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Transcript of doorstop interview with Tony Burke: Sunrise- channel Seven: 5 October 2012: Big gun of politics



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SUNRISE - BIG GUNS OF POLITICS CHANNEL SEVEN 5 OCTOBER 2012

E&OE…………………………………………………………………………………

PRESENTER:

Let's get some reaction from our Big Guns of Politics, Environment Minister Tony Burke and Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey. Good morning to both of you. Tony, I just want to ask you this because basically political pressure is going to be the main catalyst, isn’t it, for cuts by the banks? What is the Government going to do to put any pressure on them?

TONY BURKE:

It is not just political pressure. The biggest pressure you can put on the banks is the market pressure. I've said it before - the changes that we have now put in place to make it easier for people to switch from one bank to another, you need to be willing to take advantage of it. There are a lot of people waiting to see whether or not their bank will pass on an interest rate cut when there are already smaller banks that are available with much lower interest rates, right now. I was looking through the

paper at what I'm currently paying with one of the smaller banks - because I made the switch a few years ago - comparing that with some of the big banks, even if they pass on the full rate, the deal that I'm getting already is less. The only pressure that is really going to work here - sure, we as a Government make the demands, we create the expectations - but people have to be willing to go out and get the best deal.

PRESENTER:

Joe, it is a bit rough. You are a finance nerd, you are Shadow Treasurer, this gap between the RBA's official rate and the average mortgage rate is now larger than it was before the GFC. There is no argument, is there? There is no justification not to pass on the full cut?

JOE HOCKEY:

Well, no, nothing that we can see, nothing that you can see. The RBA, in its statement, actually said the banks are not under funding pressure. Therefore we expect them to pass it on, in full. But you're absolutely right, Kochie, the more the Government talks about the cash rate being at 3.25% or 3.50% the less pressure is on the banks because what people are actually paying is certainly higher than that. No-one out there is paying 3.25% or 3.50% and that takes pressure off the banks - that sort of rhetoric from the Government.

PRESENTER:

Gents, it has been making news all week - this international custody dispute involving the four young sisters who have been gone back to Italy. The Courier Mail is reporting on the Commonwealth - that it helped the girls come to Australia in the first place. It says our Rome

SUNRISE - BIG GUNS OF POLITICS Friday, 5 October 2012 Errors and Omissions Excepted

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Embassy helped organise travel documents and provided cash. The paper points out a Family Court judge found officials didn't knowingly help the mother to do something wrong. Tony, do you know for sure? Was everything above board?

TONY BURKE:

Yes, it was. You've got to know, as an Australian, if you get in trouble overseas, we've got posts there who quite rightly are there to help you. They've got to work within the law of the land and they don't break local laws. But they'll provide what assistance they should, as an Australian, that is one of the rights you have by carrying an Australian passport.

PRESENTER:

But Joe, our diplomats have to be really careful, don’t they, in these sorts of cases?

JOE HOCKEY:

They do. But literally millions of people come to Australia every year. They apply for visas - they go through a process. There are people who overstay as well but you can't be held accountable for every single case. I am going to let Tony Burke off this one.

PRESENTER:

He is smiling and glad you have. Okay, I want to ask both of you. Tony Abbott's wife has come out to defend him against critics; big front page headlines everywhere. Margie Abbott has told News Limited papers that he is not sexist and he ‘gets women’, adding he even empties the dishwasher and he cries in sad movies. He sounds like the perfect man, Joe. Is that the Tony you know?

JOE HOCKEY:

Well, actually, it is the Tony I know. I've known him for nearly 30 years.

PRESENTER:

Didn't he deck you at football training?

JOE HOCKEY:

Yes, Kochie, if I was playing with you I might have been tempted as well. We nearly did on the Kokoda Trail from memory! But I just say to you, Margie Abbott has had enough. I perfectly understand her. She's a very private person and she's had enough of all this misogynist rubbish that is being run out by critics of Tony Abbott. I tell you what, our mums, our wives, our daughters all make feminists of us at the end of the day. What has happened is that Tony Abbott has a wife that has had enough, and a family that has had enough of all the criticism from Labor in particular.

PRESENTER:

Tony, what do you reckon? Your female cabinet ministers have come out all guns blazing against Tony Abbott, and really dubbing him a ‘woman hater’.

TONY BURKE:

Our problem and our issue is with Tony Abbott and not with Margie. Family members don't come out often and when they do, I’m not going to have an argument with Margie Abbott.

PRESENTER:

Do you believe her?

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TONY BURKE:

I look at the stories. I’ve seen Tony Abbott with the swearing at Nicola Roxon at the Press Club.

JOE HOCKEY:

Come on!

TONY BURKE:

I’ve heard the stories of the punching of walls. Maybe he is aggressive and negative to everybody, maybe it’s not just women. I don't know. But I'm not going to have an argument with Margie over this. Certainly, I don't think we can get around the fact there is a level of negativity and aggression that we've rarely seen from a federal leader that is there in Tony Abbott. That part of it has got to be true.

JOE HOCKEY:

Well, mate, over the many years I have been in federal politics, I have seen plenty of aggression in federal politics. But what has been done to Tony Abbott over the last month or so - the allegations that have even gone to the extent of calling him a misogynist pig or a thug - as the Deputy Prime Minister called him. Fair dinkum, I have never seen anything quite like it. Margie has had enough as well.

PRESENTER:

All right guys have a good weekend. We will catch you next week.

[ENDS]

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