Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Transcript of Interview with Chris Smith: Radio 2GB, Sydney: 19 August 2013: the Coalition's commitment to tackle crime; Kevin Rudd's border protection failures; Kevin Rudd's negative politics; the Coalition's Direct Action policy



Download PDFDownload PDF

JOH

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

19 August 2013

TRANSCRIPT OF THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS SMITH, RADIO 2GB, SYDNEY

Subjects: The Coalition’s commitment to tackle crime; Kevin Rudd’s border protection failures; Kevin Rudd’s negative politics; the Coalition’s Direct Action policy.

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

CHRIS SMITH:

Tony Abbott, good afternoon.

TONY ABBOTT:

Chris, it’s lovely to be with you.

CHRIS SMITH:

Good to have you on. I know you’re up against time and you’re off to the next appointment. You’re tackling the importing of firearms with a $100 million boost to Customs. In real terms, how many containers in a hundred is needed to be checked do you think through our ports, because right now, we’re having less being checked. The x-ray work is not as authentic as it should be - thorough as it should be and I don’t know how far we can get. We can’t certainly check them all. What would you like to see as a goal as far as containers are concerned. How many should be checked?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, essentially we should be moving up to x-raying every one of them. That’s what we should be moving up to. I’m talking now about air cargo. Under the Howard Government, more than 60 per cent of packages arriving by air - 60 per cent of air cargo was screened. Under the current Government, it’s less than ten per cent Chris and look there are problems in the cargo screening as well at our ports and that was one of the subjects that Commissioner Andrew Scipione briefed myself and my Shadow Minister Michael Keenan on this morning, but this $100 million to Customs for additional screening is going to be a very important part of keeping our borders safe. The tragedy of the present time Chris is they’ve lost control of the borders. That means they can’t stop the boats and they can’t stop the guns either, because as we were told this morning by Commissioner Scipione, about 90 per cent of drive-by shootings involve hand guns and 100 per cent of hand guns come from overseas. Now, if you can increase the screening, obviously you’re going to stop a lot of those guns and that will help to make our streets, our communities so much safer.

CHRIS SMITH:

All right, 100 per cent of them. Now, as for this minimum of five years jail, if you’re caught importing firearms into Australia. You’re going to have some opposition to this. You’re likely to be off to the High Court to defend this one because the left doesn’t like mandatory minimum sentences do they?

TONY ABBOTT:

You’re right. The civil libertarian left do try to oppose this kind of thing, but if we’re serious about cracking down on gun crime, this is the kind of measure that we need. In the United States and in the United Kingdom, there are now mandatory sentences for the position of illegal guns. It’s been something which has reduced gun crime in both of those jurisdictions. Plainly, there is a real problem at this time with gun crime in western Sydney and elsewhere. There must be a mandatory five year minimum for the illegal importation of guns and certainly there need to be heavier sentences, much heavier sentences for the illegal possession of guns.

CHRIS SMITH:

Possession of guns in particular - absolutely.

TONY ABBOTT:

So, what we’re looking, it’s a comprehensive policy Chris that we launched today and I urge people to go onto the Liberal Party’s website to read it, but it’s up to 14 years we want to see for the illegal possession of guns and a mandatory five year minimum sentence for the illegal important of guns.

CHRIS SMITH:

The Justice Minister Jason Clare said he was advocating for all states to implement firearm prohibition orders which already existed in South Australia. That would give Police the power to randomly search serious criminals for firearms. He’s saying importation is only a small part of the bigger problem.

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, it’s a part of the problem that this Government has manifestly failed to tackle and it’s all very well for Jason trying to play catch-up politics now, but the fact is, this problem has occurred on Labor’s watch. Under John Howard, more than 60 per cent of cargoes were screened. Under this Government, less than 10 per cent of cargoes are screened. Every illegal gun, every hand gun is manufactured overseas. So if we want to stop the gun crime, we’ve got to stop the importations.

CHRIS SMITH:

I was interested to hear Kevin Rudd this morning when he was interviewed by reporters outside of Channel Seven in Sydney. He was talking about the - in fact he was talking in third person about the polls and the fact that it’s not halfway through the football season etcetera and there’s a long way to go, but he also made mention of some posters in your office. This is Kevin Rudd earlier.

KEVIN RUDD:

One Kevin Rudd is a fighter and he’s going to fight for families in this country, for their jobs, for their health services, for their schools and to make sure they all get broadband. So, I’ll be taking the fight up every day and if you are a football fan, we’re not even through the second quarter, we’re not even up to half time. This has a long way to go. Mr Abbott is saying that he already has posters in his office saying Tony Abbott 28th prime minister.

CHRIS SMITH:

Is he telling fibs or do you have posters in your office saying you’re the 28th prime minister?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, no office that I’ve been in lately has anything like that. I think this is another figment of Mr Rudd’s imagination like much of the stuff in the nasty negative ads that the Labor Party has started screening. Look, this is a Prime Minister with no record to defend and nothing positive to say about our country’s future. He said when he resumed the office of Prime Ministership a few weeks back that he wanted to get away from the nasty negativity and unfortunately we have seen nothing but nasty negativity from Mr Rudd at least since the campaign began.

CHRIS SMITH:

You also had your cheeky boots on today out there at Lindsay. You had Fiona Scott near you, the woman you said was a little sexy and despite the criticisms you copped late last week there you were again making mention of it.

TONY ABBOTT:

And at the risk of exciting anyone can I just say obviously from that answer she ain’t just a pretty face.

CHRIS SMITH:

You had your cheeky boots on there.

TONY ABBOTT:

I guess I did Chris but look she is a terrific candidate, she is very hard working, she is very savvy, she knows the local area inside out and yes anyone at that press conference today would have been immensely impressed by her grasp of what is happening in her area and her appreciation of the Coalition’s policies that are going to build a stronger economy so that everyone can get ahead.

CHRIS SMITH:

I want to talk just briefly about Ray King, one of your candidates in western Sydney, a good man, a fellow that I have known for about 25 years. Gee, I tell you what there is a dirty smear campaign against him and yet what you have announced today would be perfect for him to control if he were to become an MP.

TONY ABBOTT:

Very good point, very good point Chris. Look, Ray King is a very well respected, very senior police officer. He has just retired as the local area commander at Liverpool. I have spoken to police men myself who know him well who speak very, very highly of him. This is a distinguished, decorated police man and he doesn’t deserve the kind of low blows that he is copping from people who should know better such as the former Premier Mr Carr.

CHRIS SMITH:

Question without notice, one last one, the Liberal Candidate for Wakefield, Tom Zorich, is the unfortunate face of a new viral social media stumble on your direct action policy. Let’s hear what Mr Zorich had to say.

QUESTION:

Tom Zorich can I ask you about the direct action plans as the alternative to the carbon tax. Tony Abbott has made it very clear he will scrap the carbon tax if he is elected. His alternative is direct action. How does direct action work?

TOM ZORICH:

Look, I am not across all those issues Pete, I am sorry. I will say to you as the candidate, as a candidate and a businessman I am not across everything. My opponent has already acknowledged that. I am sorry Peter I haven’t got much to tell you about that.

CHRIS SMITH:

That was on Sky News I think some of you candidates might need to go back to policy school.

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, look that is a fair point Chris. Yes, our candidates should be across the fundamentals of our policy but direct action is about using incentives, not penalties to get emissions down. We will go to the market, we will ask people to offer us their proposal for reducing emissions and it may well be planting more trees, it may well be getting carbon into soil so our soils are more productive. It might well be using technology smarter by upgrading your equipment and we will have a fund of about a billion a year paid for from savings in the Budget to purchase those forms of emissions reductions but it is about incentives not a great big tax on everything. That is why our policy makes far more sense than the Labor Party’s. Look, Tom should have been more across it but he will vote against the carbon tax. He will vote to get rid of the carbon tax. He will vote for the policies to stop the boats and that is why I think he will be a great candidate for Wakefield.

CHRIS SMITH:

Nineteen days to go are you feeling a little jaded or tired? They are getting you up at 5 in the morning and you are going to bed at midnight. You can’t stand this for another 19 days can you?

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, Chris they are long days but when you are leading a major political Party the days are always long. I have been on the campaign trail in one shape or form for the best part of four years now and I think I can say that I am pretty match fit. So, sure we are all looking forward to September 7th because it will be a chance to pass our judgment on one of the worst governments, if not the worst government in our history.

CHRIS SMITH:

I will let you go. Thank you very much for your time this afternoon.

TONY ABBOTT:

Thanks so much Chris.

[ends]