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A Current Affair -

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(generated from captions) Coming up on ACA, our weekly

looking side some of Australia's

most beautiful homes. Last night we

heard from Prime Minister Julia

Gillard in the lead up to

tomorrow's poll. Now it's the

Opposition leader's turn. I spoke

with Tony Abbott early this

afternoon. Tony Abbott thanks for

your time. Nice to be with you. I

don't know when was the last time

you slept but are you feeling a

little delirious at this point?

Look, I'm not feeling that way, but

campaign, I am feeling like I've had a hard

campaign, but I think it's been a

good campaign because I think I've

had the chance to hold the

Government to account and I think

I've had the chance to put forward

to the Australian people a clear

alternative. There is almost a

perception that you're sort of pinching yourself that you're running for Prime Minister that,

this is all still a bit of a

surprise to you that you are here.

Is that accurate? Look, I thought

when I became the leader that it

was possible to win. I knew that it

was going to be tough, but I think

that as a team the coalition has

pulled together magnificently, and,

yes, I think we do have a real

chance of victory, but - but we are

running against 79 years of history.

The full weight of inkum ban si,

not just the Federal Government but

five state Labor Governments and

the 1 billion dollars a war machine

of the union movement. You've never

been a softly, softly style of

politician. You were known as one

of the Howard Government head

kickers. If you'd known that you

would be here one day running for

Prime Minister, would you have

modified your style and your

language in the past? Well, you've

always got to do what you think is

the right thing at the time. You've

always got to do the job that

you've got at the time, and I think

I've done those jobs. Do you

concede that it's probably one of

the things, though, that hurt you

with women, Julia Gillard is

perceived to be warm. You are

perceived to be puing nay shus. And,

you know, in the end the Prime

Minister of the country has got to

have a bit of steel, and I think

I've probably demonstrated over the

years that I have got a bit of

steel. So you don't mind that if

that's hurt you with women? Well,

I'd prefer, obviously, Tracey, that

everyone thought I was both tough

and, as it were, warm, but - but,

look, everyone's going to make

their own judgments, and I have had

plenty of opportunity in the course

of this campaign to put myself on

display, and I'll accept the

people's judgment. It's generally

accepted that your problems with

the female vote persists is. One

young woman interviewed in the

newspaper this morning said she

didn't know who to vote for but she

thought she'd go with Gillard

because you seemed a chofnis. --

shofnis. Does that mystify you? Yes.

I think it's un fair but

nevertheless life is a bit unfair

sometimes. I suppose when you

express strongly held antiabortion

views and when you say things like

a young woman's virginity is her

greatest gift, you can seem pait ar

kal. And yet if you look at, for

instance, our paid parental leave

policy, this was a policy s Tracey,

which I went out on a bit of a limb

to advocate, and I think to advocate, and I think this is

really quite vision ry, and I think

that people in the Labor Party are

a bit upset with themselves that

they didn't have the guts to go

down this path And yet even some

women have had problems with it. I

suspect if the left of politics had

some up with this idea they would

have thought isn't it fantastic. I

think it's just that some people

heads around have found it hard to wrap their

heads around the thought that a

conservative political movement

would come up with such a vision ry

- vision ry policy for the women of

Australia. In terms of vision,

let's talk about WorkChoices. You

said in your book that WorkChoices

wasn't all bad. Only a year ago you

said in Parliament that work place

reform was one of the greatest

achievements of the Howard

Government. Now we're to believe

it's dead, buried and off the

agenda. Because I've become the

leader of a political party. I have

spent most of the nine months that

I have been the leader talking to

the community and the great lesson

that I have heard and learnt from

the community, Tracey, on the

subject of work place relations, is

that they are sick of change. So

what they're going to get from me

is stability and certainty. If

there's going to be any change it

will come from if Labor Party. What

does it say about you, that you can

reverse, though, such strongly held

viks about WorkChoices? Well, it

says that I am first and foremost

and Democrat. I am first and

foremost someone who respects the

will of the people. Can we believe

you because if as you told Kerry

O'Brien, sometimes you don't always

tell the truth. And that was not

obviously my greatest interview,

but the fact is that I have been

very, very clear. I could not have

been clearer in the course of this

campaign about where I stand on

this and many other things, and -

look, that's what you'll get from

me. You will get the commitments

that we've made during this

campaign. You say that you will

turn back the boats, physically

turn back the boats. If the people

smugglers sin tk first one that you

turn around, will you drop that

idea? Tracey, boats have been

turned around before. They've been

turned around safely thank to the

professionalism of the Australian

Navy. And back in 2002, when this

was happening, no lesser person

than Julia Gillard, then the shadow

minister for immigration, said that

it was the right thing to do. Now,

obviously I would be guided by the

expert advice of the naval

personnel on the spot and I know

the Australian Navy. They would

never do anything that they didn't

think was safe. Why wouldn't the

people smugglers just sink it,

scuttle it? Well, it just goes to

show, does it not, that if that was

to happen what an evil trade this

is. As I said, it was done seven

times in 2001 and 2002. It's been

done before. There's no reason why

under the right circumstances it

couldn't be done again. Alright.

Let's talk about broad ban.

Australia is a first world

progressive, globally engaged

country. Why shouldn't we have a

first rate, communications

technology? And we will have under

the coalition. Let's not forget,

Tracey, that we are proposing to

invest 6.3 billion dollars in a

national broadband system, but ours

is national, not nationaliseed. But

in terms of technology yours isn't

a patch on what the Government is

promising. Don't assume that. I was

on the Manly ferry last night going

to Circular Quay to my electorate.

I reckon every fourth person was

there with their laptops up and

running and they were using why fi

to connect to the broad ban. Now,

this is wireless technology. It's

getting better all the time. Why

should we chain broadband users to

fixed lines which is what the

point on this, Government wants to do. The other

point on this, I mean, this is a

Government which, on the one hand,

says we're going to give you this

very fast broadband connection e

then they want to slap this great

big filter on the thing. Julia

Gillard nows says that she's open

to a carbon price in the first term

of Government. What's your response

to that? Well, that means that the

Australian public had better get

ready for a whacking great increase

in their electricity prices should

this Government be returned. I mean,

a carbon price means an electricity

tax. So that's my first response.

My second response is s hang on a

minute, what's the point of the

citizen's assembly if she's already

decided what's going to come out of

it? When you say that, are you

saying that you think Australians

are not ready for a little bit of

pain to help save the plan net or are you saying

are you saying that you don't

really think the plan net needs

saving? I think that there are

better ways of achieving emissions

reduction than whack aing new tax

on consumers. But you've questioned

the science on global warming on consumers. But you've questioned the science on global warming and

underlying all of that I think

Australians who care about global

warming and believe in global

warming don't really think you

believe in it. But the important thing is

thing is to get the emissions

reductions. We'll get the emissions

reductions. We have a plan. We have

a policy. It's far from clear

exactly what the Prime Minister has

in mind. Other than this threat of

a great big new tax So you're

saying you'll get the emissions

reductions even if you don't really

believe in it. Well, I believe in

taking prudent precautions against taking prudent precautions against

reasonably foreseeable threats. Now,

if we can, get a significant

reduction in emissions at a

reasonably affordable price without

putting undue burdens on consumers

and damaging our economy, sure, we

should do it and that's what I'm

proposing to do If the global

financial crisis mark 2 hits, as

many people are concerned and

believe it may, will you drop your

surplus plans and spend to save us?

Obviously if the whole world

changes I would respond

appropriately. The point I make,

though, Tracey, is that the

Government, in response to the

first global crisis or what we now

think of as the global financial

crisis, was only able to spend up

big because of the good management

and the real reforms of its

predecessors, Labor and Liberal.

Now, because of this spending spree,

which I say was too much too soon,

we would be in a much weaker

position to respond to any future

shock. So if there's nothing left

in the kitty now, what will you do?

Well, as I said, we will respond

intelligently and appropriately to

whatever arises, and under the

economic proposals that we've put

forward, we will spend 11.5 billion

dollars less over the forward

estimates than Labor l and at the

end of the forward estimates period,

debt will be 30 billion dollars

less under us Are you saying you

wouldn't rule out stimulus spending

if there is another crisis. I don't

rule out an intelligent economic

policy. What I do rule out is the

kind of spending spree that we've

seen from this Government which

amongst other things has given us

the pink bats tragedy and the

school hall rip offs. The school

hall rip offs were directly the

responsibility of really the - I

think the administrative negligence

of Prime Minister Gillard Thank you

very much for your time. Thanks so

much, Tracey. You can see

comprehensive compage of the

election on the nine met network