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Transcript of doorstop: Sydney: [30 November 2007]



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THE HON DR BRENDAN NELSON MP Leader of the Opposition

TRANSCRIPT OF THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION THE HON DR BRENDAN NELSON MP DOORSTOP, SYDNEY

EO&E…………………………………………………………………………………

DR NELSON:

Today Private Luke Worsley’s body is due to return to Australia. Private Worsley was killed in action fighting for Australia, in Australia’s name, wearing the uniform of our Australian Army in Afghanistan.

Every Australian needs to pause to reflect on the values that are important to us, the reasons why we are in Afghanistan - to deal with those who, amongst other things, murdered 88 Australians in Bali in 2002. And whatever the day to day challenges we have in our everyday lives, we need to be thinking of Luke Worsley’s family, those who loved him, the mates with whom he fought and with whom he worked, and, most importantly, all of us as Australians whatever our understanding of the challenges and the battle in Afghanistan need to get right behind our troops in this extraordinarily important cause

I have also today been engaged in a lot of conversation with my colleagues including my deputy leader, Julie Bishop. I would expect to finalise the shadow frontbench arrangements over the next few days and make an announcement some time around the middle of next week. I also again say to Mr Rudd, ‘Mr Rudd whatever you do in your first few weeks in government, it’s very important that we discuss the intervention in the Northern Territory, which will save the lives of young Aboriginal Australians’. The Little Children are Sacred report is but the last straw on the camel’s back of neglect and failure which sees these Australians living very short lives and suffering diseases that too many Australian forgot had even existed.

I know there are sections within the Labor Party that want to retreat from the outstanding job that was done by Mal Brough, but it is so important for these Australians that they should have the same hopes and expectations and that they should be able to live lives of good health and longevity just like any other Australian.

Mr Rudd will also be going to Bali the week after next for the summit on the next agreement on climate change. He will go with the support of the Liberal Party of Australia for the ratification of the Kyoto agreement. It is very, very important that Mr Rudd put Australia’s interests first.

We understand the need for a global agreement that must include China and India and the United States of America. But whatever Mr Rudd does on our behalf, it’s very important that we don’t sell our kids down the river in terms of their economic future, their prospects of having jobs in Australia, whilst understanding the need for global

action and global agreement on climate change.

QUESTION:

Will you be matching your portfolios with Labor’s?

DR NELSON:

Well, you’ll have to wait and see. You’ll see a degree of innovation in terms of the appointments that we make - not only in terms of personnel but the portfolio responsibilities themselves. The appointments will say a lot about the future of the Liberal Party over the next three years, not only in terms of personnel but the responsibilities that will be given to the people that I choose along with my leadership

group.

QUESTION:

(Inaudible)

DR NELSON:

You would expect to see new faces. You will expect to see people who balance experience and wisdom with energy, vision and commitment. There will be new faces. There will also be new responsibilities that will be given to people, and most importantly you will see an alternative government that will strongly support Mr Rudd when he puts Australia’s interests first, however we will stand up to Mr Rudd and his Government to make sure they deliver on the things they told us that they would be doing and also to see that Australia’s interests are put first. I am very confident that over the next three years we will be in a winning position by the time we go to the next election. Mr Rudd has won government. We respect that. We

respect the decision of Australians, but we also recognise that Mr Rudd was so impressed with what the Coalition Government had done over eleven and a half years and had committed to doing had it won the election that he adopted it all himself. And we will be very proud and continue to be very proud of what we have achieved, take the lessons from the election last week, and I can assure you that I will be reshaping the Liberal Party to see that it is one that will be even more appealing to families, small businesses, working Australians and those who want a confident, hopeful future.

QUESTION:

When are you planning to announce your frontbench?

DR NELSON:

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Well I’d expect to be in a position to announce it probably Tuesday or Wednesday, but you’ll just need to watch this space.

QUESTION:

(Inaudible)

DR NELSON:

Well I’m very happy that we are going through the process of examining the reasons for the election outcome last week, whilst respecting it. Obviously it’s clear that we’ve got many of our members and supporters around the country that are disappointed. But I am very confident that our leadership team will be able to deliver a very strong winning outcome for Australia and for the Liberal Party and Coalition supporters within three years.

QUESTION:

You say that you don’t support Labor’s Workchoices - their plans to roll that back. What’s your comment on that? I mean, do you support it or do you not?

DR NELSON:

The unions sold assets, cashed up, spent up $30-$50 million telling people the world was going to end. We do recognise that Australians did take into account what they thought Workchoices was about when they made their voting decisions last Saturday. We respect it, but it’s very important that we do not do anything to undermine job security, nor do we undermine the chances of our kids or any of us being able to get a job. Until we see what Mr Rudd is actually going to propose in his legislation for workplace relations it will not be possible for me to say exactly what we will do. But we feel very, very strongly that whatever Mr Rudd provides in terms of workplace relations it must be something that must deny job opportunities to young people and not so young people around the country. We feel very strongly. You go into any small business across the country - you go into a butcher’s shop, a hairdressing salon, a motor mechanics, and you just ask the men and women who are actually running these small businesses, do they reckon that Mr Rudd’s small business unfair dismissal laws are a threat to the employment of young Australians. So, if people for example want to get any advice, the next time you’re in a small business - whether you’re buying a few beers or whether you’re getting your car serviced, or you’re buying a leg of lamb, whatever you’re doing - just ask the bloke or the woman behind the counter, ‘What do you reckon Mr Rudd’s unfair dismissal laws are going to do for you in employing other people?’ And that’s the answer…

QUESTION:

But Rudd says he’s been given a mandate basically by the election results. He’s says that they speak for themselves and that basically if you stand in the way of that then you haven’t listened to the electorate. Do you think that’s true or not?

DR NELSON:

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Well, obviously we are taking lessons from the election victory last week and again I congratulate Mr Rudd on his election. One of those issues was workplace relations. We must look very carefully at what the legislation actually offers in terms of Mr Rudd’s last stated position on workplace relations. We are very concerned that the union bosses throughout Australia are going to get to Mr Rudd; that we’re going to be presented with something that’s not quite exactly what he said he was going to do. And we’re also very concerned that if we wind back unfair dismissal provisions that the bottom line is, whatever people might think, our kids are less likely to get jobs in small businesses. Our key responsibility is to make sure that we do not do anything that makes it harder for an Australian to get a job, or makes it harder for an employer who is borrowing money to create and establish a business to actually give someone a job. So, that’s our gold standard and we’ll wait until we see the legislation.

QUESTION:

Are you committed to Bradfield?

DR NELSON:

I am very committed to Bradfield. In fact we’re in an unusual position now in Bradfield that Barry O’Farrell is the Leader of the Opposition in New South Wales and I’m now privileged to be the leader of the Liberal Party and the Opposition

nationally. So, we’ve got two opposition leaders in one community. I would not be a member of parliament were it not for the Liberal Party members in Bradfield and most of the people of Bradfield. And I’ve had an enormous amount of positive reaction from people in Bradfield, including people that don’t vote from me, which is a great honour.

QUESTION:

Will you still have time for the electorate though?

DR NELSON:

From the day I was elected in 1996, I have always made my first priority the needs and concerns and the aspirations of people in the Bradfield community. Nothing will change, and if they think that that’s the case I’m sure they’ll make a judgment in three years time.

[ends]