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Transcript of Joint doorstop: Gateway Motorway, Brisbane: 8 January 2013: Bushfires; Davidson Rural Fire Brigade; the Coalition's $1 billion commitment to Brisbane's Gateway Motorway extension; the Coalition's plans for a stronger economy and a stronger Australia; Peter Slipper; IVF; Rod McGarvie



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JOH

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

8 January 2013

TRANSCRIPT OF THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR JOINT DOORSTOP INTERVIEW WITH THE HON. JEFF SEENEY MP ACTING PREMIER OF QUEENSLAND GATEWAY MOTORWAY, BRISBANE

Subjects: Bushfires; Davidson Rural Fire Brigade; the Coalition’s $1 billion commitment to Brisbane’s Gateway Motorway extension; the Coalition's plans for a stronger economy and a stronger Australia; Peter Slipper; IVF; Rod McGarvie.

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

TONY ABBOTT:

It’s good to be here in Brisbane. I want to thank Jeff Seeney, the Acting Premier, and Scott Emerson, the Queensland Roads Minister, for making me so welcome here in Brisbane this morning. I want to thank Rod McGarvie for his presence. Rod McGarvie - the Coalition’s candidate for Lilley - is the candidate for the Gateway Motorway extension. He’s the only candidate for the Gateway Motorway extension and I’d also like to thank the local state member Kerry Millard for being here today.

I’ll have more to say in a minute about this particular project, but let me first of all just say that this is a difficult day for many Australians. Much of south eastern Australia is threatened by bushfires. Here in Queensland there is difficult fire weather approaching. This is a difficult day. This will almost certainly be another dangerous summer, but the great thing about Australians is that we rally together in tough times.

I thank the Prime Minister for her visit to the fire affected areas of Tasmania. I thank the Government for swiftly offering the standard disaster emergency assistance to all the victims of the Tasmanian fires and I want to encourage all my fellow Australians to make appropriate donations to the Tasmanian Bushfire Relief Fund.

Once this engagement is concluded, I’ll be going back to Sydney to be on standby with my own local brigade for the next couple of days while hopefully the fire potential emergency in New South Wales passes.

But this is a very important part of the Coalition’s positive plans for a better Australia. We want a stronger economy for a safe and secure Australia. We won’t have a stronger economy and a safer and more secure Australia without modern infrastructure. If we have cranes over our cities and if we have bulldozers at work on the ground, people know that our country is going ahead and that’s what I want and within twelve months of the election of a Coalition government in Canberra, additional work will be going forward on the Gateway Motorway extension. As things stand, this is often one of the longest car parks in our country. It does need more work. It does need more federal funding. It is long overdue and it will swiftly go ahead under an incoming Coalition government.

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Better roads mean better communities. Better roads are good for our economy. They’re good for our society. They’re good for our physical and mental health. They’re even good for the environment, because cars that are moving spew out far less pollution than cars that are standing still.

So, I’m really proud to be leading a Coalition in Canberra which is going to help a strong Coalition government here in Queensland. I’m delighted to be standing shoulder to shoulder with my friend and colleague, the Acting Premier, Jeff Seeney. I’m really pleased to be here with a dynamic new Roads Minister, Scott Emerson, who is doing such a fantastic job and I might ask the Acting Premier just to say a few words.

JEFF SEENEY:

Thanks, Tony. The Queensland Government certainly welcomes the commitment that the federal Coalition has made to this road project. It is, as Tony said, quite often the biggest car park in Brisbane and it is a job that will benefit a whole range of people when it is completed. But it won’t be completed unless we get federal funding. The state government cannot find the $1.3 billion that is necessary on our own. We depend on federal road funding for projects such as this on what is the national highway. So, we welcome the commitment that’s been given by Tony and the federal Coalition today. It will mean that if Tony is elected Prime Minister, there’s a federal Coalition government in Canberra, this road will be done. It will be completed and it will no longer be a source of enormous frustration to the people of Brisbane.

QUESTION:

So, Mr Abbott, this is the campaigning in earnest now, is it?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, obviously, this is an election year and it’s very important that the Coalition demonstrates to the people of Queensland and Australia that we are strong and credible alternative government. Now, a credible alternative government ends procrastination and gets on with the projects that Australia needs. For too long under the current government in Canberra, we’ve had endless process, endless enquiries, not enough direct action to get things done and I think the Australian people want deeds, not words, and that’s what they’ll get from an incoming Coalition government.

QUESTION:

Have you got any comment about Mr Slipper and the court case?

TONY ABBOTT:

Certainly not about the court case and as I’ve been saying all along here, the real issue is the Prime Minister’s judgment. Why did the Prime Minister ever think that the gentleman in question was fit and proper to be the Speaker of our country?

QUESTION:

Should Mr Slipper now resign given that charges are pending?

TONY ABBOTT:

That’s really a matter for him. I think that without in any way commenting on the court case itself, this is really yet another massive question mark over the judgment of our Prime Minister.

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QUESTION:

Nicola Roxon says that the stories involving Peta Credlin, Christopher Pyne and yourself on your views on IVF show that the Liberal Party polling shows that you have a problem with women. Why were these stories released over the weekend?

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, I think it’s very important to support women who are going through complex and difficult and emotionally and physically challenging situations and I was only too happy to help out someone who is a very trusted friend and colleague.

QUESTION:

Why did you need to make that public, Mr Abbott?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, I think it’s important. Peta said in the article, she said it was very important to be honest and upfront about these things…

QUESTION:

Why? Isn’t she a backroom person?

TONY ABBOTT:

…and I think she wanted to give a message of support and solidarity for all of the Australian women who are going through this very challenging but at times very encouraging procedure. Now, we hear a lot of success stories. I think it’s important that people who haven’t yet succeeded get encouragement and I’m full of admiration for Peta for what she did.

QUESTION:

But Labor is continuing this campaign about you and women. Do you have a message for Australian women today?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, my message for the Australian people is that I am never going to try to divide them. I am never going to try to divide people on the basis of class, on the basis of gender, on the basis of faith. I’ll leave that kind of divisive politics to others. My approach is to try to look towards what we all have in common and to focus on the things that unite us and that’s the difference between a national leader and a tribal leader. A national leader tries to bring people together and that’s what you’ll get from me should the Australian people vote for the Coalition at this year’s election.

QUESTION:

What is your current view on IVF for older women? We’ve heard your views from years past, but what’s your current stand?

TONY ABBOTT:

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I’ve always been in favour of IVF. I don’t see how a pro-family politician can’t be in favour of encouraging people to have families and making it easier for them to do so.

QUESTION:

You said abortion was the easy way out in 2004. Do you still think that’s the case?

TONY ABBOTT:

What I said in 2004 was that abortion should be safe, legal and rare and I think that’s the way it should be.

QUESTION:

Does it frustrate you that these issues continue to swirl around; that you can’t get rid of these issues?

TONY ABBOTT:

I think it’s important for people to understand my positions and look, the people who know me well, well understand my position. I think there’s been a lot of political argy-bargy. That’s to be expected, but I think it’s very important for the people who know someone to say what needs to be said and as I said, I think it was very important for my Chief of Staff to tell her story as she said. It’s important to be honest, it’s important to support all of those women who are going through a difficult procedure including those who don’t have as yet a success story to tell.

QUESTION:

Did you encourage her to come forward?

TONY ABBOTT:

I think that the last thing that I would ever do with a strong and capable woman is to try to influence the very personal decisions that she makes.

QUESTION:

But was it her decision to speak out or yours, Mr Abbott?

TONY ABBOTT:

Anyone who knows my Chief of Staff and people in Canberra know her extremely well, know that she is a very strong and capable person. She is a formidable political warrior. She is very much the master of her own mind. She very much makes her own decisions but I’m full of admiration for the way she was prepared to come and tell a difficult personal story as a way of supporting all of those Australian women who are going through something which is often difficult, painful, frustrating; often it has a very happy, amazing outcome but sometimes it doesn’t and it’s very important that all of those stories are understood.

QUESTION:

[inaudible] tolls on the Gateway?

TONY ABBOTT:

As the Acting Premier has made clear, the only way that this is going to be built without tolls is if the Commonwealth Government steps up to the plate with an 80 per cent funding commitment. Now, the

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Coalition is going to do that and the incumbent government in Canberra has made no such commitment. That’s why I say there is one candidate in the seat of Lilley who is the Gateway Motorway extension candidate and that’s the LNP candidate Rod McGarvie.

Thank you.

[ends]