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Early Agenda -

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TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW

SKYNEWS AM AGENDA

FRIDAY 30 JULY

Subjects: Election Campaign; National Broadband Network; Climate Change.

KIERAN GILBERT: Joining me on the program this morning to discuss the campaign and issues of the
day, the Assistant Treasurer Senator Nick Sherry. So thank you very much for your time.

NICK SHERRY: Good morning Kieran, good morning to your viewers.

KIERAN GILBERT: Mark Latham was sitting in I think that chair or one next to it last night having a
good spray at Kevin Rudd, saying what many in Labor believe, that he was the leak, that if he is,
he should come out and do it openly.

NICK SHERRY: Well I believe -

KIERAN GILBERT: Well you can't leak openly but you know make the claims openly.

NICK SHERRY: Well I believe Kevin Rudd's a man of integrity and honesty. I've always found that in
my long, long friendship with Kevin. He's focusing rightly on his own re-election in his own seat.
And Julia Gillard the Prime Minister has made it very clear, anyone who leaks will be...

KIERAN GILBERT: But how do you know who is doing it? Because the journalist isn't going to say. It
seems that many in Labor believe it is the former Prime Minister. How does she work out who's
responsible?

NICK SHERRY: Well leaks in politics are not new. They haven't just started in the last week. In my
long experience in politics over 20 years, leaks do occur from time to time. But I notice on the
other side of politics, Mr Turnbull's still got a leadership baton in his backpack. He's still
wanting to be Leader of the Opposition.

We've got a split between the National Party and the Liberal Party on important economic policy,
foreign investment. I think people forget that the Liberal Party can't govern without the National
Party. And in this case, the National Party is opposing the comments by Mr Hockey on foreign
investments.

KIERAN GILBERT: But having Mark Latham, a former leader, make these comments, this intervention
can't help. I just want to recap a little bit of the Paul Murray Live program.

[Excerpt from interview]

MARK LATHAM: I think it's the coward's way to get on the blower with Laurie Oakes and say I'll tell
you this but you're not allowed to identify me. You know it's the snake's way. So I challenge Kevin
Rudd to be a man, to be honest, to have some honour and actually if he feels this strongly about
it, put his name to his words.

[End of excerpt]

KIERAN GILBERT: Mark Latham there on Paul Murray Live last night. Typically colourful?

NICK SHERRY: Well I've known Mark and Kevin, but as I say, Kevin's a man of integrity. I've known
him for a long time and we've seen today another outbreak of division in the Liberal ranks.

KIERAN GILBERT: And I know you're trying to distract to the Liberals but we'll get to that in a
moment...

NICK SHERRY: Well that's the headline of the day -

KIERAN GILBERT: No I'll ask you about that in a moment but there's a few other headlines I want to
look at and that is, the Sydney Morning Herald front page, ALP plea to Kevin Rudd to campaign with
- now how ironic is this if this story is 100 per cent right that ALP strategists believe that
Kevin Rudd is such a positive in Queensland that they're going to have to recruit the former leader
to campaign with the candidates there. It seems a bit -

NICK SHERRY: From my personal experience and long association with Kevin Rudd, as I say, he's a man
of integrity, he's focusing and he always has to his great credit, focused on his electorate of
Griffith. He's a very strong, effective member. That's his role as a backbencher and he's
campaigning very hard and that's where he's rightly focused.

KIERAN GILBERT: But what about this report that ALP strategists want him to join other candidates
to boost you in Queensland?

NICK SHERRY: Kevin's made it very, very clear. He's focusing on his local electorate. That's always
been a prime responsibility for him since he's been a Member of Parliament from day one. And he's a
very, very effective local member.

KIERAN GILBERT: So you obviously don't think he'd be too welcome in other campaigns? In the media,
he's a distraction from Julia Gillard.

NICK SHERRY: Well what I would argue is, as a backbencher and as a long term backbencher who's
always been a very strong and local effective member, that's where he's focusing. That's where he's
focusing. He does a very, very good job.

KIERAN GILBERT: But you're at risk of losing 10 seats in Queensland. Why wouldn't you use
everything you can to boost your campaign, pull out the Queenslanders, because they can be
parochial there?

NICK SHERRY: That's speculation about - let's see what happens on election night. But Kevin's a
very effective local member as I've said. I've known him for a long time. He's a man of integrity
and he's rightly focusing on his local backyard in his own electorate.

KIERAN GILBERT: Okay let's go to Sophie Mirabella now, the Shadow Minister for Industry. Sophie
Mirabella, well basically you've got Mark Latham making an intervention and the ALP looking back to
Kevin Rudd, this has just got to be manna from heaven for Tony Abbott?

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Well the one thing we've seen is, there's no certainty with Labor. This is a
shambolic circus. This is the bloke they knifed spectacularly. Now they're thinking, gee we've made
a mistake and are desperate and will say and do anything. They will say and do anything to win.
They will say and do anything to suck up to Kevin Rudd, to stop the obvious shambolic appearance of
their whole campaign.

Here we have a party that was so consumed, so consumed with who was going to be leader, how they
were going to con the Australian people, they forgot about the need to cut the waste. They forgot
about the need to stop borrowing $100 million a day. They can't have the time to do the things that
Australians want to cut the waste, to pay back the debt, because they're preoccupied with looking
over their shoulder.

No wonder Julia Gillard doesn't want to look back because she's - we know that Kevin Rudd's been
lurking in the shadows. And it's very disappointing for Australians who are looking for leadership
at a time of great uncertainty and anxiety.

They're worried about how they're going to pay next week's bills. Not who's still friendly in the
Labor Party and who's going to knife who. They obviously cannot, cannot govern because they can't
even present a united front during an election campaign.

And what we do know about Mark Latham is he does wear his heart on his sleeve and at least he's one
person in the Labor Party who at the moment, is saying it as it is.

KIERAN GILBERT: Well you're joining us from Liberal Party headquarters in Melbourne and I'm sure
there would have been some eyebrows raised at the story in the Australian Financial Review, Sophie
Mirabella, when Malcolm Turnbull was asked if he still carries the leadership baton, Turnbull
didn't hesitate, of course he says. So it's not something which is simply a characteristic of one
side of politics, is it?

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Ambition is common to all politicians. We wouldn't be here if we didn't have
ambitions, ambitions for our nation, ambitions to do the very best. But the big difference is that
Malcolm Turnbull's quite honestly saying, sure just like any member of the House of
Representatives, I'm ambitious.

Compare that to Julia Gillard, who lied to the Australian people, who a few weeks before she knifed
Kevin Rudd, said I've got more of a chance of playing full forward for the Western Bulldogs than
taking over from Kevin Rudd.

Now as soon as she had the numbers, as soon as the numbers men said Kevin Rudd's no good to us, she
knifed him spectacularly. Now look at the dishonesty there. Look at the power games. No wonder
Julia Gillard is now scrambling to get Kevin Rudd on side, because Australians have woken up to the
fact that she hasn't been trying to govern.

She hasn't been looking after her [inaudible] billions of dollars of wasted money. She hasn't put
aside any thinking, any time on how she's going to pay back the debt. And Labor is now scrambling
because they realised, they've realised that Australians are waking up to the fact and saying, what
is the Labor Party on about? Why aren't they talking about our concerns? Why aren't they concerned
about my increasing costs of living? Why aren't they concerned about turning back the boats?

We've had 150 boats now. That's not a record Labor should be proud of and Australians are rightly
concerned whether they're in western Sydney, whether they're in Queensland, or whether they're in
Melbourne.

KIERAN GILBERT: Okay.

NICK SHERRY: Kieran, let's come back to leadership. Let's come back to leadership.

KIERAN GILBERT: Let's let Nick respond.

NICK SHERRY: The Liberal Party has had three leaders in three years. I mean, Mr Abbott stabbed Mr
Turnbull. Mr Abbott stabbed Mr Turnbull. They've had three leaders. This has been the revolving
door. The Liberal Party has been the revolving door of Australian politics over the last three
years. Front benchers coming and going all the time. It's been [inaudible] in the entire western
world, the Liberal Party, over the last three years.

So how they can effect - well, Sophie laughs, but the facts are they've had three leaders, Sophie.
You've had three leaders in the last three years. How can you effectively govern? Today you've got
a split between the National Party and the Liberal Party. You're split on foreign investment, a
crucial area of economic policy.

KIERAN GILBERT: Well let's hear Sophie respond.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: No. Now you're misrepresenting - totally misrepresenting things and I know you're
getting very excited but you should be getting excited about...

NICK SHERRY: The facts speak for themselves, Sophie.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA...solving Australians' problems, not covering up the shambolic, dysfunctional
Labor Party that you are a member of. It's all being exposed. You're all getting very upset about
it but what we're focused on is actually providing direct action to solve people's problems, to
actually govern for Australia.

NICK SHERRY: Sophie, what's your policy on foreign investment?

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: So you can talk about all these sorts of -

NICK SHERRY: An important economic policy. What's your focus - what's your policy on foreign
investment because you're split today between the National Party and the Liberal Party.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Well what we would do is -

NICK SHERRY: The Liberal Party -

KIERAN GILBERT: Let's hear what she's got to say.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: No, there isn't. There isn't. What Tony Abbott would do if he was Prime Minister,
he would actually pick up the phone and talk to the leader of China, talk to the leader of Japan,
unlike Julia Gillard who is so distracted; so distracted with Kevin Rudd lurking in the shadows, so
distracted with the factional bosses trying to tell her what to do, that she doesn't even have the
time to spend -

KIERAN GILBERT: Okay. I'm going to pause there. Sorry, we didn't cut Sophie Mirabella off there,
that was a technical problem with our Streambox technology. So do not think that I cut her off
there because I didn't. I was actually just going to throw to a break. Unfortunately we had a
problem with the technology but we'll be right back. Hopefully Sophie will join us then.

Welcome back to AM Agenda. With me from Liberal Party campaign headquarters, Sophie Mirabella and
here in the Sky News centre, the Assistant Treasurer, Nick Sherry.

Sophie, back to you. You were making a point before the break - unfortunately we had a dropout
there - I'll let you continue. Just pick up where you left off. I didn't want to cut you off.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Sure. My point was that if the Labor Party can't do the right thing by each
other, how can they do the right thing by Australia? Julia Gillard is so distracted with Kevin Rudd
lurking in the shadows, with the factional bosses pulling the strings, with trying to keep all the
different dysfunctional members of the Labor family happy. She didn't even have the time to pick up
the phone to ring two of our most important trading partners, China and Japan.

Nick is - I can understand he is upset. This is a very important election for the Labor Party but,
you know what, Nick? This is even more important for the Australian people.

NICK SHERRY: Well, Sophie, the issue we were talking about...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: They deserve a government -

NICK SHERRY: Sophie -

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Nick, let me finish. Nick...

NICK SHERRY: But you're not addressing the issue, Sophie. The issue went to the foreign investment
issue. The split between the National Party and the Liberal Party. Mr Cobb disagrees.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Well there's no split. There's no split. The report -

NICK SHERRY: Well Mr Cobb is -

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: No, Mr Cobb has clarified that.

NICK SHERRY: Has he? Has he?

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Well do you want me to - you asked the question.

NICK SHERRY: You've got an important split between the two.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Manners cost you nothing, Nick. Let me finish, mate.

NICK SHERRY: You've got a split and you're not dealing with the issue, Sophie.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: No. Saying something -

KIERAN GILBERT: Let's hear the response.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Saying something often enough, saying - being fed by Labor Party headquarters
won't make it right, mate. You've got to speak straight to the Australian people.

Mr Cobb has said this morning he doesn't support that register, that is incorrect. What he does
support - which is totally consistent with what Mr Hockey has said - which all Australians would
agree with - is that we need to monitor. We need to monitor foreign investment. And what Australia
wouldn't want you to know - wouldn't want their government to know - what level of foreign
investment exists in Australia.

KIERAN GILBERT: Okay, so there's the answer on that...

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: You've got it wrong, Nick.

KIERAN GILBERT: Let's go to another issue.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: Move to the next line.

KIERAN GILBERT: Let's go to the other issue now; the National Broadband Network, 300,000 more homes
to be included, announced today by Julia Gillard in WA apparently. But these sorts of positive
stories about the broadband and other things just get consumed. Like, this program today, most of
it about leadership. You want it on things like - positive stories like this. But it gets caught up
in everything else.

NICK SHERRY: Well, Kieran, it is a very positive story. I mean, it's about strengthening the
Australian economy, a modern broad...to strengthen the Australian economy.

Mr Abbott wants to scrap it. He wants to scrap it. They had almost 12 years to sort out broadband
and it was an absolute shambles. So it is a vital and important part of modernising the Australian
economy; connecting 93 per cent of Australian homes, connecting schools, businesses and homes to a
modern broadband system. It's a very important announcement.

KIERAN GILBERT: It's frustrating that it gets distracted, that other issues distract from that.

NICK SHERRY: Well it's an important policy and I think there'll be a major focus on it. And it's
about taking the economy forward, strengthening the economy and I'm very proud of our record on the
economy. And this is a vital part of modernising and moving the Australian economy forward. As I
say, Mr Abbott wants to scrap National Broadband, they have nothing to replace it with.

KIERAN GILBERT: Okay, let's look at the issue of the Coalition's climate change plans. Sophie
Mirabella, $300 million a year for the next decade apparently just to convert one dirty power
station into a - and prices could still rise, apparently, according to the report today by Lenore
Taylor in The Herald.

This must be a bit of a worry to you. I mean, have you really got the numbers right on this policy?

SOPHIE MIRABELLA: We have got the numbers right. Greg Hunt is an extraordinary shadow minister and
hopefully he'll get a chance to be a minister in the interests of lower electricity prices and the
environment. We are unashamedly the party of low electricity prices.

The Labor Party stands for high electricity prices. We've seen from the New South Wales regulator.
They've said that the Government's ETS policy would push electricity prices an additional 20 per
cent. Kevin Rudd has admitted it would push prices up by 19 per cent.

This is about a simple choice of which party will deliver lower prices. We are unashamedly the
party that proudly stands for lower electricity prices. Labor's policies will deliver even higher
energy prices and we can't afford...

[Break in audio]

KIERAN GILBERT: We've got, yes, another technical issue there. My apologies to Sophie Mirabella
from the Liberal headquarters.

We've got some pictures just coming in from Adelaide of Tony Abbott campaigning. Meals on Wheels,
in the seat of Adelaide - this morning. Our reporter David Lipson is out there with Tony Abbott.
You can see those pictures coming in as we speak.

He's been out and about very, very early. My apologies again to Sophie Mirabella. That line from
Liberal campaign headquarters seems to be a bit problematic this morning.

And Sophie Mirabella, we've got you back there. The issue of Adelaide and the campaigning of Tony
Abbott in the hometown of the leader Julia Gillard. Is the Liberal Party concerned about seats
like...

No, I'm sorry. We've got another problem there with that headquarters line. We'll have to [break in
audio] Adelaide, the seats of Sturt and Boothby. Are they in play for Labor?

NICK SHERRY: Well obviously there's a focus on all of those seats in South Australia and as there
is nationwide on the seats that are classified as marginal. But we'll continue to put forward
positive policies. Yesterday; disability policy, our broadband policy today.

KIERAN GILBERT: Okay. Thank you very much for joining us on AM Agenda. Let's cross now to Tony
Abbott in Adelaide.

END