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NEWSREADER: Now, Federal Politics has suddenly become a real contest with the Coalition closing in
on Labor, and Tony Abbott unveiling his very different plan to tackle climate change. Joining us
now for the first time this year for our regular political Friday update are Federal Housing
Minister Tanya Plibersek in Sydney, and from Canberra Shadow Communications Minister Tony Smith.

Good morning. Welcome both of you. Happy New Year.


TONY SMITH: Good morning.


NEWSREADER: Minister, firstly...

TONY SMITH: And same to your viewers.

NEWSREADER: ... thank you. Minister, firstly to you. Tony Abbott really has come out of the boxes
running as the Opposition Leader. He's tweaked up the poll results a little bit. Has he got you
guys on the rails?

TANYA PLIBERSEK: Well I wouldn't say that. I think people have been examining Tony Abbott's scheme
for climate change this week, and they've found it very lacking. What they've found is a scheme
that costs more than Labor's scheme, that does less, that actually sees carbon emissions increase
by 13 per cent instead of falling by five per cent, and is completely unfunded.

So it's going to come out of taxes, or it's going to come out of cuts in services.

TONY SMITH: Oh, Tanya, come on.

NEWSREADER: It took you 24 hours to assess his climate change policy. But we still haven't got the
results of yours.

TANYA PLIBERSEK: Well that's not right. There is an enormous amount of information released about
Labor's proposed carbon pollution reduction scheme, and at the bottom of - the difference between
the two schemes is, in one scheme, big polluters pay taxpayers, and in the other scheme, taxpayers
pay big polluters.

TONY SMITH: Well Tanya, if that's the case you can tell us how much a family on $80,000 a year will
pay in increased electricity.

TANYA PLIBERSEK: Well we know Tony that the costs will increase between 1.1 and 1.9 per cent. We've
been clear and upfront about that the whole time.

TONY SMITH: Tanya...

TANYA PLIBERSEK: The other thing we've been clear and upfront about is that families will be
compensated. Almost every Australian household will receive compensation. And that compensation
comes from big polluters who are paying to clean up some of the damage that they are doing to our

TONY SMITH: Come on Tanya. All week we've seen the Prime Minister refuse to reveal the cost to
families of his great big new tax.

TANYA PLIBERSEK: That's not true Tony. We've seen...

TONY SMITH: Well, what Ron said at the start is dead right: the public welcome a practical tangible
policy like what we've put forward. Solar panels. Improving our soils. It's a practical, costed
policy that the public welcome. And all week you've been desperately trying to discredit it. And
the figures you mentioned trying to discredit it, contained in a note from one of your departments,
it was so rushed, it was full of grammatical errors and incomplete sentences.

I mean, that just said it all.

TANYA PLIBERSEK: Well Tony, the - Frontier Economics that the Leader of the Opposition is saying
backs your scheme, helped design your scheme, they're backing away from it. They're not backing the
scheme, they're backing away from it.

We've said all along that costs will increase between 1.1 and 1.9 per cent. Protecting our
environment is not cost-free, but almost every Australian household will receive compensation to
help with those costs. And that compensation comes from the big polluters.

NEWSREADER: Tony, I've got to ask you this question now. Your finance spokesman Barnaby Joyce has
had a few things to say in recent days. One of them on your plans to cut the public service; and
the other, to cut foreign aid. Now they make big headlines. But you're left to explain this sort of

TONY SMITH: Well look, I mean, Tony Abbott explained clearly yesterday we haven't got any plans to
alter our commitment to foreign aid. He made very clear...

NEWSREADER: Well where did Mr Joyce get his idea from then?

TONY SMITH: Well look, Barnaby is authentic. He is a very good Shadow Finance Spokesman. But
occasionally, like all of us, Ron, will make a slip up. And when you make a slip up, of course you
admit that.

Now Kevin Rudd's making lots of slip ups. And it's costing taxpayers lots of money.

I mean, this week we've seen an Auditor-General's report into broadband that saw $30 million down
the drain; $17 million of Government money down the drain over a 17 month period. A million a month
in incompetence.


TANYA PLIBERSEK: Well that's not right Tony.

TONY SMITH: So sure - the point I'd make Ron is, the more the Labor Party personally vilified
Barnaby Joyce, the more they confirm their desperation to conceal the effects of the great big new
tax on Australian families.

TANYA PLIBERSEK: Ron, I don't think it's fair to say that anyone's personally vilifying Barnaby. I
think lots of people think he's a very colourful character and very personable.

TONY SMITH: We've seen it all week in the Parliament.

TANYA PLIBERSEK: The question here is whether he's a little out of his depth as Finance Shadow
Spokesperson. Finance is a very difficult...

NEWSREADER: Well he is an accountant. He would have some idea, surely.

TANYA PLIBERSEK: Well I don't know. Most accountants can tell the difference between a billion and
a trillion, and Senator Joyce proved the other day at the press club that he didn't know the
difference. I mean, it's probably not important that every person is able to talk billions and
trillions in their day to day life, but if you're running the economy of this nation, it is quite
important to be able to know the size of the economy.

He's - nobody is saying that he's not a colourful character, that he's quite personable. But it is
very very important to know the detail of Australia's economy, and have sensible solutions to the
challenges that face us.

NEWSREADER: I've got a question that we might get a little bit of agreement from both of you. Now
the international Olympic authorities over in Vancouver are telling the Australians to rip down
their huge big flag of the boxing Kangaroo.

Tony, what's your reaction to that?

TONY SMITH: Well I've seen this morning on your news that they're refusing to do that, and I
welcome that. And I hope that with some traditional Aussie defiance there'll be a second flag up
there within the next 24 hours.

NEWSREADER: [Laughs] Tanya, I trust you're coming out boxing, too, on this issue.

TANYA PLIBERSEK: Oh, absolutely. I'm proud of our flag, and I'm proud of the Eureka flag, I'm proud
of our Aboriginal flag, and the boxing Kangaroo, that's another favourite.

NEWSREADER: Well Julia Gillard was about to jump down the screen and tell them really where to go.
So I was all behind her on this particular issue.

TANYA PLIBERSEK: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. What a silly thing to suggest to our athletes, that
they wouldn't show their national pride.

NEWSREADER: I love your outlook. Thank you very much to both of you. Welcome back to the New Year.
We'll see you next Friday, hopefully. Thank you very much indeed.


TONY SMITH: Okay, have a good weekend.


NEWSREADER: Thank you very much. Our two political combatants there.