New Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed that an election will be held within 11 months.
In an interview with Sky News on Wednesday – a day which Mr Turnbull also disputed accuracy of a Fairfax Media story about suspending the taxation white paper – questions were raised about the current asylum seeker situation and whether he would “rule out” any changes to protection policy.
He was also quizzed on the China Free Trade Agreement and the impending Federal election.
“I definitely rule out answering ‘rule in, rule out’ questions from journalists,” Mr Turnbull told Sky News.
“I have the same concerns about the situation of people on Nauru and Manus as you do…as all Australians do.
“This is a Cabinet government and we are not going to make policy changes – particularly the type you’re talking about – on the run.
“All matters will be considered and in the event of policy changes, we will make an appropriate announcement.”
Mr Turnbull took over the Liberal leadership from Tony Abbott last week, after winning a party room ballot, with 54 votes to 44.
On Wednesday, he pointed to the Howard government as the ‘gold standard’ of cabinet process and something he was seeking to replicate.
He was quick to quash rumours that a Federal election would be held any sooner than 10 to 11 months time.
“It’s certainly what I’m assuming…that’s definitely the plan,” Mr Turnbull said.
On Tuesday, Trade Minister Andrew Robb spoke live on radio about about the election, which he implied could be months away.
When responding to a Newspoll, he said: “We’ve got just a few months before the very important election.”
During Wednesday’s interview, Mr Turnbull said he was open to talking to Labor about its concerns with Australia’s Free Trade Deal with China.
“ But Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is yet to put up any specific proposals for how to fix, what Labor sees as difficulties with arrangements over foreign workers, ” he told Sky News.
“He has been dragged along in the slipstream of the CFMEU, which has run an alarmist, scare-mongering campaign…designed to frighten people back into poverty.”
The PM argued that since being elevated to the top job he “had boosted business confidence”.
He also reinforced the importance of the role of the media in Australia’s democracy “whether the media agree with the government or not”.
He said the government’s position was to continue to encourage the Egyptian president to pardon Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste from recent charges.
This story is not true. Tax reform is at the centre of our efforts to create a more productive, innovative economy http://t.co/8bhy6PTTrC
— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) September 23, 2015