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Transcript of interview with Brig and Lehmo: Gold 104.3FM Melbourne: 12 August 2013: The Leaders' Debate; The Coalition's commitment to Melbourne's East West Link; City2Surf; same-sex marriage



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

12 August 2013

TRANSCRIPT OF THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR, INTERVIEW WITH BRIG AND LEHMO, GOLD 104.3FM, MELBOURNE

Subjects: The Leaders’ Debate; The Coalition’s commitment to Melbourne’s East West Link; City2Surf; same-sex marriage.

E&OE……………………….…………………………………………………………………

LEHMO:

Good morning.

BRIG:

Good morning

TONY ABBOTT:

Lehmo and Brig, it’s lovely to be with you.

LEHMO:

Now, Tony Abbott I noticed last night you wearing the light blue tie, Kevin Rudd went for the red tie, do you two discuss tie colours at all beforehand because it would be embarrassing if you both came out in the same colour tie?

TONY ABBOTT:

That’s a very fair point, but no we didn’t discuss it, but you know I’m nearly always in a blue tie. Mr Rudd was often in a blue tie when he was in the business of challenging Ms Gillard. Now that he’s got the top job he seems to vary his ties a bit, but when Julia Gillard said that people in blue ties were a problem, Kevin made a point of ostentatiously wearing one.

BRIG:

Now tell me Tony, there’s talk around today that perhaps Kevin Rudd was cheating because he had notes and apparently the rules of the debate are, no notes.

TONY ABBOTT:

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Well certainly that’s what I was told that you weren’t allowed to have notes and so I went in there without any notes and I was interested to see that Mr Rudd turned up with a big wad of papers and he did seem to be reading his opening and his closing statements. I don’t hold that against anyone, there are lots of speeches that for all sorts of reasons have to be read from a script, but it did strike me as a little odd given that they were the rules that he brought all those papers in, but look, in the end the important thing is that we were both able to talk to the people about our plans for the future and of course one of our key plans for the future is to get the East West Link built. This is something which is absolutely urgent here in Melbourne, the great city of Melbourne and I’ll be talking quite a lot about that today.

LEHMO:

Well, we’re very glad you’re here in Melbourne today, meeting the voters down here. How many of those are genuine voters though, Tony? The reason I ask this question is that there are rumours around that you have purchased Twitter followers, that they are not genuine followers, there’s a story that you possibly purchased 70,000 followers. Is this true?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, I certainly haven’t done it. I haven’t done it and I think I’d notice if I suddenly had an extra 70,000 Twitter followers. My understanding is that my Twitter following has been increasing, but I’m certainly unaware that there was in one fell swoop, 70,000 new people. Look, as far as is humanly possible, I am trying to meet the people and yesterday in Sydney Lehmo I went in the City2Surf and there’s about 80,000 people that went in the City2Surf yesterday in Sydney and I reckon quite a few hundred of them at least must have wanted a selfie with me at the end of the race.

BRIG:

Well you did well Tony, because of course the Bondi vet collapsed so it appears you’re fitter than him.

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, maybe I just didn’t push myself as hard.

LEHMO:

Ok, now Tony a big announcement last night from Kevin Rudd. He said that in the first hundred days of a Labor Government he would introduce a Bill legalising same-sex marriage and I know your sister who is openly gay was there last night. Is it weird for you to on a personal level to still be opposing that, particularly with your sister in the room there?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, I accept that this is an important issue, I really do. It’s a very important issue, it’s not the only important issue though and this is why I say that the priorities of an incoming Coalition government will be addressing cost of living pressures by getting rid of the carbon tax, increasing job security by getting rid of the mining tax, reducing red tape on small business in particular. That’s going to be the absolute priority of any incoming Coalition government. Now, we did look at this whole same-sex marriage issue in the Parliament about twelve months ago. There was a pretty decisive vote in favour of the existing definition. It may come up in the next Parliament, there’s no doubt about that, but if it does, it will be a matter for the Coalition Party room to consider at the time.

BRIG:

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Tony, I get the feeling, we did a little poll here this morning with our reaction line and a lot of people showed disinterest in the debate and I get the feeling that a lot of people are a little wearied by politics at the moment and how long this whole thing’s been going on. Are you worried about the fact that the election seemed a little non-interested non-plussed?

TONY ABBOTT:

Yes and no Brig. Look, basically we’ve had a campaign for the last three years. I mean there’s a sense in which the last election didn’t really resolve very much and then of course we had the current Government having promised not to have a carbon tax, bring a carbon tax in and really there’s been - it’s been about the most intense period of politics in recent Australian history. I think people are sick of the hung Parliament. I think they’re sick of minority Government. I think they’re sick of Government which is all about dominating the media as opposed to getting things done. That’s one of the reasons why I think it’s so important to have a change.

LEHMO:

All right, thank you for speaking to us today Tony, good luck on the campaign trail today and hopefully we’ll speak to you again before the big date.

[ends]