At the beginning of the parliamentary year, the government is beleaguered on several fronts. But Arthur Sinodinos, one of the Coalition’s most experienced operators and the newly appointed minister for industry, innovation and science, is determined to be optimistic.
“You can’t rule any possibilities out, including the possibility that the government actually goes from strength to strength as we go forward,” Sinodinos says.
“Yes, there are testing headwinds, including the international environment, but we’re going to be very keen to prosecute the case for economic growth, for jobs, for why international trade is a good thing for everybody, not just one country.”
Speaking with Michelle Grattan on the day of senator Cory Bernardi’s exit from the Liberal Party, Sinodinos has a sharp observation for his former colleague.
“What I’d say to senator Bernardi is that if you want to influence the party, you’ve got to be inside the party. You can’t do it from outside.”
Assessing Bernardi’s prospects as a force outside the Liberals, Sinodinos says “we’ll wait and see what happens”. “But he’s got some pretty formidable players out there, like Pauline Hanson, who has a very high profile and a lot of street cred as an outsider.”
“I would expect on most things that he would support Coalition policy. He was actually elected on a Coalition platform and I think if he’s going to keep faith with those voters, he should support Coalition positions.”
Authors: Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra