Who's leading who?

Wednesday 27 August


GREENWOOD: Here he is Alex Malley, on the line right now who is the CEO of CPA Australia that represents accountants in industry and practice in Australia and around the world. Hello Alex, how are you?

MALLEY: Good evening Ross, are you well?

GREENWOOD: I’m in top form thank you. I’m in great, great form.

MALLEY: You’re always in good form. I don’t know how you do it.

GREENWOOD: Can I say, we made, actually I tell you what, we might play it again for people who didn’t hear it earlier on. We played earlier a little one minute version of what took place in Question Time today. Alex, I want to play you this. Jason Ford my producer put this together today because he listens to Question Time every day. Have a listen to the way in which the opposition went about Question Time today.

[EXCERPT]

SPEAKER, THE HON BRONWYN BISHOP MP: I call the Honourable Leader of the Opposition.

SHORTEN: Thank you Madam Speaker. My question is to the Treasurer.

SPEAKER: I call the Honourable Leader of the Opposition.

SHORTEN: Thanks Madam Speaker. My question is to the Treasurer.

SPEAKER: I call the Honourable Leader of the Opposition.

SHORTEN: My question is to the Treasurer.

SPEAKER: I call the Honourable Member for Jagajaga.

MACKLIN: Thank you Madam Speaker, my question is to the Treasurer.

SHORTEN: I’m a human shield here Madam Speaker and it’s a good question, what was the question?

SPEAKER: I call the Honourable Member for McMahon.

BOWEN: Thank you very much Madam Speaker, my question is to the Treasurer.

SPEAKER: I call the Honourable Member for Ballarat.

KING: Thanks Madam Speaker and my question is to the Treasurer.

SPEAKER: I call the Honourable the leader of the Opposition.

SHORTEN: My question is to the Treasurer.

SPEAKER: I call the Honourable Member for Ballarat.

KING: Thank you very much Madam Speaker and my question is again to the Treasurer.

GREENWOOD: Do you get the hint there Alex? It kept on going.

MALLEY: It’s subtle isn’t it?

GREENWOOD: Well it’s not particularly subtle, he’s under attack right? And so therefore as a result it suggests that he’s the man responsible for the budget and so really in Question Time it’s all about Joe Hockey effectively being out there. Question is, I mean again leadership, he’s trying to sell a budget that is tough in its concept and clearly long term he believes he’s right. That’s the end of the age of entitlement that he talked about and that was a terrific and quite brilliant speech when that was written and delivered. The fact is it clearly is also about the way in which you tell the story that really determines your leadership qualities as well.

MALLEY: Ross, the core of leadership is the ability to tell a story in a most simple way with all the powerful messages contained in it. And there’s some irony in this because probably of all the Liberal political leaders leading into this round of government, most people felt Joe had a natural flair for that and I think probably he still does. But I think both his party and himself, there’s probably been a little bit of a dent in confidence and this recent decision to have a new writer is interesting from a range of perspectives.

GREENWOOD: So here’s the interesting thing, the fact that he’s now hired a new speech writer means that he is understanding and recognising that he needs to try and articulate his messages that little bit better.

MALLEY: Well I think that says something about that, there’s no question and also that you know, you’ve got to think about the relationship that you’ve got to have between a writer and someone in his role has to be hand in glove. And David Hunt who he’s appointed in recent days, who wrote the book Girt and who has made some very public commentaries, anti-coalition commentary, is a really interesting choice. But apparently his capacity to write and put words together has appealed to the Treasurer and he’s appointed him.

So you’ve got to understand at that level the relationship at the leadership level where I have a story I want to commit to, this is how I want it framed and that the writer does justice to that and you’re comfortable with it. Joe’s also a very spontaneous communicator and I don’t know that he would necessarily lean towards being scripted so I think it’s going to be a really interesting challenge and you know….

GREENWOOD: Well, an interesting relationship between the two there’s no doubt…

MALLEY: Absolutely.

GREENWOOD: … especially given David Hunt’s history in opposing some Coalition policies and in fact being highly critical of others as well.

Alex Malley is the chief executive of CPA Australia, he talks leadership here.