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Transcript of doorstop interview: Forestville: April 07, 2013: Aspect Vern Barnett School Fete; NDIS; Julia Gillard's carbon tax; Labor's raid on superannuation

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Doorstop Interview, Forestville April 07, 2013

Subjects: Aspect Vern Barnett School Fete; NDIS; Julia Gillard’s carbon tax; Labor’s raid on superannuation.



It’s terrific to be here at the Vern Barnett School in my electorate. The Vern Barnett School doesn’t just help kids on the Autism Spectrum here on the Northern Beaches. It also helps people from across New South Wales. It’s been a very important

pioneering institution and the objective of this school is to try to ensure that as many of these special kids as possible can as soon as possible go into mainstream education. Now, they do a lot of good work and certainly as Margie and I know when our kids

were at school they were often at school with kids from this school who were starting to integrate into mainstream schooling at Our Lady of Good Counsel just down the road.

So, this is a terrific institution doing magnificent work. I want to say to everyone associated with this school, the teachers, parent

and the kids, well done. As far as I am concerned the Australian Government, the Australian Parliament, should always be there to support you, should always be there to try to make your life easier. We can never do enough but we should always be trying to

do more. That's why the National Disability Insurance Scheme is so important. That's why I am determined that the momentum for the NDIS should be maintained, not just now but into the future, because it will take us some seven or eight years to fully

implement it. That's why I've repeatedly asked the Government to establish a bipartisan parliamentary committee to be co-chaired by the disability spokespeople of both sides of politics so that when the NDIS is established, it doesn't belong to the Liberal Party,

it doesn't belong to the Labor Party, it belongs to the Parliament. It ultimately belongs to all Australians. I think it is very important that we get an NDIS and the quickest way to get an NDIS is to ensure it belongs to all Australians and it is something that all

Australians can feel proud of because it reflects the decency and humanity of all Australians and our determination to ensure that as far as we humanly can, we have institutional arrangements in place which help people and allow them to be their best selves,

that bring out their full humanity.

I'm going to asked Adrian Ford if he would like to say a few words about the school and about the NDIS and then I'll take a few questions.

ADRIAN FORD [CEO, Autism Spectrum Australia]:

Thanks, Tony. Aspect is really very supportive of all the work that is being done to establish an NDIS in this country. It is crucial

that it's got bipartisan support and that's reflected in what Tony just said, as has been said in the Labor Party. I think there is also, one has to say, a great deal of change to be accomplished through this process. We need to make sure that all forms of disability

are going to be listened to and helped through a scheme like this. Certainly, some of the forms of disability like autism which may not be as obvious as, say, other forms like a person who is in a wheelchair, need to be understood about the limitations that

people with autism have. So we're excited that there is this great firming for change in this country at this time and we believe great things will come of it for people with ASD and with other disabilities.


Thanks Adrian.

Ok, do we have any questions?


Mr Abbott, in what way are the Government's superannuation changes shades of Cyprus?


Tony Abbott Federal Member for Warringah | Leader of the Opposition

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I think it is very important that all governments understand that money in superannuation accounts doesn't belong to the Government. It belongs to the people. My message to the Government is they should respect the money that people have put

aside in their superannuation savings and they shouldn't fiddle with it, they shouldn't tamper with it, they shouldn't be changing the rules in adverse ways and the commitment that I give is that there will be no unexpected adverse changes to superannuation

under a Coalition government.


The Prime Minister has also said the [inaudible] and that the link to Cyprus was a crazy statement. What’s your response to that?


A couple of observations. I think the Prime Minister shouldn't use an overseas trip to make domestic political comments. I think that the extreme language of the Prime Minister is unworthy of that great office and I’d back the economic record of the Coalition

against that of the Labor Party any day. Let's look at it. The Coalition found $96 billion worth of Labor debt, turned it into $70 billion of net Commonwealth assets. This Government has taken that $70 billion and turned it into about $170 billion of net

Commonwealth debt, almost $300 billion of gross Commonwealth debt. The Coalition Government of which I was a senior member delivered the four biggest surpluses in Australian history. This Government has given us the four biggest deficits in

Australian history and there are deficits stretching out as far as the eye can see. This is the problem with this Government. You can't trust them with money and you can't trust them to deliver on their promises.


Mr Abbott, on teacher’s pay on that front, the bonus promise from the Prime Minister is it a concern that seemingly not a dollar has

reached a teacher?


That's right. This was a commitment from the 2010 election. It was a commitment that was broadly supported by the Coalition, because we all want to see good teachers paid more but it seems from today's reporting, that not a single teacher has been given

a single dollar in bonus payments as a result of this commitment. So yet again, this Government can't deliver on its promises. It is yet another example of a government which talks big and delivers almost nothing.


Mr Garrett is turning the blame on the states for not passing that money on. Is that how you see it?


Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard came to office promising to end the blame game. Now whenever things go wrong it is never their

fault, it’s always someone else's fault. The blame game has never been worse than it is now and again it is more evidence that you can't trust this Government to do what it says.


Do you anticipate the money will flow next year?


As far as I'm aware, this Government now proposes to cut the money as of the beginning of next year, so under this Government

there can be no money.


Does the Coalition still intend to scrap the low income superannuation rebate if it wins the next election?


We've said from the very beginning of the mining tax that the programmes associated by the mining tax wouldn't go ahead under the Coalition because we're going to scrap the mining tax. Now, the point I make is that this money is going to go under Labor

because the mining tax which funds it hasn't raised any revenues. No-one should think that this programme is safe under Labor because the money to fund it isn't there. This is a government which is so incompetent, it is the first government in Australia's

history to put in place a big new tax that raises no money.

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Do you think the Government has a problem with the messages it is sending to China on trade and business?


I'm pleased that the Prime Minister is in China. I think Australian prime ministers should go frequently to China which is our most

important trading partner and a very, very important relationship. I think when they go, though, they should till the truth and I'm not sure that that's what the Prime Minister has been doing.


Do you agree with Andrew Forrest's comments that the Government is providing leadership?


Twiggy has had a lot to say about the Government, some good and some bad and I'll let him speak for himself. He's more than

capable of doing that.


The Prime Minister has recently been praising other countries in Asia with regards to climate change. Do you think that you should leave the carbon tax alone?


The carbon tax is damaging our economy. It is not doing any good for the environment. No other country is imposing a carbon tax

on its economy at that scale. So one of the best things I can do for the families of Australia, one of the best things I can do for the job security of workers, one of the best things I can do to boost our economy and make things like the NDIS more affordable is

scrap the carbon tax.


When is the Coalition going to release its broadband policy?


We'll release a very good broadband policy sooner rather than later. I want to congratulate my team, but particularly Malcolm Turnbull for the work he has done. We think it is very important that we have fast, affordable broadband but we're not going to get

that by a government telecommunications monopoly which is digging up every street to put fibre to every home whether you need it, want it or can afford to pay almost three times the current price for it. We will have a scheme that will give people significantly

better speeds at much, much lower costs, much more quickly than the Government because if you look at what this Government has done, as of December, there were only about 10,000 homes where the NBN was actually operational. They've spent billions

and I think 0.1 per cent of households have so far been connected. An absolutely scandalous failure and it just goes to show, as I’ve been saying for a long time now, that this NBN is one of the greatest white elephants of all time.

Thank you.


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

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