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Transcript of joint doorstop interview: Prahran, Victoria: 8 October 2012: the Coalition's plan for safer streets; Budget; Reserve Bank; wheat industry; the Coalition's paid parental leave plan



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JOH

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR FEDERAL MEMBER FOR WARRINGAH

8 October 2012

TRANSCRIPT OF THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR JOINT DOORSTOP INTERVIEW WITH THE HON. TED BAILLIEU, PREMIER OF VICTORIA AND MS KELLY O’DWYER MHR, FEDERAL MEMBER FOR HIGGINS,

PRAHRAN, MELBOURNE

Subjects: The Coalition’s plan for safer streets; Budget; Reserve Bank; wheat industry; the Coalition’s paid parental leave plan.

EO&E...........................................................................................................................................

PREMIER TED BAILLIEU:

I’m very pleased to be here this morning in Prahran with Tony Abbott and Kelly O’Dwyer and Clem Newton-Brown and also the Mayor of Stonnington, John Chandler. As we have said many times there is a great need in Victoria to change the culture around anti-social behaviour and around violence and one of the keys to doing that is to increase surveillance levels. That’s one of the reasons why we have rolled out additional police and indeed additional and new protective services officers and why also we set up a community crime prevention fund and we’ve in recent days indicated that we will be doing more with that crime prevention fund in terms of CCTV cameras.

There is no doubt that the community opportunities for additional surveillance, additional crime prevention measures are endless but CCTV cameras and other measures play a critical role in that. I am very pleased to be here with Tony Abbott this morning, the Leader of the Opposition, as he makes a commitment to the very things that we have been talking about for some time. We’ve made commitments to this area and we’ve seen the Howard Government in the past make commitments. We will be increasing our role and I’m delighted that Tony’s got some announcements this morning.

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, thanks very much, Ted. It’s terrific to be here in Prahran with Kelly O’Dwyer and with Premier Ted Baillieu and with representatives of the local community to make this announcement. First of all, I want to thank Premier Ted Baillieu for the work the Victorian Government is doing to increase CCTV coverage here in places which are prone to anti-social behaviour. The Coalition has long been a big supporter of increased CCTV coverage. In fact, going into the 2007 election the then Howard Government promised some $360,000 to install CCTVs in this whole Prahran Market area. So, we have a consistent record of support for CCTV because we have a consistent record of support for safer communities.

As the father of three daughters I want our communities to be safe for our children to be there in the evening. I think we ought to be able to enjoy our communities free from fear and CCTV is an important part

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in ensuring that if crime takes place it is detected and it is resolved. CCTV is an important element in ensuring that our communities are much safer for the families of this country.

So, today I commit the Coalition to $50 million over four years toward safer communities, particularly towards more CCTV coverage. The $50 million over four years will come from the proceeds of crime fund, which the current Government has frozen and committed to improving the budget bottom line. Now, I am all in favour of improving the budget bottom line but you don’t improve the budget bottom line at the expense of Australian families; you don’t improve the budget bottom line by allowing crime to flourish. That’s why the money from the proceeds of crime should be used to make crime more difficult. Crime should not pay and where crime does pay, it should pay in the long run for safer communities. That’s why this $50 million is going to be unfrozen under the Coalition and dedicated to increased CCTV coverage.

This is all about our desire to make life better for the people of Australia, particularly to make life better for the forgotten families of Australia. I will scrap the carbon tax because I want to ease the cost of living pressures on Australian families. I will get government spending down because I want to ease the pressure on home buyers. I will spend $1.5 billion towards the East West Link because I don’t want the people of Melbourne and Victoria sitting needlessly in traffic jams and the Coalition will spend $50 million over four years on better CCTV because we want our streets to be safer. It’s all about building a better life for the people of Australia. That’s what I am all about.

I’m going to ask Kelly O’Dwyer to speak and I think Inspector White might like to say a few words.

KELLY O’DWYER:

Thank you very much Tony, and thank you very much to the Premier for both coming out to the heart of Higgins and the heart of the entertainment district here in Victoria and here in Melbourne. It’s very, very important that we have an entertainment district that is safe: safe not only for those people who are going to bars, to nightclubs, but also safe for the residents who live in this area and I’m very proud to have been working with the Lara Barry Street Residents Association on this terrific initiative - the announcement of more CCTV cameras - and also the Chapel Street Precinct, the business community here in the heart of Higgins who have also been very, very strong in saying that we need more CCTV cameras in this area.

We made a commitment in 2007 with the previous member for Higgins, Peter Costello, when he committed $360,000 for CCTV cameras for this local area. We reaffirmed that commitment when I stood up and took over as the local member here. I have written numerous times to the Government asking for these funds for this area. They have rebuffed me now on more than four occasions. We need the money for CCTV cameras, we need to ensure that our communities are safe. I am very pleased to have been working with the local council, the Stonnington Council, with the Mayor John Chandler who is here today. Together, we can make our community safer and I’d like to very much thank Tony Abbott and also the Premier for the commitment that they have made here today, reaffirming to ensure that our communities can once again be much safer through this great technology. I would like to welcome Inspector Adrian White who will talk a little bit more about how this technology can make a difference.

INSPECTOR ADRIAN WHITE:

Thanks, Kelly. I’m just here really just to support essentially the council who have done all the heavy lifting on getting CCTV cameras. We’re moving in to a phase where we will soon have 10 CCTV cameras from in Chapel Street ranging from Toorak Road down to Windsor Railway Station and that merely provides my officers with another tool, another tool in the kit bag, if you like, to be able to reduce the level of harm that can be caused now. Stonnington and Chapel Street is a very safe place to come, it is a safe place to live, work and visit. We have something in the vicinity of 140-odd licenced premises just in the main Chapel Street precinct. The Stonnington licenced liquor accord is very effective in making sure that those venues perform to the best of their ability and their safety levels and they do do that. What happens, however, is that a lot of people still come in to Chapel Street because it is a night time hub and they choose to behave badly

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and poorly. They’ll come in, they’ll drink out of hours, they’ll drink out of the licenced premises and that causes some concern for me. So, what these cameras will provide is the ability for us to monitor and record crimes after they’ve happened and it will help us provide a safer and better society for us all. Thank you.

TONY ABBOTT:

Ok, do we have any questions?

QUESTION:

Mr Abbott, how would the funding for the CCTV cameras be split up between the states and local government areas?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, it will be done on an application basis. We’ll be inviting local organisations, particularly local councils, to make application. We’ll be looking for evidence that the application is supported by local police and the local community and, as is normally the case with these sorts of funds, we’ll ensure that the money is split up between the various states and territories on a fair and proportionate basis.

QUESTION:

[Inaudible]

TONY ABBOTT:

This is an ongoing, long term concern of ours, but obviously we’ve had recent evidence of how useful CCTV footage can be. This is not something that we’ve only just discovered in the last few weeks. This is something that we’ve been very committed to for quite a few years now. As you heard Kelly and I say just a few moments ago, back in 2007 the then government promised $360,000 for CCTV in Chapel Street. Unfortunately the incoming government, the current government, didn’t go ahead with that and that means for five years Chapel Street has been denied the CCTV coverage that it should have. Now, thanks to Ted Baillieu and the local council, it is belatedly being installed and under the programme that I’ve committed to today, there will be $50 million to do this kind of thing right around Australia at places which are potentially crime hotspots.

QUESTION:

Mr Abbott, are you now looking for $50.05 billion in savings? Do we add that on?

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, this is money that is there in the Budget. It is money from the proceeds of crime. There’s in fact $58 million sitting there in the Budget which the Government has frozen. I’m saying unfreeze that money and spend it for legitimate purposes and the most legitimate thing of all with money which comes from the proceeds of crime is crime prevention.

QUESTION:

Isn’t it right though, if you spend it, you need to find the savings somewhere, don’t you?

TONY ABBOTT:

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We have a big savings task, there is no doubt about that. But the fact that savings are necessary does not mean that the Government should not be spending on high priority projects and what higher priority project could there be than trying to ensure that our streets are safe? As I said, my whole theme is about making life better for Australian families: take the cost of living pressure off by scrapping the carbon tax, take the interest rate pressure off by getting government spending down, take the infrastructure pressure off by spending on sensible infrastructure and make people feel more secure in their streets with things like better CCTV coverage.

QUESTION:

But why should it be up to the federal government to intervene in an area that is usually the domain of state and local government?

TONY ABBOTT:

Because there is Commonwealth proceeds of crime legislation which enables the Commonwealth to take to itself money which is obviously the proceeds of crime and that money should be dispersed on crime prevention and the best thing we can do here is work with the states, work with local governments, work with local organisations and in particular local police, to ensure that this money is spent making our streets and our communities safer.

QUESTION:

Just on another issue, Glenn Stevens I understand is appearing before a Parliamentary committee today. Do you still have confidence in him in light of the Securency issues?

TONY ABBOTT:

Obviously, there are important questions that the RBA does need to answer and I’m confident that the Governor will give the best answers that can be given today but look, I think that the Reserve Bank is doing a good, highly competent and professional job but there have been very serious admissions made on behalf of these various businesses and that’s why it’s appropriate that the Parliamentary committee should be questioning the Governor today.

QUESTION:

Just on the Wheat Board reforms, it looks like you might be facing a bit of a backbench revolt there. Have you had a chance to talk to any of your wavering members?

TONY ABBOTT:

We have a strong commitment to deregulation of the wheat industry but it’s got to be a managed transition. My members are constantly talking to responsible people in the sector and there are big issues that need to be resolved before the market could responsibly be fully deregulated. There’s access to ports issues, there’s quality control issues, there’s market information issues and these are the things that really do have to be fully addressed before the wheat market could responsibly be deregulated and that’s why we think it’s important to manage the transition.

QUESTION:

But there’s three members of your backbench who look like they might cross the floor and there’s Alby Schultz saying he’ll abstain. They don’t seem to be part of your collective there.

TONY ABBOTT:

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I accept that this is a difficult issue and I accept that there are strong feelings on both sides of this particular issue but look, we’ve made a judgement call and I’m confident that we’ll stick with the judgement call that we’ve made.

QUESTION:

Will members who cross the floor face any sanction?

TONY ABBOTT:

There are standard procedures inside the Coalition for dealing with this kind of thing and we don’t change our standard procedures in particular situations.

QUESTION:

Is Senator Sue Boyce right to say that the Coalition isn’t attracting enough women and that the party is in danger of being overtaken by social conservatives?

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, that’s obviously a particular position but I think it’s very important that we attract more women and one of the reasons why I’m so proud to be standing here with Kelly O’Dwyer is because she is a marvellous example of the kind of successful, competent, dynamic woman that we have in our ranks and I’m very confident that we’ll have more after the next election.

QUESTION:

Do you need to do more to attract more?

TONY ABBOTT:

There’s a sense in which we always have to do more but one of the things that I am very, very proud of is the fact that I am the first leader of a major political party to be committed to a proper paid parental leave scheme that is based on a woman’s real wage, based on a real wage not just a welfare wage. Now, I think this is about the most important single advance that the women of Australia can make, to have a proper paid parental scheme; a proper scheme that gives the women of Australia a real choice to be economic contributors as well as social contributors, to have a career and a family. So, I think this is a very, very important social advance. I think it’s also a very, very important economic reform and I am pleased to be the first leader of a major political party to be committed to this and I know it’s been a difficult issue inside my party and our Coalition but I’m very pleased to have the support of my party and the Coalition on this and I’m particularly pleased to have someone like Kelly O’Dwyer by my side on an issue as important as this.

[ends]