Transcript: Sunrise



02 March 2015

Topics: Liberal leadership, Fairfax/Ipsos Poll, Security at over 50 schools, Oceanic tracking trial, MH 370

Natalie Barr: Well nearly a year after the disappearance of flight MH370 aircraft monitoring is being ramped up in our region. Air Services Australia is trialling a new tracking method; it's for remote ocean areas like where the Malaysia Airlines flight is thought to have crashed. Location reports will come in every 15 minutes. Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss joins me now, thanks for your time.

Warren Truss: Good morning.

Natalie Barr: Before we talk about the aircraft monitoring system we'd like to follow up on that Liberal leadership issue; will there be this frank ministerial discussion on Mr Abbott's performance late this afternoon?

Warren Truss: Well cabinet is meeting today, but we'll be talking about the business of government, getting on with the agenda of making sure we have a better country in the future. So we're getting on with the business of providing good government for Australians.

Natalie Barr: So you must be happy with this poll this morning; it shows Coalition up three, Labor down three?

Warren Truss: Well we obviously observe polls but don't live by them. The reality is that the Government has been getting on with the agenda, dealing with issues that are of genuine concern to people like foreign ownership and food labelling and the like, and I think that the public appreciate when the Government is talking about the things that matter to them, rather than speculating about internal leadership issues.

Natalie Barr: So therefore does it worry you with this poll that the actually pollster has said voters appear to already be factoring in Abbott's potential departure; they don't like him, they prefer Turnbull and assume Abbott is not long for the job?

Warren Truss: I think that's a line that must have come straight out of ALP headquarters, after all Tony Abbott's personal popularity is up in this poll as well. Look the leadership issues was resolved in the Liberal Party three weeks ago, now we want to get on with the business of government.

Natalie Barr: Okay let's talk about the issues that affect us. We're told your Government's going to roll out these guards and security cameras for more than 50 schools deemed at risk of lone wolf terror attacks; do we really need guards in our schools?

Warren Truss: Well I wish we didn't, I wish we could go to school in all the innocence of the era when I went to school; it is a pity that we have to provide this level of protection. On the other hand we know that almost every public place is a potential target, and therefore the governments have a responsibility to do what we can to keep people safe. It would be an appalling thing if in fact there was to be some kind of terror attack in our schools, and clearly we need to take all reasonable precautions to prevent that from happening. It's not as though every school will have guards and additional security measures, but where there are particular risks, identified risks, I think governments have to respond and that applies to state and federal governments.

Natalie Barr: Okay onto this flight monitoring system; can the increased tracking of aircraft actually prevent incidents like MH370?

Warren Truss: Well not necessarily, because clearly it's very difficult to intervene from outside. What it will do is help us to identify when something is amiss much sooner. You see it was several weeks after the MH370 incident that we actually started searching in the place where the aircraft likely entered the sea because there was no immediate notice that it had in fact changed course; that only came to light weeks later as a result of detailed work done by some of the satellite owners and operators. So under this system we'd know within fifteen minutes if an aircraft had actually deviated from its path, or had undertaken some other kind of measure which suggested that something had gone wrong. So it will allow an earlier monitoring, and so if an incident did result in the loss of the aircraft the search could take place in the right location immediately.

Natalie Barr: Okay let's hope so. Thank you very much Mr Truss for your time.

Warren Truss: You're very welcome.