Journalist: What do you make of Malcolm Turnbull’s comments overnight?
Minister Payne: I think from our perspective we are getting on with the job here and that is making sure that we deliver the policies that Australians expect of us, predicated on a strong economy, and ensure they know the risks of electing a Labor government.
Journalist: Is it helpful though, Minister, those type of comments?
Minister Payne: Former Prime Ministers, one and all, are perfectly entitled to make any observations that they wish. But form our perspective we are very much focused on getting on with the job. I was in Cairns yesterday with Ministers from Papua New Guinea working on our Pacific Step Up, Labour Mobility; the things that will deliver support to businesses in North Queensland and certainly that is our focus.
Journalist: On that point, why did PNG pull out of the Labour mobility scheme MOU signing yesterday?
Minister Payne: Nobody pulled out of the MOU signing yesterday. We were finalising the legals and once they are done we will be signing.
Journalist: So do they have any reservations?
Minister Payne: No.
Journalist: Just finally on the Nationals, do you think Michael McCormack deserves the support or loyalty of his partners, of his colleagues rather?
Minister Payne: Well I can speak of Michael McCormack as a cabinet colleague and as Deputy Prime Minister, a person with whom I work enormously closely. I spoke in the room earlier about the naming of the new Western Sydney International (Nancy Bird Walton) Airport, which of course as Minister he is responsible for. In my view he is doing exactly what I said, getting on with job, working hard for Australians with a real focus from his perspective on regional Australia.
Journalist: It wouldn’t be helpful though would it, another leadership change within the Coalition?
Minister Payne: I expect the team just to get on with the job and I know that is what we are all focused on.
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