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Thursday, 8 February 2007
Page: 8

Mr RUDD (2:39 PM) —My question is to the Prime Minister and is also on climate change. Given the Prime Minister’s reference to coalminers and their jobs as an excuse for his inaction on climate change, I ask the Prime Minister whether he has seen the comments made last night by the president of the coalminers union, Tony Maher, that:

Coal miners have voted to support carbon trading and, frankly, it is a disgrace that the Howard Government has taken 10 years to even start talking about it.

Does the Prime Minister support this statement from the coalminers union?

Mr HOWARD (Prime Minister) —I have seen that statement made by Mr Maher, and it has long been my view that leaders do not necessarily speak for workers. I find this fascinating—the automaticity! He was meant to be different. But the Labor Party instinctively thinks: ‘Workers equals unions, equals union bosses, and when union bosses speak, they speak for workers.’ I have news for the Leader of the Opposition: for the last 10 years a lot of coalminers have voted for us.