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Transcript of interview: All Star Breakfast Show 94.3 Star FM, Gippsland with Stampsy and Jake: Pollie Pedal 2012; Queensland election



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

27 March 2012

TRANSCRIPT OF THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR, INTERVIEW WITH STAMPSY AND JAKE THE ALL STAR BREAKFAST SHOW 94.3 STAR FM, GIPPSLAND

Subjects: Pollie Pedal 2012; Queensland election.

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

PRESENTER:

The main man himself, the Opposition Leader Mr Tony Abbott is in Warragul this morning. He’s on the phone. G’day, Mr Abbott. How are you?

TONY ABBOTT:

Jake, I’m good. How about yourself?

PRESENTER:

Good thanks.

PRESENTER:

Mr Abbott, can you confirm the reports. Several witnesses said they believe you were belting out a few renditions of Suspicious Minds at karaoke last night. Is this true?

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, you know a politician can’t tell a fib but yes, it is true. How good I was is a moot point but nevertheless I had a go.

PRESENTER:

Well, have a go for us now please, if you will, Mr Abbott. It’s a great song!

TONY ABBOTT:

It is a great song.

PRESENTER:

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I don’t think we’ll get him on that one, will we?

TONY ABBOTT:

“What you’re doing to me…”

PRESENTER:

Hey! There’s our promo for the day! Thank you very much, Mr Abbott. How has the Pollie Pedal been going so far? I want to know, Tony, you’ve been cycling for a while. Have you ever had a big stack on a bike?

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, I haven’t had a big stack, touch wood. I’ve come off a couple of times but I’ve only ever had scratches and bruises. Unfortunately, just the day before the official start of the Pollie Pedal, one of our guys did come off and he broke a collarbone and did a fair bit of damage to other bits of his body. Look, cycling is a great sport and if you are careful, you should be fine but a moment’s inadvertence, and yes, you can get into trouble.

PRESENTER:

And don’t forget your stack hat. That’s the most important piece of advice.

TONY ABBOTT:

Very, very important. This guy had a helmet on and he’s very lucky that he did because the helmet took a big knock but his head is ok.

PRESENTER:

Now, this Pollie Pedal, a great initiative and it’s a way for us to meet various members of parliament. What are you learning about your team members? Are you finding out who snores when you have the overnight stays?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, Darren Chester reckons he’s going to get on a bike today. Russell Broadbent didn’t get on a bike yesterday but nevertheless he came to a couple of functions with me which was good.

PRESENTER:

Can any of them actually - because I know some of my friends never learnt how to ride bikes - but do any of the pollies, do they all know how to ride or do some of them need training wheels on the back of their bikes?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, look, I think we all need training wheels sometimes but so far, I haven’t come across any politician who has tried to ride a bike and failed.

PRESENTER:

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Is it getting competitive between you and the other politicians? Maybe when you’re racing into Warragul yesterday, you and someone out in the front, did you, you know, have a hundred bucks on who could get there first?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, Jake, look, Kevin Andrews set a cracking pace out of Melbourne. He was the guy that knew the way through the traffic jams of outer metropolitan Melbourne and he set a fine pace but look, there were a couple of hills towards the end and yes, he was bogged on a couple of hills, I’m afraid.

PRESENTER:

Now, you’ve got quite a few hundreds kilometres to go. What does the Opposition Leader have for breakfast before heading off from Warragul?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, my breakfast is no great secret and I’m sure the dieticians would say that it’s not the best breakfast in the world, but I’ve had two cups of tea and a couple of bits of toast.

PRESENTER:

Yeah. Well, it’s probably better than mine, Mr Abbott. I have about five cups of coffee. That’s pretty much it. That’s my breakfast of champions!

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, look, you probably had to get up pretty early, Jake, this morning and I dare say the coffee fix is almost compulsory. I’m hoping that somewhere between Warragul and Traralgon there’ll be a nice coffee shop and I might get my fix, too.

PRESENTER:

Oh, we’ve tried and tested a few. We can definitely point you in the right direction, Mr Abbott. Now, this of course, is supporting Carers Australia. Tell us a bit about what they do.

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, Carers Australia represent the 2.7 million Australians who are looking after the four million Australians with a significant disability and carers do what they do entirely on a voluntary basis. I think they’re the unseen pillars of our society. They’re certainly unsung heroes. They manifest every day the kind of compassion which the people they look after so much need and I think it’s important that we raise awareness of caring; I think it’s important that we raise awareness of disability issues and it’s also important to raise a bit of money for Carers Australia and so far the Pollie Pedal looks like raising about a half a million dollars which I’m very pleased with.

PRESENTER:

Wow. That’s amazing. And we can’t of course have you on the phone without talking about the recent landslide election win in the Sunshine State, in Queensland. Does this mean Labor’s a little bit on the nose in this country at the moment?

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TONY ABBOTT:

I think certainly sensible Labor people are asking themselves a lot of searching questions. I think the Prime Minister is still in denial about the scale of the defeat in Queensland. I think the Queensland election result is a verdict on governments which don’t tell the truth and I think that’s a real problem for the Prime Minister.

PRESENTER:

And, very quickly, how much lycra are you wearing on this Pollie Pedal?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, look, enough. You wouldn’t want to see me with too little lycra, would you?

PRESENTER:

Yeah! You should wear the Speedos out today on the bike!

TONY ABBOTT:

Look, it’s only going to get to 20 degrees so I think it would be a pretty chilly ride in the Speedos.

PRESENTER:

Well, Tony Abbott, the Opposition Leader, thank you very much for joining us. Good luck with the Pollie Pedal. You’re off I think to Sale today, isn’t it?

TONY ABBOTT:

That’s correct. I’ve got a community morning tea in Traralgon, I’ve got a couple of meetings in Sale, including a community forum and I’m very much looking forward to going through the energy capital of Victoria.

PRESENTER:

Well, thanks very much for joining us and good luck today. If you know any of this song coming up, Wild Ones by Flo Rida, you can feel free to sing it during the song, mate. Thanks very much for joining us.

TONY ABBOTT:

I’ll be practising it out there on the road.

PRESENTER:

Cheers!

[ends]