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Transcript of interview with Cogho & Beck: Radio 3BO, Bendigo: June 25, 2013: Schools funding; Bendigo electorate; Greg Bickley; Cricket Australia; Borgen; Labor's soap opera; the Coalition’s fair dinkum paid parental leave scheme; Election 2013.



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Interview with Cogho & Beck, Radio 3BO, Bendigo June 25, 2013

Subjects: Schools funding; Bendigo electorate; Greg Bickley; Cricket Australia; Borgen; Labor’s soap opera; the Coalition’s fair dinkum paid parental leave scheme; Election 2013.

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

COGHO:

Mr Abbott, hello.

TONY ABBOTT:

Cogho, good to talk to you.

COGHO:

Great to talk to you. Beck’s over there and we’ve got our hard-hitting man from the newsroom Sam Wilkinson. He’s a bit nervous

talking to you, Tone, so look out mate. He’s got some hard-hitting questions.

SAM WILKINSON:

You just sold me out there.

COGHO:

Of course we did. Sam, start us of seriously because the Opposition Leader is on the phone. Get into him.

SAM WILKINSON:

Alright. Well, first of all, thanks for joining us on the show Mr Abbott.

TONY ABBOTT:

Sam, it’s a pleasure.

SAM WILKINSON:

Look, I’ll start off, the big issue down here in Victoria at the moment, certainly our candidates here in Bendigo and having a bit of a bun fight with the state government, this whole Gonski issue in terms of funding for schools and whether or not schools should get

more or less funding. I suppose, from the federal Liberal point of view, just your attitude to the whole Gonski situation - is it not the best thing and if it isn’t then what are the Liberals alternative polices for education?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well Sam, we say two things. First of all, we don’t want any existing school to be worse off and second, we doubt very much

whether there is the additional money available to make the very big increases that the Prime Minister is promising down the track. So, what we’re proposing is to maintain the existing system, at least for the time being, to consult with the states, to consult

with the Catholic and independent schools and not to try to ram anything down people’s throats, until they’ve had plenty of time to consider it and it’s typical of the current government that instead of having an adult discussion with the various school systems,

she’s basically saying to them sign up or else.

COGHO:

Tony Abbott Federal Member for Warringah | Leader of the Opposition

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You’ve got one more question, Sam. This is a breakfast show, not a serious politics show.

SAM WILKINSON:

I’ve got to get my grabs in!

COGHO:

The real serious stuff is coming with myself and Becks.

SAM WILKINSON:

Look, I suppose the other one is obviously our federal member here in Bendigo, Steve Gibbons, is retiring which means we’ve got

two new candidates for the major parties - one being Greg Bickley, your guy essentially, and Lisa Chesters on the other side for Labor. It’s about a margin of about eight or nine per cent at the moment, I think…

BECK:

You know your stuff, Sam!

SAM WILKINSON:

Yeah, I’ve researched this well.

COGHO:

Yeah, I’m concerned about you.

SAM WILKINSON:

Do you think the Liberals can win Bendigo?

TONY ABBOTT:

The short answer is, yes we can, Sam. Greg Bickley is a terrific candidate. He’s got a lot of experience in business. His family are

very well connected with the community. His wife is a local chiropractor, his kids are all at local schools and look, he’s a long-term community activist in the Rotary Club, the Landcare group, all that kind of thing, and I think people feel that the retiring Labor

member has really taken the place for granted a bit.

SAM WILKINSON:

Sure. Now, I have one more question before I pass it over to Beck. Mr Abbott, it’s the big issue this week. Everyone is talking about it, they’re saying, gee they’re a shambles, when are they going to sort this out? Leadership, as you know, is so important.

The Australian Cricket team, in your opinion, what is going on? Because one of the things, one of your predecessors John Howard, he was always big on the cricket. I’d say it’s almost like a role that the Prime Minister has to take on so if you were to

become Prime Minister, you’ve got to have an opinion on this. What is going on with the cricket?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, Sam, look, I feel the same way about the cricket as I do about the Government - they’ve got to get their act together because the longer it’s a soap opera, the worse it is for everyone.

COGHO:

Yes, alright. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is on 3BO. Good call Sam, you’ve had your time.

BECK:

Now, it’s my turn to hit you up with a few questions. Mr Abbott, Vegemite or Promite? It’s an important Australian question.

TONY ABBOTT:

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To be honest, neither!

COGHO:

Neither? Come on. That’s it.

TONY ABBOTT:

Strawberry jam.

BECK:

Wait a sec. You’re going for the leadership of Australia.

TONY ABBOTT:

Yeah, give us strawberry jam.

BECK:

There you go. Alright. Well, we’ve answered that one. Mr Abbott, would you rather have no one turn up for your funeral or no one to vote for you?

TONY ABBOTT:

I’d rather not die.

COGHO:

Yeah! Stop calling him Mr Abbott. It’s Tony. We’re old mates.

BECK:

Yeah, fair call. Have you ever had a dream? Like, do you ever dream about being in Parliament and forgetting to put your pants

on and things like that? You know how we often dream about being back at school or something…

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, Parliament doesn’t normally figure in my dreams, I have got to say.

COGHO:

I bet it doesn’t.

BECK:

Really? Oh, there you go. Now, we were talking about good bosses today and what makes a good boss and things like always appreciating your staff and doing the little things. What would make you a good boss? Or are you a good boss now, do you think?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, that’s really a question to ask my staff. I try to be a good boss. I think a good boss is someone who says ‘thank you’ a lot. I

suspect I am pretty deficient in that score but I keep trying to be better.

BECK:

That’s a really good answer.

COGHO:

Very good answer. I liked it.

BECK:

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There you go. Alright, what is the best perk of your job right now? Do you get free ice cream or good parking spots?

TONY ABBOTT:

No, no, but I have the absolute honour and privilege of being Australia’s alternative Prime Minister.

COGHO:

Oh, you suck hole, what a suck hole answer that was.

BECK:

Yeah, that was. Finally, Mr Abbott, or Tony Abbott. Tell us something that that no one would know about you. We’ll keep it secret I

promise.

COGHO:

We’re only on the radio.

BECK:

What’s your favourite guilty pleasure?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, probably Cadbury’s Diary Milk chocolate.

BECK:

Oh yes, well that makes you an Australian through and through. Me too. Me too! Hey, are there any TV shows that you have got to watch?

TONY ABBOTT:

My wife has become a real addict of shows with subtitles and there is a Danish political series about their first female Prime

Minister called Borgen. It’s terrific.

BECK:

Like you do, right. There you go.

COGHO:

I like to watch a few shows on SBS.

BECK:

Yes, I was expecting, yes, we love Offspring, but no that is fantastic.

COGHO:

Alright, enough of your questions now. Let’s face it, are you sitting back laughing at what is going on with the Julia/Kev thing? Seriously, now come on, if you say nothing now, you don’t need to say anything because what is happening is sadly a bit of a

debacle isn’t it?

TONY ABBOTT:

Cogho, look, it is, it is a debacle but it is tragic. It’s not funny, it is tragic. It’s tragic for our country because whenever the Government is focused on itself it is not focused on the people and that is the thing. They are completely consumed with this

internal fight.

COGHO:

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If you had to choose, who would you rather go up again - Gillard or Kevin Rudd?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, I don’t think either of them are any good. It doesn’t matter who leads this government, you will still get the boats, the debt,

the taxes and the poison.

COGHO:

Alright, tough question for you, because that’s what I am here for. Tony Abbott, Opposition Leader, you are not flash with the women. How have you fixed that in the last few months?

BECK:

Geez, that’s a nice comment.

COGHO:

Well, no, hang on, you look at any of the polls, it doesn’t look like Tony is popular with the women. Have you addressed that?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, Cogho, look, I just refer everyone to my fair dinkum paid parental leave scheme, because in the end it is what politicians do

not what they say that counts and we will implement a fair dinkum paid parental leave scheme that for the first time will treat parental leave as a workplace entitlement, not as a welfare one.

COGHO:

Do you feel that the whole men in blue ties from a couple of weeks ago, was that an unfair characterisation?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, at least I am now known for my tie and not for my budgie smugglers, so that’s probably pretty good!

COGHO:

Good call, good call. Just quickly, too, I accidently watched Parliament a couple of weeks ago and I got transfixed by it. Surely, I

mean there is a lot of theatre in it isn’t there? I watched you and a few others have arguments it is just full on isn’t it? I mean you must walk out of there just shaking your head going ‘gee, that was a part of my life I won’t get back.’

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, look, I often feel embarrassed for our country because it is such a head-banging exercise, but it wasn’t always like that.

When Bob Hawke was Prime Minister, I think Parliament was much less combative and when John Howard was Prime Minister, certainly the Prime Minister himself tried to reach out to everyone in a way that neither Kevin Rudd nor Julia Gillard have.

BECK:

Do you know what, though. Let’s put it this way - Bob Hawke, he was probably less combative because he was able to scull 2.5

pints in 11 seconds.

TONY ABBOTT:

Yeah, he didn’t do that while he was Prime Minister, though.

BECK:

No, that is exactly right but I tell you what there is a lot more to being Prime Minister, isn’t there?

COGHO:

Alright we are going to wrap it up because we know you’re a busy man. The Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, on 3BO. One

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question to go, if you are the Prime Minister in whatever it is, x amount of time, will you actually speak to us on the radio or will you just say no I am the Prime Minister now?

BECK:

Too important.

TONY ABBOTT:

Cogho, no one should be too grand to appear on your programme.

COGHO:

Thank you.

SAM WILKINSON:

There’s the soundbite right there!

BECK:

That is amazing!

COGHO:

Tony, all the best hopefully we speak to you beforehand. We’d like to catch up with Julia too if she returned the calls.

TONY ABBOTT:

Cogho, Beck and Sam thanks for having me.

BECK:

Thank you.

COGHO:

Good on you, Tony and we will talk soon.

BECK:

And have you got a countdown happening on your wall?

TONY ABBOTT:

Yes, it’s 81 days.

BECK:

Oh bless! Good luck.

COGHO:

Good on you, Tony. Thanks.

[ends]

© Tony Abbott MHR 2010 | Authorised by Tony Abbott MHR, Level 2, 17 Sydney Rd, Manly NSW 2095

www.tonyabbott.com.au

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