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Early Agenda -

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ASHLEIGH GILLON: Welcome back to AM Agenda joining me now on our panel of politicians, from
Melbourne the Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation and Industry Richard Marles and from Adelaide
the Liberal MP Jamie Briggs. I know that both of you have had the weekend to digest everything that
happened last week, but over the weekend poor old Wayne Swan, the new Deputy Prime Minister was
attending the G20 summit in Toronto and he was just a little confused, take a look.

WAYNE SWAN: The Deputy Prime Minister, sorry the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister indicated very
clearly that she was opening the door to further negotiations and asks that the mining companies
open their minds.

ASHLEIGH GILLON: I'm sure we can forgive Wayne Swan; he probably had a real lack of sleep last week
but Richard do you think voters are going to forgive Labor as easily? Are you worried they'll hold
a grudge over the way that Labor so brutally knifed Kevin Rudd?

RICHARD MARLES: Well, firstly I think the Deputy Prime Minister is a doing a fine job in Toronto
and in answer to your question I don't think that will be the case at all. Look, we had a difficult
decision to face last week and I think ultimately it was faced swiftly as it needed to be done as
everybody concerned, even Kevin Rudd, felt that this was a question that needed to be determined
quickly and indeed I think both Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard handled themselves on Thursday with an
enormous amount of dignity but we needed to make sure that we had the best team on the park. I
felt, as I know a lot of people in the caucus felt, that it was, we getting to the point where we
may not win the election with Kevin Rudd that the government had lost its way and we needed to make
sure that we got Gary Ablett of the bench and put her on the ball and that's what we did. And in a
sense where the football analogy doesn't hold is that what's at stake here is not just a cup,
what's at stake here is the future of every Australian because if Tony Abbott wins this election we
will see a return to WorkChoices, we will see cuts in services, the trade training centre at Corio
Bay will be cut as it will be in suburbs around the country, the stakes are very high and we have
an obligation to the Australian people to make sure we put the best team on the field and make sure
that we do everything we can to win this election.

ASHLEIGH GILLON: Jamie Briggs, we saw you chuckling through that answer, but how worried is the
Coalition now? Is this a much tougher fight for Tony Abbott now that Julia Gillard's at the helm?

JAMIE BRIGGS: Well, the problem with Richard's analogy is that Gary Ablett wasn't on the bench if
indeed she is Gary Ablet, she was on the ball already. She was a co-author of all the decisions,
the insulation decision, the softening of our borders and, of course, the creme de la crème she was
architect of the program with the greatest government waste in the history of the Commonwealth. So,
Julia Gillard wasn't sort of a bystander in all these events, she was part of the team. So, you may
have changed the jockey on the horse but you haven't changed the horse and that's our point and the
only way to change the leadership of our country is to change the government.

ASHLEIGH GILLON: But still, isn't Tony Abbott's job a lot harder now?

JAMIE BRIGGS: Well, look we always expected that Julia Gillard would get a honeymoon, she's going
to have fantastic coverage for a few days and in fact she's probably lucky she did because the hit
squads which have probably just finished cleaning their knives had she not got a honeymoon they
might've just turned around and finished the job. So, we're not surprised that she's got a
honeymoon, Julia Gillard will get a honeymoon but the Australian people won't, they won't get a
honeymoon from the boats, they won't get a honeymoon from all the debt, they won't get a honeymoon
from all the waste and mismanagement that this government which Julia Gillard has been, as she
described herself yesterday with Laurie Oaks the vice captain of, has inflicted on the Australian
people. And so the only way to change the leadership of our country is to change the government.

ASHLEIGH GILLON: Richard Marles, can you understand that a lot of voters are angry at the way this
all happened? Do you feel even a little bit guilty about the way that Labor did knife Kevin Rudd
and what do you think his future is now? Would you like to see him as part of the new ministry line
up?

RICHARD MARLES: Oh well, to answer the last question first, and I think Tony Burke said the same
thing, I understand that Julia and Kevin spoke last night. I think the future of Kevin Rudd is
really a matter for those two to determine and I don't want to add any comments to that. In terms
of your first questions, look, there is no question that last week was a profoundly difficult
decision to make and a lot of things happened on Thursday and one of them was that it was a very
sad day and I don't think my caucus colleagues would mind me saying that after Kevin made his
speech in the caucus making the statement that he did there was a standing ovation and a very
heartfelt thanks for what he had done as Prime Minister and throughout the great majority of the
time as Prime Minister. I think he was a fantastic Prime Minister and leaves a wonderful legacy,
but that said we were in apposition where the government had lost its way where we did face losing
the election and we didn't need, and the stakes involved in that were just too high. Tony Abbott
becoming the Prime Minister of this country would be a disaster. We would see a return to
WorkChoices and cuts in those services and ...

JAMIE BRIGGS: Ah, that's not true ...

RICHARD MARLES:... we needed to make sure that we ...

JAMIE BRIGGS: ... that's not true.

RICHARD MARLES: ... well, we needed to make sure that we had the best team on the park and it was a
fine thing indeed. And this is the other point about the, on Thursday the 24th of June, it was a
fine thing indeed ...

JAMIE BRIGGS: So when did you know, Richard?

RICHARD MARLES: ... it was a fine thing indeed ...

JAMIE BRIGGS: When did you know the hits squad was on its way?

RICHARD MARLES: ... to see Julia Gillard come into Question Time as the first female Prime Minister
of this country to perform so wonderfully as we knew she would. It's been a fine thing to watch her
over the weekend. And it's not just a matter of her public performance, or though that is of
course, you know, very, very good, but it's also a matter of substance. You've seen her move on the
RSPT, it's great to see ...

JAMIE BRIGGS: No, we haven't, that's not true.

RICHARD MARLES: ...it's great to see both sides playing down ...

ASHLEIGH GILLON: Okay, well let's ask ...

RICHARD MARLES: ... their arms and not doing advertising and I'm sure that we will see moves over
the coming days ...

JAMIE BRIGGS: So ...

RICHARD MARLES: ... to try and resolve that issue.

ASHLEIGH GILLON: Jamie, are you expecting that we will see some significant moves in the coming
days and do you think the Coalition would actually be urging the mining companies not to strike a
deal with Julia Gillard over the new Tax? Or would like to see it resolved before the election?

JAMIE BRIGGS: Ah, this is just classic Labor spin, I mean, Julia Gillard was in the gang of four
which has been slowly whittled away to the gang of two when they made the decision to spend the
government advertising in the first place, so her great new promise to suspend the government
advertising she first agreed to undertake is a little ironic. So, as far as the so called deal with
the mining company, we all know already from the newspaper reports that Kevin Rudd had been in
negotiations, so called negotiations, and was going to offer some sort of arrangement on Friday but
Richard, some of Richard's mates in Victoria and some of his mates in New South Wales have decided
well before that that Kevin Rudd wasn't going to survive, so Kevin Rudd didn't get the opportunity
to make that announcement. So, what we're going to see, some window dressing between now and the
election but I say again the only way to change the leadership of this country, the only way to
reduce the debt to get us back to a deficit, to a surplus budget, the only way to stop the boats is
to change the government. That is the simple choice for the Australian people in the months ahead,
or the weeks ahead. They will try and window dress in the next week or two, they will call an early
election and they will try and fool the Australian people that they are different, they are not. It
is the same horse just with a different jockey.

ASHLEIGH GILLON: It's a fair point isn't it, Richard Marles? Julia Gillard was there when all these
key decisions were being made. It sounds like she wasn't speaking up a whole lot in the kitchen
cabinet if now she's so suddenly changing a lot of these opinions. When it comes to population,
she's looking at a shift perhaps on climate change, asylum seekers, the mining tax?

RICHARD MARLES: Oh, look Julia has made it very clear that she accepts responsibility for her part
in the Rudd government and let's also be clear ...

JAMIE BRIGGS: She was vice captain, Richard.

RICHARD MARLES: ... no, let's also be clear this is a good government, or had been a good
government which in, you know, its last few months had lost its way but I think it's fair to say
had lost its way significantly and needed to be brought back on track. But there is a huge
difference, I mean, we've all got to understand this, there is a huge difference, if you like to
use that analogy between being the vice captain and the captain, there is a huge difference between
being one person in that group and being the Prime Minister and you will see a new, you will see a
new government in the context of the Gillard government. One which certainly builds upon the
achievements of the Rudd government but which has some important differences and does move to get
us back on track and to solve some of these issues which, like the RSPT, which need resolving
quickly. But I might also say, you know, there was a lot that was fantastic about the Rudd
government that will continue. One of those was actually getting, you mentioned getting the budget
back into surplus, we will be getting the budget back into surplus by 2013, none of that changes.
We've just seen an announcement from the G20 where the advanced economies are saying they will
halve their debt by 2013 in the same year that the advanced economies are going halve their debt
we're actually putting our budget back into surplus, that's a real indication of how strong ...

ASHLEIGH GILLON: Okay ...

RICHARD MARLES: ... our economy is.

ASHLEIGH GILLON: Richard Marles we are out of time, Jamie Briggs thank you to you as well for
joining us.

JAMIE BRIGGS: Thanks, Ashleigh.

RICHARD MARLES: Thank you.