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Transcript of interview wih Brett Mcleod: Nine News: 14 January 2011: Queensland floods



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

14 January 2011

TRANSCRIPT OF THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR INTERVIEW WITH BRETT MCLEOD NINE NEWS

Subjects: Queensland floods

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

BRETT MCLEOD:

Tony Abbott’s been having a look through this particular street here which is an extraordinary hive of activity given yesterday the floodwater was taller than both of us. What we’re seeing here today and what you would have seen today, we saw the worst of nature but the best of human nature.

TONY ABBOTT:

I think that’s right, Brett. What we’ve got now is a clean-up that’s in full swing. It’s great to see so many community volunteers down here today helping out the local shopkeepers. I think that it is incredibly important at a time like this that people who are suffering know that they are not alone and that’s, I think, pretty clear to the people who have their shops in Rosalie. A lot of people want to help them.

BRETT MCLEOD:

What have people been saying to you today? They have been talking about what they need, have they been asking for assistance?

TONY ABBOTT:

I think that people today are very much focused on cleaning up their homes and their businesses and that’s right and proper today. I think that people are also starting to think of the longer term recovery. I think people are asking questions about how the insurers are going to deal with this and I think they really do need to act like fellow human beings, not like lawyers and bureaucrats. I think people are starting to ask questions about how is government going to help small business, in particular, to stay afloat so to speak in these circumstances. I think people are starting to ask questions about how quickly the infrastructure will be restored, so these are all the questions starting to form in people’s minds as they go on with the clean-up.

BRETT MCLEOD:

Are you impressed by the human spirit we’re seeing on display here because a lot of the people here behind us, but can I say the majority of people behind us, don’t actually live here, they’ve come in here this morning?

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TONY ABBOTT:

They are neighbours, local residents, people from right around Brisbane who have seen what’s happening and want to be part of the clean-up. They want to be here to help. They’re family members, they’re friends, they’re not just the staff and the owners of these businesses. So, yeah, look it is very impressive. This is the Australian spirit at its best. The important thing will be to maintain that spirit in the days and weeks and months ahead. We move from the adrenalin phase of this disaster to the grit phase when people have just got to stick at it in long and frustrating and heartbreaking and backbreaking work.

BRETT MCLEOD:

As someone who has been in government and opposition, what’s the most important function government can fulfil now?

TONY ABBOTT:

Government has to make sure that its assistance programs aren’t just looking good on websites and in press releases, but they’re actually being delivered swiftly and effectively to the people who need help. It’s no good promising people a $25,000 recovery grant if people can’t get access to that money when they need it. It’s no good promising concessional loans if the paperwork to get them makes them almost impossible to obtain. So, delivery is the real challenge of government and I hope that all levels of government are as good at delivering their programmes as they are at spruiking their programmes.

BRETT MCLEOD:

Alright, I know that you want to go have a chat with some more people. Thank you for your time today.

TONY ABBOTT:

Thanks Brett.

[ends]