensure that when the US put tariffs on steel and aluminium on countries right around the world Australia was exempted from that again a great example of the way in which I have sought always to stand up for Australian jobs, Australian workers and our industries we’ve been able to ensure that we could re intradural of on the building in the building sector with the Australian Building and Construction Commission that was a obviously one of the double dissolution triggers but again many thought that was impossible but we were able to achieve it so there’s been I think it’s been a it has been a challenging time to be Prime Minister but I’m very proud of our record I’m very proud of my government, my ministers record in achievement so I want to thank them I want to thank all
I want to thank my staff but you know above all I want to thank my wife Lucy for her love and support I want to thank our children Alex and his wife Yvonne and our daughter Daisy and her husband James it isn’t easy being either married to or the child of a politician let alone a prime minister and often children get attention from the media and others that they frankly don’t deserve in terms of you know people wanting to sort of have a crack at their father by going after them so the it’s it’s been tough on them att imes but I want to thank them for their solidarity and loyalty and love our grandchildren of course great joy I look forward to spending some more time with
them and with Lucy, but finally I want to thank the Australian people for everything they have done for me it has been such a privilege to be the leader of this great nation. I love Australia, I love Australians we are the most successful multicultural society in the world and I
have always defended that and advanced that as one of our greatest assets we must never allow the politics of race or division or of setting Australians against each other to become part of our political culture we have so much going for us in this country and we have to be proud of it and cherish it.
Now I suppose I should say something about the events of the of the last week or so look I think you all know what’s happened there was a determined insurgency from a number of people both in the party room and and and under backed by voices powerful voices in the media really to bring if not bring down the government certainly bring down my prime ministership it was it was extraordinary.
It was described as madness by many and I think it’s difficult to describe it in any other way in the party room meeting today I was impressed by how many of my colleagues spoke or voted for loyalty above disloyalty how the insurgents were not rewarded by electing Mr. Dutton for example but instead my successor who I wish the very best, of course, Scott Morrison a very loyal and effective treasurer, I want to thank him and of course for his great work but above all I want to thank Julie Bishop she is a very dear friend we’ve been friends for over 30 years which we sometimes wonder whether we should remind people of that but nonetheless, she’s a very dear friend she’s been an extraordinary foreign minister I would say our finest foreign minister and she has been a loyal deputy in a and it just a great colleague and
friend, so I think truly very much as you know she’s stood down as the deputy and she’s succeeded by Josh Frydenberg and again I wish Josh all the best he has been a very loyal and capable minister.
So that is what I have to say to you today I’m happy to take some questions now hang on hang on one minute just now can’t all talk at once and I’m going to given that I’m about to no longer be the Prime Minister I’m going to ask Laura Tingle to ask me question.
Laura Tingle: One of the frustrations that voters have had with your prime ministership is the sense that you conceded too regularly to the Conservatives into the right do you regret doing that given that they came for you anyway and what climate policy and energy policy now.
Prime Minister Turnbull: okay well Laura what I’ve done always is to try to keep the party together and that has meant that it from time to time I’ve had to compromise and make concessions it is it’s a really it’s a it’s something I learned from my first
time as leader that you have to work so hard to keep the show together there are and that’s you know that’s that’s the bottom line but you know if you look at what we’ve achieved it’s a very long list in terms of energy policy and climate policy I think the truth is that the Coalition finds it very hard to get agreement on anything to do with emissions a truth I mean the national energy guarantee was or is a vitally important piece of economic reform it remains the government’s policy of course but you know one you know
were the one-seat majority in the house unless you can command all or almost all your votes you can’t get it passed and I want to thank Josh for the work he’s done on that but it is if I could say this the emissions policy emissions issues and climate policy issues have the same have the same problem within the coalition of you know bitterly entrenched views that are actually sort of more ideological views than the views based as I say in engineering and economics it’s a bit like same-sex marriage used to be almost an you know an insoluble and soluble problem now we were able to sort that out and that’s why that is a you know a very significant achievement of my time as Prime Minister.
I’m actually I think the first Prime Minister to actually support legalising same-sex marriage and but most importantly was able to get it done now as for what the future holds in terms of energy policy again you’ll have to talk to Scott about that but clearly there’s a great foundation in the announcements we’ve already made arising out of the a triple C report now the next person I’m going to invite to ask me a question is Mr Coorey.
Phil Coorey: The party is very split over this… What is your message on unity?
Malcolm Turnbull: Look Phil it is obvious you know if you this you know the Australians will be just dumbstruck and so appalled by the conduct of the last week you know to imagine that a government would be rocked by this sort of disloyalty and deliberate who insurgency is the best way to describe it deliberate destructive action at a time when you know there are differences on policy but frankly all of them were sort of result you know able to be resolved with a little bit of goodwill and of course a month ago as you know as I said yesterday we were you know a little bit behind and the national polls and a little bit ahead on our own polls so it’s it will be I think many Australians will just be shaking their head in disbelief as what’s been done
So just go to Murpharoo, there
Well unity Phil is if you’re not you know that you know disunity is death in Australian politics as everyone says and it’s perfectly obvious but the people who chose you know Peter Dutton and Tony Abbott and others who chose to deliberately attack the government from within they did so because they wanted to bring the government down they wanted to bring my prime ministership down and they while you know the consequences that I’m no longer p.m. of course instead of Mr Dutton being Prime Minister we being Prime Minister will no doubt in due course Mr Morrison but for plenty of time to ask them I’ll be I’ll be leaving the Parliament in you know not not before too long okay as I’ve always said I’ve been very clear about that it’s not a secret now I’m just going to go to Chris Uhlmann okay all right what about you KG (Kieran Gilbert)
I’ll think of a few but right at the moment I’m I’m really just I’m I’m focused on taking a very positive approach to all of these issues I think there’s again I’ve got great optimism for Australia I’m proud of the achievements of the government on proud you know it that I talk about my team in my office you know Clyde and Sally and Baldy and the whole team I have never worked with a better team of
people that I had in my office they are outstanding and we’ve run a very good government you know in the sense that we the cabinet has hasn’t leaked very much despite your best efforts to cause it to do so we’ve been united we’ve had a thoroughly traditional approach so that’s been good okay now is that I have a thoroughly traditional grandson here is is Jack and he is Daisy here’s Alice and Lucy.
Okay now I had an I’m gonna take a couple more now is now your I just go here just one more perhaps you let’s you David yeah yes the discussion about the ballot this week has been dominated by talk about the petition you’ve been blamed in some quarters for
payoffs in inverted commas what do you say to those who say it was wrong for you to insist on the 43 names and to insist on those look I mean you know this is a matter of political history man will not just wrap up with that but the fact is there was a leadership ballot on Tuesday which I won convincingly the proposition that there should be almost immediately another ballot is really unprecedented. So it was reasonable for me to say well if you want to call another party meeting better tell me why show me evidence that a majority want to do that so the insofar as there has been chaos this week it has been created by the records I have done everything I can to maintain the stability of government and the stand the stability of the party but of course if people are determined to wreck then you know they will continue to do so yes picking jack up from school yes no no this is I came into politics at the very mature age of 50 and I’ve you know I’ve had a very good time here in the Parliament.
I’ve always been focused on what I can deliver for the Australian people again the critical thing is with politics it’s not about the politicians that’s why this week has been so dispiriting because it just appears to be you know vengeance personal ambition you know factional feuding whatever you describe it Scott now hasn’t had anything to do with 25 million Australian
and you know the Australians we should be focused on above all else are these little ones you know it is it is the next generation that we are working for here in this place and we have set we have achieved a great deal it has been a I you know I there are some things that I would have liked to have completed or done more on but to be really honest with you we have got so much more done in this government and particularly in this Parliament than I expected or and and I certainly a lot more than any of you expected as you know so skeptics that you all so look thank you all very much and I wish you all the best and above all I wish the new Prime Minister-elect the very best and his team thank you.