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Transcript of interview with Ray Hadley: 2GB Sydney: 4 September 2015: new measures to strengthen Australian citizenship; Daesh death cult; Bill Shorten and the CFMEU's joint plan to sabotage Australia's economic future by standing in the way of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement; Canning by-election; Growing Jobs and Small Business package



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PRIME MINISTER

4 September 2015

TRANSCRIPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MP, INTERVIEW WITH RAY HADLEY RADIO 2GB, SYDNEY

Subjects: New measures to strengthen Australian citizenship; Daesh death cult; Bill Shorten and the CFMEU’s joint plan to sabotage Australia’s economic future by standing in the way of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement; Canning by-election; Growing Jobs and Small Business package.

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

RAY HADLEY:

Prime Minister, good morning to you.

PRIME MINISTER:

Morning, Ray - lovely to be with you.

RAY HADLEY:

I’ve spoken this morning about the news on the front page of the Telegraph - the backing that we’re receiving for retrospective cancellation of citizenship. And this would mean people like Abdul Nacer Benbrika would be sent back to Algeria when let out of jail. It’s fantastic news I think. Am I right in assuming the committee from both sides of Parliament - all sides of Parliament - have consented to this?

PRIME MINISTER:

Ray, I can’t comment on the committee report till after it’s released. Certainly it is the strong intention of the Government to give this law retrospective effect because if you’re a dual citizen and you’re guilty of terrorism against your fellow Australians, frankly, you have put yourself beyond the pale - put yourself beyond the pale and I don’t believe you should any longer remain part of the extended family of our nation and yes, a consequence of the loss of citizenship is you lose the right to remain in Australia.

RAY HADLEY:

Are you getting the right sort of nods from the Opposition that they’ll support you to that end?

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PRIME MINISTER:

Look, I think that there are certainly some people in the Opposition who are very staunch on these issues. There are others in the Opposition who probably are less so - and look, I just don’t want to pre-empt what the committee might say. I certainly hope that it’s a unanimous report and if it is the unanimous report then it should be much easier to get the legislation through the Parliament.

RAY HADLEY:

I know you have great regard for the former Labor leader Kim Beazley, who’s out Ambassador to the US. He says we can learn something from the way the American encourage patriotism in their youth, suggesting it might be why so few of them go to other places to join IS.

PRIME MINISTER:

Yeah, that’s an interesting observation, Ray. And, look, Americans certainly do have a “heart on the sleave” patriotism which we Australians have not as yet emulated. I think Australians are proud and I think we are fiercely patriotic. We’re perhaps not as demonstrative as Americans and I’m hoping that the citizenship consultations which Philip Ruddock and Connie Fierravanti-Wells have been leading around our country might produce more emphasis on the obligations and responsibilities of citizenship, as well as the privileges and the rights of citizenship.

RAY HADLEY:

As an extension of that, in my weekly chats with your Minister Peter Dutton, we’ve spoken about an Australian terrorist fighting with IS in Syria who said if he hadn’t been able to escape Australia he would have committed an act of terror in Australia. Does it concern you given that the policy of the Government is to keep these people here when we do detect them at our ports, that perhaps they can act on that action that was enunciated by the bloke who’s already in Syria?

PRIME MINISTER:

Our position, Ray, is that we don’t want people to go overseas to join terrorists. If they do go overseas and join terrorists, we don’t want them to come back. If for whatever reason they do get back, we want to put them in jail as quickly as possible. Now, I accept that there are some people who say that if they hadn’t gone overseas they would’ve committed terrorism here in this country, but someone like that is going to be an even more effective terrorist having had the experience of serving with this death cult overseas.

The other point I make, Ray, is that we have very significantly boosted the resources available to our security agencies, our police, we’ve certainly changed the laws to give our security agencies and police much greater powers against terrorists and would-be terrorists. There are now control orders which are much more readily available against people who we think are up to no good. So, look, we are doing everything we humanly can to keep our country as safe as it can be.

RAY HADLEY:

You spoke to my colleague Alan Jones and it caused a deal of comment - comparing Islamic state to the Nazis. You said “Nazis did terrible evil but they had a sufficient sense of shame to try to hide it,” whereas Islamic state boast about their evil. The Jewish leaders have reacted saying they thought your comments were injudicious and unfortunate - your view on their comments?

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PRIME MINISTER:

Look, I don’t want to have a fight with anyone except those who are the enemies of our country. Obviously, the death cult in the Middle East is a dreadful enemy of Australia; it’s a dreadful enemy of all decent people. The message of the death cult is: submit of die. And we have seen routinely on our TV screens the terrible deaths that they mete out to people who are just going about their ordinary life. For instance, the public beheading of the curator of the Palmyra ruins. I mean, this was the most shocking thing. For 50 years this man had kept alive the world’s cultural heritage, but because there was some impiety in this - according to the death cult - they killed him in the most barbaric way. And this is the thing about this evil, it’s a boastful evil, not ashamed or embarrassed about the evil it does - it boasts and this is what gives a special quality of horror to what’s happening in the Middle East right now.

RAY HADLEY:

I’ve been taunting you for about four years to go on the front foot and give it to the Opposition and you always are measured, you won’t get down to my level.

PRIME MINISTER:

You’re very kind.

RAY HADLEY:

Well, you won’t. But you’re the Prime Minister, I’m not, I can get down to my level regularly. But Bill Shorten is so far out of step with the Australia free trade agreement, he’s running and flying in the face of Bob Carr, he’s flying in the face of Bob Hawke, he’s flying in the face of Simon Crean, he flies in the face of the premiers - the Labor state premiers. I mean, obviously we understand he’s beholden to the unions, he was so intent of getting Dyson Heydon removed, but when does it stop, when does he actually put the good of the country in front of his union leanings?

PRIME MINISTER:

That’s a very good question, Ray, and I am dismayed that he’s playing squalid politics over something as important for our future as the Free Trade Agreement or export agreement with China. I think people are coming to the conclusion that every time Bill Shorten acts, it’s the CFMEU that are pulling his strings and every time he opens his mouth it’s the CFMEU’s voice we hear. I think it’s a real problem for him, but worse, it’s a real problem for our country because the alternative prime minister appears to be channelling the most militant and the most destructive and at times the dodgiest union in our country.

RAY HADLEY:

Now, is he running dead in Canning?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well he’s certainly been very active in Canning for someone who is allegedly running dead. So, I think he’s…

RAY HADLEY:

I should explain to the uninitiated, ‘running dead’ is an old horseracing parlance when a dead ‘un arrives home. In other words, someone who didn’t try.

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PRIME MINISTER:

Yeah, that’s right. For someone who is allegedly not trying, he’s made three visits to the electorate. Yesterday he was there for most of the day, as I understand it. So, look, I think this is just a bit of sledging - a bit of typical Labor sledging - and we’re certainly expecting the toughest of tough fights in Canning. We’ve got a great candidate - an absolutely outstanding candidate - and we’ve got a good record because we’ve got rid of the mining tax and the carbon tax that were two anti-West Australian taxes, we are doing our best to energise the small businesses of Canning with the instant asset write off, the tax cuts for small business. So, look, you can never be complacent about these things, we’re not taking anything for granted, but I’m as confident as we can be that it will be a good result.

RAY HADLEY:

One final one: will Joe Hockey always be the Treasurer in a government you lead?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well that’s certainly…

RAY HADLEY:

I’m channelling a former prime minister there, Prime Minister!

PRIME MINISTER:

Yep. No, I appreciate that. Look, that’s certainly my intention. He’s doing a fine job, he has my full confidence, he has the full confidence of the Cabinet. It was Joe who was the principal author, along with Bruce Billson, of the confidence boosting small business measures in the Budget. And look, our economy is suffering some headwinds from overseas, but we’ve had 335,000 more jobs in the economy since the election, car sales at near record levels, bankruptcies are at near record lows, company registration are at near record levels, housing approvals are at near record levels, confidence is above its long run average level. So, despite the difficulties in China, I think we’re well placed to continue to flourish.

RAY HADLEY:

Thanks for your time. Have a good time in Albury-Wodonga.

PRIME MINISTER:

Thank you so much.

[ends]