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Transcript of interview with Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson: Today, Nine Network: 10 September 2013: Repealing the carbon tax; the Coalition's policy for paid parental leave; electoral reform; the Coalition's border protection policies; and election night.



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

10 September 2013

TRANSCRIPT OF THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR, INTERVIEW WITH KARL STEFANOVIC AND LISA WILKINSON, TODAY, NINE NETWORK

Subjects: Repealing the carbon tax; the Coalition’s policy for paid parental leave; electoral reform; the Coalition’s border protection policies; election night.

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

LISA WILKINSON:

We’re pleased to say the new Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott joins us now. Congratulations to you, Prime Minister.

TONY ABBOTT:

Thank you so much, Lisa. It’s a tremendous honour; a real, absolute, extraordinary honour. It’s the greatest honour that the public can pay any member of parliament and so I humbly look forward to taking up those duties.

LISA WILKINSON:

Well you’ve certainly got plenty ahead of you. You’re going to have your work cut out. The carbon tax and the mining tax were two of your big promises but it does look like - or getting rid of them - they’re looking unlikely to go through the Senate. Will you present the changes or wait for the new Senate in July?

TONY ABBOTT:

We will move calmly, purposefully and methodically to implement our agenda, Lisa. I expect that the Parliament will respect the mandate that the new government has. It will obviously be an issue fundamentally for the new leader of the Labor Party and for the Labor Party itself whether it learns from its mistakes and whether it’s prepared to accept that it simply got it wrong when it came to these toxic new taxes.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Tony, every indication so far though is that they will reject it, this Senate. Will you have to wait, though? Will you be forced to wait and re-present in July of next year?

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TONY ABBOTT:

Let’s wait and see, Karl. I think there’s obviously a lot of dirty water that’s going to flow under the bridge for the Labor Party. If the Labor Party still wants to be or try to be the party of the worker, surely it’s going to have to respect measures that are going to make it easier for the workers of Australia to have a job and to keep a job in prosperous businesses and the trouble with the carbon tax and the mining tax - they are handbrakes on growth, they are handbrakes on investment and employment.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Are you prepared to deal with the Greens in relation to paid parental leave?

TONY ABBOTT:

Obviously, Karl, I will treat all members of the Parliament with respect and with courtesy but in the end I guess I expect that to be a two-way street and I think that it would be a good thing if the next parliament was a more courteous and constructive one than the Parliament we’ve just seen off.

LISA WILKINSON:

Well, it’s going to be interesting to see if that happens. This new Senate that is coming in in July of next year, a number of very minor parties seem to have scored a spot, including this man. We’re just looking at some footage at the moment Mr Abbott, this is Victorian Ricky Muir. He’s from the Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party. He’s an interesting character, an out of work guy, lives in South Australia, doesn’t really have an opinion on the carbon tax at this point but when candidates like Ricky Muir, who received just half of one per cent of the vote, can ascend to such an important place in our parliament, is the system working?

TONY ABBOTT:

After every election, Lisa, there is a report by the Joint Standing Committee into Electoral Matters and these are often very thorough, very sensible reports, a surprising degree of unanimity in these reports. Let’s wait and see what the joint standing committee comes up with after the election. Elections do sometimes throw up quirky and interesting characters. That’s not always a bad thing. In the end, the important thing is that we have a strong and stable, sensible, grown-up government and I can assure the people of Australia - I want to assure all of you - that that this what I am determined to lead.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

You know that others have done, though, these complex preference deals and even gone to consultants to organise the complex preference deals that they couldn’t organise because they had no idea how to do it. They’ve won seats. Would you be open at least to change in the way that people are elected to the Senate?

TONY ABBOTT:

Again, Karl, let’s wait and see what the final result is, then let’s wait and see what the joint standing committee comes up with. You can always quibble over a particular result, you can always quibble over a particular individual, but in the end the big question is does our system produce strong and stable government? I think that we are going to return, I’m confident that we will return to strong and stable government that calmly, purposefully, methodically sets about implementing its commitments; that responds intelligently to the events of the day and week and month and year. That’s certainly the government that I’m determined to lead.

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LISA WILKINSON:

Another one of your big promises leading into the election was stopping the boats. When will that happen?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, it will start happening from day one. The new government will get sworn in in the first half of next week. Operation Sovereign Borders will begin then. I spoke with Peter O’Neill, the Prime Minister of PNG yesterday. We will make the most of the arrangements which the former government put in place with PNG. I think that is an important element - not the only element, but it’s an important element - in the range of policies that are necessary to stop the boats. But Lisa, stop the boats we will and the people smugglers are on notice: their game is up, it’s all over for them.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

That’s a big call, as you know, trying to patrol that amount of water. You’re confident you’ll be able to do it and what day does it start next week?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well Operation Sovereign Borders starts next week and Karl, I have great confidence in the professionalism of our naval personnel. I have great confidence in the professionalism and the insights of our police. I know we can work effectively with the Indonesians again because we have done it in the past. We have stopped the boats before. I don’t pretend that it’s going to be an easy one because this government or the government that’s just gone, certainly made a terrible situation and created a terrible situation on our borders but the solution is now at hand.

LISA WILKINSON:

Ok, well on a much lighter note, Mr Abbott, have you been able to get to the bottom of who that bloke was on stage with you and the family on Saturday night?

TONY ABBOTT:

No, I haven’t. As far as the kids are concerned he was “just some random.” When I suddenly saw him I thought maybe he was the Master of Ceremonies. Then I thought to myself, ‘He looks a bit too scruffy for that’, and then of course in the twinkling of an eye he was gone.

LISA WILKINSON:

I tell you what, that female security guard there was very impressive. She doesn’t miss.

TONY ABBOTT:

Well I think once they work out that there’s a problem they deal with it very swiftly and this is the thing - the professionalism of our security services is second to none. That’s why I think the people smugglers will shortly be out of business.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

It wasn’t one of the girls’ boyfriends was it?

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TONY ABBOTT:

No, no, no…

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Are you sure?

LISA WILKINSON:

It’s a good way to get rid of one if you don’t like them!

KARL STEFANOVIC:

An ex-boyfriend?

TONY ABBOTT:

…absolutely not! No, I don’t think he’s going to get an invitation, either.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Hey just finally before we go, where are you going to live? There’s all sorts of conjecture about where you’re going to live. Are you going to stay at home?

TONY ABBOTT:

Karl, for the moment we’ll be at Forestville obviously. Apparently, The Lodge is about to be renovated. Apparently these renovations could take quite some time. It’s a long-planned upgrade that’s been meant to happen over the last 12 months or so. It’s about to get under way. So, I’ll be taking advice. I want to take advice from the officials before a final decision is made.

LISA WILKINSON:

Any interest in Kirribilli at all? That doesn’t need renos at the moment.

TONY ABBOTT:

Well there are two official residences and for security reasons probably it’s going to have to be one or other of them. As I said, The Lodge is about to undergo some fairly extensive maintenance and I want to talk to the officials before making a final decision.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

The girls have already invited me to a rave party at Kirribilli.

TONY ABBOTT:

Sorry, there are no rave parties anywhere hosted by the Abbotts.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

Oh, that will tell everyone.

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TONY ABBOTT:

Sorry about that, Karl.

KARL STEFANOVIC:

No worries. PM, congratulations again. Thanks for joining us. We appreciate it.

TONY ABBOTT:

Thanks Karl, thanks Lisa.

LISA WILKINSON:

Thanks, Mr Abbott.

[ends]