Transcript - Interview on Sunrise - Channel 7

DAVID KOCH

We could be heading overseas with plans for a Singapore-Australia travel bubble underway. In a major boost to tourism, the deal would also open up the border for international students and business travellers and give the tens of thousands of Aussies stranded overseas a route home. The proposal will be dependent on the ability of both countries to provide a proof of vaccination certificate for travellers, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack joins me now, morning to you.

MICHAEL McCORMACK 

Good morning, David.

DAVID KOCH

There's been a lot of talk about international travel and bubbles, how confident are you that Singapore could be up and running by July and when will we get New Zealand as well?

MICHAEL McCORMACK 

Well, we are working through all of those things at the moment, David. And I know we have been in productive discussions with Singapore, of course, we have that travel bubble with New Zealand but it is one way at the moment. As the vaccine rolls out across Australia and elsewhere we are confident that we will get these travel bubbles and who knows, after Singapore it may well be South Korea or it could be Japan. Importantly, as you’ve pointed out, we get students back in, we get returning Australians back in. This is going to be so important as part of our strategy to suppress the virus and get the Australian economy back to where it is.

DAVID KOCH

Today, tens of thousands of people are taking part in women's marches. You’ve been criticised for saying you're too busy to attend, why?

MICHAEL McCORMACK 

I never said I was too busy to attend, I just have a full book of appointments and they have been long-standing appointments and I think if you have made appointments then you should be keeping those appointments. Parliament is a very busy time and a lot of people come from a lot of parts of the country to make those meetings with Ministers and of course, as the Infrastructure Minister I’ve got $110 billion of infrastructure that I am rolling out and I am having meetings with many, many people today.

DAVID KOCH

So will you send anyone out to deputise?

MICHAEL McCORMACK 

I will see how I go and this is an important march and I encourage as many people as possible to go and as many women, certainly. We want to have a safe and healthy and happy workplace, not just in Parliament House but right across the country. This is important march, I understand that.

DAVID KOCH

It sounds like you’re not putting it too high on your priority list if you are not even sending out any colleagues.

MICHAEL McCORMACK 

Well look, that is up to my colleagues –

DAVID KOCH

No, it is up to you. You are the leader. You can say, “Hey gang, I am too busy, I’ve got all these infrastructure projects, why don’t you go out for me?”

MICHAEL McCORMACK 

Yes and I know that some Coalition Members will be attending the march. They have already said that.

DAVID KOCH

They will be? Right.

MICHAEL McCORMACK 

I will see how I go but as I say, I have appointments scheduled and I'm going to make sure that I keep those appointments because people are coming from far and wide to talk to me about the important economic agenda that we have got.

DAVID KOCH

I know you have got to go but just quickly, Labor is surging to a four point lead in the latest Newspoll published in The Australia, today. Two party preferred basis the Opposition is now ahead 52 to 48, after a two point gain – a two point loss by the Coalition. Barnaby Joyce, one of your colleagues told us earlier on Sunrise that the Government's poor handling of the Brittany Higgins sexual assault claims has hurt the Government, is that right?

MICHAEL McCORMACK 

Well, there are a number of factors as always for Newspolls and how they go. I mean there is not a very good poll at the moment for NSW Labor, saying they are at their worst and lowest ebb in 100 years. If you do not like one poll, there will be another one next week – next month. That is the thing with polls –

DAVID KOCH

But is the Brittany Higgins situation having a big impact?

MICHAEL McCORMACK

We are making sure that we are doing everything that we can. Of course, Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins has been asked to do a review into this whole thing and there are other processes underway as well. Of course, this has been a sad and complex situation and we are working through it.

DAVID KOCH

Michael McCormack, we appreciate your time.

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