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Transcript of doorstop interview: Ararat, Victoria: May 03, 2013: Manufacturing; Defence White Paper; National Disability Insurance Scheme; farming; Pollie Pedal



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Joint Doorstop Interview, Ararat, Victoria May 03, 2013

Subjects: Manufacturing; Defence White Paper; National Disability Insurance Scheme; farming; Pollie Pedal.

EO&E...........................................................................................................................................

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, it is very nice to be here in Ararat with the local Member, Dan Tehan, the Member for Wannon and also with Stuey Robert who is the Shadow Assistant Minister for Defence. Stuey has an interest in this factory, AME Systems, because amongst many

other things AME Systems produce the wiring for the famous Bushmaster armoured vehicle which has done such sterling service for our forces in Afghanistan. Both here at AME Systems, and earlier at Gason we have witnessed outstanding examples of

successful regional manufacturing. No one should think that manufacturing has no future in Australia because companies like AME and Gason demonstrate that it can and does have a future. As I said at Gason, as long as we have a farming sector we

should have a farm manufacturing sector. As long as we are building things for our roads we should have manufacturers that are contributing to that and that is what AME Systems are doing here with amongst many other things the wiring for the Kenworth

trucks that are made in Australia and with the potential for major export orders.

Now, both of these companies despite their success are burdened by the additional costs which this government has placed upon them and our plan for manufacturing begins with getting rid of the carbon tax and continues with getting red tape down and

productivity up. If we get taxes down, red tape down and productivity up, manufacturing in this country will have a very strong future. I want Australia to be a country which makes things. I want manufacturing to be one of the five pillars of our economy far

into the future. If we want a strong and prosperous economy for a safe and secure Australia we need a manufacturing industry.

Now, just briefly I am going to ask Stuey and Dan to say a few words in a minute. Just briefly, on the Defence White Paper it is a long list of acquisitions without the money to pay for it and the reality is that this government talks a good game on defence but

defence spending as a percentage of GDP is at the lowest level since 1938. So, they talk big but don’t provide the money to give us the defence capacity that we are going to need into the future. Stuey, I might ask you to say a few words and then we’ll get

Dan to say something.

STUART ROBERT:

Thanks Tony. It is great to be here with yourself and the local Member Dan Tehan. Great to meet the staff who are putting so much of their time, effort and energy into componentry for our Bushmasters which are serving us so well. It is disappointing to see

the White Paper today that there is no costings. There is no finance a week out from the Budget as to how the long list of items will be paid for. This of course is on top of $25 billion worth of cuts. Very disappointing indeed, Tony.

TONY ABBOTT:

Dan?

DAN TEHAN:

Thanks Tony and it is great to be here with yourself and Stuart and it’s been fantastic as the local Member to be able to take you

to Gason and here to AME Systems. We’ve met 150 members of the staff at Gason, we’ve met 375 members of staff here at AME. You have been able to see first-hand how important regional manufacturing is to Australia and we have to make sure that it

continues to grow and be strong that we can continue to export. It was fantastic to hear at AME Systems today that they are looking to export to Indonesia and if we can provide them with the right economic climate I know that regional and rural

manufacturing will continue to grow into the future and it has been fantastic to demonstrate that to you here today.

TONY ABBOTT:

Ok, do we have any questions?

Tony Abbott Federal Member for Warringah | Leader of the Opposition

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QUESTION:

Mr Abbott do you support the language in the White Paper when it comes to the US and China?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well as you can appreciate, the White Paper’s only been released a couple of hours and I haven’t had much of an opportunity to

study the detail, but obviously the foundation of Australia’s long-term security is the US alliance and at the same time as maintaining and deepening the US alliance, we want to have ever stronger co-operation with China.

QUESTION:

Do you support the… you mentioned the acquisition, do you support though those acquisitions when it comes to the Growlers, the

subs and everything else?

TONY ABBOTT:

It’s all very well having a big shopping list, but if you haven’t got the money to pay for it, you won’t get out the door - simple as that. They will not let you take the goods out of the shop if you haven’t got the money to pay for it and that’s the problem with this

government. Big on talk, small on delivery.

QUESTION:

Would you continue though, with those acquisitions in government?

TONY ABBOTT:

We do want to carefully study the White Paper. We do want to ensure that Australia’s armed forces have what they need to continue to be effective, but we want to carefully study it. Obviously we do want to have a strong submarine deterrent, we do want

the submarines to be built in Adelaide, that’s our preference. Obviously we do want to have the most powerful air force in our region. Obviously we want these things but we want to look at the detail of the White Paper before giving a response to all of that

level of detail.

QUESTION:

Do you think the Collins have been an expensive disaster?

TONY ABBOTT:

I think the Collins have had their moments, but the military personnel that I speak to tell me that when they are operational, the Collins are a very effective piece of kit, so the problem with the Collins is keeping them operational.

QUESTION:

So, was David Johnston wrong in that?

TONY ABBOTT:

My Shadow Minister is a fine [Shadow] Minister and he’s doing a terrific job.

QUESTION:

You’re heading to Ballarat tomorrow, do you see it as a seat winnable for the Coalition at the September election?

TONY ABBOTT:

We want to be competitive everywhere and I think we are competitive in a lot of places where previously we might not have been,

but I hasten to add, we don’t take our existing seats for granted and we don’t write-off any of the seats that we don’t currently hold. We’re not cocky anywhere, because every vote has got to be hard fought for and is hard won.

QUESTION:

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What are your impressions of agriculture? I know you were in Koroit yesterday. How do you feel the industry is tracking at the moment with the Australian dollar being so high?

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, it’s always easy to find a particular individual or particular business who is unhappy and look I don’t pretend for a moment

that the high dollar makes it easier for our exporters, but I think that the fundamental message for Australian agriculture is one of optimism. Our farmers are as good as any in the world. Frankly, I think they’re most of the time the best in the world and with the

Asian middle class constantly expanding, the opportunities for Australian agricultural exports just grow and grow and grow. There are hundreds of millions of middle-class people in China now. There are 50 million middle class people in Indonesia now and that

number will expand dramatically in the decades to come. They are going to want to eat better - that means our dairy products, our meat and our livestock, our agricultural manufacturing, have all got, our food producers, have all got plenty of opportunities ahead

of them.

QUESTION:

What are your thoughts on the government’s farm debt package?

TONY ABBOTT:

As with everything this government does, the question is can they actually deliver it? When you’ve got an incompetent and untrustworthy government, there are always question marks over that.

QUESTION:

You must be pleased the Prime Minister is bringing the NDIS legislation before parliament?

TONY ABBOTT:

I’ll be very happy to see from the Prime Minister full detail on exactly who is going to be covered, and how are they covered. Now,

everyone supports the NDIS. We have supported the National Disability Insurance Scheme every step of the way. I wouldn’t be riding 1000km for Carers Australia if I wasn’t fair dinkum about the National Disability Insurance Scheme. So, let the Prime

Minister give us all the detail. Let’s not just give us a new tax to pay for part of it, let’s give us all the detail and I think that’s what the people with disabilities want and I think that’s what the carers of Australia want. I think that’s what the community wants and

that’s certainly what I want.

QUESTION:

Have you had any assurance from the Government that they will provide that detail?

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, the Prime Minister tends to be fairly dismissive of anyone who asks questions of her. Let’s never forget that they’ve had the Productivity Commission report on their desk for almost two years now and I’d hate to think that they’ve just been sitting on their

hands and playing politics with this issue. I’d really hate to think that might be the case. Surely the Government has been doing the necessary work behind the scenes to enable all of the detail to be released.

QUESTION:

I was wondering what’s your thoughts on the car manufacturing industry, the Ford Falcon and the Holden Commodore trying to

hold the same mantel they did say ten years ago?

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, as someone who drives a Ford Territory, I think that our product is a very good product and I want us to have a motor manufacturing industry. I would be very, very disappointed to see motor manufacturing disappear from the Australian industrial

landscape but again, if we want the motor industry to flourish, we’ve got to get rid of the carbon tax, we’ve got to get the regulation and the red tape down, we’ve got to try to get productivity up and that, amongst other things, means moving the industrial

relations pendulum back to the sensible centre.

QUESTION:

How are the legs holding up?

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TONY ABBOTT:

Well David look, I don’t know all that cold air’s too good for my throat. The legs are ok. It’s been a long ride but it’s for a good

cause and if you want people to sponsor you for serious amounts of money, you’ve got to put in serious leg work, as they say, and I’m very happy to be part of it.

DAN TEHAN:

There was huge hill coming up into Ararat and Tony did a great job. He went up there at 100 miles an hour and I’ll tell you what,

everyone else was floundering, so he’s holding up very well.

TONY ABBOTT:

That sounds like a political fib.

DAN TEHAN:

Oh no, it’s not at all because I was one of the ones floundering!

TONY ABBOTT:

No, you were fine mate. Ok. Thank you. Thanks very much.

[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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