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Transcript of doorstop interview: Canberra: September 19, 2012: Julia Gillard's carbon tax; the Government's wasteful spending; childcare; border protection; same sex marriage; Julia Gillard's mining tax



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Joint Doorstop Interview, Canberra September 19, 2012

Subjects: Julia Gillard’s carbon tax; the Government’s wasteful spending; childcare; border protection; same sex marriage; Julia Gillard’s mining tax.

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

TONY ABBOTT:

Thanks for coming out so early this morning. I want to say thank you to PFD and their team here in Canberra for making the Shadow Industry Minister, Sophie Mirabella, Alan Tudge and myself so welcome this morning. This is just another one of the tens of thousands of Australian businesses, businesses right around our country, which is going to be hit by the carbon tax. On a business like this, the carbon tax is a triple whammy. Their power is up, their refrigerant gases are up and their transport costs will be up if this government is re-elected, from the middle of 2014.

It’s very important, if we’re going to relieve the cost of living pressures on families, if we’re going to make Australian jobs more secure, that we get rid of this carbon tax and the Coalition has a plan to keep our economy strong by getting taxes down, by ending wasteful government spending, by getting productivity up. All of that will increase economic growth. That means more jobs, it means more income for Australian families.

What we’re seeing, unfortunately, from this government is more and more evidence that they simply can’t be trusted with money. The Coalition has been saying for some time now that Treasurer Swan has a $120 billion budget black hole and now even his caucus is getting the message that this reckless spending has just got to stop. There is promise after promise after promise. They’re writing blank cheques on the future. They are giving out to the taxpayers of the future bills that we just cannot afford to pay and that’s the problem when you’ve got a government which just can’t be trusted with money.

Soph, I might ask you to say a few words and then take some questions.

SOPHIE MIRABELLA:

Here at PFD what we’re seeing is what’s happening right across the country: businesses doing it tough, trying to employ people, grow their business and be slammed with additional costs. We’ve seen in black and white the increase in electricity for this company. What we’ve also heard is that their annual costs for refrigerant gases will go up from about $20,000 to about $80,000. If they establish a new site or have any serious leakage, that could go up to $200,000. Now, it is absolutely unconscionable for the Prime Minister to have a smile on her face every single time electricity prices go up, gas prices go up. She needs to visit businesses like PFD and explain to them why her carbon tax is making their business harder; why it’s making them harder to be competitive in very challenging economic circumstances.

TONY ABBOTT:

Ok, do we have any questions?

QUESTION:

Mr Abbott, there are reports the Government’s considering giving $1.4 billion to childcare workers. Would you support that?

TONY ABBOTT:

Tony Abbott Federal Member for Warringah | Leader of the Opposition

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I am very conscious of the plight of people in the childcare sector because after all, that’s the sector in which Margie, my wife, has been working for many years now. All of us would like to see higher pay for Australians doing it tough. The problem is, where is the money coming from? This is a government which is spending like a drunken sailor. It is writing cheques against the future which it expects someone else will finally have to cash.

QUESTION:

Does that mean you don’t support subsidising childcare wages?

TONY ABBOTT:

I think it’s absolutely imperative that the Prime Minister and the Treasurer explain precisely where the money is coming from. I mean, the problem is that they just don’t have the money. They keep telling us they’re going to deliver a wafer-thin surplus this year and yet they constantly keep saying that they are spending more. Now, as I say, because Margie works in the childcare sector, I am only too conscious of the fact that people in that sector are not highly paid. By no means are they highly paid. Of course they deserve more. But this is a government which is raising expectations without the means to meet them.

QUESTION:

There’s reports a number of Sri Lankan men that have arrived by boat have put their hand up to go home. Is this perhaps proof that Nauru has started to work?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, it demonstrates that Nauru is a deterrent and we’ve said this all along: if you want to stop the boats, you don’t just need Nauru, you need to have temporary protection visas, and you also need a willingness to turn boats around where it’s safe to do so. Now, if you want to get the right results, you’ve got to have the right resolve and the problem with this

government from the beginning when it comes to policies to stop the boats, their heart has just not been in it.

QUESTION:

There are reports this morning that Barry O’Farrell may give Liberal MPs in New South Wales a conscience vote on the gay marriage issue. What do you make of that and also Sue Boyce last night said in the Senate that she’d be willing to cross the floor on the issue.

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, our position on this is clear and it’s well known. We said before the last election that we had a party position on the issue of gay marriage and the Liberal Party and the Coalition don’t say one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards. It’s as clear as that.

QUESTION:

Mr Abbott, do you agree with Julie Bishop that disunity and ill discipline with the Nationals is the reason for the Coalition’s poor performance perhaps in the latest polls?

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, as we know, polls go up and down but what never changes, at least at this time in our country, is the fact that we’ve got an incompetent and untrustworthy government and I simply look at the field evidence and the field evidence is that this government’s new taxes are hurting families, this government has lost control of our borders and this government simply can’t be trusted with money.

QUESTION:

[inaudible]

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TONY ABBOTT:

I’ve said all along that our job is first and foremost to hold a bad government to account and second, it’s to be a credible alternative and every day that’s what I am doing. I am reassuring people that we can have hope, reward and opportunity if we have a government that gets taxes down, that eliminates waste, that gets control of our borders and that keeps faith with the Australian people.

QUESTION:

Are you concerned about what Julie Bishop called frolics, though, from some Nationals senators?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, it’s very important, obviously, that we be a credible alternative and we will deliver what the Australian people want and that is lower taxes, better services, stronger borders and modern infrastructure.

QUESTION:

But will you be encouraging your party to be more united, at least in a public front, when it comes to some of these issues between the Liberals and the Nats?

TONY ABBOTT:

As I said, we have a very clear position. It’s a position that my frontbench colleagues and I are articulating every day.

QUESTION:

The Government’s slashed $20 billion from its mining export forecasts and Wayne Swan is going to give a speech today trying to reassure people about the economy. Are you concerned about the slowdown?

TONY ABBOTT:

I think everyone is concerned about the slowdown and everyone wants to see a situation where the Government is encouraging investment and jobs in mining, not discouraging it. The point I keep making is that we have five very significant initiatives that will keep the resources boom going. We’ll get rid of the mining tax, we’ll get rid of the carbon tax, we’ll restore the Australian Building and Construction Commission, we’ll reduce red tape which is costing miners big time and we will have a one-stop-shop for environmental approvals. So, there are five major policy initiatives that will keep the resources sector attractive for people to invest and employ.

QUESTION:

Mr Abbott, by going on another visit like this, do you risk playing into the Government’s hands in terms…[inaudible]?

TONY ABBOTT:

I am determined to reassure the Australian people that if there is a change of government, the carbon tax will go. Now, every single Australian business is feeling the impact of the carbon tax. More and more households are feeling the impact of the carbon tax as they get their winter power bills and every time your power bill goes up, the Prime Minister has a smile on her face because that’s the carbon tax just doing its job and it will just get worse and worse and worse as time goes by and the carbon tax goes up and up and up. The best thing I can do for the workers, for the families, for the households of Australia, is get rid of this carbon tax.

QUESTION:

What do you make of reports that several local buyers are willing to pay more for Cubbie Station?

TONY ABBOTT:

That’s a matter for the administrator.

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QUESTION:

Are you worried that more Australians like Malcolm Turnbull than you?

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, I am thrilled to see that members of my frontbench are popular and doing a good job.

QUESTION:

Should he be given more questions in Question Time?

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, Malcolm asks good questions in Question Time as all of my frontbenchers do.

QUESTION:

Would you consider speaking to Barry O’Farrell and Campbell Newman about some of the cuts that they have been making, to maybe readjust what they’re doing, if it is starting to hurt those states?

TONY ABBOTT:

I understand that my state colleagues have a difficult job to do and what they have to do is overcome the legacy of years and years of bad Labor government - that’s the problem that they are wrestling with. Yes, they are making some tough decisions and no one likes tough decisions, but when you’ve had a bad Labor government there’s a big fiscal repair job to be done.

QUESTION:

Do you think that those divisions are now flowing into the federal branch of the Liberal and National party?

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, I think it’s important that the state premiers do the job they were elected to do and that was to put their fiscal house in order and I respect the job that they’re doing, I work closely with them as far as I can, but they are dealing with their problems at the state level and I will seek to deal with federal problems at our levels.

QUESTION:

Nauru says it doesn’t want to accept women and children until the facilities there, the permanent facilities, are properly set up. Do you think they should be sent there now?

TONY ABBOTT:

I think the important thing is to stop the boats and what we need is a government which is prepared to pursue tough policies with vigour and what we have never seen from this government is any real determination to put the policies in place that are necessary to stop the boats. John Howard got Nauru up and running in just 19 days. It’s taken almost double that time for this government to get cracking and we see again and again and again, examples of a government which just doesn’t have what it takes if you want to stop the boats.

[ends]

© Tony Abbott MHR 2010 | Authorised by Tony Abbott MHR, Level 2, 17 Sydney Rd, Manly NSW 2095

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