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Transcript of interview with David Koch and Samantha Armytage: Sunrise, Seven Network: 10 September 2013: Coalition's border protection policies; federal election; repealing the carbon tax; 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 DAVID KOCH AND SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE, SUNRISE, SEVEN NETWORK

Subjects: The Coalition’s border protection policies; federal election; repealing the carbon tax; election night.

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

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

Mr Abbott, good morning. Welcome to Sunrise and congratulations.

TONY ABBOTT:

Thanks, Sam.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

Now, in this new boat that has arrived, there was a New York Times journalist and a photographer who were apparently travelling with asylum seekers from Afghanistan for a story. Are you worried about how this will be portrayed to the rest of the world?

TONY ABBOTT:

We’ve obviously had a very serious problem on our borders for some years now, thanks to the errors of the former government. The incoming government, as soon as we are sworn in, will commence Operation Sovereign Borders. That will start making a difference from day one. Yesterday, I spoke to Prime Minister O'Neill of Papua New Guinea. We will make full use of the opportunities available to us for offshore processing at Manus Island. My message to the people smugglers is that change has happened. Your game is up. You now face an Australian Government whose will and determination is more than a match for yours.

DAVID KOCH:

Mr Abbott, your message to the Indonesians? Coverage of your election was a bit mixed in the media there, and saying the boat policy is just unrealistic.

TONY ABBOTT:

It’s in Indonesia's long term best interests for the flow of people to Australia to stop because the vast majority of them come via Indonesia. Many of them stay for many months in Indonesia. While they are in

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Indonesia, they can be a problem for the Indonesian authorities. I accept that this is a smaller issue for Indonesia than it is for Australia. Indonesia is a vast archipelago with many developmental, economic and social issues. Nevertheless it is going to be good for Indonesia as well as good for Australia that these boats are stopped.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

Ok, let's talk about the carbon tax. What is being done to scrap the carbon tax? How quickly can you recall Parliament?

TONY ABBOTT:

We will recall Parliament in good time. We are going to approach it calmly, steadily, purposefully, methodically. We will recall the Parliament when the legislation is ready to go. I'm certainly not going to recall the Parliament for a photo opportunity, because for the first time in quite a few years I want the people to know that calm, steady, purposeful government has returned; a government that’s about the substance of getting things done, not about the theatre of putting things on the front page.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

During the election campaign you said there was a budget emergency and that the carbon tax had to be scrapped quickly. You are a lot calmer now with this. You are saying, let's not bring it on too soon?

TONY ABBOTT:

It will happen as soon as it can but it's very important to get these things right, Kochie and that's what the new government is absolutely determined to do.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

Ok, Mr Abbott, we have been talking a lot this morning about Senate candidates and the possibility of Senate reform into the future and next year obviously you may have some issues with that. The minor parties are making headlines this morning, including a poo-throwing pollie, as we are calling him, the man who has been on YouTube throwing kangaroo poo with his family. He is from Victoria, from the Motoring Enthusiasts Party. Let's just have a little look at a YouTube video showing him in the kangaroo poo fight with his family.

DAVID KOCH:

Tony Abbott, you’re going to have some fairly colourful senators come into the Parliament. You’ve got this bloke, a guy who has a sporting party. Will negotiating with the Senate be your biggest challenge?

TONY ABBOTT:

Kochie, our system sometimes throws up colourful, quirky individuals. Sometimes they don't last long. Sometimes they do last a while and some of them ultimately become very stable and respected politicians. Let's just wait and see who ultimately gets elected to the Parliament. I will certainly treat every member of Parliament with respect and courtesy, but respect and courtesy are a two-way street and I would certainly expect the new Parliament to respect the mandate that the new government has won.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

Ok, let's talk about the basics, Mr Abbott. You’re a Sydney man, you’re a Manly boy. Will you and Margie move into The Lodge or will you spend most of your time at Kirribilli House?

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TONY ABBOTT:

Sam, look, I want to be as far as is possible an orthodox Prime Minister. My understanding is The Lodge is about to undergo extensive maintenance and some renovations that have been long-planned. It may well not be possible to move into The Lodge for a considerable period of time. So, I'm going to seek advice from the officials over the next few days and finalise a decision after I've sought advice.

DAVID KOCH:

A lot of Labor heavyweights are calling on Kevin Rudd to retire from the Parliament. What do you reckon? What's your advice to Kevin Rudd?

TONY ABBOTT:

It's really a matter for Mr Rudd and for the Labor Party. I guess the big question for the Labor Party and its new leader is are they going to persist with toxic taxes that damage jobs, that damage cost of living and which are obviously toxic with the public.

DAVID KOCH:

They can't do that for three years now.

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, the fact is the Labor Party will have to decide what its attitude is to the carbon tax and the mining tax. Sure, they brought them in. Now they will have to decide are they going to accept the will of the people, learn from their mistakes, or persist in the folly of the last term of Parliament.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

Ok, and you spoke with Kevin Rudd, he apparently rang you on Saturday night to concede. Was that a quick phone call or how does a phone call like that go?

TONY ABBOTT:

To Mr Rudd's great credit, he was very gracious. He was quite warm. Obviously, it was quite a difficult call for him to make. I suspect that he must have been feeling, I suppose, the gravity of the moment. I was certainly conscious of the gravity of the moment. I was very conscious of the fact that a baton was being handed on and look, I respected Mr Rudd for the manner of his doing that.

DAVID KOCH:

Alright, you have got to fix the budget. You have got to fix the boats. You have got a big challenge ahead with the carbon tax. What are you going to do about the Wallabies? Surely that is so much bigger than all this other economic and political claptrap?

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

That has to be your number one priority, surely, Mr Abbott?

DAVID KOCH:

They’re appalling!

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TONY ABBOTT:

Well, if I may so, happy the country which is more interested in sport than in politics because it shows that there is a fundamental unity, it shows that the business of the nation is normally under reasonably good management if we can be as excited as we usually are about sport.

DAVID KOCH:

It's a serious question. What would you do for the Wallabies? You are a rugby coach, you played rugby. You slugged Joe Hockey at training so you’re a pretty passionate rugby follower. What do the Wallabies need to do?

TONY ABBOTT:

Kochie, it's 25 years since I coached a rugby team and I'm just not going to venture an opinion on what the Wallabies ought to do except to say that I hope they win, but it's really up to them. I’ll just be someone barracking in the grandstand.

SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE:

You might need to think about our cricket team, too, at some point when you get a spare second.

DAVID KOCH:

Gee, you’ve got some big issues ahead of yourself.

TONY ABBOTT:

Exactly right and the only place I played cricket was badly in England for all sorts of unworthy reasons and I have even less to contribute to cricket than I do to contemporary rugby.

DAVID KOCH:

Alright, Tony Abbott, thanks for joining us.

TONY ABBOTT:

Thanks so much.

[ends]