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Transcript of doorstop interview Surdex, Dandenong South: Melbourne: 18 October 2012: Julia Gillard's carbon tax; electricity prices; the Coalition's plans for a stronger Australia; MYEFO; Security Council bid; David Hicks; Kevin Rudd



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JOH

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

18 October 2012

TRANSCRIPT OF THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR DOORSTOP INTERVIEW, DANDENONG SOUTH, MELBOURNE

Subjects: Julia Gillard’s carbon tax; electricity prices; The Coalition's plans for a stronger Australia; MYEFO; Security Council bid; David Hicks; Kevin Rudd.

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

TONY ABBOTT:

It’s good to be here at Surdex. This is a major steel distributor, probably the biggest privately-owned steel distributor in our country. It’s one of the tens of thousands of Australian businesses which are suffering because of the policies of this Government, in particular, the carbon tax.

Now, this business’ power bill has gone up by almost $4,000 a month, wholly and solely because of the carbon tax. That’s almost a 15 per cent increase, wholly and solely because of the carbon tax. Now, the last thing that the businesses and the families of Australia need is a government which is making their struggles harder and that’s exactly what the carbon tax does. It makes the struggles of business to compete harder. It makes the struggles of families with cost of living pressures harder. This is a government which is making difficult situations worse with its policies, particularly with its carbon tax.

My objective is to make it easier for Australian families. My objective is to make it easier for Australian employers and the best and the quickest way to do that is to get rid of the carbon tax - this toxic tax, this bad tax based on a lie - which is hurting families and hurting employers right around Australia right now.

I want to scotch this myth that the Gillard Government is interested in getting power prices down. Wrong. The whole point of the carbon tax is to put prices up. This government is deliberately trying to raise power prices. Every time your power bill goes up, the Prime Minister has a smile on her face because that’s the carbon tax doing its job. The only certainties under the carbon tax are that prices go up and emissions go up, because that’s what the Government’s forecasts tell us.

So, every day I am giving the people of Australia a positive vision - a vision of a country that can be better than this. We will rebuild this country. We will rebuild household budgets by eliminating unnecessary taxes. We will rebuild our infrastructure by ending years of neglect. Above all else, we will rebuild trust in our polity by ending the deceit which the Australian people have sadly become accustomed to over the last few years. That is the mission that my colleagues and I are engaged upon.

Finally, I just want to say that there is increasing word out of Canberra that the Government is going to rush out the MYEFO statement next week. It is completely unprecedented for MYEFO to be released in October,

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outside of an election year and it is further evidence that this Government is incapable of being straight with the Australian people; is incapable of being honest about public finances and is trying to rush out MYEFO before the truth about declining revenues is categorically and finally exposed.

So, this is a Government which I fear is utterly incapable of delivering an honest surplus. This is a Government which is addicted to cooking the books, and rushing MYEFO out early will be more evidence that you just can’t trust this Government with public finances.

QUESTION:

Mr Abbott, you just said that emissions would go up as a result of the carbon tax. Now, a report released today said that nationally, emissions have gone down by more than seven per cent as a result since the carbon tax came in. What do you say to that?

TONY ABBOTT:

The reduction in generation in Victoria is mostly the result of flooding which has taken a large percentage of the brown coal generating capacity out of action over the last couple of months. So, I don’t think the Government should be claiming any credit for this. In any event, the fact that electricity generating is going down is a sign of weakness in the economy, not success from the Government’s policies. The other point I make is that if you look at the Government’s own modelling, Australia’s emissions go up, not down, under the carbon tax. So, this is a Government which simply can’t get its story straight.

QUESTION:

Despite your warnings that the carbon tax would lead to price gauging and all those kind of things the ACCC, again, released the report that said there are no examples of that whatsoever. Do you have to retract that statement now?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, the point I’ve made is that the whole purpose of the carbon tax is to put prices up. Now, it…

QUESTION:

Yes, but you’re referring to price gauging as a result of the carbon tax, people would be taking advantage of it, there’s been no instances of that to a large degree that you said there would be.

TONY ABBOTT:

No, I was making the absolute irrefutable point that the whole purpose of a carbon tax is to raise the price of power. If the price doesn’t go up the carbon tax isn’t working. This Government is deliberately pursuing a policy of putting prices up. That is the whole point of a carbon tax. The Prime Minister wants your power bills to go up because that’s the carbon tax doing its job.

QUESTION:

The Security Council seat is due to be announced tonight. What do you think Australia’s prospects are?

TONY ABBOTT:

Let’s face it, the competition is Finland and Luxembourg and if Australia can’t come first or second in a three horse race involving Finland and Luxembourg there’s something wrong with us. It would be absolutely disastrous given the millions and millions of dollars and the extraordinary dislocation of diplomatic

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priorities, it would be absolutely disastrous for our country if we didn’t win this ballot. Let’s face it, it shouldn’t be too hard to win a race against Finland and Luxembourg.

QUESTION:

David Hicks is set to appeal his US conviction after a similar charge was found to be unlawfully applied retrospectively. Do you have any comments on that at all?

TONY ABBOTT:

I think the Australian people would be absolutely dismayed if David Hicks ends up getting compensation from the Australian Government. I mean, this is a government which is refusing to provide modest assistance to the victims of terrorism and now it seems we might end up paying compensation to someone who is an associate of terrorists. So, I think this is a real sign of disordered priorities.

QUESTION:

Nicola Roxon was accused by George Brandis yesterday of dealing with the Slipper affair in a political manner and a dishonest manner. That’s a strong charge, do you agree with that?

TONY ABBOTT:

The extraordinary feature of the way the first law officer of the Crown has handled this is that instead of trying to ensure that we have the impartial administration of justice, she has clearly been acting as the leader of the Peter Slipper defence team. Now, on the one hand, you’ve got the Prime Minister acting like a victim rather than a leader and on the other hand you’ve got the first law officer of the country supporting someone whose attitudes towards women and in many other areas are completely unacceptable.

QUESTION:

Are you referring to Ms Gillard’s speech in terms of acting like a victim?

TONY ABBOTT:

I think that the Australian people expect their Prime Minister to act like a leader and not a victim.

QUESTION:

Kevin Rudd called for less attention to be called to the sexism debate. Does that make him an ally of yours?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, there’s no doubt that Kevin Rudd has probably been the greatest victim of all of the politics of personal destruction which this Prime Minister plays time and time again. So, I can fully understand why Kevin Rudd has called for an end to personal attacks because let’s face it, the most savage personal attacks of all are those that the Prime Minister and her ministers mounted on Kevin Rudd.

Now, one of the reasons why I can say with absolute confidence that the next election campaign will be the filthiest and the most personal in living memory is because you just have to look at how Labor treats its own to see how they’re going to treat their political opponents in a very hard-fought election contest. Kevin Rudd knows what it’s like to be the victim of a savage personal assault from this Prime Minister. That’s why I can understand why he’s calling for a truce in all of this. Thank you.

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[ends]