Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Transcript of interview with Daryl Manzie: 104.1 Territory FM, Darwin: Labor-Greens alliance; Labor’s mining tax; border protection; Defence housing; electricity prices; visit to Darwin



Download PDFDownload PDF

1

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR FEDERAL MEMBER FOR WARRINGAH

9 December 2010

TRANSCRIPT OF THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR INTERVIEW WITH DARYL MANZIE 104.1 TERRITORY FM, DARWIN

Subjects: Labor-Greens alliance; Labor’s mining tax; border protection; Defence housing; electricity prices; visit to Darwin.

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

DARYL MANZIE:

Good morning Tony Abbott.

TONY ABBOTT:

G’day Daryl.

DARYL MANZIE:

Now, as Leader of the Opposition obviously it’s a difficult task you have because there’s a lot of expectation but there’s not a lot of power involved and I guess you get frustrated with some of the things you see and are involved in and not being able to push it past where it should be going.

TONY ABBOTT:

Yeah that’s a fair point, Daryl, and I guess one of the frustrations is knowing that this is a bad Government getting worse and you’d really like to be able to do something about it but oppositions can criticise and they can propose a better way, but in the end if you’re not in government it’s very hard to make it happen. I think a lot of Australians are now feeling very, very frustrated about the hung parliament, about the fact that we don’t really have a good Government and in fact by some measures I think this Government is the worst in Australia’s history.

DARYL MANZIE:

Well, it’s interesting, isn’t it? I mean, there’s, even from the Government’s ranks, there’s a lot of concern about the influence the Greens have on Government policy and in fact we’re not talking the popular type of ‘green’ policies, we’re talking about some of the nasties that not many people are aware of. But it’s certainly having an influence on policy direction.

TONY ABBOTT:

2

Yeah and look, Daryl, the last thing that I would want to do is encourage leaks, but it was interesting to read in the paper this morning one of these leaks which has the Treasury Secretary saying that really it’s been a terrible year for the Government, a year of paralysis, and it kind of confirms what I’ve been saying for the last couple of months. That Labor might be in Government but the Greens are in power and the only reason the parliament is now worrying about distractions like gay marriage and euthanasia is because of the Green influence.

DARYL MANZIE:

And I think interestingly there was, I think, a WikiLeak that reported that Arbib had told the Americans there’d be a leadership change later in the year, sometime early in the year. So interesting things coming out of that. But I guess, you’re here in Darwin, you’re looking at issues which relate to Northern Australia. Of course, offshore oil and gas here, iron ore, uranium, bauxite… I mean we’ve got a lot of wealth but our borders to the north are really not as well protected as I guess most Australians would like. Where do you see the future of northern Australia and border protection and security of so much of what Australia’s wealth is in this region?

TONY ABBOTT:

Daryl, at my public forum last night I think there were really three big issues. There was the mining tax, which obviously will potentially hurt northern Australia. There’s the whole question of border protection and the fact that we just get one boat after another now under this Government’s policies. Finally, there was a terrible problem of housing here in Darwin. I think they were the three big issues that people wanted to talk to me about. Now, I think it would just be terrible for Australia if this mining tax goes ahead and while the Coalition has pledged to oppose it in opposition and rescind it in government, if there’s a Green balance of power in the Senate even if we were to win the next election it would be very hard to get rid of this tax, which is why it’s so important to stop it ever getting there in the first place. On the boats, well, we outlined some clear policies which worked before and I think would work again: temporary protection visas, rigorous offshore processing and, where it’s safe to do so, turning boats around. On the housing issue, Natasha Griggs has certainly made this a big issue for her and I just don’t see why those several hundred empty defence houses at the RAAF base there at Eaton aren’t used and that would certainly take some of the pressure off the Darwin housing market.

DARYL MANZIE:

That’s really, I guess, one of those issues where someone’s made a decision and no one’s going to rescind it but it was a stupid idea to waste those houses. I mean, the policy was bulldoze them. Hopefully that is going to turn around but it’s just unbelievable in this day and age that those sort of things can happen…

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, this city, Daryl, has had extraordinary population growth with defence growing, with the oil and gas industry expanding. There really is, with the intervention and other things happening. I mean Darwin is one of the fastest growing towns or cities in Australia and yet we’ve got these houses that are empty.

DARYL MANZIE:

And I think there’s other issues too. I guess infrastructure development with, you know, in particular the mining industry’s impact and defence, we need to keep with their major infrastructure and that doesn’t appear to be happening. I mean, I have concerns about future water storage. I mean, we get monsoonal rains here and, you know, we get massive amounts of water dumped in three months but people are talking about, you know, the possibility of water rationing in the future and there’s that concern a lot of Australians, electricity prices - unbelievable and rising at rapid rates. That’s something that really causes concern.

3

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, that’s right, Daryl. If you look at the Australian average, electricity prices have gone up by 42 per cent in the last three years which is a phenomenal rise and all of the regulators and monitoring organisations say that that rise is going to continue, but it’s going to get worse and worse if a carbon tax is brought in. The New South Wales price regulating body said that electricity prices in New South Wales were set to rise 60 per cent in the next three years but at least a third of that price rise would be with an emissions trading scheme were one to be brought in. Well one of the reasons why the Coalition is so much against carbon taxes and emissions trading schemes is because they’re not going to help the environment but by gee they’ll be a huge whack on everyone’s cost of living.

DARYL MANZIE:

It’s interesting, I mean, you’ve spoken against the carbon tax concept and you’ve said, look, we’ve got another way of approaching the issue of emissions and that’s direct action. You get a lot of, you don’t get much of a chance to run out publicly what the options are and there seems to be this view right through, even with the media, of not even wanting to talk about options except those put forward by the Government. What can be done to decrease greenhouse gas emissions without carbon taxes, without imposing costs and restrictions on electricity?

TONY ABBOTT:

Yeah. Well Daryl, look, this is the policy that we took to the election and we were going to establish an emissions reductions fund which would go to the market and seek bids on carbon dioxide abatement measures. Now, they might have included improving carbon in the soil which actually has enormous potential for reducing Australia’s emissions and will actually improve our farmland at the same time. It could be tree planting, which has great potential to reduce emissions and also improve the environment. It could be better industrial processes, which would reduce emissions and probably reduce other forms of pollution as well, such as moving from coal to gas, re-engineering your business to a low emissions method of production, that kind of thing. So all of these things are doable without a great big new tax on everything. Now, I’m not saying that they’re cost free but there’s a world of difference between a government which spends a billion dollars a year, as we were proposing to, on environmental improvement measures and a Government which whacks a $12 or $14 billion a year tax on everything which is what the emissions trading scheme would’ve been.

DARRYL MANZIE:

I guess one of the other things is it’s starting to become an issue of discussion is looking at the future of uranium and nuclear power generation. Obviously, that’s been a bit of a no-no for a lot of people in terms of discussion, but if we’re really serious about, you know, I guess emissions and we’re talking about an electricity industry which produces 60 per cent of Australia’s total man made emissions, you know, it has to be on the agenda.

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, yes, but we’ve got to understand that if there were to be a move to nuclear power generation it would be at a much higher price to consumers, Daryl. Nuclear power certainly has the ability to deliver base load power in a way that renewables just can’t but it is very considerably more expensive for a country like Australia which has abundant reserves of coal and gas. It’s only countries like France and Japan which don’t have our sort of reserves of coal and gas, which don’t have access to cheap coal and gas that have gone into nuclear in a big way and that’s the point I keep making. The nuclear option would mean much higher power prices for consumers.

DARRYL MANZIE:

4

Look, Tony, I think we might get onto something a little lighter. You’re here in Darwin, we’ve got beautiful weather. I don’t know if you bought the Speedos and did a couple of laps of Fannie Bay for a morning wake-up or did you think the crocs might have been a bit of a risk.

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, even though when I was down at the naval base yesterday there was a pod of dolphins playing just by the warships, and I figured if the dolphins were there the crocs wouldn’t be, I still felt a little resistance. So I confined myself to the hotel gym.

DARRYL MANZIE:

Good on you, Tony. Have a great Christmas, I hope you enjoy the little time left you have in Darwin. It was a pleasure talking to you this morning.

TONY ABBOTT:

Thank you so much.

[ends]