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ABC News Breakfast -

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(generated from captions) member, Maxine McKew, sh. Now

while the world's leaders are

addressing the UN climate

change summit in Copenhagen the

Emissions Trading Scheme is Federal Government defeated

still making news here in

Australia. The #07 leader Tony

Abbott has challenged the

on the Emissions Trading Government to call an election

Scheme. And for more Mr Abbott

joins us now from the studio.

Tony Abbott good morning. Nice

to be here. Your predecessor

John Howard fought and he won

an election on a dirty big new

tax and that was the GST so

what makes you think that such

a popular PM like Kevin Howard

might not be able to see you

and raise you on that. The interests thing about the GST

is that we had gone through a

very leapty national debate it

on starting back in the Fraser

era, we then had Paul Keating's

option kr. We had John Hewson's

fightback election and finally

we had the 1998 election so the

GST has been subject to a

debate. It had been examined up

hill and down Dale by the

Australian people, similar tax systems has been in place in

other countries in the world,

comparable countries so the

time was right for the GST but

don't let's also forget

Virginia that back in 1993 Paul

Keating won an election saying

that if you don't understand it

don't vote for it and if you do

understand it, you would never

vote for it and he said that

about the GST. So that's going

to be your mantra in this

particular campaign? Look, I

think there were strong

arguments for a GST. I think

that if you want to improve the

environment, let's take direct

action to improve the environment, let's not raise

the cost of living. Let's not

put in a tax, masquerading as

an environment policy Surelify

policy you'll come up won't be

free by any stretch of the mamation. How much less

expensive will it be than the

one the Government is proposing

? Well the policy that I will

come up Michael, it will be

strong, it will be effective

and it will be out there before

parliament goes back in

February. I'm not saying that

we can make massive

environmental changes in a

cost-free way. What I am saying

is it's better to invest the

money directly rather than

engage in the $120 billion

money-go-round that's going add

$1100 a year to the average

family's cost. It's possible

that Copenhagen will immediate

in a deadlock or to meet again.

Would that be a good outcome? I

think agreements to have an

agreement in the future aren't

really agreements, their

Clayton's agreements. Meetings

to decide to have another

meeting aren't very productive

meetings. I know that the PM's

stock in trade is to conduct

studies to have more studies,

so it would be in a sense part

of the Rudd way L Hang on he is

not Hoare chest traiting

that. He did tell us he was

West Australian of the great

maestroses of Copenhagen. He's

a friend of the chair and all

of that . He's been phone stalking world leaders for

months on all of this stuff

but, look, let's hope we get a

good outcome. But it does look pretty chaotic at the moment

and for Australia to make

binding commitments that will

have a big impact on our

economy without similarly binding commits from other

countries would be a wig

mistake What would a good

outcome be in your view view? A

commitment by all the big

emitters to make significant

cuts, an enforceable commitment

to make significant cuts, not

weasle words like reducing the

intensity of emissions but

commitments to make

cuts. Bringing the conversation

back to domestic politics there

appears to still be a lot of

bad blood from that rather

bitter leadership battle days

ago. Mark Westfield has written

a fairly scathing article in

the business spectator

describing the Liberal Party as

a divided rabble predicting a

very heavy defeat on any

election fought on the ETS and

accusing krob Andrew Robb who

attacked Malcolm Turnbull's stood up in the party room and

policy of calculated trechy.

Surely there will be a

tremendous distraction for you

as you try to unite the Liberal

Party and take the fight up to

Kevin Rudd? I think there's

already a sense of yesterday 's

news about all that stuff. I

can understand people feeling

unhappy and a bit cheated by a

party room spill. It's always

difficult, something like that,

but I think we've all moved on

and I can understand Mark being unhappy, but I think that it's

yesterday's news. He's not

moved on in a complete sense

because he points to the future

and says in his view that

Malcolm Turnbull could

recontest his seat successfully

and be in a position to relead

your party, to take the

leadership from you? Well,

look, it's quite possible, who

knows what the future holds?

But I am leading the party, the

policy of the party is now

clear, we are opposed to an

Emissions Trading Scheme, we

opposed to a great big new tax

masquerading as an important

policy. I'll lead to party to

the election and let see how it goes. I think question

win. When you say it's quite

possible that it might happen

it almost sounds as if you feel

that your hold on the

leadership is a little

tenuous. I think between now

and the next election, my hold

is as secure as these things

ever can be. There's - I guess

the leadership of your party

has proven that to be the

case? Virginia, I mean, let's

not pretend that nothing ever

change MsS in the world. You

media people understand just

how fickle things are, but

look,, you know, I am very

confident that there is a whole

new mood in the parliamentary party, I think that the Liberal

Party in the country has been

galvanised and is enthused in a

way that we certainly haven't

been at any time since the last

election. I think we're looking forward now. I think we've put

the unhappiness of a fortnight

ago behind us. Looking forward,

do you think that John

Alexander can make Bennelong

from Maxine McKew? I think he's

a very capable bloke. I think

he's the kind of candidate that

the public will give a good

look at. I think they'll give

him a fair go. You know, I

think that Maxine McKew - I

hate to say this of a former

ABC Television personality, but

I think if I can say so, Virginia she has been a bit of

a disappointment in the

parliament. I think there were

big expectations of her . I

don't know that she's really

made much of a mark and

certainly I think she's been a pretty ordinary local

member. But can John Alexander

win the seat off her? I think

he certainly can. He certainly

can. Other domestic items

around this morning, interesting reports that those

are 78 Tamils who were rescued from the 'Oceanic Viking' there could be a resettlement agreement that involves a

number of countries including

the US. Do you like the

prospect of that. It sounds in

fact similar to something that

John Howard managed to engineer

with another little country to

our north? But let's not forget

- I mean, basically those

Tamils got what they wanted.

They effectively blackmailed

the Australian Government into

giving them what they

wanted. What they wanted was to

be settled in Australia No,

what they wanted was a knew

life in a first world country

and that's what they're going

to get That's Ma most a-Sea

Eagles want when they put

themselves into leaky boats And

the whole problem is if the

people who take these terrible

risks ultimately get what they want more people will keep

coming. That's why we now have

this steady flew, almost every

day, another boat, because they

think if they can get here

ultimately they can stay here

and that's the wrong signal

that Kevin Rudd has sent. As we

head into the election year

there appears to be a cost line

in the Government's attack on

you every time the PM gets up

the words reckless and erratic

come out when they talk about

you. Is that a suggestion they

potentially see use as more of

a threat then they're actually

letting on? I think Kevin Rudd

has looked a bit rattled for

the first time in his prime

ministership. Even up rushed on

to do a raid you intun on AM

after I'd made some comments. I

think the Government is bit

anxious. I think they know

they're vulnerable. I think

their own heartland is very

unhappy with the Emissions

Trading Scheme. I think their

own heart land is bombard

Barding Labor members just as

we Liberals were bombarded

about Mr Rudd's great big new

tax so look, I think it's going

to be an interesting year in

politics. I do want to quickly

show you in the 'Australian'

you've been depicted in the

last couple of days as Churchillian, that's how you were described yesterday and

today you're Spartacus, you're

the leader of the revolution of

the people. There you are

Spartacus, Abbott, like that

description mpbts except that

Spartacus came to a sticky

send It all ended very

badly. Kevin Rudd knows he has

a fight on his hands and that's

a good thing. So the

revolutionary leader this time

around is you? In a good cause,

let's lead a people's

revolt. We'll see what you