PRESENTER:

We have Malcolm Turnbull, the Prime Minister of Australia with us now – Malcolm Turnbull thank you very much for joining us.

PRIME MINISTER:

It’s great to be with you.

PRESENTER:

It’s great to see you’re doing the rounds of the media coming right up towards the end of the campaign. How are you feeling after eight weeks – you must be exhausted?

PRIME MINISTER:

I am in very good form. I had a bit of flu a week or so ago, as I think everyone knew, but I’m fully recovered now and filled with energy.

PRESENTER:

I’m sure you would be filled with energy after that Newspoll result that came out a couple of days ago which indicated that things have turned around a bit for you and you’re leading 51-49?

PRIME MINISTER:

It’s a very close election Phil. It is a very close election. My message is that every Australian should regard their vote as the one that will determine the next government and the choice is very clear – we offer a stable Coalition majority Government with an economic plan that is delivering now and will continue to deliver strong economic growth and jobs.

On the other hand we have the prospect of a hung parliament, disarray and all of the chaos of a Labor, Greens and independent alliance. I particularly want to make that point to those people thinking of voting for independents and Labor and the Greens because Australia right now needs strong stable majority Government.

PRESENTER:

Okay. Malcolm Turnbull – I’ve got to ask you as well when you were voted in, elected by the Coalition or Liberals to become the Prime Minister many people in the country may have thought ‘wow okay, we are going to get a bit more moderate behaviour here maybe from our Prime Minister’ but we haven’t seen so much, you know, the change with gay marriage, you’re going to have a plebiscite afterwards if you don’t have any issues with that?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I will be voting yes. I mean that is a difference and the Labor Party is trying to make an issue out of this but let’s be clear Bill Shorten told the Australian Christian Lobby as we have learnt today back in 2013 that he supported a plebiscite, so he supported a plebiscite on gay marriage before the Coalition Party Room and the Abbott Government adopted it as a policy so…

PRESENTER:

Different times, different circumstances though.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well not really – I don’t think the circumstances are that different. It’s only three years ago but look nonetheless it is a thoroughly democratic procedure. Most Australians support having a say on this rather than leaving it entirely to the politicians. I’ll be voting yes in it. We’ll have the plebiscite as soon as we can after the election – ideally before the end of the year and that will settle the matter.

PRESENTER:

And it will definitely happen – there is not going to be any, no members of the party are going to try and kybosh this – it’s definitely happening if you get elected?

PRIME MINISTER:

The plebiscite will definitely happen. Absolutely.

PRSENTER:

And you will honour what the plebiscite says?

PRIME MINISTER:

If the plebiscite is carried the same-sex marriage legislation will sail through the Parliament. Of all the things to be concerned about in politics that is the least one to be concerned about.

PRESENTER:

Let’s go to one of the candidates in our area – we are broadcasting in the Bendigo area in Central Victoria – Chris Jermyn, Liberal candidate you would know well from McEwen, your face is on all the posters with him of course – he is under scrutiny because of his electoral address. Do you support him?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well he is the endorsed Liberal candidate and he has the Party’s support and my support but I can’t, you know obviously if there are issues, the issues that you raise, they are matters to be determined by the AEC but I have been talking this morning with Megan Purcell our candidate in Bendigo and she is a young economist, a businesswoman. She’s got her own retail business and she’s there today announcing federal funding to support the restoration of your amazingly handsome Soldiers’ Memorial in Bendigo which is much admired and needs a bit of love I think.

PRESENTER:

Okay, well that’s good news indeed, but back with Chris Jermyn, you give him your unqualified support?

PRIME MINISTER:

All of our candidates have my support absolutely.

PRESENTER:

Including Chris Jermyn?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well he is one of our candidates and he has my support and I encourage the electors of McEwen to vote for him as the Liberal candidate.

PRESENTER:

When you first heard this story though, what had happened here with this vacant block, did you want to get rid of him? I mean you have a captain’s pick, did you actually want to – you must have been furious when you heard about this?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well can I say to you, I understand your interest in this matter but you know the big choice that we’ve got on Saturday is who is going to form a government. Who is going to provide Australia the leadership that it needs, the strong economic leadership it needs and the only way to ensure that your vote supports a strong Coalition majority Government and a clear national economic plan is to vote for Liberal or National candidates. There is no other way to do that and that is the most important choice.

The issues that you’re raising, I understand why the opponents of the Liberal Party want to raise those matters. If there’s been some issues they can be dealt with by the AEC, but fundamentally what we are choosing on Saturday is the next government of Australia and that decision is critical to our future.

PRESENTER:

Yeah - okay, well look, coming up to the election it seems that it could well be that even if Labor does get ahead of you Malcolm Turnbull – I’m talking with the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull – if Labor does get ahead of you, 51-49, it still won’t be enough because they need a swing that’s quite considerable, 50 per cent of the votes. So you must be feeling right now in the box seat?

PRIME MINISTER:

I’m really only focused on the prospects for Australia and the need to deliver continued strong economic leadership. And can I say this is not a theoretical thing, whether young people in Bendigo can get a job, whether a young person starting their own business, or an older person starting their own business can get ahead is going to depend on having strong economic growth and you can see the benefits of our economic plan, especially in Bendigo. I mean look at the investments that we’re making in the defence industry. Look at the innovation in the Hawkei armoured vehicle that has export potential running into the tens of thousands of units around the world. All of those elements of our economic plan, whether it’s innovation, whether it’s supporting small and medium businesses with tax cuts, whether it is focusing on investing in our defence industries, all of that requires the return of my Government.

PRESENTER:

Okay. Malcolm Turnbull also we’ve only got a minute or so before news and we thank you for talking to us today but union involvement in the CFA dispute. This is one of those issues that is a State issue, were you one of those ‘state keep out of federal issue’ people or do you think it may cross over and affect the Labor vote in this area?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I’m not going to speculate on the impact it might have on the federal election but I’d say this to you, the EBA that the Labor Government wants the CFA to sign with the United Firefighters Union, which will make those 60,000 volunteers subordinate to the union, which will undermine the autonomy and disrespect the voluntary service of those volunteer firefighters. That EBA is covered by federal legislation by the Fair Work Act. What we will do if we are returned to Government is amend the Fair Work Act -

PRESENTER:

Well Prime Minister we have to go to news.

PRIME MINISTER:

So that provisions such as those that Daniel Andrews wants to have will not be able to be put in place. So we can protect the Fair Work.