Malcolm Turnbull, Laurie Oakes, Annabel Crabb

Laurie Oakes, John Nichols, Malcolm Turnbull, Annabel Crabb, Quentin Dempster

MALCOLM TURNBULL: “Politics has always been vicious and nasty. From the latest tweet on Twitter to graffiti on a wall in Pompeii. You can’t complain. It goes with the territory.”

“The public are very discerning and don’t believe every caricature.

“Q and A is enormously important. There’s a decent chunk of time to be yourself, though it’s under adversarial conditions.”

Turnbull cited his legal experience as making him an expert on interrogation.

“They’re both friends of mine, but Laurie Oakes is a much better interrogator than Kerry O’Brien. Why? Laurie is much more forensic. He asks a question that demands a response, like a barrister.

“Kerry O’Brien reads a lot of opinions out, a statement for you to react to, then says: ‘What do you think?” I’ve usually looked at my watch and opened my iPad before he gets to the end of his long diatribe. He’s not actually asking anything, he just wants a reaction.”

There were several comments about Turnbull and Utegate and ‘checking sources”.

“When the Sunday Telegraph did a dirt file about my ‘colourful’ business career, they drew a graphic of a manila folder and called it a ‘Labor Party dirt file’. That’s where they got it from. They didn’t pretend it was part of their own Walkley-Award winning investigation.”

“There are more journalists than skeletons in my cupboard, and a few skeletons of journalists in there too.”

QUENTIN DEMPSTER: Raised the issues of the John Brogden drama (suicide attempt), outing of David Campbell, Paul Keating’s privacy requests for his adult children. He suggested a debate on privacy laws should be restarted.

ANNABEL CRABB: On hearsay: “People can have ancient baggage and the animosity colours what they hear.”

On the topic of 24/7 media cycle: “Politicians are more accessible and they’re expected to expand what they say to fill the gaps, like extended Pollyfilla. There’s no time to reflect and think about what they’re going to say next. Except for Malcolm [Turnbull], because he still catches public transport.”

LAURIE OAKES: “Viciousness is as old as politics. They said Abe Lincoln looked bad.

“Gough Whitlam kept saying about Bill McMahon that he took “a long time to discover women”, until Gough was told to stop.

“It has always been nasty.

“Most journalists get their information/leaks form other politicians. They blame the press for it, but they’re doing it to themselves.”

“Paul Keating has a point – his kids shouldn’t be pursued by the media. They’re innocent parties and should be protected.”

“There is now much more space to fill and politicians have less to say, because they’re always quoting focus groups.

“Tony Abbott said he wasn’t looking at any policies that went further than his lifetime – that’s not very statesmanlike.”

Turnbull quipped: “But he’s very fit.”

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