Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
ABC News Breakfast -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) The top story on 'ABC

News Breakfast' this morning -

the Federal Government is

continuing to blame the

opposition for its failure of

the Malaysia asylum seeker

deal. The government has had to

abandon offshore processing

for its Migration after failing to get support

amendments. The Federal

Government is now looking at

using bridging visas to process asylum seekers onshore in community detention in

Australia. For more on this the

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott

joins us now. Tony Abbott, good

morning. Good to talk to you

again. Good morning. Many

community groups and NGOs such

as the Red Cross and asylum

seeker supporters and the left

of the Labor Party will be

quite happy and relieved today

that Australia now has onshore

processing. Are you comfortable

with the irony that this

situation is at least in part,

it's the opposition that's

brought it about? A number of

points. The first is that this

week we have seen the Gillard

Government adopt green policy

twice. First they've got the

carbon tax, now onshore

processing. Both Bob processing. Both Bob Brown's

policies. If they are serious

about offshore process and they

should be they could have it

tomorrow. All they have to do

is accept the opposition's

amendment that it should be at countries which have signed the

Refugee Convention. Now, it's

interesting that before the

election this was in fact Julia

Gillard's position herself. She

said that processing would not

take place in countries that

haven't signed the Refugee

Convention. I will return to my

question. Are you comfortable

that at least in part this is a situation that's been brought

about because of what the

opposition has decided to do or

not do? This has been brought

about because the government

has lost control of our

borders, it's lost control of

the Parliament. This is the

government's responsibility.

This matter is entirely of the

government's own making. It

doesn't stack up, Tony Abbott.

Your policy objectives are

almost identical to the

government. Our policy

objectives have been clear for

a decade. If you want to stop

the boats in the future as you

have in the past, we need

offshore processing at Nauru.

We need temporary protection

visas. And we need the option

of turning boats around where

it's safe to do so. Now, Julia Gillard can have her legislation through the

Parliament tomorrow if she

accepts our amendment. But

Nauru, which is what your

amendment pins on, is only a

possible destination for some

asylum seekers. It's simply not

big enough to deal with the tens of thousands of people

movements through the region

that we're looking at now.

Don't you have to concede that?

That's a place where some

people can go but it's not a

regional solution, is it? If

Nauru Stops the boats or helps

to stop the boat, well then, we

won't be getting the tens of

thousands of people that you're

talking about. But you can't

say that Nauru would stop the

boats to use your phrase. You

can't assume that with any

factual basis. Well, it did

before. But it was a different

situation five years ago, Tony

Abbott. You can't say that now

with Sri Lanka, with Burma,

with Pakistan and with Afghanistan, you've got the

same situation as you had when

the Howard Government was in

charge? Well, I'm not sure that the international situation has debt rateed that

much. There are far more people

movements. Well, I'm not sure

that you are in fact correct

this. But the point I make is

that the policy worked in the

past. It should be given a

chance to work again. The only

reason the government has no

policy is because of the Prime

Minister's stubbornness. She

should've known weeks ago that

the Malaysia people swap was

dead but she has never had a

Plan B. This is the Prime

Minister's possible. She

stubbornly and arrogantly

insisted that it had to be her

way or no way. It was never

going to be her way. And she

had no Plan B. But I say again,

if she wants offshore

processing, she can have her legislation through the

Parliament tomorrow. Provided she accepts the opposition's

amendment. But this is sounding

very much like a case of the

pot calling the kettle black.

You could be accused of

stubbornly and arrogantly

insisting of only on you way

and seeing the entire situation

of international movements of asylum seekers through one

prism, Nauru. Aren't you being

just as stubborn and arrogant?

It's not the opposition's job

to support bad policy. I will

have to jump in there. It's the opposition's job, if the policy

... You're doing a bit of

jumping in. It's the way to

move it along. If the policy

objectives of the two parties

are identical, and they are,

isn't it your job then to

support that policy? No, it's

my job to support good policy.

Malaysia is bad policy. The

Malaysia people swap is a cruel

deal for boat people. It's a

dud deal for Australia. And the

interesting thing is that the

Labor Party itself was going to

have significant abstentions if

the Prime Minister had insisted

on putting her legislation to

the vote in the Parliament. The

truth is it's not just the

coalition which is opposed to

the government's policy. There

are quite a number of

government backbenchers that

were proposing to on stain. So she has lost control of the

Parliament. She has lost

control of her policy and she

has lost control of her party. You've mentioned there

the damaging nature of some

elements of what can happen if

you send people to the wrong place. John Howard ended up place. John Howard ended up

removing people from Nauru

because of severe mental health

damage there. How do you insist

that wouldn't happen again?

Nauru is a much better option

than Malaysia. Because in Nauru

the camps would be run by Australians in accordance with

Australian standards . In

Malaysia, people would

essentially subjected to very

different standards, including

I regret to see, the

possibility of caning. So I'm

not saying for a second that

Nauru was one great big holiday

camp, but it was a much more

humane solution than what the

government is now proposing and

it's interesting that Father

Frank Brennan, the Jesuit moral

theologian has said it the

coalition's policy is the more

ethical one. What's your policy

on the issue of returns? How

would you handle that more

successfully than the Howard

Government did or indeed Thanou

this government does now,

particularly in relation to

Iranians and others? We'd

handle it in the same way that

the former government handled

it. Of the people that went to

Nauru, some 30% went back to

their country of origin. It was

something that was done before.

It can be done again. Do you

have a policy though on Iran?

As I said, it's been done in

the past. It can be done again.

30% of the people from Nauru

went back to their country of

origin. There is no reason why

if Nauru was reopened in

conjunction with the conjunction with the other elements of our policy that people couldn't be returned to

their countries of origin. We

have no arrangement with Iran.

I'm wondering if you become

Prime Minister, how you turn

that situation around. Well,

as I said, it was managed by

the former government, it's not

being managed by the current

government. I think it can be

managed again better by a

future government. The

government is now threatening

to intervene in the Qantas

dispute. What do you think is

the solution there? I think

the important thing to remember

is that Qantas has got to be

profitable to survive. I hope

that the management and the

staff can sit back down

together and come one an

arrangement that allows Qantas to remain profitable. Obviously

this action is damaging public

confidence. We've had a union

official publicly call on

people not to fly on Qantas. If

there was any serious damage to

Qantas that would be very bad

for our country. Putting

yourself in the position of the

government , what would be your

specific intervention? Well,

the first thing I would want to

get absolutely crystal clear is

that Qantas has got to make a

profit. And that moons that

it's got to have the sorts of

conditions and standards which

are comparable to those of its

competitors. Now, if it can't

make a profit, it can't survive

and the death of Qantas would

be an absolute disaster for

Australia, and I think it's

very, very important that we

give our national airline the

sort it needs. Just returning

to the issue of the carbon tax,

I have just returned from some

time in the west where major

minors such as Rio Tinto for

example are investing half a

billion dollars in low emission

power stations. They say

climate change is real and they're making serious

investment in order to deal

with it. Do you agree with

miners like Rio Tinto when they

do things like that? The

interesting thing is that

sensible Australian businesses

are already taking big steps to

reduce their emissions. And

they're doing all of that

without a carbon tax. Lots of

businesses will find their existing reductions activity

much harder with a carbon tax. It will eat into their

profitability. It will eat into their reserving. They won't be able to go ahead with the kind

of measures they're doing

now. It doesn't seem to be the

view over there where there is

a carbon tax in place or not,

they've identified that there

is an eschew they need to deal

with and they don't seem to

think at least in the

conversation I had with Sam

Walsh that this new carbon tax

is going to take them down? The

fact is that the carbon tax is

going to make it much harder for Australian businesses

particularly manufacturing

businesses to compete overseas.

This is a cost which our

companies will now face which their competitors overseas

won't face. If you eat into

companies' profitability, into

their margins, it will be much

harder for them to invest in

the clean green technology

which we were doing anyway. The

interesting thing is that

Australia has cut its emissions

intensity by almost 50% over

the last 15 years. We've done

that without a carbon tax. So the coalition's position,

unlike the government's, is to

take sensible steps to

encourage businesses to do what

they're already doing. Reducing

their fuel, reducing their

power, converting where they

can to more efficient forms of

power. I know you're going to

Cape York some time very soon,

to work in Indigenous communities there. What are you

planing to do exactly?

Basically, I'm going up to

Hopevale to assist with some of

the work that Noel Pearson is

doing. I think I'm basically

going to be helping with

home-building and my daughter

is coming up with me. She will

be helping in one of the local schools. As Prime Minister what

would your solution be to the Indigenous housing crisis which

is not just specific to this

Federal Government but has

dogged governments before it

all the way pack in time.

What's your solution? We need

to get away from this idea that

there's any magic wand that we

can wave to fix the problem in

the next six months, 12 months

or even necessarily in the next

few years. It is going to take

a long time to address the

entrenched problems of welfare

dependency which have afflicted particularly remote Aboriginal communities for so long the we have to break the welfare

culture. As Noel Pearson has so

often said, welfare is the

poison which is killing our

people. That is where it

starts. And part of improving

the housing problem is to

finally give Indigenous people

the capacity to buy their own homes. That's a very important

part of a solution here. How

long are you planning to spend

in Cape York? Well, unfortunately, it's only about

four days. I was going to go in

July, but the Prime Minister as

you might remember announced

the carbon tax. So my first

trip to Cape York had to be

postponed. Let's try to catch

up when you get back. Tony