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Transcript of radio interview with Geoff Hutchison: ABC Perth: 8 June 2010: Resources Super Profit Tax; death of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan.



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The Hon Julia Gillard MP 

Deputy Prime Minister 

Minister for Education 

Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations 

8 June, 2010  

Radio Interview - ABC PERTH

INTERVIEW 830AM TUESDAY 8 JUNE 2010 ABC PERTH

ISSUES: Resources Super Profit Tax; Death of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan.

JULIA GILLARD: Good morning.

GEOFF HUTCHISON: You’re risking everything it seems. Is it worth the risk?

JULIA GILLARD: Well we’re obviously very determined through the Resources Super Profits Tax to make sure that the nation gets a fair share of the proceeds of this mining boom.

GEOFF HUTCHISON: Yep but is it going to cost your Government?

JULIA GILLARD: I understand at the moment this is a fast and furious debate, but even as we’re having the debate publicly, I think some points of agreement are emerging. Many of our biggest mining players are saying that the industry can pay more tax. And that really is the Government’s point that the nation should be getting a fairer share for the mineral wealth that’s in our ground and belongs to all of us and can only be dug up and sold once.

So we’ll continue to have the consultation as announced with the mining industry and work our way through this piece by piece.

GEOFF HUTCHISON: Deputy Prime Minister, I would like to put to you how I think the policy appears to have been received in Western Australia and taken that from people that we’ve spoken to. Some people of course support your line and say this is an Australian owned asset and we should get more for it and there certainly has been a degree of that via talkback on this program. But I would appear that you announced and imposed this without wide consultation. You hoped you could take the public with you. There was a lot of brandishing of nationalistic slogans, about us and them, but isn’t the reality now the public now thinks that this may not be good policy and you face a very real risk of being punished very severely electorally.

JULIA GILLARD: Well obviously you’re referring to yesterday’s polls and can I say, you know, the numbers that matter to me aren’t the poll numbers. The numbers that matter to me are the numbers of Australian families that we’re assisting with cost of living pressures through things like our Education Tax Rebate and our Child Care Tax Rebate.

GEOFF HUTCHISON: What about the Labor backbenchers?

JULIA GILLARD: The kids in schools that we’re helping get a better education and the people who need the hospital system who we’re helping get a better hospital system. That’s what matters to me. That is what’s driving us.

GEOFF HUTCHISON: Yeah, but what about those Labor backbenchers who are saying, we are getting some very negative sentiment in our electorate and you might think this is good policy but we’re not going to be returned at the next election?

JULIA GILLARD: I understand that with the debate on the Resources Super Profits Tax, hot as it has been in recent weeks, that there are a lot of people watching this debate. They’re not sure what to think yet. Some people are anxious about what it might mean for them.

My view is just a very simple one; there’s nothing to be afraid of here and we shouldn’t be afraid of debate, even passionate debate. Passion is a good thing. It means that people believe things strongly. Debate is a good thing. It means people are exchanging views. But what I would say particularly here in this great state of Western Australia - I don’t live here, the people who live here are the experts on this state - but in the time I’ve been here I’ve met people who have done very well out of past resources booms and I’ve met a lot of Western Australians who didn’t see much from resources booms.

GEOFF HUTCHISON: Sure.

JULIA GILLARD: Who in fact saw the burdens of the boom - rising house prices, rising rent, congestion…

GEOFF HUTCHISON: But now there are fears that jobs might go as well.

JULIA GILLARD: Well if I can just finish the sentence. And to those Western Australians what I would be saying, is this is about getting them and the nation a fair share. We still want the people who work in mining to earn good money, we want miners to earn good profits and the nation to get a fair share. Each of those things is achievable.

GEOFF HUTCHISON: You’re going to have lunch today with people like Don Voelte and Andrew Forrest. You do not appear to be winning the public argument, perhaps that’s just at the moment. But do you agree, and I’d love a yes/no answer here, that there has to be a compromise on the original plan?

JULIA GILLARD: There has to be consultations and there are. And we’ve always said, always said from the very first day, that we wanted to work with the mining industry on the implementation arrangements and details for this tax and that work is happening now.

GEOFF HUTCHISON: But won’t there need to be an announcement? Won’t there need, even from your benefit, to see a smiling Prime Minister with a smiling Andrew Forrest or a

smiling someone else saying we have made an adjustment to the level at which this tax will kick in?

JULIA GILLARD: We’re determined of course to get the nation a fairer share. We’re working through the details. There’s a process in train and we’ll work through that process, you know, step by step and that is what is happening now so I’m not going to try and prejudge what will come out of that process. It’s a process of course that the Treasurer is centrally engaged in.

GEOFF HUTCHISON: Just before I farewell you, Julia Gillard, David Hurley, the Vice Chief of the Defence Force, has just been speaking at a press conference in Canberra about the death of two Australian servicemen. Just have a listen, then I’d appreciate your comments.

DAVID HURLEY: As the Acting Chief of the Defence Force it is my sad duty to inform you that two Australians soldiers serving with the First Mentoring Taskforce in Afghanistan have been killed in action.

The two soldiers from the Brisbane based second combat engineer regiment died as a result of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated yesterday morning Afghanistan time. They were part of an Australian dismounted patrol conducting operations in the Mirabad Valley region in Uruzgan province.

One of the soldiers was killed at the time of the explosion. The other soldier received emergency first aid from his patrol mates and was subsequently aero-medically evacuated to a nearby ISAF hospital. Sadly the soldier died from his wounds. There were no other Australian or Afghan causalities, however, an explosive detection dog also died in the incident.

An investigation will be initiated in order to determine the exact details of the incident. I speak for the entire ADF and defence community when I tell you I am deeply saddened by the loss of these two brave Australian soldiers.

GEOFF HUTCHISON: And Julia Gillard, as the Deputy Prime Minister, your comments this morning?

JULIA GILLARD: Well I would also agree that I think the nation’s going to be saddened. I’m obviously saddened by this news and there are going to be some grieving families in our nation today and our heart very much goes out to them.

GEOFF HUTCHISON: Thank you for talking to me this morning. Julia Gillard is the Deputy Prime Minister, here for a couple of days of intense discussion.

ENDS.