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Transcript pf doorstop interview: Muswellbrook: 18 June 2011: Julia Gillard's carbon tax; Nielsen poll; live cattle exports; Labor's Malaysian people swap



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

18 June 2011

TRANSCRIPT OF THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR, DOORSTOP INTERVIEW MUSWELLBROOK

Subject: Julia Gillard’s carbon tax; Nielsen poll; live cattle exports; Labor’s Malaysian people swap.

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

TONY ABBOTT:

It’s good to be here at the Drayton mine, part of the Anglo Group here in Australia. There are 500 jobs at this mine. Those jobs will be at risk under the Prime Minister’s carbon tax. There’s a $500 million investment plan for this mine. That investment is at risk under the Prime Minister’s carbon tax. I note that I’m in the electorate of Hunter, which is represented in the parliament by Joel Fitzgibbon, and I wonder why Joel Fitzgibbon is not speaking out on behalf of the jobs and the investment that are in this mine and that will be put at risk by the Prime Minister’s carbon tax. We know the Prime Minister talks about compensation but there is no compensation for someone who loses his job. There is no compensation for a region which is denuded of capital investment and that is the spectre hanging over the Hunter at the moment because of the Prime Minister’s proposed carbon tax.

Now, there’s a lot of talk about polls at the moment. It’s not bad polls that are killing this Government, it’s bad policy, and there’s no point changing leader. What this Government needs to do is change its policy and it needs to change its policy now and I call on decent members of the caucus who understand the impact of the carbon tax on the coal industry, on the manufacturing industry, on jobs and investment in coal and manufacturing to stop making excuses for a floundering prime minister, to stand up for jobs and investment and say no to this toxic tax.

QUESTION:

Given the massive profits from mining companies at the moment do you think there’s a bit of a credibility gap there? People are struggling I think to believe that the mining companies can’t afford a tax.

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, sure mining profits are high at the moment but they haven’t always been high and they won’t always be high in the future and the thing about these taxes is that these taxes are permanent and if we have permanent high taxes on mining we are going to get a lot less mining investment and a lot fewer mining jobs.

QUESTION:

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Given the extensive plans for expansion across Australia, the mining industry, despite the uncertainty about a carbon price, seems to be fairly confident that it’s going to be around for a long time.

TONY ABBOTT:

Well I don’t think you can be confident that there is going to be massive expansion of the mining industry under a carbon tax. Anglo, for instance, in the absence of a carbon tax plans to invest $3.4 billion over the next 10 years and create 3, 000 new jobs over the next 10 years but all of that investment and all of those new jobs will be at risk under a carbon tax. The existing 500 jobs here will be at risk under a carbon tax because the $500 million in new investment that is needed to sustain the 500 jobs here may not come under a carbon tax. That’s the risk to employment and investment that a carbon tax poses. We would be much better off, we would have much more certainty if we had no carbon tax.

QUESTION:

How much do you think the carbon tax has got to do with the Prime Minister’s poor showing in the recent poll?

TONY ABBOTT:

I think people understand that this is not about saving the environment, it’s about cleaning out their wallets. I think people understand that this tax is not going to save the environment but it is going to damage their cost of living and I think this is why the Prime Minister’s standing is in such trouble at the moment.

QUESTION:

The support for a carbon tax is actually rising though, in this latest poll. Doesn’t that show that you’re losing the argument?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well again, I’m not going to get into what any particular poll might say, but I think it is pretty obvious that this tax is toxic to Labor’s electoral prospects. It’s toxic for families struggling with cost of living pressures, it’s toxic for jobs in mining, particularly coal mining, and it’s toxic for jobs in manufacturing. If we want to be a first world economy we don’t need this tax.

QUESTION:

There are cattle rallies taking place across Australia today. How do you rate the Government’s handling of this whole issue?

TONY ABBOTT:

It’s typical of a Government which is monumentally incompetent when it comes to actually administering a programme. As we saw a year ago this is a Government which can execute a prime minister but it can’t execute a programme. That’s their problem. They are all spin and no delivery. They are all announcement and no follow-through. That’s the problem with this Government.

QUESTION:

And what do you make of the fact that in this latest poll, despite Julia Gillard’s dismal performance, you’re still not ahead of her as preferred prime minister?

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TONY ABBOTT:

Look again, I don’t comment on polls. What I do is every day I stand up for the people of Australia, I stand up for what I think are the best interests of the workers and the people of Australia and what you’ll be seeing from me every day while I’m in public life is energy and commitment to try to ensure that we get the best possible outcomes for the Australian people and right now that means no carbon tax because there are much more sensible ways of improving the environment and reducing our emissions than hitting businesses like this and jobs here with a great big new tax.

QUESTION:

Do you fancy seeing Kevin Rudd back as your opposite number?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well again, this is a bad government with bad policies. What they need to do is not change the leader but change the policies.

QUESTION:

Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition says that Julia Gillard is a racist because of her Malaysia swap deal. What do you think?

TONY ABBOTT:

I think that the Malaysian deal is a very bad deal. It’s a bad deal for Australia, it’s a bad deal for boat people and there is a better way, there is an alternative, and compared to Malaysia, Nauru is more humane, more effective and it’s proven, and I say that what the Prime Minister should do immediately is pick up the phone to the President of Nauru because Nauru has just signed the UN Convention on Refugees. That was supposedly the reason why the Government couldn’t re-establish the processing centre there. The Prime Minister said during the election campaign last year that boat people would not under any circumstances be sent to a country which had not signed the UN Convention. That’s just another broken promise now, like her promise that “there will be no carbon tax under the government I lead”.

QUESTION:

Do you agree with the charge that she’s racist though?

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, I agree with the charge that she’s been a very bad prime minister. I don’t think she’s been a bad person but I think she’s been a terrible prime minister and I think that’s the charge that really needs to be levelled against her, of being an incompetent, inept prime minister who is presiding over a bad government getting worse.

Thank you.

[ends]