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Transcript of interview with the Big Guns of Politics: Sunrise: Channel 7: 24 August 2012



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The Hon. Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

E&OE………………………………………………………………………………… PRESENTER: Let's get some reaction now from our Big Guns of Politics - Environment Minister Tony Burke and Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey. Morning to both of you. Tony, I’ll begin with you. BHP - the Government has been contradicting itself over the mining boom in the wake of its decision. You've got one minister saying it's over and another one saying it has got a way to go. Which is it? TONY BURKE: There are two different concepts here, Mel. The first is there has been a boom in demand for resources. The second is there has been a boom in prices. Now what is happening now - the long term demand for resources - that is continuing. But the really high prices that we have been getting over the last few years, basically since about September of last year, they have come well off and we are not expecting those to come back the way they were. PRESENTER: Joe, the Opposition has been left a little red faced on the issue. Tony Abbott said the decision was due to the mining and carbon taxes; which weren't even mentioned by Marius Kloppers when he announced the results. He then admitted he hadn't read the statement from BHP, only to backtrack on this later. Not a good look for the leader of the party which sort of shows he is not across the detail. JOE HOCKEY: No. He is across the detail. We have had numerous interactions with BHP and other mining companies. Let's get real about this. Let's get fair dinkum about this. You do not increase investment by increasing taxes on business. You are not going to create jobs. You are not 2

going to create investment if you have carbon and mining taxes on the mining industry. And, in fact, BHP's Port Hedland expansion - which they have put off and is about $20 billion - is all iron ore which is part of the mining tax which is what he was referring to. PRESENTER: But hang on, Olympic Dam is uranium and copper which has got nothing to do with the mining tax. JOE HOCKEY: But BHP is paying the mining tax. It is paying a huge amount of the mining tax and that's the bottom line, Kochie. Jac Nasser and Marius Kloppers have been warning for months that specifically the carbon tax, the mining tax, industrial relations and a range of other things are making Australia one of the most expensive places in the world to do business. Of course, others have joined them. So this idea that somehow you are going to increase investment by increasing taxes is damn absurd - and that is what Wayne Swan was saying yesterday. It is absurd. TONY BURKE: Joe, what is absurd is continuing to constantly exaggerate the argument. Now BHP themselves have said the Olympic Dam decision had nothing to do with mining and carbon. Tony Abbott just ignores what the company says and says ‘oh no, it must be true’ without even reading the documentation. You have got to at least acknowledge the exaggeration. JOE HOCKEY: That's not right. Firstly, no. Tony Abbott actually did read the statement. I know he read the

24 August 2012

statement… TONY BURKE: He said on television he hadn’t. JOE HOCKEY: If I can just finish. He misheard what the interviewer said. I know he read the statement because I was with him as he read the statement. Anyone who suggested he didn’t - it is just another exaggeration from the Government. PRESENTER: He suggested it, so it's a fair thing to think how he did. If he says "I did not read the statement", you tend to believe it. Let’s move on. The Prime Minister spent 40 minutes yesterday trying to set the record straight about her time as a lawyer at Slater & Gordon and allegations of wrong-doing. She also took a swipe at what she regards as sexist treatment. 3

PRIME MINISTER: For many many months now I have been the subject of a very sexist smear campaign from people for whom I have no respect... These are defamatory allegations and they are wrong. PRESENTER: Tony, do you agree that is what motivated the story? TONY BURKE: Most of the viewers won't have seen the material that the Prime Minister is talking about there. Most of this hasn't run in the general media - thank heavens. But online, I've got to say, there has been a campaign run by a few people online that - I don’t think there is a word other than disgusting - for the way that some of that has run. The PM has been very careful ever since she came into politics. She is not someone to jump at saying there is something sexist going on, but on this particular online campaign, I don't think it's something that anyone, whether they are in high office or any Australian at all, should be subject to this one. PRESENTER: Joe, the Opposition has been on at the PM to address this issue. She's now done that. Most of the newspapers and the editorials are satisfied with it, are you satisfied? JOE HOCKEY: Well, Kochie, it's not something we have been involved with, I must say. This has been coming from a range of different sources. The Coalition hasn't engaged in this. It's been more about what happened to the Prime Minister as a lawyer and what she did as a lawyer and clearly, you know, she wasn't very good at what she did because she has got herself in a hell of a lot of trouble as a lawyer. Our issue is with her as a Prime Minister and her trustworthiness as a Prime Minister and that's where we are leaving it. PRESENTER: A good knife in the back though. A good subtle one. Thank you, have a good weekend.