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Transcript of interview with Brig, Lehmo, Joe and Jack: Gold 104.3FM, Melbourne: 6 September 2013: the Coalition's commitment to build the East West Link; Fawad Ahmed; Richmond Football Club's commitment to Indigenous issues: 2013 election campaign.



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JOH

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

6 September 2013

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

Subjects: the Coalition’s commitment to build the East West Link; Fawad Ahmed; Richmond Football Club’s commitment to Indigenous issues: 2013 election campaign.

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

TONY ABBOTT:

[broadcast begins]… g’day Lehmo, g’day Joe, g’day Jack, yes this is my grand final week - at the end and it’s all happening for me on Saturday and for our country on Saturday.

PRESENTER:

It is indeed and Tony we got some costings from you guys yesterday and a couple of the highlights out of the costings; $4.5 billion cut from foreign aid, $1.1 billion being saved stopping the boats - been heavily criticised here because it seems some very needy people look like the victims here.

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, we’re not actually cutting foreign aid, we’re just slowing the rate of increase. Every year foreign aid will go up by CPI. We think that Australia has got to be strong before we can start splashing the money around overseas and at the moment we are borrowing money to spend it overseas. We think we’ve got to stop the borrowing before we can start spending a lot of money overseas and that’s why we’ve had this slowing down of the rate of increase so that we can spend more money on the infrastructure our country needs such as the East West Link here in Melbourne.

PRESENTER:

Any Tony I don’t think Joe Hockey’s convinced though cause when he was delivering the numbers yesterday, I’ve never seen a man sweat so much. Is he ok?

TONY ABBOTT:

Yeah look I think, like all of us, he’s tired after a long campaign but gee whiz Joe has done an enormous amount of work, an enormous amount of work on these figures. They were signed off by three of the most senior public finance experts in our country. Just about all our costings went through the Parliamentary

Budget Office and look, if you want to scrap the carbon tax, end the waste, stop the boats and build roads like the East West Link you’ve got to vote for the Coalition tomorrow - that’s the Liberal Party in the House and in the Senate. I had to get that in didn’t I!

PRESENTER:

Tony, that was magnificent work by you. Just a quick question here from Jack.

JACK RIEWOLDT:

Yes Tony, I’ve got a little bit of a question. Now my sources tell me you’re a GWS fan and I talked to Kevin Rudd a couple of weeks ago and he’s a Brisbane Lions fan. Now the Giants are out, the main season’s finished. I’ve spotted you at a couple of Richmond games. Is there a soft spot in your heart for the Richmond Football club?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well Jack there is because Richmond, as much as any club in the AFL, have been very strong on promoting indigenous players and sport has been a great way for Indigenous people to get ahead in life and I think sport has been a great way of breaking down barriers throughout our society. Sport has been a great leveler - it’s a very, very democratic institution sport, particularly the AFL and so good on Richmond, good on Richmond for the work you guys have done to promote Indigenous football.

PRESENTER:

Well speaking of integration in sport I see controversy today as Fawad Ahmed won’t wear the VB logo on his Australian uniform and Doug Walters, former Australian cricket legend has come out and said well he shouldn’t play for Australia then if he’s not prepared to wear the VB logo. What are your thoughts on that?

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, you know I know sponsorships can get a little bit controversial and I really don’t want to buy into that. I mean Dougie Walters was a great, great, great cricketer from an earlier generation and of course, in Dougie’s day warming up often consisted having a smoke and then going out and then hitting a century didn’t it?

PRESENTER:

That is true. Yeah I guess so. Tony, I need to ask you, the polls are all showing that you’re going to have a runaway victory. Does that make you nervous when it’s like when you’re a big favorite for a football game I guess, isn’t it? And things can change. Does it make you nervous?

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, Brig, it does because I don’t believe them and I hope other people don’t believe them. The last thing I want it people to think that they can safely vote Labor because it’s all over bar the shouting, or they can safely vote for a minor party or an independent because it’s all over bar the shouting. It’s like a grand final - five minutes to go, just a goal in it and I hope people are really thinking before they cast their vote tomorrow - do we want, do you want our country to have another three years like the last six and if the answer is no, as I suspect it will be, please vote Liberal.

PRESENTER:

All right and this last question is a bit selfish but I’m going to ask it anyway. We’ve had a lot of chats to you over the year and we’ve enjoyed that. If you become Prime Minister, Mr Abbott, will you still be our friend?

TONY ABBOTT:

Brig, of course! Look, I’m not the sort of guy who chops and changes and if someone’s once my friend, invariably they stay my friend.

PRESENTER:

Ah see!

PRESENTER:

That’s what we like to hear.

TONY ABBOTT:

For Brig and Lehmo and Jo and Jack, yes!

PRESENTER:

Friends all round! Well Tony tomorrow night I will be at your official party covering it for The Project on Network 10, what are the arrangements. Do I have to bring a plate? Is it BYO? And are budget cuts extended to your official party?

TONY ABBOTT:

I think we might manage to find you a drink one way or another - it will probably be only be water but nevertheless I think I’m happy to find you something.

PRESENTER:

Clearly you have no security, Tony Abbott if Lehmo’s allowed in but listen, good luck for tomorrow and thank you for speaking to us today.

TONY ABBOTT:

And Brig, could I also wish Jack good luck against Carlton.

PRESENTER:

Ahh Jack, look at that… Yeah it’s a big game.

TONY ABBOTT:

And look I’ve tipped Richmond so there you go, for what it’s worth, I’ve tipped Richmond.

PRESENTER:

Stick with them Mr Abbott, stick with them - they’re good. Thank you to the Opposition Leader.

[ends]