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Transcript of joint doorstop interview: South Nowra: June 13, 2013: Visit to Gilmore; the Coalition’s Real Solutions plan; Julia Gillard's carbon tax; Mal Brough; the Government’s failed border protection policies; Donald Mackay; abortion

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Joint Doorstop Interview, South Nowra June 13, 2013

Subjects: Visit to Gilmore; the Coalition’s Real Solutions plan; Julia Gillard’s carbon tax; Mal Brough; the Government’s failed border protection policies; Donald Mackay; abortion.



It’s terrific to be here in the Shoalhaven. I love coming to the Shoalhaven. Every January, my family and myself, we holiday down

near Sussex Inlet. Last January of course I was here as part of a Warringah/Pittwater Rural Fire Service deployment to help deal with the fires. Ann Sudmalis and I were together at the Shoalhaven fire control centre for a couple of evenings. Ann was helping to

feed the crews and I was one of the crews coming in. So, look, it is good to be here in the Shoalhaven.

It’s good to be at V&C Foods. This is a small business - one of hundreds of thousands of small businesses right around our country - which is very significantly impacted by the carbon tax. I want to thank the Sammut family and staff for making Ann and

myself so welcome, but I can understand why this family, why this company and their staff, are anxious about the carbon tax because a business like this suffers a carbon tax triple whammy. There’s the carbon tax bill on the power, there’s the carbon tax

bill on the refrigerant gas and after the 1st of July next year, if this government is re-elected, there will be the carbon tax bill on heavy transport.

So, this is a burden which this business doesn’t need. It’s a burden that the families of the Shoalhaven and right around our

country don’t need and it’s a burden that will go under a Coalition government. The carbon tax will go, but the tax cuts and the pension and benefit rises will stay. That’s why a Coalition government will give real help to families and will give real security to

the workers of Australia who are currently feeling insecure and uncertain about their future, because of the policies of an incompetent and untrustworthy government.

We have a Real Solutions plan that will restore the hope, the reward and the opportunity that should be every Australian’s birth

right; that should be your birth right as Australians. Hope, reward and opportunity. That’s what we will deliver to the Australian people should we win the election, which today is 93 days away and as far as the Australian people are concerned, it can’t come

soon enough.

Now, I’m very happy to be here with Ann. Ann is an outstanding local candidate to replace an outstanding local member, we hope. Jo Gash has done a great job. Ann Sudmalis will do just as good a job and I’m going to ask Ann to say a few words before taking

some questions.


Thank you. Thank you so much. I'd like you to be reassured that the carbon tax effect on small business is one of the biggest crunches in employment in our local area. It’s stopped young children, young youth being employed. Businesses such as this and

smaller ones where the power has gone through the roof can no longer employ part-time employees, so getting rid of the carbon tax is critical for our area with such high unemployment.


Thanks Ann. Ok, do we have any questions?


Mr Abbott, did Julia Gillard overreact yesterday over the menu at Mal Brough's fundraiser?


Tony Abbott Federal Member for Warringah | Leader of the Opposition

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The important thing is to get the facts right and this was a bad taste menu that never made it out of the kitchen. It wasn't seen by anyone at the event. It was never distributed to people at the event. It was a tacky joke that never made it outside of the kitchen. I

think now that we know the facts, everyone can all move on.


Did she overreact?


Look, I can understand why people find tacky, tasteless comments offensive and there have been quite a few tacky, tasteless comments in the last few months. Yes, there was this bad taste menu that never made it out of the kitchen, there was a union

conference attended by ministers, including the Prime Minister, a few months back where an extremely smutty joke was made. I think we should all lift our game. I think we should all be bigger than this kind of thing. I think the focus for all of us should be on

what matters to the people of Australia and that’s why every day, I’m out with my Real Solutions plan which will give Australians more job security and lower costs of living.


Do you concede that are some inconsistencies in Mal Brough’s story in relation to this? He seemed to come out initially and

accept some responsibility and now he has backed away from it.


Well, I think it wasn’t exactly apparent what the facts were. But now we know exactly what the facts were. It was a bad taste menu; a tacky joke that should never have been made and it never made it out of the kitchen.


But why wasn’t he able to come out straight away and say this had nothing to do with me?


Well, I think he did. He did say it had nothing to do with him.


But he confirmed it was true and apologised.


Well, look, we now know the facts. The facts are that it was a tacky joke, it was a bad-taste menu that went up in the kitchen and it

never made it outside the kitchen.


Why did the letter from the restaurant owner come from your office?


Well, the restaurant owner, funnily enough, doesn't actually have a media staff and the email from the restaurant owner went to Joe Hockey, it went to Mal Brough, it went to my office and it's perfectly appropriate that my office should distribute it to people

who need the facts and I think it's very important that the media should report the facts.


The Federal Police are questioning some of the claims made against the alleged Egyptian terrorist. Do you think your party jumped the gun on this issue before all the facts were established?


Look, it's clear that the AFP knew about this man being on the Interpol list in November of last year. ASIO knew that this man was

on the Interpol list in August of last year, but it seems that no one really wanted to tell the Government about this and the

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Government, even when it knew, was very slow to act. Now, what we see here is a clear link between border security and national security and a government which cannot establish border security is a government which can't be trusted with national security.


Mr Abbott, this area has the highest unemployment rate in New South Wales. What guarantees are there if there's a change of

government in September that say come this time next year, things may be a bit better than what they are right now?


Well, I can guarantee that we will repeal the carbon tax. I can guarantee that we will make a difference from day one in border protection. I can guarantee that over time we will get the Budget back into the black. Now, all of these things will help to restore

confidence; all of these things will help to reassure Australians that at long last they've got a government which is competent and trustworthy in Canberra and if you can have confidence in the government, it's much more easy to have confidence in the country

and its economy.


What do you make of Julia Gillard's talks with Arnold Schwarzenegger this morning?


Well, look, I'm pleased that the Prime Minister is prepared to have constructive discussions with someone. I just wish she was much more agreeable and amenable to having constructive and consultative discussions with the Premiers. She says she wants

to make some changes in respect of education and yet she demands agreement from Premiers who she's demonising uphill and down dale and that's no way for an adult Prime Minister to act.


Has Arnold Schwarzenegger got it wrong when it comes to carbon trading?


The important thing is to help the environment without damaging our economy and the problem with the Government's carbon tax

is that it damages our economy without helping the environment. I know that most people don't have time to go digging around in government documents but if you do go to the documents that the Government released when it formally announced its carbon

tax, the modelling document shows that we aren't going to reduce our emissions by five per cent, we're actually going to increase them by eight per cent between now and 2020. They go up from 578 million tonnes to 621 million tonnes. We only get the five per

cent reduction by, in one year alone, 2020, spending $3.5 billion on carbon credits from foreign carbon traders. Now, this is why this carbon tax is such an economic own goal, because it damages our economy, it costs consumers, it doesn't actually help the

environment. Our policy, by contrast, will bring about a five per cent reduction here in Australia but we won't do it through penalties, we'll do it through incentives. We'll have more trees, better soils, smarter technology and in the end it is human

ingenuity that will keep our environment clean, not big government and more taxes.


In the search for Donald Mackay's body, are you hopeful his family will have answers soon about the death of their father?


Obviously, this has been a long-running mystery. He was a gutsy and well-respected member of the Griffith community who should have been honoured for his work, instead he disappeared and, yes, it will be good if that mystery can finally be cleared up.


DLP Senator John Madigan has a bill before the Senate to remove Medicare funding for abortions that are used for gender

selection and given that he may hold the balance of power after the election, can you rule out doing any deals with him about abortion laws or regulations if you win the election?


Yes I do. I do rule out any deals. I make it crystal clear that the Coalition has no plans for change in this area, none whatsoever. It

is fundamentally an area for the states, but certainly as far as we are concerned there are no plans whatsoever for change and if

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you want to go back and look at the things that were said back in 2006 when this matter was last before the Federal Parliament, you'll find that the Prime Minister and I were on a unity ticket.

Thank you.


© Tony Abbott MHR 2010 | Authorised by Tony Abbott MHR, Level 2, 17 Sydney Rd, Manly NSW 2095

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