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Transcript of joint doorstop interview: Queanbeyan: 21 June 2011: Julia Gillard's carbon tax



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

21 June 2011

TRANSCRIPT OF THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR, JOINT DOORSTOP INTERVIEW WITH SENATOR BARNABY JOYCE, SHADOW MINISTER FOR REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT, LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND WATER

QUEANBEYAN

Subject: Julia Gillard’s carbon tax.

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

TONY ABBOTT:

It‟s great to be here at Ablett‟s Transport with Barnaby Joyce, my distinguished colleague. This is typical of the tens of thousands of small businesses right around Australia which is going to be hard hit by Julia Gillard‟s carbon tax. It‟s a tough market, the trucking market. It‟s highly competitive and every cost increase hurts. This business spends $300,000 a month on fuel and under a $26 a tonne carbon price that means a $20,000 a month hit on their fuel bills. This business uses $10,000 worth of power a quarter and under a $26 a tonne carbon price that‟s a $2,500 hit on their fuel bills and, as we know, if the carbon tax comes in it‟s just going to go up and up and up and up.

So my job, Barnaby Joyce‟s job, the job of the Coalition is to resist this carbon tax. Let‟s not forget, this is the carbon tax that the Prime Minister said before the election would not happen. She said six days before the election “there will be no carbon tax under the government I lead”. Now she‟s trying to sneak the carbon tax through a parliament that has no mandate for it. Julia Gillard is trying to gag the Australian people when it comes to the carbon tax. I want the Australian people to have a say on this carbon tax. That‟s why I am determined to press on with my bill to give the Australian people a vote on this carbon tax. I am not scared of the Australian public when it comes to the carbon tax and I challenge the Prime Minister to have the honesty and the integrity to submit her carbon tax to the people in a vote.

Barnaby, do you want to add something?

BARNABY JOYCE:

Thanks, Tony. It‟s always good adding something to you, Tony, because I know whatever I say they‟ll never report it. Look, it‟s great to come here and to think about this and look at this family business. Ray‟s father set it up and he set it up moving timber and he built a business in Canberra and he‟s employed people and he‟s got his rigs on the road and he‟s doing what decent people do, he‟s earning a buck. Ray‟s managing it and even his daughter Kerry, she‟s in there in the office, she‟s doing the books, it‟s a part of a family business and it‟s what our nation is so proud of.

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We‟re positive people and we want to give people the best opportunity to get ahead. But they must get so frustrated with us when they are out here working, all the guys in the workshop, when they look at what is going on up top in Parliament House; the belief that single-handedly, without the assistance of anybody else in the globe, apparently Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan can make today colder. I didn‟t particularly want it to be colder but apparently they can do that. It‟s just so absurd and that‟s why they get so frustrated, that‟s why they get so disconnected to the way our politics is working. I‟m really thankful, fair dinkum thankful, that Tony is really fighting this one right through because it‟s these people that need it. We‟re doing it for them. It‟s about trying to get some sanity back into our nation, for goodness sake.

TONY ABBOTT:

Ok, are there any questions?

QUESTION:

Mr Abbott, you made some claims about how this business would be affected under a carbon tax at a certain rate per tonne. How can you make those assumptions when Simon Crean has already indicated that the Government might not apply the carbon tax to fuel itself and would this business be one of the top 1,000 polluters to be directly affected?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, the Prime Minister‟s carbon tax only works if it raises the price of power, if it raises the price of fuel. If it doesn‟t raise the price of power, if it doesn‟t raise the price of fuel it doesn‟t work - it doesn‟t drive a shift to non-emitting activities. As we know, whatever the price is when the Government announces it it‟s just going to go up and up and up. The Greens say it will need at least a $40 a tonne carbon price to drive a shift from coal to gas and a $100 a tonne carbon price to drive a shift from fossil fuels to renewables. So, whatever the Government tells you, this carbon price is going up and up and up.

QUESTION:

Mr Abbott, Senator Fielding will not support your bill for a plebiscite, so you‟re one vote down. Will you push ahead with it anyway and will that include negotiations with Senator Fielding?

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, I am determined to push ahead with this because I think it‟s absolutely vital in a democracy that on something as important as this the people have their say. I want the Australian public to have the vote that the Prime Minister denied to them before the election when she pretended that that election was not about a carbon tax, was not about a carbon price. So look, I will continue to talk to the crossbenchers in the Senate. I certainly haven‟t given up on Senator Fielding‟s vote. I‟m very conscious of the heroic role that Senator Fielding played in the middle of 2009 in alerting people to some of the problems with a carbon price, a carbon tax, an emissions trading scheme. I‟m conscious of what he said then and I‟m continuing to discuss with him the importance of putting this issue to the people. Steve Fielding could be the man that gives the people a say on this issue. Steve Fielding could be the man that saves Australia from a carbon tax emissions trading scheme that he has already said is not in our national interest.

QUESTION:

What do you think of his decision and why do you think he‟s decided to go this way?

TONY ABBOTT:

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Well, as I said, I don‟t think you can assume that this matter is settled. I don‟t think you can assume that at all. I mean, I think that all you can say is that discussions are ongoing.

QUESTION:

But he says it‟s an $80 million stunt. That doesn‟t sound very promising for you.

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, there is obviously going to be a cost to having the plebiscite but let‟s not forget the massive cost of this carbon tax. I mean, this carbon tax just at $26 a tonne is going to raise $11.5 billion a year. Now, I think it is a small price to pay for giving the people a say on an $11 billion a year impost.

QUESTION:

Mr Abbott, why wouldn‟t you propose a referendum rather than a plebiscite?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well look, I want the people to have their say. The carbon tax is not going to be in the Constitution and the referendum provisions apply to changing the Constitution. I want the people to have a say on this and the most obvious way for them to have a say would be for the Prime Minister to go to the people at an election and seek a mandate. She‟s scared of that, she wouldn‟t seek a mandate before the last election, she doesn‟t want to seek a mandate at the next election, she wants to sneak this tax through a parliament that has no mandate for it. So what I‟m trying to do is the next best thing which is to have a vote through a plebiscite.

QUESTION:

Mr Abbott, what good is a mandate, though? In 2007 Kevin Rudd had a mandate for an emissions trading scheme. The Coalition opposed that several times in the Senate. If you weren‟t going to respect it then why would you now? Also, why the need for a plebiscite when the election will be in 2013 and that‟s only one year after an emissions trading scheme is introduced?

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, I just put it back to you - what‟s wrong with letting the people have a say? At the 2010 election, which is the relevant election, the Prime Minister said “there will be no carbon tax under the government I lead”. This is a Government based on a deception. Does anyone think that the Prime Minister would have won the election had six days out she declared „there will be a carbon tax under the government I lead.‟ So this was a material deception. If the Prime Minister has changed her mind she should do the honest thing and seek a mandate. If she won‟t seek a mandate at an election she should not stand in the way of the people having their say. As I said, as things stand, this is the Prime Minister who is trying to gag the Australian public when it comes to the carbon tax. I‟m trying to give them a voice.

QUESTION:

I‟ve just got an unrelated question. Senator Joyce, as a Queenslander how do you feel about the decision regarding Johnathan Thurston?

BARNABY JOYCE:

Thurston, Thurston! Yeah, this is outrageous. I mean, a two week suspension and we‟re going into the State of Origin. I mean, I didn‟t realise that running into somebody by accident was such a heinous crime. I mean, it does pose the question that, you know, if these buggers can‟t win fairly they‟ll win foul.

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QUESTION:

What do you think, Tony?

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, I think that Barnaby is going to get reported, notwithstanding the fact that he‟s standing with me!

QUESTION:

Mr Abbott, can I just ask you, how would you describe Prime Minister Gillard‟s first year in three words and how would you describe your own leadership in three words?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, I‟m not going to put a tag on my leadership because many others will do that for me. I think that basically „an embarrassing failure‟ is probably the verdict on this Prime Minister and I‟m going to judge her by the yardstick she herself set 12 months ago; 12 months ago she said that the Government had lost its way. She said she was going to take control and by taking control she would fix the mining tax, she would fix border protection and she would fix climate change policy. Now, plainly our borders are out of control, plainly the mining tax is not settled and plainly she has been simply deceptive when it comes to climate change policy. So, this is a bad Government getting worse and the Prime Minister has monumentally failed the test that she set for herself.

QUESTION:

Mr Abbott, just on another subject, Surf Life Saving Australia, they were considering getting rid of their red and yellow caps recently. Today they decided to keep them. What‟s your reaction to that?

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, as someone who has worn the red and yellow cap I‟d be happy to keep wearing it. I‟m a traditionalist when it comes to these things. I don‟t see the need for change and I‟m pleased that Surf Life Saving has decided to maintain this particular proud tradition.

Thank you.

[ends]