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Transcript of interview with Hamish McDonald: Ten News: 13 January 2011: Queensland floods



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

13 January 2011

TRANSCRIPT OF THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR INTERVIEW WITH HAMISH MCDONALD TEN NEWS

Subjects: Queensland floods

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

HAMISH MACDONALD:

Thanks very much for your time. Obviously, disturbing news that someone has died in Brisbane this morning.

TONY ABBOTT:

Yes Hamish and look I simply echo the advice of the police and the Premier; don’t go into flood water and obey directions.

HAMISH MACDONALD:

I mean, the grim reality, the grim irony I guess here, is that it is a bright sunny day for the most part, it’s an interesting thing to look at, yet it’s still a very dangerous situation.

TONY ABBOTT:

You only have to look at that river to see that this water is powerful and it’s dangerous. I’ve watched a boat struggling against the current. To be a swimmer in that river would be I think incredibly perilous.

HAMISH MACDONALD:

Are you happy with the operation, recovery, relief and what’s planned beyond this?

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, I think that the emergency services have responded with their usual professionalism.I think that state, federal and local government have responded swiftly. Obviously though, this is the acute phase of the crisis, there will be recovery and rebuilding in the days and the weeks and the months ahead, that’ll have to be well handled by all levels of government.

HAMISH MACDONALD:

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Is there a risk do you think given that Brisbane has been so affected by this that the regional areas become forgotten in the long term nature of the operation recovery?

TONY ABBOTT:

I’m sure that both the state and the State and the Federal Opposition’s will do their best to ensure that there is no neglect, particularly of regional areas because we have seen the devastation in Toowoomba, we’ve seen the devastation in Grantham and Murphy’s Creek and obviously I think that is imprinted itself on everyone’s heart and mind.

HAMISH MACDONALD:

We keep hearing of repeated that there will need be some very serious questions asked about the lead up to this and the planning and the preparation. What in your mind are those questions?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, I think one of the things we should be grateful for is the vision and foresight of an earlier generation of Queensland political leaders who built the Wivenhoe dam. Bad though this flood has been, disastrous though this flood has been, it could have been far worse but for the dam.

HAMISH MACDONALD:

Do you think that consideration needs to be given into the future about preparing Brisbane for example, or Toowoomba or Ipswich better for these sorts of eventualities, even if they are a once in a generation?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well look, now is not the time to start offering detailed blueprints for the future. I think that the important thing is to be grateful for the foresight of an earlier generation, to support the emergency service personnel at this very difficult time and of course to grieve for those who have lost their loved ones and to support those who are going through the heartbreak and trauma of seeing their homes and businesses inundated and in some cases destroyed.

HAMISH MACDONALD:

There has been some credit given to politicians for effectively keeping politics out of this for the moment. Do you think that it will remain that way or do you think this will become a political issue?

TONY ABBOTT:

I think now is not the time for party politics, now is the time to rally around the emergency services and all of the people who are suffering. But obviously in the weeks and months to come it will be the job of governments to respond in an effective and timely fashion and it will be the job of oppositions to hold them to account.

HAMISH MACDONALD:

You have had a bit of a chance to look around, not the whole picture obviously, anything that has stood out, your impressions?

TONY ABBOTT:

I think so far the take out for me has been the stoicism of Queenslanders bracing themselves for a crisis and

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responding to it.

HAMISH MACDONALD:

Tony Abbott, thanks very much indeed for talking to us, appreciate your time.

TONY ABBOTT:

No worries.

[ends]