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Sky News First Edition -

View in ParlView

Subjects: National Arboretum; Carbon price; Barnaby Joyce; Budget speculation; Newspoll; Visit to
North Asia

PM: Well I'm very pleased to be here on a beautiful Canberra morning with the ACT Chief Minister
Jon Stanhope and with our two local Members, Andrew Leigh and Gai Brodtmann, and we're here for a
very special celebration.

First, I'm here to announce that the Federal Government will provide $20 million to support the
further development of this National Arboretum. That will be a gift from the Federal Government to
the people of Canberra as Canberra moves towards celebrating its centenary, which will be a great
event - not just for Canberra, but for the whole nation; another way we can celebrate our wonderful
democracy.

I've also been here to plant a section of the Tree of Knowledge, the Tree of Knowledge being of
such special importance to the Labor Party - the tree under which shearers gathered to talk about
the future, to talk about fairness in our nation, and to talk about creating a political party to
deliver that fairness in the nation's parliaments, the Labor Party, and I'd like to very much thank
Peter and Norma for their donation to this place of this cutting from the Tree of Knowledge, which
is now proudly already growing alongside us.

I do want to take this opportunity to congratulate Jon Stanhope on his vision for creating this
National Arboretum. It is part of the original, wonderful design of Canberra. He's long fought for
it as a place that would be a completion of that design, a special place for people to come to see
trees that are endangered and can be cultivated and nurtured here, and to enjoy not only a
wonderful view but a very special environment, and I believe as this place develops it will take
its rightful place alongside the National Library, the Art Gallery, the Museum, the War Memorial,
Parliament House itself, as a wonderful attribute of Canberra for people who live here locally and
also for the many Australians and international visitors who come and spend some time here.

So, congratulations to Jon for his patience, persistence and vision with the development of this
National Arboretum.

I'll turn to the Chief Minister for some comments, and then we'll be very happy to take anybody's
questions.

CHIEF MINISTER STANHOPE: Thank you very much, Prime Minister.

I think you've said what I would say, that this is a very significant place for Canberra. It is
being developed as a national institution, a place for the future for Canberrans and for the whole
of Australia, and I am particularly pleased now and I thank the Prime Minister and the Commonwealth
Government most particularly for supporting this vision and supporting it in a most generous way,
with a commitment of $20 million to the further development of the Arboretum.

This place grew out of Walter Burley Griffin's vision for Canberra as Australia's great national
capital, a great national capital of a great nation, and we Canberrans and we the ACT Government
are very pleased to be playing what part we can in creating a national capital - not just our home,
a place that we Canberrans love, dearly love and live with and have within our heart, but a
national capital that we would hope that all Australians are and will become increasingly proud of.

This Arboretum and the concept and the decision to proceed with it did grow out of the devastation
of the 2003 bushfires. The site that we're standing on now was a commercial pine forest which was
completely obliterated within the bushfires. Canberra was enormously impacted through that event,
and we Canberrans took a decision that we would, out of the devastation, grow as a community; that
we would seek to restore those places that were devastated above and beyond what they were at the
time of the fire and this Arboretum is a continuing part of the commitment by we Canberrans to
rise, essentially, from those ashes, the ashes and the devastation of the bushfire.

But I'm particularly pleased today at the Commonwealth's commitment of $20 million to this project,
a great vote of confidence in what is a very important project for Canberra; a place of, I think,
enormous beauty, a beautiful city that will be enhanced by this place as it develops over the
years, the decades and the century.

So, thank you, Prime Minister, for your presence here today and I acknowledge the symbolism and the
significance of you planting here today a tree derived from the Tree of Knowledge at Barcaldine, a
place and event very significant in Australia's history, of enormous significance to those of us
within the Labor Party and committed to Labor Party philosophy and principles of fairness and
equality, which is what those of us within the Labor Party joined the Labor Party for - a
commitment, simply, to the fair go in every connotation of what the fair go is, that we are all
entitled to share equally in the bounty of this great nation in every aspect of our lives.

So, thank you, Prime Minister, for being here. It's a great honour to be here with you and I thank
you again.

PM: Now, I see some cold journalists in training, no doubt, for a long Budget session and mornings
out in front of the doors, but we better reward some of you with a question.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, the boss of the South Australian Australian Workers Union, Wayne
Hanson, has said that he thinks that Whyalla and Port Pirie could be wiped off the map - they're
his words - if the carbon tax goes ahead. What do you have to say to him?

PM: Well, look, I'm going to have to respectfully but completely disagree.

Carbon pricing is the right thing to do for this nations' future. If we want to have a prosperous
economy in the future, with all of the clean energy jobs of the future, then we've got to get on
with pricing carbon, and of course we'll be working with business and unions to make sure that
we're protecting Australian jobs as we price carbon and move to that clean energy future.

This is a simple scheme - you put a price on pollution, the big polluters pay, and you use that
money to protect Australian jobs and to assist households, as well as to fund programs to tackle
climate change.

That's what we'll get done.

Now I understand that there are people who want to know every detail of the scheme. That's
absolutely legitimate, and we will stick to the process we outlined to the Australian people. We've
described the mechanism. We're consulting now on the details. Business and unions are part of that
consultation, and then we will announce the full design of the scheme.

JOURNALIST: They're pretty strong words. He's saying that these two towns will be wiped of the map.

PM: Well, strong words don't make it right, and that's completely untrue. We will be protecting
Australian jobs as we price carbon.

We're going to get this done because it's the right thing to do for the nation's future. If you
want to have a prosperous economy in the future, if you want to have the jobs of the future, if you
want to do the right thing by our wonderful environment, then you believe in pricing carbon.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, what do you make of Barnaby Joyce looking to take on Tony Windsor at
the next election?

PM: Well, I understand Barnaby Joyce is now hunting around for a lower house seat. What I think
this means is Tony Abbott should come clean about the nature of the team he will take into the next
election.

Is Tony Abbott going to go to the next election saying to Australians that Barnaby Joyce would be
Deputy Prime Minister if Tony Abbott is elected as Prime Minister, that Barnaby Joyce is the man
who act as Prime Minister if Tony Abbott was overseas?

I think if that's Tony Abbott's plan for the future of the country, he should be crystal clear with
Australians about it.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, what do you have to say to people with MS, those kind of illnesses, who
are worried about cuts to medical research funding? Can you give them some certainty now?

PM: We're in Budget speculation season, and in Budget speculation season the media comes and the
media goes and I anticipate in about a week's time people will be reading stories saying that we're
going to sell the Sydney Harbour Bridge, those kind of things. Budget speculation season is well
and truly in train.

What I would say to people is when they look at the pages of their newspaper or read reports online
or hear them on TV or listen to the radio, first and foremost they should recognise this is just
speculation and the moment to judge is on Budget night.

So, for those that have reacted and even gone out and demonstrated because of their concerns, I'd
say the moment to judge is on Budget night, and I'd also say very confidently as I stand here to
those that are concerned about medical research - and I can understand those concerns, we want
medical research happening in this country, we want to make sure our very able scientists are there
looking for the cures for the future and the science that will guide us in the future - what I can
say very confidently to them is that there's never been more money invested in medical research in
this nation's history than there is today, right now, under this Government.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, why do you think voters, according to the latest Newspoll, prefer Kevin
Rudd as leader?

PM: Look, I don't comment on the polls, and I don't spend much time wondering about them. Polls
come, polls go. If I spent a lot of time studying polls I wouldn't get anything else done.

What I do instead is make the decisions, each and every day, that will make a difference to the
long term future of this country. It's about the long-term future in pricing carbon - doing the
right thing by the environment and creating the clean energy economy we need for the future; the
right thing with the forthcoming Budget - it's the right thing to have a Budget that doesn't add to
inflationary pressures which would make people's cost of living concerns even worse; the right
investments for the future of education, the future of health, and future infrastructure like the
National Broadband Network, so I'll spend my time focussed on those things rather than worrying or
wondering about polls that come and go.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, are you worried that Tony Windsor may baulk about the carbon price in
the face of a strong challenge from Barnaby Joyce?

PM: What I can say about Tony Windsor is he is a man who will always put his electorate first, not
his political career. What Tony Windsor has made clear is he will look at the carbon price package,
and when he can see the full details of it he will judge what's in the interests of his electorate
and the interests of the nation.

That's a position I very much respect.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, what's your message to some of your back benchers who are nervous,
claiming that they've lost control, that you've lost control of the political agenda as a result of
these attacks on the carbon tax?

PM: Well, I talk to members of the Labor Party all the time. I'm standing with two fine Caucus
members here in the ACT, and what I find when I talk to my Caucus colleagues is a lot of
determination to get this done. We believe in pricing carbon because it's the right thing to do for
the country's future.

We're standing here today in Australia where a big polluter can put carbon pollution in our
atmosphere and not pay any price at all. They can do it endlessly - any volume, any amount, any
day, any time, no price at all. We've got to change that, and the way of changing it is to put a
price on carbon pollution that those big polluters pay, and then they will innovate. They're smart
business people. They will adapt, they will change the way they do business to create less carbon
pollution, and that's the change we want to see for the future - a clean energy economy.

So, I find amongst my Caucus colleagues a lot of determination to get this job done.

JOURNALIST: You're heading to Japan tomorrow. Will you be raising the prickly issue of whaling with
the Japanese leader, and when you get to China, Stern Hu, issue like that?

PM: Look, I'll be having comprehensive talks with my counterparts. I'm going to Japan, to South
Korea, to China, and then of course on to the Royal wedding, so we'll be talking across the full
range of issues in our relationship, so you should expect me to raise the full range of issues,
including issues you've referred to.

But I do want to say, first and foremost, given that I am leaving for Japan tomorrow, that a big
purpose of my visit is to spend some time with the leaders of Japan, with not only political
leaders, business leaders, community leaders, and some time out in communities that have been so
hard hit by the devastating earthquake and tsunami that we saw in Japan.

Australia has sought to be a good friend of Japan during this very, very difficult time. I think
for many Australians the scale of this disaster is beyond our imagining. You know, the numbers of
people lost, people killed, are just so high it's hard to get your mind around that kind of
devastation.

I will be the first foreign leader invited to be in Japan since the earthquake and the tsunami. I'm
hoping to travel in the regions most affected by the earthquake and tsunami, and so a prime purpose
of my visit will be for Australia to say to the people of Japan 'we're with you during these very
difficult days'.

Thank you.